Crops

Harvest Safety

It is hard to believe that harvest has started for some. As a reminder that with harvest comes more traffic on county roads and other stresses for farmers. It never fails, that equipment can break, there are delays at the elevator and extra-long hours can all add extra stress to farmers. It is important to carefully slow down and realize the many hazards you are being exposed to during harvest.

An Iowa State Extension publication, Harvest Safety Yields Big Dividends points out that injuries can occur by taking shortcuts to perform routine tasks, not getting enough sleep or regular breaks, or failing to follow safety practices. Some injuries occur when operators are pulled into the intake area of harvesting machines, such as balers, combines, or corn pickers, and many injuries occur from slips or falls around these machines. Exposure to powerful machinery is highest during the harvest season. The equipment must be powerful to effectively handle large amounts of agricultural commodities. When equipment plugs, NEVER try to unplug it with live equipment, instead always disengage power and turn off the engine before trying to manually clear a plugged machine. Regular maintenance of these machines can also make harvest go smoother. Also, lots of accidents happen by the operator slipping and falling off equipment.

In the same publication listed above, there are several tips for reducing fall hazards: 

  • Always keep all platforms free of tools or other objects.
  • Frequently clean the steps and other areas where workers stand to service, mount, and dismount, or operate the machine.
  • Wear well-fitting, comfortable shoes with non-slip soles.
  • Use grab bars when mounting or dismounting machinery.
  • Be sure your position is stable before you work on a machine.
  • Recognize that fatigue, stress, drugs or alcohol, and age may affect stability.

Other helpful tips during harvest are to keep kids away from machinery. Tell them the dangers that can occur and not to play near the equipment, even when it is shut off; you never know when they will be playing in hidden areas of the equipment. Operators should double check where kids are before moving the equipment. Too many accidents can occur when youth are in the path of equipment out of the operator’s view. Operators of all equipment should check in regularly and let someone know where you are. Keep all guards on equipment; it is there for a reason! 

It is also important for the public to understand the increased traffic on public roads and be patient. The greatest threat raised between farm equipment and passenger vehicles is the difference in speed. Farm equipment runs at an average speed of 20 miles per hour while passenger vehicles average 60 miles per hour. If the motor vehicle overtakes a tractor, the impact is comparable to a passenger vehicle hitting a brick wall at 40 miles per hour. If the tractor and a car, mini-van or pickup collides head on, the impact is the same as hitting a brick wall at 60 miles per hour.

Farmers can reduce the chances of an accident by using warning lights, reflectors, and reflective tape on their machinery to keep passenger vehicle operators aware of their presence on roads. Some farmers may choose to install supplemental lights to increase visibility. It also is a good idea for producers to keep off heavily traveled roads as much as possible and avoid moving equipment during the busiest part of the day.

Some farm equipment, such as combines, can take up more than half of the road. Even so, it is up to both drivers to be aware of their own limitations and adjust accordingly. Farmers should not take up more space than is needed, but other drivers should try to provide as much room as possible. It is a good idea for passenger vehicles to turn off onto side or field roads until larger machinery has passed. Whenever possible, farmers should use an escort vehicle such as a pickup to precede or follow large machinery and equipment on public roads. More than one escort may be necessary. Ideally, the escort vehicle would have extra warning lights and a sign indicating oversized or slow equipment ahead or following.

 Have a safe harvest!

Crops, Livestock

Breaking Down Anxiety: Tools to Help You Live a Less Anxious Life

This week, I’ve decided to share with you a two-part workshop on helping live a less anxious life which is provided by Nebraska Extension’s Women in Agriculture program. This two-part virtual workshop September will focus on managing and working through anxiety. “Breaking Down Anxiety: Tools to Help You Live a Less Anxious Life,” will hold its first session from 1 to 3 p.m. Central time on September 8. The second session is scheduled for 1 to 2 p.m. Central time on September 29.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

It will be facilitated by Ashley Machado, a mental health consultant who works primarily with agricultural professionals and their families. “Sometimes anxiety can feel all-consuming, like you’re on a train you don’t want to be on and you don’t know how to get off. Other times it can feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but you keep getting stuck on a hamster wheel,” Machado said.

The workshop will discuss how anxiety shows up, why it can be a reaction to uncertainty, and offer advice for developing skills to manage anxiety and its effects. Machado is an advocate of rethinking the ways that we support mental health in the agriculture industry and specializes in breaking down big ideas and deep feelings into simple, actionable strategies. She applies 15 years of experience to helping individuals and organizations in agriculture to develop the tools they need to maintain good mental health and operate and live fully.

Machado holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and a Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis in clinical mental health. She grew up in the dairy industry and now lives in California with her husband, a rancher and almond farmer.

The workshop will be held via Zoom and participants should plan on attending both sessions. Registration is $20 per person and can be completed here: https://cvent.me/DWlYaO.

 This material is based upon work supported by USDA-NIFA under Award Number 2020-70028-32728.

Crops, Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Competition Results

Nebraska Extension strives to recruit the next generation of agronomy professionals by annually conducting the Nebraska Youth Crop Scouting Competition. On August 3, 2022, held at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, teams were able to talk with Extension staff and scout actual plots at the Research Center. This competition is a great experience for those wanting to work in many different fields of agriculture. This competition provides a fun competitive environment where teams can receive hands on learning about all aspects of crop scouting.

Receiving first place and a cash prize of $500 was Kornhusker Kids team coached by Chris Schiller. Team members were James Rolf, Logan Consbruck, Isaac Wooldrik, Levi Schiller and Ian Schiller. Second place went to Colfax Co. 4-H Team #1 coached by Steve Nelson. Team members were Josh Eisennman, Mic Sayers, Rylan Nelson, & Hayden Bailey and they received $250. Third place with a $100 cash award was Colfax County 4-H #2 team also coached by Steve Nelson. Team members were Callen Jedlicka, Cody Jedlicka, Daphne Jedlicka and Justin Eisennman.

Also participating were two teams from Johnson County 4-H coached by Jon Schmid. Team members from Johnson County #1 included Wesley Schmid, Sophia Schmid, Bo McCoy and Elliot Werner. Johnson Co. #2 team consisted of Levi Othmer and Cameron Werner. Arlington FFA also competed with Kali Agler as the coach and Aaron Fuchs, Braden Monke and Ethan Hilgenkamp competing.

An in-person regional competition will be held among Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Missouri teams at the Beck Agricultural Center near West Lafayette Indiana on September 15th hosted by Purdue Extension. Participants from Kornhusker Kids 4-H and Colfax County #1 can compete representing the state of Nebraska.

For more information on the Youth Crop Scouting Competition, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu or go to https://cropwatch.unl.edu/youth

Crops, Youth

Tractor Safety Training

Federal law prohibits children under 16 years of age from using certain equipment on a farm unless their parents or legal guardians own the farm. However, certification received through our course grants an exemption to the law allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and to do field work with certain mechanized equipment. Teens 14 or 15 years of age who work on farms or others who are interested in learning about safe farming practices are encouraged to register for the course.

Photo by Nicolas Veithen on Pexels.com

Students will:

  • Register for their driving exam date (Tractor and Equipment Safety Course for Young and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers), which costs $25, and
  • Register to complete the Hands-On Safety Day (or opt to complete the Online Module) prior to completing the driving exam. Individuals can opt to attend just the Hands-On Safety Day but will not receive certification.

Once a student is registered, they will be sent the course materials and online module link (if applicable). The $25 fee for the driving exam will be collected on site the day of the exam. The onsite driving training and exam will include a driving test and equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. Students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course.

Instructors will also offer education about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs, utility-task vehicles (UTVs), and other off-road vehicles (ORVs). These trainings are sponsored by University of Nebraska—Lincoln Extension and Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health.

Schedule:

Hands-On Safety Days

  • May 24 – Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Rd, North Platte
  • May 26 – Raising Nebraska, 501 East Fonner Park Rd, Grand Island

Tractor Certification Driving Days

  • May 25 – Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Rd, North Platte
  • June 6 – AKRS Equipment, 49110 US Hwy 20 in O’Neill
  • June 7 – Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail #8500 in Gering
  • June 8 – AKRS Equipment, 44098 Hwy 2, Broken Bow
  • June 9 – Adams County Extension, 2975 South Baltimore Ave, Hastings
  • June 10 – Cass County Fairgrounds, 8400 144th St, Weeping Water

For more information and to register, visit go.unl.edu/tractorsafety or contact Ellen Duysen at ellen.duysen@unmc.edu

Crops, Uncategorized

Private Pesticide Training Offered by Zoom for 2022

If you haven’t completed your private pesticide safety training yet, there is a zoom option approaching. Nebraska Extension will be offering five private pesticide applicator trainings via Zoom in March and April. Each one will have a different agricultural area of focus, including alfalfa, corn, soybean, pasture, and wheat. Several different steps must be met to attend these trainings.

Preregistration will be required. Registration can be completed at the following links:

Several things to know about include:

  • Training materials will need to be picked up at a county extension office PRIOR to training.
  • Nebraska Department of Agriculture paper will need to be filled out and submitted when picking up training materials. The training fee of $50 will need to be paid when picking up training materials.
  • Attend and participate in the training session where you have registered.
  • A photo ID must be presented during the training session.
  • A working web camera must be on for the duration of the training.
  • No certification will be initiated unless all seven requirements are completed. Individuals are encouraged to contact their local extension office first to see if training materials are available.

Each training will offer individuals the opportunity to pick one of the special topics. Those offered are:

  • March 28: Alfalfa: Cut, Bale, Scout Alfalfa Diseases
  • March 28: Corn: Tar Spot, Corn Rootworm Management, Herbicide Selection with Cover Crop Seeding
  • March 29: Soybean: Frogeye Leaf Spot and White Mold, Soybean Gall Midge, Dectes Stem Borer
  • March 30: Pasture:Thistle ID and Management, Calibration of Small Sprayers, Tree Encroachment
  • March 30: Wheat, Stripe and Leaf Rust, Herbicide Selection for Eastern Nebraska

For questions regarding the trainings, contact Jennifer Weisbrod, Nebraska Extension Pesticide Safety Education program coordinator, 402-472-1632 or jweisbrod2@unl.edu.

 

(Source: UNL CropWatch)

Crops, Uncategorized, Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Winners

Nebraska Extension has worked hard to push through the struggles of 2020 and 2021. From moving everything online suddenly to slowly brining in person events back the past two years have been roller-coaster. This year’s Youth Crop Scouting Competition was able to be held in person at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center. Teams were able to talk with Extension staff and scout real plots at the Research Center. This competition is a great experience for those wanting to work in many different fields of agriculture. This competition provides a fun competitive environment where teams can receive hands on learning about all aspects of crop scouting.  

Five teams competed in the 2021 competition.

Receiving first place and a cash prize of $500 was Kornhusker Kids team coached by Chris Schiller. Team members were James Rolf, Ethan Kreikemeier, Kaleb Hasenkamp, Levi Schiller, and Ian Schiller.  Second place went to Arlington FFA team coached by Kali Agler. Team members were Braden Monke and Aaron Fuchs, the team received $250. Third place with a $100 cash award was Colfax County 4-H #1 team coached by Steve Nelson. Team members were Hayden Bailey, Josh Eisenmann, Eliza Bailey, and Mic Sayers. 

Also participating was West Elk Creek 4-H Club coached by Jon Schmid. Team members include Wesley Schmid, Cameron Werner, Levi Othmer, Reese Badertscher and Sophie Schmid. Colfax County 4-H #2 team was coached by Steve Nelson. Team members were Daphne Jedlicka, Cody Jedlicka, and Callen Jedlicka.  

Continuing this year was an online session of “Ask an Agronomist” where Nebraska Extension agronomists and specialists presented basic information that could be as part of the competition which allowed more interaction between the judges and participants.  

An online regional competition will be held among Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky teams. Participants from Kornhusker Kids 4-H and Arlington FFA will compete representing their county and the state of Nebraska in September. 

The 2021 Youth Crop Scouting Competition was sponsored by the Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association and Ward Laboratories in collaboration with Nebraska Extension.

For more information on the Youth Crop Scouting Competition, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu or go to https://cropwatch.unl.edu/youth.   

Crops, Programming, Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Competition

IMG_3105Looking for a fun club project? Want to unite your club members? Running out of ideas for club meetings?  If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, help is on the way!  Nebraska Extension is pleased to present the 5th annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska youth. Youth interested in crops have the opportunity to learn about crop growth & development and basic crop scouting principles.

Don’t know a lot about crops?  Ask a local agronomist to assist by providing a short lesson on crop production. You can have the agronomist meet with youth a little during each meeting or outside of the meeting. This is one way to engage those youth interested in crops.

This contest will be held at the ENREC near Mead, Nebraska on July 28, 2020, pending directive health measures at that time. If a live competition is unable to occur, a virtual option will be conducted.  Teams of middle school thru high school students (those completing 5-12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate. This year, to comply with directive health measures, the event is limited to the first five teams who sign-up!

Clubs or other organizations may enter a team composed of three to five participants. An adult team leader must accompany each team of students. Team leaders could be FFA advisors, crop consultants, extension staff, coop employees, etc.

Top-scoring teams win prizes: $500 for first, $250 for second, $100 for third place. Unfortunately, there will not be a regional competition this year.

Teams will be expected to know the basics of scouting corn and soybean fields. This includes crop staging; looking for patterns of crop injury; disease, insect and weed seedling identification; etc. Other topics many include but are not limited to, pesticide safety, nutrient disorders, and herbicide injury.

More information about the crop scouting competition and instructions on how to register a team are available online at cropwatch.unl.edu/youth. Register at: https://go.unl.edu/cropscoutingreg.

Teams must be registered by July 15. This program is sponsored by Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association and Nebraska Extension.

Crops, Programming, Youth

Tractor safety course for teens

The Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health and Nebraska Extension have announced new plans for the tractor safety training course that was originally scheduled to be held at 12 sites across Nebraska this spring and summer. The new plans are designed to protect the health of the students and trainers during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Students will take the first day of the course online through the eXtension Foundation Campus website. After successfully completing the online course and testing, the required driving test will be offered at five locations across Nebraska July 27-31, 2020.

green and yellow tractor on dirt
Photo by John Lambeth on Pexels.com

Teens 14 or 15 years of age who work on farms, or others who are interested in learning about safe farming practices, are encouraged to register for the Course. Anyone under age 14 is not eligible to take the class.

Federal law prohibits children under 16 years of age from using certain equipment on a farm unless their parents or legal guardians own the farm. However, certification received through the course grants an exemption to the law allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and to do field work with certain mechanized equipment.

Susan Harris, University of Nebraska Extension Educator, reports that a common cause of agricultural-related injuries and deaths in Nebraska is overturned tractors and ATVs. She emphasized that this course is designed to train students how to avoid these incidents as well as many other hazards on the farm and ranch.

The online course will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program, including quizzes which students must pass to attend the driving portion of training. Once a student is registered, they will be sent a training manual, course paperwork and a link to the online course.

The onsite driving training and exam will include a driving test and equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. Students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course. Instructors will also offer education about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs, utility-task vehicles (UTVs), and other off-road vehicles (ORVs).

In order to protect students and trainers, the number of students on site will be limited to allow proper social distancing. All students and trainers will be required to wear a mask at all times during instruction and driving. Masks will be provided along with instructions for proper use. Equipment, steering wheels, control knobs, hitches, will be disinfected before and after each student completes their testing. Students who have had a fever or persistent cough within 14 days of testing will be required to reschedule their driving test. Additional driving tests may be added in August to accommodate students who are unable to attend the 5 scheduled trainings.

Instructors for the course are members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, Ellen Duysen; UNMC graduate student Alyssa Damke; and Nebraska Extension educators Troy Ingram, Randy Saner, and John Thomas.

Cost of the modified course is $40 and includes educational materials, online learning link, and supplies. More information on the 2020 Tractor Safety Course can be found at kearney.unl.edu.

Driving dates, site locations, and site coordinator contact information is below:

  • July 27 – Akrs Equipment, 49110 US Hwy 20 in O’Neill, contact Debra Walnofer, 402.336.2760, dwalnofer2@unl.edu
  • July 28 – Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail #8500 in Gering, contact Stacy Brown, 308.632.1480, sbrown7@unl.edu
  • July 29 – West Central Research & Extension Center, 402 West State Farm Rd., North Platte, contact
  • Randy Saner or Vicki Neidhardt 308.532.2683, saner@unl.edu
  • July 30 – Hall County Extension, 3180 W. Hwy 34, Grand Island, contact Nancy Usasz, 308.754.5422, usasz@unl.edu
  • July 31 – Cass County Fairgrounds, 8420 144th St, Weeping Water, contact Sandy Prall, 402.267.2205, sprall2@unl.edu

For more information or to register, contact the appropriate Extension staff member above.  Visit kearney.unl.edu for a registration form.

Crops, Horticulture, Irrigation, Livestock

Hail Know: Resources To Remember This Growing Season

Screen Shot 2020-05-22 at 2.14.03 PMWhen hail strikes and growers have questions, Nebraska Extension has new resources to answer them at Hail Know located online at cropwatch.unl.edu/hailknow. Videos, infographics, and articles by a team of Extension experts in climate science, agronomy, engineering, agricultural technology, economics, and disaster education have been developed to build upon and expand Extension’s hail-related programs. Hail Know focuses on six key topics: Hail formation and storms; damage assessment; crop insurance and risk management; replanting considerations; managing a recovering crop; and cover crops.

In the aftermath of a hailstorm visit Hail Know for the answers and certainty, you need to make sound, research-based decisions to manage your crop. Hail Know is also on social media. Follow @HailKnowUNL on Twitter at twitter.com/HailKnowUNL and like Hail Know on Facebook at facebook.com/HailKnowUNL for all the latest information and updates.

Hail Know is a section of CropWatch.unl.edu, Nebraska Extension’s crop production and crop pest management website. The development of Hail Know was funded by a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Smith-Lever Special Needs Grant with matching funds from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The column was co-written with Ashley Mueller, Nebraska Extension Disaster Educator. While you cannot prevent hail, you can prepare for and respond quickly when dealing with hail damage to crops. Nebraska Extension is here to help you make informed, timely decisions. Know your crop, know your tech, know your bottom line.

Crops, Livestock

COVID-19 Ag Producer Best Management Practices

Spring is a busy time of year for our farmers and ranchers and this year is no different. What is different however is the impact that COVID-19 has had on our rural communities. With kids home and schooling from home, some farm/ranch spouses working from home or not able to work at all, the stress is very real for many. Those of us in agriculture know the work we do to produce food for the world is essential but be sure to take  precautions to protect you and your family during these uncertain and unprecedented times.IMG_8692.jpeg

Recently I came across an article written by Brian Van Der Ley, Veterinary Epidemiologist Extension Specialist with Nebraska Extension. He provided the following are guidelines and recommendations that can be used to implement COVID-19 control in agricultural systems.

  • Stay Informed
    Follow federal, state, and local direction to reduce personal risk for contracting COVID-19 and to limit further transmission if you or your employees become infected. Stay informed at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov
  • Make a written plan by addressing the following:
    • What are the essential activities of the operation? (Feeding, farm work, etc.)
    • Who is primarily responsible for completing those activities?
    • How those activities are accomplished? (What basic skills are needed for the activity)
    • Who is available to complete those tasks if the primary individual becomes unavailable?
    • How may essential activities have to be modified if primary individuals are unavailable?
    • Write down the plan in as much detail as possible and make team members aware of the plan to insure continuity of business if COVID-19 infections begin to have a direct impact that disrupts normal management channels. Consider worst case scenarios for this situation (e.g. all team members are in quarantine due to exposure) and how essential operations can continue (e.g. asymptomatic team members self-quarantine at the operation to continue operations) and the logistics required for that plan.
  • Develop plans to separate the teams/family members/hired personnel to prevent transmission. Separate duties and use personal distancing of employees while at work and not at work. Examples – processing livestock, filling planters, brandings, etc.
  • Hold Virtual Meetings
    Consider conducting employee meetings virtually – ZOOM, FaceTime, others. If in person, follow CDC guidelines.
  • Clean High Touch Areas
    Limit use of common areas-use only with social distancing and hygiene guidelines going into and coming out of high touch areas, like meeting rooms, common kitchens, common restrooms, sinks, refrigerators, etc.
  • Clean and disinfect high touch areas frequently
    • Bleach may be used to disinfect surfaces, but the concentration is higher for COVID-19 than for everyday sanitation: 5 tablespoons bleach per gallon of water
    • Clean Vehicles, Tractors, Implements, and Tools.
    • Place hygiene supplies (hand sanitizer, disinfect and/or disinfectant wipes in equipment and other shared areas (e.g. shop). When changing operators/users – when entering and leaving or before and after use.
    • Disinfect hands using sanitizer.
    • Disinfectant all high touch areas (e.g steering wheel, control handles, door handles, syringes, etc.)
    • Consider disposable covers for porous surfaces like seats and other upholstered surfaces.
    • Allow for 3 hour down-time to allow virus to die in confined spaces (e.g. cabs), if possible.
  • Communicate with People Coming to your Location (consultants, veterinarians, dealers, mechanics, etc.)
    • Set up appointments that include time, meeting place, and a plan for transmission control (social distancing, cleaning/disinfection, personal protective equipment, etc.)
    • Confirm that individuals are feeling well and have not traveled to high risk locations prior to departure for visit.
  • Coordinate Delivery of Products and Inputs (feed, medicine, supplements, pesticides, others).
    • Develop non-contact delivery methods (e.g. drop off locations)
    • Wash hands after handling packaging, consider wearing gloves.
    • Consider disinfection of non-porous packaging.
    • For deliveries that require person-to-person interaction:
    • Develop physical reminders for social distancing (tape on floor, barriers, etc.)
    • Practice hand sanitizing/washing before and after interaction
    • Inventorying and back-up planning essential.
    • Identify essential supplies and consider increasing inventory
    • Develop contingency plans if essential supplies become unavailable

(Source: IANR News & author: Brian Van Der Ley, Veterinary Epidemiologist Extension Specialist with Nebraska Extension)