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Phillips Rooks District

Phillips-Rooks Extension District #5 

 dinner rolls

How about getting a head start on Christmas dinner? There will be a Dinner Roll Class on December 19 at 5:30 pm at the Fair Building in Phillipsburg. Cost of class is $10.00 and needs to be paid when you register for the class. Class size is limited to 14. Items to bring to class are: Large mixing bowl, wooden spoon or granny fork, 2 cookie or baking sheets, 12 cup muffin tin and a round cake pan. Registration includes supper, ingredients and handouts. Rolls will be taken home and can be frozen until Christmas Dinner.


Beef Cattle Institute's Dustin Aherin to attend MIT Sloan Visiting Fellows Program

Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017

aherinMANHATTAN — Dustin Aherin, a doctoral student in pathobiology with the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University, will be a visiting fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in spring 2018.

Aherin, Phillipsburg, was selected from a competitive field of applicants for the MIT Sloan Visiting Fellows Program. As a fellow, Aherin will work under the mentorship of MIT faculty while developing a systems model that can be used by the beef industry from genetic selection through the birth and growth of calves and beyond.

"Systems dynamics is a powerful tool for decision-making and the assessment of the long-run sustainability of operational and industry practices," Aherin said. "This recognition and opportunity is particularly valuable because faculty from MIT were early innovators of systems dynamics and MIT continues to provide influential leaders in the discipline."

Aherin said his model will have the capability of conducting "what if" analysis based on differences in technology implementation, resource allocation, government policy or other potential variables.

"I am excited to be able to explore cutting-edge methodology in systems dynamics at MIT and apply such tools to aid in decision-making and add further understanding to the beef industry complex," Aherin said. "By interacting with some of the leading minds in the discipline of systems dynamics at MIT, I will have the unique opportunity to learn from world-renowned authorities and to expand the expertise available to the Beef Cattle Institute and Kansas State University."

Aherin is co-advised by Bob Larson, professor of production medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Bob Weaber, professor and extension specialist in animal sciences and industry in the College of Agriculture.

"Systems models provide the only way to test many herd- or industry-level decisions that span multiple segments of the beef value chain," Weaber said. "Experiments to conduct such research would easily reach into the tens of millions of dollars per experiment and potentially take decades to complete. Developing an effective model cuts the time and investment to a fraction of the costs."

Larson agrees.

"Systems dynamics models provide tremendous tools for exploring areas of discovery that are important for producers, educators, consumers and regulators interested in optimizing the very complex system that is beef production," he said.

"Providing excellent training for graduate students is one of the focus areas of the Beef Cattle Institute," said Brad White, institute director. "Our team provides cross-disciplinary training providing a well-rounded educational experience, and Dustin's selection into the MIT program underscores the Beef Cattle Institute's emphasis on providing the highest level of education to our students."

MIT's visiting fellows program typically requires one or more university degrees and several years of work experience before students may apply to the program. Visiting fellows who successfully complete their course of study receive a program certificate from MIT Sloan.

Aherin earned an associate's degree in animal sciences from Allen Community College, Iola, in 2012, and followed that with a bachelor's degree in 2014 and master's degree in 2017, both in animal sciences at Kansas State University. 

The mission of the Beef Cattle Institute is to utilize collaborative multidisciplinary expertise to promote successful beef production through the discovery and delivery of actionable information and innovative decision support tools.

PoinsettiaPoinsettia Care

             Modern poinsettia varieties stay attractive for a long time if given proper care. Place your poinsettia in a sunny window or the brightest area of the room, but don't let it touch cold window panes. The day temperature should be 65 to 75 degrees F. with 60 to 65 degrees at night. Temperatures above 75 degrees will shorten bloom life, and below 60 degrees may cause root rot. Move plants away from drafty windows at night or draw drapes between them to avoid damage from the cold.

            Poinsettias are somewhat finicky in regard to soil moisture. Avoid overwatering because poinsettias do not like "wet feet." On the other hand, if the plant is allowed to wilt, it will drop some leaves. So how do you maintain proper moisture? Examine the potting soil daily by sticking your finger about one-half inch deep into the soil. If it is dry to this depth, the plant needs water. When it becomes dry to the touch, water the plant with lukewarm water until some water runs out of the drainage hole, then discard the drainage water. For more information contact your local K-State Research and Extension Office.

Governor signs order allowing larger loads for wildfire relief

 Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed an executive order yesterday (3/9) to facilitate the immediate delivery of large quantities of hay, feed, fencing materials and other relief supplies to areas affected by wildfire. The executive order waives certain motor carrier regulations on trucks hauling livestock feed and fencing. 
     The declaration applies to motor carriers directly participating in relief efforts. It eliminates some weight restrictions on trucks and allows loads of hay up to 12’ wide and 14’ 6” tall. 
     “Even as we continue the fight to contain and defeat these fires, this executive order assists and expedites the arrival of recovery supplies as our communities begin to rebuild in the wake of these wildfires,” said Brownback.


 - Management following a wildfire: Effects on vegetation & soils
 - Health Effects on fire-exposed cattle
 - 2014 Farm Bill Fact Sheet - Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)

Wildfires Tear through Area Counties

Rachael Boyle
Phillips-Rooks District Extension Agent
Agriculture and Natural Resources

Howling winds coupled with warm, dry weather created ideal fire conditions across the region. From the Panhandle of Texas to Southwest Kansas to our own counties, wildfires continue to take their toll on land, livestock, buildings, fence and even human lives. Miles of charred ground leave one feeling anything but hopeful. All may appear lost, but with time and rain, pastures burned by recent fires will come back stronger just like the agricultural community always does after disasters such as this.

Following the fire, think about rangeland management and how you can turn this natural disaster into something beneficial for your operation. Don’t be anxious to begin grazing burned areas too soon.

I know spring turnout is right around the corner, but try to establish a management plan that will defer grazing of these areas until at least mid-July. This will help to improve plant vigor and productivity. Limited acres to graze this season will put extra stress on the pastures that were spared from the flames. Attempt to minimize impact of over-grazing on the unburned areas, but realize your grazing strategy will have to be altered this year.

When you turn cattle out on burned pastures, base the number of cattle on the amount of forage available; don’t just fall back on normal stocking rates. It may take up to two growing seasons before it can be stocked as heavily as it once was.

Broad-leaf plants have the potential to come in strong with spring rains. They provide much-needed ground cover. Avoid the temptation to spray them until the grass has a chance to be re-established.

Disasters occur at the most inconvenient times. Many producers across the area are heavy into calving season. Cows that have been affected by the flames may have incurred burned eyes, feet, udders, sheaths and testicles as well as lung inflammation. Monitor calves to make sure they are still suckling. If a cow has a burned udder, she is likely to keep the calf from nursing.

Effects such as damage to the cattle’s feet may take 10 days to two weeks to be realized. Cattle will start sloughing the hoof wall and become lame after that time frame.

Evaluate all management decisions within the framework of the required rangeland recovery time. Consider weaning early as an option to reduce feed requirements of cows. If you are having to feed low quality forage to get by, be sure to supplement with protein and energy to meet the cows’ nutrient requirements.

Aside from additional feed resources, one large cost of wildfire is the damage to fences. While we dread the task of rebuilding, be aware of opportunities to change fencing layouts or types of fence. Now is the time to structure pastures in a manner that is the most productive for your operation.

For those that lost livestock please contact your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. They can assist you with the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). Visit the following website for more information: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/2016/lip_fact_sheet_2016.pdf

To help with expenses, such as fencing supplies and feed, the Kansas Livestock Association is taking donations. The donated supplies will be distributed across the state to the counties that have been affected by the fires. To donate to this cause, call the KLA Office at (785) 273-5115 or visit www.kla.org. If you are willing to make a cash donation, visit the Kansas Livestock Foundation website at www.kla.org/donationform.aspx. For further information please contact the local K-State Research & Extension Office.

Article written by: Kashly Schweer, Midway District Livestock Specialist