Feature Stories and Announcements
A number of graduate students from the Department of Agronomy received accolades for their presentations at the ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meetings held in Cincinnati, OH October 21-24, 2012:
Pavithra Pitumpe Arachchige received Third Place in the S2 – Soil Chemistry Student Oral competition for her paper, “Chemistry and Mineralogy of Soil Aggregates in Soils From Temperate Continuous Corn System: Effects of Different Management Practices,” co-authored by Dorothy M. Menefee, Ganga Hettiarachchi, Leila Maurmann, Charles Rice, and Allison Edgerley
Nathan Keep won Second Place in the C2 – Crop Physiology and Metabolism Graduate Student Oral Paper Competition for his paper, “Characterization of Physiological Parameters in Soybean with Genetic Improvement in Seed Yield,” co-authored by William Schapaugh, P.V. Vara Prasad, and John E. Boyer.
Kim Larson received First Place in the C3 Crop Ecology, Management, and Quality Graduate Student Poster Competition for her paper, “Soybean Inoculant and Seed Treatment Interactions,” co-authored by Charles Rice and Kraig Roozeboom.
George Paul won the Best Paper Award presented by the Remote Sensing of Evapotranspiration Community of the ASA Climatology and Modeling Section in its Symposium -- Evapotranspiration: Monitoring, Modeling and Mapping At Point, Field, and Regional Scales: I. His paper was titled “Testing of Two Source Energy Balance Model Under Irrigated and Dryland Conditions Using High Resolution Airborne Imagery” and was co-authored by Prasanna Gowda, P.V. Vara Prasad, Terry A. Howell, Scott A. Staggenborg, Paul Colaizzi, Stacy L. Hutchinson, and Robert Aiken.
Aaron Widmar won Third Place in the S08 – Nutrient Management & Soil & Plant Analysis Graduate Student Poster Competition for his paper, “Evaluation of Soil-Applied and Foliar Fertilization for Double Crop Soybean After Wheat,” co-authored by Dorivar Ruiz Diaz.
Presenters were judged based on the quality of presentation, originality of the work, soundness of scientific approach, interpretation of the experimental results, and the contribution of research to their respective fields of study.
Released: April, 2012
K-State Students Help Researchers Study Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs for Producers
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Recovering from a heart attack is never easy, but it can be especially difficult for those in physically demanding occupations, such as farming and ranching. For three days in March, about 30 K-State agronomy students, staff, and a member of the Manhattan community participated in a study that may help make this process easier and safer.
The study was conducted by Jenny Adams from the Baylor Research Institute of Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital and Shannon Jordan from Texas Woman’s University Department of Kinesiology. They came to K-State March 12-14 to measure oxygen consumption, heart rates and other physical factors of student volunteers as they did some routine farm chores.
The purpose of the study was to gather data on the physical demands of specific tasks so that medical professionals can have better information to guide the recovery of agricultural producers who are recovering from a cardiac problem event.
The question for both cardiac patients and their medical care providers is: What kind of strenuous activities around the farm are appropriate for producers recovering from a cardiac problem, and at what point in the recovery process are they appropriate?
“The main goal of this research is to publish recommended guidelines regarding heart rates and workloads reached while performing typical farming tasks. These guidelines will be used by professionals in cardiac rehabilitation,” Adams said.
This information could help a producer appropriately train at higher intensities in cardiac rehab to find out if he or she can safely return to work.
In this study, which was conducted at K-State’s Agronomy North Farm, students were asked to perform the following tasks:
- Shovel 100 pounds of seed/feed into a wheelbarrow
- Load 10 square bales of hay weighing 65 pounds each into the bed of a truck
- Load two 50-pound bags of seed into each of eight hopper boxes
- Dig holes with a post hole digger for 3 minutes
While performing these tasks, the students were asked to wear a portable oxygen consumption mask strapped to their bodies. This allowed the research team to discover the physiological difficulty of standard farming work tasks. The heart rate of the students was also measured as they performed the tasks.
Students involved in the study were not compensated. Their hope is that the information collected will benefit future farmers who have heart-related illness return to work and be physically able to perform the tasks required of a farmer, Adams said.
Steve Watson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Adams is at 214-820-1395 or jennya@BaylorHealth.edu
Photo 1. Levi Larkins, K-State agronomy student from Belvue, scoops grain as Shannon Jordan, Texas Woman’s University, takes notes for a cardiac research project conducted at the K-State North Agronomy Farm. Photo by Marsha Landis, K-State Research and Extension.
Photo 2. Nick Gloshen, K-State agronomy student from Ottawa, lifts a hale bale into a truck as part of a cardiac research project at the K-State North Agronomy Farm, coordinated by Baylor Research Institute and Texas Woman’s University. Photo by Marsha Landis, K-State Research and Extension
Photo 3. Nick Gloshen, K-State agronomy student from Ottawa, is fitted with a portable oxygen consumption mask by Rebecca Rogers from Texas Woman’s University while Jenny Adams, Baylor Research Institute observes. Gloshen was participating in a cardiac research project at the K-State North Agronomy Farm, coordinated by Baylor Research Institute and Texas Woman’s University. Photo by Marsha Landis, K-State Research and Extension
Photo 4. Katelyn Barthol, K-State agribusiness student from Wellsville, lifts a hale bale into a truck as part of a cardiac research project at the K-State North Agronomy Farm, coordinated by Baylor Research Institute and Texas Woman’s University. Photo by Marsha Landis, K-State Research and Extension
Research and the State Winners
Agronomy graduate student Miguel Arango was among 10 graduate students selected to represent Kansas State University at the Capitol Graduate Research Summit in Topeka in February. In addition, agronomy graduate student Philip Defoe was selected as one of the two alternates for the statewide event. A total of 30 K-State graduate students competed to represent K-State at the Capitol Graduate Research Summit.
The title of Miguel Arango’s poster at the competition was: “N2O-N Emissions and the Relationship with Denitrifying Enzyme Activity in Corn Under Different Management Strategies.” This research examined nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas) emissions under different tillage systems and nitrogen sources, and Denitrifying Enzyme Activity (DEA) under no-tillage systems. He is working under the direction of Chuck Rice, university distinguished professor of agronomy.
The title of Philip Defoe’s poster was: “Gardening on Arsenic- and Lead-Contaminated Brownfields: Is It Safe?” This research examined plant uptake of arsenic and lead by three different vegetable crops at a Brownfields site in Tacoma, Washington, along with the effectiveness of soil amendments on reducing plant availability and bioaccessibility of these contaminants. He is working under the direction of Ganga Hettiarachchi, assistant professor of soil and environmental chemistry.
Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan Team Receives Award
Kansas Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan Team Receives KSRE Team Award for improving "understanding of sources, fate and transport of air emissions from agricultural burning". The team utilized the KSRE network of local and state staff to improve health of Kansas citizens by promoting adoption of techniques for managing smoke from prescribed burning of grasslands in the Flint Hills. They also worked cooperatively with state, federal, and local community and county staff in outreach efforts to reach the correct target audiences.
Team members include the following: Ben Allen, Eric Atkinson, Carol Blocksome, Kris Boone, Glenn Brunkow, Bruce Chaladny, Mike Collinge, Gary Cramer, Jeff Davidson, Dan Devlin, Gamage, Dissanayake, Richard Fechter, Walt Fick, Doug Goodin, Steven Graham, Tom Gross, Jason Hartman, William Herndon, Mike Holder, David Kehler, Marsha Landis, Laura Marks, Karaline Mayer, Greg McClure, Pat Melgares, Rick Miller, Rhett Mohler, Jeffery Morris, Pat Murphy, Chuck Otte, Clenton Owensby, Brian Rees, Rickey Roberts, Arthur Selman, Sethuraman Subramanian, Doug Watson, Jill Zimmerman.<< Return to Top
Agronomy Safety Committee Receives Award
Each year, K-State Research and Extension and the College of Agriculture recognize unit safety committees for outstanding efforts to prevent injuries among students, employees, and program participants. This year, KSRE/COA recognized the Agronomy Safety Committee for their work to prevent injuries and illnesses on the Agronomy research and teaching farms throughout Kansas. By reducing exposures to farm chemicals, machinery, and other hazards, the Department of Agronomy has created a safer and more healthful environment for everyone who visits, studies, and works at the farms. The Agronomy Safety Committee includes Fred Caldwell and Vernon Schaffer, Co-Chairs; Bill Heer, Russell Dille, Keith Janssen, Marsha Landis, Mark Leuthold, Cathy Minihan, Steve Kramer, Vara Prasad and Ganga Hettiarachchi. Mitch Ricketts - Health, Safety & Environmental Quality Coordinator, K-State Research & Extension (photographed on right).<< Return to Top
K-State Weeds Team Has Success In First National Weed Science Contest
The K-State Weeds Team successfully competed in the WeedOlympics, the first-ever national Weed Science student contest conducted at Knoxville, Tennessee in late July.
The K-State team placed second overall in the graduate division of the Western region. K-State graduate students participating in the contest included J.D. Riffel, Josh Putman, and Jessica Zimmerman. J.D. Riffel achieved the highest graduate individual score from the Western region.
The contest included teams of graduate and undergraduate students from across the United States and Canada. Events consisted of weed identification, sprayer calibration, identification of unknown herbicides, and field problem solving. The team was coached by Anita Dille, weed ecologist, and Dallas Peterson, Research and Extension weed management specialist.
The WeedOlympics is a national weed science contest among student members of the North Central Weed Science Society, Northeastern Weed Science Society, Southern Weed Science Society, and the Western Society of Weed Science. This is the first time students from all regional societies competed in a national contest against one another.<< Return to Top
Sorghum Research Yields Many Economic Benefits to Producers
Kansas Grain sorghum producers have benefitted greatly from research conducted by the Great Plains Sorghum Improvement and Utilization Center (GPSIUC), said Scott Staggenborg, professor of agronomy at Kansas State University and co-director of the center along with Vara Prasad, associate professor of agronomy at K-State.
One of the biggest benefits of this research will shortly reach producers throughout the Great Plains – and none too soon, he said. The GPSIUC funded research that led to the development of two new types of herbicide-tolerant sorghum, the first such advancement in grain sorghum.
“Producers have traditionally had fewer herbicide options for grain sorghum than with other summer crops, such as corn and soybeans. This has put sorghum at a disadvantage at times, even in areas in which sorghum is actually better adapted than those other crops,” Staggenborg says. “As a result, sorghum acreage has been gradually declining when it should be increasing as a means of minimizing economic risks in drier regions of the country.”
This will start to change when new hybrids come onto the market with genes for tolerance to acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibiting herbicides and acetyl-Co-A carboxylase (ACC)-inhibiting grass herbicides. Private industry is rapidly integrating this technology into their seed offerings, Staggenborg said.
The Center has also funded market development research to expand the use of sorghum for gluten-free human food products and for the growing biofuels industry, Staggenborg said. Researchers have also been working on ways to increase the demand for grain sorghum internationally, especially in Mexico and Spain, which have become large importers of sorghum, Staggenborg said. These new markets should help increase the demand for sorghum, he added.
Increasing the efficiency of nitrogen fertilizer has been another significant benefit of research funded by the GPSIUC, the K-State agronomist said.
“Since grain sorghum is often grown in arid climates where the yield potential is extremely variable, depending on in-season rainfall, producers can end up putting on more nitrogen than necessary if they put it all on prior to planting the crop. The Center has funded research into the use of optical nitrogen-sensor technology that allows farmers to wait until later in the season, after yield potential is more apparent, to apply part of their nitrogen for the sorghum crop,” Staggenborg said. “This increases nitrogen use efficiency.”
According to Prasad, some of the other research funded by the GPSIUC that has been important to sorghum producers includes:
- Development of new genetic sources of drought tolerance, heat and cold tolerance and to improve yield potential for both grain and biomass.
- Population and row spacing research has found that narrower rows provide opportunity to capture greater yields at higher populations in favorable environments by forming more heads per plant and slightly larger heads. Later planting dates are more responsive to increasing plant populations. Later maturing hybrids yielded more than early maturing hybrids with early planting dates, but the opposite was true with later planting dates.
- Studies indicated that waxy sorghums for ethanol production are low energy input for cooking process, high starch and protein digestibility, high free amino nitrogen content, and short fermentation time and make better a feedstock for biofuel production.
- Photoperiod sensitive (tropical) sorghum produce greater biomass more efficiently with low inputs and management costs compared to corn. Similarly, sweet sorghums also produce high ethanol yields and have the advantage that the juice can be fermented rapidly and at low cost.
The GPSIUC is a multidisciplinary collaboration among Kansas State University, Texas Tech University and Texas A & M University. The $2.5 million in funding received to date has been leveraged into $11 million in additional research grants.
The research funded by the GPSIUC is unique and essential to the economic viability of grain sorghum and the producers who depend on this crop for a dependable source of income, Prasad said.
“Despite the importance of grain sorghum for farmers in drought-prone environments and the many new opportunities for sorghum utilization in the bioenergy, bioproducts and food industries, particularly gluten-free foods, relatively little in the way of public or private resources are being invested in research on sorghum” Prasad said.
“That’s why the research funded by the Center is so important,” he added.
The trend towards less research and technology transfer efforts on sorghum threatens the economic stability of sorghum producers and fails to capitalize on the unique opportunities afforded by this crop, he concluded.<< Return to Top
Agronomy Faculty Teach 4-H Kids About Plants at Discovery Days
Kansas 4-H Discovery Days 2011 was held on the K-State campus in Manhattan from May 31 through June 3. This 4-H event is open to all youth 13 to 18 years old by January 1 of the current year.
This year, three agronomy faculty participated: Anita Dille, weed ecologist; Kevin Donnelly, crops agronomist; and Walt Fick, rangeland and pasture management specialist.
* Dille’s session was titled “Crops and Weeds” with a goal of getting the 4-Hers to think about why some plants are crops and some are weeds. She also explained how to identify common plants and what to look for on a plant to help identify it. Together with Kevin Donnelly and graduate student J.D. Riffel, the agronomists reviewed about 25 different plants with the students. Another activity was a “grain art” project for the kids to take home with them.
Many of the 4-Hers were very interested in the machinery that is used for research activities, Dille said. Riffel discussed and showed them the no-till planter and variable-rate nitrogen applicator that was parked outside the shed.
The 4-Hers wanted talk about careers in agronomy, and what courses they might need to take while in high school to be prepared for attending K-State and majoring in agronomy. It was great to hear that some of the kids were planning to start this fall in Agronomy!
In this session, the kids asked about what they should look for to know a plant belongs to a certain plant family (e.g. milkweeds). They also asked about how to get a soil fertilizer
prescription map and use it to do variable rate applications.
“We had a very engaged group of 4Hers along with their guides, asking lots of questions and participating,” Dille said. “It is always challenging to explain what to look for on a plant to identify what it is, and to do that effectively with different age groups is valuable for me. Sharing my excitement and interest in the subject will hopefully excite others.”
* Donnelly conducted the State Crops 4-H Contest Workshop. He went over the identification of all of the plants and seeds that the 4-H participants need to know for the state contest.
The kids were especially interested in learning to tell the differences between different classes of wheat, Donnelly said.
The kids were very curious, and asked several questions, such as:
What makes a weed a “noxious weed”?
How do you kill various specific weeds (bindweed, musk thistle)?
What is this crop used/grown for (various crops)?
“I always enjoy teaching students about plant and seed identification, so this experience is valuable to me,” Donnelly said. “It is also an opportunity to talk to young people about career opportunities in crop and soil science.”
* Fick taught a session titled “Plants of the Prairie.” In this session, Fick said the 4-Hers learned that:
- Grasslands occur throughout Kansas, and include the tallgrass, mixed grass, and short grass prairies.
- There are many plant species on the prairie other than grasses, including forbs, legumes, shrubs, and trees.
- Little bluestem is the state grass of Kansas.
The kids were especially fascinated to find that the leaves on catclaw sensitivebriar curl up when touched, he said. “They were also interested to learn that many of the forbs still present on the prairies today were used by Native Americans for food or medicinal purposes. They frequently asked about the names of the different plants they found on the prairie,” Fick said.
It was a good experience for all involved, Fick said. “Because it had rained, we got our feet wet, but everyone enjoyed the walk on the prairie,” he said.<< Return to Top
K-State Crops Team Wins Third Straight National Title
The K-State Crops Team (left to right): Kevin Donnelly (Coach), Scott Henry,
Jason Unruh, Jake Wyrill, Kelly Yunghans, Levi Larkins, Chad Huffman.
The Kansas State University Crops Team took first place in the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) national crops contest held April 15 at Modesto Junior College in Modesto, CA. A total of 16 teams competed, nine in the four-year division and seven in the two-year division. The K-State team also took home four of the top five individual placings. This is the third straight title in this contest for the K-State Crops Team, and the tenth in the past 13 years.
The contest consists of four components: laboratory practical, agronomic exam, math practical, and plant and seed identification. The K-State team placed first in the laboratory, math and identification components, and second in the exam.
In the laboratory practical, competitors identify insects, diseases, crop products, plant parts and equipment, plus determine crop growth stages, interpret pesticide labels or seed tags, evaluate crop production problems, and describe soil properties. The agronomic exam evaluated knowledge of crop production and management, crop physiology and breeding, soil properties, soil fertility, tillage, crop harvesting and storage, weeds, insects and diseases. The math practical includes equipment calibration and other various other agronomic calculations. Seed and plant identification requires contestants to learn over 250 plant and seed samples.
Students competing on the K-State team and their top individual placings were: Chad Huffman, senior, Cunningham, first place overall, first in math, and third in identification; Scott Henry, junior, Goff, second overall, third in lab practical, and fifth in lab practical and exam; Jason Unruh, senior, Peabody, third overall, first in agronomic exam and lab practical and fifth in identification; Levi Larkins, junior, Belvue, fifth overall, second in identification, fourth in lab practical, and fifth in math; and Kelly Yunghans, senior, Leavenworth, seventh overall and fifth in identification and math. Jake Wyrill, junior, Kirwin, was the alternate. Kevin Donnelly, professor of agronomy, served as coach for the team.
Iowa State University was the second place team followed by the University of Illinois. In the two year division, Hutchinson Community College was first and Cloud County Community College placed second.<< Return to Top
Department of Agronomy Hosts Soybean Growing Contest For Kansas K-12 Students
A record number of K-12 students throughout Kansas tried their best this spring to grow the biggest potted soybean plant they could. Their goal: To win this year’s “Willie and the Beanstalk” contest and receive a plaque they can display.
This contest is organized by K-State’s Department of Agronomy, with final judging at the University Open House on April 18, said Nathan Nelson, assistant professor of soil fertility and coordinator for the contest. A total of 451 students entered this year’s contest, the 4th annual, compared to 358 entries in 2010.
The contest is a way for all participating primary and secondary school students in Kansas to learn about plant growth and gain familiarity with K-State, Nelson said. The experience is valuable for all, including the Agronomy undergraduate students in the Wheat State Agronomy Club who help judge the contest.
“Students entering the contest have 40 days to try to grow the largest soybean plant they can in a pot, with the largest leaf area, most plant biomass, and darkest green color. The students have to select the variety they think will win, then document the growing environment of the plant. This forces them to pay attention to the details of plant growth,” he said.
In the grades 9-12 division this year, the winning team was “Jelly Beans” from Clay Center High School. Members of the winning team were Jezarae Knitter, Austin Ebert and Dalton Haist, with Jay Bohnenblust as adviser.
The second-place team in the 9-12 division was Ellinwood FFA #1. Members of this team were Kristi Dewerff, Jamie Christiansen and Victoria Siefers, with Kent Blakeslee as adviser.
The third place team in the 9-12 division was Blue Valley FFA from Randolph. Members of this team were Jon Nelson, Zach Rootring and Bill Sumerour, with Tim Kilgore as adviser.
In the grades K-8 division this year, the winning team was Blue Valley FFA from Randolph. Members of the winning team were Dalton Hansen, Jonny Campbell and Tanner Willis, with Tim Kilgore as adviser.
The second-place team in the K-8 division was “Green Seals” from Minneapolis Grade School. Members of this team were Cooper Berry, Chance Korinek and Keircey Sanchez, with Janna Crosson as adviser.
The third place team in the K-8 division was “Live Wire 4-H Club” from Canton. This team featured Isom Marston, with Thea Marston as adviser.
Those interested in entering next year’s contest may want to examine this year’s contest forms and rules at: http://beanstalk.agronomy.ksu.edu.
Sponsors of the 2011 Willie and the Beanstalk contest included the Kansas Soybean Commission and Kansas Foundation for Ag in the Classroom.<< Return to Top
Custom-Built Variable-Rate Fertilizer Applicator Will Benefit Agronomy Researchers
One of the most promising new aspects of precision agriculture is the ability to make variable-rate fertilizer applications. K-State agronomists have been doing research on this using off-site equipment, but could do much more with a variable rate (VRT) fertilizer applicator of their own.
Soon the Agronomy researchers will have such a piece of equipment, custom built by Jarrett Riffel, graduate student in Agronomy.
“This equipment is designed to do research on variable-rate nitrogen applications, using different N rate prescriptions based on EC maps, grid sampling, yield maps and other factors,” Riffel said. “Right now I’m using coulters and injector tips to place the N in the ground on 15-inch centers. It could be adapted in the future to use spray nozzles for surface applications if the researchers wanted to do a placement method study, too.”
Riffel has pieced together the VRT equipment from various sources, starting with a heavy steel tubing frame. It is 15 feet wide, which is a good size for plot work.
The custom equipment isn’t quite finished yet, but Riffel said it should work well. He should know, since he built a similar piece of equipment for use on his family’s farm in Rooks County. That VRT equipment used anhydrous ammonia, and the one he’s building for the Agronomy Department will use liquid N, but otherwise the basic concept is similar.
“Making everything fit together is the biggest challenge in building a custom VRT applicator, but I’m pretty confident it’s going to work,” he said.
The research that will be possible using Riffel’s equipment will benefit producers in Kansas for many years to come.<< Return to Top
Agronomy Grad Student to Speak at Western Farm Show
K-State agronomists help answer producer questions in many different forums every week. Coming up on Feb. 26 and 27, Lucas Haag (shown at right speaking to a group of farmers in western Kansas), graduate research assistant and former assistant scientist at the Southwest Research-Extension Center at Tribune, will be giving two talks at the 2011 Western Farm Show in Kansas City.
One talk will be an entry-level discussion of precision agriculture technologies on the market, potential paybacks, and how producers should proceed in the technology adoption process.
The other talk will be an in-depth presentation on potential uses for yield data, how to conduct on-farm research trials, and some thoughts about what’s coming in the future.
Producers and others are welcome to attend. For more information, see: http://www.westernfarmshow.com/<< Return to Top
United Sorghum Checkoff Program and Plant Management Network Develop Three Training Webcasts for Sorghum Producers
Through collaboration with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, the Plant Management Network has developed a series of three on-demand webcasts to help current and potential sorghum growers manage their crops more profitably.
"Herbicide Tolerant Sorghum, Development and Management Considerations" by Curtis Thompson, Professor of Agronomy at Kansas State University, introduces growers, consultants, and others involved in sorghum production to the new herbicide resistant technologies for control of grass weeds post-emergence. The presentation also covers stewardship principles to preserve the technology and suggestions to optimize weed control.
Link to Presentation
"Sorghum and Corn: Crop Management in Stress-prone Environments" by Scott Staggenborg, Professor of Crop Systems at Kansas State University, compares the profitability of corn versus sorghum production, particularly in drought-prone environments. Staggenborg used crop performance test data from Kansas and Nebraska over the course of 13 years to evaluate corn and sorghum yields in over 200 environments. Production budgets and sorghum:corn price ratios are used to determine scenarios where grain sorghum is more profitable to grow than corn. Link to Presentation
"No-Till Grain Sorghum Production" by Rick Kochenower, Extension Agronomist at Oklahoma State University, helps viewers in the Southern Great Plains understand how to grow grain sorghum in a no-till system. The basics of no-till planting and fertility recommendations are discussed. Kochenower presents research that shows increased yields and test weights due to no-till. Other research presented suggests that increasing cropping intensity reduces evaporative water loss when compared to the traditional continuous wheat. Link to Presentation
<< Return to Top
View these and other presentations in the Plant Management Network Education Center
The PMN Education Center is a resource of the Plant Management Network (www.plantmanagementnetwork.org), a nonprofit online publisher whose mission is to enhance the health, management, and production of agricultural and horticultural crops. PMN achieves this mission through its applied, science-based resources. PMN is jointly managed by the American Society of Agronomy, American Phytopathological Society, and Crop Science Society of America.
To make sure you get the maximum benefit of the Plant Management Network's full line of resources, please sign up for their free PMN Update online newsletter through the following (bit.ly) shortlink: http://bit.ly/1zUMZz.
Custom Equipment Modifications for Agronomy Research
During the winter months, the staff at K-State’s North Agronomy Farm often work on making custom modifications and improvements to the equipment used by researchers. This winter, Mark Leuthold, equipment mechanic at the Agronomy Farm, and Vernon Schaffer, Agronomy Farm manager, have been working on modifying the silage cutter used in biofuel crops research.
Biofuel crops tend to get very tall. It is a time-consuming process to cut the plots with a silage cutter, collect the crop from the field, take it in to a shed, then weigh and analyze it. Leuthold is making the process easier by building a weighing system that is directly attached to the silage cutter. That way, Scott Staggenborg, cropping systems agronomist, and his students can weigh the biomass as soon as it’s cut in the field, dump it on the ground, and go on to the next plot. Samples of each plot are also taken for further analysis in the lab.
Leuthold and Schaffer designed the modification to this equipment. “We’ve seen other attempts to do something like this, and Mark made some changes to make it work better for us,” Schaffer said. “It’s a pretty large addition to the silage cutter because of the nature of the biomass crops they are harvesting. It has a scale, a large basket, and a mechanism for dumping it in the field.”
The modification is currently still in the fabrication stage, but will be ready for the 2011 harvesting season.<< Return to Top
K-State Agronomy Professor Selected as a Top Scientist in Kansas
Charles W. Rice, university distinguished professor of soil microbiology at K-State, has been selected as one of the Top 150 scientists in Kansas. This selection is part of the "Science in Kansas: 150 Years and Counting" project of the Ad Astra Kansas Initiative, which will help celebrate the Kansas Sesquicentennial. This project highlights scientists of accomplishment with the goal of inspiring young Kansans.
Rice was a member of the 2007 Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and performs research in areas involving agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation and soil carbon sequestration. He also is one of five team leaders for a $20 million Kansas NSF EPSCoR project researching the impact of varying climate on terrestrial ecosystems and renewable energy research. Rice will lead the group that will use climate modeling tactics to predict the effects of different climate scenarios and develop strategies for adaptation and mitigation to possible changes in climate.
Rice’s research has also been supported by more than $15 million in grants from the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Energy, National Science Foundation and others. He is director of the Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases. He has advised more than 30 graduate students and has more than 100 publications.
In addition to his involvement in research and teaching in soil microbiology at K-State, Rice has been active with the Soil Science Society of America, where he currently serves as president. He also serves on the National Academies Board on Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Air Quality Task Force.
Rice earned his bachelor’s from Northern Illinois University and his doctorate from the University of Kentucky. He joined the K-State faculty in 1988, was promoted to associate professor in 1993 and to professor in 1998. He was named a university distinguished professor in 2009.
The Ad Astra Kansas Initiative is an organization based in Hutchinson whose mission is to promote the accomplishments of Kansas in science, space and the cosmos.
For more information on the Ad Astra Kansas Initiative’s “Science in Kansas: 150 Years and Counting” project, including an educational series of trading cards featuring each scientist selected, see: http://www.adastra-ks.org.
K-State Agronomy Research highlighted in Naturejobs
Scott Staggenborg, professor of Agronomy, talks about the exciting research potential of bioenergy at K-State in the December 9, 2010 issue of Naturejobs, a job recruitment section in the prestigious international journal Nature. The article highlights the groundbreaking research environment and job opportunities in bioenergy, biotechnology, and grain and animal health at Kansas State University and throughout Kansas.
The Department of Agronomy is at the cutting edge of this exciting world of research and employment opportunities, with special emphasis program areas such as the following:
- Sustainable Bioenergy
- Agricultural Biotechnology
- Environmental Quality
Agronomy Graduate Study
- Graduate Program
- Agronomy Graduate Club
Agronomy Employment Opportunities
- Post-doctoral Research Associates
- Assistant Scientist/Extension Assistants
- Student Hourly
- Graduate Research Assistance
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K-State Crops Team Claims National Championship
The Kansas State University Crops Team has captured the title of national champion for the second year in a row. K-State has now won the national crops championship in nine of the past twelve years.
The team won both the Kansas City Board of Trade and Chicago CME Group Collegiate Crops contests to secure the 2010 national championship. K-State’s team placed first at Kansas City as well as Chicago in the plant and seed identification and grain grading components of the contest. They were second in Chicago and third in Kansas City in the seed analysis component. The Kansas City and Chicago contests took place on November 16 and 20, respectively.
In these contests, participants are required to identify 200 different plant or seed samples of crops and weeds; grade eight different samples of grain according to Federal Grain Inspection Service standards; and analyze ten seed samples to determine whether they contain impurities, and if so, what contaminants exist.
Students competing at both national contests included Jason Unruh, senior, Peabody; Ben Meyer, junior, Linn; and Nathan Stensaas, senior, Concordia. Also competing as alternates in Kansas City were Scott Henry, junior, Goff; Levi Larkins, junior, Belvue; Jessica Zimmerman, sophomore, Alta Vista; and Lauren Lang, junior, Overbrook. All are agronomy majors at K-State.
Jason Unruh was the high individual overall in Chicago, where he placed first in both plant and seed identification and grain grading and fourth is seed analysis. He made a perfect score in grain grading. At Kansas City, he was the third high individual overall, third in plant and seed identification, fourth in grain grading, and sixth in seed analysis.
Ben Meyer was the second high individual overall in both contests. At Chicago he placed first in seed analysis, second in plant and seed identification, and fifth in grain grading. At Kansas City, he was first in grain grading, second in plant and seed identification, and fourth in seed analysis.
Nathan Stensaas was the fifth place individual overall in Chicago and sixth in Kansas City. At Chicago, he was second in grain grading and third in plant and seed identification. He placed second in grain grading and sixth in plant and seed identification at Kansas City.
The team was coached by Kevin Donnelly, K-State professor of agronomy. Kelly Yunghans, senior in agronomy from Leavenworth, was the assistant coach.
For its performance, K-State received a team scholarship award from contest sponsors at Kansas City, and CME Group provided major scholarships to the individual student winners at Chicago.
Sponsors for the K-State Crops Team include the Kansas Seed Industry Association, Kansas Crop Improvement Association, Department of Agronomy, and the K-State Student Government Association. Sponsors for the two national contests are the Kansas City Board of Trade, CME Group/Chicago Board of Trade, CHS Foundation, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Growmark Cooperative, Society of Commercial Seed Technologists, Association of Official Seed Analysts, South Dakota Crop Improvement Association, The American Royal, and Pioneer Hi-Bred International.<< Return to Top
K-State Soil Judging Team Qualifies for Nationals
K-State’s 2010 Soil Judging Team took a big step during the week of Sept. 27-Oct. 1 by placing second overall in the 2011 Regional Soil Judging Contest. This qualifies the team to compete in the National Soil Judging Contest, hosted by Oregon State University during the spring semester 2011. The K-State team placed first in group judging. Tim Foster was 7th overall.
Members of the 2010 K-State Soil Judging Team include: Michelle Busch, freshman in Agronomy, Shawnee; Tim Foster, junior in Agronomy, Middlebury, VT; Natalie Humerickhouse, senior in Agronomy, Williamsburg; Kim Kerschen, junior in Agronomy, Garden Plain; Heath Kinser, senior in Agricultural Technology Management, Hugoton; Matti Kuykendall, junior in Agronomy, Osage City; Dorothy Menefee, sophomore in Agronomy, Spring Hill; Kerri Neugebauer, senior in Agronomy, Grand View, MO; and Stuart Watts, senior in Agronomy, Manhattan. The team is coached by Mickey Ransom, professor of Agronomy; Angela Tran, graduate student in Agronomy, Prairie Village; and Kelsey McGie, senior in Milling and Baking Science, Iola.<< Return to Top
Agronomy Professors Receive National Honors
Three faculty in Agronomy received national honors from their professional associations in September 2010.
M. B. Kirkham received the Crop Science Research Award from the Crop Science Society of America. Kirkham’s work focuses on the uptake of heavy metals by crops and the physiology of drought resistance. Kirkham is on the editorial board of several journals, including Crop Science, Soil Science, and Agricultural Water Management.
The principal criteria for choosing the Crop Science Research Award recipient include: significance and originality of basic and applied research contributions in crop science; excellence in creative reasoning and skill in obtaining significant data; and total impact of contributions on crop science and other fields, nationally and internationally.
Gerard Kluitenberg received the Don and Betty Kirkham Soil Physics Award from the Soil Science Society of America. His primary research focus is the development of thermal sensors for measuring soil physical properties and quantifying water flow in soils. Kluitenberg served as Chair of Division S-1 and as associate editor for the Soil Science Society of America Journal.
The Don and Betty Kirkham Soil Physics Award is designed to recognize a mid-career soil scientist who has made outstanding contributions in the areas of soil physics. This award is supported by the Lena and Maria van der Ploeg Fund and the Don and Betty Kirkham Fund. Both of these funds have been established in the Agronomic Science Foundation and administered by the Soil Science Society of America.
Jianming Yu received the Early Career Professional Award and Young Crop Scientist Award from the Crop Science Society of America. Yu’s work focuses on developing methods of cutting-edge genetic and genomic tools for complex trait dissection and plant breeding. He has served as associate editor of the journals Crop Science and Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Besides general methodology work, Yu’s program has a focus on sorghum genetics and genomics. He is a member of the K-State Center for Sorghum Improvement and the K-State Sorghum Translational Genomics Program.
The Early Career Professional Award recognizes early career members who have made an outstanding contribution in agronomy, crop science or soil science within seven years of completing their final degree. The Young Crop Scientist Award recognizes a scientist who has made an outstanding contribution in any area of crop science by the age of 37. Such factors as teaching ability, effectiveness in extension and service activities, significance and originality of basic and applied research, and effectiveness in administrative areas are considered.
Kirkham, Kluitenberg, and Yu will be recognized during CSSA/SSSA’s annual awards ceremony this November in Long Beach, CA.
Three Professors Named Fellows of Professional Associations
Three professors in Agronomy were named Fellows of their professional associations in September 2010.
Dan Devlin and Guihua Bai have been named Fellows by the 8,000-member American Society of Agronomy (ASA). The award is given to less than 1 percent of the Society’s active and retired members each year. It recognizes professionals across the U.S. for their professional achievements and meritorious service.
Devlin is a professor and K-State Research and Extension Environmental Quality specialist. His expertise is in nutrient and pesticide management, and watershed planning. Devlin recently was editor of the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.
Bai is a research plant geneticist for the USDA and an adjunct professor in the department. His research focuses mainly on hard winter wheat molecular breeding and wheat resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. He also serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, and is a guest professor at six universities.
Jim Shroyer, professor and Extension State Leader, has been named to the 2010 class of 6,000-member Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) Fellows. Only 0.3 percent of the Society’s active and emeritus members may be elected Fellow.
Shroyer is known in Kansas as “the wheat guy” for his years of service to and work in the wheat industry. His Extension and research effort focuses on wheat and alfalfa production and management, as well as teaching a course in crop science. Shroyer is also a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and served as associate editor for Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.
He is the originator and driving force behind the Kids Field Day at the K-State Agronomy Farm – a day every fall when fourth graders come from area schools to learn about crops, soils, and other agriculture-related sciences. The agronomy professor also launched a web-based resource at http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/wheatpage/ which includes Adopt-a-Wheat-Field. The site allows the reader to view a wheat field from planting to maturity through harvest to final product (such as bread) stage, with explanations about how such factors as weather, insects, and disease affect the wheat field through the year.
All three K-State professors will be recognized during ASA/CSSA’s annual awards ceremony this November in Long Beach, CA.<< Return to Top
Wheat State Agronomy Club Ice Cream Social
On Sunday the 22nd of August the Wheat State Agronomy Club hosted a Welcome back ice cream social. There were about 30 undergraduates and faculty members present! This ice cream social facilitates the opportunity for new students in the department of agronomy to meet older students and begin to form a relationship. It also gave students a chance to catch up with friends they hadn't seen all summer, and the opportunity to meet some of the faculty in the Department of Agronomy. The officer/advisor team of the WSAC was announced along with an invitation to the club's first meeting on Tuesday August 24th.<< Return to Top
New Sorghum Technology Developed at K-State Introduced to Growers
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On July 13, 2010, a new sorghum technology by DuPont, KSU, and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program was introduced to growers and others introducing Inzen sorghum technologies. This technology allows the use of DuPont’s ALS grass herbicide Zeal on Inzen Z sorghums and Assure II on Inzen A II sorghums. Both technologies provided over the top post emergence weed control in the specific herbicide tolerant sorghums. This technology was initially developed at Kansas State University and has been turned over to DuPont and several sorghum breeding companies for development. The earliest this technology would be available to sorghum growers would in spring of 2012. Contact Curtis Thompson, KSU Extension Sorghum Weed Control Specialist, if you have questions.<< Return to Top
Employees Honored for 20 Years of State of Kansas Service
The Department of Agronomy recently honored Troy Lynn Eckhart and Fred Caldwell, recognizing them for twenty years of service with the State of Kansas. Both honorees were given 20 Year Pins at the celebration. Troy Lynn Eckhart provides administrative support for the Extension Agronomy programs, and Fred Caldwell is the Agronomy Safety Coordinator and provides technical support for the State Weather Station. Both have been employed by the Agronomy Department since 1990.<< Return to Top
Agronomy Department Hosts KARA Field Day
The Department of Agronomy held its annual Kansas State University/KARA Summer Field Day at the Agronomy North Farm July 14-15, 2010. There were 12 Agronomy faculty members serving as instructors at the training school this year. More than 100 members of the Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association attended this year’s school, gaining CCA and pesticide applicator credits.
Topics at this year’s Summer Field Day included:
Plant Nutrition (Dorivar Ruiz Diaz)
Weed Seedling ID (Anita Dille, Kevin Donnelly)
Mature Weed ID (Anita Dille, Kevin Donnelly)
Herbicide Efficacy (Dallas Peterson, Curtis Thompson)
Herbicide Injury (Dallas Peterson, Curtis Thompson)
Fertility (Kent Martin)
Row Crop Production Issues (Kraig Roozeboom, Stu Duncan)
Soil Management/Soil Quality (DeAnn Presley)
Forages/Biomass Production (Vic Martin, Scott Staggenborg)
Water Quality (Dan Devlin)
There were also sessions on diseases, taught by Doug Jardine, Extension Plant Pathology, and insects, taught by Jeff Whitworth, Extension Entomology.<< Return to Top
Heat Tents Designed to Impose High Temperature Stress on Crops Under Field Conditions
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Crop productivity in Kansas is limited by occurrence of high temperature (heat stress) stress particularly during reproductive stages of crop development in both winter crops (wheat or canola) and summer crops (sorghum, corn and soybean). Breeding for high temperature stress tolerance is highly location specific because the occurrence of high temperature is a function of timing, intensity and duration and stage of crop development (phenology). There is a large year to year variability and but also timing, intensity and duration of high temperature can influence various components of grain yield. Artificial methods to impose to high temperature stress at specific stages of crop development will help control the stress environments. Our studies have shown that covering the crop with transparent polyethylene can increase the air temperature by about 4 - 5°C depending upon solar radiation. Thus, we designed polyethylene tents which can be moved on to the crop to impose high temperature stress under field conditions at specific stages of crop development.
These heat tents are made of commercially available gothic style cold frame structure made of galvanized steel. These tents are 6 m wide, 7.3 m long and 3.6 m tall at center. The structure is covered with clear polyethylene plastic. At the top of the structure 0.6 m wide flap is mounted that can be opened or closed through solar powered actuators. This flap is automatically controlled based on pre-determined temperatures setting. If the temperature goes above the set point, the flap opens to vent the heat and if the temperature is below the set point, it will remain closed. These tents are movable and could be placed on any crop canopy. Tents are anchored to ground and has entry door. There is a 15 cm clearance on sides to allow air circulation. The environment (solar radiation, air temperature, relative humidity, soil temperature and soil moisture 15 cm depth) is continually monitored at 10 min intervals. The system can effectively increase the temperature by 3 to 6°C. The entire system was designed and built by members of the Agronomy Department at Kansas State University.
This facility will be very useful to improve understanding of high temperature tolerance and mechanisms responsible for tolerance. It will also help screen crop genotypes of high temperature stress.<< Return to Top
Automated Rainout Shelters Implemented to Further Research Into Drought Tolerance of Crops
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Drought (water stress) is one of the major environmental factors limiting crop productivity in Kansas. Most of the crops (e.g. wheat, grain sorghum and soybean) in Kansas are grown under rain-fed conditions or limited water and in regions which are highly susceptible to drought stress. For example in year 2002 and 2004 average yield losses in sorghum due to drought and high temperatures were about 40% across the state leading to revenue losses of about 1 billion dollars to Kansas producers. Therefore, drought tolerance is an important trait which will benefit grain producers and farming industry in Kansas. One of the major challenges in conducting drought stress research under field conditions is lack of reliability. In addition, there is not only a large year to year variability in amount of rainfall, but also in timing, intensity and duration of drought stress that can influence productivity of crop. To overcome this we designed and developed automated "rain-out shelters" which will help impose drought stress by covering the crop during rainfall events.
This system is totally automated to enable it to function at any time without human supervision. These rain-out shelters are 12.2 m long, 12.2 m wide and 4.9 m tall arched structures made of galvanized steel. The basic structure is a commercially made building kit designed for permanent anchoring to a foundation. It is mounted on a rail and wheel system and driven by an electric motor. The automated control system is activated by the associated rain gauge and starts moving the shelter building. The shelter stops moving when it reaches the travel limit switch at the end of the rail. It remains there until 30 minutes after the rain ends, then reverses direction and moves back to the retracted park position to await the next rain event. The effectiveness of the system to exclude rain is highly dependent on the direction and velocity of the wind during the rainfall. The entire system was designed and built by members of the Agronomy Department at Kansas State University.
This facility helps us to improve our understanding of drought tolerance and mechanisms responsible for tolerance, and identify crop cultivars that are tolerant to drought stress.<< Return to Top
Department Hosts Nebreska FFA State Champion Agronomy Team for Workshop
Dr. Kevin Donnelly hosted a workshop for the State Champion FFA Agronomy Team from Eustace-Farnam High School in Eustace, Nebraska, on Friday, July 9. The team is preparing for the national FFA Agronomy Contest to be held at the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis in October. The four team members, along with their coach, FFA Advisor Chad Schimmels, spent the day practicing written exam, grain grading, and plant and seed identification components of the contest in the Crops Lab and at the Agronomy Farm.<< Return to Top
K-State Professor Selected to Prestigious United Nations Climate Panel
MANHATTAN – Chuck Rice, University Distinguished Professor of Agronomy, has been selected again to join other leading international scientists as part of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC). Rice has been chosen to become one of just two lead authors from the U.S. for the chapter on agriculture in the IPCC’s upcoming 5th Assessment Report (AR5) on Climate Change.
“This is a tremendous honor and responsibility,” Rice said. “Being a lead author is a time-consuming task, but the stakes couldn’t be higher. The discussions on climate change and policy debates are reaching a critical stage, and the outcome is crucial for agriculture. The best possible and most current scientific information is needed by policymakers worldwide as soon a possible.”
The AR5 report is expected to be released in 2014. Altogether, there will be 201 lead authors involved in writing the upcoming AR5 report; of which only 29 are from the U.S., including Rice.
The IPCC is the leading body for the assessment of climate change to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential consequences. Thousands of scientists from around the world contribute to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis. The IPCC embodies a unique opportunity to provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision-makers. In 2007, the IPCC was honored as co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for its 4th Assessment Report, on which Rice served as an author.<< Return to Top
Congratulations 2010 Agronomy Graduates
Congratulations to the Spring 2010 Graduates in the Department of Agronomy!
Front Row - L to R: Mark Wray, Josh Wetzel, Nathan Keep, Ryan Cates, Chad Brady
Middle Row - L to R: Dr. Anita Dille, Tony Whitehair, Nathan Morray, Andrew McGowan, Kate Glanville, Angela Tran, Jenae Skelton, Dr. Mickey Ransom
Back Row - L to R: Eric Preston, Ethan Noll, David Deforest, David Krehbiel, Alex Bolack, Dr. Kevin Donnelly
K-State Professor to Head National Professional Soils Society
MANHATTAN – Gary Pierzynski, professor of agronomy and interim dean of the College of Agriculture, has been chosen as president-elect of the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). His term as president-elect begins January 1, 2011; he assumes the role of president on January 1, 2012. Pierzynski will be just the third K-State agronomy faculty member to serve as president of the SSSA, succeeding another K-State agronomy faculty member.
“My term will immediately follow that of Chuck Rice, who serves as president of SSSA in 2011,” Pierzynski said. “It is a tremendous honor for our department and K-State to have two consecutive presidents of the national professional society. It is a testament to the outstanding quality of the program at our university. During my term, I’m looking forward to raising awareness of our profession at all levels.”
The SSSA is an international scientific society with more than 6,000 members. It is dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. The SSSA provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.<< Return to Top
Agronomy Department Hosts Boy Scout Plant Science Merit Badge Workshop
The Department of Agronomy conducted a workshop for 25 scouts and their leaders during the KSU Merit Badge Day held on campus Saturday, May 1. Scouts learned about many different aspects of crop growth and management, and were able to participate in several hands-on exercises with plants to satisfy most of their Plant Science Merit Badge requirements with the agronomy option. Scouts were provided crop seeds to grow during the summer to finish their requirements. Agronomy Club members Jenae Skelton, Nate Keep and Lance Visser assisted Dr. Donnelly conduct two 3-hour workshops.<< Return to Top
K-State Soil Judging Team Takes Third Place in National Contest
One of two Kansas State University Soil Judging Teams took third place in the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) national soil judging contest held April 15-17 at Redlands Community College in El Reno, OK. A total of 22 teams and 93 individuals competed in the event.
Students competing on the K-State teams and their top individual placings were: Kim Kerschen, sophomore in agronomy, Garden Plain, sixth place; Andrew McGowan, senior in agronomy, Prairie Village, 10th place; Kerri Neugebauer, junior in agronomy, Grand View, Mo., 12th place; Tim Foster, sophomore in agronomy, Middlebury, Vermont, 15th place; Ethan Noll, senior in agronomy, Hiawatha, 31st place; Angela Tran, senior in agronomy, Prairie Village, 37th place; Stuart Watts, junior in agronomy, Manhattan, 47th place; and Natalie Humerickhouse, junior in agronomy, Williamsburg, 57th place.
Paul Hartley, graduate student in agronomy, Strong City, and Mickey Ransom, professor of agronomy, served as coaches for the team. Kelsey McGie, senior in milling and baking science, Iola, served as assistant coach.
K-State Crops Team Wins National Contest
The Kansas State University Crops Team took first place in the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) national crops contest held April 16 at Redlands Community College in El Reno, OK. A total of 22 teams competed, 13 in the four-year division and nine in the two-year division. The K-State team also took home four of the top five individual placings. This is the second straight title in this contest for the K-State team, and the ninth in the past twelve years.
The contest consists of four components: laboratory practical, agronomic exam, math practical, and plant and seed identification. The K-State team placed first in the laboratory, math and identification components, and second in the exam.
In the laboratory practical, competitors identify insects, diseases, fertilizers, crop products, plant parts and equipment, plus determine crop growth stages, interpret pesticide labels or seed tags, evaluate crop production problems, and describe soil properties. The agronomic exam evaluated knowledge of crop production and management, crop physiology and breeding, soil properties, soil fertility, tillage, crop harvesting and storage, weeds, insects and diseases. The math practical includes equipment calibration and other various other agronomic calculations. Seed and plant identification requires contestants to learn over 250 plant and seed samples.
Students competing on the K-State team and their top individual placings were: Eric Preston, senior, Columbus, first place overall, first in math, and second in agronomic exam; Nathan Keep, senior, Elm Creek, NE, second overall, first in lab practical, and third in identification; Ryan Cates, senior, Jewell, fourth overall and first in identification; and Aaron Widmar, junior, Franklin, fifth overall and second in identification. All four students are agronomy majors.
Additional K-State students competing as individuals were senior agronomy majors David Krehbiel, Pratt, eighth overall and fifth in identification; Jenae Skelton, Larned, ninth overall and fifth in math; and Nicole Rezac, Onaga, tenth overall and second in lab practical. Chad Huffman, a junior in agricultural economics, Cunningham, was an alternate.
Kevin Donnelly, professor of agronomy, served as coach for the team.
Iowa State University was the second place team. In the two year division, Hutchinson Community College was first and Cloud County Community College placed second.<< Return to Top
Agronomy Students Experience Agriculture in Argentina
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There’s no substitute for experience, especially when it comes to understanding agriculture in foreign countries. Agronomy Professor Scott Staggenborg led a group of nine students on a tour of farms and rural areas of Argentina on March 12-20 to get a first-hand look crop production and grain transportation in that South American country.
Students who went on the trip include Nathan Keep, Elm Creek, Neb.; Allie Marks, Norcross, Minn.; Nicole Rezac, Onaga; Tanner Robbins, Emmett; Jenae Skelton, Larned; Erica Waechter, Emporia; Caleb Wurth, Kansas City, Kan.; Mark Wray, Ottawa; and Matt Wyckoff, Gardner. All students but one are Agronomy majors. Caleb Wurth is a Grain Science major. Students paid their own way for the trip, which was arranged through a leading agricultural tour company in Virginia.
The group toured the towns of Pergamino and Venado Tuerto, and the river port city of Rosario. This is a largely soybean-producing area west and slightly north of Buenos Aires. They stayed with host families on farms and in the towns, Staggenborg says. They also stayed a few nights in Buenos Aires.
“We visited farms so the students could see how crops are produced in Argentina. We also visited a Syngenta Seed production facility, a Bunge grain handling operation, the Argentine equivalent of the USDA, and a soybean loading operation at Rosario,” Staggenborg says.
The international trip proved to be educational and enjoyable for the students. The Agronomy Department at K-State is committed to providing more such international opportunities for students.
SASES 2010 Regional Meetings
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A group of 19 Agronomy students from K-State attended the Students of Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Sciences (SASES) regional meeting at Purdue University on April 9-10, 2010. SASES is part of the American Society of Agronomy.
The students took tours of regional crop farms, a wind farm, an aquaculture farm, seed companies Dow AgroSciences Research and Development facility, a mint producer, and an egg farm. One of the highlights of the trip was being able to socialize with SASES students from other universities and renew acquaintances, said Jenae Skelton, one of the K-State students who made the trip.<< Return to Top
Students Learn How to Conduct a Prescribed Burn
Students in the Forage Management and Utilization class in the Department of Agronomy, instructed by Carol Blocksome, had the opportunity to conduct a prescribed burn. Assisting with this exercise were Dr. Walter Fick and Graduate Teaching Assistant Bethany Grabow. Prescribed burning is a practice that improves forage quality of native rangelands. Students learned how to handle burn equipment, set a back fire, light a head fire, and review safety precautions.
<< Return to Top
Agronomy Employees of the Year
Agronomy Classified Employee of the Year, South Central Experiment Field at Hutchinson
Agronomy Unclassified Unranked Employee of the Year
Agronomy Analyzes Soil Quality Issues in Urban Agriculture
Ganga Hettiarachchi, Assistant Professor of Soil and Environmental Chemistry, and several K-State colleagues are working on an EPA-funded project titled “Gardening Initiatives at Brownfield Sites.” Brownfield sites are defined as vacant, abandoned property, the reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
The goals of this project include:
- Enhance the capabilities of gardening/farming initiatives to produce crops locally without potentially adverse health effects to the grower or the end consumer
- Contribute to the meaningful revitalization of Brownfield sites in a sustainable manner
- Increase confidence in urban food production quality
- Provide resources for producers, urban land managers, local and state government, and extension agents to implement proposed BMPs for the detection and mitigation of potentially harmful substances in soils on Brownfield sites.
“We provide continuous monitoring and analysis of the soil and produce raised by the gardeners. We also provide training and technical assistance to participating community organizations (sample collection, site evaluation, etc.) throughout the term of the project. The soils and produce from the site are analyzed in labs in the Agronomy Department at K-State. The Brownfield sites involved in the project are from throughout the nation,” Hettiarachchi says.
An example of one of the sites in the project is from the Washington Wheatley area of Kansas City. Three houses had been present on this site, but had been torn down and cleared away, leaving a vacant lot adjacent to a house that was still standing. The K-State team found that the site had elevated levels of lead in the soil, and made the appropriate recommendations to the community gardeners using the site.
See the complete article, along with several photos of the Brownfield site in Kansas City area, at Extension Agronomy’s e-Update web page: Go to the e-Update dated 03/12/10.<< Return to Top
2010 Elmer G. Heyne Lectureship
Dr. Jorge Dubcovsky will present the 2010 annual Elmer G. Heyne Crop Science Lectureship on March 24, 2010 at 4 p.m. in 1018 Throckmorton Hall on the K-State Campus. The title of Dr. Dubcovsky’s presentation is “Regulation of Flowering in Wheat and Its Impact on Adaptation to Different Environments.”
Dr. Dubcovsky leads the University of California-Davis wheat breeding program and wheat molecular genetics laboratory. He was the recipient of the 2009 "Dennis R. Hoagland Award" from the American Society of Plant Biologists, which publishes the journals Plant Physiology and The Plant Cell. The award acknowledges outstanding plant research in support of agriculture and recognizes genetic discoveries to improve the disease resistance and nutritional quality of wheat.
The major goals of Dr. Dubcovsky's research program are to gain a better understanding of the effects of allelic variants of wheat genes that are relevant to agriculture and to develop the tools required for an efficient manipulation of these genes in wheat improvement. The program integrates a broad range of research projects that include whole genome studies, mapping, positional cloning, marker-assisted selection, and a traditional breeding program.
This lectureship honors the name of Dr. Elmer G. Heyne and commemorates his many years of outstanding service to Kansas State University, and to individuals in the campus community who were touched and influenced by his life.<< Return to Top
Using Satellite Imagery to Map the Spread of Eastern Redcedar in Kansas
Eastern redcedar in rangeland near Hays.
Photo by Kevin Price, K-State Research and Extension.
Redcedar is rapidly increasing in its coverage of grasslands in Kansas, especially in the eastern half of Kansas.
Still, it is hard to visually notice the spread of eastern redcedar from month-to-month or year-to-year. As a result, it is not the kind of problem that generates immediate alarm among most landowners.
The best way to demonstrate to landowners and others the extent of the spread of eastern redcedar, and the necessity of controlling its spread, is to compare aerial imagery of a given area from many years ago to imagery of the same area today, says Kevin Price, Agronomy and Geography Professor of Remote Sensing. Sounds simple enough, but in reality there are several issues that have to be overcome before that can be done.
“In the Ecology & Agriculture Spatial Analysis Lab at K-State, we analyze near infrared (NIR) images instead, taken at the correct time of year,” Price says. During the late fall and winter, there is a significant difference in infrared reflectance between all the deciduous trees and shrubs that have dropped their leaves and eastern redcedar, which is evergreen and therefore is still photosynthetically active later in the fall and resumes photosynthetic activity earlier in the spring than other trees and grasses.
See the complete article, along with a series of NIR images from 1985, 1995, and 2002 that vividly demonstrate the spread of eastern red cedar in one location in Kansas at Extension Agronomy’s e-Update web page: /eupdates.html. Go to the e-Update dated 02/19/10.<< Return to Top
2010 Roscoe Ellis, Jr. Lectureship
Dr. David Laird will present the 27th annual Roscoe Ellis, Jr. Lectureship in Soil Science on March 10, 2010 at 4 p.m. in 1018 Throckmorton Hall on the K-State Campus. The title of Dr. Laird’s presentation is “Global Imperatives and the Biochar Revolution.”
Dr. Laird is lead scientist, USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, Iowa. He is also Professor USDA-Collaborator, Department of Agronomy and Environmental Science Program, Iowa State University. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and Soil Science Society of America.
His current research is focused on the influence of biochar amendments on soil properties, carbon sequestration, and crop production. He leads the USDA-ARS Biochar and Pyrolysis Initiative.
This lectureship is in honor of the late Dr. Roscoe Ellis, Jr., former long-time Professor of Agronomy at K-State, and world renowned soil chemist.
To learn more about the Roscoe Ellis, Jr. Lectureship click here.
Southeast Kansas Producers Enjoy Personal "Agronomy Weekend"
A group of about 15 producers, representing nearly 30,000 crop acres in southeast Kansas, visited the Agronomy Department on January 22-23, 2010, for a special “Agronomy Weekend” tour of the facilities. The trip was arranged by Scott Gordon, Montgomery County Extension agent, and Doug Shoup, Southeast Area Crops and Soils Specialist.
On Friday, the group visited the Biotechnology Lab, the Remote Sensing and GIS Lab, and Soil Testing Lab in Throckmorton Hall. The producers also toured the Agronomy greenhouses and weed control research facilities. On Saturday, the group toured the Agronomy research plots at Ashland Bottoms and Konza Prairie, and visited the Agricultural Engineering Lab/Shop in Seaton Hall. The group then attended the K-State men’s basketball game that afternoon before returning home.
“The purpose of the visit was educational, and to showcase some of the programs in Agronomy,” Shoup said. “The producers commented that the trip was well worth their time. They attend Extension meetings and K-State programs, but they sometimes don’t fully realize the scope of work conducted on campus. They were already asking about whether we could arrange another program for next year!”
The group listens to a talk on remote sensing research by Kevin Price, Professor of Agronomy, in the Remote Sensing and GIS Lab, Throckmorton Hall. Front row, left to right: Scott Gordon, Montgomery Co. Extension agent (dark shirt, glasses, beard); Adam Beason, Chautauqua Co. (wearing purple “Go Wildcats” T-shirt); and Adam’s father Jim Beason, Chautauqua Co. Second row, left to right: Edwin Bowman, Chautauqua Co.; Greg Maulsby, Montgomery Co.; Richard Felts, Montgomery Co.; and Herb Beason, Chautauqua Co.Third row, left to right: Brandon Lytch, Osage Co.; Michael Perkins, Montgomery Co. (vest); David Gordon, Montgomery Co.; and Randy Small, Wilson Co. (cowboy hat). Back row, left to right: Doug Shoup, Southeast Area Crops and Soils Specialist; Nicole Small, Wilson Co.; and Keith Martin, Labette Co. Extension agent. Hidden from view or not present in this photo: Jan Bowman, Chautauqua Co.; Dean Mitchell, Montgomery Co.; Darrell DeTar, Montgomery Co.; Crista Wagner, Montgomery Co.; and Lester Wagner, Montgomery Co.
K-State Crops Team Gains Rare Sweep of Two Contests to Claim National Title
The Kansas State University Crops Team has again claimed the title as national champion, a feat that K-State teams have accomplished in eight of the past eleven years.
K-State 2009 Collegiate Crop Team (l to r): Jared Unrau, Newton; Kelly Yunghans, Leavenworth; Jared Kohls, Clearwater; Bryson Haverkamp, Bern.
|K-State 2009 Collegiate Crops Team and alternates (l to r): Ben Meyer, Linn; Jared Unrau, Newton; Kevin Donnelly, coach; Kelly Yunghans, Leavenworth; Jared Kohls, Clearwater; Bryson Haverkamp, Bern; Nathan Keep, Elm Creek, NE.|
The team won both the Kansas City Board of Trade and Chicago CME Group Collegiate Crops contests to win the 2009 national championship. K-State placed first at both Kansas City and Chicago in all three phases of the contest: plant and seed identification, grain grading, and seed analysis. Such a sweep of all three contest parts at both contests is a very rare event, and represents one of the top rankings ever accomplished by a K-State team. The Kansas City and Chicago contests took place on November 17 and 21, respectively.
In these contests, participants are required to identify 200 different plant or seed samples of crops and weeds; grade eight different samples of grain according to Federal Grain Inspection Service standards; and analyze ten seed samples to determine whether they contain impurities, and if so, what contaminants exist.
Students competing at both national contests included Jared Kohls, sophomore in agronomy, Clearwater; Kelly Yunghans, junior in agronomy, Leavenworth; Bryson Haverkamp, sophomore in agronomy, Bern; and Jared Unrau, senior in agricultural technology management, Newton. Also competing as alternates in Kansas City were Nathan Keep, senior in agronomy, Elm Creek, NE; and Ben Meyer, sophomore in agronomy, Linn.
Kohls was the high individual overall at Kansas City where he placed first in plant and seed identification, first in seed analysis, and tied for first in grain grading with Haverkamp, both making perfect scores. At Chicago, he was second high individual overall, first in identification, third in seed analysis, and fourth in grain grading. In identification, he missed only one sample out of 200.
Yunghans was the high individual overall at Chicago, placing first in seed analysis with a score of 594 out of 600, and third in both grain grading and identification. At Kansas City, she tied for third overall, and placed third in grain grading, tied for third in identification with Haverkamp, and was fifth in seed analysis.
Haverkamp placed second overall at Kansas City. In addition to his first place perfect score in grain grading, he was third in both identification and seed analysis. At Chicago, he placed third overall, second in identification and grain grading, and fourth in seed analysis.
Unrau competed as the first alternate for both contests. His scores at Chicago were equivalent to fifth overall and third in identification, and at Kansas City he would have placed sixth overall.
The team was coached by Kevin Donnelly, K-State professor of agronomy.
For its performance, K-State received a team scholarship award from contest sponsors at Kansas City, and CME Group provided major scholarships to the individual student winners at Chicago.
Sponsors for the K-State Crops Team include the Kansas Seed Industry Association, Kansas Crop Improvement Association, Department of Agronomy, and the K-State Student Government Association. Sponsors for the two national contests are the Kansas City Board of Trade, CME Group/Chicago Board of Trade, CHS Foundation, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Growmark Cooperative, Society of Commercial Seed Technologists, Association of Official Seed Analysts, South Dakota Crop Improvement Association, The American Royal, and Pioneer Hi-Bred International.
Additional Honor for Crops Judging Team
The K-State Crops Judging Team was recognized during the 3rd Quarter of the K-State vs Nebraska game on Thursday, October 07, 2010 for their 2009 National Championship!
Additional Photos on
Agronomy Students Receive National Honors
MANHATTAN – K-State Agronomy students had a strong showing at the Students of Agronomy, Soils, and Environmental Sciences (SASES) portion of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) annual meetings in Pittsburgh, PA, October 30 - November 5. Several students captured national honors and committee chair positions.
Michael Stueder, sophomore from Claflin; Allie Marks, sophomore from Norcross, MN; Bobbie Barthol, senior from Wellsville; and Josh Patterson, junior from Valley Center won first place in the Club Poster contest. The poster was titled: “Providing the Inside Scoop: Beyond the Profile.”
James Hartshorn, senior from Tonganoxie, and Josh Carlin, sophomore from Alton, tied for second place in the Visual Presentation category.
Bryson Haverkamp, sophomore from Bern, was elected national treasurer of SASES. Those named to chairs were Michael Stueder, Membership Committee; Shae Pelkowski, freshman from Derby, Research Symposium Committee; Hannah Christen, freshman from Oregon, IL, Speech Contest Committee (co-chair); and Jason Unruh, freshman from Peabody, was named Quiz Bowl Committee.
Other K-State Wheat State Agronomy Club members attending the ASA annual meetings were Josh Andres, senior, Newton; Brett Haney, junior, Jacksonville, IL; Lauren Lang, junior, Overbrook; Nathan Keep, senior, Elm Creek, NE; Kerri Neugebauer, junior, Grandview, MO; Eric Preston, senior, Columbus; Nicole Rezac, senior, Onaga; Jenae Skelton, senior, Larned; Erica Waechter, senior, Emporia; Matt Wyckoff, senior, Gardner; and Kelly Yunghans, junior, Leavenworth. The agronomy faculty advisor for the club at the ASA meetings was Dana Minihan, Agronomy Assistant Academic Coordinator. Minihan was named 2009 SASES national advisor.
Agronomy Professors Receive National Awards
Three K-State Agronomy faculty received national honors at the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) annual meetings in Pittsburgh, PA, November 2-5.
Fred A. Cholick, Professor of Agronomy, Dean of Agriculture, and Director of Research and Extension, received the Agronomic Service Award. Frederick A. Cholick has been a wheat breeder, worked in international agriculture development, provided leadership for federal agricultural funding, and farm bill legislation. He has been Dean of Agriculture at K-State since 2004.
The Agronomic Service Award recognizes development of agronomic service programs, practices, and products for acceptance by the public. The focus is on agronomic service with associated educational, public relations, and administrative contributions of industrial agronomists, governmental, industrial, or university administrators, and others.
Dave Mengel, Professor of Agronomy, received the Werner L. Nelson Award for Diagnosis of Yield-Limiting Factors. David B. Mengel is a professor of agronomy at Kansas State University with responsibilities in research, extension, and teaching. This award recognizes outstanding performance in the development, acceptance, and/or implementation of diagnostic techniques and approaches in the field. The selection criteria are the creativity and innovation of the nominee. The award is supported through a contribution by the late Dr. Nelson to the Agronomic Science Foundation.
Mengel came to K-State in 1998 as Head of Agronomy, and served in that position through 2005, when he stepped down to return to a faculty position. He currently supervises the Soil Testing Lab, teaches Agron 625 Applications in Nutrient Management, and does research and Extension work in the areas of soil testing and fertilizer use, the use of sensors to predict fertilizer needs, alternative crops, and soil management.
Prior to coming to K-State, he was on the faculty at the Louisiana State Rice Experiment Station from 1975-79 working in rice and rotational crop fertilization, and Purdue University from 1979-1998 where he had teaching, research and extension responsibilities in soil fertility and crop production.
Chuck Rice, University Distinguished Professor of Agronomy, received the Environmental Quality Research Award. This award recognizes contributions that have enhanced the basic understanding of environmental sciences in relation to agriculture, or demonstrated sound and effective management practices for maintaining or improving the quality of soil, water, and air resources.
Rice, an award-winning soil scientist, was a member of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which was recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its work. Most recently, Rice was awarded the Irvin Youngberg Award for Applied Sciences, one of the University of Kansas' Higuchi Awards, and was named one of five team leaders for a $20 million Kansas NSF EPSCoR project researching global climate change and renewable energy research.
Rice came to K-State in 1988, became a full professor in 1998 and earned the university's highest academic rank of university distinguished professor in 2009. His research focuses on soil organic dynamics, nitrogen transformations and microbial ecology. In particular, his work on denitrifier ecology in subsoils has advanced the understanding of the impact of cultivation on microbial ecology and the fate of nitrates in soils and groundwater.
He is the 2010 president-elect of the Soil Science Society of America, served as associate editor of Soil Science Society of America Journal and is Fellow of ASA, SSSA, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
K-State Crops Team Wins Central Regional Contest
MANHATTAN – The Kansas State University Collegiate Crops Team placed first in the Central Regional Crops Contest held recently in Manhattan. Cloud County Community College placed second. Oklahoma State University and Hutchinson Community College also participated.
The K-State team placed first in all three phases of the contest - seed analysis, grain grading, and plant and seed identification. In addition, the team captured the top three individual overall placings.
The competition required participants to identify more than 200 different plants or seed samples of crops and weeds; grade eight different samples of grain according to Federal Grain Inspection Service standards; and analyze ten seed samples to determine whether they contain impurities, and if so, what contaminants exist.
K-State students competing at the regional contest included Kelly Yunghans, junior in agronomy, Leavenworth; Jared Kohls, sophomore in agronomy, Clearwater; Jared Unrau, senior in agricultural technology management, Newton; Bryson Haverkamp, sophomore in agronomy, Bern; Alissa Krafft, senior in agricultural education, Oakley; and Nathan Keep, senior in agronomy, Elm Creek, NE.
Yunghans was the high individual overall, followed by Kohls in second and Unrau in third place. The team will next travel to Kansas City and Chicago for the national contests.
The team is coached by Kevin Donnelly, K-State professor of agronomy. Sponsors for the K-State Crops Team include the Kansas Seed Industry Association, Kansas Crop Improvement Association, Department of Agronomy, and the K-State Student Government Association.
Marriage, From the Ground Up
Turning what some might consider a fairy tale romance into a marriage on stable ground has proved an interesting tale for two families -- and their friends.
The bride, the former Sarah Rice, is a talented writer, yet even she might have had a challenge coming up with a plot with so many connections …
Sarah was a working journalist (in Davenport, Iowa) when she decided to accept a new job in Minneapolis, Minn.
She didn't know anyone there, so her mother, Sue Rice (who lives in Manhattan, Kan.), suggested that she look up Theresa Boggs, a young woman who also had moved to Minneapolis for a new job.
Now, before we begin to get lost in the connections, Theresa is the daughter of Don and Rosemary Boggs, who are friends of Sarah's parents, Charles ("Chuck") and Sue Rice. Don also is Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University, where her father, Chuck Rice, is a University Distinguished Professor of Soil Microbiology.
The two young women had much in common, and became friends.
Still, Sarah admits to being a little apprehensive when Theresa invited her to a birthday party for someone she didn't know.
Theresa vouched for the two young men, however, and, before the party concluded, Shea McGinnity (one of the young men) suggested a date for getting better acquainted the next day.
McGinnity is a sales supervisor in Minneapolis, but -- surprise -- his father also is a soil scientist.
After realizing that their fathers might know each other, McGinnity called his father to check, and learned that although he knew of Chuck Rice, he did not know him personally -- yet.
There was a connection, though. Patrick McGinnity had earned a Ph.D. in soil science at the University of Minnesota under academic advisor George Ham, who later accepted an assignment as the Head of Department of Agronomy in the College of Agriculture at K-State and hired Chuck Rice, who was then a young soil scientist and Sarah's father.
The Hams -- George and Alice -- also lived in the same neighborhood as the Rices during Sarah's growing up years.
So, what happens when the son of one soil scientist marries the daughter of another soil scientist?
While some just-marrying couples choose to light a unity candle, Shea and Sarah chose to blend the state soils from their childhood homes (for Sarah, from Manhattan, Kan., and for Shea, from Shoreview, Minn,) and meaningful sites, such as the Konza Prairie (for Sarah). [For soil scientists, that involves blending the state soil of Kansas (Harney silt loam) and the state soil of Minnesota (Lester loam).]
Sue Rice (Sarah's mother) is credited with suggesting the idea after hearing of a Western Kansas farm couple who had blended the soils from their family farms when they married.
Sarah's father picked up on the idea, as, according to Sarah: "Fathers don't always have much to do in getting ready for a wedding."
Not so, though, with this wedding.
According to Sue Rice, Chuck gathered the soil with the help of some colleagues and sieved it over and over again to refine it for the wedding ceremony, at which the couple blended the soils.
The earthly blend is now on display in a glass carafe in their apartment home. And, an enthusiastic father of the bride also has some in reserve for planting a tree when the newlyweds purchase their first home.
"In blending the soils, we've tied the past to the present and the future," Sarah Rice McGinnity said.
And, while their marriage is starting off on solid ground, Shea McGinnity is vowing to keep it that way. As a graduate of the University of St. Thomas in the Twin Cities, McGinnity is keeping a copy of "How to Love Your Wife," which was written by Dr. John Buri (one of his former professors), handy.
Sarah Rice McGinnity is the daughter of Charles ("Chuck") and Sue Rice; Shea McGinnity is the son of Patrick and Laurel McGinnity.
National Science Foundation Grant Awarded for Climate Change, Renewable Energy Research
A $20 million National Science Foundation grant will further establish Kansas as an internationally recognized leader in global climate change and renewable energy research – and will let a Nobel-Prize winning K-State scientist continue his work on the effects of climate change.
“This grant allows Charles Rice, a University Distinguished Professor of Agronomy, and his fellow researchers to continue their important work on climate change. As K-State continues to make sustainability a campus priority, we are more proud than ever to be involved in a project on global climate change and renewable energy,” said Kirk Schulz, K-State president.
Rice was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. The five-year award to Kansas NSF EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research), a statewide program that includes major Kansas research universities, will provide a fresh integrative approach to address climate change and renewable energy challenges.
For more details, see: http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/story/NSF_grant100609.aspx
Agronomy Professor Receives Prestigious Research Achievement Award
Charles Rice, University Distinguished Professor of Agronomy, has received the Irvin Youngberg Award for Applied Sciences. This is one of four prestigious Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards for 2009. The awards, now in their 27th year, honor outstanding accomplishments in research by faculty members at Kansas Board of Regents institutions.
Rice is ranked among the premier soil scientists in the world. His research in the area of soil carbon and nitrogen cycling is especially well-known. The focus of his work is how soil management influences microbiological processes and how that affects crop productivity, the release of greenhouse gases and global climate change. He served as lead author of the chapter on agriculture in Mitigation of Climate Change, a 2007 assessment report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (co-recipient that year of the Nobel Peace Prize). In addition, he is president-elect of the Soil Science Society of America.
For more details, see: http://www.news.ku.edu/2009/october/6/higuchiawards.shtml
DIRT! The Movie
DIRT! The Movie, tells the amazing and little known story of the relationship between humans and living dirt.
August 27, 2009
K-State Agronomy Students Have Opportunity to Participate in Student Exchange with Brazilian Universities
MANHATTAN – Kansas State University has received a $257,000 four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education for a U.S.-Brazil student exchange program. The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) award will provide for an exchange of students and faculty between the two countries. The specific project title for this program is “Providing Education in Face of Climate Change, Food and Energy Scarcity.”
Four universities are participating in this program. K-State is the lead university on the U.S. side and the Federal University of Santa Maria is the lead university in Brazil, said Chuck Rice, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agronomy, and lead contact for the program at K-State. The other two universities are Mississippi State University and the Federal University of Mato Grosso.
This grant will foster collaboration between leading universities in two of the most important agricultural countries in the world, said Rice.
“We will address the challenges of providing education in face of food and energy scarcity and climate change. This program involves the exchange of students, faculty, and ideas to care for the soil and other vital natural resources at a time when demands placed on global agricultural resources are growing dramatically,” explained Rice.
“Students will participate in a combination of short (two weeks) and extended (six months) exchanges. This program will better prepare students to address the complex issues surrounding the most important challenges humanity faces in the 21st century.”
The program is jointly administered by FIPSE in the U.S. and the Brazilian Ministry of Education. The program aims to improve the quality of students in undergraduate and graduate education in both countries and to explore ways to prepare students for work through:
* The mutual recognition and portability of academic credits among U.S. and Brazilian institutions;
* The development of shared, common, or core curricula among U.S. and Brazilian institutions;
* The acquisition of the languages and exposure to the cultures of the United States and Brazil;
* The development of student apprenticeships or other work related experiences; and
* An increased cooperation and exchange among academic personnel at U.S. and Brazilian institutions.
K-State students interested in participating in the U.S.-Brazil Student Exchange Program can contact Chuck Rice, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Agronomy, at 785-532-7217, email@example.com, or Scott Staggenborg, Professor, Department of Agronomy, 785-532-7214, firstname.lastname@example.org.
K-State Soil Judging Team Takes First at National Competition
MANHATTAN -- The Kansas State University Soil Judging Team won the 2009 National Soil Judging Contest for the second year in a row, taking first place overall and first in group judging. Twenty-three teams from around the country competed March 26 - April 3 at the host school, Missouri State University.
K-State’s individual team member achievements include Kelsey McGie, junior in milling science management from Iola, who placed ninth in individual judging, and Kim Kerschen, freshman in agronomy from Garden Plain, who took 12th place in individual judging.
Other team members contributing to the championship include Angela Tran, senior in agronomy from Prairie Village, Kerri Neugebauer, sophomore in agronomy from Grandview, Mo., Stuart Watts, sophomore in agronomy from Manhattan, and Timothy Foster, freshman in agronomy from Middlebury, Vt.
Purdue University took second place in the competition, West Virginia University took third, the University of Maryland took fourth, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville placed fifth.
K-State’s team is coached by Mickey Ransom, professor in agronomy, who is assisted by Paul Hartley, agronomy graduate student from Emporia.
The 2009 National Soil Judging Contest was assisted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service. The contest is an activity of the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America.
K-State's Wheat State Agronomy Club Hosts Regional Meeting
MANHATTAN -- More than 230 college students from across the country were treated to a first-hand look at Kansas agriculture during the Students in Agronomy, Soil, and Environmental Sciences (SASES) 2009 regional meeting. Kansas State University’s Wheat State Agronomy Club (WSAC) hosted the meeting on April 3 and 4. Fifteen schools were represented, from Virginia Tech to Purdue to Colorado State.
“This event was a great way to showcase Kansas agriculture to future leaders in the agricultural industry,” said Matt Wyckoff, Wheat State Agronomy Club president. The club organized the meeting activities, which included a career fair, barbeque, guest speaker and four tours of agricultural facilities throughout the east and central parts of the state.
Through the tours and activities, students were able to network with professionals and other students while broadening their Kansas agriculture experience.
“Whether students came from the heart of the Corn Belt or from the fruit orchards of Florida, they were all able to get a personal experience of Midwest agriculture by participating in the tours,” said Samantha Ambrose, the National SASES Corresponding Secretary from Purdue University. Ambrose came with seven others from Purdue. She said she had a great time making friends and learning in a new agricultural atmosphere.
The weekend started with a tour of the Konza Prairie on Friday, followed by a career fair with 40 industry representatives in attendance. Friday night, a barbeque preceded a presentation titled “Opportunities in Agriculture, the Challenges, and Telling Our Story with Their Rules” by Kyle Bauer from KFRM radio.
The tours started Saturday morning. The northeast Kansas tour included trips to Rezac Land and Livestock, Jeffrey Energy Center, and the K-State Grain Science Flour Mill Facility. The north central tour took students to AgriPro Wheat Research Inc., Ke-Ot Farms and the Willow Creek Dairy. Tour three went through central Kansas to Knopf Farms, Veris Technologies Inc., Phillips Seed Co. and Russell Stover Candy. The last tour, focusing on the Flint Hills, traveled to JB Pearl Sales and Service, Mission Valley Ranch and the Tallgrass Brewing Company.
Educational opportunities on the tours included crop, livestock and dairy production, flour milling technology, wheat breeding, soil variability sensing technology, hybrid seed sales, prairie ecosystem management and fertilizer and pesticide applications, as well as interesting exposures to different industries in Kansas.
“I enjoyed the tours the most out of all of the meeting’s activities,” said Michael Macek, WSAC treasurer. Macek did much of the work coordinating the tours. “The tours were a huge success. The producers we visited all shared great knowledge and advice. Also, we wanted the industry stops on the tours to give the visiting SASES members a feel for the contribution our state and region offers to business and industry,” he said.
At the end of the day on Saturday, dinner was followed by a private performance by Nashville recording artist Dustin Evans and Good Times at R.C. McGraws.
“Everyone seemed to have a great time,” Wyckoff said. “We tried very hard to plan an
event that was educational and fun.”
SASES is a professional undergraduate development organization with focus areas in agronomy, soils, crops and environmental sciences.
The WSAC would like to thank the sponsors who helped make the weekend a success. Major sponsors included Syngenta Seed, AgCareers.com, Mid Kansas Co-op, Crop Production Services, Helena Chemical Company, Team Marketing Alliance, CHS Inc., Monsanto Company and the Kansas Corn Commission. In addition, 52 industry friends and families helped support the regional meeting. Without their generous support, the event would not have been possible.
K-State Crops Team Wins National Title
MANHATTAN – The Kansas State University Crops Team took first place in the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture national crops contest on April 17 at the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, Ohio. The K-State team has won this title eight times in the last 11 years. Seventeen teams from two- and four-year schools participated in the competition.
K-State placed first in the lab practical, math practical, and plant and seed identification parts of the contest, and second in the agronomic quiz.
Seed and plant identification requires contestants to learn more than 250 plant and seed samples. In the laboratory practical, competitors identify insects, diseases, weeds, fertilizers, crop and forage products, and field and laboratory equipment. They also determine crop growth stages, interpret pesticide labels or seed tags, evaluate crop production problems, and describe soil properties.
The agronomic quiz evaluated knowledge of crop production and management, crop physiology and breeding, soils and tillage, soil fertility, crop harvesting and storage, weeds, insects and diseases. The math practical includes equipment calibration and other various other agronomic calculations.
Students competing on the K-State team and their placings:
Darrin Seiwert, senior in agronomy, Conway Springs, placed second overall, third in math and fourth in both identification and agronomic quiz.
Allen Kampschnieder, senior in agronomy, Howells, NE, was third overall, third in identification, fifth in math and seventh in agronomic quiz.
Jared Unrau, junior in agricultural technology management, Newton, placed third overall, first in identification, third in lab practical and tenth in math.
Heath Kinser, junior in agricultural technology management with an agronomy minor, Hugoton, was seventh overall, fourth in math, eighth in ID and tenth in lab.
Brian Lee, senior in agronomy, Leavenworth, placed eleventh overall, sixth in lab, eighth in math, and ninth in agronomic quiz.
Aaron Widmar, sophomore in agronomy, Franklin, competed as an alternate.
Kevin Donnelly, professor of agronomy, served as coach for the team.
K-State Senior from Prairie Village is 2009 Udall Scholar
MANHATTAN -- Andrew McGowan, senior in agronomy with a soil and environmental science option, Prairie Village, is Kansas State University's 21st Morris K. Udall scholar.
McGowan is among 80 students to win a 2009 Udall scholarship, a $5,000 national scholarship that is awarded to students who demonstrate a commitment to a career related to environmental protection or to students who are Native Americans or Native Alaskans seeking careers in health care or tribal policy. He was selected from a pool of 515 candidates nominated by 233 colleges and universities.
"We're so pleased that Andrew McGowan is our 2009 Udall scholar," said Jon Wefald, K-State president. "Andrew has shown his dedication to protecting the environment through his involvement in numerous K-State organizations. He is a great model of a Udall scholar and demonstrates K-State's continued success in the scholarship competition."
K-State ranks third in total Udall scholars among state universities and fifth overall since the scholarship program began in 1996.
McGowan plans to pursue a doctorate in soil ecology. He said by studying the human effects and the natural processes that occur in soil, he would like to provide information to farmers, consumers and society in order for people to make more informed, environmentally friendly decisions.
"I firmly believe that considering the environmental consequences of our actions is essential in sustaining our existence and that of the rest of the environment," McGowan said. "Because agriculture is one of the major ways people alter the earth's landscapes, making sure we care for the soil, air and water when producing food is critical."
McGowan currently is studying abroad at the Beijing Language and Culture University in China. He was a member of the 2008 National Champion K-State Soil Judging Team. He has served as the environmental chair on the Moore Hall Governing Board, campus issues coordinator for the K-State Association of Residence Halls and webmaster for Students for Environmental Action. He also is an Eagle Scout and has been a staff member at Philmont Scout Ranch.
He has received a Chinese Government Scholarship, agronomy departmental scholarships and was a Phi Kappa Phi sophomore scholar. A 2006 graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School, he is the son of Bill and Joby McGowan, Prairie Village.
Four K-State Army ROTC Cadets Among the Smartest in the Nation
MANHATTAN -- Four seniors in Kansas State University's Army ROTC Wildcat
Battalion are among the smartest cadets in the nation.
The four students recently ranked among the top 10 percent of the Army
ROTC's National Order of Merit List. They include Chance Moyer, senior
in history, Chanute; Jason Grams, senior in agronomy, and Justin
Hackett, senior in sociology, both of Manhattan; and Christopher
Garlick, senior in political science, Manassas Va.
"We place a lot of emphasis not only on military excellence but academic
excellence as well," said Lt. Col George Belin, professor and head of
K-State's department of military science. "The top priority for our
cadets is for them to be successful students first, because those who
are successful in the classroom also are successful as Army officers."
The National Order of Merit assessment judges thousands of cadets from
Army ROTC programs across the nation on factors such as grade point
average, physical fitness, performance at a 33-day leadership camp at
Fort Lewis, Wash., extracurricular activities, and a rating provided by
the students' military science instructors.
"I am a firm believer in that success breeds success," Belin said. "When
our underclassmen or prospects see the academic achievements of some of
our seniors, they understand how integral academic success is to
helping them achieve their goals in the Army. They then strive to
uphold the high standards of our elite program."
Enrollment in K-State's Army ROTC program has been experiencing better
than expected growth over the last few years. This fall the Wildcat
Battalion stands at 155 cadets, up 20 percent from last year.
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State's Corey Adams, Tysyn Hartman, Alex Hrebec, Jeron Mastrud and Darrin Seiwert were named to the 2008 Academic All-Big 12 Football First Team, the conference office announced Tuesday.
Mastrud, a junior business administration major and the second-leading receiver on the squad this past season, earned his second straight first team honor, while all other four Wildcats garnered the honor for the first time.
Adams, a sophomore long snapper from Monument, Colo., and Hartman, a Wichita native and junior defensive back, both are open option majors, while Hrebec, a redshirt freshman linebacker from St. Louis, MO., and the Wildcats' second-leading tackler in 2008, is a pre-chiropractic major. Seiwert, a senior tight end from Conway Springs, is majoring in agronomy.
Nominated by each institution's director of student-athlete support services and its media relations offices, the football academic all-league squad consisted of 91 first team members combined with 46 on the second team. First team members have recorded a 3.20 or better GPA, while the second team are those with a 3.00 to 3.19 GPA.
To qualify student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher, either cumulative or in the two previous semesters and have participated in 60 percent of his team's scheduled contests. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated for a minimum of two years and meet all the criteria except percent of participation are also eligible.