• P.J. Griekspoor

    Arctic Blast Challenges Livestock Producers

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 7, 2014

    Whoa! Yes, there still IS winter in Kansas as this week’s plunge into the deep freeze reminds us. Wichita hit sub-zero on Sunday night and low single digits on Monday night, with howling north winds making for totally miserable wind chill readings in the minus 20 range. :Livestock, and the humans that care for it, suffer in cold like that. To all my friends out there who are feeding cattle and milking cows and tending other livestock in the bitter cold, my hat is off to you…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Cellulosic Ethanol Looks More Promising After Tours

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on October 15, 2013

    Today’s events at the North American Agricultural Journalists fall meeting in Des Moines have me very close to changing my mind on the future of cellulosic ethanol. I have often said I am skeptical of whether biomass can be collected, harvested and handled in sufficient quantity to sustain the industry. A look at the work being done in Iowa makes the potential for exactly that look a lot more promising, We toured the Lincolnway Energy grain ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa, which…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Worsening Drought Big Cause for Concern

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 5, 2012

    It doesn't take much driving across Kansas to notice there is a serious drought in progress. I took a trip across the southern part of the state from Wichita to the Colorado border and back across the central part of the state on Kansas Hwy. 96 earlier this week. It’s incredibly dry everywhere. But the western third of the state is decimated. I love the “chance of showers” you see in four or five days out in the long-range forecast. The problem is, but the time that…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Great Day With Great Farmers

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on March 14, 2012

    Today was the spring South Central Kansas Residue Alliance workshop in Kingman with two great speakers, Dwayne Beck, Dakota Lakes Research Farm in Pierre, S.D. and James Hoorman, assistant professor at Ohio State University Extension. The topic was cover crops, which farmers agree, is still "more art that science," and how best to use them. Driving home, I couldn't help thinking what great people these farmers are, how dedicated they are to their land, their families and the future of…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Cover Crops Prove Value in Drought

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 25, 2012

    Gail Fuller farms near Emporia and like most of Kansas, was hit hard by severe heat and dry weather conditions last summer. At the end of the summer, he was more convinced that ever that continuous cover crops pay, even with no rain and temperatures over 100 degrees for weeks. Fuller told attendees at the annual No-Till on the Plains Conference in Salina that soil temperatures on acres with cover crops were as much as 30 degrees cooler than without them. His latest experiment: companion…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Warm Weather Is Double Edged Sword For Wheat Farmers

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 24, 2012

    TV weathermen are on a nightly rant about how "nice" the January weather is as temperatures in the 50s and 60s continue to dominate the scene, with more of the same in the forecast for the end of the month. As we move toward February, we're nearing the end of traditional winter and farmers are watching wheat fields with trepidation. Moisture loss at this time of year is critical to wheat farmers and it is occurring in a serious way. South Central Kansas has received no rain or snow for…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    And, Suddenly, It Is Winter

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on December 6, 2011

    What a difference a couple of days makes!! Less than a week ago, my petunias, snap dragons and sole surviving geranium were still blooming in my front garden. Now, the fountain sports icicles and the once-vivid flowers are more like puddles of color on the soil. It happens this way every year -- we get maybe one cold spell around Halloween and then a month of summer-ish November weather followed by a sudden chill down. You'd think I'd be used to it after almost 22 years in Kansas, but…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    New Drought Monitor Map Not Encouraging

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on November 16, 2011

    Less of Kansas is in exceptional drought this week than last. That is the good news, thanks probably to the widespread rains that moved across the area about a week ago. But the bad news is still with us. The area of Kansas that is some kind of drought, abnormally dry to exceptional drought, is up. All but six counties now have some area in a drought designation. For south-central Kansas, where heavy rains a week ago were highly welcomed, the exceptional drought has backed off, leaving us…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    It's Raining! It's Raining!

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on November 7, 2011

    More than an inch of rain has fallen across parched south-central Kansas today in the first day of rain since we got about 3/4 of an inch on Oct. 8. It is a welcome soaking for the winter wheat crop and the native prairie and downpours have even generated some runoff that will help the pasture ponds. With temperatures at near-freezing overnight, there won't be much chance for anything to really get growing before the winter winds blow, but anything in the profile is better than nothing…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    It Was a Day of Dirt

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on October 7, 2011

    The snow gates on I-70 in western Kansas were closed this week, diverting traffic off the busy Interstate and into rural motels and cafes. No, there's no time warp. It's not winter. And it wasn't snow that closed the highway.  It was the blowing dirt coming off the farm fields of eastern Colorado and western Kansas. Part of it was the result of desperate farmers "dusting in" wheat in the hopes that the widespread rain would come this weekend. But most of it was the result of dead…

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