Drought Maintains Its Grip on North Central Oklahoma


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Drought Maintains Its Grip on North Central Oklahoma

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Drought Maintains Its Grip on North Central Oklahoma

  1. 1. THE PONCA CITY NEWS, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1, 2012–PAGE 3-CDrought Maintains Its GripOn North Central Oklahoma NEWKIRK — Isolated spotsin Kay County received one-half inch of rainfall last week,but not enough, consideringthat evaporation rates perday with the triple-digit tem-peratures are near the sameamount. Severe drought grips two-thirds of the state. The Okla-homa Mesonet reports thatNorth-Central Oklahoma hasexperienced temperaturesabove 100 degrees in July andhas received only 12 percentof the normal precipitation, adeficit of nearly three inchesin the past 30 days. In its July 22 report, theUSDA topsoil and subsoilmoisture conditions are esti-mated as very short. The U.S.Drought Monitor is predictingthe drought will continue topersist and intensify. Spring row crop conditionshave deteriorated rapidly,especially double crop soy-beans. Livestock producersare noting shortages of hayand grazing forages. Susan Henning, DistrictManager for the Kay CountyConservation District con-tacted a few local livestockproducers and farmers lastweek to get their take on thedrought situation. Joe Kreger, manager ofBois d’Arc Beefmaster Cat-tle, southwest of Tonkawa,said he believes his opera-tion is in worse shape this POLLEN IN the corn tassels was killed due to temperatures in theyear than in 2011. Although 100s, causing this poorly filled ear.2011 allowed the clean-out of uidated for a pittance of the in her area took advantage ofponds and early 2012 spring normal market price. the dry ponds last year andrains helped fill them up for Kreger said “You just have cleaned them out as well, justlivestock water, Bermuda and to trust the Good Lord and be in time to collect the earlynative grass pastures are still an optimist to survive in this 2012 rains. Natural springsset back from last year. business.” in the area, however, have Kreger said he has not Mimi Aupperle, a cattle stopped running.been able to replenish hay rancher from the eastern tall- She notes that native grass,inventories, because they are grass prairie region of the even though in shorter quan-grazing instead of baling hay county, said recent rains have tity, seems to have been better TEMPERATURES ABOVE 100 degrees, no rain and drying winds have been brutal on crops in Kay County,meadows. Their only salva- been spotty, but she believes quality forage. Her cows are including this corn crop which has dried up and is starting to fall down. Farmers estimate 10 to 30 percenttion in 2011 was late rains in this year is much worse than still producing well. Fewer of the normal yield if the corn can even be harvested.August and September, which last year since the native ranchers are bringing in arevived the Bermuda grass grasses have not recovered second batch of stockers in early spring rains replen- fields and fears that aflatox- ers affected by the drought,and delayed feeding hay later from 2011. July due to reduced forage ished the topsoil moisture but in levels may be high. They Secretary of Agriculture Tominto the fall. Aupperle said she was lucky availability. the subsoil is still depleted have tried harvesting some of Vilsack announced recently Kreger said these last two that her brome hay benefit- Neal Otto, a local no-till from last year, he said. the corn but the dried stalks that he will allow additionalyears are reminiscent of the ted from the early spring 2012 farmer in the Kildare area, “Now with this triple digit break off and plug up the corn acres under the Conservation1950s, when they would sad- rains and yields were about jokingly says that they are heat and drying winds in 2012, head on the combine. Reserve Program to be useddle up their horses and let the same as in 2011. It was just “one rain ahead” of last the topsoil moisture is deplet- Steve Wooderson said he for haying or gazing underthe cattle graze the ditches definitely an advantage to cut year. ed,” he said. “Last year there believes that the yields will emergency conditions. CRPand cattle herds had to be liq- hay early this year. Ranchers This year is different as was no corn harvested. This only be 10 percent to 20 per- is a voluntary program that year the corn produced small cent of normal. Cooler tem- provides producers annu- ears, but yields are a third of peratures and rains could al rental payments on their normal.” still give the first crop soy- land in exchange for planting Otto said if he had known beans a chance. Double crop resource conserving crops on how this summer would turn soybeans in the area never cropland to help prevent ero- out, he would have planted received the much-needed sion, provide wildlife habitat corn in March instead of rains since planting and many and improve the environment. April. farmers are abandoning them Haying and grazing will First crop soybeans are sur- to prepare fields for wheat only be allowed following the viving but have yet to set on planting. local primary nesting season, any pods, due to high temper- Dale Wooderson reports which has already passed in atures, he said. Double crop that at least for some farm- most areas. Especially sensi- soybeans following wheat are ers, this drought comes on the tive lands such as wetlands, a loss. heels of a bumper wheat crop. stream buffers and rare Otto has baled some prairie However, 80 percent of his habitats will not be eligible. hay, but due to early spring wheat was hailed out. Before producers hay or graze rains and the thinned grass Steve Wooderson noted the CRP acres, they must receive stands from last year, cheat milo or grain sorghum was approval from the Farm Ser- has been a real problem. “holding in there” last week, vice Agency office at 580-362- Dale and Steve Wooderson, but continued high tempera- 3362. farmers in the Blackwell area tures and drying winds have Wetlands Reserve Program and seed dealers for DeKalb also caused it to decline. acres have also been released corn and Asgrow soybeans, Dale Wooderson agreed for emergency haying and echo Otto’s predictions of with Kreger that 2012 looks grazing in drought–affected this year’s corn and soybean like the mid-1950s. He said areas. Approval for haying crops. that year the soybeans looked and grazing on WRP acres Dale Wooderson said that like “dried tobacco” in the must be approved through the only small ears of corn with field. NRCS office in Newkirk at light test weights are in the To assist farmers and ranch- 580-362-3362.Drought Hard on Trees Talk To Cover County Conservation District Irrigation, NEWKIRK — Trees and shrubs become a permanent partof the home landscape, adding to a home’s appearance andincreasing its value. But trees also provide shade, reducingsummer cooling costs by as much as 50 percent, reduce wind Conservation Announces Contests Themespeed by 75 percent and, in turn, winter heating costs by 25 NEWKIRK — The beginning of school sig- mation on how the Kay County Conservation STILLWATER — Gardening nals opportunities for students to participate District helps with conservation of naturalpercent. enthusiasts who want to learn in contests sponsored by the Kay County Con- resources and mention the district by name. Trees also provide privacy, create noise barriers, stabilize more about water conserva- servation District. The essay must be from 300 to 500 words insoil and prevent soil erosion, and can provide abundant har- tion and irrigation should “Soil to Spoon” will be the theme for all length, typed and double spaced with speci-vests of fruit and nuts for people and wildlife. make plans to attend the student poster and essay contests this year, fied cover page. It is estimated that every person would have to plant 45 trees Brown Bag Lecture Series at as it is the national stewardship week theme. Entry deadline is Sept. 26 to the Kay Countyto store the carbon they would be responsible for producing in The Botanic Garden at Okla- “Making the connection back to the soil, Conservation District Office. Preferred entrytheir lifetime, said Susan Henning, director of the Kay County homa State University Aug. 9. where our food gets its start, is so important,” is by email to kayccd@conservation.ok.gov.Conservation District. The event will take place says National Association of Conservation Entries may also be mailed to 5501 North To protect their investment, landowners should plan for care from noon to 1 p.m. at the Districts President Gene Schmidt. “The next Pleasant View Avenue, Newkirk, OK 74647 orand maintenance of landscape plants, especially during times Education Building at the gar- time you sit down to a meal, take a minute faxed to 580-362-2834. The Newkirk Heraldof drought, Henning said. den. Guest speaker will be to think about where your food came from, Journal is sponsoring cash awards to the first Symptoms of a tree under drought stress can come on sud- Lou Anella, ornamentals pro- and the farmers and ranchers who helped place ($10) and second place ($7) winners anddenly or may take several years to be noticed. fessor at OSU. produce it.” third place ($5) in each grade level. Area and “We are probably seeing symptoms show up this summer Laura Payne, volunteer/ As they work to produce food for the grow- state competitions will also be held.from the drought last year,” Henning said. education coordinator at The ing population, today’s farmers and ranchers The Kay County Conservation District Sudden tree death may be caused from a damaged vascular Botanic Garden at OSU, said are dedicated to using responsible land-man- Speech Contest will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct.system due to insects or diseases, such as Dutch Elm Disease. Anella will give a tour of the agement practices to ensure a sustainable 4 at the Farm Service Center in Newkirk atOther symptoms include wilting, curling of leaf edges and yel- OSU Water Conservation and food supply and healthy land and soil for 5501 North Pleasant View Avenue. Studentslowing or scorching of leaf edges or intraveinal areas on decid- Irrigation Training Center, future generations. enrolled in a public or private school or whouous trees. Evergreens may display yellowing needles or ones which is new to The Botanic Kindergarten students will color pictures are home schooled in grades 8-12 within Kaythat turn red or purple. Some leaves may prematurely drop off. Garden. He also will focus on depicting where our food comes from and how County are eligible to compete in the county Often the drought will not outright kill a tree, but will set it water conservation strategies it relates to the soil. These pictures will be speech contest.up for more serious insect and disease damage in subsequent for home landscape irrigation. displayed at the Kay County Fair in Blackwell The theme of each speech is anything topicyears, Henning said. “We encourage those with Sept. 11-15. Each student will receive a blue related to conservation of natural resources. She advised watering deciduous trees to a soil depth of an interest in gardening to participation ribbon. Students compete in grade level divisions:12 inches, saturating the soil within the dripline of the tree bring their lunch and spend Competitive contests include poster, essay grades 8-10 and grades 11-12. The contestcanopy, increase this by 3 to 5 feet beyond the dripline for an hour at The Botanic Garden and speech contests. The Kay County Farm is not just for students involved in ranchingevergreens. in an effort to gain informa- Bureau is partnering with the conservation and/or farming, but all students are encour- “At least 90 percent of tree roots are located in this top 12 tion they will find valuable for district by providing poster board for the aged to participate to learn how conservationinches of soil,” she said. “You should plan on watering slowly their own gardens at home,” posters and medallions for winners in each is important for residents of both rural andover a period of time to facilitate deep penetration of water Payne said. “Now that we’re age category at the local level. urban settings and to benefit from the publicinto the soil profile, which encourages deeper root growth with getting into a really dry part First place winners in the local contest speaking experience.more drought resistance.” of the summer, the informa- will be eligible to compete at the area level. Resource materials are available at the A general rule of thumb is to use approximately 10 gallons tion available at this lecture State and national competitions will also be Kay County Conservation District, Naturalof water per inch of trunk diameter at knee height for each will be especially beneficial held. The poster contest is open to children Resource Conservation and OSU Extensionwatering. Henning said it takes about five minutes to dispense to gardeners.” in grades kindergarten through 12th grade, offices in Newkirk or students are encour-10 gallons of water from a hose. Members of The Botanic with a separate division for special education aged to interview farmers and ranchers, visit Mulching around trees with 4 inches of organic mulch will Garden at OSU may attend students. their local libraries and search the Internet.also reduce moisture loss. at no cost. Non-members will Area schools will receive an informational The Ponca City News is sponsoring awards “Be sure mulch is pulled back 6 inches from the trunk of the need to pay a $5 fee. Pre-regis- packet on the contest. Posters must measure to the first ($25), second ($15), and third ($10)tree to prevent the harboring of insects or rodents which may tration is not necessary. 14 by 22 inches. Schools and individual stu- place winners in each division. The topfeed on the bark,” Henning said. “Don’t dig holes in the ground Steve Dobbs, OSU grounds dents may request poster board directly from two local winners in each division are eli-in an effort to water deeply. This will only dry out the root zone and landscape manager, will the Kay County Conservation District office gible to represent the county at the Oklahomamore.” speak Sept. 13 about plants at 580-362-2438. Requests for poster board Association of Conservation Districts Area During times of water restrictions, give trees, especially used in landscapes to create must be made by Sept. 14. Completed entries II meeting in November in Oklahoma City.newly planted ones, ones growing in landscape strips by side- texture and diversity while are due Oct. 5. Posters should be created Participants are asked to pre-register by Oct.walks or driveways priority over lawn grasses. Lawns can eas- saving space. using two dimensional art techniques such 1 by contacting the Kay County Conservationily be re-established in a couple of months, whereas a tree will Todd Lasseinge, executive as watercolor, markers, crayons and colored District.take 20 years to replace. director of the Oklahoma Cen- pencils. No three dimensional projects will For complete contest details, call the Kay Postpone fertilizing trees during a drought, which may cause tennial Botanic Garden, will be accepted. County Conservation District at 580-362-2438a flush of new growth that the roots may not be able to supply speak Oct. 11 about the role The Newkirk Herald Journal and the Kay or stop by the office at 5501 North Pleasantwith water, Henning said. Remove dead and damaged limbs to botanical gardens have in County Conservation District are sponsor- View Avenue in Newkirk.reduce the chance of secondary insect and disease problems. preserving horticultural plant ing a conservation-minded essay contest for Susan Henning For more information about protecting plants in your land- germplasm. students in grades 6-8. The essay must follow Director, Kay Countyscape, call the Kay County Conservation District at 580-362- OSU Agricultural2438. the theme “Soil to Spoon” and include infor- Conservation District Communications Services