Tag Archives: K-State

Michael L. Day has been selected to lead Kansas State University’s department of animal sciences and industry beginning Aug. 11.

For the past four years, Day served as head of the department of animal science at the University of Wyoming. He was on the faculty in the department of animal sciences at The Ohio State University from 1985-2015, holding a research and teaching appointment focused on reproductive physiology of beef cattle.

“Dr. Mike Day comes to us with a great reputation as a research scientist, accomplished teacher and promising administrative leader,” said Ernie Minton, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and interim director of K-State Research and Extension. “He is an outstanding choice as the next academic leader for the department of animal sciences and industry and an ideal cultural fit for the department, the College of Agriculture, and K-State as a whole.”

The department of animal sciences and industry is the largest academic degree program at K-State, and among the largest of its kind nationally. The department records the greatest research expenditures of any single academic department in K-State’s Higher Education Research and Development report to the National Science Foundation, topping $15 million annually.

Day holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in animal science with an emphasis on reproductive physiology from the University of Nebraska. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry from the University of Missouri.

Since 2000, Day has received approximately $1.5 million in funding in support of his research. He has published 99 peer-reviewed scientific papers, along with hundreds of abstracts, proceedings, books and book chapters. He has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international settings.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the department of animal sciences and industry as head,” Day said. I am looking forward to working with faculty, staff, students and stakeholders as we move the department forward as a leader in animal and food sciences.”

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Continuing to deliver on its promise to meet the grand challenge of helping feed the world, Kansas State University and its partners brought together nearly 100 researchers and funding recipients in west Africa last month to share their work.

K-State’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL) conducted its annual meeting April 8-10 in Saly, Senegal. Participants presented their research on sustainable agriculture projects in seven developing nations: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Malawi, Senegal and Tanzania.

The theme of this year’s SIIL meeting was “Suitability, Scalability and Sustainability.” It highlighted the use of the systems approach to creating innovations that can be embraced by and successfully practiced in their intended environments and eventually expand to larger and more diverse farm operations.

“Our activities aren’t just about crop production, although that’s certainly part of the equation,” said Vara Prasad, University Distinguished Professor and director of the SIIL. “Our research takes a holistic, long-term view at the variety of factors that will allow farmers and others along the agricultural value chain to adopt innovative technologies.

Prasad said the end goal is to develop innovations that increase production, nutrition and resilience of the farming systems – all the while looking for ways to ensure sustainability and scalability from the smallest to the largest farms.

A systems approach can solve critical problems for farmers and lead to stronger commodity prices, better nutrition for children, and higher standards of living.

Prasad said a systems-based perspective helps researchers solve complex problems by considering all the factors that lead to the success — or failure — of agricultural innovations. The goal is to assess outcomes across multiple domains — productivity, economics, environment, human and social.

Truly international cooperation

The SIIL is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

Each project has a unique research focus and set of collaborating organizations, such as other innovation labs, international research institutes, and universities in the U.S. as well as the target countries.

Members of USAID, affiliated international research institutes and the SIIL External Advisory Board members attended the gathering in Senegal. Discussion and presentations centered on innovations developed by the projects and their outcomes over the last four years of the SIIL partnership.

Nora Lapitan, division chief of research at the USAID Bureau for Food Security, was particularly excited to see the synergies and collaborations made evident throughout the three-day event and was encouraged as to what that would mean for future collaborations across the SIIL focus countries.

Additionally, Jerry Glover, senior sustainable agricultural systems advisor at USAID, emphasized the need for systems thinking, participatory approaches and strong collaboration between biophysical and social scientists to address the needs of farming communities.

Up close with progress

Meeting attendees got a firsthand look at some of the projects currently being implemented in several communities in Senegal.

They were able to see how dual-purpose millet is being used as nutrition for people, especially young children and nursing mothers, as well as fodder for sheep and goats.

They were also given a tour of an agricultural high school where a dynamic principal is encouraging collaborations between the students and the local agricultural scientists, as youth engagement was one of the key components highlighted at the meeting and field visits.

The school is focusing on improved composting techniques, improved varieties, conservation agriculture practices and sustainable agricultural intensification innovations.

“Most of the time we work at different levels,” Prasad said. “We have some research which is at the plot level, some at the household level, some at the community level, some even at the larger scales of landscapes, across regions and countries.”

Another way to encourage farmers to adopt new practices is to work alongside them to develop innovations and showcase them in the communities in which they live.

Making these projects available for the community to see and participate in helps ensure that the technologies and practices being implemented will be suitable, sustainable and scalable.

“The biggest strength of the innovation labs at K-State is that each of them brings a unique perspective on the issues the agriculture sector around the world is facing, along with the knowledge and research to back up the innovative solutions that they provide,” said Nina Lilja, associate dean for international agriculture programs in Kansas State University’s College of Agriculture.

Building partnerships

Collaboration between research entities and other national and international organizations, such as those between the SIIL, the Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricole (ISRA) and the Peace Corps, were also highlighted and celebrated.

“We are excited that after only a year of collaboration with ISRA and the Peace Corps, we are already seeing the fruits of their labors, as the researchers and the volunteers build relationships with farmers in their communities, and are working to provide them with technologies that are suitable for them,” said Jan Middendorf, associate director of the SIIL.

Involving university students, especially those from ISRA, helps the SIIL-funded researchers accomplish their goal of building capacity and increasing the ability of educational institutions in the target countries to carry out their own research projects. Many of the projects require collaboration between U.S. university researchers and faculty and students in the target countries.

Making a difference for all

In a complex and globally connected agriculture ecosystem, K-State leads the way in improving food production and local economies in Kansas, the United States and developing countries around the world by helping to solve the myriad of problems that beset farming communities.

The SIIL brings together more than 120 scholars from more than 60 organizations, including 12 universities in the U.S., to address the challenge of increasing food production to meet the demand of growing populations, all while protecting our environment.

“Conducting innovative research and building human and institutional capacity is the strength of U.S. universities,” Prasad said. “We have the ability to identify the problems, solutions and options through research, and translate them into appropriate innovations for our target populations. Then we create networks and relationships with in-country organizations around the world to scale up those innovations for maximum positive impact.”

The harsh conditions in Kansas this past winter have prompted one of the state’s leading weather agencies to develop a tool that will help cattle producers in the future.

Officials with the Kansas Mesonet, a Kansas State University-based network of weather monitoring stations across the state, has announced the release of the Cattle Comfort Index, a tool that they say will help cattle producers better monitor the needs of their herds during normal and extreme weather conditions.

The tool is available at mesonet.k-state.edu/agriculture/animal.

“We’ve already had a lot of negative impacts on the cattle industry because of the cold temperatures this winter,” said Mary Knapp, the assistant state climatologist with Kansas Mesonet. “This tool will also look at extreme high temperatures.”

The Cattle Comfort Index compiles such climatological factors as weather, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and more to help producers determine the level of stress their animals may be experiencing at any given time.

“The index is driven by our five-minute data that is available from Kansas Mesonet,” Knapp said. “It will be calculated real-time and updated on a regular basis so that producers can see how that will change during the day.”

The climate information is gathered from each of the Mesonet’s 61 reporting stations in Kansas. For each, the system reports the perceived comfort level of cattle in that area, from no stress, to mild, moderate and severe.

Knapp said, “the actual animal response to temperature stress will be dependent on a number of factors not accounted for in the index,” including age, hair coat, health, body condition, micro-environment, and acclimatization.

“The index shown may start off at a reasonable comfort level in the morning, but as you get into the afternoon when that heat starts developing and the humidity hasn’t abated, that’s when you can get some of the heaviest stress on the livestock,” she said. “A chart will show the level over time, but historical data is limited to the week, ending with the current day.”

The tool was developed from research conducted at the University of Nebraska. The Kansas Mesonet website includes a map that shows conditions across the state and how that might play into risk for cattle.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — A Kansas State University research team is putting the finishing touches on the findings from 12 years of work in which they tested the value of growing cover crops in a no-till rotation with wheat, sorghum and soybeans.

Kraig Roozeboom, a research agronomist with K-State Research and Extension, says the group is finding that intensifying the cropping system with cover crops or double-cropping increases soil organic carbon near the surface, potentially leading to such benefits as better soil structure, aggregate size, water infiltration and more.

“We’ve demonstrated that you can grow cover crops in our environment with either neutral or positive benefits on cash-crop yields if managed appropriately,” Roozeboom said. “And there are benefits to the soil when doing that.”

The researchers conducted the study in three-year cycles, which includes harvesting wheat in June of a given year, followed by double-crop soybeans or cover crops through the summer, then sorghum planted the following May. Soybeans are planted the summer after sorghum harvest.

The cycle starts over again with winter wheat planted immediately after harvest of the full-season soybean crop. Roozeboom notes that the entire system is done with no-till farming.

Double-cropping is a strategy of growing two or more crops on the same land in the same growing season.

“The base system is wheat-sorghum-soybeans; spray out any weeds and volunteer wheat that comes out between wheat and sorghum planting,” Roozeboom said. “We call that our chemical fallow check.”

The work by K-State’s group has drawn the attention of the Soil Health Institute, a national organization that aims to raise awareness of soil health in the United States. The Institute selected the long-term experiment coordinated by Roozeboom for intensive sampling this spring. He said it is “one of dozens of sites” being sampled across North America.

“One of their objectives is to get a better handle on how to characterize soil health scientifically,” Roozeboom said.

The study, which began in 2007, has helped to establish the value of cover crops in suppressing weeds and improving soil health. Roozeboom said the results, in most years, indicate no negative impact on yields of the grain crops in the rotation, with appropriate modifications to nitrogen fertilization applied to sorghum.

“In fact, some cover crops have resulted in yields comparable to that obtained in the chemical fallow system but with less nitrogen fertilizer,” Roozeboom said. “The exception came in the summer of 2018. The previous winter and spring were extremely dry. As a result, sorghum yields were reduced dramatically if a cover crop was grown right up to sorghum planting.”

However, he adds, “sorghum yields after cover crops grown the previous summer and terminated in late fall or by frost over the winter were comparable to sorghum yields in the chemical fallow system.”

The economics of the system are still to be determined. Roozeboom notes that cover crops aren’t always the best route for growers, due to the added cost of planting and fertilizing and managing cover crops. The biggest question to researchers – and perhaps most important to farmers – is whether the added cost and time needed to grow cover crops actually benefits them in the end.

“If you’ve got the added component of grazing livestock on the cover crops, then suddenly cover crops have a much better economics component,” Roozeboom said. “Double-crop soybeans also increase the potential for a positive economic result because of the additional grain harvested from the system in most years.”

K-State’s team has published results from parts of the project, and expect to publish more findings soon. More information also is available from local extension agents, and at the K-State Department of Agronomy’s website.

A Kansas State University research team is putting the finishing touches on the findings from 12 years of work in which they tested the value of growing cover crops in a no-till rotation with wheat, sorghum and soybeans.

Kraig Roozeboom, a research agronomist with K-State Research and Extension, says the group is finding that intensifying the cropping system with cover crops or double-cropping increases soil organic carbon near the surface, potentially leading to such benefits as better soil structure, aggregate size, water infiltration and more.

“We’ve demonstrated that you can grow cover crops in our environment with either neutral or positive benefits on cash-crop yields if managed appropriately,” Roozeboom said. “And there are benefits to the soil when doing that.”

The researchers conducted the study in three-year cycles, which includes harvesting wheat in June of a given year, followed by double-crop soybeans or cover crops through the summer, then sorghum planted the following May. Soybeans are planted the summer after sorghum harvest.

The cycle starts over again with winter wheat planted immediately after harvest of the full-season soybean crop. Roozeboom notes that the entire system is done with no-till farming.

Double-cropping is a strategy of growing two or more crops on the same land in the same growing season.

“The base system is wheat-sorghum-soybeans; spray out any weeds and volunteer wheat that comes out between wheat and sorghum planting,” Roozeboom said. “We call that our chemical fallow check.”

The work by K-State’s group has drawn the attention of the Soil Health Institute, a national organization that aims to raise awareness of soil health in the United States. The Institute selected the long-term experiment coordinated by Roozeboom for intensive sampling this spring. He said it is “one of dozens of sites” being sampled across North America.

“One of their objectives is to get a better handle on how to characterize soil health scientifically,” Roozeboom said.

The study, which began in 2007, has helped to establish the value of cover crops in suppressing weeds and improving soil health. Roozeboom said the results, in most years, indicate no negative impact on yields of the grain crops in the rotation, with appropriate modifications to nitrogen fertilization applied to sorghum.

“In fact, some cover crops have resulted in yields comparable to that obtained in the chemical fallow system but with less nitrogen fertilizer,” Roozeboom said. “The exception came in the summer of 2018. The previous winter and spring were extremely dry. As a result, sorghum yields were reduced dramatically if a cover crop was grown right up to sorghum planting.”

However, he adds, “sorghum yields after cover crops grown the previous summer and terminated in late fall or by frost over the winter were comparable to sorghum yields in the chemical fallow system.”

The economics of the system are still to be determined. Roozeboom notes that cover crops aren’t always the best route for growers, due to the added cost of planting and fertilizing and managing cover crops. The biggest question to researchers – and perhaps most important to farmers – is whether the added cost and time needed to grow cover crops actually benefits them in the end.

“If you’ve got the added component of grazing livestock on the cover crops, then suddenly cover crops have a much better economics component,” Roozeboom said. “Double-crop soybeans also increase the potential for a positive economic result because of the additional grain harvested from the system in most years.”

K-State’s team has published results from parts of the project, and expect to publish more findings soon. More information also is available from local extension agents, and at the K-State Department of Agronomy’s website.

The Kansas Livestock Association (KLA), a trade organization protecting the business interests of livestock producers, has been selected to receive the 2019 Don L. Good Impact Award.

The award, presented by the Livestock and Meat Industry Council, is named in honor of Good, the former head of the Kansas State University Department of Animal Sciences and Industry. It is given each year to recognize positive impact on the livestock and meat industry or agriculture.

KLA will be recognized during the ASI Family and Friends Reunion on Oct. 4 at the Stanley Stout Center in Manhattan.

KLA, with headquarters in Topeka, was formed in 1894 when a group of more than 100 Flint Hills ranchers met in Emporia to discuss cattle theft problems and unreasonable railroad freight rates. Today, KLA works toward a better business climate for ranchers and feeders by representing members’ interests on legislative and regulatory issues and helping to enhance their ability to meet consumer demand.

Members of the association are involved in many aspects of the livestock industry, including seedstock, cow-calf and stocker cattle production, cattle feeding, dairy production, swine production, grazing land management and diversified farming operations. The association’s work is funded by voluntary dues paid by more than 5,500 members.

KLA is one of the nation’s most respected state livestock organizations. The leadership of KLA was instrumental in recommending and implementing the merger between the National Cattlemen’s Association and National Livestock and Meat Board.

Through the creation of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in 1995, the industry streamlined operations at the national level, mirroring a unified organizational structure that has served KLA for more than 100 years.

KLA represents the state’s multi-billion-dollar cattle industry at both the state and federal levels.

“For 125 years, KLA members have positively impacted the Kansas and U.S. livestock industry,” said Matt Teagarden, KLA chief executive officer. “KLA is honored to join the distinguished group of prior recipients of the Don L. Good Impact Award.”

He added: “KLA values the partnership we have with the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University. Both organizations have been serving the needs of Kansas livestock producers for more than 100 years. That partnership continues today in providing scholarships for K-State students, supporting the educational experience for ASI students and providing timely educational programs for KLA members and livestock producers.”

More information, along with registration, is available online for the Oct. 4 K-State ASI Family and Friends Reunion at www.asi.k-state.edu/familyandfriends.

A project that aligns the efforts of four Midwestern universities and two other groups dedicated to improving grazing practices for beef cattle in the Great Plains has received national recognition for its work.

 

The Great Plains Grazing project has been selected for a Partnership Award for Multistate Efforts by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which cited the group’s “outstanding efforts to strengthen the stewardship of private lands through technology and research.”

“This award is a testament to the significant efforts of all the collaborators involved in Great Plains Grazing,” said Dan Devlin, project leader and director of the Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment (KCARE) at Kansas State University. “This research is important not only for projecting how climate change will affect the beef grazing industry but also how to manage that industry more successfully through future drought conditions.”

Devlin noted that protecting the nation’s vital beef production from the stresses of climate variability is a key method to ensure the success of ranchers in the Southern Great Plains as well as to protect food security for the country.

The project fostered partnerships between K-State faculty and researchers from Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma, the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, Noble Foundation, and Tarleton State University.

The interdisciplinary project included 45 scientists, and more than 50 graduate students and post-doctoral researchers assisted with the research. Together, they successfully measured the net greenhouse gas emissions of grazing cattle in the Great Plains and were able to develop and quantify the impacts of improved grazing management practices on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Along with Devlin, K-State faculty and staff who played significant roles in Great Plains grazing work in the Department of Agronomy, Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, KCARE, the Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation, the Western Kansas Research-Extension Center, and the Southeast Kansas Research-Extension Center.

Martin Draper, K-State College of Agriculture interim associate dean for research and graduate programs, will join Devlin to accept the NIFA Partnership Award on behalf of Great Plains Grazing on April 25 in Washington, D.C.

The annual NIFA Partnership Awards were established in 2007 to recognize achievements and contributions by partners at land grant universities and other organizations and institutions.