Category Archives: Bourbon County

KState Extension: Do your cows suffer from the summertime blues?

Submitted by Christopher Petty, Southwind Extension Agent

According to the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, in the late 1970s, it was discovered that the poor performance and toxicosis symptoms were associated with cattle grazing tall fescue infected with the fungus Neotyphodium coenophialum. The terms “fescue fungus,” “endophyte,” “fungal endophyte” and “fescue endophyte” have all been used to describe this fungus.

“Endo” (within) plus “phyte” (plant) means a plant living within another plant. This fungus lives and grows between the cells of a tall fescue plant, and produces no signs or symptoms on the plant. Effects of the endophyte on grazing cattle can be seen as one or more of several clinical signs, including: lower feed intake, lower weight gains and rough hair coats during the summer, lower milk production, reduced reproductive performance, more time spent in shade and water and necrosis of hooves, tail, etc., commonly referred to as “fescue foot.”

An adapted strain of this grass was discovered growing on a farm in Kentucky in 1931. The cultivar “Kentucky-31” was released in the early 1940s, and was widely accepted by farmers throughout the Southeast because of its wide range of adaptation, ease of establishment and persistence. It gained a reputation as a low palatability forage that resulted in poor animal gains and various toxicosis symptoms, even though chemical analysis indicated that tall fescue was as good as any other cool-season grass. It was noted that dry matter intake was less in animals grazing tall fescue compared to those grazing other grasses. Early explanations for the poor palatability and intake were the coarse leaves and stems, and sharp edges on leaves.

In beef cattle, the term “summer slump” has been used to refer to fescue toxicosis, because of the visual symptoms that occur during most summers (e.g. Rough hair coat, extended time in shade and water). Because of this, many people assume that fescue toxicosis is primarily a summer problem. Research has shown that animal performance is reduced throughout the year, with the largest decreases in weight gains occurring during spring rather than summer.

Even though the presence of the endophyte in tall fescue results in toxicity symptoms, there are some positive aspects to endophyte infection. Research and practical experience have shown that endophyte infected tall fescue is more persistent than endophyte-free fescue in pasture. This difference became noticeable as the first endophyte-free varieties were used. Stands of endophyte-infected tall fescue had been grazed for many years and were still solid. The new stands of endophyte-free tall fescue became weedy and were often lost after only a few years. Novel “friendly” endophyte varieties are now available, with less negative consequences for cattle, but still retaining some positive benefits to the fescue.

The greater persistence of infected tall fescue is due to its enhanced ability to tolerate stress. The endophyte increases the tolerance of tall fescue to drought, disease, insects, grazing pressure or combinations of these, resulting in a more persistent plant.

Because of this, all producers with tall fescue pastures should ask themselves two questions: Are my tall fescue pastures infested with the endophyte and if my pastures are infested? What should I do about it? To find answers to these questions contact your local extension office.

Fairgrounds Dedicates New Pavilion

The Bourbon County Fair Board and other 4-H and fair participants dedicated the fairgrounds’ new Hubenett Pavilion Saturday evening, celebrating its completion in time for the 2017 County Youth Fair.

The open, covered pavilion with lighting provides a place for organizations, families or other groups to gather at the fairgrounds. The need for such a place was recognized after the completion of the 2016 fair.

“It will be a place to gather and make friendships and memories,” Darrel George said of the pavilion, which will be open to anyone in the community.

The pavilion was named after Terry “Slim” Hubenett, a long-term volunteer at the fairgrounds who donated hours of service to the grounds and the youth and parents involved in 4-H.

George said Hubenett was always available and willing to help with any project, maintenance or other need, even as far as removing a nest of bumblebees. Hubenett remained active in participating until a stroke prevented him from helping as frequently, though he still attends fair board meetings.

“Terry loves the county fair, he loves the 4-Hers, and he also loves the parents and the grandparents,” George said. “We appreciate your years of service.”

Volunteers worked on the pavilion while other donors provided funding and supplies. Those interested in booking the pavilion for an event can contact the fair board.

The county fair started Saturday morning with the dog show. Other events continue throughout the week at the fairgrounds. Check the FortScott.biz Facebook page for photos of the events.

KState Extension: 4-H and County Fair Objectives

Submitted by; Carla Nemecek, Southwind District Director & Agent
County Fair season is just around the corner! The week that nearly every 4-H member has worked and waited for since the fair ended last year. It is a time of year when youth from across the county get together to showcase their projects, but more importantly, it is a time for 4-H families to be together.


We have an awesome group of leaders and parents who work hard to make sure the kids are attending monthly meetings, participating in leadership activities and working “To Make the Best Better.” Participation in county fairs is an opportunity and privilege for 4-H members. If they choose to participate, they are in effect asking for an adult to give his or her opinion regarding the quality of their exhibit or participation. Having asked for this opinion, they should accept it gracefully and learn from it.
The county fair is an important piece of the total 4-H program, and in most cases is the most visible.  At the fair, 4-H members have several opportunities:
✓    Show what they’ve learned and accomplished in 4-H to the public.
✓    Develop project skills.
✓    Develop responsibility and self-confidence.
✓    Gain knowledge, counsel and encouragement from judges and others.
✓    Develop leadership skills by assuming fair responsibilities and working together with others.
✓    Learn new and better methods.
✓    Compare their work with a “standard” and with other 4-H’ers.
✓    Receive recognition and learn the importance of being both a good winner and a good loser.
✓    Share ideas and make friends with other 4-H members.
Leaders, parents and Extension professionals also have objectives for the County Fair, including:
✓    To help youth develop knowledge and practical skills in science and technology.
✓    To stimulate the personal growth and physical, mental and behavioral development of youth.
✓    To help youth become responsible citizens.
✓    To develop effective adult and youth leadership.
Remember, each of our 4-H members are responsible for their exhibit. Good sportsmanship means they took the time to listen to the judges’ critique and learn from another’s viewpoint. No one is to blame when a project doesn’t come together like we had expected—but oftentimes more is learned from the project that receives more criticism.  While some of our 4-H members are proud of their projects, others may be disappointed, I expect every competitor to be gracious—regardless of the ribbon they take home.
There are many opportunities to attend County Fair events in the Southwind District, and you can find County Fair schedules on our website, www.southwind.ksu.edu. Bourbon County will kick things off July 15-21, followed by Neosho County July 20-24, and Allen County will wrap up the county fair season in the Southwind District on July 27-31.

Sheriff’s Department Gives Tours of New Center

The Bourbon County Sheriff’s Office provided tours of the new Law Enforcement Center Thursday during the weekly Chamber Coffee, and continues to provide tours for those from the public interested in seeing the work done so far on the building.

“I just can’t thank you guys enough for getting us to where we’re at,” Sheriff Bill Martin said, saying it is because of the county leaders and the voters and county residents that the new building is being constructed.

Employees of the Sheriff’s Office are expected to be able to move into the new building in October, when they will begin training with the new building and equipment before moving the inmates in by the new year.

“It’s going to be an awesome facility,” City Manager Dave Martin said, praising those involved with the project.

KSU Extension: Summer Plant Problems Emerging

Submitted by Krista Harding

Summer is officially upon us now, and it has brought some common plant problems with it. We have had plenty of moisture and to date, our plants haven’t really had to be “tough” yet this growing season. Now that the temperatures have risen and we are not getting rain quite as often, some plants are starting to show environmental stress.

I have started getting calls about Walnut and River Birch trees having problems. The trees have yellow leaves scattered throughout the canopy and some are dropping leaves. How do you know if this is a serious problem for a tree? Generally speaking, it depends on the tree species and if the leaves stay attached to it. If leaves have fallen from throughout the tree and resulted in a general thinning of leaves, this is not a serious problem. Trees will often set more leaves in the spring than they can support during the summer. Heat and drought stress will cause the tree to lose leaves that it cannot support with the available soil moisture. Remember that our plants haven’t had to be “tough” yet. We can have green leaves drop that appear perfectly healthy. As long as the leaf drop results in a gradual thinning of the leaves, this is not a serious problem and the tree should be fine.

Sometimes, virtually all of the leaves drop. Certain trees, such as hackberry, can drop all of their leaves and enter summer dormancy. We are a bit early in the summer for this to occur, but it may happen soon if we turn off really hot and dry. If trees are affected by summer dormancy, they should still have supple twigs and healthy buds. Usually the effect on the health of the tree is very minor and the tree leafs out normally next spring. However, if the buds die and the twigs become brittle, at least part of the tree is dead.

Trees that have leaves that die and remain attached to the tree is a serious problem. Sometimes this happens in what seems like just overnight. In a case like this, the tree couldn’t keep up with moisture demands and died quickly. I have seen one case of this already. I believe it was due to the cold snap last December 18, when we got very close to zero temperatures. Damage to underlying tissues is the root cause of this problem.

Another problem that is starting to appear this time of year is two tomato leaf-spot diseases. Septoria leaf spot and early blight are both characterized by brown spots on the leaves. Septoria leaf spot is characterized by small dark spots whereas early blight spots are much larger and have distorted “target” pattern of concentric circles. These diseases usually start at the bottom of the plant and work up. Mulching, caging or staking to keep plants off the ground will make them less vulnerable to diseases by providing better air circulation so the foliage can dry quicker. Mulching also helps prevent water from splashing and carrying disease spores to the plant.

In situations where these diseases have been a problem in the past (or even this year), rotation is a good strategy. Obviously it is too late for that this year. Fungicides are often helpful. The active ingredient Chlorothalonil is a good choice to use. It can be found in numerous products including Fertilome Broad-Spectrum Landscape and Garden Fungicide; Ortho Garden Disease Control; Bonide Fungonil and others. Be sure to start protecting the plants when the disease is first noticed. It is all but impossible to control these diseases on heavily infected plants. Read labels for harvest waiting periods.

Don’t forget that most of the Extension services are free of charge! If you are experiencing plant problems, don’t hesitate to give me a call for diagnosis.

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Agricultural agent assigned to Southwind District. She may be reached at 620-244- 3826 or kharding@ksu.edu

KState Extension to Host Alternative Crop Event

Submitted by Christopher Petty

As summertime temperatures heat up, cool season farm and ranch pastures begin to lose productivity.

This can cause us to think about other ways to stretch or improve our ability to feed livestock. One possibility is alternative (cover) crops for livestock feeds. These crop mixes often include legumes, grasses and brassicas (turnips or radishes). Planted in the fall, these mixes can provide extra feed to help conserve or extend limited feed resources.

To learn more about these alternative crop mixes, join the K-State Research and Extension –Southwind District on Thursday, July 13, at 6 p.m. This meeting, which includes a meal, is sponsored by Landmark National Bank and will feature K-State Research and Extension Southeast Area Livestock Specialist Jaymelynn Farney. Dr. Farney will discuss research data relating to actual cover crop trials. The program will take place at the 4-H Building in Fort Scott, Kansas and a $10.00 fee, payable at the door, will cover the cost of meals and materials. Please pre-register by calling the Southwind District –Fort Scott Office at 620-223- 3720.

Commission Dismisses Rumor of Elm Creek Lake Sale

The Bourbon County Commission spoke with residents Tuesday who expressed concerns over the possibility that the county could sell Elm Creek Lake to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

During a meeting in early May, commissioner Jeff Fischer had shared a citizen’s suggestion that the county sell the lake so the maintenance would not be the county’s responsibility and a financial burden. No other discussion or decision was made during that meeting.

“There’s no plan to even discuss it,” commissioner Lynne Oharah said of such a sale. “It’s not going to be sold.”

Robert Query said the lake was created in 1936 as a backup water source, a place of recreation for the public and a source of employment, and he does not want to see that change.

“I am against the thought of selling it,” Fischer assured Query and others who came for confirmation of that fact.

Resident Gilbert Fleeman said he wants to see the lake remain public, county land for his children and grandchildren to enjoy.

Query pointed out there is a need for repairs of the lake’s dam, which has a number of leaks. He encouraged the county not to disregard such repairs as just another expense and decide to ignore it, adding he believes the money could be gathered through fundraisers and donations and not just from the county budget.

Oharah said they will look into estimates of what it would cost to fill in the holes.