Ladies, mark your calendars! The McPherson County Women Involved in Agriculture are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Jan. 20 at the 4-H building in McPherson.

Ladies, mark your calendars!  The McPherson County Women Involved in Agriculture are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Jan. 20 at the 4-H building in McPherson.  
This group would like to invite all women that are involved in agriculture in any way to consider joining their group.  There is no fee to participate and it is not a lobbying group of any kind.  It is designed to be an avenue to bring together agriculture women that share common interests, and a means of receiving education on topics that are of interest to the group.
January's topic is fitness!  Abbey Snell, personal trainer from Abbey Snell Fitness, will address the group about the importance of taking care of themselves and will also provide tips on how to get back on track following the holidays.
Future topics will be decided by the group.  
The WIA group plans to meet during the months of January through April and then September through November.  All of the meetings take place in McPherson.
The WIA group has a Facebook page that you can like to receive meeting notices or you can call the Extension office to be put on an email list.

Wheat winterkill
Producers are asking if the wheat will suffer from winterkill this year.  This is best answered by evaluating the conditions that can lead to winterkill damage.
How well has the wheat hardened off?  When temperatures gradually get cooler through the fall and early winter, wheat plants develop good winter hardiness.  When temperatures remain unusually warm late into the fall then suddenly drop into the low teens, plants are less likely to have had time to harden properly and will be more susceptible to winterkill damage.
This fall, we experienced temperatures that slowly decreased and therefore our wheat should have hardened in most situations.
Next we evaluate the root system of the wheat plant. Wheat that exhibits a good crown root system and two or more tillers will have better winter hardiness.  Poorly developed plants, with very few secondary roots and no tillers, will be more susceptible to winterkill.  
In order to evaluate the root system, plants will need to be pulled up and examined.  Poorly developed plants can be the result of several factors.
Finally we consider, how cold did the soil get at the crown root level?  This is measured at about one inch soil depth.  Several factors affect this temperature,   such as snow cover and moisture level.  Plants suffer from winter injury if the temperature at that crown level drops into the single digits.  
Having at least an inch of snow helps protect the wheat and the soil temperature usually will not reach those critical lows.  However, in areas where the snow cover blew or the soil was very dry, the potential for winterkill is present.  
Producers can test for winterkill damage by digging up a few plants, putting them into pots and bringing them indoors to see if they green up.  If the plants do not respond to the warmer conditions, it may be due to winter injury.  Sometimes plants will green up but then appear to go backwards, and that is due to their crown reserves having enough energy to begin the green up process. Winter injury damage to the vascular system prevents them from moving needed nutrients throughout the plant, and the plant eventually dies.
This slow death is probably the most common result of winter injury on wheat.