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Special Features Section, Superior Express

Jenny's REESources

Letter to the 38th District


Jenny's REESources, by Jenny Rees, UNL Extension
Grateful for the crops that have been harvested thus far! Also grateful for so many paying attention to grain quality coming out of the fields! That's been a large part of the past 10 days for
me ­­ obtaining grain samples and pictures to answer grain quality questions from quite an area. So I did a quick literature review to better understand the conditions when various ear rot fungi grow and also put together a blog post to hopefully help all of us better diagnose what we're seeing in grain samples-whether corn or soybean. You can find it at:
Fungal growth in storage is based on moisture, humidity and temperature. I've heard various numbers being used for grain storage and I'm not a grain storage expert. I can also appreciate it costs you more and takes time with the current weather conditions to dry corn. In general, most Extension publications throughout the U.S. recommend getting grain dried to 15 percent as quickly as possible and maintaining grain in long-term storage at 13 percent. Briefly, in looking through the literature, the reason for this advice is because various ear rot fungi can continue to grow on and inside those kernels. There's more than 25 species of ear rot fungi with most of them ceasing growth at 15 percent.
The main exception is Aspergillus which has species that can continue from just below 13 to above 14 percent. Thankfully we don't have a problem with Aspergillus this year. We are seeing a lot of Fusarium and some Gibberella (which may increase with this rain). But we're also seeing some Diplodia and other lesser ear rot fungi such as Penicillium, Cladosporium and Nigrospora. The thing is that each fungal species has a temperature and moisture range in which they continue to grow.
So if one is growing in a kernel, it gives off heat and moisture allowing for changes in temperature, humidity and moisture within that area which can allow for other fungal species to grow. Fungi grows from one infected kernel to adjacent kernels. Having more fines, cob pieces, etc. can increase potential for fungal growth in the bin. Insects also give off heat, which changes localized dynamics. Because of these reasons, our recommendation is to get grain dried to 15 percent as quickly as possible to help stop fungal growth we're experiencing this year, particularly from Fusarium species. We're not saying you need to get the grain dried to 13 percent immediately. It's only a consideration down the road if you're storing the grain till next summer.
The following NebGuide is a great resource: Management of In-Bin Natural Air Grain Drying Systems to Minimize Energy Costs: Our grain storage resource page can be found at:
Also, there's a new app called "Mycotoxins" and it's another resource with ear rot pictures and mycotoxin information put out by several universities produced for both Apple and Android devices.
Farm-ranch transition when you aren't in control - Passing the farm or ranch on to the next generation is a tough job, especially if the next generation is unsure of what will happen when their parents die. It is especially for those people, who are wondering what is going on, that a series of farm and ranch transition workshops are planned at Valentine, Ainsworth, O'Neill, Norfolk and York from Oct.
23 to Nov. 14.
The workshops will focus on the needs of the "sandwich generation," between parents who still own land and children who might want to join the operation, on whom farm and ranch transition and transfer often falls.
Lack of communication often hinders transitions. The Gen2, or Sandwich Generation, will learn how to communicate with family to understand the transition and practice asking difficult questions.
Legal topics presented at the workshops will center around Gen2 needs,
including elements of a good business entity, levels of layers for on-farm heirs control and access, and turning agreements into effective written leases. Joe Hawbaker, estate planning attorney, and Allan Vyhnalek, Nebraska Extension transition specialist, will share stories and experiences to successfully plan on the legal side. Dave Goeller, financial and transition specialist, will cover financial considerations, retirement and compensation versus contribution.
Many families struggle to split assets fairly between on-ranch and off-ranch heirs, while continuing the ranch as a business. Goeller will discuss the family side and what to consider when dividing assets. Vyhnalek will also cover less-than-ideal situations, negotiating and looking for other business options. The times are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at each location. The closest location to this area is Nov. 14 in York at the 4-H Building. Cost is $20 per person. If more than two people are attending per operation, the cost is $15 per person. Pre-register at (402) 362-5508 or for meal count.

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Letter to the 38th District
By Sen. John Kuehn,
Nebraska Legislature
In 2015, a study appeared in the academic journal International Archives of Medicine titled "Chocolate with high Cocoa content as a weight loss accelerator." Within weeks, news of the study was reported in more than 20 countries in print, on morning TV shows and in online stories. The study's results showed participants on a low carbohydrate diet who ate 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily lost more weight than those eating a low carb diet alone, were too good to be true. The headlines were sensational. The coverage was global. The study was a hoax. Filmmaker Peter Onneken and journalist John Bohannon developed the scenario to demonstrate how a scientifically unsound study, literally junk science, could be published by a journal and reported on by the media with no critical evaluation of the merits or validity of the data.
Although the study was actually conducted, the sample size was small,
only 15 people, and the analysis of the results lacked standards and rigor expected of scientific inquiry. Not a single journalist examined the methodology or results of the study before reporting it to the world. In a graphic and indisputable way, Onneken and Bohannon made their point.
On Sept. 14, a report was filed with the Nebraska Legislature on the progress of a $250,000 pilot study of cannabidiol oil paid for by Nebraska taxpayers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. LB 390, passed in 2015, authorized the study and required a progress report to the legislature each year by Sept. 15. The report filed is less than a page and a half in length and contains the information required by law. The legislative report is not, by any stretch of the term, a scientific study. While the number of participants are listed (23), and some of the side ffects are enumerated, there is no analysis of the significance or magnitude of the observations. The report states "the majority have demonstrating [sic] benefit," but does not state what those benefits are, if majority means merely 12 of the 23, if the three patients who dropped out of the study due to negative effects are included, or whether the drug had different impacts on the 11 minors in the study compared to the adults. The small sample size, large number of variables that are mentioned, and the diversity of the study subjects are all red flags for anyone critically evaluating the outcomes of the study. That did not, however, stop media from overstating conclusions based on the brief status report of the project. A Sept. 15 Lincoln Journal Star article repeated the text of the report, without ever examining whether the results were statistically valid. In response to an email I sent to the report's author, the UNMC associate vice chancellor for clinical research, on Sept. 18, he replied "the principal investigator is working with a statistician now on the data" and that complete data was not yet available even for review.
Given the small number of study participants, it is impossible to distinguish any observed effect from random chance without careful and rigorous statistical analysis.The lack of statistical analysis or even a complete data set didn't seem to matter to the Lincoln Journal Star editorial board, who proclaimed in a Sept. 21 editorial headline "UNMC study reiterates need for a medical cannabis law," even though the study didn't even examine medical cannabis. The cannabidiol oil in the study is actually a commercial product that received FDA approval in June of this year. Just a few days later, the Omaha World Herald News Bureau also cited the "study" in an article about proposed medical marijuana legislation. Sen. Anna Wishart, who is again proposing the policy, sent the Lincoln Journal Star article to all senators via email on Sept. 18 as evidence in support of her medical marijuana policy.
When media articles and legislative reports are used as the basis for making policy, they should, at minimum, be based on sound and rigorous analysis. Making conclusions based on a small, incomplete data set that has not yet undergone any peer review is reckless and irresponsible. The failure of the report's author and the journalists to inform the public that the data set has not yet been subject to analysis has the potential to mislead and misinform. A single email was all it took for me to obtain the facts.While the chocolate-weight loss scenario showed how absurd sensationalized science reporting can be, the reporting on the cannabidiol study is not a joke.
When taxpayer money is used to fund a study, the assumption is the results will be presented in a valid, unbiased manner. I have recommended
to the report's author he amend his filing with the legislature to reflect the incomplete and unanalyzed status of the data. Verifying the veracity of information should be the first job of a journalist, especially when their articles are used by lawmakers and editorial boards to promote public policy. This instance indicates lawmakers cannot assume accuracy in newspaper articles without verifying the details themselves. The facts matter. Public trust and human lives are at stake.