Dec 02, 2019 10:30 PM

Reinforced concrete box culvert project nearing completion on SW 70 Road

Posted Dec 02, 2019 10:30 PM

By COLE REIF

Great Bend Post


The reinforced concrete box culvert project on SW 70 Road, just west of Pawnee Rock is almost complete. It is a joint project with Pawnee County since it takes place on the Barton/Pawnee border. Barton County Engineer Barry McManaman says the staffs are now waiting for nice weather to put asphalt down and reopen the road.


A change order for extra reinforcing steel was necessary on the east box after there was a change in the design standards.


"There was a bar in the floor of the east box that needed to be lengthened," said McManaman. "The federal government has issued new guidelines, and if we did not lengthen those bars there was a chance we would have to put up weight limit signs, which would have been kinda silly on a brand new box."


Barton and Pawnee counties decided to lengthen the bars a couple of feet to avoid having to post weight limit signs.


The net cost of the additional steel is $418, with half of the cost being reimbursed by Pawnee County.


"L&M Contractors agreed to accept the unit price for the steel that they bid for the rest of the job," said McManaman.


Commissioners approved the change order. The final price with the change order takes the total to $129,059.


McManaman expected the road to be open to traffic within the next week or two.

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Dec 02, 2019 10:30 PM
Agriculture and Downtime?

The drought monitor shows abnormally dry areas in Western and South Central Kansas expanding with Barton, Stafford, Rice and Pratt Counties still abnormally dry. However, the area of drought is expanding into eastern Stafford County.  The abnormally dry area is continuing to expand into Northwest Kansas. On the plus side the past week included some moisture which helps a bit, especially with seasonal temperatures. The down side is the chaos this weather has played with the holiday weekend. Any soil moisture recharge at the soil surface is a benefit as it not only is needed moisture but helps moderate soil temperatures and helps protects the growing point on the 2020 wheat crop.   


Just in case you are interested, here is the URL for the drought monitor website which is updated every Thursday with data collected the preceding Tuesday (https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/). Now that the 2019 harvest is essentially over and the 2020 wheat crop is in the ground, many non-producers assume farmers have a lot of free time. Let’s take a brief and by no means complete look at what a typical producer may be doing the next month or so.


·        Once harvest is over and spraying done for a while, clean out equipment, conduct any necessary repairs, winterize sprayers and tractors, and prepare for spring field work. An entire column could be devoted to this and other bullet points.


·        Hopefully, continue to prepare records, payments, etc. for filing 2019 taxes. The word hopefully is used since trying to do this by starting now is a herculean task. Even when using an accountant – an operator has a lot to do here.


·        Unless done already, determine as best as possible a marketing plan for crops in the bin. This is as much an art as a science and takes into account many factors from input costs to world export markets.


·        Make sure all necessary reports are filed with the Farm Services Administration and any other necessary governmental agency. This can be a bit of a challenge when dealing with several landlords, insurance claims, and dealing with lending agencies.


·        Looking at input purchases for the 2020 year should likely have already have started. Examining opportunities for purchases at lower prices. Determining varieties and hybrids to purchase.


·        Determining 2020 planting intentions, even though almost five months away. Looking at projected crop values and input costs to divide up acreage by crop is just part of this process. It also includes looking at 2019 yields, problem fields, weed problems, soil test levels, etc.


·        Depending on the year and testing program, take soil test samples (except for sulfur and nitrogen), have them analyzed with results for anticipated crops and yield goals, and then develop a fertilizer/ liming program based on these results.


·        This is also the start of peak meeting season for producers to learn and grow in their knowledge base. Meetings conducted by extension, commodity groups, and industry all serve to aid a producer in making operations as efficient and environmentally safe as possible.


·        Finally, for many, they produce not only crops but have livestock as part of their operation. So they are feeding and watering livestock, monitoring animal health and treating illnesses and injuries, and for many preparing for calving.


Most would agree, producers have a great deal to keep them busy.