Northwest Missouri Regional Director's Office


Find an MU Extension center in northwest Missouri

Northwest Missouri counties



University of Missouri Extension is looking for people who want an awarding position focusing on improving lives and communities with research-based education. 

The following list are opportunities being offered in the Northwest Region:

Agronomy Specialist, Ray County, Job ID 21218
4H Youth Development Program Associate, Buchanan County, Job ID 22974
Nutrition Program Associate, Saline County, Job ID 26265

For a full list, please visit Career opportunities with MU Extension.

An Equal Opportunity/Access/affirmative Actions/Pro Disabled & Veteran Employer

Armyworm injury continues

Much of the armyworm damage has occurred in counties that have pastureland. There are several resources at the University of Missouri Extension website, which can help you with the identification and understanding of this pest. These resources can be found at

The phone has been ringing regarding armyworm damage.  Calls have been from most all counties in northwest Missouri.  Growers should actively scout grass pastures for this pest.

Scouting is best conducted late in evening or early morning because the worms typically feed at night. Worms will attack grass pastures, winter wheat and corn.

Armyworm attack and defoliate grass plants. There are two to three generations per year with most damage occurring from this pest in May and June.

Larvae feed for 3 to 4 weeks, however, eighty percent of the damage occurs during the last 5 days of larval feeding. When all food is consumed, the larvae will move to a different site giving the appearance of moving in hordes.

During the day, larvae will be curled up under the ground litter in pastures during the day. Economic threshold is four worms per square foot in pasture. 

In pastures, there are insecticide products which labels indicate that animals do not have to be removed from the area of insecticide application.  These are safe insecticides or would not have this labeling. In addition, some insecticides are less expensive but may not provide level of control desired. Check with your local dealer and ask for their experience.

Be sure to use a sufficient amount of water as carrier also to get good coverage of the insecticide to the worm. Dense grass canopies may hinder insecticide reaching the larvae. Also, larger worms are harder to control than smaller worms. If possible, spray as dusk or night may provide better control as worms will be on plants and will be more likely to encounter the insecticide.

For more information, contact Wayne Flanary, Regional Agronomist, at 660-446-3724, University of Missouri Extension.

Understanding Kentucky-31 Tall Fescue Toxicosis

University of Missouri Extension/NW Region is holding a meeting for livestock producers on July 10 at the Mercer County MU Extension Office. 


Home food preservation classes available in Savannah and Maryville

Food preservation classes will be held in Savannah, Savannah United Methodist Church and Maryville, First United Methodist Church of Maryville.  There will be four sessions at each location and each session discussing a different topic beginning July 17 until August 10.  Call 816-279-1691or email Sarah Wood,  to reserve a spot. 

Is your family prepared for an emergency disaster?

Now is the time of year to make sure your safe room at home is ready. Update your supply of food, water, personal care items like medicine & glasses, first aid kit, and flashlights with fresh batteries. Also, include a change of clothing for each family member and sturdy shoes. Keep your cell phones charged and use only one at a time in order to have extended texting abilities in case power is lost. Click the link for a complete list of items to include in your Disaster Supplies Kit.


For other information concerning emergencies and disasters, go to MU Extension Emergency management website.


By Tim Baker, NW Region Horticulture Specialist


Some gardeners are natural experimenters, always looking for a new crop to try.  After a while, tomatoes, green beans and sweet corn become passé, so they start looking from something else to add to their garden.  If you fall into the above category and are looking for something a little different to try, you might consider sweet corn’s close relative, popcorn.

Popcorn is a type of corn that has a high proportion of hard starch.  When you heat it, the moisture in the starch grains expands, and the kernel explodes.  Proper moisture content is critical to good popping quality, so good growing and storage conditions are needed for the best results.

There are two types of popcorn classifications: rice corns and pearl corns.  Rice corns have more sharply pointed kernels, while pearl corns have a smooth, more rounded shape.

Popcorn comes in several colors.  All turn white upon popping.  Most typical are the white and yellow popcorn.  But other colors which you may see in seed catalogs include red and black.  Some of the colored varieties are sold for decorative purposes, such as strawberry popcorn, which produces a small ear. Culture for popcorn is similar to sweet corn. 

Can you grow sweet corn and popcorn in the same garden?  Yes, you can, but be aware that the two types of corn cross-pollinate.  With most vegetables, cross-pollination is not a problem, unless you are saving seed.  With corn, however, the pollen from the popcorn (or other types of corn) may cause your sweet corn to be less sweet. If you want to grow both types of corn in the same year, the easiest way to deal with this problem is to plant several weeks apart, so that when the  pollen is released from the first planting, the second planting is not yet ready to be pollinated.

Both popcorn and sweet corn should be planted in blocks of several short rows parallel to each other, instead of one long row.  This is to insure good pollination, and well-filled ears.  The site should be sunny, with well-drained soil.

Popcorn will take longer to grow than sweet corn, since you are growing the plant to maturity.  Early to mid-May is the best time to plant.  A general-purpose garden fertilizer will get the plants off to a good start.  Side dressings are encouraged when the plants are about 10 inches tall, and later when the tassels appear.  Plant about 6 to 9 inches apart in the row, with about 2.5 to 3 feet between the rows.

Be sure to give the growing plants plenty of water, especially when the silk appears and the kernels start developing.  Keep weed competition to a minimum.  Diseases and insects should be monitored, and are similar to what is seen in sweet corn or field corn.

Leave the ears on the plant until maturity.  This will be after the stalks turn brown and dry out completely.  At this point the husks will be dry, and the kernels hard. 

To store, pull back the husks, or remove them completely.  Place the ears in mesh bags, and hang them in a warm, dry, well-ventilated area for several weeks.  After this you may shell the kernels, and place them in tightly-closed glass jars.  Then place the jars in the refrigerator for long-term storage.

Small Steps – Strategies for Heart Health

By Janet Hackert, Regional Nutrition and Health Education Specialist

February is National Heart Month. February 3rd is National Wear Red Day to support cardiovascular health for women. In the U.S. heart disease kills one woman approximately every 80 seconds according to the American Heart Association (AHA). It is the leading cause of deaths for the population overall.

In February and throughout the year, follow these tips, as easy as ABC, to improve or maintain heart health:

A: Avoid tobacco. It won’t be easy, but it will be easier than dealing with a heart attack, stroke or living with chronic heart disease.

B: Be more active. “Research has shown that getting 30–60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week can help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and keep your weight at a healthy level.”

C: Choose nutritious foods. The heart association’s website,, has some tasty heart-healthy recipes.

Generally, people know what to do; making it happen is another story. Research has shown that making changes toward a healthier lifestyle are more likely to become habit for the long term if they are made in small increments. Here are some strategies that may help.

Track current behavior to know the starting point, how much exercise is really happening, how many steps, how much vegetables are really being consumed currently.

Defy the odds by learning what the likelihood of having heart problems is, then set specific, small-step goals to steer clear of living up to those odds by losing weight, being more active or quitting smoking.

Use the power of ten to motivate: 10 extra minutes of walking or weight lifting morning and evening, or use a step counter to measure movement and walk a little more to round steps up to the next thousand, or cut daily calorie intake by 100 calories per day.

Meet yourself halfway by not giving up the foods you like, but instead cutting the amount of the high-calorie, high-sugar, high-fat and/or high-sodium ones in half anytime you eat them.

These simple strategies and many others can help motivate and move a person to a healthier life and avoid or delay being a heart association statistic.

For more information on this or any other topic, contact me, Janet Hackert, at 660-425-6434 or, or your local University of Missouri Extension Center. University of Missouri Extension - your one-stop source for practical education on almost anything.

Agronomy News

You can read the latest agronomy news in the Northwest Region by going to Agronomy Newsletter.

Fencing and boundary laws

MU Extension publication G810, Missouri Fencing and Boundary Laws provides general information for landowners. 

Websites offer free climate data

Farmers have a new set of free tools to help them make crop decisions.

Ray Massey, MU Extension agricultural economist, and Pat Guinan, climatologist for MU Extension Commercial Agriculture, are collaborating with participants across the nation to make information easily available.

The websites are important because access to historical climate data helps farm operations that depend on favorable temperatures and precipitation patterns, Massey says. He and Guinan recently presented the information at MU’s Crop Management Conference in Columbia. Find addresses and explore details on more than a dozen climate-oriented websites.

St. Joseph Weather Station — Real time

MU Extension in the Northwest Region is on Facebook. Look at what's going on and programs that are offered.

Northwest region Regional Office
706 S. Woodbine Rd., Ste A
St. Joseph, MO 64507
Phone: 816-279-6064
Fax: 816-279-0096
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