Northwest Missouri Regional Director's Office



Find an MU Extension center in northwest Missouri

Northwest Missouri counties




Job vacancies — apply now

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

There are currently job positions available in the Northwest Region.

Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Job ID 21007
Livestock Specialist and County Program Director, Job ID 21006
Agronomy Specialist, Job ID 21004
Family Financial Education Specialist, Job ID 15408
Human Development and Family Science Specialist, Job ID 20479
Nutrition Program Associate, Job ID 21115

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

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

Watch for Ear Drop and Lodging in Area Corn Fields


Last week while seeding cover crops in standing corn, we found several ears that had dropped. Also, as I was walking across corn rows, I knocked several ears off of plants. Northwest Missouri had wind damage that caused a lot of stalk breakage and lodging. This is another issue we need to watch for as we move into harvest.


Weather stress can increase ear drop. Looking at the plants where ear drop occurred, the shank was very weak. This summer we had a range of growing weather conditions. The season started dry, then turned to wet, then hot and so forth. Also, I have also noticed in many fields ears tipped-back so yields have been reduced by stress.


We encourage growers to scout fields to determine if they are having any lodging, ear drop or potential problems with fields. Some fields may need to be prioritized for early harvest.


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

Tomato Culture

By Tim Baker, NW Region Horticulture Specialist

After you’ve selected your tomato variety and planted it, taking care not to over fertilize it, you now need to think about how you will care for your future bountiful harvest.  Needless to say, if you don’t care for the plants properly, you won’t have a bountiful harvest.

First of all, you will need to stake your plants.  Now perhaps you have seen tomatoes grown without stakes.  That is ok, but these plants usually don’t produce well.  You need to keep the plants up off the ground, where air can flow around and through the plant.  This will help keep diseases at bay and produce cleaner fruit.

There are several ways to accomplish this.  You may prefer to stake each plant, carefully tying them with a material that will not damage the vine against the stake.  Don’t tie the vine right up against the stake, but allow for freedom of movement and growth.

Another way of staking is by setting a row of stakes, with tomatoes between the stakes, and then weaving twine between the stakes and plants.  This method is used frequently by commercial growers, and works well.  Simply tie a piece of twine to one stake, and brush up against your tomato plants on one side.  Then go to the next stake, weave a circle around it, and on to the next stake, taking care to brush up against the tomatoes planted between each stake.  When you get to the last stake, turn around and head back to the original stake, catching the plants this time on the opposite side. You start this process when the plants are smaller, and then add levels of twine as the plants grow taller.

Another way of “staking” your plants is to use tomato cages, or something similar.  This works well for determinate plants, but indeterminate plants may eventually outgrow their cages, and a better method of support is usually recommended for them.

Some people like to prune their tomato plants.  There are a lot of opinions on whether this is really necessary. Some folks say this will produce earlier and larger fruit.  Let’s just say it’s optional.  Pruning refers to the removal of side shoots or suckers which develop.  If you are interested in doing this, please give me a call and I’ll send you a guide sheet with photos that show you how to do it.

One of the most important aspects of tomato culture is proper watering.  Tomatoes are subject to a problem called Blossom End Rot.  I’ll talk more about this in a future article, but for now, the easiest remedy is to water the proper amount, as evenly as possible.  You don’t want your tomatoes to dry out excessively, but you don’t want too much water either.

Generally, tomatoes will need about one inch of water per week.  Keep a rain gauge near your garden so you know how much you are getting, so you will know how much water you will need to add.  It’s best to water your tomatoes at ground level, using a soaker hose or similar arrangement.  Watering methods that wet the leaves are less desirable, since wet leaves become diseased more quickly.

Be sure to mulch and keep the weeds down.  You may also want to consider side dressing with fertilizer, applied when the fruits are about one third grown. 


Missouri Reverse Transfer

Do you have some college credits from 2- year and 4- year Missouri colleges but still no degree? Would you like to use your college credits from a Missouri 4- year university to complete an Associate degree at a Missouri community college? ?  If so, now is the time to think about completing that degree through Missouri’s hottest education initiative, Reverse Transfer.  Go to  to learn about Reverse Transfer and then contact the 4-year college Reverse Transfer Coordinator to see if and how you can earn your Associate degree.  

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.

Community emergency management resources

MU Extension has resources available for emergency management. The resources cover a wide range of disasters. There is information available on how to prepare for a disaster, what to do in a disaster and the recovery.  Do you have a family disaster plan in place? Make sure you and your family have a supply of safe drinking water after a disaster.

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., Suite A
St. Joseph, MO 64507
Phone: 816-279-6064
Fax: 816-279-0096
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