Field Notes: Kerr Center’s Newsletter

field notes

Field Notes is the Kerr Center’s newsletter. 2014 marked its 40th year of publication.

In 2015, Field Notes went electronic!

If you wish to receive news, practical, timely tips, notices of Kerr Center events and publications and more you may subscribe to E-Field Notes. It’s free!

Field Notes – Download pdfs

Articles from the newsletter may be reprinted if credit is given and a copy is sent to the newsletter editor at the Kerr Center. To use more than short articles or news items on the web, please link to our web page. Direct questions about the newsletter or this web page, to attention: Newsletter Editor, at

Field Notes – July 2022

The July 2022 issue of Field Notes covers USDA food safety and conservation cost-shares, moths, sugarcane aphid-resistant sorghum, and more! Read on!

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Field Notes – June 2022

The June 2022 issue of Field Notes covers dragonflies, non-chemical weed management, integrating crops and livestock, and more! Read on!

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Field Notes – May 2022

The May 2022 issue of Field Notes covers native plants in beds, native pastures absorbing methane, sunn hemp as a cover crop, National Pollinator Week, and more! Read on!

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Field Notes – April 2022

The April 2022 issue of Field Notes covers weed management, cover crops as pest control, birds laying earlier, silvopasture, and more! Read on!

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Field Notes – March 2022

The March 2022 issue of Field Notes covers collards, fireflies, rating organic beef, online direct marketing platforms, and more! Read on!

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Field Notes – August 2021

The August 2021 issue of Field Notes covers milkweed in pastures, marketing agroforestry products, cowpeas for pollinators, and more! Read on!

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Field Notes – July 2021

The July 2021 issue of Field Notes covers direct marketing, the farm share of the food dollar, pollinators in the news, pawpaws, and more! Read on!

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Field Notes – May 2021

The May 2021 issue of Field Notes covers 2021 workshops, new Climate Normals, a free new grazing e-book, USDA pandemic relief, and more! Read on!

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Field Notes – April 2021

The April 2021 issue of Field Notes covers wasp ID, heritage poultry counts, Oklahoma organics, a new monarch documentary, and more! Read on!

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Field Notes – March 2021

The March 2021 issue of Field Notes covers elderberry safety, sustainable agriculture videos, CRP signups, USDA value-added grants, and more! Read on!

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Field Notes – January 2021

The January 2021 issue of Field Notes covers the western monarch population, a new treatment for goat parasites, small-scale tools, soil biodiversity, and more!

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Field Notes – October 2020

The Field Notes October 2020 issue covers renewed federal coronavirus aid to farmers, container-grown tomatoes, bee-killing pesticides, online trainings, and more. Read on!

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Field Notes – July 2020

The Field Notes July 2020 issue covers summer gardening, mushroom growing, beginning ranching, long-term research trials, and more. Read on!

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Field Notes – June 2020

The Field Notes June 2020 issue covers native plant landscaping, biopesticides for high-tunnel strawberries, wetland mitigation banking, and more. Read on!

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Field Notes – May 2020

The Field Notes May 2020 issue covers the latest pandemic resources, late-planted garden crops, nighttime pollination, and more! Read on!

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Field Notes – March 2020

The Field Notes March 2020 issue covers COVID-19 resources for agriculture, prescribed fire trainings, wetland easements, heirloom vegetables, and more!

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Field Notes – February 2020

The Field Notes February 2020 issue covers wildfire preparedness, seed starting, hydroponics, season extension, conservation oral histories, and more!

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Field Notes – December 2019

The December 2019 issue of Field Notes includes a review of a book on monarchs and milkweed, and reviews the past year at the Kerr Center – with a peek at what 2020 brings.

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Field Notes – July 2019

The Field Notes July 2019 issue covers garden insect ID, new resources on agroforestry and cover crops, and fertilizer climate impacts.

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Field Notes – June 2019

The Field Notes June 2019 issue covers backyard monarch monitoring, elderberries, flood control, legumes for drought resilience, and more!

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Field Notes – May 2019

The Field Notes May 2019 issue covers sand shortages, soil organic matter, sweet potatoes, a new free stream restoration guide, and more. Read on!

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Field Notes – April 2019

The Field Notes April 2019 issue covers current conservation practices, USDA payments for using them, pollinator plant sources, and more. Read on!

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Field Notes – March 2019

The Field Notes March 2019 issue covers soil health, especially its connections with plant, livestock, and human health, and more. Read on!

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Field Notes – January 2019

The Field Notes January 2019 issue covers small-scale gardening tools, managing excess forage, soil health resources, monarchs, and more. Read on!

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Field Notes – August 2018

The Field Notes August 2018 issue covers new sustainable agriculture resources, setting up a rotational grazing system, irrigation, and more. Read on!

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Field Notes – July 2018

The Field Notes July 2018 issue covers the water cycle, processing surplus garden harvests, and recent beekeeping and grazing workshops. Read on!

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Field Notes – June 2018

The Field Notes June 2018 issue covers insect declines, upcoming beekeeping and grazing workshops, and the history of organic farming, and more. Read on!

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Field Notes – May 2018

The Field Notes May 2018 issue covers SARE’ 30-year history, making and using raised beds, native wildflowers, and more. Read on!

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Field Notes – April 2018

The Field Notes April 2018 issue covers new publications on walk-behind tractors and watering tanks made from old tires, and much more. Read on!

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Field Notes – March 2018

The Field Notes March 2018 issue covers organic small-scale grain production, guides to native pollinators and their host plants, and more. Read on!

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Field Notes – December 2017

Season’s greetings from the Kerr Center!

David Redhage gets this issue rolling with reflections on an article about breeding crops for particular nutritional needs.

The rest of this month’s newsletter is given over, as usual, to a look back at the year gone by to register progress made in each of our main program areas. It’s a chance to check in and see what’s been happening with our conservation, livestock, and horticulture projects – as well as what directions they’ll be taking in 2018.

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Field Notes – November 2017

Happy Thanksgiving from the Kerr Center!

This month, David Redhage reviews a book that looks at techniques for restoring soil life in different regions and climates the world over.

We share some of the livestock team’s results from a comparison of cost and nutrition in grazing wheat pastures versus feeding hay.

We also offer an update on the latest uses and design improvements for the Kerr Center’s portable hoop house.

With many of us turning to seed and nursery catalogs to plan next spring’s gardens, it’s a good time for a look at one of our most popular guidebooks to get some ideas for including pollinators in the mix.

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Field Notes – October 2017

The nights are noticeably longer than the days by now, and many farm and ranch activities are being put to rest for the season. With that thought, we’re focusing this issue on tasks for the so-called slack months in the agricultural calendar.  (After all, it’s October – and is there anything spookier than the thought of being caught unprepared?)

David Redhage shares an article on something few would’ve even thought to plan for: a long-term decline in the nutritional value of pollinators’ pollen food source.

We report on our latest hoophouse workshop, held earlier this month, and point to a brand new (and free) set of plans for building your own hoop house.

We’ve made updates to our series of pollinator resource guides, and offer a reminder of some valuable resources for helping to decide how to keep cattle fed through the cooler months.

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Field Notes – September 2017

Fall has arrived, and school bells are ringing – so for this issue, we’re taking a back-to-school slant.

David Redhage has been out teaching about increasing and conserving pollinator habitat. We share a presentation on establishing native pollinator plants organically that he gave on a recent NRCS webinar.

Our Beginning Farmer & Rancher training program brought many farmers back into the classroom. Though it wrapped up four years ago, it was so popular that we still regularly field inquiries about it. Though the trainings themselves are no longer offered, the resources are all still available free online – books, reports, fact sheets, presentations, videos, and more, from both horticulture and livestock tracks.

But first, revisit the native prairie site of this past spring’s controlled burn, and take in some fresh photos of how the wildflowers fared on it.

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Field Notes – August 2017

It’s August, and we’re as keen as anyone else to keep out of the sun.

In this issue, we focus on how to do the same thing for crops and livestock, with features on:
– portable shade structures for cattle,
– “sunscreen” to avert sunscald in tomatoes, and
– interesting results from a study of shade’s effects on animal performance in silvopasture.

This month, David Redhage also shares his impressions of a new book about creatures that are most noticeable in the dark.

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Field Notes – July 2017

This time of summer, we can look with satisfaction out over the horticulture plots’ “green fallow” of warm-season cover crops, keeping the soil shaded and sheltered, as well as weeded and nourished, despite the hot, dry weather.

We’ve just published former Kerr Center Horticulture Manager George Kuepper’s updated account of his nine-year effort developing that bio-extensive rotational system on the Cannon Horticulture plots. (Kuepper was also recently recognized for his work as an OMRI panel reviewer.)

Two new labeling programs reward farmers and ranchers for just such conservation-friendly practices. Perhaps one would be a good fit for your operation?

Continuing last month’s summer focus on water issues, we explain how the Kerr Ranch uses gravity to carry water from ponds to pastures.

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Field Notes – June 2017

As summer looms, many thoughts turn to water. For this month’s issue, we focus on some farm- and ranch-related aspects of that life-giving liquid.

We highlight a report full of advice on how to protect the ecological benefits of streamside vegetation from thirsty livestock.

Next, we focus in on one way to achieve that, by putting watering points in more pastures.

Finally, we point to the results of an heirloom sorghum variety trial – which included assessing the crop’s resistance to a tropical storm!

But first of all, check out David Redhage’s advice on trying new crops.

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Field Notes – May 2017

Tired of the same old, same old? Try it a different way in May!

This month’s president’s note reports on how researchers at the University of Arkansas are moving table grapes into high tunnels to escape pests – with promising results so far.

Why sit around the sale barn when you can sell your cattle on TV? We explain what the Kerr Center livestock program gains from that approach.

Similarly, why make compost the old-fashioned way when worms can do it faster and more effectively? The Kerr Center has videos to show you the ropes.

Lastly, why limit pollinator plantings to wildflowers, when there are plenty of trees and shrubs that can play a valuable part? Our guide can help you select the best species for your location.

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Field Notes – April 2017

This month, David Redhage explains how plastic mulch is helping the horticulture program get soil prepared during narrow weather windows.…
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Field Notes – July 2016

Summer is blockbuster movie season. This month, we’ve got viewing suggestions of our own, highlighting several videos from the Kerr…
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Field Notes – June 2016

In this month’s newsletter, we’ve gone a little wild. In this month’s president’s note, David Redhage shares thoughts on his…
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Field Notes – May 2015

Last month, we predicted (somewhat un-originally) that April showers would bring May flowers. The flowers are here, all right, but…
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Field Notes – April 2015

If April showers bring May flowers, now’s the time to learn what to watch for – or plant – in your pollinator gardens. Several recent Kerr Center publications can help – download them all as an Earth Day treat! Then, pass that treat along to pollinators by putting the information to work, giving them a hand by preserving habitat and planting pollinator-friendly plants, trees and shrubs.

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Field Notes: Fall 2014

Resilient Farmer Wrap-up, Beginning Farmer and Rancher program review, our new website launches, newsletter moves to electronic format.

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Field Notes: Spring 2014

The Field Notes Spring 2014 issue includes the newsletter’s 40th anniversary, biochar and compost, heirloom okra, sweet potatoes, and more!

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Field Notes: Fall 2013

OKBFRP 2013 Highlights, Agroforestry Update, Resilient Farmer Recap, Remembering Sen. Kerr , Kerr Center Honors, Okra Seed Project, Choctaw Youth Program, Pollinator Project, 2013 Summer Interns

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Field Notes – Fall 2011

The Field Notes Fall 2011 issue includes articles on drought, sweet potatoes (including George Washington Carver’s work with the crop), and more.

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Field Notes – Fall 2009

The Field Notes Fall 2009 issue includes articles on food assistance programs at farmers markets, sustainable agriculture at OSU-OKC, and more.

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Field Notes – Fall 2008

The Field Notes Fall 2008 issue includes articles on hoop houses, both practical advice and recent research on raising meat goats, and more.

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Field Notes – Winter 2007

The Field Notes Winter 2007 issue includes articles on Eliot Coleman at the Horticulture Industries Show, economic multiplier effects, and more.

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Field Notes – Summer 2002

The Field Notes Summer 2002 issue includes article on essay contest winners, the Oklahoma Food Policy Council, an antique tractor donation, and more.

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