Interesting Facts about Kansas, Southwestern Explorer Report, Great Plains Reporter.

 Changing Times in Kansas.

Winter Canola makes news in South Western Kansas at 3,117 feet above sea level.  

An Ideal crop for the Southern Great Plains. 
Going to Elkhart and Hugoton and coming from Cimarron, KS
, along the Dry Trail of the Santa Fe, this was Mexican Territory in 1831.  The Arkansas River and north was under control of the US Military.  Therefore Indian Attacks were likely without the US Cavalry supporting the westward migration of the Dry Trail of the Santa Fe.  The Cimarron Dry Trail got started as trade with Sante Fe and Mexico City became important.  About 1821 the trail was started and it is assumed the Dry Trail started about the same time. 

Kit Carson, (Bent’s Fort on the Arkansas River, Santa Fe, Fremont’s Pathfinder, 1868)

Jedediah Strong Smith (1831, Murdered at the Wagon Bed Spring, Comanche attack)

Zebulon Pike (1806, Pikes Peak, died in the Battle of New Orleans, 1813)

These western explorers were the most famous developers and followers of the trail. They were considered Mountain Men and led the charge out of the east to the western regions of the Great American Desert. In 1880 the railroad reached Santa Fe and the trail faded into history. 

The Cimarron dry trail saved about 4 to 6 to days travel time or about 44 miles to Santa Fe…The Trail had very little water and was under control of the Comanche Indians several times.  The Trail connected with Mexico Camino Real that terminated in Mexico City. In 1821 Mexico gained independence from Spain and the Mexican government began to expand trade and favored the Santa Fe Trail.  

From the Arkansas River at Cimarron, KS at 2,628 feet, elevation pioneers travel southwest to Wagon Bed Springs at the North Bend of the Cimarron about 66 miles by the crow with an elevation rise of 352 feet. This Wagon Bed Springs area was a large campground.  The elevation increases to 2,976 feet at the North Bend of the Cimarron or Wagon Bed Springs.  This would be about 4 to 5 days of travel by foot  from Cimarron to Wagon Bed Springs. 

The elevation changes substantially along the Cimarron in SW Kansas.   At Elkhart, KS the elevation along the Cimarron River at Troy Coen’s farm is 3,446 feet.  As measured  66 miles by the crow from Troy Coen’s Farm to Travis Fieser’s farm the elevation of the Cimarron changes 955 feet. Almost 1,000 feet in 66 miles.  The Cimarron River travels about 90 miles in the elevation drop of 1,000 feet.

At Hugoton, Kansas, Rattler’s Corner, Winter Canola has a good start on a dryland pivot corner. The large full section pivot has been planted to Confection Sunflowers.

About 30 days after planting Winter Canola is ready for management.

The corn harvest is on as the combines and wagons are on the move about Oct. 7, 16.   

This is Rattler’s Corner looking to the west on Road Y.   

Rattler’s corner is backed up by a funny and life threatening story as best told by Karen McClure.

Managing a new crop in SW Kansas, Winter Canola. A good stand on dryland pivot corners at Hugoton, Hwy 25, Brewer at Rattlers Corner.  

Rubisco Varieties were planted, Mercedes, Garnet and Hornet.  They are ready for growth regulators and fungicide treatment.

Good Tap Roots, the crown set is good, and there are enough growth at 8 to 12 leaves to reset the plant. At 8 leaves it is time   time to slow the plant down for winter using growth regulators.  

Growth regulators and fungicides to be applied on October 10, planted on 20 inch rows in early September, about 30 days in the deck.  Emergence was 4 to 5 days and was planted at the 2 inch depth.  

Deere 1710 on 20 inch with row cleaners. RRV, 90 cell meters were used.  

Notice the irregular emergence of the Winter Canola, there is a solution.

Water Injection helps to overcome the irregularities of the dryland soils adequate germinating moisture line.   The stored soil moisture is not evenly distributed in relation to the surface appearance. The variable moisture line changes due to OM, tillage, soil type, and slope. Low OM soils require water injection.

Water Injection is required in dry conditions on low OM soils to produce a competitive stand. All plants should emerge together and within a range of  24 to 48 hours of each plant.  

Water Injection is a powerful management tool and in a dry start up, the use of water injection will add  up to 800 to 1,000 lbs per acre of seed production .  

Water injection allows growth regulators to be managed.

Closing rows on 20 inch spacing with low organic matter, sweeping tillage system, Pivot Corner. Rattler’s Corner.  

Water Injection could improve the stand, the stand is adequate for good yields in dryland production, but higher yields and better management occurs with water injection..  

Water Injection is utilized with Dwarf Essex (Winter Rape) production in the PNW. The Winter Canola population will eventually be reduced to 40,000 to 60,000 population in dryland production at 3,117 feet above sea level in SW Kansas.
One good plant every 4 to 5 inches will allow better economic results.

Residual Herbicide damage, better know the history.  
Do not mix Banvel with Roundup in the burndown. Banvel damaged the Winter Canola stand on two high quality pivots.

Canola Stress, 1. Banvel Damage. High crown set. Use only Roundup in the Burn-down….A. No history of sulfonated urea’s are allowed except with specific varieties,  B. No crop year history of Banvel in high pH, low OM soils, (1 inch of store soil moisture per inch). C. No current or burndown use of 2-4-D.  D. Residual herbicides can be tested with an indicator crop, lentils in precision row placement.

Canola Stress, 2. High levels of residue in the seed row, wind-blown residue after planting resting over the emerging plant. Also residue in an improper location interfering with full spectrum light penetration at the cots and the first true leaves. Improper residue position will also produce a high crown set.

Canola Stress, 3. The winter canola crown set should be at the ground line.  An elevated winter canola crown is a sign of stress and reduced winter hardiness. Row cleaners creating seed row light penetration are thus popular on planters. Strip till can be used in extreme cases (high yielding irrigated winter wheat) on 20 or 30 inch planter row spacing.

Canola Stress, 4. Certain varieties may have more sensitivity to light interfering residue and residual chemicals. Dwarf Essex could be used as and indicator crop standard.

The Winter Canola crop is very sensitive to residual herbicides.  
Winter Canola is a possible new crop in this semi-arid landscape along the Santa Fe Trail.

On the Dry Trail of the Santa Fe.

Great Plains Explorers Report.

Within five air miles of the Winter Canola production site you can find a very historic landmark.  A four wheel drive road allows access to a fenced area along the Cimarron River Bank. The restoration of the Wagon Bed Spring is impressive.  The trees are part of the river bank.   

The trees are not maintaining or replenishing the stand due to an extended five year drought. Irrigation from the Ogallala is pulling the prehistoric water table down from the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago.  

The Cimarron River starts in New Mexico and passes through Oklahoma Panhandle and Kansas and crosses back into Oklahoma not too far from Liberal, Kansas and joins the Arkansas River at Tulsa, OK.

True Story, 60 years of Ruts…intensive traffic and ruts formed up in the 1840 to 1850 period in the war with Mexico.  Find your rut and follow it for 1,000 miles to Santa Fe. 

The Oregon Trail was about 2,000 miles in length with 20,000 people dead along the way, mostly from poor quality water and Cholera. The children were the first to go as they drank the water and the parents drank the boiled coffee.  A high quality spring was very important.

The Santé Fe Trail was so busy during the Mexican war that the heavy traffic actually slowed the migration of the Buffalo.  And thus the starvation and changing life style of the American Indian began. 

From 1840 the Buffalo were a 30 million count herd.  By 1880, the 30 million Buffalo were gone and the Indian wars were still on. After the civil war the American cattle herd was replacing the Buffalo herd since the cattle would ship on a train.  

Soon barbed wire would stop the cattle drives and the western lands were settled and homesteaded
.  Buffalo Bill killed 65 Buffalo with a US Cavalry, 50 caliber, Springfield Rifle in one professional hunting day.

The cattle drives kept moving further west as the railheads moved further west.  The cattle drives stopped in 1886 when the rails had the transportation to market bet covered. Barbed wire stopped the migration of the cattle herd north from Texas on this time line.   

In 1870 about 25 cents was invested in a cow and $25.00 was
paid when the animal was ready for market at the Cimarron railhead in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

The trains allowed the live animals to be shipped to eastern markets for slaughter. There was no refrigeration so the big packing houses like
Armour & Company formed in 1867 at the Chicago stockyards.

Ice from the Great Lakes and Wisconsin was used to refrigerate the special built ice box rail cars to distribute the beef.  
The new immigrants, Irish and Polish provided the labor for the stock yards and slaughter houses. 

Oklahoma became Indian Territory or a sanctuary for various Indian tribes about 35 miles Southeast of Wagon Bed Spring.

The Lower Cimarron Spring or Wagon Bed Spring on the Santa Fe Trail was  “an Oasis“ in the grassland of the Kansas prairies that was populated with 30 million head of Buffalo in 1840.


The Great American Desert was considered a treeless plain east of the Rocky Mountains.

Looking south towards the Oklahoma Panhandle. A deep rut is visible next to the four wire barbed wire fence. The grasses have been restored and animals cannot graze in the spring area. 

Near Joel McClure’s Farm you will find the  Santa Fe Trail Wagon Ruts next to the fence, The Wagon Ruts Are Deep “, at least 3 to 4 feet in a deep depression. The Santa Fe Trail developed the Southwestern US and was utilized until 1880.   

Along the Santa Fe Trail,  Wagon Bed Spring was most effective from 1822 to 1868 when the ATSF reached Granada on the Arkansas River.    Obviously the vernal spring was a significant camping area and an ideal area to rest the teams of oxen and horses. 

The Union Pacific and the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe or ATSF railroads eventually closed off the Cimarron Dry Trail to local use only after 1868. Only portions of the trail remained in use to 1880 due to the progress of the changing railheads.   

Changing Times for 60 years, barbed wire, railroads, and elimination of Buffalo civilizing the American Indian. The western desert landscape received an economic tillage overhaul to support the pioneer.  The pioneers with tractors and tillage eventually destroyed the soil and created “the Dust Bowl” in this desert 12-18 inch annual rainfall climate.

Contributor to this historical article, Karen McClure, Bed and Breakfast, at Wagon Bed Spring.
Call for a Canola and Cimarron tour with the mother of three children and a Fort Collins trained Animal Doctor.
Have her tell you the story about Rattler’s Corner.

Training Videos are available at

More news about Relay Intercropping at

Nitrogen Stabilization,
Thio-Sul® is as good or better than N-Serve®.

Mustard and Fumigation at WSU, U of I subject web page at

Terminate your Cover Crop Early.


For a good overview of banding deeper go to Center Pivot Corn Production

Need more historical reference of Exactrix Global Systems? Go to

Banding Deeper in No-till without tillage with Rotational Band Loading.

Need more information about STEEP test plots and how Exactrix performs? Go to

See Video  How TAPPS and TAPPKTS Changed a Kansas Farm. A  KSU Ag Economist gives a good review.    

Meeting your formulation needs.  

Picking your metering systems.

Need more information on advanced crop production? Go to


Exactrix P51 Mustangs
 Outstanding Video With Kevin Medow and His P51 Mustangs