When Evergreen Doesn’t Mean Ever Green

Great info and thoughts from Elizabeth on the reasons why evergreens aren’t always staying green in the fall.

Husker Hort

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Autumn is officially here; cue the falling leaves, cool nights, and yellowing pine trees. Knowing the cause of the discolored needles will help to know if it is nature taking its course or if it is a disease infecting your trees.

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JenREES 10-14-18

Well, it’s been an interesting fall and I wish I had something more encouraging for our farmers this week…there have been some beautiful days/sunsets when the sun shone! Difficult with soybeans germinating in pods, popping pods, and the snow with so much harvest to go…hang in there and be safe when harvest resumes!

Regarding grain drying questions, Dr. Ken Hellevang at North Dakota State University has written several CropWatch articles at http://cropwatch.unl.edu to help us. Here’s a few excerpts.

For those with questions about drying soybeans when harvesting at high moisture to get them out of the field: “Soybeans at 11% moisture have storage characteristics similar to wheat or corn at about 13.5% moisture, so 16% moisture soybeans might be expected to store similarly to about 19% moisture corn. It is important to be able to aerate the soybeans to keep them cool.

The amount of natural air drying that will occur in late October and early November is limited. The equilibrium moisture content of soybeans for air at 40°F and 70% relative humidity is about 12%. With this air condition drying should occur with soybeans above 12% moisture. However, the drying rate will be slow at typical in-bin drying airflow rates. An airflow rate of 1 cubic foot per minute per bushel (cfm/bu) is expected to dry 18% moisture soybeans in about 60 days. With an airflow rate of 1.5 cfm/bu the drying time is reduced to about 40 days. The drying time for 16% moisture soybean is slightly less. The drying time of 16% moisture soybeans is about 50 days. Adding supplemental heat to raise the air temperature by 3 to 5 degrees will permit drying the soybeans to about 11% moisture in about 40 to 45 days. Increasing the airflow rate proportionally reduces the drying time.

The moisture-holding capacity of air is reduced at lower air temperatures. As average air temperatures approach 35°F, natural air drying becomes inefficient and is not economical. Adding heat would cause the beans on the bottom of the bin to be dried to a lower moisture content and it would increase drying speed only slightly. Cool the soybeans to between 20°F and 30°F for winter storage and complete drying in the spring. Start drying in the spring when outdoor temperatures are averaging about 40°F.”-Ken Hellevang NDSU. See more about drying soybeans with heat including considerations for fire risk at http://cropwatch.unl.edu.

Cooling Grain: “Cool grain with aeration to extend the allowable storage time and reduce the potential for insect infestation. Temperatures below about 60°F reduce insect reproduction. Insects are dormant below about 50°F, and extended exposure to temperatures below about 30°F can kill insects. Cooling grain as outdoor temperatures cool will reduce moisture migration and the condensation potential near the top of the grain pile. Also, the grain should be cooled because moisture content and temperature affect the rate of mold growth and grain deterioration. The allowable storage time approximately doubles with each 10-degree reduction in grain temperature.

Grain should be cooled whenever the average outdoor temperature is 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the grain. Cool it to near or below 30°F for winter storage in northern states and near or below 40°F in southern states. Aeration ducts need to have perforations sized and spaced correctly for air to enter and exit the ducts uniformly and to obtain the desired airflow through the grain. The maximum spacing for aeration ducts is equal to the grain depth to achieve acceptable airflow uniformity.”-Ken Hellevang NDSU. You can view Ken’s website at: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/graindrying.

Weed Science School Oct. 31 near Mead will address current weed science issues and recommendations for improving herbicide applications. The school will be held at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead, starting at 8:45 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. Topics include: overview of weed control in Nebraska, NDA procedure to investigate off-target dicamba injury, industry perspective on herbicide discovery, 15 years of researching waterhemp, forensic analysis for dicamba injury, ultra micro rates of dicamba on soybean, weed ID, cover crops and weed suppression, and what does/doesn’t work in managing herbicide drift. The school is free and CCA credits will be available. Please register here: https://agronomy.unl.edu/weedscienceschool.

Grain Observations

This post shares observations of what I’ve been seeing in fields pre-harvest and during harvest during this 2018 growing season. Some of these problems stemmed from hail/wind damage and others insect damage. This is a longer post with the desire to have many resources available to you in one place. Hopefully this will be helpful for diagnosing concerns as harvest continues.

Soybean Observations

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(Photos above) Hail-damaged soybeans pre-harvest. The plants in this field weren’t pummeled into the ground, but from the road it was deceiving as to what the soybeans were actually like on these plants. The two smaller photos are all the soybeans found on 2 adjacent plants from the top soybean photo pre-harvest. There were a lot of aborted pods on stems and moldy beans in general. For those who combined hail damaged beans in the area, farmers shared they had everything from ‘lima’ beans to shriveled, moldy beans as you can see in these pics, which is also what we were anticipating may be found.

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Examples of soybeans that had sprouted in the pod pre-harvest. We may unfortunately see a lot more of this with additional rains.

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Removed a bunch of pods from a plant with Diaporthe/Phomopsis complex in which there were many flat, unfilled pods and pods of various stages of fill. This is what I found in the pods. This complex consists of diseases such as Pod and Stem Blight, Stem Canker, and Phomopsis Seed Decay. Perhaps note which varieties you notice more of this.

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Two different grain quality concerns in soybean. (Left photo) This soybean damage can be attributed to potentially a few things. I have found pycnidia of Phomopsis (Phomopsis seed decay) in samples like this. The UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic has also diagnosed Phomopsis Seed Decay in samples. There’s also a publication from Ohio State (https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2017-24/stink-bugs-soybean) which attributes these symptoms to stink bugs. There was stink bug pressure in some fields this past year. So there’s potential that we have a few things occurring creating these symptoms. (Right photo) This soybean damage is called ‘Purple Seed Stain’ and is caused by the fungus Cercospora kikuchii. I mentioned this in this blog post.

Corn Observations

 

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Pre-harvest was seeing quite a bit of Fusarium in places where hail stones or insect damage occurred on ears such as this photo. Notice at the base of the ear, the ‘starburst’ shape occurring within kernels (I think of it like fireworks exploding when viewing the top of the kernel). Kernels infected with Fusarium will have a white/pink fungal growth that later causes kernels to become brown or gray and shriveled.

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This ear was from the same hail-damaged field as photo above and I picked this right before the field was harvested. The Fusarium and picnic beetles had greatly destroyed affected kernels. Cladosporium (green colored fungus) can also be seen affecting this ear where damage had occurred.

Cladosporium ear and kernel rot seen on kernels already affected by Fusarium, particularly in hail damaged fields. This is a lesser ear rot fungi and doesn’t produce a mycotoxin but can create increased damage to kernels. Was recommending taking grain damaged to this extent directly to the elevator.

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The deep red color on this hail damaged ear is due to Gibberella. We may see an increase in this with all this late-season rain. Other symptoms include matted fungal growth with husks sticking to ears. Gibberella has the potential to produce the mycotoxin zearalenone. The presence of the fungus DOES NOT automatically mean the presence of a mycotoxin.

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Kernels at harvest displaying damage from Fusarium and Gibberella. I received a number of samples from various farmers displaying these symptoms and picked out these kernels to show. Notice the pink/red discoloration of the kernel and also the shrunken, damaged kernels that are brown or gray in color. Grain should be dried as quickly as possible to 15% moisture to cease fungal growth in storage.

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This is another field I’ve been watching that was hail damaged. The ears themselves show very little damage; however, my concern is the ‘starburst’ pattern occurring throughout these ears throughout the field. The ‘starburst’ pattern is also characterized by the white lines observed on the sides of individual kernels. This is caused by Fusarium.

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The above photo is that same field at harvest. ‘Starburst’ pattern on kernels seen as white streaking due to Fusarium. More severely infected kernels are brown in color and dissecting them show they were trying to germinate. Also noticing cob rot occurring. Drying the grain to 15% moisture as quickly as possible will cease fungal growth. Fusarium also has the potential to produce the mycotoxins Fumonisin and Deoxynivalenol (also known as DON or Vomitoxin). NOTE: The presence of the fungus DOES NOT automatically mean the presence of a mycotoxin.

Photos above shared by a Clay County farmer who observed kernel germination and Fusarium growth (mostly due to western bean cutworm damage) upon harvesting his field. Hormonal balance within the kernels shifts towards harvest. At full maturity, very little abscisic acid (ABA) is left in the kernel (in both corn and soybeans) which allows them to germinate in correct conditions after harvest. These conditions include moisture and temperatures above 50ºF. Presence of fungi such as Fusarium and Gibberella also increases gibberellins in the kernels allowing for kernel germination with presence of moisture as we’re seeing this harvest. Increasing air flow during harvest will hopefully blow most of these damaged kernels out the back of the combine.

Grain Storage

There’s over 25 species of fungi that can produce ear molds with the majority of them ceasing growth at 15% moisture within the kernel. Thus, we recommend drying grain to 15% moisture as quickly as possible to cease additional fungal growth within the grain bin. The table below shares the days required to dry corn to 15% moisture with 1.0 cfm/bu and various temperature and humidity conditions.

Days required to dry corn to 15 percent moisture with 1.0 cfm per bu. UNL EC

“Since drying time is directly proportional to the airflow, the producer can calculate the estimated drying times when using airflows other than 1.0 cubic foot of air per minute per bushel (cfm/bu). For example: Table II shows when drying corn from 18 percent to 15 percent moisture with 50F and 50% relative humidity air, the estimated drying time is 12.5 days using a 1.0 cfm/bu airflow. If the airflow is 1.25 cfm/bu, the estimated drying time would be 12.5 days / 1.25 = 10 days. For 1.5 cfm/bu, the drying time would be 12.5 days / 1.5 = 8.3 days. For 0.8 cfm/bu, the drying time would be 12.5 days / 0.8 = 15.6 days.” Source: Management of in-bin natural air grain drying systems to minimize energy cost.

Mycotoxin Information

In 2018, we’re primarily seeing Fusarium and Gibberella species which have the potential to produce mycotoxins. Thus, the information below is directed at those fungal species and mycotoxin levels that can be associated with them. Again, the presence of fungi does not automatically mean a mycotoxin is present.

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The following toxins can be produced from species of Fusarium and Gibberella. Source: Corn Ear Rots, Storage Molds, Mycotoxins, and Animal Health, Iowa State publication, 1997.

Table 2 expected detrimental feed concentrations of common fusarium mycotoxins-ISU

Source: Corn Ear Rots, Storage Molds, Mycotoxins, and Animal Health, Iowa State publication, 1997.

 

Also, there’s a new app called “Mycotoxins” and it’s another resource with ear rot pictures and mycotoxin information put out by several Universities produced for both Apple and Android devices.

JenREES 10-7-18

Grateful for the crops that have been harvested thus far! Also grateful for so many paying attention to grain quality coming out of the fields! That’s been a large part of the past 10 days for me…obtaining grain samples and pictures to answer grain quality questions from quite an area. So I did a quick literature review to better understand the conditions when various ear rot fungi grow and also put together a blog post to hopefully help all of us better diagnose what we’re seeing in grain samples-whether corn or soybean. You can find it at: https://jenreesources.com/2018/10/08/grain-observations/.

Fungal growth in storage is based on moisture, humidity, and temperature. I’ve heard various numbers being used for grain storage and I’m not a grain storage expert. I can also appreciate it costs you more and takes time with the current weather conditions to dry corn. In general, most Extension publications throughout the U.S. recommend getting grain dried to 15% as quickly as possible and maintaining grain in long-term storage at 13%. Briefly, in looking through the literature, the reason for this advice is because various ear rot fungi can continue to grow on and inside those kernels. There’s over 25 species of ear rot fungi with most of them ceasing growth at 15%. The main exception is Aspergillus which has species that can continue from just below 13 to above 14%. Thankfully we don’t have a problem with Aspergillus this year. We are seeing a lot of Fusarium and some Gibberella (which may increase with this rain). But we’re also seeing some Diplodia and other lesser ear rot fungi such as Penicillium, Cladosporium, and Nigrospora. The thing is that each fungal species has a temperature and moisture range in which they continue to grow. So if one is growing in a kernel, it gives off heat and moisture allowing for changes in temperature, humidity, and moisture within that area which can allow for other fungal species to grow. Fungi grow from one infected kernel to adjacent kernels. Having more ‘fines’, cob pieces, etc. can increase potential for fungal growth in the bin. Insects also give off heat which changes localized dynamics. Because of these reasons, our recommendation is to get grain dried to 15% as quickly as possible to help stop fungal growth we’re experiencing this year, particularly from Fusarium species. We’re not saying you need to get the grain dried to 13% immediately. It’s only a consideration down the road if you’re storing the grain till next summer. The following NebGuide is a great resource: Management of In-Bin Natural Air Grain Drying Systems to Minimize Energy Costs: http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/ec710.pdf. Our grain storage resource page can be found at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/grain-storage-management.

Also, there’s a new app called “Mycotoxins” and it’s another resource with ear rot pictures and mycotoxin information put out by several Universities produced for both Apple and Android devices.

Farm/Ranch Transition When You Aren’t in Control Nov. 14 York: Passing the farm/ranch on to the next generation is a tough job, especially if the next generation is unsure of what will happen when their parents pass. It is especially for those people, who are wondering what is going on, that a series of farm and ranch transition workshops are planned at Valentine, Ainsworth, O’Neill, Norfolk and York from Oct. 23 to Nov. 14.

The workshops will focus on the needs of the “sandwich generation” between parents who still own land and children who might want to join the operation, on whom farm/ranch transition and transfer often falls. Lack of communication often hinders transitions. The Gen2, or Sandwich Generation, will learn how to communicate with family to understand the transition and practice asking difficult questions.
Legal topics presented at the workshops will center around Gen2 needs, including elements of a good business entity, levels of layers for on-farm heirs control and access, and turning agreements into effective written leases. Joe Hawbaker, estate planning attorney, and Allan Vyhnalek, Nebraska Extension transition specialist, will share stories and experiences to successfully plan on the legal side. Dave Goeller, financial and transition specialist, will cover financial considerations, retirement, and compensation versus contribution.

Many families struggle to split assets fairly between on-ranch and off-ranch heirs, while continuing the ranch as a business. Goeller will discuss the family side and what to consider when dividing assets.  Vyhnalek will also cover less-than-ideal situations, negotiating, and looking for other business options. The times are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at each location. The closest location to this area is November 14 in York at the 4-H Building. Cost is $20 per person. If more than two people are attending per operation, the cost is $15/person.  Pre-register at (402) 362-5508 or jrees2@unl.edu for meal count.

Funding for this project was provided by the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Award Number 2015-49200-24226.

JenREES 9-30-18

Crop Update: In some ways it’s felt like a strange harvest season with how much of the area crop was harvested early due to storm damage and drought, but that’s also a blessing. It’s also been a blessing to have had surprisingly good test weights from some of the hail damaged corn and low mold damage reported thus far. There’s still a lot of harvest to go and I think stalk and ear rots are on the minds of us all.

I’ve been seeing more ‘less common’ ear rots this year and starting to receive questions on them.  These include Nigrospora ear/cob rot, Cladosporium rot, and Trichoderma rot. These are caused by weaker fungi feeding on ears of plants that were stressed or killed prematurely.  So hybrids that had problems with anthracnose top dieback, top leaf death, root rot issues, shortened husks with exposed ear tips, and hail/wind damage may have more problems with these diseases. Symptoms include when the cob feels rotted or falls apart when you break an ear in half. With Nigrospora, the kernels often have black spores on them and the spores can also be noticed on the cob pith as well. With Cladosporium and Trichoderma, the spores appear more green in color. None of the fungi causing these diseases have a mycotoxin associated with them, which is good. The diseases can create lighter test-weight ears and can create more chaff and dust during harvest due to the cobs falling apart. In storage, the biggest problems would be the fines, broken cobs, and extra chaff; keeping the grain below 15% moisture will stop fungal growth.

I’ve also had people asking for more specifics on conducting the pinch test to determine percent stalk rot in the field. Sometimes it’s easier to visualize this versus me keep writing about it. Thus, I created a very short video this week to hopefully help. One note is as you do this pinch test, the stalks may not completely crush, but a stalk with rot has a definite ‘give’ to it. You can view the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z75VN1c51Q.

For those who left hail-damaged soybean standing in fields with yields less than 5 bu/ac, some have asked about grazing those acres. For whole fields, we were recommending seeding a cereal into them (like rye at this point) just to offset the fat content of any remaining beans and provide some cover on the ground. That’s still a possibility for those interested in doing this. Some have also asked about grazing the soybean acres adjacent to seed corn residue without adding in a cover crop. That could be an option too and we don’t anticipate problems with that situation. When grazing seed corn or corn residue in any fields, it will be important to determine amount of ear loss on the ground prior to grazing. A way to do this is to measure off 100 feet and count the number of ears you find within that distance; do this 3 times throughout the field (for a total of 300 feet). Add the total number of ears found in 300 feet. Then, assuming each ear is about 0.5 bu, multiply the total number of ears by 0.5 to determine the average bushels on the ground in the field. Normal grazing management can be used if the total is 10 bu/ac or less on the ground. If more than that, different management needs to be considered and the following is a good resource for those considerations: https://go.unl.edu/8j4n.

For those asking about wheat varieties for Eastern Nebraska, the following resource may be of benefit to you at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2018/winter-wheat-varieties-eastern-nebraska-fit.

Also, Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Educator who conducts podcasts for the UNL Beef website, recently interviewed Chad Dane, a Clay County farmer. You can hear this podcast on “A Row Crop Farmer’s Perspective on Cover Crops and Cattle Grazing” at:  http://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/unlbeefwatch/2018/Sep_2018_Chad_Dane.mp3.

JenREES 9-23-18

It was great seeing harvest progressing this week and a challenge to stay ahead of harvest notes with on-farm research plots coming out! With the craziness of this week, I didn’t get a CropWatch article written on rapid drydown of corn and soybean. However, there’s a really good resource on this topic from Bob Nielsen at Purdue and you can find it here: https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/graindrying.html.

Purple Seed Stain: I meant to write about this last week as I was finding it in fields pre-harvest. So far I’ve seen or heard it to be mainly in mid-group 2 bean varieties. During early to late seed fill, you may have noticed some reddish/bronzing color on soybean leaves. This can be due to Cercospora Blight in soybean. The disease is also characterized by leaf drop while petioles remain. However, while the same fungus causes both Cercospora Blight and Purple Seed Stain, there’s no clear association as to how much seed stain will be observed if the leaf blight also occurred. The fungus, Cercospora kikuchii, is related to the fungi causing gray leaf spot in corn and frogeye leaf spot in soybean. Thus, humidity, leaf wetness, rain, and the cloudy conditions experienced in August and early September allowed for Cercospora species in general to increase late this past year. Purple seed stain symptoms appear as pink or purple specks or splotches occurring on the soybean seed. I haven’t heard of enough seed symptoms in loads to affect docking, but it could happen if fields were affected severely enough. There are resistant varieties to Cercopsora blight but no known resistance for purple seed stain. The fungus is seed transmitted, so seed infected with purple seed stain should be treated with a fungicide seed treatment if used for seed.

Soybean problems: Diaporthe/Phomopsis complex may be the explanation for those of you who had patches of fields turn brown/gray and die early with pods appearing flat and seeds shrunken/moldy. That’s not to say there hasn’t been other problems such as anthracnose, phytophthora, and some sudden death syndrome as well. Keeping a few stems and sending them into a diagnostic lab is the best way to tell. The Diaporthe/Phomopsis complex includes a number of diseases including Pod and Stem Blight, Stem Canker, and Phomopsis Seed Decay. Infections can occur at any time on the plants, but infection increases with warm/humid weather close to maturity (as we experienced this year), wet weather during harvest increases pod infection, and high winds/hail/and other events that allow entry-way for pathogens into the plant.

Wheat: It’s been great to receive questions the past few weeks on planting wheat! For those seeking resources, my colleague Nathan Mueller in Dodge County has dedicated a section of his web page (http://croptechcafe.org/winterwheat/) to growing wheat in Eastern NE including an email listserv that shares new information. There was also an edition of UNL CropWatch devoted to winter wheat information here: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2018/august-31-2018. Key points I emphasize for wheat include: killing out volunteer wheat at least 2 weeks prior to planting new wheat, treating wheat with fungicide seed treatment, and ensuring proper seeding depth by ensuring enough weight on the seeder particularly when no-till planting into residue.

I realize the economics for one year don’t look great for wheat. However, looking at the bigger picture, what is that wheat crop allowing in adding additional time for a forage or cover crop, breaking pest cycles, and giving you an additional 2-3 months time before needing to apply herbicides for weeds like palmer amaranth? And, what is it providing in residue for the following year to help reduce the number of weeds you see? The following comes from an article Nathan wrote on his website. There’s many benefits for adding wheat in rotation and perhaps it’s something you wish to consider this year! “Adding wheat to your eastern Nebraska cropping system can offer many other benefits:

  1. Additional revenue in utilizing or selling the straw
  2. Added profit by growing more late summer and early fall forage crops
  3. Ability to more effectively incorporate cover crops
  4. Selling grain at elevators with good basis, for example wheat often is 10 cents above futures in Fremont
  5. Reducing herbicide cost for troublesome weeds like marestail, waterhemp, and Palmer amaranth, in short, disrupting weed cycles
  6. Higher soybean yields in 3-yr rotation due to reduction in pest pressure
  7. Potential reduction in yield loss from compaction by not driving on wetter soils during manure application in the fall and spring.
  8. Opportunity to contract with feedlots for manure application in the summer months
  9. Reduce soil erosion and nutrient loss during high risk months of April-May-June.
  10. Improved soil health, soil structure, and infiltration may provide long-term profitability
  11. Reduced labor cost through better distribution of workload on the farm.
  12. Possible higher cost share for conservation work during the months of July, August, September.
  13. Possible higher USDA CSP ranking score for planting winter wheat resulting in additional revenue
  14. During periods of dry years, dryland corn yield boost the following year.
  15. Demonstrated local success at obtaining high yields (100 bushel/ac)”

Early Leaf Drop: The rain and humidity increased our fungal diseases in shade trees and we’re seeing early leaf drop in some species as a result. In particular, I’ve received calls and looked at ash, maples, lindens, crabapples, and flowering pears. Early leaf drop also may be due to the environmental swings we experienced this year from rain and cooler temps to hot, dry conditions. We don’t recommend homeowners do anything about this and it shouldn’t impact the long-term health of the tree.

JenREES 9-16-18

Great to see many farm families at Husker Harvest Days last week and also great to see harvest getting started!  Just a reminder for all of us to watch for equipment on the roads and allow for extra time to slow down, particularly with the speed limit changes. Dawn, dusk, and the evening can be the hardest times to see equipment and it can be difficult to see how wide or long the equipment extends. Harvest is hard work and a lot of hours yet is also a blessing to finish the growing season. Here’s wishing everyone a safe harvest season!

Harvest: As storm and drought-damaged corn is being harvested, just a reminder that grain should be tested for presence of ear molds and any potential mycotoxins now in addition to moisture/test weight. I’m hearing some differences in what’s all being tested when the harvest sample is taken, so be sure to talk to your insurance agent about this. It’s important to also test for mold and potential mycotoxins as that gives you an indication of what’s in the grain, particularly if any grain is going into the bin. We’d recommend not binning the worst damaged fields/areas of fields, particularly if you have a lot of diplodia in the field. Drying grain to 14% moisture as quickly as possible will stop most fungal growth and we recommend drying to 13% if diplodia is an issue in your corn ears. I’m also consistently hearing about light test weights in the storm damaged grain.

Rapid crop dry down has been a topic of conversation; I’ll share more next week. Briefly, grain moisture loss occurs when husks lose their color, when portions of the ear are exposed above the husk, with looser husks around the ears, when ears turn down, and when there’s fewer and thinner husk leaves. For those asking about dying patches in soybean fields (in which pods are not filling seeds), I’m consistently finding anthracnose in samples but am unsure it’s always been the cause. The concern with rapid dry down in corn is just how quickly these plants are cannibalizing stalks to keep filling ears, the amount of stalk rot in fields, and large ears (watch for potential weakened ear shanks due to various stresses). I test for stalk rot using a pinch test where I pinch the internode between the lower plant nodes for 20 plants and determine a percentage throughout portions of fields. Consider harvesting fields with higher amounts of stalk rot/weakened ear shanks first and also consider harvesting at higher moisture. I’m finding stalk quality quickly deteriorating, even in non-storm damaged fields.

For those with palmer amaranth on field edges, just a reminder that 99% of the seed is still viable going through that combine. Thus, the combine is one of the best ways of spreading palmer throughout your field and from field to field. My recommendation from observing palmer spread the past five years is to avoid combining field edges, strips, or patches where palmer is an issue. Instead, disk down the field edges to bury the seed and then plant an inexpensive small grain like bin-run wheat to reduce early germination next spring. Some have also planted rye. I don’t know if shredding vs. one-time disking is as effective this time of year (since palmer shoots seed heads at the soil line too but unsure if if produces viable seed past mid-September here). As I’ve spoken during pesticide trainings and other meetings, farmers have also shared their experiences. Some farmers shared they took this advice and reduced the problem the successive year and didn’t spread it through their fields (even if they were no-till farmers and had to till the field edges one time). I’ve had other farmers share they combined that field edge or patch and could tell the following year exactly where the combine went for the first few passes within the field as the palmer was a problem there. So, just another consideration as it takes a system’s approach for everything we do including weed management; palmer management begins right now with harvest.

Another management consideration is to harvest soybeans as close to 13% (the elevator standard) as possible. And, I realize this is easier for me to write about than to actually do depending on many factors! Soybeans delivered below or above 13% moisture lose potential profit. At greater than 13% moisture, there is a moisture dock on the scale ticket for delivering wet beans, resulting in a lower price per bushel. And with less than 13% moisture, profit is lost because there are fewer “bushels” to sell rather than a dockage on the ticket. There are fewer bushels because the load weight is divided by 60 pounds per bushel (assuming 13% moisture) rather than by the actual pounds per bushel for the moisture content of the beans at the time of delivery. If you sell soybeans at 8% moisture, you’re losing about 5.43% of your yield; at 9% moisture, it’s 4.4%; at 10% moisture, 3.3%; at 11% moisture, 2.25%; and at 12% moisture, it’s 1.14% yield loss. That doesn’t take into account additional risk for shatter losses during harvest. For a field that’s yielding 75 bu/ac, harvesting it at 9% results in selling 3.3 fewer bushels per acre based on weight because you’re not selling the water that you’re entitled to sell if the beans were at 13% moisture. With soybeans priced at $7/bushel, that’s a loss of about $23 per acre (with greater loss when soybean price increases).

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Fusarium (white/pink/gray) is the primary ear mold on this hail-damaged ear with Pennicillium (blue-green) as secondary.

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Gibberella stalk rot (related to Fusarium and looks similar). Gibberella is characterized by breakage at the node with pink discoloration within the pith tissue and black fungal structures (not clear in this photo) on the outside of the stalk node.

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Seeing soybeans dying in patches like this in a number of fields where early death led to reduced pod fill. Finding anthracnose on stems but unsure it’s always the cause. Not always finding phytophthora or sudden death syndrome either in these patches.

Palmer field edge

Palmer amaranth is often observed along field edges. Consider not running the combine through edges or patches with palmer to help avoid spreading it throughout your field.

JenREES 9-7-18

By the time this is printed in newspapers, we’ll be remembering September 11th. Grateful for all the first responders and all who have served our Country to defend our freedom since that day. Grateful for the sacrifices their families have made as well. Thinking of and praying for the families of those who lost their lives in the attacks and in defense of our Country since. May we never forget!

Encouragement: The wet weather has created challenges with harvest, making silage, increasing ear/stalk rots, kernel germination, and dampening spirits. So seeking to encourage: grateful for the soil moisture profile recharge the rain has provided and how it’s allowing pastures to recover and cover crops to grow! It’s really special to live in a State where our State Fair is now so ag and family focused! It was wonderful seeing so many farm families during the fair and I look forward to seeing many during Husker Harvest Days too! Thankfully harvest will be here soon and we’ll appreciate the sunshine that much more when we see it again!

Sprouted Kernels: I’m seeing and hearing of kernel sprouting in hail damaged and drought stressed corn in addition to corn hybrids that have tighter husks and upright ears. Sprouting is also occurring in soybean. So why are we seeing this?

IMAG6209Prior to full maturity it comes down to a hormonal imbalance within the kernels between gibberellin and abscisic acid (ABA). According to a study by White, et. al (2000), Gibberellin production with the lack of ABA allowed for kernel germination while less Gibberellin and more ABA deterred kernel germination. At full maturity, very little ABA is left in the kernel (in both corn and soybeans) which allows them to germinate in correct conditions after harvest.

These conditions include temperatures above 50ºF and moisture. Thus the continuous drizzle and rain we’ve experienced can allow for sprouting within soybean pods. In corn, sprouting under those conditions typically occurs at the base of the ear first but we’re also seeing it in exposed ear tips. We’ve also seen Fusarium and Gibberella ear rot fungi occurring in ears that have been damaged by hail and/or insects in ears. These fungi also produce gibberellins which can aid in the hormonal imbalance and stimulate kernel germination.Sprouting hail-damaged corn

If you’re seeing kernel sprouting in your field, make sure your crop insurance adjuster is aware of the situation and submit samples for kernel damage due to mold and sprouting. Also check for mycotoxins prior to harvest if ear molds are a problem in your field. The local co-op will decide whether to accept the load based on percent damage and the standards they need to follow. If the load is rejected, contact your crop insurance agent to determine your next step.Sprouting hail-damaged corn

Sprouted kernels lead to higher kernel damage and more fines in a load. Keys for harvest will include

  • harvesting early,
  • drying it to 14%, potentially drying at a high temperature to kill the sprout,
  • screening out fines, and
  • monitoring stored grain closely for hot spots, mold, and additional sprouting grain.

With the moisture continuing to exacerbate corn ear molds,particularly in hail damaged fields, you may also decide to take the grain for silage instead. More information regarding correctly making silage can be found at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2018/silage-hailed-corn.

Husker Harvest Days Cornstalk Baling Workshop: Baling of cornstalk residue has been an increasing topic of interest among growers. Reasons are many including residue management when cattle don’t graze a field, use of residue as a feedstuff, and as was the case in 2017, to bale up much of the downed ears with the cornstalks. With this interest, we’ve had individuals contact us about custom baling residue as an additional income source. With the topic of residue baling comes many questions. These include:

  • What is the nutrient value of the residue removed from the field?
  • What are the impacts of residual removal on subsequent yields and field soil properties?
  • What is the feed value of that residue?
  • How do I best set my current equipment to bale corn residue?
  • Is my current equipment the best to bale corn residue?

This year, Nebraska Extension, Farm Progress, and several forage equipment manufacturers are partnering in a Corn Residue Baling Workshop at Husker Harvest Days (September 11-13). The workshop will be from 1:30-2:00 p.m. daily in the fields adjacent to the haying demonstrations, which begin at 2 p.m. Equipment manufacturers who have committed to the demonstration include: CNH, AGCO, Rowse Rakes, Vermeer, and John Deere.

Some of the manufacturers will be showcasing the same equipment in this workshop and in the haying demos. Each manufacturer will talk briefly about their equipment and specific settings that might be needed to make their machinery work better on residue. Because of the high moisture content of the corn residue during the Husker Harvest Days Show, equipment demonstrations of baling residue are not a possibility; however, videos of the manufacturers’ equipment in action can be viewed in the University of Nebraska Institute of Ag and Natural Resources building.

Anhydrous Ammonia Safety Training

Anhydrous Ammonia Safety Training

Please help spread the word about this FREE safety training for farm families, hired hands, COOP personnel, fire fighters and first responders. Please RSVP to (402) 362-5508. Thanks!

JenREES 8-26-18

Reminder of South Central Ag Lab Field Day August 29th from 8:25 a.m.-4 p.m. (Registration at 8 a.m.)! 10.5 CCA credits have been applied for. More information at: https://go.unl.edu/zvwx

Crop Update: The rain last weekend was a blessing to many. It along with cooler temperatures has allowed for deeper kernels and delayed corn maturity. In fact, if we were to stay at the high temperatures we were experiencing, the Hybrid Maize model was predicting maturity in our area anywhere from 1-3 weeks early. Now, it’s mostly just predicting one week early (for anything that isn’t already mature). It also is showing above average yields for non-irrigated corn where drought-stress and hail weren’t a factor. Irrigated yields are showing near average according to the model for most fields in the area. You can see all the graphs and read more in this week’s CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu. Corn has reached black layer in many of the hail damaged fields I’ve looked at and some of the drought-stressed fields will begin harvest in a few weeks. The rain also greatly helped the soybeans, even in drought-stressed areas.

However, the rain also greatly increased stalk rot in fields, particularly in hail damaged ones. We weren’t seeing a large amount of mold in the first 7-10 days post-hail  in hail damaged fields that were late dough to early dent. Now, nearly 21 days later, we’re seeing fungal growth increasing with the moisture and humidity within the husks of corn ears. It will be very important to check your fields to determine worst ones and worst areas of fields regarding stalk rot and kernel damage. Those areas should be harvested first if they’re being taken for grain and we’re recommending to fill any contracts with grain from those areas first. In checking for stalk rot, I prefer a ‘pinch test’ compared to a ‘push test’. With the pinch test, take your thumb and first finger and pinch the stalk internode that occurs between the lower nodes above the soil line. Do this for 20 plants in an area and get a percentage for those that crush. Then do this for several areas of your field. This gives you an indication of the level of stalk rot for your field and worst affected areas.

Cover Crops: With recent crop insurance determinations on these damaged fields, I’ve received an increasing number of questions regarding cover crop use. We’re already seeing weeds germinating in these fields due to open canopies, so weed control is one considerations for using a cover crop right now. Other reasons expressed have been for excess nitrogen uptake and also for a forage option. Dr. Mary Drewnoski, Extension Beef Nutritionist, Dr. Daren Redfearn, Extension Forage Specialist, and I talked through options to consider right now.

Always check with your crop insurance agent before seeding a cover crop into hail-damaged fields. It’s also important to check replant, forage and grazing restrictions regarding the herbicide program you used and any delay necessary before seeding a cover crop and any forage restrictions to grazing a cover crop. (See Replant Options and Herbicide Rotation Restrictions and Forage, Feed, and Grazing Restrictions for Row Crop Herbicides, both excerpted from the 2018 Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska, EC130.)

In general, we’re at an interesting time for making cover crop decisions. Typically we use September 1 as the divider between planting small grains such as oats that will winterkill and winter hardy cereals such as rye or triticale (planted after September 1). Even with brassicas such as turnips, collards, or rapeseed, we’d recommend the cutoff for seeding to be within the next two weeks. Because of this time frame, mixes may be beneficial because they’ll take advantage of whatever weather we have for the rest of the season. Simple, inexpensive mixes may allow for at least something to become successfully established. So, for those looking at something to winterkill, oats could be planted yet this week as could a mix of oats and brassicas. However, after this week, we’d be looking at either adding something like rye or triticale to the mix or just switching to the more winter-hardy small grains. And honestly, while it isn’t mentioned in the table, if a person’s goal is cover the ground for weed management, bin-run wheat is also an inexpensive option. Your local seed supplier can provide seeding rates for cover crop options and we’ve provided a table with these options, depending on your goals, at http://cropwatch.unl.edu.

Yellow or red tops in corn plants: For a month now, we’ve observed yellow tops in cornIMAG5726 plants. Plants that contain ears and are turning yellow from the top to the middle of the plant can be occurring because of anthracnose top dieback or another disorder called ‘top leaf death or dieback in corn‘. Some plants with this discoloration truly do have anthracnose spores present on the stalk and sheaths. However, there have been other situations where I couldn’t find the presence of anthracnose spores. In those situations, the plants were often on compacted areas of field edges, always had a nice ear on the plant, and sometimes had tillers as well. Dr. Bob Nielsen at Purdue mentioned they had found what’s called ‘top leaf death’ in corn in situations where they experienced more drought or heat stress. Those plants had leaf discoloration similar to anthracnose top dieback, but without the presence of the spores. So, for those situations where I’m not finding anthracnose spores, I’m calling it this top leaf death disorder. You can read more about this at: https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/topleafdeath.html.


Table 1. Cover crop considerations for late-season hail-damaged crops
COVER CROP USE/GOAL WHEN TO PLANT HOW TO SEED RATE
(PER ACRE)
ADDITIONAL NOTE
OATS Weed Management By Sept. 1 Drill best. Can fly on. 30-40 lbs *
OATS/RYE MIX Weed Management By Sept. 1 Drill best. Can fly on. 30 lbs each *
OATS Forage By Sept. 1 Drill best. Can fly on. 80-90 lbs *
OAT/RYE MIX Forage By Sept. 1 Drill best. Can fly on. 30-40 lbs of rye and 50-60 lbs oats *
BRASSICAS (TURNIP, COLLARD, RAPESEED)-NOT OILSEED RADISHES Cover ground, forage, nitrogen uptake By Sept. 1 Fly on for quicker establishment. 5-6 lbs  —
RYE Weed management, cover ground, forage, nitrogen uptake After Sept. 1 Drill best. Can fly on. 50-60 lbs  *
*If adding a brassica to any of these small grain options, only 2 lb/ac is needed. Rapeseed isn’t as well known, but is an inexpensive and good option for consideration.
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