Soil Moisture 5-17-18

Hoping these graphs change for us after this past weekend’s rain events!  These readings were taken as of 5/17/18.

Byron 5-17-18

As of 5/17/18, total soil moisture depletion in this field stayed fairly steady.  The top two feet are nearing field capacity.

Superior 5-17-18

At the Superior location as of 5/17/18, total soil moisture depletion remained around 40%.  The first foot is nearing field capacity with the second foot nearing 35% depletion.

At the Lawrence location I’m just sharing last week’s graphs from 5/10/18.  Soybean was planted into the corn stubble on 5/11/18 and the sensors were removed and re-installed with the readings needing time to adjust.  The farmer said it was so dry he had to use a drill to re-install the moisture sensors.  I have no idea what happened in the soybean stubble field but the readings this past week were crazy so decided to share new graphs on the Lawrence location next week.

Lawrence 5-10-18 CornLawrence 5-10-18 Soy

JenREES 5-20-18

Crop Update:  So grateful for rain and truly hope those who wanted and needed rain received it!  An update to soil moisture profile as of 5/17/18 can be found at http://jenreesources.com.

A number of crop issues surfaced this week.  One being root burn and wilted-looking corn seedlings from anhydrous ammonia applications with the dry winter/spring we’ve had thus far.  Anhydrous ammonia can expand in soils 2.5-3” in all directions and potentially more in dry soils.  Pivots were running to help with that and hopefully rain events will help non-irrigated fields that were suffering in this way.  Another problem observed in some non-irrigated corn fields has been fomesafen carryover injury from products such as Flexstar, Reflex, Prefix, etc.  These products have a 10 month planting window back to corn which is fine in most years, but dry conditions didn’t allow for the herbicide to break down in all situations from applications last June.  This active ingredient is in Group 14 (PPO inhibitors) and the injury from this particular active ingredient is unique in that it causes yellow/brown striping of the veins themselves instead of interveinal chlorosis/necrosis.  Seedlings most affected right now are found on field edges or wherever there was overlap of application.  Hopefully corn should grow out of this injury in time.  Herbicide carryover may be a something to watch for in soybean as well from other active ingredients.  We also saw regrowth occurring on plants affected by wind/dust/debris damage but there are situations where replanting will be needed on endrows, etc.  Roger Elmore has a photo gallery explaining regrowth in this week’s CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu.

Another situation that surprised me this year was finding seed corn maggot damage in

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Seed corn maggot feeding on soybean seed.  No insecticide was included in the seed treatment.

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Seed corn maggot affecting soybean seedlings by feeding on cotyledons and hypocotyls.  The brown grain-like structure in the bottom of the picture is a seed corn maggot that is pupating.  These seeds did not have an insecticide in the seed treatment.

soybean.  At first I was puzzled as the beans were clearly treated but then learned the beans didn’t have an insecticide added to the seed treatment.  In scouting a number of fields, I’ve actually seen quite a bit of seed corn maggot damage, particularly in tilled fields and those with manure applied or those with cover crops that were green or where termination included tillage.  I’ve also been surprised how many have told me they don’t use an insecticide seed treatment on early planted beans.  We didn’t have any research in our early soybean planting studies without insecticide + fungicide seed treatment so we just automatically recommend both.  Unfortunately this year we’re seeing what can happen without it with higher insect pressure in some fields.  For seedlings with the insecticide seed treatment, I’m seeing light scarring on the cotyledons and hypocotyls but no maggot penetration.  In fields without the seed treatment, I’m actually seeing penetration of the cotyledons and hypocotyls.  The good news is that most of the maggots were also pupated, pupating or will be soon.  But it is something to watch for, particularly in fields that have been tilled and especially if manure was applied or they were tilled and had a cover crop on them.  They are not as attracted to no-till fields.  Regarding stands, from my experience with soybean pops and stand loss due to crusting, hail, herbicide injury, etc., I keep stands of 60,000 plants/acre or more.  It really stinks to talk about replanting anything right now with guys still trying to finish planting.  If you choose to replant soybeans, consider proving it to yourself by planting strips and leaving strips.  If you’re interested in that, I’d be happy to work with you.  You can learn more about seed corn maggots here:  https://crops.extension.iastate.edu/cropnews/2016/04/look-seedcorn-maggot-corn-and-soybean.

Wheat in the area ranges from boot to flowering.  A couple of wheat fields I know of

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Wheat field cut at boot stage for hay.

were taken for hay.  For those still considering silage, check out the CropWatch article this week where Todd Whitney shares data on wheatlage (wheat silage):  https://go.unl.edu/qkbr.  The rainfall will greatly help our wheat right now.  And, rainfall at heading to flowering makes me think about the potential for Fusarium Head Blight (scab).  The wheat scab prediction monitor http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/ is predicting medium to high risk for scab in Nebraska for the next 48-72 hours.  Some years I feel the model is delayed in prediction, but I still feel it’s a good tool and resource.  Scab is caused by Fusarium graminearum and is favored by warm (70-80°F temps), humidity, and rain events before and during flowering.  Once wheat begins flowering (Feekes 10.5.1), many foliar wheat fungicides are off-label.  In fact, recent research presented at the 2017 Fusarium Head Blight meetings shows that in general, strobilurin products can actually increase the presence of deoxynivalenol (DON) in wheat if applied at full heading (Feekes 10 or 10.5).  Thus, your better fungicide options for preventing scab are Caramba and Prosaro and these products can also kill any fungal diseases present on leaves (such as powdery mildew, tan spot, and rust).  These products aren’t 100% for scab prevention due to the variation of heading and flowering that occurs in so many fields.  Better efficacy is obtained with more uniform plants which begins at seeding time.  So I would recommend watching the growth stage in your fields, the weather, and the prediction tool regarding if you feel you need to treat any fields this year to prevent scab.  Research has shown best efficacy to be obtained when at least 50% of the plants are at 1/3 flowering.  Flowering begins with yellow anther sacs in the middle of the head with flowering continuing throughout the head from there.  Once the pollen is released, the anther sacs turn white.

LBNRD Open House Public Hearing:  The Little Blue Natural Resources District (LBNRD) is hosting a public hearing on May 29th from 6:30-9:00 p.m. at the Davenport Community Center in Davenport, NE.  The purpose of the hearing is to provide information and receive testimony on proposed amendments to Groundwater Management Rules and Regulations.  The hearing will be an open house format allowing individuals to ask questions of the NRD staff, look at exhibits, and offer testimony.  The proposed rule changes and additional information can be found on the LBNRD website at:  http://www.littlebluenrd.org/.  Please contact the NRD with any questions at (402) 364-2145.


Not part of my news column: on a more positive note after mentioning all the crop problems, the lilacs in general were beautiful and smelled amazing!!!

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2018 SCAL Weed Science/Cover Crop Day

SCAL Flyer 1SCAL Flyer 2

Soil Moisture 5-10-18

The area of ‘abnormally dry’ or ‘moderate drought’ was reduced by 5% in Nebraska as of 5/8/18 compared to the previous week.

Bladen 5-10-18

This site has continually missed the rain.  The first foot can be observed as slowly drying out as  well this week with total soil moisture (1-4′) remaining above 50% depletion.  This site was removed due to corn being planted in this field.  

Byron 5-10-18

Last week’s rains did help the first and second feet remain below field capacity.  However, the third foot did not remain wet after the rainfall event and can be seen climbing in depletion in the graph this week.  I did probe this site this week and there appears to be good moisture now just past 2 feet, but it gets dryer after that.

Lawrence 5-10-18 Corn

This site continues to remain steady with total soil moisture depletion around 35%. 

Lawrence 5-10-18 Soy

The first foot sensor has leveled off after being reprimed on 4/26.  Total soil moisture depletion (1-3′) remains around 45%. 

Superior 5-10-18

Last week’s rains helped with the first foot and somewhat with the second foot at this site.  Total soil moisture depletion is around 40%.

JenREES 5-13-18

It was great to see so many fields of corn and even soybean emerging throughout the

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area this past week!  Also grateful for the rain we received in York and for those who received some in other areas.  There are still areas who continue to miss rains and I remain concerned about the soil moisture situation.  I have another soil moisture update this week at http://jenreesources.com if you’re interested in checking that out.

Thursday night/Friday morning’s high winds caused some damage with overturned pivots/corner systems and tree damage.  We also saw newly emerged corn and even soybean cut off or

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Corn plants were buried or cut off by blowing residue/soil.  A few remaining plants in this area of the field can be seen.

buried due to blowing debris/soil, particularly in soybean stubble.  It will be important to watch the plants in these fields the next several days.  By late Friday afternoon, I was already seeing new growth occur, which is good.  Typically, that has been the response in the past-new regrowth in corn as the growing point is still below ground.  However, it will be important to watch the corn plants for any bacterial issues that may kill seedlings.  One can also split open a few plants and look for a healthy growing point.  Regarding the soybean, I have seen soybean lose cotyledons due to hail, crusting, freeze, and wind damage, and still produce a plumule at the top of the soybean stem.  It’s just hard to know for sure what will happen so it’s best to watch the plants in the fields.

Wheat in Nuckolls, Thayer, and Webster counties ranges from elongation to near boot and is turning blue-gray from moisture stress.  Wheat is a crop that I’m always learning about-it can look really bad (or really good) and then end up surprising a person regarding yield either way.  Lower leaves

in fields are turning yellow-brown.  Some of this is due to moisture stress while there’s also powdery mildew pretty thick in lower canopies of wheat that had more tillers.  A few have talked with me about using the wheat for hay or silage and then potentially going in with short season corn, sorghum, or a forage crop.  Our forage specialists would recommend that if the wheat variety has awns, it’s best to either take for hay or silage at the boot stage so the awns don’t cause issues with livestock feeding.  Todd Whitney, Extension Educator in Phelps/Gosper counties, had worked with a feedlot using an awnless wheat variety.  Because of the additional growth that occurs in wheat (and other small grains) from boot to full head elongation, they found biomass production may be increased 25% if the forage was harvested during the later pollination period.

Evergreen Trees:  There’s also been a lot of evergreen tree questions.  For those noticing spruce trees looking kind of yellow with early morning sunlight, spruce spidermites have been working hard with the cooler, dry weather.  They tend to build populations in spring and fall.  You can check for spidermites by taking a white piece of paper and banging the needles on it.  Then look for the presence of tiny dark green to nearly black spidermites crawling on it.  Rainfall is a great way to wash them off of trees as are strong streams of water (easier done with smaller trees).  There are also a number of miticides available that homeowners can purchase from lawn and garden stores (look for products that say they can be applied to trees for control of spidermites).  A great brochure on insect pests of evergreen trees can be found at: https://nfs.unl.edu/documents/foresthealth/insectevergreen.pdf.

Many of us also noticed our spruce trees turning red/brown/purple/yellow in color last fall.  This is most likely a disease called needle cast of spruce and can be prevented by spraying trees now (mid-May) with a product containing copper sulfate.  Regarding Ponderosa or Austrian pines, if you look closely at the needles and observe dark bands or rings on them followed by death of the needle either direction from the band, the tree problem is most likely due to a fungal needle blight like dothistroma or brown spot in Scotch pines.  They can all be prevented by spraying a fungicide containing copper sulfate now.  The following brochure on diseases of evergreen trees is really helpful:  https://nfs.unl.edu/documents/foresthealth/diseasesevergreen.pdf.  Sometimes the problem is finding the products listed on these brochures in our smaller towns as these brochures were developed in Lincoln.  If these specific products aren’t available from your local lawn/garden store, box store, or coop, I would recommend looking at the products available and look for a product that says it is effective against needle blights on trees.  Not all the products I’m seeing have copper as an active ingredient, but other fungicides are listed and the key would be the fact that the site (trees) and even better, the site with problem (trees with needle blights), is listed on the label.

We also continue to see pine wilt affecting our Scotch (short needles in groups of 2) and Austrian pines (long needles in groups of 2).  Pine wilt disease is caused by the pinewood nematode that is carried within the gut of a long-horned beetle.  The beetle is what creates the ‘shotholes’ often seen in bark of infected trees.  The nematode is native to Nebraska, as are Ponderosa pines (long needles in groups of 2 and 3).  This is why we don’t see the problem in Ponderosa pines but do in Scotch and Austrian, which are non-native to Nebraska.  A tip, if you’re trying to distinguish Ponderosa vs. Austrian pines, anytime you see needles with a group of 3 it’s a Ponderosa.  Pine wilt is caused by beetles carrying pinewood nematodes vomiting them into the water-carrying vessels of the tree (xylem).  The tree senses the nematodes and essentially blocks water to those branches.  Often you will observe a branch then perhaps a side of the tree and eventually complete death of the tree within 6-9 months.  While I have diagnosed many samples of pine wilt, more often when I visit homeowners the tree problems are due to fungal diseases which occur on the needles.

Lawns:  Please remember the importance of sweeping or blowing fertilizer and pesticide products back into the lawn instead of leaving them on sidewalks.  Leaving them on the sidewalks puts them in contact with people and pets walking on sidewalks and moves them into storm water systems via rain that can eventually end up in streams.  I’m also seeing a number of 2,4-D/dicamba products being sprayed around tree bases to kill weeds which is affecting the new growth emerging on trees.  Consider applying a wood mulch layer around the base of trees to help avoid this situation in the future and be sure to read and follow all pesticide labels.

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