JenREES 8/15/22

With every development stage this replant corn crop achieves, I’m grateful! Many fields will hopefully begin pollination soon. Late-planted crops can have quite a bit of disease and insect pressure develop late. Would encourage you to wait and treat fields when needed instead of automatically at beginning tassel.

Last irrigation: (days listed are based on GDUs, so consider this for your crop growth stage and field soil moisture levels so you can start tapering off). This tool helps you calculate potential black layer date based on your planting date and relative maturity: https://mygeohub.org/groups/u2u/purdue_gdd. What I’m currently seeing is that 2022 is around 70 GDD higher for York than the 30 year average and is tracking pretty similarly to 2012.

  • Corn at Dough needs 7.5” (approximately 34 days to maturity)
  • Corn at Beginning Dent needs 5” of water (approximately 24 days to maturity)
  • Corn at ¼ milk needs 3.75” (approximately 19 days to maturity)
  • Corn at ½ milk (Full Dent) needs 2.25” (approximately 13 days to maturity)
  • Soybean at beginning seed (R5) needs around 6.5” (approx. 29 days to maturity)
  • Soybean at full seed (R6) needs 3.5” (approx. 18 days to maturity)
  • Soybean with leaves beginning to yellow (R6.5) needs 1.9” (approx. 10 days to maturity)

I share that yet acknowledge what I’ve heard in the weariness of irrigating and the temptation to quit early. My guess is there’s many feeling this way…and it seems especially long to those who have replant crops. Ultimately would just encourage you to finish strong!

Verbal Land Lease Agreements: Have received a few questions on timing to notify of terminating a verbal land lease; that date is Sept. 1 for Nebraska. I have searched and am unaware of a good template for this notification. The verbal lease date doesn’t apply to written leases as dates should be specified within them. Templates for written leases can be found at: https://aglease101.org/doclib/.

Renovating Lawns in the Fall: August 15-September 15 are the best times to seed cool season grasses. Improving Turf in the Fall at https://go.unl.edu/rz9z is a great resource to walk you through renovation depending on your situation. Some lawns can be easily improved by adding fall fertilizer.

Sarah Browning, Extension Horticultural Educator shares, “Late summer or fall fertilization of Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue lawns is the most important time to fertilize these cool season grasses. Fertilizer promotes recovery from summer stress, increases density of thinned turf, encourages root and rhizome growth, and allows the plant to store food for next spring’s growth flush. Lawns that are 10-15 or more years old typically need only two fertilizer applications a year. Make the fall application in late August or early September. On younger lawns, two fertilizer applications during fall are recommended. Make the first one in late August/early September, and the second in mid-late October.”

If overseeding is needed to fill in thinned areas but more than 50% of good turf remains, mow the existing grass 2.5” tall to make the soil prep easier. For lawns needing total renovation, start with a glyphosate (Roundup application) followed by waiting at least 7-10 days to kill the lawn. Mow dead vegetation as short as mower goes to then aerate the lawn three times. Full seeding rate for tall fescue is 6-8 lbs./1,000 sq.ft., and 2-3 lbs. for Kentucky bluegrass. When overseeding into an existing lawn, the seeding rate can be cut in half. Drilling the seed is perhaps best, otherwise, use a drop seeder. Seed half the seed north/south and the other half east/west for even distribution. Then lightly rake to ensure seed to soil contact.



Example of using the GDD U2U tool (https://mygeohub.org/groups/u2u/purdue_gdd). Input your zip code or select your county. Then add your planting date and relative maturity to view a prediction for black layer and first 28F frost based on 30 year weather data. The tool is also showing that 2022 is above the 30 year GDD average. Right now it’s about 70 units higher in York and is predicted to continue on a higher trend as the season progresses. Selecting a comparison year (I chose 2012), it shows 2022 is tracking very similarly for the time being.

JenREES 8/7/22

The buildings and barns are now emptied, exhibits taken home and people are weary. But what remains

4-H youth award winners in Ag Hall and ID Contests at York Co. Fair

are the friendships, the connections re-established, the smiles, the gratitude, the pulling together, the awards given to the youth, the lessons learned. When I was in 4-H, I had no idea the amount of time that Ag Society, Extension staff, volunteers, my 4-H leaders or even my parents put into the fair. I could’ve said ‘thank you’ so much more! This was my 19th county fair on ‘the other side’ and it never ceases to amaze me the list of items to accomplish in order to ensure a successful fair. It takes many dedicated people to achieve all of this. I’m so grateful to the ag society, 4-H Council, Extension staff and board, FFA advisers, 4-H leaders, numerous volunteers, and parents that pull together each year to pull off county fairs! As I reflect, things that make my heart happy and make me smile are thinking about the number of wonderful people who help me in Ag Hall each year, the youth proudly wearing their medals around the fairgrounds on Thursday evening after the award’s ceremony in York Co., the crop plot for ag literacy in Seward Co., seeing the fairgrounds so busy in spite of the heat, watching people from across the counties reconnect, people pulling together in the midst of adversity, and the hard work that especially ag society puts into the fair behind the scenes to ensure that attendees enjoy the fairs. Thank you also to all of the sponsors! Grateful to all for making the York and Seward Co. fairs a success!

Produce not Ripening: Many have green tomatoes. My colleague, Scott Evans shared it’s due to the heat as temps over 90F prevent the plant from producing lycopene and carotene. You can bring mature green tomatoes indoors to ripen (sunlight isn’t needed) or you can wait for cooler weather for them to turn. How do you know if they are mature enough to bring indoors for ripening? Look for an off-green to a tinge of white on the shoulders of the fruit on the stem side on fruit that is the right size of for that variety. He said the same can be done for peppers that aren’t turning orange, red, or yellow. For cucumbers, fruit production declines with the heat but doesn’t impact maturity.

Spidermites: Just a reminder of this helpful article as the heat has really brought on spidermites in crops: https://go.unl.edu/9v6u. For those with gardens, spidermites are also impacting vegetable and flower plants. Symptoms include webbing and yellowish ‘stippling’ or tiny spotting on the leaves which eventually turn brown. You can take a white piece of paper and knock the leaves on it. If you see tiny insects the size of pinpoints moving, it’s most likely spidermites. Spraying plants with heavy streams of water ensuring each side of the leaf is hit helps knock them down. Proper watering (reducing drought stress) can help reduce spidermites. Those two things can drastically and naturally help with spidermites in garden settings. Insecticidal oils and some plant extract products can help. Just be sure to read the labels to ensure the product is safe for the plant you’re applying it to and never apply these products when temperatures are above 90F to avoid damage to the plant.

Irrigation: The heat is progressing plant and seed development in crops not replanted. Corn at dough needs 7.5” till maturity, 5” at beginning dent, 3.75” at ¼ milk, 2.25” at ½ milk, and 1” at ¾ milk. Soybean at beginning seed (R5) needs 6.5”, end of seed (R6) needs 3.5”, and 1.9” at leaves beginning to yellow.

Soybean Management Field Days are this week (Aug. 9-12)! Last year a team of us tried an approach of more discussion with attendees and this year we’re seeking to format more parts of the field days this way. Each location will be unique to the situations that area of the state is experiencing. Join us for discussions on insects, diseases, weed management, cover crop implementation, precision ag, economics, irrigation, and biodiesel. Closest locations are Blue Hill on Aug. 9 and Central City on Aug. 10. Hope to see many at one of the locations this week! More info. here: https://go.unl.edu/xukf.


From NebGuide G1871 Predicting the Last Irrigation of the Season

JenREES 7/31/22

Fair Time! It’s fair time for both York and Seward counties. While unfortunate that the fairs are the same time (August 4-7th), there’s great opportunities at each one! Come on out to view the 4-H and FFA exhibits, eat great food including BBQ/steak fry served by various local commodity groups, enjoy the entertainment, and catch up with friends and neighbors from across the counties. Please view the schedule of events for Seward Co. at: https://sewardcountyfairgrounds.com/countyfairinfo/ and York Co. at: http://www.yorkcountyfair.com/.

Also, we know the weather greatly impacted gardens. I’m asking for York Co. fair that 4-H/FFA/Open Class participants still bring your produce even if it isn’t ‘market ready’. So, bring your green tomatoes, small peppers, etc. as we’d still appreciate your entries!

Crop Update: Tar spot was found on a leaf in a Saunders county field this past week. Very low incidence in the field and we’re not recommending fungicide for it at this time. Southern rust was found in northeast Kansas this past week, but hasn’t been detected in Nebraska yet.

Have had a number of comments this year about herbicides not seeming to kill palmer as in the past. Some common threads so far have been specific nozzle types used, weeds that had received hail at some point and potentially ‘hardened off’, and also some questions about water quality (pH, hardness) and any impacts there. If you’re noticing/hearing anything specific that worked or really didn’t work this year, I’d be interested in knowing it so I can keep compiling a list of considerations for weed scientists and ag industry to talk through this winter.

Also have received some questions/comments regarding irrigating shallower or deeper. We’ve been saying to get around as fast as one can if you are applying fungicide and/or insecticide through the pivot (0.15” and no more than 0.25”). For fertigation, we’d say 30 lb/ac can be applied in 0.25” and 50-60 lb/ac in 0.5”. Otherwise, we would recommend putting on closer to an inch at a time (depending on what the ground can take in without running off). This is also true for managing disease, particularly white mold in soybean and if tar spot in corn gets established years down the road (it’s better to reduce the frequency for leaf wetness when we irrigate).

Spider mites: Hot, dry weather has increased spider mite activity in crops (also FYI in gardens). Our Extension entomologists updated a CropWatch article that has more info. and a table with products listed for crops: https://go.unl.edu/9v6u. They write, “For effective control, spider mites must come into contact with the miticide. Since mites are found primarily on the underside of the leaves, they are difficult to reach with low volume applications. Using three or more gallons of water per acre by air to carry miticides may increase effectiveness. Aerial applications are generally more effective if applied very early in the morning or in the late evening. Applications made at these times avoid the upward movement of sprays, away from the plants, on hot rising air.

Eggs are difficult to kill with pyrethroid or organophosphate miticides, so reinfestation is likely to occur 7- 10 days after treatment as a result of egg hatching. The reinfestation is frequently heavy because natural enemies have been reduced or eliminated. A second application may be necessary to kill newly hatched mites before they mature and deposit more eggs.

Miticides with activity against eggs and immature stages include Zeal, Oberon and Onager. In many cases, especially with the twospotted spider mite, slowing the rate of population increase is all that can be accomplished with a miticide application.”

Also, I’ll speak more on this next week, but Soybean Management Field Days are quickly approaching Aug. 9-12. More info: https://go.unl.edu/xukf.



JenREES 7/24/22

Even though few, the raindrops Saturday night were so refreshing after a hot week! I don’t know that it’s even really that hot compared to past years, but the sun seems extra intense to me this year. Cooler temps are welcome this week!

Crop Update: There is very little disease pressure thus far in both corn and soybeans. For corn, the most common thing I’ve seen this year is physoderma brown spot/purple leaf sheath, which is something we don’t worry about in Nebraska. Bacterial leaf streak is common on certain hybrids as always and is one we don’t worry about. A fungicide will not help against it and won’t protect against it. Gray leaf spot is very minimal to date in lower canopy, if it can be found. Same for common rust. The closest southern rust has been found is in southern Arkansas. So short story, fungicide isn’t necessary yet unless one is saving a trip for corn insects. For corn insects, there are still hot areas of Japanese beetles feeding on silks in addition to corn rootworm beetles. Spidermites are also flaring in some fields. Also be aware that spraying a fungicide can flare corn leaf aphids as it kills the fungus that attacks them.

For soybean insects, there’s still some Japanese beetles feeding and some spidermites flaring. For disease, have seen very minimal phyllosticta leaf spot and frogeye leaf spot and not anything close to levels for spraying. Seeing lots of phytophthora root rot this year in fields that is continuing to kill plants and there’s nothing we can do about that this year. Fields with a history of white mold may have been sprayed to help reduce disease pressure.

Tar spot has not been found in Nebraska yet this year. A great resource to track diseases such as southern rust and tar spot is: https://corn.ipmpipe.org/diseases/. Click on the disease of interest to see a U.S. map of where the disease has been found. Suspect samples can be submitted to the Plant and Pest Diagnostic lab in Lincoln for free. You can also get your samples to me locally if you’d like. There’s been a lot of confusion so far with insect “poop” and tar spot. A quick field test is to either get your finger wet or spit on the leaf and rub the spot to see if it comes off. Physoderma and tar spot won’t rub off but insect excrement will.

Fungicides and insecticides are helpful when we need them. Everyone’s trying to make the best decisions possible. Concerned we let fear of ‘protecting the crop’ drive decisions. Crop prices continue to be volatile and economics should be considered. Sometimes fields are sprayed a second time when disease comes in later once the residual wears off (regardless of product and because the product only makes it so far into the canopy unless chemigated). In terms of resistance management, we have fewer modes of action with fungicides than herbicides available to us, and we use those same modes of action in all our crops. We already have resistance to the quinone outside inhibitor (group 11 formerly strobilurin) class of fungicides to frogeye leaf spot in soybean. Concerned it’s only a matter of time before this impacts us on the corn side too.

I realize I’m continually an outlier in saying to wait and not automatically apply at tassel. Based on the Nebraska research (shared last year here) and observation I feel we can wait till disease pressure warrants applications and allow them to help with stalk strength. I also realize this column would’ve been more timely last week with the spraying that’s occurred.

South Central Ag Lab Field Day Aug. 4 will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. with program from 8:45 a.m.-3p.m. at the South Central Ag Lab near Harvard/Clay Center. There are several tracks to choose from throughout the day including the latest in weed, disease, insect, nutrient, irrigation management, and soil health. Free lunch and CCA credits available. More info. and RSVP at: https://go.unl.edu/scalfieldday


The first picture on the left has been common of both physoderma brown spot and insect poop. With physoderma brown spot, most often these purplish spots are more prevalent on the midribs, leaf axils, and leaf sheaths (as seen in the middle photo). Often the spots outside of the midrib are more yellow/tan in color and are often confused with southern rust. Photo 3 on the right-hand side was tar spot that was found in Oct. 2021 in York Co. Would recommend getting your finger wet or spitting on the leaf and rubbing the spot to make sure it’s not insect poop as several samples looking like the first photo have been that instead. Physoderma won’t rub off and neither will tar spot. Feel free to submit any suspect samples to the diagnostic lab for free.


JenREES 7/18/22

Japanese beetles: Hopefully this is the last week I talk about these! Hoping they’re coming to an end for this year as I’m not hitting as many while driving! Seems like each week brings new questions that I hope will be helpful to share. For tree and garden products, please check the handout which can be downloaded from the front page of york.unl.edu.

In replant corn and soybean fields, the beetles are attracted to the older plants (check strips/original bean plants); they shouldn’t be going after the replant ones. I’ve heard areas (not hail damaged) have sprayed beans at least twice. People wondered if this is to be expected with products that should have 14 days residual. In talking with Bob Wright, he says there’s little research on Japanese beetles on chemical efficacy. The soybeans continue to produce new leaves and the herbicides, although there’s residual in the pyrethroid products, doesn’t translocate to new leaves. Sunlight also breaks down the herbicide in leaves. Increasing water helps with coverage (helpful if increase to at least three gallons in aerial applications-same for fungicide applications). Chemigation is an option too.

I’ve also been asked about adding other nutrient and biological products, etc. to tanks to increase the plant health. While I’m not opposed to the concept of healthy plants fending off insects/pathogens, I don’t know of research to comment on that for Japanese beetles. Sidenote (not necessarily Japanese beetle related), when I’ve been called out to problem situations in fields this year, numerous times there’s been a large number of products placed in the tank. I just wonder how all these things are truly interacting together and if we’re potentially creating problems (increasing selection pressure and resistance) on weeds, insects, pathogens by potentially reducing efficacy of the original pesticide product that was meant to be sprayed before everything else (plant growth regulators, micros, etc.) was added. Again, no research, just a consistent observation in field calls with problems this year.

White Grub Prevention/Control in Lawns: Been getting questions about grub prevention as well since the Japanese beetles lay eggs in lawns. Control depends on proper timing of the application and moving the insecticide into the root zone where grubs feed. Preventive control applications are made from mid to late June. They can work in early July (it’s potentially too late now). Curative or rescue treatments are made in August or September and I will talk about those products next month.

Preventive – Most of the preventively-applied insecticides are systemic in nature and will be taken up by the plant and translocated to roots. The following products are effective against young grubs and are labeled for homeowner use: Chlorantraniliprole –Scotts GrubEx; Imidacloprid –Bonide Grub Beater, BioAdvanced Season Long Grub Control + fertilizer.

Check Grain Bins: With all the work of starting crops over the month of June, checking grain bins wasn’t as high on the list for many in this area. Two farmers suggested I mention checking grain bins this week as they had found some hot spots and were thankfully able to get things under control.

Take Care of Yourself! I know how worn down I’m feeling each week, and I’m not in the shoes of you as the farmers and landowners who have went through so much loss. These storms keep giving as people find additional damages to buildings, equipment, trees, crops, etc. I realize with the heat it’s not realistic for many to get away for long. There will always be a list and few of us ever ‘catch up’. But there’s only one of each of us. My challenge for us this week is to take some intentional time to reset…whether a half hour or a few hours. Spend the time doing a hobby, resting, strengthening your faith, catching up with someone. We need these breaks and I’m doing that as well. Be sure to stay hydrated with the heat too!

Cover Crop and Soil Health Field Day: This snuck up on me and I failed to talk about it sooner; it will be held this Tuesday July 19th from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Registration at 9:30 a.m.) at the 4-H Building at York Co. Fairgrounds. Topics include: understanding soil health, the Nebraska soil carbon product cover crop study; On-Farm research cover crop study update; and Cover crops for upland game birds. Following lunch there will be a cover crop field site visit with a demonstration of how to conduct a soil health inventory. There is no charge but please RSVP for meal count to Nate Pflueger at 402-646-5426.


JenREES 7/10/22

Grateful for some rain last week! Hail damaged trees (particularly evergreen trees) need water now to help them heal all the open wounds on the branches, stems, trunks.

Western Bean Cutworm Moths should be around 25% flight for corn nearing or tasseling in much of the area. It was predicted for Guide Rock on July 5, York on July 10, and Clay Center on July 11. This CropWatch article shares dates to watch for around the State: https://go.unl.edu/nmye.

Japanese Beetle Control: I posted a second blog post last week on organic and conventional control products that are sold in this area at local farm stores, lawn/garden centers, Wal-Mart, and Ace. You can print it out from the font page of the York Co. Extension website: https://go.unl.edu/bvqf.

Even after applying pesticides, beetles will continue to emerge and fly in from grassy areas (ditches, lawns, pastures) for a good 4-8 weeks. Plants that are being chewed on elicit responses signifying they’re in trouble. It’s those responses that signal other beetles to come. Even though linden, fruit, and other trees and plants are rapidly defoliated, they should not die. On younger trees that were hail damaged, I’m unsure if the hail + the beetle defoliation is too much stress for survival; we will have to see. I’m also unsure if we will see new leaves in general after beetle defoliation this year or not; trees are super stressed already from all the hail damage. I’m observing new leaves are very slow coming back on broadleaf trees post-hail and that was before we also had the beetle defoliation.

I probably should’ve realized this, but another thing I learned this week is there’s two formulations of ‘Sevin’ being sold. I don’t mention that on the print-out mentioned above. One is the traditional carbaryl that lasts 5-7 days. The other is zeta-cypermethrin which has a residual of 14 days (farmers would recognize this ingredient in Hero and Mustang Maxx). I’m not sure why the company branded both products the same name. The Sevin carbaryl product says it will ‘cause damage to boston ivy and virginia creeper’…both of which are favorites of Japanese beetles. So, that was something new I learned by reading the labels and being called out to an unfortunate incident with boston ivy. I didn’t see that same warning on the Sevin zeta-cypermethrin product, but please check it for yourself if you use it.

Label from the Sevin ‘carbaryl’ product showing plant damage can occur to boston ivy and virginia creeper.

Japanese beetles are in corn and bean fields as well. Watch silk clipping in corn and pod clipping in beans (seeing both occurring). Tasseled corn threshold: three or more Japanese beetles per ear, silks have been clipped to less than ½ inch, and pollination is less than 50% complete. Soybean has 20% defoliation once flowering occurs. It’s been interesting seeing beetles defoliating palmer, waterhemp, smartweed, etc. Too bad we couldn’t train them to just eat the weeds!

This picture doesn’t show it well cause they were moving so much. There were 5 Japanese beetles clipping silks on this ear.

Hail Damage and Corn Pollination: This one is just hard and I’m genuinely hoping this isn’t as big of an issue as what it looks like. For corn that was V9-V11 during the June 14th storm, check the tassels and the ears. What I’m seeing in fields that were severely stem bruised but not totaled, are ears that are hip high on me with silks that are up to 5” long right now. Tassels are mostly 1-2 leaves from tasseling. Opening up the leaves shows severely damaged tassels with minimal to no anthers. Some anthers are trying to pollinate within the leaves (pics on my blog). It’s normal for silks to emerge before tassels as that’s what breeders have bred corn to do. It’s not normal for the tassels to emerge this much later than the silks and to be so severely damaged. It will be something to watch in all the hail damaged fields that were kept from June 14 storm to see if the pollination timing is impacted in them as well. What I’m recommending is for now, check your fields and take pictures of the tassels and ears for documentation of any problems if crop insurance can’t come out. I’m hoping I’m wrong and that we can still get some decent pollination in these fields.


This is one of a few fields looked at that was between V9-V11 during the June 14th hailstorms. It had severe stalk bruising at the time and around 22-24K for population. Long silks with very few tassels out. Top left tassel was a decent tassel found that was out. Most tassels are within 1-2 leaves of emerging, are severely damaged from the hail, and some were shedding what pollen they were producing while inside the leaves (bottom left photo).

Japanese Beetle Organic and Conventional Products Found Locally

With the Japanese beetle invasion in the area and their territory spreading further each year, I checked with local retailers (nurseries, lawn/garden centers, farm stores, Wal-Mart, Ace) to see what they have on hand to hopefully be of help.

First, Please Read the Label on any product before you purchase it to make sure:

1: the product says it controls Japanese beetle adults
2: the product is labeled for where you wish to apply it (vegetables, trees, ornamentals, fruit trees, berries, etc.)
3: follow all pre-harvest intervals (PHI) for when you can safely harvest vegetables, fruits, and berries after a product is applied.

Last year I had to unfortunately tell three people they couldn’t eat the produce from their gardens due to the product they sprayed.

Second, there are a number of insecticide options available. Know that most anything applied to flowering plants will also impact pollinators. For flowering plants like roses, cannas, etc., knocking the beetles off around 7 p.m. in the evening into soapy water will protect pollinators visiting them.

There are also ready to use and concentrate versions of chemicals available. The easiest are ones where you simply attach the garden hose and spray. Others need to be mixed with water into a sprayer.

Organic Insecticide Options include Neem, Pyola, Spinosad Soap, Pyrethrin products (ex. Beetle and Boxelder bug killer), and Bt. Neem may repel more than kill Japanese beetle adults. These products will all last around 3-7 days and will need to be reapplied. Products containing these active ingredients should be safe on fruits, vegetables, in addition to using on flowers, shrubs, and trees. Be sure to read and follow directions as there may be a temperature restriction on applying some of them that contain oils to avoid burning leaf tissue.

Conventional insecticide Options can provide up to two weeks of control. I’m going to separate these into products I found locally based on the location they can be applied. Ultimately, this is NOT a complete list and many other products can also be found online. There are also products containing insecticide + fungicide that I don’t list here. Please be sure to read the label for yourself as to the insects controlled and where it can be applied before purchasing.

1. Ornamental shrubs, plants, trees (like linden, elm, birch): DO NOT use these products on vegetables, fruits, or berries. Hi Yield 38+ and Tempo. There’s home defense products labeled for Japanese beetle adults but they don’t mention they can be applied to trees or shrubs.

2. Vegetables, fruits, ornamentals, shrubs, trees: BioAdvanced Rose and Flower Insect Killer, BioAdvanced Tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer, BioAdvanced Vegetable and Garden Insect Spray, Eight, Spectracide Acre Plus Triazicide Insect Killer, Hi-Yield Lawn/Garden/Pet/Livestock Insect Control, Sevin, Ortho BugClear, and Ortho Bug B Gone.

Many of the conventional insecticide products contain pyrethroids such as bifenthrin or permethrin. Thus, there are also products that just say ‘bifenthrin’ or ‘permethrin’ that can also be purchased. Be sure to read the label as some have restrictions such as “can’t be applied to apples” while others can.

JenREES 7/3/22

Hope everyone has a safe and wonderful 4th! Some food safety tips from our Food and Nutrition educators: hot days above 90F means we need to keep warm foods 140F or warmer. Perishable food should stay in the fridge or on ice before and after eating. Leave perishable food out an hour or less in hot weather. For more picnic and bbq tips, check out https://bit.ly/3xjYWwz.

ET and GDD: Also praying for rain; pics of drought monitor map at my blog. Our CropWatch GDD and ET resources if you don’t have your own ET gage are at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/gdd-etdata.  

From CropWatch: The forages team shared more detail on summer annual forage options at: https://go.unl.edu/7z5p. A team of Extension and Industry professionals led by Dr. Amit Jhala shared info. regarding herbicide options for soybean after the June 30 RUP dicamba restriction:  https://go.unl.edu/2i5a.  

Hail Damaged Trees: Evergreen trees have rapidly turned brown on the hail-damaged sides of trees the past 7-10 days. We don’t recommend applying anything to them; just water them to help them with healing. Next spring, they may be more sensitive to fungal disease and insects. Sarah Browning, Extension horticulture educator shares, “Hailstone damage to a tree’s vascular system limits its ability to move water up from the roots and into the secondary branches and leaves. Movement of nutrients throughout the tree is also reduced. Over the next few years, previously healthy vigorous trees will produce callus tissue to seal off bark wounds and re-establish vascular function. Until then, they have a reduced ability to move water and cope with dry conditions….In most cases, homeowners should take a “wait and see” attitude. Trees and shrubs should be kept well-watered throughout summer and fall to avoid drought stress. Keep plants well mulched to prevent secondary injury from mowers and string trimmers.”

Japanese Beetles: The adult beetles are ½” in length with metallic green heads and white ‘tufts’ of hair that look like spots on the abdomen. Don’t use Japanese beetle traps! Research shows they attract beetles to the landscape.

Organic control options: Wait till 7-9 p.m. then knock beetles off plants into a bucket of soapy water to drown them. This method takes diligence but is effective. You can also spray trees with water to knock them down to the ground and then drown in soapy water. Neem and Pyola are organic options that will protect for 3-7 days. Applying these products once per week can be effective as a repellent. Bt provides 7 days protection and is safe for bees.

Conventional control options: Japanese beetles impact flowering plants that other pollinators visit. Avoid spraying insecticides on windy days or when pollinators are present (best to spray late in day near dusk) and follow label instructions and harvest intervals (for cherries, plums, vegetables, etc.). Chlorantraniliprole (Acelepryn®) provides two to four weeks protection and is low risk to bees. Pyrethroids, including bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, lambda cyhalothrin, and permethrin, last about two to three weeks. Carbaryl (Sevin) or acephate will provide one to two weeks’ protection. Pyrethroids, carbaryl, and acephate are toxic to bees and other pollinators.

Corn and Soybean Thresholds: Soybean thresholds are 20% defoliation in the reproductive stages. In talking with Dr. Bob Wright, Extension Entomologist, we’re going with a 30% defoliation threshold for corn prior to tassel (same as soybean prior to flowering). Tasseled corn threshold: three or more Japanese beetles per ear, silks have been clipped to less than ½ inch, AND pollination is less than 50% complete. Pyrethroids are very effective against beetles. If one is concerned about flaring spidermites, a product like bifenthrin can be used.


Japanese beetle feeds on 300 different plant species preferring ones like roses, lindens, birch, and fruit trees. Early on, they can be managed by knocking them off plants in the evening and drowning in soapy water.


Concerning. Drought monitor maps: June 30, 2022 on the left compared to June 26, 2012 on the right.

JenREES 6/26/22

It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon as I write this from my deck! Looking in my backyard I see one new rose blossom, leaves appearing on my vegetables, perennials, and bare areas of trees again, and beauty from a couple annuals I planted yesterday from plants that didn’t recover. As I worked with farmers the past few weeks, similar words kept surfacing in conversations: exhausted, sadness, numb, discouraged, so much loss, at least I wasn’t the only one, frustrated, angry, anxious, stressed, was thinking it’d be a good year, he/she had it worse, thankful for insurance, hopeful. And, I share that because you’re not alone in these thoughts and feelings. There’s been a tremendous amount of loss; sharing with others can help with healing. There’s been a range of emotions experienced in destroying what remains of old crops and driving to non-affected areas. Also, hope as beans, corn, and sorghum have emerged from the ground in 3 to 6 days. Praying we can finish the season well.

For those with gardens, there’s new life from buds developing on tomato, pepper, potatoes, eggplant, beans! Onions shot new leaves. My rhubarb went from a mushed mess to new leaves coming now. I had just left everything alone and yesterday removed the mushed, rotted rhubarb and replanted beans and carrots. Some have tried to help their hostas by cutting out dead once it dried. Many perennials reduced to sticks are trying to shoot new leaves. We will have to watch trees.

For those with good crops, I received a report of a first tassel in southern counties. Also, northern corn leaf blight from a consultant, so perhaps watch for that. Japanese beetles have arrived; I’m not talking about problems this week!

Have received two areas of cover crop questions: weed control in existing low corn populations and annual forages after a totaled out crop. If grazing/haying, please check the herbicide label. For example, the Resicore label specifies to ‘not graze or harvest rotational cover crops for food or animal feed for 18 months following the last application of Resicore.’

1—Weed control: For simplicity, low growth, low cost, quick shading I’d recommend brassica species such as forage collards, turnips, etc. They can be seeded now, or you can wait 3 weeks from when residual herbicide product was applied to the field. If you’d like a grass, annual ryegrass could be added; should survive the winter. Clovers could be added to provide N next year; should survive the winter. Ultimately just depends on your goals. I prefer drilling between the corn rows, but there are broadcast options that can cover acres faster. Our interseeding team will drill blocks of 5 to 10 acres of our small seed mix (brassicas, clovers, flax, ryegrass) for those interested in trying it (let me know asap if interested). Another project: several NRD’s including UBBNRD in partnership with UNL plan to apply covers via a high clearance machine around beginning dent in corn (targeted around eastern Beaver and Lincoln Creeks; contact UBBNRD if interested).

2-For those considering summer annual forages, if your fields got totaled or in the event your seed corn acres aren’t kept, here’s some ideas and tradeoffs. Sorghum sudangrass (4.2-5.3 T/ac), forage sorghum (4.4-5.3 T/ac), and sudangrass (4.1-4.8 T/ac) are some annual forage options. Sudangrass is an option for grazing due to its low prussic acid potential. Sorghum-sudangrass plants get tall and are suited well for greenchop. Forage sorghums are also known as ‘cane’ due to their sweet stems and are suited well for silage. They have higher prussic acid potential, so we don’t recommend grazing them. For those looking at haying followed by grazing, I’d recommend pearl millet (3.8-4.5 T/ac). It doesn’t get the tonnage of the sorghum species, but the stems are thinner for haying and you don’t have to worry about prussic acid poisoning in the regrowth when you graze it. It worked well for my uncle and dad on their prevent plant farm in 2019 and the cattle loved it. This publication goes into more detail regarding all these species, seeding rates, how to graze and hay each, etc: https://go.unl.edu/7ivw. If you’re interested in haying, I don’t recommend adding any other species to these as we’ve found it causes issues with drydown and with bales heating up. Rye (or wheat) could then be planted this fall/winter if desired.

Weed Management Field Day at UNL’s South Central Ag Lab is this week on June 29th near Clay Center (9 a.m.-1 p.m.). Great information including a second year research project of the same herbicide programs for corn and soybean when rye is terminated 2 weeks prior to planting vs. 2 weeks after planting. It’s interesting to see in the field, so hope you can join us! No cost, free lunch, please RSVP:  https://agronomy.unl.edu/weed-management-field-day-registration.


New soybeans alongside old sticks. Emerged in as little as 3 days. New corn in the old corn grower plot.

Part of my garden on June 15, 2022 the day after the hail events. I left it alone.

June 25th, 2022: New growth on most everything. Very few beans and none of my carrots survived. Rhubarb looks like a new plant again after removing the mushy, rotted growth and with the new leaves. Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant came back from stems. Can see the hail damage on the stems. Onions shot new leaves out the top. Also had a new crop of asparagus come on. Need to re-stake remaining peas and will see what happens with them. Potatoes are all leaned over now instead of growing upright.

These lilies were just starting to open in all their glory the night of June 14th. I cut one stalk for the Extension Office and thought I took a pic, but hadn’t. That stalk has lasted these several weeks. I saw this one flower blooming on a battered stalk this week (the first of anything blooming in my gardens since the storm) and just smiled. It’s battered and bruised from the hail and wind but it’s beauty from ashes.
“…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3 KJV
This is one of my favorite Bible verses and promises from God in the midst of hard things and I like this translation of it since it specifically says ‘beauty from ashes’. May we all look for the beauty in the midst of the ashes around us this week. And, I believe God is also desirous of creating beauty from ashes in all of our lives!

Hail Damage Update

Can also see area impacted by wildfires earlier this year in Cambridge area.

Well, the June 14th hailstorm was something we hope to never again experience. The National Weather Service in Hastings shared a video of satellite imagery showing lack of vegetation that is incredibly insightful:  https://twitter.com/NWSHastings/status/1538243511396360192. Feel for all who had damage to homes, animals, crops, buildings, bins, pivots, trees, gardens. For landscape info, check out the following from Backyard Farmer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIeA731LQg8&t=1s. Last week’s crop hailstorm webinar recording is at: https://go.unl.edu/pe9q.

I had hoped to get a blog post out much sooner. Thank you to all who called and I truly hope something from these field visits and calls has helped. I realize a lot of replant is currently occurring and grateful for the weather for that. While replanting stinks, perhaps it’s providing a small bit of healing for the eternal optimists that so many of us in ag are? Several asked how people are destroying the old corn crop. Depending on tillage system, they have used shredding, root slicers, tillage all followed by residue removers during planting (because I’m seeing tillers growing from old stumps). Others plan to plant between the rows and then cultivate the old row out. Can chemically terminate with gramoxone. Some are using clethodim if going to soybean.

Time right now is critical with replant decision making. Some thoughts for those who need to wait for crop insurance adjusters and fields to dry:

  • Start upright pivots, check control boxes, sprinklers, plastic lines to endguns, etc. Availability of parts may influence corn seeding rates. Document all damages for insurance.
  • For potential replant situations where you don’t wish to plant corn due to loss of bins or inability to dry corn, depending on what you’re interested in, consider hand planting some soybean, milo, or cover crop seed into your corn fields at different depths. This will provide an idea of survival depending on corn herbicide used. Ultimately, make a plan A and B for your situation.

Corn: Hail damage recovery has varied. From June 7th storm, there was unevenness in plants that recovered. Saw bacterial top rot setting into plants even in several V3-V4 damaged fields. Plants may look better from the road but inside the field tells the story. June 14th storms: plants are severely bruised. Seeing hail stones causing deep bruising and rot both above and below the growing point. Often plants snap when barely touched. Fields less impacted are gaining new growth and will look better next week. Keep watching the fields with small plants that were pummeled into the ground and seed fields. My blog at jenreesources.com has recovery photos and a chart to help with replant decisions and potential yield due to reduced stands. Area Pioneer agronomists also made a video suggesting for every 1000 ‘healthier’ plants, can consider 10 bu/ac …so 15,000 plants could result in around 150 bu/ac: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viOwFqi3FDU.

Soybean: Normally, soybean is so resilient with all the growing points. The xylem and phloem in beans are on the outside of the stem, so the hail pummeling the stems and tops impacted that transport and many plants just turned white/gray and died. For replanting beans, would recommend using a fungicide seed treatment; have seen phytophthora root rot in replant beans in the past. You don’t need other seed treatments. Seeding rates: If have surviving plants, can slot some in at a reduced rate between rows or angle depending on row spacing. If you don’t, go with original rate or increase 10%. Regarding maturity, we at several universities say to use Group 2’s at this date. Indeterminate beans continue to produce nodes, leaves, flowers till R5 regardless of maturity group and beans are daylength sensitive.

I truly wish everyone the best with decisions. This amount of loss takes a huge toll whether or not we are honest in admitting that to ourselves. I hear and sense the stress with each conversation. Each situation is unique in damages received, crop insurance taken, amount of grain forward contracted, and other life things occurring. Some are walking outside to devastation each day. Some had multiple events occur this year. You may be in crisis mode right now just trying to patch things up and get new crops planted. I don’t know what is helpful for you. What I know for me is that my faith in God, my belief that He is in control, and His continued faithfulness to me is what has sustained me. Tears can be healing. Just would encourage you to also find a healthy way to take care of yourself such as talking to a trusted friend, prayer, journaling, exercise, or participating in a hobby. This is a great resource on taking time to listen and talk: https://go.unl.edu/3daw.

*End of column for newspapers.


Photo credit: YouVersion Bible App

This chart shows the relative corn yield potential compared to the original stand if the stand is reduced based on planting date. It provides an idea anyway assuming no additional storms or other issues.
This chart is a soybean replant decision aid. It shows soybean can greatly compensate for reduced populations but one also needs to consider weed control and gaps.
These types of fields are fairly common and each was a field by field assessment regarding replant all, a portion, or leave.
Some plants are showing regrowth but sometimes also seeing discoloration in the whorl. Splitting open the plant, can see bacterial top rot moving towards the growing point which will kill this plant. Also notice the bruising from hailstones.
This is a from a V10-V11 field that from the road and walking into it looks green with new regrowth and looks like there’s 25-27K plants. However, the stems were absolutely pummeled. Every stem slit open had very deep bruising like this that’s allowing bacterial stalk rot to set in.

Different soybean fields. I keep failing to take pictures of soybeans. Mostly the fields look like the first pic and are clear-cut that they had too much stem damage and are dead. Or, they are obtaining new growth and look much better. Some are just super slow to get much growth, though, and for those fields, some growers are slotting some in from the standpoint of weed control. Those with lighter damage are seeing rapid new growth where petioles meet the stems (taller pic).

Showing these charts below again if helpful. We’d recommend 100 day or less maturities at this point.

York Ne Data
Avg. 28F frost Oct. 21
Relative Maturity80859095100105110
Planting DateGDD to R61917203821592280240125212642
June 15Sept. 5Sept. 11Sept. 19Sept. 28Oct. 8Oct. 23******
June 20Sept. 11Sept. 18Sept. 27Oct. 7Oct. 22*********
June 25Sept. 18Sept. 27Oct. 7Oct. 21*********
June 30Sept. 27Oct. 7Oct. 21************
***Date is beyond average 28F frost event of Oct. 21
Black layer predictions based on historical data for York County, NE from 1981-2021. Average 28F frost date for this site is October 21.
***indicates the date is beyond the average 28F average first frost of October 21.

Clay Center, Ne Data
Avg. 28F frost Oct. 18
Relative Maturity80859095100105110
Planting DateGDD to R61917203821592280240125212642
June 15Sept. 9Sept. 16Sept. 25Oct. 5Oct. 20*********
June 20Sept. 15Sept. 24Oct. 4Oct. 17*********
June 25Sept. 23Oct. 3Oct. 16************
June 30Oct. 2Oct. 15***************
***Date is beyond average 28F frost event of Oct. 18
Black layer predictions based on historical data for Clay County, NE from 1981-2021. Average 28F frost date for this site is October 18.
***indicates the date is beyond the average 28F average first frost of October 18.

A couple farmers have asked about interseeding cover crops into hail damaged fields for weed control. One farmer tried this with us in 2021 in the Hordville area after a late June hailstorm. He had 10-13K stand left with deep hail bruising that was deferred by insurance and was interested in forage for grazing after harvest. We interseeded a 10-13 multispecies cover crop mix that we use in our interseeding fields. Buckwheat is the white flowering plant and it germinates the fastest and shades the ground quickly. The cover crop seemed to help hold the ears better from dropping on the ground when stalks started breaking from bruising and it also to the line appeared greener where the cover crop was. It also to the line made a huge difference in the palmer and waterhemp pressure in the field. The mix held/provided 200 lb/ac nitrogen as well via biomass samples collected pre-harvest. However, the producer felt this specific mix would’ve been better used as silage for him.
What may be more helpful for producers interested in using interseeding to reduce weeds would be to seed low-growing cover crops. What you see here is purple top turnip, radish, flax, yellow sweetclover, hairy vetch, red ripper cowpea, annual ryegrass, and buckwheat. Of these seen here, I’d say to use forage collards, radishes/turnips, annual ryegrass to keep the costs down. One could throw in some iron and clay cowpeas just to help cover the ground more and they shouldn’t grow up past the ear nor go to seed like the red rippers will. For those looking for forage and can harvest in earlier October for better grazing, a York Co. grower also add sorghum to the interseeded mix in 2021. He said the AUM he achieved with the interseeded mix in his 10K corn stand (which was part of a test plot from 10-30K), was equivalent to grazing a quarter of cornstalks for a month. Be sure to talk with crop insurance if plan to interseed cover crops. We like drilling to get seed to soil contact vs. broadcast seeding, but realize that may not be feasible for everyone.
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