Monthly Archives: March 2013
For the past ten years I’ve come across farmers who really believed in applications of sugar to reduce their pest populations. Being no research to my knowledge to prove it, I tucked the observation in the back of my head for future reference. With farmers looking to increase yields and looking to other farmers such as Kip Cullers for information, some of our on-farm research producers were curious about sugar applications in their operations with the hopes of increasing yield.
Nebraska On-Farm Research Corn Results
Using the application rates that Kip Cullers uses, one Clay County producer applied 3 lbs of sugar (purchased pallet of cane or beet sugar from the local grocery store) per 10 gallons of water at V7-V8 on corn in 2010-2011. Cullers also tanked mixed the sugar solution with a post-herbicide application like glyphosate but this producer didn’t do that. To simulate any affect of the water or driving through the field, he also drove through the untreated check spraying water only. Two years of research results showed no significant increase in yield. However, there was a noticeable difference in standability at harvest. This producer did not apply a foliar fungicide either year. When it came to harvest, this producer needed the reel in 2010 for the untreated check. Stalk rot ratings were taken using the pinch test two weeks prior to harvest. To him, the $1.25/acre of sugar was worth it to improve standability even if yield was not significantly improved. You can view the full research report here.
Several York County producers have also tried this with one producer finding a non-statistical 2 bu/ac yield difference with the check yielding better while the other producers found a statisically significant 2 bu/ac increase to the sugar treatment. Another producer in Hamilton County is testing this using the corn product he grows-using 1 qt of corn sugar (high fructose corn syrup) per 10 gal of water applied still at V7-v8.
In 2012, a small plot study was conducted at UNL’s South Central Ag Lab near Clay Center to determine any differences between sugar application, fungicide application, and untreated check in corn. All treatments were applied at R2. Because of the drought in 2012, there was minimal disease pressure, thus there were no significant differences between the three treatments regarding area under the disease progress curve. The untreated check did show the most stalk rot (via the push lodging test). The sugar application reduced the lodging rating by half and the fungicide application showed the lowest lodging rating. For yield, there were no significant yield differences with the untreated check yielding the highest followed by the fungicide and sugar applications. The entire study report can be found here.
In Soybeans we have had producers apply 3 lbs sugar in 10 gallons of water at R3 (beginning pod). In all years, there have been no significant differences in yield. Lodging ratings were not taken as that is more variety and water dependent.
has shown that application of sugar to crops increases the numbers of beneficial insects in those fields. South Dakota research entomologists showed that lady beetles benefited from a combination of prey and non-prey foods. In a follow-up study, these entomologists applied sugar sprays to soybeans and quantified the frequency of sugar feeding by analyzing the gut contents of common lady beetles in three states. They found all the tested lady beetles regularly consumed sugar-like nectar in soybean fields, even when it wasn’t applied as a supplement. They also found more lady beetles in the sugar treated plots compared to the untreated plots.
At this time we can’t explain the standability effect we’re seeing from our sugar applications to corn. Our hypothesis is that early application of sugar to corn is increasing beneficial microbes that may be keeping the exposed brace roots and stalks healthier. We hope to conduct more research in the future to answer this question.
the application of sugar to corn and soybeans has not always shown increased yield. However, in nearly all of the corn studies, sugar treated plots have shown increased stalk strength at harvest. Research has also shown an increase in the number of beneficial insects in fields where sugar was applied. Further research is needed to understand the interactions aiding stalk strength in corn.
If you are interested in conducting on-farm research studies in your field, please contact any of our UNL Extension Educators or Specialists! You can also follow the conversations this year via our Facebook page and Twitter feed!
What do you think of sugar applications to crops? Have you tried this in the past and if so, what were your results?
Even with recent rain and snow events, the subsoil is still dry. You may be wondering,
“What should I do regarding corn planting rates in 2013?”
A few weeks ago, UNL Extension held our on-farm research meetings to share our 2012 Corn Planting Rate results for irrigated and dryland conditions. I always enjoy hearing our farmers share why they were interested in a certain trial and what they found out as a result.
The results since 2010 continue to show us that each individual hybrid varies in its response to increasing populations; however, there is a general trend with newer hybrids that increasing population results in increased yields. Dr. Tom Hoegemeyer, UNL Agronomy Professor of Practice spoke about how our hybrids have genetically come so far in combating various stresses while maintaining yields. We know that many seed companies have conducted research to determine the population calibration curve for each hybrid to determine best recommendations for you. Thus, we’d recommend that you check with your seed dealer to determine which hybrid may fit best at which population for your operation.
Even with this data, you may question if that’s truly the best population for your field; that’s where on-farm research comes in! We recommend testing the recommended population against a higher and lower population with at least 4000 seeds/acre difference in planted population-whether irrigated or dryland. With today’s technologies, it’s not very difficult to test seeding rates for different hybrids for yourself!
So what rate should you plant this year? In the majority of our irrigated studies, economically, many hybrids maximized yields and economic returns between 32,000-36,0o0 seeds/acre. Again, this is very hybrid dependent so ask your seed dealer what he/she would recommend and test for yourself!
Regarding limited irrigation, UNL research has actually shown a negative effect of lost yield by backing off population too far in a dry year.
Tom’s recommendation was for dryland in Eastern Nebraska, most hybrids even with the low soil moisture profile should be ok with planting 24,000-28,000 seeds/acre. I realize we have essentially no moisture in our profile. But taking probabilities of rainfall events, March-May is usually pretty good and we don’t want to short-change ourselves in yield by planting too low of populations. For Central into Western, NE, I feel 20,000-22,000 seeds/acre will work for many hybrids. Our genetics have come so far since we finished the last drought in 2007 and were planting 18,000 seeds/acre in dryland. We will just keep praying for rain and hope for the best next year! Ultimately, test this and your other on-farm questions for yourself to know what will work for your farm!
What planting rates are you considering for 2013?
An excellent opportunity for youth to become detectives and have fun while learning about crops and science! Consider having a youth you know attend this Big Red Camp and learn more about agriculture careers! There are also scholarships available to attend!
Are you interested in science, agriculture, plants, crops, insects, or diseases? If so, join our team of detectives to solve crop-related problems in the Crop Science Investigation (CSI) Big Red Camp! Become a detective while participating in hands-on sessions to learn about and increase your knowledge of crops, science, and agricultural careers. Youth detectives will interact with agronomic professionals across Nebraska to solve experiments in: nutrient management; managing disease, insect and weed problems; water management; crop production, and much more! Do you have what it takes to become a CSI detective?
There are a variety of careers related to plant sciences such as:Agricultural Communicator; Agronomist; Crop Consultant; Crop Insurance Adjuster; Educator; Co-op Manager; Farmer or Rancher; Farm Credit Banker; Field or Lab Researcher; Plant Breeder; Soil or Water Conservationist; Seed, Fertilizer, or Chemical Sales; or Technical Representative.
Scholarships are available in the amount of $300 to participants who…
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I would encourage any farmers, spouses, and adult children to consider attending this Farmers and Ranchers Program! Communication and fair transition plans are keys to keeping family ties and the family farm strong. I’ve watched too often where communication doesn’t occur-even most recently with my extended family-and the heartache caused as a result. Work on the communication and transition plan now before it’s too late!
The final Farmers & Ranchers College program for the 2012-13 programming year will be held on March 14, 2013 starting at 6:00 p.m. with a meal and the program to follow. It will be held at Evening with Friends Restaurant in Milligan and will feature Dr. Ron Hanson, Neal E. Harlan Professor of Agribusiness, Ag Economics Dept., UNL. A description of Hanson’s program is provided below.
The entire process for mapping out a succession plan to transfer the eventual ownership of a family farm from one generation (parents) to the next generation (their adult children) can be an overwhelming task for many families. Where does this process even begin? Who makes the final decisions? Can you be fair to everyone involved? What if there is not good communications within the family? How do you keep emotions and personal jealousies from taking over and preventing good decision making? These…
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