Monthly Archives: August 2013
This map came from Kansas State University in a newsletter where they were talking about the vegetation differences from the Drought of 2012 to 2013 in Kansas. A colleague shared this with me pointing out how obvious the storm in Clay County, NE is on this map. Look above Kansas to the brown area-that’s the LOSS of vegetation we have right now in Clay County which is quite extensive-and neat how it’s captured unexpectedly on this map.
Do you have a passion for building strong and resilient rural communities? Do you think about the future and what is in store for rural people and places? If so, I’d encourage you to plan on November 3-5, 2013 at The Cornhusker, A Marriott Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska for the 2013 Rural Futures Conference and participate in the dialogues around these very issues.
The theme for the 2013 Rural Futures Conference is Beyond Boundaries, which encourages all of us to step beyond our typical boundaries and work together to create positive rural futures. While moving beyond boundaries can be challenging and even ominous, it also provides the unique opportunity to implement a foundation of collaboration that can impact the future of rural people and places. The upcoming conference will celebrate the importance of rural and create energy and enthusiasm for new and innovative ways to address complex opportunities and challenges. From University faculty, staff and students to community citizens and organizational partners, don’t miss the opportunity to transcend boundaries and collaboratively make a difference.
One of the greatest resources in any organization or community is its people. When we think about rural places, there is no doubt that the people and leadership in rural America is a driving force for progress. There are several opportunities for you to be involved in and even contribute content to the 2013 Rural Futures Conference. We encourage you to share your knowledge and expertise at the conference to help us explore new ideas, discover synergies, and facilitate partnerships. Please consider being involved in one or more of these opportunities during the conference, and encourage others to become involved as well.
Quick Pitch Spotlight: Conference participants rapid fire their “big idea” for rural people and places.
Community Questions: Communities of place or interest pose questions that stimulate collaboration and potential research opportunities.
Faculty and Partner Poster Session: Participants display current work or research relevant to the rural futures.
Registration opens September 1, and will remain open until the seats are filled. Registration closed early last year because maximum capacity was reached, so register early to ensure your spot. For more information or to register, visit ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/conference.
Great information on Soybean Stem Borer from Brandy VanDeWalle’s blog!
Several years ago I received a call from a grower who had lots of soybeans that were lodged; it was confirmed their fields had the soybean stem borer, which was one of the first times it was reported in Nebraska in recent years. This year at the Soybean Management Field Day, entomologists reported that it has now moved north of the interstate and into York County as well.
UNL extension entomologists, Bob Wright and Tom Hunt wrote an article last year on CropWatch providing the following information. This beetle (Dectes texanus texanus) has been moving into Nebraska from north central Kansas over the last decade.
The adult is a gray, elongate beetle about 0.5 inch long with antennae that are longer than the body. Females lay eggs from late June to August on various plants, including cocklebur, giant ragweed, sunflower, and soybean. On soybean, eggs are primarily laid…
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A common question lately has been “I’m considering planting cover crops into areas of corn and soybean fields with hail damage. What are my next steps?”
First, it’s important to consult your crop insurance provider to determine if you can do anything before the adjuster examines the field.
Next, look at your cover crop options, based on potential herbicide carryover from the previous crop and what your end goal is for the cover crop.
Herbicide carryover from the corn or soybean crop also can be a concern. Check out the herbicide carryover replant options in UNL Extension’s Guide for Weed Management with Insecticide and Fungicide Information on pages 160-171.
To determine if herbicide carryover is a concern for your fields, first check the herbicide label(s) for potential problems. If a rotation (waiting) interval is a concern, contact the chemical manufacturer and explain your conditions. Although the label is the law, companies have conducted extensive research on their products. Sometimes, they can give you a percentage survival chance for planting a crop within a cropping interval. Producers will assume the risk if the germination of the next crop is severely affected, but it may be worth a small calculated risk to potentially get a cover crop established.
Home germination tests also can be conducted. (Planting delays with cover crops, though, may be a concern). Simply take soil samples from the hailed fields and place into containers such as plastic cups with holes in the bottom. Plant about 20 seeds per cup of whichever cover crops you are interested in and wait 7-14 days to determine percent germination. If you don’t have seed, check a cover crop seed supplier to request some free seeds for testing.
Select Seed to Match Your Need
Know what your goal is for the cover crop in order to determine what to plant. Do you want to capture the nitrogen already in these fields? Both legume and non-legume cover crops can capture soil profile nitrogen in their plant tissues for release in subsequent seasons. Late summer or early fall seeded cover crops favor the brassicas (turnips; oilseed radishes including Tillage Radishes®; and canola) for nitrogen trapping for the next crop. Oats make a good complement to seed with the brassicas, since the oats provide quick, weed-suppressing biomass while taking up excess soil nutrients. These plants can survive a light frost and keep on growing.
If reducing compaction is your concern, turnips may help with surface compaction while radishes provide a longer taproot to work through deeper compaction.
If forage is needed for haying or grazing, good choices would be winter annual grasses such as cold-tolerant “winter” oats, cereal rye, winter triticale, and winter wheat. Winter legumes such as yellow sweetclover and winterpeas also may be included in a mix with winter triticale to increase protein content; however, these legumes will need to be planted before early September to provide grazing benefits.
Corn and soybean fields also can be used for forage instead of grain. Silage is probably the best option when the moisture drops to 60%. Currently, the immature hailed corn fields are still about 80% moisture, so producers will either have to wait for the crop to dry or mix dry forages such as straw with the wetter silage in the right proportion. Conversely, if the plants get too dry, it will be hard to pack the silage. To check the moisture, harvest several stalks and chop into smaller pieces with a corn knife, and then test for moisture content. Usually, the feeding value of immature, hailed silage is similar to prairie hay based on nutrient content.
Grazing the hailed fields is another option. However, acidosis may be a concern if cows graze primarily on the immature ears. Cows should be fed some grain for a few days prior to turn out on the hailed fields to help their rumens adjust to a higher carbohydrate diet.
Haying and earlage also may be options, but forage curing is difficult with the cooler days, especially if ears don’t dry well on damaged stalks. Bruce Anderson, UNL Forage specialist, says that it takes 10-14 days longer to dry the damaged corn stalks after crimping than drying cane hay. So, the risk for mold potential on the forage is higher than moving the forage into silage.
Thanks to Todd Whitney, UNL Extension Educator, for his contributions to this article!
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It’s been five days and soybean fields that were the greatest affected by the storm are now near-brown. Planting some type of cover crop in these fields can allow for grazing opportunities as well as reduced soil erosion as there are many months before planting season next year. I’ll talk more about cover crop research in another post.
For fields that still have some leaves and some green to them, there are several criteria to look at when assessing hail damage to soybeans. These include determining plant stand, percent leaf defoliation, percent nodes cut off or broken over, and amount of stem damage. Determining percent leaf defoliation and subsequent yield reduction based on growth stage in indeterminate soybeans can be seen in the chart below. Most of our soybeans were between R4-R5 which is a critical time for yield loss in soybean. The remaining charts can be found here.
|% Leaf Defoliation|
|% Yield Reduction|
|R1 – R2||0||5||7||12||23|
Dr. Jim Specht, UNL Soybean Physiologist, shared some recent research data that may be of interest. He said R5 is also critical in that stem node number accrual (including new petioles with leaves and nodes on branches) ceases at R5. This occurs because the developing “sink” of newly developing seeds in the pods is a significant draw on the plant’s photosynthate. This draw is so powerful that very little other vegetative activity dependent on photosynthate is permitted.
With our current situation, Jim wasn’t sure if because of hailed off pods and seeds, if that “sink” to source signal would cease to exist resulting in new petioles and leaves. He didn’t think this would occur for two reasons:
1) Indeterminate main stem apices are not responsive to photoperiod induction, and might re-initiate new nodes, but since most of the indeterminate apical stem tips were hailed off in many fields, that possibility is unlikely.
2) During stage V0 to V1, all original lateral meristems in nodes 0 on up to about stem node 6 were cell clusters committed to vegetative phase development such as branches. Photoperiod induction, which occurs as soon as soybean plants of the maturity groups grown in NE attain the V0-V1 period, transduces in all other single-cell meristems in the lateral apices to become flowers (not branches). Thus the reason why we typically see the first soybean flower on about the 6th node or so. No more branches will form at higher main stem nodes the rest of this season under this scenario.
Soybean lateral apices will continue to be programmed to become flowers, because the days are short at all times during the season from planting to maturity, for soybean varieties adapted to and sold in NE. Research has shown it takes about 28 to 32 days after the transduction of a lateral apical single cell (to transduce it into a floral pathway) before the flower tracing to that single cell appears. Any flowers appearing soon after the hailstorm would have had to have been cell clusters in transit before the hailstorm date (from a zero-day single cell transduction to a 28-32-day later observable flower). Thus, truly “new” flowers emanating from single-cell apical transduction to a floral state the day of the hailstorm would be appearing at the end of August or beg of September, and would not have sufficient time to become pods (with seeds) before the usual date of a fall frost.
Overall, Jim says at soybean stage (R5), it is hard for a soybean plant to recover from a hailstorm, and what recovery is possible is going to have to hurry given the approach of fall. Special thanks to Dr. Jim Specht for his insights into this post!
It’s been an interesting few weeks. Last week I was continuing to receive calls about considerations for drought damaged corn. Then southern rust arrived in the area earlier last week. Followed by the tremendous August 1 storm that affected so much of our County.
is how I’ve felt these past few days-and I can’t imagine how difficult it is for you whose crops were affected! It’s just a sickening feeling walking into field after field and driving around the County seeing the storm damage every day. I’m so sorry for those of you who have lost your crops! As I look at the crops, though, I’m a little puzzled at the way things are laying, the twisted plants….things aren’t all adding up for “straight-line winds”.
In spite of how difficult things look right now, I can’t help but wonder if we were spared from something much greater?
The follow passage in the Bible has been my go-to during times of drought and difficult times in farming. I was going to share this in a drought post…but I feel it still applies with as many partial and total crop losses we’ve experienced in the area.
Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! Habukkuk 3:17-18
In the midst of trying to provide advice, it’s nice to know that God has everything already figured out and that He’s always in control. Even in the midst of this, He is always good!
The rain was welcome on Thursday but the wind and hail damage that came were devastating to a good portion of the County. I’m so sorry to all of you affected….for some of you, this is two years in a row of severely hail damaged or totaled out crops. We are thankful the damage wasn’t worse. You can see more pictures here.
So the big question is what do you do now? Ultimately, each field will need to be assessed on a case by case basis. The following are our NebGuides for hail damage to corn and soybeans. For the most part we were in brown-silk to blister for corn and late pod-beginning seed in soybean (R4-R5). The concerns I have right now are stalk quality, disease, grain filling, and the amount of diseased grain we may have due to mushy areas on hail-damaged cobs right now. Several years ago, we watched how severely hail-damaged corn a little later in the season turned brown and died. We also know that southern rust is in the area and while much of the leaf tissue in the County is damaged, it is still in the County in other fields and south of us. The Puccinia polysora fungus that causes southern rust, when severe enough, will infect and cause pustules on the stalks. With the wounding and low leaf area for photosynthesis, stalk strength is a concern and fungicides may be a consideration depending on potential yield loss-again need to assess on a field by field basis.
I talked with a number of people on Friday regarding thoughts on silage, green chop, haying/baling, planting cover crops, etc. Dr. Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist, said the most common salvage operation for corn damaged by hail, wind, drought, or other calamities is to chop it for silage. Don’t be in a hurry, though. Standing corn currently could be over 80 percent moisture. The easiest way, and maybe the best way, to lower moisture content is simply wait until some stalks start to turn brown. Waiting also allows surviving corn to continue to add tonnage.
But in some of our damaged fields, I don’t think we can wait to make silage. Bruce also shared you can reduce moisture by windowing the crop and allow it to wilt one-half to one full day before chopping. You also could mix grain or chopped hay to freshly chopped corn to lower the moisture content. It takes quite a bit of material for mixing though – about 7 bushels of grain or 350 pounds of hay to lower each ton of silage down to 70 percent moisture from an original 80 percent moisture. That’s 7 bushels grain or 350 pounds of hay for each ton of silage.
Or, you can allow that windrowed corn to dry completely and bale it as hay. Be sure to test it for nitrates before feeding. Grazing might be the easiest way to use damaged corn, and this is a good way to extend your grazing season. You might even plant some corn grain or sorghum-sudangrass or oats and turnips between rows to grow more forage for grazing if you can wait until late fall before grazing. Be sure to introduce livestock slowly to this new forage by feeding them before turning in to reduce the chances of digestive problems. Also, strip graze the field to reduce trampling losses and get more grazing from the corn.