Monthly Archives: July 2018
Crop Update: By the time you read this I truly hope and pray we’ve received some rain for the entire area who receive this! Al Dutcher and I have been somewhat frustrated regarding the drought monitor reacting to short-term precipitation events over long-term trends. We both spoke at a meeting this week where he shared parts of this area have 6-8″ deficits dating back to the beginning of our water year (October 1). The soil moisture sensor ground-truthing I’ve been doing with area farmers shows that the larger rains only helped the top two feet of the profile and rains have been spotty since. I think the driest portion of the area seems to be from Lawrence to Bladen south. Drought monitor did put a portion of our area back into ‘abnormally dry’ again and you can see the updated soil moisture readings for the region at http://jenreesources.com.
We were blessed with cooler temperatures which helped slow the crop progression. The heat was pushing crops along quickly which can negatively impact yields as we discussed in a recent CropWatch article. The cooler temps with humidity and leaf wetness also favored gray leaf spot, though, and I’ve seen it move up to a leaf below the ear in several fields in several counties this past week. Every field situation may differ so it’s important to check your specific fields.
Soybean Management Field Days: It’s hard to believe but this is the 20th year of Soybean Management Field Days! They will be held August 7-10 at four locations across the State beginning with 9 a.m. registration and concluding at 2:30 p.m.:
Kenesaw — Tuesday, Aug. 7, Dean Jacobitz Farm
Albion — Wednesday, Aug. 8, John and Mike Frey Farm
Hartington — Thursday, Aug. 9, Ed Lammers Farm
Cedar Bluffs — Friday, Aug. 10, Ray Jr. and Kevin Kucera
- Marketing, Risk Management and Farm Policy
- Weed Management: Cover Crops and Weed Control, Conventional vs. Traited, Soybean Variety Production
- Cover Crops: Managing Soybean Insects and Pathogens
- Cover Crops and Soybean Production Irrigation Management, Soil Fertility, and Cover Crop Research
Horticulture Update: It’s been a tough year for garden produce! The heat has affected flower set, pollination, and fruit production on many types of plants. I’ve also received many questions about tomato leaves curling. Leaf curling can be due to many things such as water stress, virus, and herbicides. Much of what I’m seeing now is water stress-related where uneven watering is occurring or because of the amount of leaves present (especially on heirloom plants) and the plant’s inability to keep up with transpiration. Have also received questions on bumpy tomato stems. The ‘bumps’ are actually adventitious roots (also known as tomato stem primordia) where if they touch the soil they’d form roots. Above ground, they are just these bumps and are present when we have high humidity or overwatering. These conditions are also being favored by the heavier one-time rain events that have been received during the growing season this year.
Squash vine borers causing tunneling in crown and vines of zucchini plants.
Also lots of questions this week regarding cucumber, squash, and melon vines dying! There’s a number of potential culprits. Most affected zucchini (including mine) and pumpkins contain squash vine borers. The female moth lays eggs at the base of plants where the eggs will hatch and the caterpillars will bore into the stem. The borer is white or cream colored with a brown head and can get to be 1″ long. They tend to prefer squash over melons and cucumbers. So what can you do now? Kathleen Cue, Extension Educator in Dodge County shares “If plants look good but holes in the stem indicate infestation, a knife can be used to cut with the grain of the stalk to find the borers. Use the point of the knife to pierce them and don’t be surprised if more than one borer is found in a stem. Once the borers are removed, cover the cut area with soil to encourage new roots higher up on the stem. Champion pumpkin growers will place soil over many nodes (the place where leaves emerge from the stem) along the length of vines to encourage lots of rooting. This gives plants greater resiliency if the squash vine borer has destroyed the crown of the plant.” So, if you’re still desiring more squash and pumpkins, that’s one option for you. If your plants are completely destroyed, you can just remove all the dead material to remove any actively feeding caterpillars as well. For next year, make sure to rotate the area where you plant your vine crops. Area master gardeners have shared they put aluminum foil around the stem base of vine crops to keep the borer larvae from penetrating the vines. Another option is to apply insecticides like carbaryl or permethrin around the base of stems. Trapping the adults in June by using yellow-colored containers filled with water can provide an indication when the moths are flying. You can then use floating row covers over the plants to prevent egg laying and remove them once flowering begins to allow pollination to occur. I will discuss other vine crop problems next week.
Reminder of York County Fair this week!
The drought monitor put a portion of our area back into ‘abnormally dry’. Soil moisture sensors in non-irrigated ground suggest portions of our area should be listed at least in D1 drought status. I got creative in posting these as I had to take pictures with my phone of the pics I created on the computer…so if they’re a little grainy, that’s why. Here’s the updated readings for the area!
Crop Update: This past week was fairly interesting with southern rust being confirmed in a few Fillmore, Thayer, and Saunders County fields. We would recommend to continue scouting fields as the disease was low incidence at all these sites. There also were a number of questions regarding fungicide applications.
For those asking about chemigating fungicides, it’s important to ensure the fungicide
product label allows for chemigation and to follow the recommended irrigation amount if specified on the label. If an irrigation amount isn’t specified, Tamra Jackson-Ziems and I were talking about trying to apply with as small amount as possible (perhaps like 0.25″). She has chemigation data at 0.25″ vs. 0.50″ vs. ground application from 2005-2007, but not vs. aerial application. The data had a high degree of variability numerically in the yield data in spite of non-statistical differences. The only other info I could find was the University of Georgia recommends only 0.10″ on chemigation using fungicides, but they didn’t show any data. I encourage those who can to please consider doing this as an on-farm research study where chemigation occurs in pies throughout the field with other pies left untreated. I realize it’s not popular to leave areas untreated, but it may be of interest to you. For those asking about comparing aerial vs. chemigation for corn, that would be very difficult with one pivot with true research involving replication. Perhaps it could be done if a producer had a couple of quarters side by side, planted the same day with same hybrid and crop rotation where we could truly compare via research. If you do and that’s of interest to you, please contact either Tamra or myself. A couple have also discussed maybe applying half a pivot aerially and the other half via chemigation and just taking observations, which may also be beneficial to you.
We also released a few CropWatch articles this week on differentiating growth regulator herbicide injury in soybean and using a forensic method to diagnose off-target dicamba
injury in soybean. Please check them out at http://cropwatch.unl.edu. I hadn’t heard anyone really explain the difference between 2,4-D and dicamba in how they work in plants so felt that information was important in addition to the fact dicamba is highly translocateable and 2,4-D isn’t. That also has been important in home-owner discussions regarding off-target movement to garden produce. And, a reminder to all home-owners that weed control products used in lawns and empty lots often contain dicamba and/or 2,4-D…so it’s important to read those labels regarding environmental conditions in applying them and also when you can/can’t use grass clippings as mulch.
Buzzing Beetles: This past week, several people came to the office or called
regarding large green beetles flying around that sounded like bumble bees. These are called Green June beetles. They only fly during the day. There are also smaller green beetles with white spots (tufts of hair) around the abdomen; those are Japanese beetles. Japanese beetles feed on crops in addition to favorites such as Linden trees and knockout roses. Both have larval forms that are white grubs and both have a one year life cycle. In the beetle form, both adult beetles are fond of ripe fruit such as grapes, berries, plums, and peaches. As larvae, the grubs feed on decaying organic matter and grass roots in the soil. However, the June beetle larvae can reach 2″ long creating larger tunnels in lawns and pastures as they move in the soil.
Some have said, “I thought June beetles were golden/tan!” And you would be correct! There’s several types of “June” beetles. The most common and perhaps most damaging is known as the June beetle or masked chafer which is golden/tan in color and has a one year life cycle. There’s also a May/June beetle (also known as the 3 year grub) which tends to do more damage in range/pasture ground. Those beetles are tan to brown/near black in color.
When it comes to damage, start looking for browning areas of turf occurring late July, throughout August, and early September. The turf may look like drought stress or fungal disease; however, if you can gently roll the turf back like a carpet, it’s most likely grubs (and you should also find the presence of grubs). Other signs of grubs can include birds, skunks, etc. tearing up your lawn. White grubs in general feed on decaying organic matter, lawn and ornamental roots in the soil. Grubs don’t tend to be an issue in fescue lawns or lawns that are low maintenance or newly established. They tend to prefer Kentucky bluegrass lawns that are highly maintained with fertilizer and irrigation. They also may be spotty in their feeding such as under yard lights or on irrigated slopes. The threshold level for turfgrass damage by masked chafer larvae is 8-10 white grubs per square foot of lawn…so I would assume that to be the case for all grub species. One or two grubs per square foot is normal and does not require control. If grub control is needed, products like Sevin or Dylox provide the best control for mature grubs and should be watered in after application.
Crop Updates: A great deal of timely information was provided in this week’s CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu including information about high heat and pollination, applying fertilizer during pollination, western bean cutworm scouting, forecasted yields, etc. Please check it out!
Several called me asking about applying fertilizer during pollination. I shared that while
I wasn’t aware of research, I personally was concerned about anything potentially interfering with pollination and that I do recommend 30 lbs of N at brown silk if needed or if you were originally planning split nitrogen apps. This is based on research from Purdue sharing today’s hybrids use 30-40% of their total Nitrogen from flowering through maturity. After discussing with Dr. Tom Hoegemeyer, Adjunct UNL Professor of Practice, he offered the following insights: “Pollination mostly occurs between 8:30 a.m. and Noon. Thus, as a precaution, I would not run a pivot on pollinating corn from 6 a.m. to Noon. When the temperature is 90°F to 95°F, the pollen is killed by heat and is seldom viable past 2 p.m. That leaves lots of time to run pivots, apply N, etc. when it won’t harm pollination. Silks tend to be viable for three or four days at these temperatures, so if a plant isn’t pollinated one day, generally the next day will work just fine. (If nitrogen is needed), I’d recommend that nitrogen go on as soon as practical. Corn nitrogen use is very high during the pre-tassel growth phase and again at kernel growth, from one to three weeks post pollination. About seven to ten days post pollination (before brown silk) lower N will start causing kernel abortion and serious yield loss in corn.” The UNL recommendation for fertigation is to use 30 lb of N with 0.25″ of water or 50-60 lb of N with 0.50″ of water.
Last week also brought questions regarding thresholds and difficulty in finding Western Bean Cutworm egg masses with moth flights at their peak. You can view light trap data from UNL’s South Central Ag Lab thanks to Terry Devries at: https://scal.unl.edu/ltr2018.pdf. There’s also a great article in this week’s CropWatch on how to scout for them, insecticide options, and additional recommendations. Thresholds for western bean cutworm are 5-8% of corn plants in the field containing egg masses or larvae. Egg masses can be difficult to find during pollination with pollen hiding them. ‘Typically’ egg masses are found in the top third of the plant on the upper sides of leaves and near midribs or leaf axils. However, with higher heat, I tend to find them closer to the ears and have even seen masses laid on the ear husks and on the backsides of leaves (not common). While larvae are generally known to move up the plant to feed at the tassels, I’ve seen high heat force larvae into ears earlier. It typically takes 5-7 days for larvae to hatch and the egg masses turn purple just prior to hatching. A number of insecticide options are available for both aerial application and via chemigation; these products are listed in the CropWatch article.
With insecticide applications occurring in corn for both western bean cutworm and also corn rootworm beetles, many have also called or talked with me about the recommendation of fungicide applications. Right now, I haven’t found gray leaf spot above 3 leaves below the ear leaf in several counties. There’s been some mis-diagnosing bacterial leaf streak as gray leaf spot. Southern rust was just confirmed in a Kansas county this week, but we still have yet to confirm it in Nebraska. Even the longest residual products won’t get us through August if a fungicide application occurs now. I can appreciate that economics are tight so the thought is to save an additional application cost by applying a fungicide now with the insecticide. And, I can appreciate economics are tight regarding why apply a fungicide right now when disease pressure doesn’t warrant it? Perhaps, at least those of you with the ability to chemigate could consider waiting till disease pressure warrants it for your field, if it does. Always in the back of my mind is the need for late-season protection with southern rust eventually showing up and gray leaf spot often worse then.
My perspective is from a resistance management and research-based one. We have 5 total modes of action for fungicides with 2 of them being in nearly every fungicide product we use in corn, soybean, and wheat because they work against foliar fungal pathogens. At some point, our pathogens will also adapt, as we’ve seen our weeds and insects do…it would be like losing our ability to control gray leaf spot and southern rust similar to palmer amaranth on the weed side. In Nebraska, Dr. Tamra Jackson-Ziem’s research has not shown an automatic yield increase to fungicide application in the absence of disease. And, it has also not shown an automatic yield increase when applied at tassel. In a high heat and low disease year like 2012, there were no statistical yield differences with fungicide application vs. the untreated control. Even in years with some disease pressure such as 2008-2010, she found no statistical yield differences between when various products were applied from Tassel through Dough stages. In high disease years, her research shows the benefit of fungicide application for reduced disease pressure and increased stalk strength. Fungicides are great tools to help us with disease pressure and stalk strength. Just would encourage all of us to consider when we really need to apply them and to understand that research in Nebraska does not automatically show increased yields with the use of them or with the timing of Tassel/Silking vs. later in the year. Also, hybrids may vary in their response due to disease susceptibility and other factors. Not all her data is listed at this site, but you can view it for yourself at: https://go.unl.edu/ni3y.
Bagworms: I’ve been seeing shelter belts and various trees turning brown from heavy
bagworm infestations. Please be checking your trees if you are noticing them turning brown. Additional information can be found at: https://go.unl.edu/rgju.
Crop Update: A few diseases started showing up the past few weeks in various portions of eastern and south central Nebraska. Phytophthora root rot in soybean is perhaps the
most common in both areas. We normally think of this disease as seedling damping off and death; however, it can also affect plants later in the season. What surprised me was how much we are seeing it this year in higher ground and sidehills instead of the typical lower ground we often see it on. Dr. Loren Giesler, Extension Soybean Pathologist said that in situations where we’ve had dry conditions followed by heavy rains (as we have this year), especially on clayey or soils prone to compaction, Phytophthora can also affect plants. He has a few videos along with additional information at the following website: https://go.unl.edu/tdfh. Symptoms characteristic at these growth stages include wilting of plants during the day with leaves eventually turning yellow-brown-gray and remaining on the plants. Also, look for a brown stem lesion that goes from the soil line upward about 4-6″. Some of these plants are also snapping off at the soil line. For those experiencing Phytophthora this year, future management includes:
- Using resistant varieties including a combination of good partial resistance and an Rps gene. Partial resistance alone will not be as effective during early growth stages or under high disease pressure.
- Cultural practices include anything that can improve soil drainage and compaction.
- Seed treatment fungicides containing mefenoxam or metalaxyl should be used and you may need to consider a higher rate of them.
Regarding corn diseases, bacterial leaf streak (BLS) has greatly increased on more
susceptible hybrids since rain events. Early lesions can look very similar to gray leaf spot, so it’s important to correctly identify the two. The margins of BLS are wavy vs. those of gray leaf spot are more blunt. Both can have yellow margins when backlit by the sun. Fungicides are not effective against BLS and hybrids do vary in their tolerance to this disease. It’s important to scout fields as we may see an increase in fungal diseases due to the humidity, leaf wetness, and recent rain events. Southern rust has taken awhile to develop in the southern U.S., which is somewhat unusual, yet many states have been in drought this year too. As of July 5th, southern rust has been confirmed in Georgia with one suspected sample in a Missouri county. You can watch the map at: http://ext.ipipe.org/ and follow @corndisease on Twitter for the latest on corn disease findings in the U.S.
Trees: With numerous wind storms, the following resource has a lot of great information regarding pruning storm damaged trees correctly and questions to ask tree care services regarding tree pruning: https://go.unl.edu/94fm.
Agronomy Youth Field Day: All youth ages 9-18 years old are invited to the 3rd Annual Agronomy Youth Field Day. Youth will have exciting educational experiences while discovering Science & Agronomy/ Irrigation / Mechanized Agricultural careers for producing Nebraska crops! The field day will be held Wednesday, August 8 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture Educational Center in Curtis, NE.
Hands-on activities (for all age levels) will focus on pest management, equipment technology, crop growth, soil management, precision farming & center-pivot irrigation technology. Several Nebraska Extension Cropping & Water Systems and 4-H Youth Development Educators along with Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis Agronomy / Ag Mechanics Department professors will be sharing the researched based information with the students.
Participants will gain important life skills while discovering the science behind producing Nebraska crops. The six-hour field day is a great opportunity for ALL the youth to learn more about the agronomy industry and increase their basic understanding of science, ag literacy, a technology & STEM while exploring careers. Parents/Adults are welcome and lunch will be provided.
Reserve your spot today by registering online at: https://go.unl.edu/agronomyyouthfieldday by August 3, 2018. For more information (or if trouble with registration) contact Nebraska Extension Frontier County at 308-367-4424 or email 4-H Educator Kathy Burr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last night brought much-needed rain and grateful for that! From driving today, also saw some crop damage due to flooding, hail, and greensnap. So sorry for those of you most affected by greensnap and hail!
Last month I focused on counting my blessings-which are many! One has been the wonderful rains we’ve received at critical times of being so dry. The crops overall are beautiful right now regarding overall color and especially soybean weed control! Another blessing has been the opportunity to serve people in several counties the past 2+ years. I’m grateful for the extra time to serve my former area while also getting to know people in my new one! Grateful that relationships can be maintained and built regardless of where a person works or lives! I’m also grateful that we’ve been able to hire an individual who I believe to be a good fit for the Clay County Crops/Water Educator position with accountability region of Nuckolls, Thayer, and Fillmore counties. Michael Sindelar begins this new role on July 2. Michael conducted graduate research at South Central Ag Lab (SCAL) near Clay Center, so he is familiar with the area and with SCAL. His major advisor was Dr. Humberto Blanco, UNL Soil Scientist, and one of their projects was looking at soil impacts on corn residue removal and any impacts of adding cover crops into that system. I asked Michael to provide a brief background so I could introduce him to you.
“Hi, I am Michael Sindelar, the new cropping and water systems educator based out of Clay Center, Nebraska. I was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. However, I was exposed to agriculture at a young age as my father would take me to the family farm located near Richland, Nebraska in Colfax county to “help” with the farm work. I joined the Navy in 2005 and served until 2010. I was a cryptologist collective (CTR) and worked in military intelligence. I was stationed out of Hawaii for my enlistment. I had the opportunity to see parts of the pacific and spent one year deployed in Afghanistan where I collected intelligence and conducted combat operations. After having fun for a couple of years I got my act together and earned a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy from the University of Nebraska. This spring I completed my master’s degree in Agronomy with a specialization in soil and water science from the University of Nebraska. I spent most of my master’s degree studying how changes in soil management affect soil water storage, recharge, and heat as storage and transfer through the soil. I look forward to starting my new position on Monday. I sign most of my emails using V/R which is a carryover from the military meaning very respectfully.”
There will still be a transition time of various projects currently underway with July 4 this week and Clay County Fair the next. Please be sure to introduce yourself to Michael when you see him!
When I transitioned to York/Seward a few years ago, I wrote a column entitled “Blessed”. I’ve been blessed to serve the people of Clay/Nuckolls/Thayer/Fillmore Counties a few extra years. And, I will always be grateful for relationships built and the opportunity you gave me entrusting me to help you with diagnosis and farming decisions! I hope you will also give Michael that same opportunity as he begins in this new role!
Tree Branches: Many of us had tree branches down again after the winds. After the last event, a few farmers mentioned to me that it’s frustrating when town people dump their branches in their farm ditches leaving the farmers to pick them up. So, while it’s only common sense and respectful to not do this, I said I’d mention to please not do this (although I’m uncertain if they would be reading my column)!
Glyphosate Resistant Palmer Amaranth Field Day: View field demonstrations and hear from experts at the Glyphosate-Resistant Palmer Amaranth Management Field Day Wednesday, July 11 at Carleton. The event is free and will be held from 8:30 a.m. (Registration) with program from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Keynote speaker will be Aaron Hager, associate professor and Extension weed scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He will speak on the biology of Palmer amaranth and current research on its control in corn and soybean, including in new technologies such as Xtend and Enlist soybeans. Populations of Palmer amaranth in Nebraska have been found resistant to glyphosate, atrazine, HPPD, and/or ALS herbicides, said Amit Jhala, field day coordinator and Nebraska Extension weed specialist. Demonstrations include:
- How row spacing and herbicide programs can affect glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth control in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybean;
- Management of Palmer amaranth in: Balance GT/Liberty Link Soybean (resistant to isoxaflutole and glufosinate) and Enlist E3 Soybean (resistant to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate, and glufosinate;
- Critical period of Palmer amaranth removal affected by residual herbicides in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybean.
These in-field demonstrations and research projects were funded by a grant from the Nebraska Soybean Board. Register online at http://agronomy.unl.edu/palmer to ensure appropriate meals and tour rides. Three Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) credits will be available for attending. If there are questions about registering, please call 402-472-5656. Directions: From Geneva go south on Hwy 81 for 14.6 miles. Turn west onto Hwy 4 and go 5.3 miles. The field day will be on the south side of Hwy 4 between C Street and Renwick Street in Carleton. (GPS: 40°18’24.7”N 97°40’29.0”W). Partial funding for this field day was provided by the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff and Nebraska Extension.