Monthly Archives: June 2019
Prevent Planting and Herbicides for Cover Crops: This past week, corn for silage was approved as a cover crop in prevent plant situations, primarily because of the herbicide restrictions on cover crops for forage. A team of us wrote an article about how to understand herbicide rotation restrictions and also shared the information from NRCS regarding corn as a cover crop in this week’s CropWatch. You can see these and more articles about soybean gall midge and Japanese beetles at http://cropwatch.unl.edu.
Hail Damage: For a ‘slight chance’ of rain, it was interesting to have the hail and 4” of rain in the gauge Wednesday morning! It appears we had hail from the York area through Cordova area and I heard there was also hail in Butler and Platte counties. The larger hail appeared to have damaged crops into Kansas through Superior, south and west of Lawrence through Blue Hill and Holstein. What was encouraging was not even 24 hours after the storm, signs of recovery could be seen in corn and soybean. Warm temps, no rain, and sunshine make all the difference in recovery after hail compared to cool, wet, cloudy conditions. I went back to look at fields in the southern tier of counties into Kansas and in York area southeast on Friday and was further encouraged by the regrowth. You can view photos on my blog at https://jenreesources.com. The bruising on stalks and stems can allow stalk rot to set in on corn and soybean stems to become brittle and break off with wind…so keep this in mind towards harvest and plan to get these fields out first if possible. What’s hardest is wheat fields that were nearing harvest that shattered or were totaled due to hail. Also difficult is the fact we’ve lost so much canopy in crops at the peak of palmer growth for those who have fields with palmer problems. And speaking of palmer, a reminder of the palmer amaranth field day near Carleton on July 10th. View herbicide options for palmer control and listen to keynote speaker Dr. Jason Norsworthy from the University of Arkansas. Registration at: http://agronomy.unl.edu/palmer.
So, this may sound crazy, but I was curious about the potential of interseeding a cover in these corn fields with extreme canopy missing right now. I was standing in one field of V11-12 corn with all the leaves gone listening to the growers tell me how much of a palmer problem this field has, even though it is clean right now. We know from research that interseeding at this growth stage typically doesn’t work due to canopy closure, but I’m wondering if it could help with weed pressure since the remaining leaves may be more upright and may not completely shade the rows? The keys to this consideration would be the herbicides used and considering rotation restrictions if you plan on using the stalks and cover for forage after harvest. If you don’t plan to use the cover for forage, there wouldn’t be restrictions as you’d assume planting at your own risk. We can’t predict if it will keep raining for non-irrigated fields. It would also be wise to talk with your crop insurance agent about this.
Fungicides in Hail Damaged Crops: Several have asked about fungicide use on hail damaged crops. There’s no good research to support this and fungicides only control fungal diseases. Bacterial diseases such as bacterial leaf streak and Goss’ wilt are favored after hail events. We’ve already seen both of these diseases in this part of the State due to heavy rains. Fungicides at some point may help with stalk strength with all the bruising and we may need fungicides later this season for disease if the humidity and rains continue.
The available research had fungicides applied at tassel instead of the earlier growth stages we’re currently at. ISU did a one-year study to simulate hail damaged corn at tassel stage within an average of 3 or 8 days post-hail. They didn’t find the timing to provide any yield effects. They also didn’t find a statistical yield increase (90% confidence level) in fungicide application to hail damaged plants vs. those which weren’t hailed (although they also reported a numerical yield increase in 12 of the 20 fields). A study was also conducted by Carl Bradley at the University of Illinois in 2007-2008 to evaluate the effects of fungicide applications at tassel in simulated hail-injured corn on gray leaf spot severity and yield. In that study, fungicide applications did not statistically increase yield when applied on corn that was damaged to simulate hail injury.
If you’re considering a fungicide now, you could consider an on-farm research study depending on equipment, ability to get in the field, and crop height. Spray fungicide in enough width to complete 2 combine passes. Then skip an area for 2 combine passes. Then treat again and repeat across the field. View: Fungicide Protocol for Hailed Corn and Soybean. Some talking about this wondered about aerial applications. If we had enough people who left a check, we could look at combining the data to make up for lack of reps in one field. Please let me know if you’re interested in either of these options.
Butterflies and Soybean Defoliators: Painted lady butterflies and others like sulfur butterflies can be seen flying around as they’re emerging from soybean fields. I really wish they’d move on but I’m seeing butterflies in my gardens now too, so we’re just going to have to keep scouting fields. There’s also a lot of yellow striped armyworms out there of various larval stages. If your soybeans don’t seem to be growing or you seem to be losing canopy beyond hail damage and ‘burner’ herbicides, be looking for various larvae. In this heat, if you have a lot of residue in the field, they may be hiding under it, so be sure to look there too if you have a spot in the field especially affected.
NOTE: End of News Column. Photos below to document recovery.
Soybeans with new growth seen in axillary buds and/or main shoot within 24 hours of June 26 hail storm (first two photos) and 3 days after hail storm (last two photos). Soybeans were V4 to R1. Note, temperatures were hot with sun and dry conditions post-hail.
Wheat grain shelled from heads and broken heads in both early and later planted wheat. Warm season forages may be a good option to consider in totaled out wheat fields.
First photo is corn west of Lawrence on July 26 and showing regrowth in second photo 3 days later. Third photo is corn near York on July 26 showing growth in whorl not damaged. Last photo is worst hail damaged area I saw near Webber, KS. There was nothing left of soybean in the nearby fields.
Hail damage on stems may be only on the outer surface of leaves with no bruising below that (as in first two photos). Or, it can be more severe where bruising is leading to rot setting into the stem (as in last two photos).
Crop Updates: It was nice to see corn greening up and getting some growth this past week! Also on people’s minds is the 45 day post-planting application deadline for RUP dicamba herbicides. The announcement that Risk Management Agency (RMA) adjusted the 2019 final haying and grazing date from Nov. 1 to Sept. 1 for prevented planting this year opened up additional options for our farmers affected by flooding and/or excess rain. An additional option was that “silage, haylage, and bailage should be treated in the same manner as haying and grazing this year. Producers can hay, graze or cut cover crops for silage, haylage or baleage on prevented plant acres on or after September 1 and still maintain eligibility for their full 2019 prevented planting indemnity.”
So how did this change things? Many I talked with, including my family, were originally planning on going with cool season covers like oats planted the first week of August. However, with the ability to harvest a cover crop for forage on Sept. 1, interest increased in utilizing warm season cover crops. For those planning on haying, our forage specialists recommend using millets. The regrowth after haying could then be used for grazing in the late fall/winter. They also said if you’re planning on a mix, don’t add brassicas into whatever you decide to hay as they don’t dry down and tend to create a moldy spot within hay. If you’re looking at grazing only, sudangrass, sorghum sudan, millets, and/or mix with other species are great options. Forage sorghum is a great option for silage.
The other consideration is that some of this ground going into prevent plant already had PRE herbicides applied, making legal options for cover crops that could be grazed or hayed difficult. So Friday was kind of a crazy day for me walking people through options. Honestly, sometimes corn or milo for silage ended up being the most feasible option based on labels. There are also acres of corn and bean fields that were drowned out due to recent flooding and are now considered a “failed crop” by FSA. Herbicides that were applied can make planting covers in those fields difficult too. Some farmers had contracts with seed companies providing free seed for replant. Thus, once again, corn for silage seemed like a feasible and economical option. So, I called Jeff Peterson at Seward Co. FSA to see if this could be an option. He said that it would be a feasible option in 2019 if it was also approved by the person’s crop insurance agent. The first step is to contact your crop insurance agent to discuss your options for prevent plant and/or failed crop. Then go to your FSA office and fill out their form for failed crop and/or prevent plant. Your crop insurance company may require a letter from Extension stating that corn can be used as a forage crop for silage. Again, it will be important to talk with your crop insurance agent and your FSA office about your options for the fields in your counties as I can’t guarantee these are options for every situation.
Tree Problems: The rain and humidity have allowed for numerous fungal diseases on our evergreen and deciduous trees. On deciduous trees, leaves with black/brown spots may be found. We don’t typically recommend fungicides for them and if the diseases get bad enough, the leaves may eventually fall off the trees early. A new flush of leaves typically follows 10-14 days later. On evergreen trees, we’re seeing a number of needle blights and shoot tip blights. We do recommend fungicide applications for them (typically in April or May). However, it is recommended to repeat them every 3-4 weeks when frequent rains occur. Product options for most evergreen diseases include chlorothalonil or a product containing Copper that is labeled for evergreen tree diseases. Bordeaux mixture is often recommended, but I have a hard time finding anyone that carries that.
Also, be checking trees for bagworms. They’re later this year and just forming new bags. In order to see them, what I do is walk up to the trees (especially cedars or spruces) and just watch the branches for any movement occurring on them. If you’ve had a bagworm problem in the past, what you’ll see is tiny, new brown bags moving as the larvae is building a new bag. I have more info and a video to help visualize what to look for: https://jenreesources.com/2015/06/27/bagworms-in-evergreens/. The best time to spray them is when the bags are less than ½ inch in size. More info and products can be found here: https://go.unl.edu/rgju.
Crop Update: This past week’s top question was about yellow looking and/or buggy whipped corn and weed control. Much of what we’re seeing can be attributed to cool, wet conditions this spring. Yellow striping on leaves is often due to sulfur deficiency but could be combined with other nutrient deficiencies depending on conditions. Purdue University has a nice guide with pics if you’d like to check it out: https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/soilfertility/news/Striped_Corn.pdf.
Most of what I looked at or received questions about was yellow and/or buggy whipped corn due to herbicide injury. This isn’t uncommon for pre-plant residual herbicides to impact corn more in years where we have wet conditions, cooler temps, and plants that are slower to emerge/grow. Yes, some of these products are considered ‘safe’ for corn, and they shouldn’t kill it. It’s just we’re experiencing a strange year with cool, wet conditions and the corn is metabolizing the chemical but not growing fast enough, thus the injury. Situations which may be extra sensitive are ones in which corn was planted too wet with slots not closing or if corn was planted too shallow. Soil applied grass herbicides and those with pre-mixes containing atrazine may be experiencing more of the buggy whipping or yellowing from Group 15 growth inhibitor herbicides. Yellow/purple leaves and sometimes ‘bottlebrush’ looking roots can be exhibited from Group 2 ALS-inhibitor herbicides. Herbicides in Group 27 with ‘bleacher’ chemistry are re-activated with rain events and we’re seeing some yellow/white corn and milo due to that. Dr. Kevin Bradley, University of Missouri, wrote an article that shares photos and trade names if you’re interested in checking that out: https://ipm.missouri.edu/IPCM/2009/4/Cool-Wet-Soils-Can-result-in-More-Corn-Injury-from-Preemergence-Residual-Herbicides/. I realize it’s frustrating, but overall these are good products and it’s the weather conditions causing the problems. Each day of sunshine and warmer temps are helping corn to grow out of the symptoms and look greener/healthier in most cases.
The other concern is the rain has moved herbicides down into the soil and we’re beginning to see weed flushes of waterhemp and palmer on the soil surface. Chris Proctor, Extension Educator, addressed this in CropWatch and Nebraska Farmer as we think of post-emergence control right now in both corn and soybean. There are additional trade names with similar chemistries mentioned and this isn’t an endorsement of specific products. “There are a number of effective herbicide options in corn such as Acuron, Laudis, or Diflexx Duo. In soybean, herbicide options are much more limited. When coupled with traited seed, Liberty, or Xtendimax can be effective at controlling these weeds postemergence, and in a Roundup Ready system Warrant Ultra or Flexstar GT are good options. It’s not too early to plan how to improve weed control in fields with a history of difficult-to-control weeds. A good preemergence herbicide program, use of narrow row-spacing, and even cover crops, when used as part of an integrated management plan, can improve control of herbicide-resistant weeds.”
Thistle Caterpillars: Painted lady butterflies migrate north from the southern U.S. and
Mexico each spring. The butterflies have been around for a little over a month and thistle caterpillars have been found feeding in soybean the past few weeks. Last week, I was seeing higher populations in early planted soybeans in Clay and Nuckolls counties. Larvae can feed from 2-6 weeks depending on weather. Treatment thresholds for vegetative stages are 30% defoliation. Each field needs to be assessed regarding percent defoliation and larval stage. Some fields I checked had larvae that were pupating or already emerged as adults. Other fields had larval stages that will still feed 2-5 weeks, depending on weather. Much information we read says they stay on field borders, which I’ve seen to be true later in the growing season. But right now, I’m finding situations where they’re fairly consistently infested throughout the field. Some may consider adding an insecticide to your post-herbicide application. If you have dicamba-tolerant soybeans, be sure to check the product’s website regarding approved tank-mix partners.
Irrigation Scheduling Workshops for wet years will be held Wednesday June 19th, 12 noon, at The Leadership Center, 211 Q St (E Hwy 34) in Aurora and Tuesday June 25th, 12 noon, at the Chances R Restaurant, 124 West Fifth Street, York. The program will start with lunch at 12:00 pm, followed by the speakers and wrap up around 1:30 pm. The Upper Big Blue NRD will provide the lunch. RSVP is not required but appreciated for a meal count. Call the Hamilton County Extension office at 402-694-6174 or email Steve Melvin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dan Leininger with the Upper Big Blue NRD will speak on installing sensors and Steve Melvin will speak on deciding when and how much water to apply using watermark sensor readings.
Crop Updates: It’s been interesting seeing growers sharing pics comparing crops on the same dates in 2018 to 2019. They are behind in many cases compared to last year. Yet, we can be thankful for every field that we’ve been able to plant in Nebraska this year! Weed control is something on many minds right now. On corn, please be sure to count collars to determine growth stages. First leaves are sloughing off on V5-V7 plants right now, so slitting open stalks to aid in counting collars is important as we think of herbicide applications. Bob Nielsen from Purdue has a nice recent article with photos to help you with this: http://www.kingcorn.org/news/timeless/VStageMethods.html. When it comes to beans, I’m concerned how much longer the PRE’s will hold. I share this every year in pesticide training to have the POST with residual on a week before you think you need it, even if you don’t see weeds in the field yet. So assess each field as to when your PRE went on, current weed emergence, and plan on your POST a week earlier to overlap when your PRE residual should be running out. Also, with palmer amaranth on people’s minds, consider attending a glyphosate resistant palmer amaranth field day July 10th near Carleton, NE. Dr. Jason Norsworthy from the University of Arkansas will be the featured speaker. For those who’ve heard me speak on palmer or at my pesticide trainings, much of what I share has been what I’ve learned from his presentations and research papers. You can learn more and register at: http://agronomy.unl.edu/palmer. Adding a small grain and diversifying our cropping systems is one way to aid in palmer/waterhemp management. There are several upcoming wheat and pulse crop field days occurring throughout Nebraska in the next two weeks and you can read more about them at: https://go.unl.edu/b65e.
At some point, irrigation may be needed again. Installing irrigation scheduling equipment now allows you to watch your soil moisture profile as your crops grow, gain better confidence in your readings, and it’s just easier to install them at earlier growth stages when there’s moisture in the profile. Here’s some tips for those using watermark sensors. (As I walk through this, I’m using kilopascals (kpa) for the sensor readings but the same numbers apply to centibars (cb)). First, be sure to prime the sensors to ensure they’re working correctly. Do this by soaking the sensors for at least 24 hours in water. If you still have mud on the sensors, gently remove with your fingers, not with a brush. Then check the readings to ensure they read 10 or less. If they don’t, I allow them to soak another 24 hours and recheck; replace any that don’t read 10 kpa or less. Allow the sensors to dry out to 199 kpa again by setting out in the sun/wind/blowing fans. (Note that water will move into the PVC tube during soaking, so you’ll need to remove the cap and dump the water out if you don’t have a hole drilled at the bottom of the PVC tube. This is also true during the installation process.) When you’re ready to install the sensors, they need to be soaked again, but it should only take them 1-5 minutes to read 10 kpa or less prior to installation. There’s a couple things I’ve learned with installations that help me. First, use an ag consultant’s tube on soil probe to dig the foot wherever the sensor is installed. This allows for a better fit with no air gaps along the sensor. I use a regular soil tube to dig the hole the foot/feet above that to aid in pushing the sensors. In wet, clayey soils, it can be difficult to push the PVC pipe into the ground, so digging the upper holes with a bigger tube helps me with that. The other thing I do is carry my bucket with water for the sensors to the field with me with the sensors. To aid with pushing the sensors in the ground, I wet the PVC tube with water from the bucket prior to installing it. NEVER pour water into the holes and don’t make a slurry mix. I’m hearing several were taught to do this, but it’s not what Nebraska Extension teaches based on Dr. Suat Irmak’s research as it will change the soil moisture of the holes compared to the surrounding soils. Make sure the sensors hit the bottom of the hole and fill in soil where the PVC pipe meets the soil line. Suat shared how he used rubber washers around the top of the PVC pipe at the soil line to aid in water not running down the PVC tube when soil cracks at the surface. For those installing ET gages, a reminder to remove the stopper from the ceramic top and fill the ceramic top with distilled water in addition to the main tube of the ET gage. I fill the ceramic top, allow it to soak into the ceramic plate a little and refill it. Then prime the inner tube with stopper ensuring there’s no air bubbles in the small tube after placing it into the ceramic top. You can also double check for air bubbles by gently removing the glass site gage (by pressing down on the rubber tubing at the base of the site gage), allowing some water to cycle through, and then replacing it.
Maple seedlings: Maple trees have now leafed out and the rain has allowed the abundance of seeds to produce seedlings in people’s lawns and gardens. I know they look bad because they do at my place too. Mowing is the best way to take care of them in your lawn and it will take several mowings to do so. Don’t lower your mowing height as you want to maintain a healthy grass canopy. Eventually the seedlings will continue to grow to where the mower blade cuts off below the growing point and the seedlings will die. In the flower beds, they are very easy to pull right now. It takes some extra time, but that’s the best way to rid them there.
Flooded Gardens: This was my top question last week. For those of you with flooded gardens due to ponding of rain water, it will be fine to use your produce and the following information won’t pertain to you. However, most of the calls I received were from those with creeks or rivers that flooded their gardens. In that case, it’s difficult to know what contaminants may be in the water. It’s recommended by our Extension horticulturalists to wait 90 days to use any produce that does not have contact with the soil and 120 days to use any produce that does have contact with the soil. For example, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green beans could be harvested and eaten after 90 days. Fruit from trees and shrubs could be harvested and used after 90 days. However, rhubarb, potatoes, asparagus, squash and melon crops would need 120 days before harvesting to eat. Vegetables/fruits that are produced prior to the 90 and 120 day waiting period should be removed from plants and discarded. If the actual plants such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, etc. survive flooding, they do not need to be removed or replaced. You can allow them to continue to grow, just don’t use the fruit till 90 days post-flooding. Additional information can be found at: https://grobigred.com/2019/03/22/gardenflood/amp/?. Also, don’t harvest the morel mushrooms that are abundant this year due to the contaminants they’ve potentially been in contact with.
Crop Considerations: If you’d like more in-depth information regarding flooded/ponded corn/soybean, please check out this week’s CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu. We also shared a replant considerations article for corn in CropWatch. The tables in that article will be helpful as one assesses stands. Check corn, soybean, and milo for new regrowth 3-5 days after water recedes to determine potential survival. When it comes to assessing soybean stands for replant considerations, most UNL agronomists would say to leave stands of non-irrigated at 60,000 plants per acre and irrigated at 75,000 plants per acre. Honestly, my cutoff is 50,000 plants/acre for both irrigated and non-irrigated based more off of observation. A few on-farm research studies with lower actual stand counts include the following examples. 1-A non-irrigated field in Nuckolls County in 2006 was hailed at the cotyledon stage, so planted populations of 100K, 130K, and 160K became average actual stands of 74,417; 89,417; and 97,917 plants per acre with a 4 bu/ac yield difference between highest and lowest plant populations. 2-An irrigated field in Hamilton County in 2010 showed a 3 bu/ac yield difference between planted stand of 80K vs. 120K seeds/acre. 3-A York County irrigated field in 2018 comparing 90K, 120K, and 150K became final plant stands of 60,875; 88,125; and 121,750 plants/acre with yields of 93; 94; and 97 bu/ac respectively. So soybeans greatly compensate for reduced populations. Weed control may be another factor, depending on time of year, for soybean replant consideration. When in doubt, leaving some strips with the original stand and others with replant to test is also an option. I’ve also received questions regarding how much nitrogen to expect in the flooded/ponded soils. I don’t have a good answer other than soil samples will be helpful in determining this.
Wheat Diseases: I didn’t find any pustules looking at wheat in Nuckolls and Clay this past week. Stripe rust was confirmed in Perkins County and it was also found in Hamilton County by a crop consultant. While the model wasn’t showing as high of a risk, I’ve been concerned about our potential for wheat scab this year with all the rain. There are early planted wheat fields in which the flowering process has been completed. But there are a number of fields that are just fully headed now with beginning flowering to start soon. Upon flowering, your options for controlling any fungal diseases present on leaves as well as preventing scab are Prosaro, Caramba, and Miravis Ace. Research has found best timing to prevent scab is when 30% of the heads are at 15% flowering…basically early flowering. Flowering in wheat begins in the middle of the head.
South Central Ag Lab Weed Science Field Day: June 26th will be the South Central Ag Lab Weed Science Field Day near Clay Center. The field day will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with registration beginning at 8 a.m. Tours include: New Technology/Herbicides for Weed Control in Soybean; Herbicides for Weed Control in Corn; and a presentation by Bob Klein on “What Works and Doesn’t Work in Managing Spray Drift”. There is no cost to attend and CCA credits are available. Please pre-register at: http://agronomy.unl.edu/fieldday.
Keeping Rural Worksites Strong: This is a workshop for those who work in human resources, leadership and wellness roles, agriculture, and safety to create a mental health friendly workplace. It will be held on Tuesday, June 25 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Registration 8:30 a.m.) at the Seward Medical Center in Seward. Topics include: stress and employee health; substance use issues in the workplace; identifying risk for violence in the workplace; employer’s role in preventing suicide; caring for employees; and being a mental health friendly worksite. Cost is $20 and includes light breakfast, lunch, and materials. Please RSVP to Four Corners Health Dept. at: http://www.fourcorners.ne.gov or (877) 337-3573.