Monthly Archives: October 2019

JenREES 10-13-19

Crop Update: The sunshine, hard freezes, and wind are helping dry things out. Grateful this week looks favorable for harvesting! Please continue to think safety. With the increase of late season diseases this year, I’ve been hearing reports of combines turning orange and/or black from fungal spores and running hot. This week’s CropWatch at addresses fire safety during harvest if you’re interested in checking out those tips. Masks/respirators may help those affected by fungal spores.

The rains/humidity and also Fusarium/Gibberella fungal growth (which produce

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giberellins) have allowed for some kernel sprouting on ears over the past month. Sprouting can occur anywhere on the ear, particularly at the base or places where hail and/or insect damage occurred. Upon reaching maturity, hormone levels within the kernels change allowing for higher levels of gibberellin compared to low/no abscisic acid. This gives kernels the ability to sprout. We just prefer not to see this in fields prior to harvest; thus, you may wish to alert your crop insurance adjuster of these situations. Be aware sprouted kernels lead to higher kernel damage and can increase fines in a load. These kernels may also be lighter and blown out the back of the combine. In case they’re not, drying to 14% will help kill the sprout and be sure to monitor stored grain closely for hot spots, mold, and additional sprouting grain.

Soybean and Freeze: Prior to the frost, I was receiving questions about yield loss to soybean at various growth stages, including, how to determine R7 (physiological maturity). Dr. Jim Specht took the lead on two CropWatch articles this week to address these questions. Ultimately, for each pod, physiological maturity occurs when the pod membrane no longer clings tightly to seeds in that pod. For pods still at R6 (green bean stage with membrane clinging to seed), yield loss can be significant, anywhere from 35-50% depending on if the plant is in early or late R6. At R7, 0-5% yield loss is expected.

Oct. 16 Ag Bankruptcy Webinar: Lower commodity prices, extreme weather, and ongoing trade tensions in world markets have contributed to widespread financial strain throughout American agriculture.  The American Farm Bureau Federation recently reported that “the delinquency rates for commercial agricultural loans in both the real estate and non-real estate lending sectors are at a six-year high” and that Chapter 12 bankruptcies increased the previous year in all but one region of the country.  Recently, the Bankruptcy Code was amended to ease eligibility requirements for family farmers considering filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy. A webinar on October 16th from 11-Noon (CST) will provide a basic introduction to Chapter 12.  It will discuss eligibility requirements, advantages of filing a Chapter 12 over other types of bankruptcy, and uses of a plan to make changes in the farming operation. For more information and to register, please go to:

Horticultural Plants and Frost: While many plants succumbed to the hard frosts, some protected plants did not. I’ve been asked when should perennial foliage be cut back in the fall. The answer is to wait until a hard freeze kills the foliage. This is because photosynthesis is still occurring on plants with green foliage, so carbohydrates and sugars are being moved to roots for winter storage, increasing plant vigor for next spring. You can also leave the foliage till early spring for winter interest.

Vegetables/Fruits and Frost: Rhubarb should not be harvested or eaten when leaves are wilted and limp and stalks become soft/mushy after a hard freeze. Otherwise, there’s no toxicity concerns with other vegetables/fruits after frost. The texture and storage potential of other vegetables are affected by freezing temperatures, such as lettuce, peppers, summer squash and sweet potatoes.  Some vegetables may actually improve in flavor following freezing temperatures, including parsnip, Jerusalem artichoke and horseradish.

JenREES 10-6-19

As I reflect, it was a hard week for many of you in our farming community with the weather and harvest delays. Many of us would say the challenges of 2019 actually started in the fall of 2018. From that perspective, it’s been an extra hard year! As we continue with a delayed harvest, I’m truly hoping the fall of 2019 doesn’t result in an extra challenging 2020 as well. I’m sure that’s a hope for us all!

It’s amazing how something as simple as the sun shining or incredible sunrisesIMG_20191004_071447.jpg on then dreary, drizzly days lifted my spirits and the spirits of many of you I spoke or texted with this past week. For those who receive my email newsletter, you’ve seen me share each week a set of tips to consider for help in relieving stress/changing current mindset based on how much time you have in the day. And, some of you have rightfully put it back on me when I’ve needed a mindset change! While you may not want to take 30 minutes or even 10 minutes, we all have 2 minutes. So, my challenge for all of us is utilize one of the following tips for two minutes or use something else that works for you each day this week to change our mindset/lift our spirits when needed. Two minute tips (Adapted from: Gilbert Parra, PhD; Holly Hatton-Bowers, PhD, and Carrie Gottschalk, LMHP, MS):  Breathe; Stretch; Laugh; Doodle; Acknowledge one of your accomplishments; Say no to a new responsibility; Look out the window (or go outside); (adapted) Faith based prayer. Please go to for the full list.

Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) Sampling: With the increase in sudden death syndrome this year, several have asked for soybean cyst nematode sampling bags (as the two diseases are synergistic with each other). Free sampling is via the Nebraska Soybean Board through your soybean checkoff dollars. Sampling bags can be obtained from your local Extension Office or call 402-472-2559 to obtain bags. Crop consultants should contact Extension Plant Pathology directly (402-472-2559) for larger numbers of sample bags. Samples should be done for areas 40 acres or less (less is better). If you had areas with higher SDS this past year or places where yield maps showed lower yields, plan to take a sample from those areas of the field. Also take a sample from a good yielding area of your field for comparison. Take around 20 cores 6 to 8” deep. If you or an agronomist is taking soil samples, taking a few extra cores will allow for part of the sample to be sent in for fertilizer recommendations and the other part for SCN. Make sure to thoroughly mix the cores collected before transferring to sample bags. If you take them from a soybean field, taking the sample a few inches off the old soybean row may provide the highest potential numbers if SCN is present in the field. However, SCN samples can be taken from corn or sorghum fields as well to help inform decisions if rotating to soybean next year. Other places in fields which may first show SCN include: low areas where water drains after rain; along a stream that periodically floods; along fence lines; field entryways or driveways as that’s the first place equipment enters from other fields. Anything that moves soil will move SCN.

Lawn Weed Control: Now is an excellent time for weed control in lawns, especially for dandelions, clover, ground ivy, and plantain. This is because carbohydrates are being transferred to the roots of perennial weeds and thus allows for the chemical to move to the roots as well. If using granular products that contain weed killer, they’re best applied on mornings with heavy dew and no rain in the forecast for 24 hours (however, read the herbicide label). Most herbicides labeled for use around the yard will contain 2,4-D and/or dicamba. I’m often asked for names but this is not an exhaustive list and not intended to exclude anything available (2,4-D, dicamba, Weed B Gon, Trimec Plus, Trimec Classic).

*End of News Column.

Wellbeing Tips:
(Adapted from: Gilbert Parra, PhD; Holly Hatton-Bowers, PhD, and Carrie Gottschalk, LMHP, MS)

How Much Time do You Have?
2 Minutes:
  • Breathe
  • Stretch
  • Laugh
  • Doodle
  • Acknowledge one of your accomplishments
  • Say no to a new responsibility
  • Look out the window
  • (adapted) Faith based prayer
5 Minutes:
  • Listen to music
  • Have a cleansing cry
  • Chat with a co-worker, friend, or family member
  • Sing out loud
  • Jot down dreams
  • Step outside for fresh air
  • Go for a brief walk
  • Enjoy a snack or make a cup of coffee/tea
  • (adapted) Read faith-based devotional
10 Minutes:
  • Evaluate your day, Write in a journal
  • Call a friend
  • (adapted) Meditate, Prayer, Devotional
  • Tidy your work area
  • Assess your self-care
  • Draw a picture
  • Listen to soothing sounds/music
  • Read a magazine
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