Monthly Archives: February 2020
Demystifying Poultry Manure-optimizing agronomic value and minimizing environmental risks will be held Feb. 26th from 1-4 p.m. at the Hruska Memorial Library in David City. The Nebraska Extension Animal Manure Management Team wants to help crop producers and rural citizens understand why, how, when and where manure can add value to a cropping system. They also want to answer your questions about how chickens are raised, what’s in poultry manure, what practices can optimize manure value while minimizing environmental risks and any other questions you have. No cost. Pre-registrations welcome by contacting Butler Co. Extension at (402) 367‐7410.
Irrigated Cover Crop Conference will be held Feb. 27 at the Fairgrounds in Central City starting with donuts at 9:00 a.m. Topics include: Implementing Cover Crops to Increase Resilience & Returns in Cropping Systems, Benefits of Cover Crops for Weed Control, Crop Water Use Considerations, Does growing shorter season corn/beans, impact cover crop biomass?, Overview of Cover Crop Strategies in the Central Platte, Seeding Methods for Cover Crops, Grazing High Quality Cover Crops, Don’t Waste Your Cover Crop, and Methods to get Higher Grazing Efficiencies from Cover Crops. Cost is $10. For more info., please contact Steve Melvin at (308) 946-3843.
On-Farm Research Brainstorming Meeting Mar. 2: The purpose of this meeting is to allow area growers interested in on-farm research to discuss their project ideas for 2020. I’ve found this meeting lends additional support for growers allowing them to bounce ideas off each other and has led to several growers trying the same studies. Any growers interested in learning more about on-farm research studies or interested in trying studies on your farms are welcome to join us Mar. 2nd from 9 a.m.-Noon at the 4-H Building in York. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annie’s Inspired Mental Health, Stress Management and Ag Leadership class is designed to help farm and ranch women recognize stress, provide tips to care for one’s mental health and learn how to be a great Ag leader. Please join us for this class taught by Brandy VanDeWalle, Fillmore Co. Extension Educator, on Monday, Mar. 2nd 6 – 8 pm at the Seward Civic Center, 616 Bradford St., Seward, NE. Cost is $5 and RSVP is required for meal (402) 367-7410.
Windbreak Workshop March 3 in Seward: Thinking about rejuvenating that old broken down windbreak? Perhaps you want to start a new windbreak? Maybe you’re looking for information on what ails your windbreak and how to treat it? This FREE workshop will address all these questions (and more). Please join us Mar. 3rd from 9 a.m.-Noon (Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.) at the Seward County Extension Office. Bring your questions and learn from experts on topics including: Renovating that old windbreak; New windbreak establishment; Local NRD tree planting program, and Windbreak health issues. Please RSVP to Seward Co. Extension at: (402) 643-2981.
Southeast Nebraska Soil Health Conference Mar. 3: Soil health, cover crops, and grazing annual cover crops will be among the topics at this Conference Mar. 3rd at the Community Center in Hickman. Registration and viewing commercial displays begins at 8 a.m., with program at 9 a.m. The keynote speaker, Dr. Dwayne Beck, is the manager of the SDSU Dakota Lakes research farm. Additional speakers include: Dr. Ray Ward speaking on nutrient cycling to build organic matter; Paul Jasa and Gary Lesoing will share on systems approach to soil health; Mary Drewnoski will talk about cow-calf grazing of cover crops. Tyler Burkey, Milford; Blake Huls, Cortland; Rodney Wiese, Wilber and Steve Mills, Greenwood will share information they have learned on ways to increase soil health. Sponsors include Nebraska Corn Board, Lancaster County Farm Bureau, and SARE. Please pre-register at: https://lancaster.unl.edu/ag. CCA credits are available.
Grain Bin Safety Week kicked off Feb. 16. In 2018, there were 30 documented grain entrapment cases-half resulting in a fatality. It’s so important for farm families to understand the dangers of entering grain bins! Free Showings of SILO film (https://www.silothefilm.com/) will be March 10th in Aurora at the 12th Street Cinema. Sponsored by Hamilton Co. Corn Growers, showing times are at 6:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Call or text Mike Bergen (402) 631-9324 or Mitch Oswald (402) 624-1056 to reserve your seat! Inspired by true events, SILO follows a harrowing day in an American farm town when a teenager is entrapped in a 50-foot-tall grain bin.
Farm Bill Decision Information
Jenny Rees, Extension Educator York & Seward Counties
*Caveat: This information is shared with the intent to better help growers make farm bill decisions with the best information we have available at this time. There is no guarantee of program payments or how the information below impacts individual farms. Ultimately, the decision is that of the person enrolling and making the program elections for the Farm Bill.
Deadline: Growers should make appointments now at your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to complete ARC/PLC election and enrollment forms. The deadline to enroll is Monday, March 16 for the 2019 crop year. You can change your elections up to March 16, 2020. Growers who don’t get enrolled by then will be ineligible to receive ARC or PLC payments for the 2019 crop year.
ARC-CO vs. PLC: This decision is different than the 2014 Farm Bill. We’re in a different price situation (lower prices) and the decision right now for 2018 Farm Bill is a 2-year decision (2019-2020), not the life of the farm bill. Please don’t assume that you should stay enrolled in what you were before.
Working through farm situations from different counties, for corn, PLC tends to be favored more than ARC-CO regardless if the farm had more irrigated or non-irrigated acres. However, soybean tends to favor PLC for a higher irrigated percentage and ARC-CO for farms with little to no irrigation. This does vary by county, so soybean can go either way. The reality is there may not be a soybean payment for either election. Wheat and sorghum tend to favor PLC. You’re only making this decision for two years. You can change your decision for 2021.
ARC-CO Calculation: To understand what potential price it may take for ARC-CO to trigger for any crop in your county, there’s a simple calculation you can do. Ask your local FSA Office for their 2019 Guaranteed Revenues and 2019 Benchmark Yields for each crop (updated February 2020).
Take your county guaranteed revenue for a specific crop and divide that by the county benchmark yield for that crop. For example, for irrigated corn in York County, the 2019 Guaranteed Revenue was $731.07. The 2019 Benchmark Yield (which is an Olympic average yield from 2013-2017) for irrigated corn in York County was 229.75 bu/ac. Taking $731.07/229.75 = $3.18. Based on these numbers a payment would not be triggered for irrigated corn in York County until a price of $3.18 is achieved. This is in comparison to PLC in which the trigger is $3.70 for the corn price (and we’re a lot closer to $3.70 than $3.18). Many of the counties for this area of the State were coming in at $3.18 corn price (irrigated and non-irrigated) in order for ARC-CO to trigger. This helps with decision making as it leans towards enrolling in PLC for corn. You can use this same calculation for other crops such as soybean, wheat, sorghum, etc. and compare the prices obtained vs. the PLC price for that crop.
PLC Yield Update: Your local FSA office can provide a sheet showing what yield is necessary to update your PLC yield for each crop. This can also be determined by taking your current PLC Yield and divide by 0.81. For example, a PLC corn yield of 190/0.81=234.57 bu/ac. Crop Insurance forms are necessary to determine if you can update yields. You will need the yields from 2013-2017. Use the Actual yields (designated with an ‘A’, not APH yields). Take the irrigated and non-irrigated yields for each farm number and divide by total acres to determine the blended yield for each farm number. If the yield is equal to or greater than the yield you need to prove for any of your crops on each farm number, your PLC yield can be updated for that crop. Landlords need to sign the form for updating PLC yields. They do not need to sign the form for election of ARC-CO or PLC if the ground is in cash rent.
Seed Corn Yields: To determine seed corn yields, if no commercial corn is grown in rotation on the farm, use the Plant Base Yield (PBY) not to exceed 120% of the county irrigated corn yield. For example, in 2013, York County Irrigated Corn Yield was 235.92 bu/ac. Multiply this by 120% = 283. 10 bu/ac. Compare this to the PBY for the same year and use the lower of the two numbers. If the farm has commercial corn in addition to seed corn in the rotation, the grower has the choice of applying the commercial corn yield or the equivalent seed corn yield as explained previously.
Decision Support Tools: If you use a decision support tool, I’m not recommending to use the Illinois tool. The Texas A&M tool considers your two-year decision. This blog post (https://go.unl.edu/texasam) has step-by-step screen shots to help if you wish to use the tool.
Historical Irrigated Percentage (HIP) is taken into account for the ARC-CO payments. For those using the Texas A&M decision tool, you will see a box to input HIP. There is an area for HIP on the 156EZ form. Counties that had to split out irrigated vs. non-irrigated acres for certain crops in the 2014 Farm Bill will have a HIP listed. Counties that didn’t have to do this will not have one listed. For those with the HIP listed, it may or may not be accurate depending on if you incorporated/lost irrigated ground in the past 5 years. For purposes of the Texas A&M tool, you can use your best estimate of irrigated vs. non-irrigated percentage. You can also adjust that estimate to see how it impacts potential payments.
This week begins Nebraska Extension’s On-Farm Research Update meetings. Over 100 studies were conducted in 2019! Each meeting runs from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (registration at 8:30 a.m.). Meal is included and there’s no cost thanks to our partnerships with Nebraska Corn, Soybean, and Dry Bean Boards and Growers’ Associations. Please pre-register at: email@example.com or 402-624-8030. Meetings are: Feb. 18 at Holiday Inn Express in Beatrice, Feb. 19 near Mead at ENREC, Feb. 20 in Norfolk at the Extension Office, Feb. 26 in Kearney at the Extension Office, and Feb. 28 in York at the Holthus Convention Center. At the meetings, you will receive a book of all the 2019 studies and hear from the farmers who conducted the studies if they are present at that specific location. What’s powerful about that to me is that you get to hear from your peers and the discussion and questions are greater. At all locations except for York, all the studies in the book will be shared. New this year to only the York location, only the cover crop on-farm research studies will be shared followed by outside speakers sharing about cover crop/soil health topics. That meeting also qualifies for UBBNRD nitrogen credits.
On-Farm research in Nebraska has occurred the past three decades. Growers partner with Extension and sometimes other government agencies and ag industry to test questions on their own farms using their own equipment benefiting many with the information. We often don’t have funding to do these studies. Thus, I’m extra grateful for our cooperating growers to research products and production practices that may not happen otherwise!
Sometimes, it’s best to hear from the farmers themselves regarding why they conduct on-farm research. The following YouTube video highlights area farmers David and Doug Cast of Beaver Crossing and Ken Herz of Lawrence:
Three York County farmers were also featured in a CropWatch article sharing their on-farm research experiences. Ron Makovicka and Jerry Stahr have conducted on-farm research since the beginning while Jay Goertzen was a first year participant. “Anytime you can get information, it’s very valuable. You can always learn something,” Stahr said. Goerzten shared, “There’s good support provided to help set up a research plot, help you with the follow through, and collecting data in-season.” All shared there was value in trying studies on your own farm with Makovicka emphasizing, “Go for it!”
This year, Makovicka and Stahr worked with me to compare areas with and without the nitrification inhibitor (N-Serve®) with their spring anhydrous ammonia applications. Nitrification inhibitors may reduce the rate at which ammonium is converted to nitrate thus helping reduce N losses through denitrification and leaching. Stahr applied 160 lbs N as anhydrous on April 8, 2019 in no-till, silt-loam soil. Makovicka applied 180 lbs N as anhydrous on April 10, 2019 in ridge-till, silt-loam soil. These locations were around 4 miles apart and the previous crop in both was soybean. At both study locations, no yield difference occurred between the check and inhibitor treatments. Soil samples were taken 2” off the anhydrous band down to three feet for both ammonium and nitrate concentrations at V7 growth stage. The results showed the nitrification inhibitor was working to slow the conversion of ammonium to nitrate in Makovicka’s field but not Stahr’s. We don’t have a good explanation for this. However, the results are consistent with other University studies conducted in silt loam soils.
Those are two examples of on-farm research studies. If you’re interested in trying a study for 2020, please contact your local Extension Educator. We work with you to set up your study in a scientifically valid way to work with your equipment. There’s also an opportunity to obtain up to $300 reimbursement for water-quality related studies through the UBBNRD (there is a short application form for that through the NRD). Please also save Mar. 2 from 9-Noon for an on-farm research ‘brainstorming’ meeting at the 4-H Building in York. I’ll share more on that and other study results next week.
Been getting questions on the farm bill. It’s really important that growers make appointments now at your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to complete your ARC/PLC election and enrollment forms. Deadline to enroll is Monday, March 16 for the 2019 crop year. The election can be changed up to March 16. Growers who don’t get enrolled by then will be ineligible to receive ARC or PLC payments for the 2019 crop year.
If you use a decision support tool, I’m not recommending to use the Illinois tool as it takes into consideration the life of the farm bill. This is a two-year decision, thus, the potential payment numbers tend to be skewed and makes ARC-CO look more favorable than what it most likely will be. The Texas A&M tool considers a two-year decision and that’s the tool Randy Pryor and I recommend. On my blog, there’s step-by-step screen shots to help if you wish to use the tool. You can find it and previous blog posts at jenreesources.com. In the right-hand column under “categories” select “farm bill”.
Using the tool to work through farm situations from different counties, PLC keeps beating ARC-Co for corn. There’s a separation between the price it could take to trigger ARC-Co (previously around $3.18 for many counties) vs. PLC ($3.70) for corn. I’ve also played with the historical irrigation percentage (HIP). Everytime I’ve changed the HIP % for corn (0, 25, 50, 75, 100), it doesn’t switch the potential payment decision from PLC to ARC-Co. However, when I look at soybean, it’s tended to favor PLC for a higher irrigated percentage and ARC-Co for farms with little to no irrigation. This does vary by county, so soybean can go either way. If you’re really undecided, check this for yourself. You’re only making this decision for 2 years and there may not be a soybean payment for either election. Ultimately elections are your decision and the tools and info hopefully help as we can’t predict what prices will do.
Pesticide, Dicamba, Chemigation Trainings: I’ve also received questions regarding pesticide, dicamba, and chemigation trainings. If you haven’t received a postcard from NDA to pay the $25 bill within 14-17 days after training, please call the Extension Office in the county where you took the training; they can follow-up with NDA. The postcard will have a link to pay the $25 fee online. For those who don’t like paying online, you can also send a $25 check to NDA and include the postcard. For those who attended my training when I ran out of materials, I now have more so you are welcome to stop at the York Co. Extension Office and get the study guide and weed guide.
If you attend a face-to-face dicamba training through Extension or Ag Industry, please bring your pesticide applicator card as a pesticide applicator number is needed for registration. If you are a new applicator this year, you will write “pending” on the registration form. There is no charge for dicamba training, and the same training can be completed online at: https://pested.unl.edu/dicamba. Watching it at home as a group doesn’t work well because only one applicator number is entered to watch the training; there’s no way to add additional ones. Each person would have to be on his/her own device watching the training. Allow one week for your name to be added to NDA’s dicamba certified applicators on their site at: https://nda.nebraska.gov/pesticide/dicamba.html. Download the excel spreadsheet under ‘dicamba applicator training’ and make sure your name is listed. Then print the spreadsheet and keep it for your records.
For those recertifying for chemigation, you are allowed to watch the modules and take the test at home this year at: https://water.unl.edu/article/agricultural-irrigation/chemigation. This is only for recertifications. Initial certifications can watch the modules from home but still need to take the test at an Extension office. Anyone seeking initial or recertification is also welcome to attend face to face training.