Monthly Archives: November 2021
Trust you had a blessed Thanksgiving! Received a few questions recently on where specific resources were located or if we had specific resources on certain topics. So, while there’s more, here’s a number of resources available from Nebraska Extension in the event any can be helpful to you.
- Ag Economics crop/livestock webinars: Often are held each Thursday at noon. All recordings and schedule at: https://cap.unl.edu/webinars#archive
- Heuermann Lectures: Often held quarterly: https://heuermannlectures.unl.edu/
- Agronomy/Horticulture dept. seminars: https://agronomy.unl.edu/agronomy-and-horticulture-seminar-series
2021 Field Day Recordings:
- South Central Ag Lab: https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/enre/2021virtualscalfieldday/
- SCAL Weed Mgmt. Field Day: https://agronomy.unl.edu/2021-weed-management-field-day-videos
- Crop mgmt. for CCA credits: https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/enre/crop/
- BeefWatch: livestock-related. https://beef.unl.edu/beefwatch-podcast
- CropWatch: crops-related. http://feeds.feedburner.com/NebraskaCropwatch
- FarmBits: Precision and digital ag podcast. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt1KaNGZWOm5_roIGUQPnMA
- Nebraska Ag Almanac weekly radio features: https://extensionalmanac.unl.edu/
Nebraska Extension Websites:
- CropWatch: crop-related. https://cropwatch.unl.edu
- Beef: https://beef.unl.edu
- Water: https://water.unl.edu
- Food/Nutrition/Health: https://food.unl.edu
- Families/Children: https://child.unl.edu/
- Lawns/Gardens/Trees: https://communityenvironment.unl.edu/
- Entrepreneurship: https://extension.unl.edu/entrepreneurship/
- 4-H: https://4h.unl.edu/
- Rural Prosperity: https://ruralprosperityne.unl.edu/
- Center for Ag Profitability: https://cap.unl.edu/
- Bioenergy/Wind/Solar Energy: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/bioenergy
- Extension Publications: https://extensionpubs.unl.edu/
CropWatch Survey: We’re seeking your input for UNL’s CropWatch. The survey found at: https://ssp.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bxemKxHqB8n82Q6, takes about five minutes to complete, and asks about article readability, topic significance, and includes a section to suggest topics for 2022. The results of this survey will help guide CropWatch’s planning efforts for 2022.
Soil Health Educator: Nebraska Extension is currently seeking a state-wide Extension educator for soil health. Applications are due Dec. 3 for those interested: https://employment.unl.edu/postings/76246.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. That may seem strange as the events surrounding Christmas and Easter are far more impactful eternity-wise. Yet, I just so greatly appreciate the fact that there’s a day for focusing on gratitude.
And, while I’m grateful many choose to intentionally give thanks on Thanksgiving Day, sometimes I wonder what it would look like if we chose to live with gratitude. As I reflect on this year, it just seems like there’s increasing divisiveness, uncertainty, fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. Life is so short and not guaranteed. Relationships are so important and can be fragile.
If we chose to live with gratitude, how would it change us and our perspectives? Would we be less prone to complain and get discouraged when things go wrong? Would we be less likely to argue and more likely to extend kindness and grace to others? How would it impact the divisiveness we see in our country, our communities, our families?
Gratitude can produce joy. I think that’s something we all could use more of! It can allow us to find joy in everyday moments and also share joy with others.
So how do we choose to live with gratitude? A start can be to intentionally seek at least one thing each day for which to be thankful. At first it can be difficult and perhaps awkward. For some, it’s hard to even think of one thing. Perhaps a starting point can be gratitude for one’s home, bed, food, vehicle, job, friend or family member, etc.? Over time of practicing this, one’s perspective can change to even finding gratitude as things go wrong. For example, I drive a lot and had several vehicle problems this past year. For the situations when I chose to find gratitude instead of discouragement (such as thanking God that He allowed it to happen where it did instead of elsewhere or thanking God for the times a farmer was in the area to help me), it helped my mindset and provided peace instead of being upset. I’m not good about this all the time, but it sure helps my mindset and increases my perspective when I choose gratitude even when things go wrong. Perhaps others can relate to this?
Ultimately, my hope is that we can experience more joy each day in the everyday moments as we intentionally seek to live with gratitude. And, that this joy can be extended via kindness, grace, compassion to others around us. Wishing everyone a very blessed Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving Food Resources: For your Thanksgiving meal check out https://go.unl.edu/turkey-time for turkey preparation, food safety questions, recipes, and health/wellness topics!
Returning to the Farm: This workshop series is being taught for families that have the next generation of farmers and ranchers coming back to their operations. The workshop helps multi-generations traverse the challenges of successfully succeeding the operation to the next generation. The in-person session will be held Dec. 10-11 in Columbus with follow-up virtual sessions on Jan. 13 and Feb. 10. More information and registration at: https://cap.unl.edu/rtf21.
Ag Budget Calculator (ABC) User’s Workshops (For New and Advanced Users): It’s important to estimate cost of production for our agricultural enterprises, but now with the volatile input and crop prices, it’s even more critical. Knowing your estimated cost of production can assist you in making important management decisions. Ag Budget Calculator (ABC) is one tool to help you enter this information for your ag enterprises. There’s guided virtual workshops from now through February that allow you to be in the ABC program entering your data as instructors demonstrate how to use it and answer your questions. More info. and registration at: https://cap.unl.edu/abc/training.
Grateful harvest has finished for most or will be hopefully wrapping up this week for the rest. Last week was seeing more fall herbicide applications being applied. If you have a 2021 Guide for Weed, Disease and Insect Management, page 93 provides fall burndown corn herbicide options and page 139 provides soybean ones (I also show these at https://jenreesources.com/). Most products contain 2,4-D and/or dicamba. Tank-mixing a residual herbicide with a burndown product will improve marestail control because the residual activity will control marestail emerging after herbicide application.
Regarding temperatures, Dr. Amit Jhala shared in a CropWatch article that the ideal temperature for applying most post-emergence herbicides is between 65°F and 85°F. Herbicides can be applied at 40°F to 60°F, but weeds may be killed slowly. When the temperature is below 40°F for an extended time after burndown, weed control will most likely be reduced, specifically for a systemic burndown herbicide such as glyphosate. Additionally, weed control may be reduced under cloudy conditions following an initial temperature drop below 40°F. With late-fall herbicide applications be sure to add labeled adjuvants to improve herbicide efficacy.
Actively growing weeds are key to achieving good control, regardless of herbicide used. Frosts of less than 25°F usually cause leaf damage to annual plants, making them poor targets for herbicide applications; however, winter annual weeds may tolerate a frost up to 20°F and continue growing when conditions improve, with little tissue damage. After weeds experience frost, active growth may not begin again for a few days. Growers should wait until new leaf tissue is produced, scout the field, and then consider applying herbicide. Generally, this would be when nighttime temperatures are 35°F or greater and daytime temperatures are at least 50°F for two consecutive days. Additionally, sunshine is needed for plants to recover.
Grazing fields with fall herbicide applications: Be sure to check labels for any grazing restrictions if livestock will graze cornstalks after in-season and fall herbicide applications. You can find these in the Forage, Feed, Grazing Restrictions area on pages 212-216 of the 2021 Guide. Some labels will say that residue should not be grazed or baled and fed to livestock. Sometimes there’s no guidance on the label. If you want to be on the safe side, a rule of thumb some chemical reps use is to use the pre-harvest interval for the amount of time to wait before grazing stalks. Regardless, if it says there’s a grazing restriction on the label, the label needs to be followed as it is a legal document and the law.
As you plan for next year’s herbicide program, if you’re thinking about fall cover crops, the following NebGuide may be of benefit to you as it goes through the grazing restrictions of various herbicides.
Lawns and Leaves: The tree colors have been gorgeous the past few weeks and with colder temperatures, leaves are now dropping. If you have large, established trees like I do, they can pile up on a lawn rather quickly. Leaves should be removed by raking or mulching into the lawn by mowing in order to prevent damage to lawns over the winter from snow mold. If you choose to mulch leaves via the mower, raising the mower height two to three times will help break down the leaves and incorporate them. According to our turfgrass specialists, mulching grass clippings and leaves does not contribute to thatch development in the lawn.
Fallen leaves release phosphorus and nitrogen when they decompose, which can help with lawns and also with gardens if they’re added to garden sites as a soil amendment. When leaves are intentionally blown into streets, they can be a pollutant to surface water as they are washed away via storm drains.
Nitrates and Grazing Forages: the fact that we haven’t had a hard frost is throwing a wrench into grazing covers. For those with cattle on cover crops, please be aware of the potential for nitrate and/or prussic acid poisoning with the light frosts. Nitrogen moves from the roots up the plant. When a frost occurs, nitrates accumulate in the plant, and, we had lighter frosts for several days in a row. For sorghum species where prussic acid poisoning is also of concern, we say to wait at least 5 days before returning animals back to the field after frost. And, for every light frost, the 5 day window resets until a hard freeze occurs (at 26F or lower). It’s been hard to find any recommendations regarding nitrate accumulations in brassicas after frost…and what happens to the nitrates after a frost. We know weathering in general reduces nitrate levels in plants by spring. Just advising to watch cattle with these light frosts-especially those in seed corn fields that had milo in corners.
A study conducted by Mary Lenz, grad student for Dr. Mary Drewnoski, found brassicas accumulate more nitrate than small grains, millet, sorghum/sudan grasses, or cover crop mixes, and that 48% of the brassica samples submitted to Ward Labs were considered “highly toxic” for nitrate levels compared to 20-28% of other cover crop species. Yet what’s interesting is how often fields in the “highly toxic” level (or with no testing) are grazed with no impacts. Dr. Mary Drewnoski has shared that brassicas and immature grasses are also high in energy and that cattle consuming diets high in energy can handle more nitrates. So, this may be why we thankfully don’t see more issues grazing turnips and radishes high in nitrate. She shared other factors for consideration are that cattle are selective and will graze the upper-most parts of plants first which are lower in nitrates, grazing animals eat more gradually than those receiving hay, and the high moisture forages that are grazed release nitrates at a slower rate than with dry forages like hay. Ways to reduce nitrate concerns when grazing include: turning out cattle full before grazing the covers, using lower risk cattle such as open cows and stockers (as pregnant cows have risk of abortion when fed forages high in nitrate), graze lowest nitrate fields first for adaptation, graze highest nitrate concentration fields lighter so not as much forage is removed, or there’s also the option of not grazing fields that are very high in nitrates.
Corn Nitrogen Calculator: For those desirous to calculate N rates utilizing different sources and prices, the UNL nitrogen calculator has been updated. Before, it didn’t allow for the prices we currently are experiencing and there’s been some updates to the manure credits. The UNL nitrogen equation itself has remained the same, and honestly, I still say it’s conservative. For example, the nitrogen credit from soybeans is 45 lbs/ac in the equation. However, on-farm research conducted in the mid-2000’s in this part of the State found a credit of 1 lb for every bushel up to 60 bu/ac was achievable in irrigated soybean.
To utilize the N calculator, go to: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/soils, scroll down to “Corn Nitrogen Recommendations Calculator” and download the excel spreadsheet. You will want to open the “October 2021” version. They’re currently working on an online calculator for the future.
A few questions I received this week: “How much yield loss should I expect if I reduce N rates?” and “With higher corn prices, how much profit is one giving up with lower yields due to lower N application?”. These are valid questions and ones every operation will have to determine for oneself. That’s where on-farm research is really helpful too.
We have lots of data through the years of comparing a grower base rate +/- 30 lbs. of nitrogen mostly showing no yield differences. Most of this data is from the 1990’s for this part of the State, with data from the past 10 years from other parts of the State. In 2020 and 2021, a grower conducted nitrogen rate studies in York and Hamilton counties using his rate +/- 50 lb N. As I’ve shared the results with growers with the above-mentioned questions, they’ve been surprised at the yields and profits. I’ve summarized the grower’s results at jenreesources.com and also showed the profit based on today’s fertilizer prices. There’s a few ways to approach this data. It shows minimal benefit to yield and profit for increasing nitrogen application above the grower’s rate. Thus, there may be opportunity this year for those who have been over-fertilizing for high yield goals to try cutting back. It also shows that yield is reduced to some extent by reducing N rate 50 lb/ac below what the grower’s rate typically would be; however, with today’s prices, profit may be comparable. We also have several farmers who are already doing a great job with fertilizer rate for their realistic yield goals, so there may not be room to cut back. Appreciate all the farmers conducting on-farm research so we have data to share to help in answering questions!
*Please overlook my formatting issues below. There are no links even though some of the wording keeps appearing in blue instead of black.
2020 York County Spring Anhydrous Nitrogen Rate on Corn
This study essentially showed what the previous studies had: that less nitrogen can be applied without hurting yield or net return. 50 lb/ac N above the grower rate resulted in reduced profit. Field yields were impacted by the July 9, 2020 wind storm. This study is sponsored in part by the UBBNRD.
|Pre-Plant||In-season||lbs N/bu grain||Yield||Marginal Net Return|
|110 lb N/ac spring NH3 (March)||25 lb N/ac as UAN May||0.73 C||184 A||$599.14 A ($849.30)|
|160 lb N/ac spring NH3 (March)||25 lb N/ac as UAN May||0.98 B||189 A||$600.38 A ($837.80)|
|210 lb N/ac spring NH3 (March)||25 lb N/ac as UAN May||1.23 A||191 A||$594.88 A ($810.70)|
*Values with the same letter are not statistically different at a 90% confidence level. Marginal net return based on $3.51/bu corn, $8/ac for the anhydrous application cost, $0.28/lb N as anhydrous, and $0.35/lb N as UAN. (Updated marginal net return using $5.20/bu corn, $0.75/lb N as anhydrous and $1/lb N as UAN.)
2020 Hamilton County Evaluating Nitrogen Rate and Timing on Corn
This study showed no difference in nitrogen timing nor rate on yield and showed less nitrogen can be applied without impacting yield. Yields were impacted by the July 9, 2020 windstorm. This study is sponsored in part by the UBBNRD.
|Pre-Plant||In-season||lbs N/bu grain||Yield||Marginal Net Return|
|180 lb N/ac Fall NH3||25 lb N/ac as UAN May||1.03 B||199 A||$629.85 A ($866.80)|
|230 lb N/ac Fall NH3||25 lb N/ac as UAN May||1.27 A||201 A||$625.49 A ($839.70)|
|180 lb N/ac Spring NH3||25 lb N/ac as UAN May||1.02 B||201 A||$638.30 A ($877.20)|
|230 lb N/ac Spring NH3||25 lb N/ac as UAN May||1.24 A||206 A||$641.70 A ($865.70)|
|120 lb/ac N Spring NH3||25 lb N/ac as UAN May|
60 lb N/ac side-dress V8
|1.00 B||205 A||$645.69 A ($880.00)|
|170 lb/ac N Spring NH3||25 lb N/ac as UAN May|
60 lb N/ac side-dress V8
|1.24 A||206 A||$633.50 A ($847.70)|
Values with the same letter are not significantly different at a 90% confidence level. Marginal net return based on $3.51 bu corn, $0.28/lb N as anhydrous ammonia, $8.00/ac for anhydrous application, $0.35/lb for UAN applied with herbicide or as a sidedress, and $3/ac for sidedress UAN application. (Updated marginal net return using $5.20/bu corn, $0.75/lb N as anhydrous, $8/ac for anhydrous application, $1/lb for UAN applied with herbicide or as sidedress, and $3/ac for sidedress UAN application.)
2021 Hamilton County Spring Anhydrous N Rate Study
20% wind damage from July 9, 2021 storm. Updated marginal net return using $5.20/bu corn, $0.75/lb N as anhydrous shows essentially no difference in profit for any yield differences observed:
100 lb-N/ac: $1053.40
150 lb-N/ac: $1052.30
200 lb-N/ac: $1051.20
2021 York County Spring Anhydrous N Rate Study
20% wind damage from July 9, 2021 storm. Updated marginal net return using $5.20/bu corn, $0.75/lb N as anhydrous:
130 lb-N/ac: $900.90
180 lb-N/ac: $969.10
230 lb-N/ac: $924.70
2021 York County Timing by N Rate Study
Spring 140 lb/ac: 110 lb/ac N as anhydrous and 30 lb/ac N with herbicide
Spring 190 lb/ac: 160 lb/ac N as anhydrous and 30 lb/ac N with herbicide
Split 140 lb/ac: 50 lb/ac N as anhydrous, 30 lb/ac N with herbicide, and 60 lb/ac N sidedressed at V8
Split 190 lb/ac: 100 lb/ac N as anhydrous, 30 lb/ac N with herbicide, and 60 lb/ac N sidedressed at V8
This study is sponsored in part by the UBBNRD. Updated marginal net return using $5.20/bu corn, $0.75/lb N as anhydrous, $1/lb N as UAN and $8/ac for the sidedress UAN application:
140 lb/ac spring: $1109.50
190 lb/ac spring: $1077.20
140 lb/ac split: $1096.90
190 lb/ac split: $1054.20