Monthly Archives: May 2022
Thankful today for all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, that our flag is still flying and for the freedoms we still have. May we never forget freedom isn’t free.
Frost Damage: Looked at a lot of fields this past week for frost damage, particularly bean fields. A key for evaluation is making sure the hypocotyl (the portion below the stem) is still firm and not pinched in any way or soft. Then exam the cotyledon area as there is an axillary bud next to each cotyledon which can shoot new branches. The rest of the upper-most plant may die, but as long as the cotyledon area is healthy, the plant should live. I have pictures to show this at jenreesources.com and we go into more detail in a CropWatch article at: https://go.unl.edu/e3si.
There’s a lot of situations with one or two rows damaged, but the damage alternates between the two. There’s many situations where there’s several rows of beans missing in patchy areas of drilled or planted fields (however, it’s not the entire row in any field I’ve looked at). Some of the patchy areas of fields are between 30-65K while other portions of fields are 100K or over. Beans are incredible at compensating and they will branch to compensate for no plants in an adjacent row. I just keep wondering about damaging the yield potential already there from these early planted beans to slot more in. I realize I would leave things at a lot less population than many are comfortable with and our recommendation is to leave fields with at least 50K. One needs to consider history of weed control in these fields as well. Each decision to leave a stand or replant is an individual and field-by-field one. I still am encouraging anyone who wishes to slot some in to consider planting a strip, leaving a strip, and alternating that at least 3 times. (Or if you’re drilling beans, you may need to make a round instead of a pass). The goal is to get two combine-widths from each planted/drilled area. This at least would be a way to see for yourself if slotting the beans in made any difference for you and please let me know if you are interested in doing this! If you do slot beans in, we’d recommend going with as similar of maturity as what the original maturity was until June 15. Ultimately, I just wish you the best in the decisions you’re making.
York County Progressive Ag Safety Day will be Tuesday, June 14th, 2022 8:30 am – 1:00 pm York County Fair Grounds York, Nebraska. This is a fun-filled day of learning for school-aged children. Topics for demonstrations and discussions include: Electrical Safety, Pipeline-Gas Safety, Grain Safety, ATV/UTV Safety, Look-a-Likes, Power Tool Safety, Equipment Safety, and Internet Safety. The registration fee is $5.00. This safety day includes lunch, snacks, a T-shirt, and a take-home “goody” bag. Registration is due by June 7th to ensure a t-shirt and take-home bag. Please register with the York County Extension office at (402) 362-5508. Sponsors include York County Farm Bureau, York Co. Extension, Wilbur-Ellis, and Black Hills Energy.
Weed Management Field Day will be held June 29 at South Central Ag Lab near Clay Center. Growers, crop consultants and educators are encouraged to attend. The field day will include on-site demonstrations of new technology and new herbicides for corn, soybean, and sorghum. An early morning tour will focus on weed management in soybean and sorghum followed by a tour of weed management in field corn. Field experiments will provide information for weed control options with various herbicide programs.
Three Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Continuing Education Units are available in the integrated pest management category. There is no cost to attend the field day, but participants are asked to preregister at http://agronomy.unl.edu/fieldday. A brochure with more info. is located at the website. The South Central Agricultural Laboratory is five miles west of the intersection of Highways 14 and 6, or 13 miles east of Hastings on Highway 6. GPS coordinates for the field day site are 40.57539, -98.13776.
This past week was a tough one on some crops. We’ve seen crusting, hail, wind, and frost cause damage to crops throughout the State. The following are considerations for plant recovery and replant.
Recovery: For any situation, while it’s hard to wait, waiting 3-5 days does help when assessing any regrowth potential. We may need closer to 5 days with the rain and cool nights forecasted. Some may have experienced plants in your field that have burnt leaves and appear to be very dry. When you dig up the plants, check the roots and see if they appear white and healthy. If they appear stunted or burnt back, that may still be ammonia burn occurring. Most of what I’ve seen this week was due to wind damage from the amount of soil moving, ridges of dirt, and plants ultimately being ‘sand-blasted’ minus the sand. In cutting open plants, look to see if the growing point is white/cream in color and firm. That would indicate it is healthy and should survive. Often one can see the newer green leaves under the dying brown ones that were exposed to wind. The brown, drying leaves may do some wrapping. Often the wrapped leaves are removed by wind as regrowth pushes through, depending on severity of wrapping.
Similarly, if the corn experienced hail and/or freeze damage, digging plants and splitting stems to check for healthy growing points are part of the assessment.
For soybean, the growing point is above ground. The most critical point for new soybeans is when they’re emerging with hypocotyl hook exposed. Anytime the hypocotyl gets pinched (whether from crusting, frost at soil surface, some PPO inhibitor damage), the soybean won’t survive. Soybeans can survive the cotyledons being stripped and/or burnt off. Soybeans at the true VC stage (unifoliolates unfurled) can have 4 growing points below the main growing point (due to the axillary buds) which can shoot new petioles. What was cool for me was watching this in an organic field where the farmers flame for weed control. The soybeans after flaming can look similar to frost damage, yet a few days later, new shoots formed from the axillary buds. I haven’t experienced frost damage past the true cotyledon (VC) stage so I can’t say for sure how they will recover in fields that were hit hard. I’m hoping they could react similar to the flaming situation, depending on how badly the hypocotyl was damaged. The hypocotyl is the stem portion below the cotyledons.
Replant Considerations: For corn, the following chart from Iowa State University by Roger Elmore and Lori Abendroth, is the standard for consideration regarding populations.
For soybean, I have left stands as low as 50,000 plants/acre, particularly the closer to mid-June we get. I realize that’s hard, especially when one considers weed control. University of Wisconsin found only a 2 bu/ac yield increase when replanting early soybeans between 50,000 and their optimum stand of 100,000-135,000 plants/acre. 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.
As you assess plant stands, keep in mind that a gap in one plant row will be compensated by plants in the adjacent flanking rows. They will form extra branches to take advantage of the sunlight. Thus single-row gaps may not be as yield-reducing as you might think, especially in narrower row spacings.
If one replants at this time of year, it’s best to use a similar maturity as what one started with. We can still use full season maturities to mid-June. For stands less than 50,000 plants per acre, plant a similar maturity into the existing stand; don’t tear out or kill an existing stand as early planted soybeans have a higher yield potential. And, you can also test this for yourself via an on-farm research study! Simply leave a planter pass of your existing stand, plant into your existing stand for a planter pass, and alternate this across your field. Please see this protocol for more information.
Alfalfa Weevil should be scouted in alfalfa now. I have sweep nets that can be borrowed from the Extension office if you’d like. Otherwise, just go to different spots in the field and look for small holes on the newest leaflets near the stem tips. The larvae are small, green, and have black heads with a white stripe down the back. During the heat of the day, they’re often found near the crowns of plants and they curl into a C-shape when touched. To determine economic threshold, cut 10 alfalfa stems at ground level and shake the larvae off the stems by beating them off the sides into a bucket. The economic threshold right now is right around 1.5-2 larvae per stem. More info. here: https://go.unl.edu/tpkz.
K-Junction Public Forum: I’m grateful for the opportunity that EDF Renewables is allowing for a public forum in addition to their second open house regarding the proposed solar farm this Wednesday, May 11 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Stone Creek in McCool Junction. Because we’re to be impartial as Extension faculty, I was asked to serve as the moderator for the evening. I just wanted to share a little about this, and also felt it was important to share how I’m choosing to moderate the event so it’s not a surprise that evening.
As I’ve listened to various conversations and perspectives, it just seems like people need the opportunity to share their viewpoints publicly and ask their questions so all can hear the same answers provided. Because of this, a few of us expressed concern to EDF to allow for a public forum. EDF chose to change the open house format to a blended one of both display boards and the forum and I’m grateful for that. While public forums are difficult, I feel there can be some healing that occurs in just being heard, despite differences of opinion, and that’s my hope and prayer.
As I’ve tried to put myself in the shoes of landowners, while my family doesn’t own land in the area of the proposed solar farm, if we were in this situation, our decision would be based on our specific goals and plans for our farm. But our goals may not be the same as our neighbors. Thus, each landowner has to make decisions based on the goals and values that fits his/her family’s specific situation. The difficulty can be for those caught in the middle who don’t get to make that choice, such as neighbors, community members, and those whose jobs also support agriculture in some way.
As I’ve listened, the theme I continue to hear and sense, is the lack of information for a few years that occurred. I think that’s the greater underlying frustration. I’ll admit, that was a frustration to me as I felt I let landowners down by not knowing, thus didn’t have resources available for them to make informed decisions and to help with negotiating contracts. But I had to move past that to what I could do now. While hard, we can’t change the past. We can choose how we face the present and future doing our best to listen to each other and get answers to the questions we have. This public forum will hopefully allow an opportunity to do this. I think it also helps to remember we’re all just people. Regardless of which side a person is on, the person is not the enemy.
Rural Nebraskans are known for being respectful. I watched that during the first open house when differences of perspective were expressed in conversations. I only saw respectful conversation and discourse in addition to the passion for one’s position/perspectives. That’s what I would ask for this Wednesday evening as well.
In the public forum, there will be opportunity for sharing via a microphone and, for those who prefer not to speak, also via written questions. Each person will be given 3 minutes to speak followed by 3 minutes for EDF representatives to respond. I will make every attempt to get to everyone’s questions in the time we have. While it may be hard not to ask follow-up questions, I’m going to ask that everyone who desires has the opportunity to speak before anyone speaks twice. There will be additional opportunities to speak with EDF representatives following the public forum.
What a blessing to receive rain!!! That almost seems like an understatement with the joy several shared with me as rain hit different locations of the State. The benefits were huge for pastures and lawns, activating herbicides, helping with ammonia burn, helping germinate seeds. There’s also just something about the way the air smells and to hear it after it being since last fall since much of the State has experienced a substantial rain.
And, I realize the winds also caused damage to some buildings and hundreds of pivots on top of all the pivots damaged from wildfires in the southwest part of the State. So sorry to hear about all the damages and here’s hoping they can be fixed/replaced soon.
Free Well Testing: From May 1-31, any Nebraska resident can sign up for free well water testing for nitrate, nitrate, and phosphate in well water and surface water. For more information and to sign up please go to: https://go.unl.edu/wqcs.
Food Preservation: Freezing Garden Produce webinar will be held May 3 from 7-8 p.m. To register, please go to: https://go.unl.edu/freezingclass. Freezing produce has been my go-to when I’m short on time!
K-Junction Solar Project Open House will be held on May 11th from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Stone Creek Event Center in McCool Junction. From 6:30-7 p.m. will be an open community format. At 7 p.m. there will be moderated open Q/A with EDF renewable representatives. Food and drink will be provided.
Tractor Safety Training Courses will be held in late May and early June throughout the State. The first day of instruction can be taken either in person or online. The second day is a hands-on event including the required driving test. Teens 14 or 15 years of age who work on farms, or others who are interested in learning about safe farming practices are encouraged to register. Federal law prohibits children under 16 years of age from using certain equipment on a farm unless their parents or legal guardians own the farm. However, certification received through the course grants an exemption to the law allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and to do field work with certain mechanized equipment. The closest hands-on training date is May 26th at Raising Nebraska, 501 East Fonner Park Rd, Grand Island (Contact: Sarah Polak, 308.385.3967, email@example.com). The closest driving date is located June 9 at Adams County Extension, 2975 South Baltimore Ave, Hastings (Contact: Ron Seymour firstname.lastname@example.org and Twila Bankson 402-461-7209, email@example.com). For more information or to register, please go to: https://cvent.me/44ExVl.
Pasture/Range Management in Drought: A recent webinar shared how to trigger pasture and forage management decisions before a drought including animal turnout and stocking rates. You can view it here if interested: https://go.unl.edu/hygd.
Ornamental pears, also known as Callery pears, have been blooming. Kelly Feehan in Platte Co. shares, “If thinking of planting one of these white blooming trees, it might be best to reconsider. Ornamental pears have been a popular tree for white spring blooms, but this tree is overplanted and has issues with bark blasting and fire blight disease. More important, ornamental pear is on the Nebraska invasive species list; planting them is discouraged. The seeds of Callery pear are relished by song birds and small mammals who rapidly distribute them over a large area. If you want a white spring blooming tree, avoid planting ornamental pear and select a serviceberry, white flowering crabapple or Japanese tree lilac instead.”