It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon as I write this from my deck! Looking in my backyard I see one new rose blossom, leaves appearing on my vegetables, perennials, and bare areas of trees again, and beauty from a couple annuals I planted yesterday from plants that didn’t recover. As I worked with farmers the past few weeks, similar words kept surfacing in conversations: exhausted, sadness, numb, discouraged, so much loss, at least I wasn’t the only one, frustrated, angry, anxious, stressed, was thinking it’d be a good year, he/she had it worse, thankful for insurance, hopeful. And, I share that because you’re not alone in these thoughts and feelings. There’s been a tremendous amount of loss; sharing with others can help with healing. There’s been a range of emotions experienced in destroying what remains of old crops and driving to non-affected areas. Also, hope as beans, corn, and sorghum have emerged from the ground in 3 to 6 days. Praying we can finish the season well.
For those with gardens, there’s new life from buds developing on tomato, pepper, potatoes, eggplant, beans! Onions shot new leaves. My rhubarb went from a mushed mess to new leaves coming now. I had just left everything alone and yesterday removed the mushed, rotted rhubarb and replanted beans and carrots. Some have tried to help their hostas by cutting out dead once it dried. Many perennials reduced to sticks are trying to shoot new leaves. We will have to watch trees.
For those with good crops, I received a report of a first tassel in southern counties. Also, northern corn leaf blight from a consultant, so perhaps watch for that. Japanese beetles have arrived; I’m not talking about problems this week!
Have received two areas of cover crop questions: weed control in existing low corn populations and annual forages after a totaled out crop. If grazing/haying, please check the herbicide label. For example, the Resicore label specifies to ‘not graze or harvest rotational cover crops for food or animal feed for 18 months following the last application of Resicore.’
1—Weed control: For simplicity, low growth, low cost, quick shading I’d recommend brassica species such as forage collards, turnips, etc. They can be seeded now, or you can wait 3 weeks from when residual herbicide product was applied to the field. If you’d like a grass, annual ryegrass could be added; should survive the winter. Clovers could be added to provide N next year; should survive the winter. Ultimately just depends on your goals. I prefer drilling between the corn rows, but there are broadcast options that can cover acres faster. Our interseeding team will drill blocks of 5 to 10 acres of our small seed mix (brassicas, clovers, flax, ryegrass) for those interested in trying it (let me know asap if interested). Another project: several NRD’s including UBBNRD in partnership with UNL plan to apply covers via a high clearance machine around beginning dent in corn (targeted around eastern Beaver and Lincoln Creeks; contact UBBNRD if interested).
2-For those considering summer annual forages, if your fields got totaled or in the event your seed corn acres aren’t kept, here’s some ideas and tradeoffs. Sorghum sudangrass (4.2-5.3 T/ac), forage sorghum (4.4-5.3 T/ac), and sudangrass (4.1-4.8 T/ac) are some annual forage options. Sudangrass is an option for grazing due to its low prussic acid potential. Sorghum-sudangrass plants get tall and are suited well for greenchop. Forage sorghums are also known as ‘cane’ due to their sweet stems and are suited well for silage. They have higher prussic acid potential, so we don’t recommend grazing them. For those looking at haying followed by grazing, I’d recommend pearl millet (3.8-4.5 T/ac). It doesn’t get the tonnage of the sorghum species, but the stems are thinner for haying and you don’t have to worry about prussic acid poisoning in the regrowth when you graze it. It worked well for my uncle and dad on their prevent plant farm in 2019 and the cattle loved it. This publication goes into more detail regarding all these species, seeding rates, how to graze and hay each, etc: https://go.unl.edu/7ivw. If you’re interested in haying, I don’t recommend adding any other species to these as we’ve found it causes issues with drydown and with bales heating up. Rye (or wheat) could then be planted this fall/winter if desired.
Weed Management Field Day at UNL’s South Central Ag Lab is this week on June 29th near Clay Center (9 a.m.-1 p.m.). Great information including a second year research project of the same herbicide programs for corn and soybean when rye is terminated 2 weeks prior to planting vs. 2 weeks after planting. It’s interesting to see in the field, so hope you can join us! No cost, free lunch, please RSVP: https://agronomy.unl.edu/weed-management-field-day-registration.
New soybeans alongside old sticks. Emerged in as little as 3 days. New corn in the old corn grower plot.
Part of my garden on June 15, 2022 the day after the hail events. I left it alone.
June 25th, 2022: New growth on most everything. Very few beans and none of my carrots survived. Rhubarb looks like a new plant again after removing the mushy, rotted growth and with the new leaves. Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant came back from stems. Can see the hail damage on the stems. Onions shot new leaves out the top. Also had a new crop of asparagus come on. Need to re-stake remaining peas and will see what happens with them. Potatoes are all leaned over now instead of growing upright.