Husker Harvest Days is September 13-15. The UNL pesticide safety team will be in the hospitality tent and will be offering respirator fit testing. A fit test is a requirement under the Worker Protection Standard if the pesticide label requires a respirator. Applicators who need this can bring their respirator with them and be prepared to have short medical questionnaire followed by the actual fit test.
Also new is a Crop Skills Challenge hosted by UNL Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS). The challenge includes insect and weed ID, siphon tube setting, a grain marketing challenge, and corn grain yield estimations. The event will take place each day at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Forty individuals can compete in each round. A special session on Sept. 14 at 10 a.m. is only for FFA chapter teams of four students each. The event is free and open to anyone attending Husker Harvest Days. Those interested can preregister at https://taps.unl.edu/husker-harvest-day-crop-skills-challenge, or can register at the show. Prize money includes a $250 Visa gift card for first place; $150 gift card for second; and $100 for third during each session. Those participating will receive a souvenir.
Harvest is quickly approaching, particularly for those who have hail-damaged corn that wasn’t replanted and/or drought stressed crops. In checking fields last week, I was surprised to find irrigated hail-damaged corn going 15-19% moisture, but test weight appears on track. Finding stalk rot hovering around 50% for hail-damaged corn. It may be wise to pull some ears and test for moisture.
Harvest Safety: In spite of it varying, grateful for some rain over the weekend! Please be safe with harvest and please be safe traveling on gravel roads! Lights on, stop/slow down at intersections, shut down equipment before working on it, watch for others in the field when operating equipment, and slow down on equipment steps. Things happen so fast! Wishing everyone a safe harvest!
Combine cleanout: Research has proven 99% of palmer seed survives the combine. With weedy fields, would you have 30 minutes of time to cleanout the combine between fields or even that endrow patch before starting the rest of the field? Dan Smith from the University of Wisconsin shared that no matter how well farmers seek to clean combines, UW found viable weed seed in 97% of them they sampled. He said if you have 30 minutes, target 4 places (head, feeder house, rock trap, and rotor) using an air compressor or leaf blower to force air through and clear debris from critical portions of the combine. You can also run a bag of livestock wood shavings through the combine to clean rotor/auger area. In sampling the four areas and then growing the weed seed, 49% of total weeds emerged from the head followed by 30% from the feeder house, 19% from the rock trap, and 2% from the rotor. He suggests if you have limited time, prioritize the head and feeder house. Clean out combines in the field where the weed problem exists before moving on to the next field. Also make sure to wear an N95 mask or a respirator and eye protection when cleaning out the combine.
Taking a Break: I realize this will be more difficult now with harvest; please seek to get away from the farm or your job in ag for a day or two. I keep hearing the same things and sensing the stress in conversations with farmers and those in ag industry, regardless if the person is in a hail damaged area. We’re weary, exhausted, many of us felt we lost a month this year; everyone has mentioned it’s been the hardest year in ag they’ve ever experienced. And I share that because you’re not alone if you’re also feeling this. I’ve seen more people on edge and second guessing themselves in their decisions and recommendations than I’ve ever before seen. We all need to take breaks! I think there’s so much pride in the work we do that sometimes there’s pressure we place on ourselves or each other that we can’t take time off. But that’s not healthy. I’ve learned we can’t help others until we help ourselves. To get through the summer, I was intentionally taking 30-60 min. away from my phone, fields, and people just to reset. Also found a couple days on the calendar and got away to hike in Colorado. I know not everyone can schedule getting away from the area right now, but please find healthy ways to take care of yourself! Rural Response Hotline: 800-464-0258.