Category Archives: JenREES Columns
As I write this, I’m setting outside on a beautiful sunshiny afternoon! It’s been so cool to see families spending time outside together doing lawn work, playing, or eating. Some have commented it’s nice not to be torn so many directions. There’s way more people walking than I’ve seen in the past. And, several groups have found ways to help such as sewing masks for medical staff and donating various items. Those are just a few good things I’m observing right now! There’s been a variety of questions Extension is receiving as a result of COVID-19, so this column will share resources to help.
Trusted Information: While the ability to access information can be good, the overabundance of mis-information can make this time challenging. When it comes to COVID-19, we recommend obtaining information from sources such as CDC, WHO, and locally the UNMC and health departments. As you see info from various sources, be aware photos and videos are being doctored and also check the date. Before sharing, right click on a link to see where the source is coming from. Does it end in ‘.gov, .edu, .com, .net, or .org’? Those extensions tend to be more trusted than other strange endings.
Food Preparation: There’s been a renewed interest in baking bread, canning and freezing! Food.unl.edu and in particular, this website, https://food.unl.edu/article/family-food-fun-home has a number of resources based on specific questions. When prepping fruits and vegetables, it’s really important that you do not use bleach, soaps, or hand sanitizing wipes on them! These products were not designed for food and can make you sick. Wash all produce thoroughly under only running water before eating, cutting or cooking. Your hands should be properly washed with soap and water when preparing food.
Youth Learning Activities: Finding yourself needing some fun activities for your kids during this time of being at home? A number of fun, hands-on learning activities are available at the https://4h.unl.edu/virtual-home-learning website! You will see activities for youth of all ages that provide both live, recorded, and self-paced learning.
Gardening: There’s also been a renewed interest in growing gardens. A great resource developed by Gary Zoubek is the vegetable planting guide on when to plant found at: https://go.unl.edu/d7qk.
Windbreak Renovation: Continuing from last week, there’s just too much information for me to cover adequately in my news column. Instead, we have several wonderful resources and wish to point you to them! We can also provide them for you if you don’t have internet access. They contain drawings of windbreaks and photos regarding do’s and don’ts.
- Windbreak Establishment: https://nfs.unl.edu/publications/downloads/ec1764.pdf
- Windbreak Renovation: http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/ec1777.pdf
- Windbreaks and Wildlife: http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/ec1771.pdf
- Windbreaks for Rural Living: https://nfs.unl.edu/documents/windbreakruralliving.pdf
Recertification Information: We’ve also received a number of questions regarding pesticide, chemigation, and dicamba certification. All in person classes have been cancelled and certification can be achieved online. We realize not everyone has access to computers or good connectivity. For private applicators who are in that situation, you can also call the pesticide office 402-472-1632 and they will mail you a lesson with test to complete instead. There is no option like that for chemigation or dicamba. We need to continue to be patient as information and rules keep changing. All certification information can be found at: https://pested.unl.edu/covid-19-information.
Happy Spring! With warmer weather forecasted the next few weeks, it’s a great time to get outdoors! Raking leaves from lawns is a great activity this time of year for the whole family. You can also overseed bare areas of lawns right now. Don’t remove leaves or mulch from landscape beds yet. Leaves and dead tops of plants protect the plants and keep them dormant as long as possible. Warm sunny weather causes plants to break dormancy early and they become more susceptible to cold temperatures. If you’ve already cleaned up landscape beds, be prepared to cover plants again in the event of cold weather. If you have frosted tulip/daffodil foliage like mine, just leave them be for now.
Even though grass is greening up, it’s too early to apply fertilizers (ideally not till sometime in May). Mowing isn’t needed until after the grass begins to grow and requires mowing. Then maintain a mowing height of 3 to 3.5″ season-long. Pre-emergence herbicides targeted at controlling crabgrass and other warm season annual weeds shouldn’t be applied until soil temperatures consistently reach 50°F. It’s still too early. Soil temps can be found at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/tags/soil-temperature
Wild/Bur Cucumber: In wet seasons like last year, wild and bur cucumber were seen overtaking windbreaks. These are fast growing, warm season annual vines. They die each fall and come back from seed which germinate and begin growth typically in May. Vines can be cut at the base if there’s only a few of them this spring. Many asked about chemical treatments last year. A pre-emergent control option for large shelterbelts is Simazine (Princep 4L) to kill weed seeds as they germinate. Don’t apply more than 4 qt. Princep 4L per acre (4 lb. a.i./A) per calendar year. Don’t apply more than twice per calendar year.
Renovating Windbreaks: Do you have a windbreak that has several dead or dying trees in it? Steve Karloff and Jay Seaton, District Foresters, shared to think 15-20 years down the road. What would be your goals for the windbreak (wind/snow protection; bloom time; fruit, nut, wood; wildlife/pollinator habitat, etc.)? Each situation will be unique, so these tips won’t apply to each one. Determine whether you’d like to remove the entire existing windbreak or do a partial clearing over time. For those choosing a partial clearing, they suggest to consider leaving the north and west rows and removing the south and east side for sunlight, establishment, and protection purposes. Stumps can be left (unless Scotch or Austrian pine), or can be removed. A stump treatment listed in the UNL Weed Guide is 2 qts of low vol 2,4-D per 10 gallons of diesel. Apply to point of runoff. Don’t use Tordon especially if you’re cutting out and stump treating elm or hackberry trees that get intermingled in trees you wish to save as the Tordon can affect the roots of those trees too. If existing trees, such as pines, have been trimmed up due to dead branches but the remainder of the trees are ok, one could simply consider adding a row of shrubs to cut down on wind.
Also, think about diversifying species based on one’s goals to ensure the windbreak isn’t eliminated due to pest problems. That’s something we’ve unfortunately had to deal with regarding Scotch and Austrian pines due to pine wilt. Conifer specie options include: cedar (most hardy), Ponderosa pine, and Norway and blue spruce. Shrubs include viburnums and hazelnuts; however, there are numerous species to consider depending on goals. Consider 3-5 rows as optimal with 1-2 rows as conifers, 1 row of hardwoods or tall conifers, and 1-2 rows of dense shrubs. However, there’s not always that kind of room available and that may not fit one’s goals. It’s helpful to stagger plant the trees in each row and the gaps can be filled with shrubs or the shrubs can be planted in one row. Next week I’ll share more on site preparation considerations.
Last week I shared about how difficult events impact us. This past week, life was disrupted for many due to COVID-19. We watched numerous events being cancelled or restricted in numbers, some unprecedented. We’ve observed many reactions and have been inundated with information. There’s times I’ve struggled to wrap my head around all this. Perhaps you have too? Ultimately, we’re just not in control. However, we can seek to be wise in our actions and choices.
One of those choices is in the information we choose to believe. We’d recommend the CDC website and local health departments as trusted sources of information. As more is learned, information will continue to be updated and changed; we need to seek patience with this.
Another can be the choice to appreciate leaders making decisions and appreciate the difficulty surrounding those decisions. The consistent message from CDC, Med Center, and health departments on “flattening the curve” has led to many closings and cancellations of events. There’s naturally many reactions to this. Those in leadership are in a difficult place with making these decisions as they’re seeking the well-being of many people based on information that is continually changing.
Regarding Nebraska Extension’s Response, the following is from Dean Chuck Hibberd, “Nebraska Extension is fully committed to the health and well-being of Nebraskans. In a disease situation like COVID-19, the principle of social distancing is one of the main methods that can be used to help reduce the spread of the disease.
Chancellor Ronnie Green has issued guidance that all UNL classes will move to ‘remote’ modes. To be consistent with that guidance, Nebraska Extension will, whenever possible, provide Extension programs remotely (video or teleconferencing) but will not provide in-person Extension programs, at least until May 9. We recognize that this practice may create some level of disruption relative to the important information we provide to Nebraskans.”
Each office is working through the currently scheduled programs as to which will be cancelled, postponed, or taught remotely. There are already online options available for certification such as pesticide, chemigation, and dicamba. Please contact your local Extension Office with any questions regarding meetings or options to obtain certification. As of now, clientele are still welcome to come to the Extension office with your questions and we can still make field, lawn, garden visits. With the move to online information, there may be students and farmers who aren’t able to access classes at home due to low internet connectivity. There may be an opportunity to utilize a computer at your local Extension Office depending on room and computers available. Those details are in progress.
Ultimately, this is a difficulty we’re all facing together in life. Please take care of yourselves and your families during this time!
CropWatch: This week’s CropWatch at cropwatch.unl.edu has several articles regarding financial shocks and stress, the stages of recovery after a disaster, and emotional well-being after a disaster. Helpful as we get closer to planting and gardening season, soil temperature information is also available at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/soiltemperature.
This week is the anniversary of the 2019 Bomb Cyclone. Perhaps you’ve thought of that, perhaps you haven’t. I think this event for Nebraskans will forever be etched in our minds. Some may be reflecting on last year’s calving season being exceptionally difficult in February. Some lost additional animals to the blizzard/flooding in March. Some experienced flooding in our homes, fields, property. Some of us housed family/friends. Many of us found different routes with closed roads. Many of us helped others in the aftermath and/or donated money/supplies. Recovery is a process; a year later, recovery is still in process for many in our State.
Traumatic events, whether this one or others we experience in life, can conjur up a variety of feelings within us. Whether anger, sadness, fear, overwhelmed, relief, gratitude, or others, it’s important to honestly acknowledge our feelings. Children may not always know how to express their feelings, but having them draw pictures and talk about them can help. Michelle Krehbiel, Extension Youth Development Specialist, shares that acknowledging feelings is part of the recovery process. She also shares a number of other things to consider in the recovery process. These include:
“Engage in healthy ways to cope with stress (exercising, reading, journaling); Being gentle with oneself (show yourself kindness, reflect on how far you’ve come); Accept kindness and help of others (allow others to help and show you their care and concern); Use your social support system (talk with trusted friends/family/members of faith community); and Help others (volunteering can aid healing).” You can read more at: https://disaster.unl.edu/disaster-anniversaries.
What Michelle shared regarding ways to aid in recovery is so true for me. Regardless of the traumatic or difficult things in life, it is important to acknowledge our feelings, talk with others, and find positive ways to manage the stress. I know managing stress and the feelings associated with negative stress aren’t things that most in our farm community wish to talk about. Yet it’s so important.
I shared some of this during pesticide trainings this winter as well. I know it’s uncomfortable to talk about, yet we may not know what others are going through. I would encourage us to keep checking in with each other. If you’re struggling, please reach out to someone; you do matter! If you wish to talk to someone anonymously, the Rural Response Hotline 800-464-0258 offers free counseling, financial, and legal services. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-8255. I’m so grateful for those who’ve trusted me with their stories/struggles and I’m so grateful for those who have listened to and helped me! It takes courage, strength, and vulnerability to share and seek help; that is also being ‘Nebraska Strong’.
ARC-IC: I haven’t talked much about ARC-IC as an option for the farm bill. However, for those who had farms with 100% prevent plant or significant corn or soybean yield losses in 2019, it may be something to consider. I wrote a blog post sharing more at: https://jenreesources.com/2020/03/06/arc-ic-and-illinois-tool/.
Nebraska Soil Health/Cover Crop Conference Presentations: If you missed the Feb. 13th Soil Health/Cover Crop Conference or were unable to attend, the recorded presentations can be viewed at: https://go.unl.edu/n55x.
Nebraska Department of Ag (NDA) Pesticide Number: NDA no longer has an 800 or 877 phone number. If you received a post card for your $25 bill for pesticide training this year, it has an 877 number on the back. Please do not call that number as a scammer has picked it up. You can reach NDA at (402) 471-2351.
Happy March! One question that’s surfaced often is ‘at what maturity of corn and soybean do we start losing yield?’ There are many reasons for this question including planting a range of maturities to spread harvest load, taking advantage of marketing opportunities, and even planting shorter maturities to allow for increased cover crop biomass after harvest. The past two years, on-farm research growers in York and Seward Counties have compared Group 2 vs. Group 3 beans planted early to determine any yield differences. In 2018, combining the data from 16 reps over 3 locations planted the first week of May, the Group 2 and Group 3 beans yielded 70.2 bu/ac vs. 71.5 bu/ac respectively with no yield difference. In 2019, there were 13 reps over 3 locations. We don’t have these analyzed as a group. At the first (non-irrigated) location planted April 22, the 2.1 bean significantly out-yielded the 3.1 bean (70 bu/ac vs. 67 bu/ac). At the second (irrigated) location planted May 2, the 2.4 and 2.7 beans significantly out-yielded the 3.1 and 3.3 beans (71, 73, 70, and 67 bu/ac respectively). At the third (irrigated) location planted May 16, there was no difference between the 2.7 and 3.4 beans (71 vs. 72 bu/ac respectively).
Small plot research containing 16 soybean varieties with 8 relative maturities (range from 0.3 to 4.7) in Nebraska, Ohio, and Kentucky showed that soybean yields leveled off with no differences between Group 3 and Group 4 beans. They found a 3-4 bu/ac difference between Group 2 and 3 beans across locations. Ultimately, from looking at a variety of research studies including our on-farm research studies, we would suggest that when comparing really high yielding genetics of Group 2 vs. Group 3 beans, there aren’t yield differences. The small plot research also showed that there was an 11-13 day difference between R8 (full maturity) occurring in soybean from Group 3 to Group 4 and a 10 day difference between Group 2 to Group 3 occurrence of R8. What this suggests is for those seeking to plant Group 2 beans to get cover crop biomass established after harvest, one can gain an additional 10 days by following the drill behind the combine compared to planting a Group 3 bean and an additional 20 days compared to a Group 4 bean. It’s estimated every 0.1 in maturity results in 1 day harvest difference. Looking at our on-farm research data in York and Seward, for the grower who harvested the different maturities based on 13% moisture, the harvest date difference between his Group 2 vs. Group 3 beans lined up pretty well with that line of thinking.
For corn, relative maturities of 95, 105, 111, and 113 days were planted in 2017 in two locations. That year showed no yield difference for the 105-113 day but it dropped off for the 95 day. In 2018, relative maturities of 95, 99, 105, 111, and 113 were compared at one location. The yield trend showed the 113 day yielding significantly higher than 111 and 105 with the 95 and 99 day yielding the least. Based on that data and data from UNL’s South Central Ag Lab (SCAL), a 105 day relative maturity appears to be the cut off before seeing significant yield loss., but corn yields vs. maturity are highly dependent on hybrid and growing season. Greatest fall and spring cover crop biomass at SCAL planted after corn harvest (2015-2016) occurred after harvesting 88-105 day relative maturities.
Kiwanis Club of Seward 52nd Ag Recognition Banquet will be held March 16 at the Ag Pavilion at the Seward County Fairgrounds. The evening social begins at 5:30 p.m. with wine by James Arthur Vineyard and cheese from Jisa’s Farmstead Cheese. At 6:30 p.m. will be the prime rib dinner. Greg Peterson of the Peterson Brothers (YouTube celebrities) will be the evening entertainment. Honored as the Seward Kiwanis Outstanding Farm Family of the Year is Tomes Family Farm (Bill, Patty, Andrew, and Becky). Honored as the Seward County Agribusiness of the Year is the Lawrence and Della Beckler Family (Richard, Ruth and Kris Beckler). To purchase tickets, please call Shelly at (402) 643-3636.
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.
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.
Corn Quality Concerns: The two main questions I’ve received: “Are you hearing others mentioning low/variable test weights on corn?” and “Are you hearing of loads being rejected (to ethanol plants) due to mycotoxins?” While I’m unsure how widespread this is, I have been receiving these questions. A reminder to check your grain quality if you haven’t already been hauling or checking it.
Test Weight is a volumetric measurement (weight of corn grain per unit of volume), and as such, doesn’t directly correlate with yield. Standard corn test weight is 56 lbs/bu (1 bushel is 1.24 cubic feet). The size, shape, slipperiness of surface, and density of the kernel impacts test weight. Hybrids can show differences in test weight. Test weight is different than kernel weight, and thus not directly correlated with yield. Test weight gets at how tightly packed the starch is within the kernel. Reducing kernel moisture can allow for increased test weight if the starch loses water allowing for it to be packed more tightly within that kernel. Dry kernels that slide past each other may pack better allowing for increased test weight.
Lower test weights can result with disease, insect, and environmental stresses that impact photosynthesis and the movement of nutrients to the kernel during grain fill. These can include foliar and stalk diseases, drought stress, lack of nutrients, freeze prior to physiological maturity, late planting, and below normal temps during grain fill. Rewetting of kernels in the ear can impact test weight as kernels can swell and not shrink back to the same shape as previously. We know that moisture events happened after physiological maturity causing some sprouting of kernels in some ears prior to harvest. We did have high foliar disease pressure this year and reduced stalk quality. Compromised integrity of the kernel due to insect, disease, and mechanical damage can also impact test weight. I didn’t see the amount of kernel damage as I did in 2018. But there are certain hybrids that are high yielding and widely planted that I tend to see starburst patterns on kernels (due to Fusarium) and shortened husks exposing ear tips to more insect damage/ear molds. There are also hybrids that had a large amount of top dieback, husk tissue that turned brown early, or refuge in a bag plants that died early in fields. All of these may be factors potentially impacting test weight as well. Thinking about photosynthesis, we had reduced solar radiation during grain fill. I can’t help but think that could also impact it but didn’t easily find research that correlates solar radiation to test weight. There’s research correlating solar radiation to yield and kernel weight, though.
Regarding vomitoxin levels, the starburst patterns on kernels, insect damage leading to
ear molds, wet corn not properly dried or cooled in bins can all impact greater Fusarium growth and the potential for vomitoxin to be produced. If vomitoxin (also called DON) is an issue, concentrations can triple in the ethanol process of producing the distiller’s grains. Hogs and poultry are more sensitive than cattle, so the end user may be a factor in addition to the vomitoxin levels. I don’t know the levels being rejected so I can’t speak more to this.
York County Corn Grower Tour: Corn growers and spouses are welcome to join us February 3 for a tour of ag industries in the Lincoln area. We will meet at the York Co. Extension Office at 7 a.m. and will carpool leaving at 7:15. Our first stop will be RealmFive which focuses on wireless connectivity for ag operations. We will then tour Smart Chicken in Waverly which offers retail- and foodservice-packaged organic chickens and antibiotic-free chickens from Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. Lunch at Lazlos is next followed by learning about the UNL hops program and research using corn gluten meal and soybean meal. Possibly another stop on way home. Please RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in attending by Feb. 2nd. Hope to have a good group who can join us! Flyer at jenreesources.com.
This week was asked to share on these additional Jan./Feb. meeting opportunities. Also, Please Save Feb. 3 for the York County Corn Growers Tour! I’m working on the tour details-will share next week.
A few times a month, I receive questions about hops or hemp. For those interested in hops, the Nebraska Brewer’s Conference will be Jan. 27-28 at the Younes Convention Center in Kearney. You can learn more details here: www.growbrewnebraska.com.
Merrick Co. Ag Day is Jan. 28 at the Fairgrounds in Central City. Topics include weed control in prevent plant acres, farm bill, pivot wheel track management, understanding the hydrogeology of wells in Central Nebraska, groundwater protection/water quality sampling and testing, and domestic/farm level water treatment equipment. There is no charge and please RSVP for meal to 308-946-3843.
72nd Annual York-Hamilton Cattlemen’s Banquet will be Jan. 28 at the Holthus Convention Center in York beginning with social at 6:30 p.m. and prime rib meal at 7 p.m. Entertainment will be Jay Hendren, a farmer from Ohio. Hendren uses his experiences in farming to tickle the funny bones of audience members of all walks of life. Hendren has entertained groups across the country from banquets and conventions to comedy clubs. Tickets are $25 per person. Sponsorships are also available that include two banquet tickets and recognition at the banquet for $150. Cattlemen’s Banquet tickets can be purchased from any of the York-Hamilton County Cattlemen’s Directors including Brian Blase of Hordville; Brock Ekhoff and Terry Ross of Aurora; Jeff Underwood of Exeter; Allen Klute and Mark Klute of Hampton; David McDonald of Phillips, Jeff Meradith, Kim Regier and Josh Chrisman of York; Kim Siebert of Henderson, plus the UNL Extension Offices in York County and Hamilton Counties.
Lambing and Kidding School Jan. 25: The closest location to this area will be in Broken Bow at the Fairgrounds. Registration begins at 10 a.m. Topics include: Keeping ewes healthy through disease control and treatment (Dr. Brian Vander Ley DVM, Great Plains Educational Center); Economical feeding programs for the doe (Dr. Steve Hart, Goat Extension Specialist OK); Economical feeding programs for the ewe (Dr. Ivan Rush, sheep producer, Scottsbluff); Treating chilled newborns, tubing lambs/kids/Q&A session (local veterinarians). The program is followed by a hands-on tour to Beth & Hannah Smith’s Farm 44306 Road 786 Broken Bow. More info and pre-register at: email@example.com or 308-386-8378.
2020 Sorghum Symposium will be held at the NE College of Technical Ag in Curtis on Jan. 30th. I don’t have details regarding the time, but program highlights include: weather (Al Dutcher); sorghum production and management (Dr. Brent Bean, Agronomist); D.C./Farm Bill Update (Jerad Reimers, Office of Congressman Smith); grain sorghum variety performance in 15” and 30” rows (Strahinja Stepanovic, UNL); sorghum TAPS program panel; how to win an argument without arguing via social media (Nate Blum). The annual meeting will follow the program and several vendors will be present. There’s no charge but please RSVP for meal count to firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-471-4276.
Annie’s Inspired: Feb. 3rd from 6-8 p.m. is the next Annie’s Inspired Workshop for women involved with agriculture. It will be held at the Library in David City. Glennis McClure will cover Farm/Ranch budgets and financials. These workshops include a light supper, plenty of networking time and hands-on learning. Cost is $5 to cover supper. Please RSVP to 402-367-7410 or 402-362-5508 if you’re interested in attending!