Category Archives: on-farm research

JenREES 2-16-20

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: onfarm@unl.edu 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:

Ron soil sampling.jpg

Ron Makovicka helping me take soil samples for his study.

https://youtu.be/tEy-I43CT0E.

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.

JenREES 1-12-20

Great to see and meet so many at the York Ag Expo last week! And, to the 156 of you who attended pesticide training, thank you again for your kindness and grace with the packed room and overflow to the hallway. Sharing this week on February upcoming ag programs and adding the flyers to https://jenreesources.com.

Jan. 28th is the Farmers and Ranchers Cow-Calf College at the US Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with program beginning at 9:55 a.m. Topics include: Forage Sampling, Understanding Annual Cow Costs, Questions to Ask Your Vet before Calving Season, Blockchains: Connecting Consumers with their Food (IMI Global), and Alternative Meats and Alternative Statistics: What the data says. There is no charge and meal is provided. It’s best to pre-register to save time and you can do so at https://go.unl.edu/frcollegereg. You can also RSVP at (402) 759-3712.

Feb. 4 is the Hamilton County Ag Day at the fairgrounds in Aurora (Reg. at 9 a.m. with program beginning at 9:30 a.m.). Attendance at this event qualifies for UBBNRD nitrogen management training. Many have asked about nitrogen research and this event is geared towards providing that. Topics include: In-season nitrogen application, management to reduce nitrate leaching, fertigation equipment & procedures for in-season management, crop nutrients from manure, cover crops and nitrogen management, optimum irrigation application, on-farm research for evaluating N management, land rental considerations for 2020, in addition to updates from Nebraska Corn and USDA. There is no charge.

Feb. 13 is the Nebraska Cover Crop Conference near Mead with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. and program from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. This year’s focus is on interseeding cover crops into corn/soybean. Loran Steinlage from Iowa will share what he’s doing with 60” row spacings and keeping something growing in his fields 365 days of the year. Noah Seim from Merrick County (30” rows for a few years) and Jay Goertzen from York County (36” rows for 1 year) both have interseeding projects with Nebraska on-farm research and will share their experiences. Additional Topics/Speakers include: Finding the right fit with cover crops (Abbey Wick from NDSU), Selling cover crop seed in Nebraska (Steve Knox with Nebraska Crop Improvement), Accelerating soil health adoption by quantifying economic and environmental outcomes (Brian Brandt, Ohio), Review of cover crop demonstrations in the Central Platte NRD (Dean Krull), Cover crops by helicopter: FAQ (Brent Wulf, Hexagon Helicopters, Inc.), and Soil Health (Aaron Hird, NRCS). There is no charge for this event including meal and it’s a large event. Registration is required by Feb. 7. More info. and register at: https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/enre/nebraska-cover-crop-conference/ or 402-624-8030.

Nebraska On-Farm Research Updates: Believing in the value of on-farm research, these are among my favorite meetings each year! These meetings give you an opportunity to hear from your peers regarding research they’re trying in cooperation with Nebraska Extension. We often wouldn’t have research on topics many of you ask me about if it wasn’t for our on-farm research cooperators, so I’m grateful to them! Dates include: 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. The Feb. 28 meeting in York will be unique focusing only on cover crop and soil health research and that meeting also qualifies for UBBNRD nitrogen management training. 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 least 2 days in advance for meal planning purposes to: onfarm@unl.edu or 402-624-8030.


IMG_20200106_084421cow-calf collegeweed science schoolAurora AgDay2020Nebraska Cover Crop Conference2020 On-Farm Research UpdatesBroiler Manure Application Flyer

JenREES 4-14-19

*Note: you may have to turn your cell phone horizontal to more easily read this post.*

Some commented we’ve felt all four seasons last week! This additional weather event didn’t help with stress levels. Disaster stress stages can include heroic, honeymoon, disillusionment, and reconstruction. Heroic was at the beginning of the blizzard/flood disaster. This quickly progressed into the honeymoon phase where we’ve seen an outpouring of support to help with donations, clean-up, etc. It’s very heart-warming and provides some hope in the midst of disaster. While there’s overlap of phases, we’re seeing more of the next stage called ‘disillusionment’ now. This phase can last a year with events like this past week’s weather triggering new anger, grief, loss. It’s during this phase that people more affected by disaster can feel forgotten as others not affected move on with life. And, those not as affected as neighbors/others may experience guilt. For any type of stress, it’s important to talk to a trusted friend, family member, counselor, pastor and not isolate. Unhealthy coping can include turning to substance abuse or other unhealthy options. I’ve been asked what can be done to help. Perhaps the biggest help is to keep praying. Also, keep checking on and reaching out to friends, family, neighbors. These things are more helpful than I can express here! Reminder: the Wellness for Farm and Ranch Families webinar will be held on April 23rd from Noon-1 p.m. at: http://go.unl.edu/farmstresswebinar.

In-Season Nitrogen: I know several were glad to get some nitrogen on last week! For those in NRDs which require nitrogen rates based on UNL recs, it’s important to note that the UNL nitrogen equation uses a weighted average soil nitrate test for the ppm Nitrate. A minimum of 2’ is required. Thus, if you only have a 0-8” soil sample, you have to account for a weighted average or the equation will overestimate the amount of soil nitrate and result in a lower requirement than what may be needed. The Extension circular “Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn” (http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/ec117.pdf) explains this in detail with an example. There is also an excel spreadsheet that does this for you when you input the depth of soil samples taken. If you’d prefer to use the excel spreadsheet, you can find it at the following website by scrolling to “Corn Nitrogen Recommendations Calculator” https://cropwatch.unl.edu/soils.

With a full soil moisture profile, some have wondered at the impact of using a nitrification inhibitor with their anhydrous this spring. We have a couple farmers testing this and if you’re interested, here’s an on-farm research protocol: https://go.unl.edu/j9dg.

We’ve had some on-farm research studies recently look at sidedress applications using either the UNL equation/Maize N model or industry models such as Climate Field View. In all these studies, the recommended rate was compared to rates that were at least 30 pounds over and under the recommended rate. Some of the studies went as high as +/- 50 lbs/acre compared to recommended rate. I’ve compiled these results in a table at http://jenreesources.com. Take homes: In none of the studies did the addition of 30-50 lbs N/ac above the recommended rate increase the yield statistically. A few of these studies also compared side-dress applications vs. pre-plant alone. One situation resulted in a statistically lower yield with pre-plant alone while the other two resulted in no yield differences. In-season nitrogen studies is our featured on-farm research study this year. You can find protocols at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/farmresearch/extensionprotocols.

For chemigating fertilizer, often we tend to apply 30 pounds of nitrogen with each quarter inch of water. However, Randy Pryor shared: “did you know that a high capacity injector pump on a pivot can supply 50-60 pounds of nitrogen with a quarter inch of water safely on corn with one application? A soil at field capacity will still intake a quarter inch of irrigation water. Split applications of nitrogen reduces risks with corn injury when the time window is shortened between pre-plant anhydrous applications and corn planting.”

Soil Temperatures: Soil temperatures are available at https://cropwatch.unl.edu/cropwatchsoiltemperature. Your local field and lawn conditions may vary, so you can check with a meat thermometer at 4″ depth. It’s too early for crabgrass preventer. More on that and planting considerations next week.

#NebraskaStrong also means being strong enough to ask for help. Nebraska Family Helpline: 888-866-8660. Nebraska Farm Hotline: 800-464-0258.

*Note: End of column for newspapers.*


 

Nebraska On-Farm Research Corn Yield Results (2015-2018) where Growers Tested a Base Pre-Plant + Varying In-Season Nitrogen Rates

Year County / Irrigation Pre-Plant In-Season Rate/

Yield

In-Season Rate/

Yield

In-Season Rate/

Yield

In-Season Rate/

Yield

Other
2015 Dodge

 

(Maize N Model)

12 lbs N/ac MAP (fall)

80 lbs N/ac 32% UAN at planting

70 lbs N/ac

222 bu/ac

100 lbs N/ac

220 bu/ac

2015 Dodge

 

(Maize N Model)

12 lbs N/ac MAP (fall)

80 lbs N/ac 32% UAN at planting

70 lbs N/ac

221 bu/ac

100 lbs N/ac

221 bu/ac

2016 Dodge

Rainfed

(Climate Field View Model)

78 lbs N as 32% UAN in April 30 lbs N/ac as 32% + 10% ATS (SD)

224 bu/ac

60 lbs N/ac as 32% + 10% ATS (SD)

226 bu/ac

90 lbs N/ac as 32% + 10% ATS (SD)

239 bu/ac

2016 Dodge

Non-Irrigated

(Climate Field View)

78 lbs N as 32% UAN in April 35 lbs N/ac  as 32% +10% ATS (SD)
196 bu/ac
65 lbs N/ac as 32% + 10% ATS (SD)

201 bu/ac

95 lbs N/ac as 32% + 10% ATS (SD)

201 bu/ac

2016 Dodge

Pivot Irrigated

 

70 lbs N/ac as NH3 110 lbs N/ac

247 bu/ac

140 lbs N/ac

250 bu/ac

170 lbs N/ac

249 bu/ac

2017 Dodge/

Pivot Irrigated 4”

70 lbs N/ac as 32% UAN Spring

 

110 lbs N/ac 32% (SD)

 

239 bu/ac

140 lbs N/ac 32% (SD)

 

243 bu/ac

170 lbs N/ac 32% (SD)

 

251 bu/ac

210 lbs N/ac 32% Spring Pre-Plant

216 bu/ac*

2017 Saunders

Non-Irrigated

100 lbs N/ac as 32% UAN Spring 40 lbs N/ac 32% (SD)

195 bu/ac

40 lbs N/ac 32% + Humic Acid (SD)

199 bu/ac

75 lbs N/ac 32% (SD)


200 bu/ac

140 lbs N/ac 32% Spring Pre-Plant

193 bu/ac

2017 Saunders

Non-Irrigated

100 lbs N as 32% UAN Spring

 

40 lbs N/ac 32% (SD)

183 bu/ac

40 lbs N/ac 32% + Humic Acid (SD)

183 bu/ac

75 lbs N/ac 32% (SD)

185 bu/ac

140 lbs N/ac 32% Spring Pre-Plant/

185 bu/ac

2018 Gage

Non-Irrigated

150 lbs N as 32% UAN in April. Rye cover crop. 0 lbs N/ac as AMS  (SD)

137 bu/ac*

50 lbs N/ac as AMS (SD)

161 bu/ac

100 lbs N/ac as AMS (SD)
151 bu/ac
2018 Franklin

Pivot Irrigated 4”

 

None. Cover crop mix. 0 lbs N/ac as Urea broadcast

210 bu/ac *

100 lbs N/ac  as Urea broadcast

254 bu/ac

175 lbs N/ac as Urea broadcast

272 bu/ac

250 lbs N/ac as Urea broadcast

275 bu/ac

*Denotes that treatment was statistically different from others for a given year and location at the 90% confidence level. All other treatments without this denotation are not statistically different although they may be numerically different due to variability.

(SD) = Sidedress application

JenREES 2-17-19

We had our 4-H Festival tonight in York. IMAG5247Sometimes I need to be reminded how cool ag is and not take it so easily for granted. Watching the kids exclaim “that is so cool!” when looking at fungal spores under the microscope or seeing both youth and parents be amazed to see the root and early leaves with soybean dissection repeatedly brought a smile to my face. Any youth ages 6-18 are welcome to join me every month for Crop Science Investigation (CSI). At each meeting, the youth become detectives to solve a real-life problem about plants. Learning is hands-on, youth don’t have to be in 4-H to attend, and also can be from outside of York County. Our next meeting will be March 25th from 5-6 p.m. at the York Co. Extension Office and every third Monday of the month after that. Please contact me at jrees2@unl.edu to RSVP or for more information.

On-Farm Research Brainstorming Meeting: Last week I shared about on-farm research and the updates that are occurring this week throughout the State. Because we cover so many research projects at those updates, there’s not a lot of time for growers to just brainstorm and talk about projects they’re considering for this year. So, I’m having an on-farm research brainstorming meeting on Monday, February 25th from 10 a.m.-Noon at the 4-H Building in York. I will also provide lunch at Noon for those attending in person. We will also have a distance connection available for Extension Offices in other parts of the State and I can share that link with anyone who is unable to attend in person. Please RSVP to me (jrees2@unl.edu) if you plan on attending or if you would like to join us via weblink. Purpose: Brainstorm on-farm research topics to conduct this year and better determine who is interested in which studies to see if we can get several to conduct the same study. A number of growers have contacted me since harvest with project ideas. What has been shared thus far include: interseeding covers at V3-V5; biological products including some heard about during No-Till on the Plains; renewed interest in applying sugars; soy pop looking at impact on soybean stem borer; economics of lower corn pop with high flex hybrid under irrigation vs. current pop; second year for some on early vs. later maturity group soy planted early; Chris Proctor and my interest in small grain or other cover on soybean endrows (document palmer); comparison of sorghum vs. corn in non-irrigated setting looking at economics for Nebraska. Come with any topics you’re interested in discussing and looking forward to the discussion!

Soybean Seed Quality: The wet fall brought challenges with harvest and seed quality.

Soybeans with purple seed stain (left) and soybeans showing signs of seed decay due to Phomopsis disease complex. (Photo by Jenny Rees)

Purple Seed Stain (left) and Phomopsis Seed Decay (right). Photo by Jenny Rees, Nebraska Extension.

Not surprisingly, we’re hearing about reduced germination for soybean seed next year. There’s an article in this week’s CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu that goes into more details. Essentially in seeds infected with fungi causing purple seed stain and also phomopsis seed decay, reduced germination is occurring. Steve Knox, manager of the Nebraska Crop Improvement Association shared that while a few lots came in at or above 95% germination, results are averaging in the mid 80% range. In a typical year, soybean seed lots tested by the Nebraska Crop Improvement Association (NCIA) range from 88% to 98% germination. This year samples thus far ranged from 43% to 98% germination. The minimum germination for certified soybean seed is 80%, as set by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA). The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has set a minimum germination standard of 75% for soybeans. On a phone call, Steve mentioned that all the moldy and dead seed were removed from the samples before conducting germination tests. They did test the purple seed stained soybeans and found little to no germination reduction in infected seeds. Purple seed stain is seed transmitted; thus, if you have seed lots that are infected at planting, you may notice it at harvest as well. You may also have noticed soybean seed last fall that had very tightly wrinkled seed coats. This was due to the continual wetting/drying process beans went through with rain and wind events. Steve said soybeans with those characteristics didn’t germinate at all thus far but there’s few soybeans with those characteristics in most seed lots tested thus far. Iowa State research found that adding a fungicide seed treatment to lower quality seed could increase the germination percentage up to 15%. However, a fungicide seed treatment won’t improve germination of dead or dying seeds. Seed treatments should be considered when germination rates are below normal and when you’re planting into cold, wet soils. It’s important for growers to check the germination rate of soybean seed this year. Regarding any adjustments for seeding rates, when we conducted on-farm research soybean seeding rate studies, we did not adjust for the germ on the bag (seeded 90K, 120K, 150K, and 180K with no adjustments). However, every seed lot had at least 90% germ in those studies. We’re not recommending to adjust for 80-98% germ if the grower seeds 150K+ because there’s already enough seed planted without adjustment based on our research. However, those planting less than 150K may wish to consider adjusting this year if germination for their seed is in the 80-89% range.

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