JenREES 7/31/22

Fair Time! It’s fair time for both York and Seward counties. While unfortunate that the fairs are the same time (August 4-7th), there’s great opportunities at each one! Come on out to view the 4-H and FFA exhibits, eat great food including BBQ/steak fry served by various local commodity groups, enjoy the entertainment, and catch up with friends and neighbors from across the counties. Please view the schedule of events for Seward Co. at: https://sewardcountyfairgrounds.com/countyfairinfo/ and York Co. at: http://www.yorkcountyfair.com/.

Also, we know the weather greatly impacted gardens. I’m asking for York Co. fair that 4-H/FFA/Open Class participants still bring your produce even if it isn’t ‘market ready’. So, bring your green tomatoes, small peppers, etc. as we’d still appreciate your entries!

Crop Update: Tar spot was found on a leaf in a Saunders county field this past week. Very low incidence in the field and we’re not recommending fungicide for it at this time. Southern rust was found in northeast Kansas this past week, but hasn’t been detected in Nebraska yet.

Have had a number of comments this year about herbicides not seeming to kill palmer as in the past. Some common threads so far have been specific nozzle types used, weeds that had received hail at some point and potentially ‘hardened off’, and also some questions about water quality (pH, hardness) and any impacts there. If you’re noticing/hearing anything specific that worked or really didn’t work this year, I’d be interested in knowing it so I can keep compiling a list of considerations for weed scientists and ag industry to talk through this winter.

Also have received some questions/comments regarding irrigating shallower or deeper. We’ve been saying to get around as fast as one can if you are applying fungicide and/or insecticide through the pivot (0.15” and no more than 0.25”). For fertigation, we’d say 30 lb/ac can be applied in 0.25” and 50-60 lb/ac in 0.5”. Otherwise, we would recommend putting on closer to an inch at a time (depending on what the ground can take in without running off). This is also true for managing disease, particularly white mold in soybean and if tar spot in corn gets established years down the road (it’s better to reduce the frequency for leaf wetness when we irrigate).

Spider mites: Hot, dry weather has increased spider mite activity in crops (also FYI in gardens). Our Extension entomologists updated a CropWatch article that has more info. and a table with products listed for crops: https://go.unl.edu/9v6u. They write, “For effective control, spider mites must come into contact with the miticide. Since mites are found primarily on the underside of the leaves, they are difficult to reach with low volume applications. Using three or more gallons of water per acre by air to carry miticides may increase effectiveness. Aerial applications are generally more effective if applied very early in the morning or in the late evening. Applications made at these times avoid the upward movement of sprays, away from the plants, on hot rising air.

Eggs are difficult to kill with pyrethroid or organophosphate miticides, so reinfestation is likely to occur 7- 10 days after treatment as a result of egg hatching. The reinfestation is frequently heavy because natural enemies have been reduced or eliminated. A second application may be necessary to kill newly hatched mites before they mature and deposit more eggs.

Miticides with activity against eggs and immature stages include Zeal, Oberon and Onager. In many cases, especially with the twospotted spider mite, slowing the rate of population increase is all that can be accomplished with a miticide application.”

Also, I’ll speak more on this next week, but Soybean Management Field Days are quickly approaching Aug. 9-12. More info: https://go.unl.edu/xukf.



JenREES 7/24/22

Even though few, the raindrops Saturday night were so refreshing after a hot week! I don’t know that it’s even really that hot compared to past years, but the sun seems extra intense to me this year. Cooler temps are welcome this week!

Crop Update: There is very little disease pressure thus far in both corn and soybeans. For corn, the most common thing I’ve seen this year is physoderma brown spot/purple leaf sheath, which is something we don’t worry about in Nebraska. Bacterial leaf streak is common on certain hybrids as always and is one we don’t worry about. A fungicide will not help against it and won’t protect against it. Gray leaf spot is very minimal to date in lower canopy, if it can be found. Same for common rust. The closest southern rust has been found is in southern Arkansas. So short story, fungicide isn’t necessary yet unless one is saving a trip for corn insects. For corn insects, there are still hot areas of Japanese beetles feeding on silks in addition to corn rootworm beetles. Spidermites are also flaring in some fields. Also be aware that spraying a fungicide can flare corn leaf aphids as it kills the fungus that attacks them.

For soybean insects, there’s still some Japanese beetles feeding and some spidermites flaring. For disease, have seen very minimal phyllosticta leaf spot and frogeye leaf spot and not anything close to levels for spraying. Seeing lots of phytophthora root rot this year in fields that is continuing to kill plants and there’s nothing we can do about that this year. Fields with a history of white mold may have been sprayed to help reduce disease pressure.

Tar spot has not been found in Nebraska yet this year. A great resource to track diseases such as southern rust and tar spot is: https://corn.ipmpipe.org/diseases/. Click on the disease of interest to see a U.S. map of where the disease has been found. Suspect samples can be submitted to the Plant and Pest Diagnostic lab in Lincoln for free. You can also get your samples to me locally if you’d like. There’s been a lot of confusion so far with insect “poop” and tar spot. A quick field test is to either get your finger wet or spit on the leaf and rub the spot to see if it comes off. Physoderma and tar spot won’t rub off but insect excrement will.

Fungicides and insecticides are helpful when we need them. Everyone’s trying to make the best decisions possible. Concerned we let fear of ‘protecting the crop’ drive decisions. Crop prices continue to be volatile and economics should be considered. Sometimes fields are sprayed a second time when disease comes in later once the residual wears off (regardless of product and because the product only makes it so far into the canopy unless chemigated). In terms of resistance management, we have fewer modes of action with fungicides than herbicides available to us, and we use those same modes of action in all our crops. We already have resistance to the quinone outside inhibitor (group 11 formerly strobilurin) class of fungicides to frogeye leaf spot in soybean. Concerned it’s only a matter of time before this impacts us on the corn side too.

I realize I’m continually an outlier in saying to wait and not automatically apply at tassel. Based on the Nebraska research (shared last year here) and observation I feel we can wait till disease pressure warrants applications and allow them to help with stalk strength. I also realize this column would’ve been more timely last week with the spraying that’s occurred.

South Central Ag Lab Field Day Aug. 4 will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. with program from 8:45 a.m.-3p.m. at the South Central Ag Lab near Harvard/Clay Center. There are several tracks to choose from throughout the day including the latest in weed, disease, insect, nutrient, irrigation management, and soil health. Free lunch and CCA credits available. More info. and RSVP at: https://go.unl.edu/scalfieldday


The first picture on the left has been common of both physoderma brown spot and insect poop. With physoderma brown spot, most often these purplish spots are more prevalent on the midribs, leaf axils, and leaf sheaths (as seen in the middle photo). Often the spots outside of the midrib are more yellow/tan in color and are often confused with southern rust. Photo 3 on the right-hand side was tar spot that was found in Oct. 2021 in York Co. Would recommend getting your finger wet or spitting on the leaf and rubbing the spot to make sure it’s not insect poop as several samples looking like the first photo have been that instead. Physoderma won’t rub off and neither will tar spot. Feel free to submit any suspect samples to the diagnostic lab for free.


JenREES 7/18/22

Japanese beetles: Hopefully this is the last week I talk about these! Hoping they’re coming to an end for this year as I’m not hitting as many while driving! Seems like each week brings new questions that I hope will be helpful to share. For tree and garden products, please check the handout which can be downloaded from the front page of york.unl.edu.

In replant corn and soybean fields, the beetles are attracted to the older plants (check strips/original bean plants); they shouldn’t be going after the replant ones. I’ve heard areas (not hail damaged) have sprayed beans at least twice. People wondered if this is to be expected with products that should have 14 days residual. In talking with Bob Wright, he says there’s little research on Japanese beetles on chemical efficacy. The soybeans continue to produce new leaves and the herbicides, although there’s residual in the pyrethroid products, doesn’t translocate to new leaves. Sunlight also breaks down the herbicide in leaves. Increasing water helps with coverage (helpful if increase to at least three gallons in aerial applications-same for fungicide applications). Chemigation is an option too.

I’ve also been asked about adding other nutrient and biological products, etc. to tanks to increase the plant health. While I’m not opposed to the concept of healthy plants fending off insects/pathogens, I don’t know of research to comment on that for Japanese beetles. Sidenote (not necessarily Japanese beetle related), when I’ve been called out to problem situations in fields this year, numerous times there’s been a large number of products placed in the tank. I just wonder how all these things are truly interacting together and if we’re potentially creating problems (increasing selection pressure and resistance) on weeds, insects, pathogens by potentially reducing efficacy of the original pesticide product that was meant to be sprayed before everything else (plant growth regulators, micros, etc.) was added. Again, no research, just a consistent observation in field calls with problems this year.

White Grub Prevention/Control in Lawns: Been getting questions about grub prevention as well since the Japanese beetles lay eggs in lawns. Control depends on proper timing of the application and moving the insecticide into the root zone where grubs feed. Preventive control applications are made from mid to late June. They can work in early July (it’s potentially too late now). Curative or rescue treatments are made in August or September and I will talk about those products next month.

Preventive – Most of the preventively-applied insecticides are systemic in nature and will be taken up by the plant and translocated to roots. The following products are effective against young grubs and are labeled for homeowner use: Chlorantraniliprole –Scotts GrubEx; Imidacloprid –Bonide Grub Beater, BioAdvanced Season Long Grub Control + fertilizer.

Check Grain Bins: With all the work of starting crops over the month of June, checking grain bins wasn’t as high on the list for many in this area. Two farmers suggested I mention checking grain bins this week as they had found some hot spots and were thankfully able to get things under control.

Take Care of Yourself! I know how worn down I’m feeling each week, and I’m not in the shoes of you as the farmers and landowners who have went through so much loss. These storms keep giving as people find additional damages to buildings, equipment, trees, crops, etc. I realize with the heat it’s not realistic for many to get away for long. There will always be a list and few of us ever ‘catch up’. But there’s only one of each of us. My challenge for us this week is to take some intentional time to reset…whether a half hour or a few hours. Spend the time doing a hobby, resting, strengthening your faith, catching up with someone. We need these breaks and I’m doing that as well. Be sure to stay hydrated with the heat too!

Cover Crop and Soil Health Field Day: This snuck up on me and I failed to talk about it sooner; it will be held this Tuesday July 19th from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Registration at 9:30 a.m.) at the 4-H Building at York Co. Fairgrounds. Topics include: understanding soil health, the Nebraska soil carbon product cover crop study; On-Farm research cover crop study update; and Cover crops for upland game birds. Following lunch there will be a cover crop field site visit with a demonstration of how to conduct a soil health inventory. There is no charge but please RSVP for meal count to Nate Pflueger at 402-646-5426.


JenREES 7/10/22

Grateful for some rain last week! Hail damaged trees (particularly evergreen trees) need water now to help them heal all the open wounds on the branches, stems, trunks.

Western Bean Cutworm Moths should be around 25% flight for corn nearing or tasseling in much of the area. It was predicted for Guide Rock on July 5, York on July 10, and Clay Center on July 11. This CropWatch article shares dates to watch for around the State: https://go.unl.edu/nmye.

Japanese Beetle Control: I posted a second blog post last week on organic and conventional control products that are sold in this area at local farm stores, lawn/garden centers, Wal-Mart, and Ace. You can print it out from the font page of the York Co. Extension website: https://go.unl.edu/bvqf.

Even after applying pesticides, beetles will continue to emerge and fly in from grassy areas (ditches, lawns, pastures) for a good 4-8 weeks. Plants that are being chewed on elicit responses signifying they’re in trouble. It’s those responses that signal other beetles to come. Even though linden, fruit, and other trees and plants are rapidly defoliated, they should not die. On younger trees that were hail damaged, I’m unsure if the hail + the beetle defoliation is too much stress for survival; we will have to see. I’m also unsure if we will see new leaves in general after beetle defoliation this year or not; trees are super stressed already from all the hail damage. I’m observing new leaves are very slow coming back on broadleaf trees post-hail and that was before we also had the beetle defoliation.

I probably should’ve realized this, but another thing I learned this week is there’s two formulations of ‘Sevin’ being sold. I don’t mention that on the print-out mentioned above. One is the traditional carbaryl that lasts 5-7 days. The other is zeta-cypermethrin which has a residual of 14 days (farmers would recognize this ingredient in Hero and Mustang Maxx). I’m not sure why the company branded both products the same name. The Sevin carbaryl product says it will ‘cause damage to boston ivy and virginia creeper’…both of which are favorites of Japanese beetles. So, that was something new I learned by reading the labels and being called out to an unfortunate incident with boston ivy. I didn’t see that same warning on the Sevin zeta-cypermethrin product, but please check it for yourself if you use it.

Label from the Sevin ‘carbaryl’ product showing plant damage can occur to boston ivy and virginia creeper.

Japanese beetles are in corn and bean fields as well. Watch silk clipping in corn and pod clipping in beans (seeing both occurring). Tasseled corn threshold: three or more Japanese beetles per ear, silks have been clipped to less than ½ inch, and pollination is less than 50% complete. Soybean has 20% defoliation once flowering occurs. It’s been interesting seeing beetles defoliating palmer, waterhemp, smartweed, etc. Too bad we couldn’t train them to just eat the weeds!

This picture doesn’t show it well cause they were moving so much. There were 5 Japanese beetles clipping silks on this ear.

Hail Damage and Corn Pollination: This one is just hard and I’m genuinely hoping this isn’t as big of an issue as what it looks like. For corn that was V9-V11 during the June 14th storm, check the tassels and the ears. What I’m seeing in fields that were severely stem bruised but not totaled, are ears that are hip high on me with silks that are up to 5” long right now. Tassels are mostly 1-2 leaves from tasseling. Opening up the leaves shows severely damaged tassels with minimal to no anthers. Some anthers are trying to pollinate within the leaves (pics on my blog). It’s normal for silks to emerge before tassels as that’s what breeders have bred corn to do. It’s not normal for the tassels to emerge this much later than the silks and to be so severely damaged. It will be something to watch in all the hail damaged fields that were kept from June 14 storm to see if the pollination timing is impacted in them as well. What I’m recommending is for now, check your fields and take pictures of the tassels and ears for documentation of any problems if crop insurance can’t come out. I’m hoping I’m wrong and that we can still get some decent pollination in these fields.


This is one of a few fields looked at that was between V9-V11 during the June 14th hailstorms. It had severe stalk bruising at the time and around 22-24K for population. Long silks with very few tassels out. Top left tassel was a decent tassel found that was out. Most tassels are within 1-2 leaves of emerging, are severely damaged from the hail, and some were shedding what pollen they were producing while inside the leaves (bottom left photo).

Japanese Beetle Organic and Conventional Products Found Locally

With the Japanese beetle invasion in the area and their territory spreading further each year, I checked with local retailers (nurseries, lawn/garden centers, farm stores, Wal-Mart, Ace) to see what they have on hand to hopefully be of help.

First, Please Read the Label on any product before you purchase it to make sure:

1: the product says it controls Japanese beetle adults
2: the product is labeled for where you wish to apply it (vegetables, trees, ornamentals, fruit trees, berries, etc.)
3: follow all pre-harvest intervals (PHI) for when you can safely harvest vegetables, fruits, and berries after a product is applied.

Last year I had to unfortunately tell three people they couldn’t eat the produce from their gardens due to the product they sprayed.

Second, there are a number of insecticide options available. Know that most anything applied to flowering plants will also impact pollinators. For flowering plants like roses, cannas, etc., knocking the beetles off around 7 p.m. in the evening into soapy water will protect pollinators visiting them.

There are also ready to use and concentrate versions of chemicals available. The easiest are ones where you simply attach the garden hose and spray. Others need to be mixed with water into a sprayer.

Organic Insecticide Options include Neem, Pyola, Spinosad Soap, Pyrethrin products (ex. Beetle and Boxelder bug killer), and Bt. Neem may repel more than kill Japanese beetle adults. These products will all last around 3-7 days and will need to be reapplied. Products containing these active ingredients should be safe on fruits, vegetables, in addition to using on flowers, shrubs, and trees. Be sure to read and follow directions as there may be a temperature restriction on applying some of them that contain oils to avoid burning leaf tissue.

Conventional insecticide Options can provide up to two weeks of control. I’m going to separate these into products I found locally based on the location they can be applied. Ultimately, this is NOT a complete list and many other products can also be found online. There are also products containing insecticide + fungicide that I don’t list here. Please be sure to read the label for yourself as to the insects controlled and where it can be applied before purchasing.

1. Ornamental shrubs, plants, trees (like linden, elm, birch): DO NOT use these products on vegetables, fruits, or berries. Hi Yield 38+ and Tempo. There’s home defense products labeled for Japanese beetle adults but they don’t mention they can be applied to trees or shrubs.

2. Vegetables, fruits, ornamentals, shrubs, trees: BioAdvanced Rose and Flower Insect Killer, BioAdvanced Tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer, BioAdvanced Vegetable and Garden Insect Spray, Eight, Spectracide Acre Plus Triazicide Insect Killer, Hi-Yield Lawn/Garden/Pet/Livestock Insect Control, Sevin, Ortho BugClear, and Ortho Bug B Gone.

Many of the conventional insecticide products contain pyrethroids such as bifenthrin or permethrin. Thus, there are also products that just say ‘bifenthrin’ or ‘permethrin’ that can also be purchased. Be sure to read the label as some have restrictions such as “can’t be applied to apples” while others can.

JenREES 7/3/22

Hope everyone has a safe and wonderful 4th! Some food safety tips from our Food and Nutrition educators: hot days above 90F means we need to keep warm foods 140F or warmer. Perishable food should stay in the fridge or on ice before and after eating. Leave perishable food out an hour or less in hot weather. For more picnic and bbq tips, check out https://bit.ly/3xjYWwz.

ET and GDD: Also praying for rain; pics of drought monitor map at my blog. Our CropWatch GDD and ET resources if you don’t have your own ET gage are at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/gdd-etdata.  

From CropWatch: The forages team shared more detail on summer annual forage options at: https://go.unl.edu/7z5p. A team of Extension and Industry professionals led by Dr. Amit Jhala shared info. regarding herbicide options for soybean after the June 30 RUP dicamba restriction:  https://go.unl.edu/2i5a.  

Hail Damaged Trees: Evergreen trees have rapidly turned brown on the hail-damaged sides of trees the past 7-10 days. We don’t recommend applying anything to them; just water them to help them with healing. Next spring, they may be more sensitive to fungal disease and insects. Sarah Browning, Extension horticulture educator shares, “Hailstone damage to a tree’s vascular system limits its ability to move water up from the roots and into the secondary branches and leaves. Movement of nutrients throughout the tree is also reduced. Over the next few years, previously healthy vigorous trees will produce callus tissue to seal off bark wounds and re-establish vascular function. Until then, they have a reduced ability to move water and cope with dry conditions….In most cases, homeowners should take a “wait and see” attitude. Trees and shrubs should be kept well-watered throughout summer and fall to avoid drought stress. Keep plants well mulched to prevent secondary injury from mowers and string trimmers.”

Japanese Beetles: The adult beetles are ½” in length with metallic green heads and white ‘tufts’ of hair that look like spots on the abdomen. Don’t use Japanese beetle traps! Research shows they attract beetles to the landscape.

Organic control options: Wait till 7-9 p.m. then knock beetles off plants into a bucket of soapy water to drown them. This method takes diligence but is effective. You can also spray trees with water to knock them down to the ground and then drown in soapy water. Neem and Pyola are organic options that will protect for 3-7 days. Applying these products once per week can be effective as a repellent. Bt provides 7 days protection and is safe for bees.

Conventional control options: Japanese beetles impact flowering plants that other pollinators visit. Avoid spraying insecticides on windy days or when pollinators are present (best to spray late in day near dusk) and follow label instructions and harvest intervals (for cherries, plums, vegetables, etc.). Chlorantraniliprole (Acelepryn®) provides two to four weeks protection and is low risk to bees. Pyrethroids, including bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, lambda cyhalothrin, and permethrin, last about two to three weeks. Carbaryl (Sevin) or acephate will provide one to two weeks’ protection. Pyrethroids, carbaryl, and acephate are toxic to bees and other pollinators.

Corn and Soybean Thresholds: Soybean thresholds are 20% defoliation in the reproductive stages. In talking with Dr. Bob Wright, Extension Entomologist, we’re going with a 30% defoliation threshold for corn prior to tassel (same as soybean prior to flowering). Tasseled corn threshold: three or more Japanese beetles per ear, silks have been clipped to less than ½ inch, AND pollination is less than 50% complete. Pyrethroids are very effective against beetles. If one is concerned about flaring spidermites, a product like bifenthrin can be used.


Japanese beetle feeds on 300 different plant species preferring ones like roses, lindens, birch, and fruit trees. Early on, they can be managed by knocking them off plants in the evening and drowning in soapy water.


Concerning. Drought monitor maps: June 30, 2022 on the left compared to June 26, 2012 on the right.

JenREES 6/26/22

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.

These lilies were just starting to open in all their glory the night of June 14th. I cut one stalk for the Extension Office and thought I took a pic, but hadn’t. That stalk has lasted these several weeks. I saw this one flower blooming on a battered stalk this week (the first of anything blooming in my gardens since the storm) and just smiled. It’s battered and bruised from the hail and wind but it’s beauty from ashes.
“…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3 KJV
This is one of my favorite Bible verses and promises from God in the midst of hard things and I like this translation of it since it specifically says ‘beauty from ashes’. May we all look for the beauty in the midst of the ashes around us this week. And, I believe God is also desirous of creating beauty from ashes in all of our lives!

Hail Damage Update

Can also see area impacted by wildfires earlier this year in Cambridge area.

Well, the June 14th hailstorm was something we hope to never again experience. The National Weather Service in Hastings shared a video of satellite imagery showing lack of vegetation that is incredibly insightful:  https://twitter.com/NWSHastings/status/1538243511396360192. Feel for all who had damage to homes, animals, crops, buildings, bins, pivots, trees, gardens. For landscape info, check out the following from Backyard Farmer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIeA731LQg8&t=1s. Last week’s crop hailstorm webinar recording is at: https://go.unl.edu/pe9q.

I had hoped to get a blog post out much sooner. Thank you to all who called and I truly hope something from these field visits and calls has helped. I realize a lot of replant is currently occurring and grateful for the weather for that. While replanting stinks, perhaps it’s providing a small bit of healing for the eternal optimists that so many of us in ag are? Several asked how people are destroying the old corn crop. Depending on tillage system, they have used shredding, root slicers, tillage all followed by residue removers during planting (because I’m seeing tillers growing from old stumps). Others plan to plant between the rows and then cultivate the old row out. Can chemically terminate with gramoxone. Some are using clethodim if going to soybean.

Time right now is critical with replant decision making. Some thoughts for those who need to wait for crop insurance adjusters and fields to dry:

  • Start upright pivots, check control boxes, sprinklers, plastic lines to endguns, etc. Availability of parts may influence corn seeding rates. Document all damages for insurance.
  • For potential replant situations where you don’t wish to plant corn due to loss of bins or inability to dry corn, depending on what you’re interested in, consider hand planting some soybean, milo, or cover crop seed into your corn fields at different depths. This will provide an idea of survival depending on corn herbicide used. Ultimately, make a plan A and B for your situation.

Corn: Hail damage recovery has varied. From June 7th storm, there was unevenness in plants that recovered. Saw bacterial top rot setting into plants even in several V3-V4 damaged fields. Plants may look better from the road but inside the field tells the story. June 14th storms: plants are severely bruised. Seeing hail stones causing deep bruising and rot both above and below the growing point. Often plants snap when barely touched. Fields less impacted are gaining new growth and will look better next week. Keep watching the fields with small plants that were pummeled into the ground and seed fields. My blog at jenreesources.com has recovery photos and a chart to help with replant decisions and potential yield due to reduced stands. Area Pioneer agronomists also made a video suggesting for every 1000 ‘healthier’ plants, can consider 10 bu/ac …so 15,000 plants could result in around 150 bu/ac: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viOwFqi3FDU.

Soybean: Normally, soybean is so resilient with all the growing points. The xylem and phloem in beans are on the outside of the stem, so the hail pummeling the stems and tops impacted that transport and many plants just turned white/gray and died. For replanting beans, would recommend using a fungicide seed treatment; have seen phytophthora root rot in replant beans in the past. You don’t need other seed treatments. Seeding rates: If have surviving plants, can slot some in at a reduced rate between rows or angle depending on row spacing. If you don’t, go with original rate or increase 10%. Regarding maturity, we at several universities say to use Group 2’s at this date. Indeterminate beans continue to produce nodes, leaves, flowers till R5 regardless of maturity group and beans are daylength sensitive.

I truly wish everyone the best with decisions. This amount of loss takes a huge toll whether or not we are honest in admitting that to ourselves. I hear and sense the stress with each conversation. Each situation is unique in damages received, crop insurance taken, amount of grain forward contracted, and other life things occurring. Some are walking outside to devastation each day. Some had multiple events occur this year. You may be in crisis mode right now just trying to patch things up and get new crops planted. I don’t know what is helpful for you. What I know for me is that my faith in God, my belief that He is in control, and His continued faithfulness to me is what has sustained me. Tears can be healing. Just would encourage you to also find a healthy way to take care of yourself such as talking to a trusted friend, prayer, journaling, exercise, or participating in a hobby. This is a great resource on taking time to listen and talk: https://go.unl.edu/3daw.

*End of column for newspapers.


Photo credit: YouVersion Bible App

This chart shows the relative corn yield potential compared to the original stand if the stand is reduced based on planting date. It provides an idea anyway assuming no additional storms or other issues.
This chart is a soybean replant decision aid. It shows soybean can greatly compensate for reduced populations but one also needs to consider weed control and gaps.
These types of fields are fairly common and each was a field by field assessment regarding replant all, a portion, or leave.
Some plants are showing regrowth but sometimes also seeing discoloration in the whorl. Splitting open the plant, can see bacterial top rot moving towards the growing point which will kill this plant. Also notice the bruising from hailstones.
This is a from a V10-V11 field that from the road and walking into it looks green with new regrowth and looks like there’s 25-27K plants. However, the stems were absolutely pummeled. Every stem slit open had very deep bruising like this that’s allowing bacterial stalk rot to set in.

Different soybean fields. I keep failing to take pictures of soybeans. Mostly the fields look like the first pic and are clear-cut that they had too much stem damage and are dead. Or, they are obtaining new growth and look much better. Some are just super slow to get much growth, though, and for those fields, some growers are slotting some in from the standpoint of weed control. Those with lighter damage are seeing rapid new growth where petioles meet the stems (taller pic).

Showing these charts below again if helpful. We’d recommend 100 day or less maturities at this point.

York Ne Data
Avg. 28F frost Oct. 21
Relative Maturity80859095100105110
Planting DateGDD to R61917203821592280240125212642
June 15Sept. 5Sept. 11Sept. 19Sept. 28Oct. 8Oct. 23******
June 20Sept. 11Sept. 18Sept. 27Oct. 7Oct. 22*********
June 25Sept. 18Sept. 27Oct. 7Oct. 21*********
June 30Sept. 27Oct. 7Oct. 21************
***Date is beyond average 28F frost event of Oct. 21
Black layer predictions based on historical data for York County, NE from 1981-2021. Average 28F frost date for this site is October 21.
***indicates the date is beyond the average 28F average first frost of October 21.

Clay Center, Ne Data
Avg. 28F frost Oct. 18
Relative Maturity80859095100105110
Planting DateGDD to R61917203821592280240125212642
June 15Sept. 9Sept. 16Sept. 25Oct. 5Oct. 20*********
June 20Sept. 15Sept. 24Oct. 4Oct. 17*********
June 25Sept. 23Oct. 3Oct. 16************
June 30Oct. 2Oct. 15***************
***Date is beyond average 28F frost event of Oct. 18
Black layer predictions based on historical data for Clay County, NE from 1981-2021. Average 28F frost date for this site is October 18.
***indicates the date is beyond the average 28F average first frost of October 18.

A couple farmers have asked about interseeding cover crops into hail damaged fields for weed control. One farmer tried this with us in 2021 in the Hordville area after a late June hailstorm. He had 10-13K stand left with deep hail bruising that was deferred by insurance and was interested in forage for grazing after harvest. We interseeded a 10-13 multispecies cover crop mix that we use in our interseeding fields. Buckwheat is the white flowering plant and it germinates the fastest and shades the ground quickly. The cover crop seemed to help hold the ears better from dropping on the ground when stalks started breaking from bruising and it also to the line appeared greener where the cover crop was. It also to the line made a huge difference in the palmer and waterhemp pressure in the field. The mix held/provided 200 lb/ac nitrogen as well via biomass samples collected pre-harvest. However, the producer felt this specific mix would’ve been better used as silage for him.
What may be more helpful for producers interested in using interseeding to reduce weeds would be to seed low-growing cover crops. What you see here is purple top turnip, radish, flax, yellow sweetclover, hairy vetch, red ripper cowpea, annual ryegrass, and buckwheat. Of these seen here, I’d say to use forage collards, radishes/turnips, annual ryegrass to keep the costs down. One could throw in some iron and clay cowpeas just to help cover the ground more and they shouldn’t grow up past the ear nor go to seed like the red rippers will. For those looking for forage and can harvest in earlier October for better grazing, a York Co. grower also add sorghum to the interseeded mix in 2021. He said the AUM he achieved with the interseeded mix in his 10K corn stand (which was part of a test plot from 10-30K), was equivalent to grazing a quarter of cornstalks for a month. Be sure to talk with crop insurance if plan to interseed cover crops. We like drilling to get seed to soil contact vs. broadcast seeding, but realize that may not be feasible for everyone.

JenREES 6/12/22

The storms this past week have resulted in a lot of damage at a difficult and critical time for crop decision making. I’m sorry for all affected and grateful for safety for those who had windows, vehicles, homes and other structures damaged. Last week I wrote a blog post on assessing hail damage at: https://jenreesources.com/2022/06/10/hail-damage-assessment/. It shares photos of things to look for in crops. I will continue to share recovery photos as time progresses on my jenreesources.com blog.

The challenge in sharing blanket information is each field and farm situation will have details to consider that don’t apply to others. Herbicides used and timing, crop insurance, amount of grain marketed, percent of acres impacted, amongst other factors all come into play. I’ve had individual conversations where I’ve shared experiences, especially regarding herbicides and replant considerations, but they’re not things I can write about. There’s a lot of experience and wisdom within the people in this area of the State who helped with and were impacted by the June 2014 storms. If you have stories/experiences you’re willing to share, please share your comments at the end of my blog post. Also, I’d just recommend talking to a variety of people (other farmers, agronomists, seed and chem reps, crop insurance) so you can get different perspectives and determine the wisest plan for your specific situation.

It seems like farming has continued to become more challenging, especially with weather events. It’s just another reminder to me how we’re not in control and how we’re ultimately stewards of everything we’ve been given to do the best we can. We have a long growing season left and storms like this take emotional tolls on everyone involved from farmers to families to those serving farmers with decision making and sales/application. So, I would encourage everyone to stay safe with the upcoming heat, find ways each day to look for positives and keep perspective, take small breaks whenever you can, and keep talking to others. And, for those who keep me accountable to what I write, I’m doing these things too!

After the storm webinar: Thursday, June 16th from Noon-1, a team of us will be presenting a webinar on crop decision making after the hailstorm. If interested, please register here: https://cap.unl.edu/webinars.

Hail damage to landscapes: The biggest thing to remember for trees, lawns, plants in general is to not apply fertilizer or any products to stressed plants. Plants will shoot new growth as long as the growing point wasn’t injured. Damaged vegetation will turn brown and eventually slough off. If you do choose to cut away dead growth, it may be wise to dip your scissors/pruning shears in a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) after each cut to reduce the opportunity for bacterial transmission. For those with rhubarb that was ready to be harvested, you can still cut and use stems that aren’t mushy from rotting at this point (can cut out the most damaged areas of stems with stone damage). The following tips are from UNL’s Backyard Farmer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIeA731LQg8&t=1s.

Estate Planning Workshop Central City June 23: We had a packed house at Seward last winter for this meeting. Sharing this opportunity as several mentioned they’d be willing to drive to listen again to Al Vyhnalek and Tom Fehringer as there’s so much to glean. The info. they present is wise, practical, thought-provoking. So, please share with others this opportunity at the Fairgrounds in Central City from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. It includes a free lunch and please RSVP at: 308-946-3843.

Irrigation scheduling equipment: It’s crazy that this week is mid-June! Here’s a reminder if you haven’t already set out ET gages and/or your irrigation scheduling equipment. And, I realize that some of this has to be delayed depending on replant decisions and/or obtaining new pivots.


Hail Damage Assessment

There’s been a lot of hail damage this past week in Nebraska. It’s always so hard to see the damage, regardless of when the storms come. I’m sorry for those impacted and am grateful for safety as many lost windows in homes too. Various tools are available to show hail storm paths. I grabbed these from ‘Interactive Hail Maps’ to get a better feel for how much of Nebraska has been impacted this week (June 5, 6, 7, 9 2022 shown below).

We are at a critical time right now for making replant decisions with the federal crop replant date next Tuesday. Have looked at a lot of fields the past few days with a range of damages. The following is what I’m doing in assessments right now that I’ve found to be practical for me in the event it can help you. Will also share some tools, what to watch for, and some thoughts based on questions received.

Helpful Resources

What to Do Now

  • Look at fields to see damage extent. Know what growth stage the field was in at time of the storm.
  • Call crop insurance.
  • Call an agronomist or review resources to anticipate what to look for in plant recovery.
  • Flag plants in the field to assess recovery. This greatly aids in learning and has helped me tremendously! Taking a picture now and a week later of the same plants also helps.
  • Wait 5-7 days to assess recovery. I realize the waiting is perhaps the hardest when we’re up against deadlines, but we need time to see what will happen with plant recovery.
  • Consider options on what to do if the crop is totaled or not including herbicides applied, crop rotation restrictions, marketing and crop insurance, weed control going forward, etc.

Growth Staging Corn

It’s important to know the growth stage at the time of the storm. You may have an idea on the growth stage from crop scouting reports. You can also do this yourself by finding the tallest plant standing in an area and dig it up. What I describe here is the agronomic method of counting collars and nodes which is different from the leaf method that crop insurance will use. Slice open the plant to view the growing point. Every leaf on a corn plant is attached to a node. There’s 4 nodes where the first 4 leaves attach in a triangle at the base of the plant. Then there’s a small gap and you will see a line that marks node 5 followed by a larger gap and a line that marks node 6. Because of the cooler soil temps this year, I’m finding smaller gaps between nodes 4 to 5 and 5 to 6 (nodes are closer together). Pulling collard leaves back, they will snap off at whichever nodes they are attached to (which can help you in determining the more advanced growth stages from 6 to 8 leaves). We had plants that ranged from emergence to V8 from what I’ve seen thus far. We say the growing point doesn’t come above ground till typically V5-V6. For corn that was less than V6 and cut off to stumps or at ground level, there’s potential for it to come back. I actually was seeing new growth today (2 days post-hail) on plants that were cut off at ground level. However, I will also say that’s not a guarantee as it all depends on how bacterial rots set in.

Stand Assessments for Corn

Next I take stand assessments by counting 1/1000th of an acre. I actually feel corn plants at the base as I count to see if they feel firm (likely to survive) or mushy (not likely) and only count plants which appear most likely to survive. I also keep track of which ones are questionable. In the previous paragraph I mentioned slicing a plant open to find the growing point. For these assessments, I use my finger to measure on that plant where the growing point is. Then for the stumps that are in a row, I use my finger to measure each stump of a plant to get a feel if the growing point may be above or below what’s left of the stump. If questionable, I don’t count it. It’s not perfect since slicing open the plant is always best, but it provides an idea for right now anyway. Some plants have quite a bit of hail damage to stems and we will have to see how far the damage penetrates for stalk rot. There’s some fields from the road that I didn’t think looked that bad until I got in them and realized how many were wrapped or where they were cut off. I’ve gotten between 15-26K for stands thus far with usually 3-6 questionable plants that weren’t counted. There are some fields that were near completely cut off below the growing point.

What to expect for corn

I know we’re tired of wind, but wind and sun are helpful right now. Today was so much better assessing plants as the wind has helped senesce dead parts of plants and started the process of tearing off bent whorls so the new growth can push through. For bent whorls that remain bent and don’t slough off, the new growth stays wrapped and those plants won’t survive. Watch stumps for new growth (depending on where the growing point may have been). Also watch stumps in particular to see if bacterial rot sets in. Even though the growing point is below ground, I’m unsure about some of the V2-V4 corn that was snapped off by washing rain and debris as to whether or not those plants will come back due to rot setting in. I just don’t know and that’s why we wait.

You can flag plants and also open up a few plants with hail damaged stems to see how deeply the stones penetrated the stalk tissue. I was seeing bacterial stalk rot already setting in today (2 days post-hail), which isn’t good, but something to be aware of. I’m also seeing discolored crowns at base of plants in some fields when they’re split open. Unsure why that is but ultimately, what’s more critical is that the growing point of the plant is healthy (white/cream color and firm, not brown and mushy).

What to expect for soybean

I haven’t taken any stand counts for soybean. I’ve only seen maybe two fields that may need replant at this point (from my perspective). Soybeans are so incredible at compensating! Today was seeing 3-5 growing points emerging on some of these sticks. They key to survival is if the plant was cut above or below the cotyledons. What I’m seeing for farmers who planted soybeans April 19-25, the cotyledons are close to the ground because of the cooler soil temps, which is good because there’s growing points lower on the sticks of stems that are left. In a week, these beans will look a lot different. I know people want to write them off now, but it’s incredible what they will do with some sunshine and 7-10 days. However, in saying that, each field is a field by field assessment. UNL and University of Wisconsin recommend leaving stands of 50,000 plants/ac. The bigger issue I realize at this point is weed control since early beans were V4-V5 and bushing nicely prior to this storm. Check out this cool app from University of Wisconsin on replanting bean decisions: Bean Cam Soybean Replant App.

Replanting Corn

Regarding herbicide applied and crop replant, ultimately, view the label for any replant and/or rotation restrictions (or 2022 Weed Guide starting on page 198). And, it’s good to have conversations with area chemical reps for specific questions on what may or may not be safe to try.

The corn replant decision is hard. It’s obviously an economical one, but there’s various slants to consider on it, especially in regards to crop insurance and how much a crop has been marketed. Each field will need to be assessed. I know some are hoping for crop insurance to total fields, but I really don’t know if they will total stands of 15-20K plants or not. Again, these are field by field decisions. If the field is totaled, depending on herbicides, replanting to corn, milo, and soybean may be options. A few have been interested in forages and that is really a conversation about your goals and how the forage will be harvested.

For those wanting to plant corn, we can’t predict when a fall frost will occur each year. What we can do is look at historical trends to get an idea on maturities to plant for different dates that hopefully will mature prior to frost. The following is based on data at: https://hprcc.unl.edu/agroclimate/gdd.php. For those located in a different part of the State, select your location on the map at the above web link. Then input the planting date and relative maturity you’re considering and see where it aligns with the 28F historical frost date. Below are charts I created for York and Clay Counties. Additional information on corn hybrid maturities and late planting can be found here: https://go.unl.edu/gnas.

York Ne Data
Avg. 28F frost Oct. 21
Relative Maturity80859095100105110
Planting DateGDD to R61917203821592280240125212642
June 15Sept. 5Sept. 11Sept. 19Sept. 28Oct. 8Oct. 23******
June 20Sept. 11Sept. 18Sept. 27Oct. 7Oct. 22*********
June 25Sept. 18Sept. 27Oct. 7Oct. 21*********
June 30Sept. 27Oct. 7Oct. 21************
***Date is beyond average 28F frost event of Oct. 21
Black layer predictions based on historical data for York County, NE from 1981-2021. Average 28F frost date for this site is October 21.
***indicates the date is beyond the average 28F average first frost of October 21.

Clay Center, Ne Data
Avg. 28F frost Oct. 18
Relative Maturity80859095100105110
Planting DateGDD to R61917203821592280240125212642
June 15Sept. 9Sept. 16Sept. 25Oct. 5Oct. 20*********
June 20Sept. 15Sept. 24Oct. 4Oct. 17*********
June 25Sept. 23Oct. 3Oct. 16************
June 30Oct. 2Oct. 15***************
***Date is beyond average 28F frost event of Oct. 18
Black layer predictions based on historical data for Clay County, NE from 1981-2021. Average 28F frost date for this site is October 18.
***indicates the date is beyond the average 28F average first frost of October 18.

Replanting Soybean

If changing from corn to soybean in the replant decision, maybe it’d be wise to poke some soybeans in the ground now just to see how they fare with the herbicide that’s been applied? And maybe you try poking them in at different depths? I know I normally recommend planting deeper, but right now I’m suggesting shallower…like 1″…to hopefully be above any herbicide band that moved into the soil (if planting into a corn field) and to hopefully get the beans out of the ground quicker. The following article shares considerations for soybean when planting mid-June: https://go.unl.edu/20ry. In summary of it, for maturities, UNL recommends to stick with as similar maturity as possible till around June 15 and then consider switching to 0.5-1.0 maturity group less. I’m hearing from many seed dealers that beans are in short supply, so talk with your seed rep if you’re thinking about seeding beans at this point. Different thoughts on row spacing. Drilling or 15″ can close canopy sooner but we saw problems with white mold last year in the area and 30″ also allows for cultivation as a weed control option with application date restrictions on herbicide-tolerant bean traits. Wider rows should hopefully close canopy unless the beans get hit with off-target herbicide. Seeding rates are also debated. Many sources recommend to increase them by 10% after early June. I can appreciate the thought behind that and honestly don’t have a preference either way. In my experience with seeding rates, I didn’t see a difference in canopy closure timing with 90K to 180K, but my experiences have been with early April-May plantings.

Products

There’s also a number of thoughts regarding products. We don’t have research on the nutrient side for those asking about applying various products. I do feel sulfur has some healing properties but have no research to share.

Regarding fungicides, we don’t recommend them from the standpoint that hail doesn’t create fungal diseases. At some point, they could be helpful to aid in stalk strength. However, if you’re considering this in the next few weeks, consider proving it to yourselves with on-farm research this year so we do have data for the future. All you do is spray fungicide in enough width so two 2 combine passes can be obtained. Then skip an area for at least 2 combine passes. Then treat again and repeat across the field. Fungicide Protocol for Hailed Corn and Soybean. Please let me know if you’re interested in this!

Timing of fungicide app: ISU did a study to simulate hail damaged corn at tassel stage within an average of 3 or 8 days post-hail. They didn’t find the timing to provide any yield effects. They also didn’t find a statistical yield increase (90% confidence level) in fungicide application to hail damaged plants vs those which weren’t hailed although they also reported a numerical increase in 12 of the 20 fields. They also interestingly found that hail damaged crops had less foliar disease than non-hail damaged crops in their 3 year simulated hail-damage study.

For herbicide application, some labels recommend waiting 2-3 days after a crop damage event. Ultimately, to be on the safe side, it would be wise to wait for new regrowth on both the crop and the weeds.

Hopefully some of this helps as you assess your hail damage situation. It can be emotionally draining to look at all the damage, but would encourage you to look for all the small positives you can find. Getting away to enjoy a hobby, talking to another person, relying on one’s faith, and keeping a greater perspective helps. We do have resources at our Rural Wellness website at: https://ruralwellness.unl.edu/. Hang in there and wishing you the best with your decisions! Please reach out with any questions or additional information.

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