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JenREES 4-7-19

Reflecting on conversations the past week, I think of the challenges those dealing with disaster and cleanup continue to face, the perhaps blessing in the fact more fall tillage didn’t occur for additional soil loss due to the rainfall and flooding, and the anxiety surrounding this planting season for many.

Waiting is hard for many of us in any aspect of life, yet has its benefits. As we think of this planting season, we can mess up the entire growing season with wrong decisions now through planting. Mudding in fertilizer and seed or tilling when too wet will have lasting effects. This also goes for planting in cold soil temps and/or planting shallow. Economically we also can’t afford these practices either. While I mentioned I’d share research on in-season fertilizer applications this week, I need more time to compile the results. So I’ll share on that and other planting considerations next week.

April 29 Application Deadline for Livestock Losses: On the livestock side, we know livestock losses had occurred due to the severe winter in January/February/March prior to and including the Blizzard/Flood event. Nebraska Extension worked with Farm Service Agency (FSA) to provide additional criteria for consideration of these losses qualifying for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). There is now an extension granted for livestock producers to report livestock losses for LIP till April 29th for any losses that occurred the past three months due to adverse weather event or loss condition. An FSA press release last week shared, “Extended cold combined with above-normal precipitation during the months of January, February and early March created an adverse weather event that has had a significant impact on some livestock producers. We encourage them to reach out to our (FSA) office by the April 29 notice of loss deadline. LIP compensates livestock owners and contract growers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to an adverse weather event. The payment rate is based on 75 percent of the average fair market value of the livestock.” Documentation of loss can include beginning inventory and losses, pictures or video records documenting loss, records of the number and kind of livestock that died, vet records, or other production records.

The following is an excerpt from some information Extension provided: “As we think about February weather data, what created challenges in particular for cow-calf producers was the extended period of wet combined with cold. Most recently, additional challenges have included blizzard conditions and flooding. The draws and sheltered areas that protected calves from the cold and wind are sometimes the same places that were swept away during the most recent flooding events. Even for cattle out in pasture or grazing cornstalks, for many locations, there hasn’t been an opportunity for cattle to truly dry out, prolonging stress. Even for producers that bedded cattle, the bedding would get wet quickly because of saturated soil conditions. Cattle with a wet hair coat are much more susceptible to cold and windchill. A wet hair coat raises the lower critical temperature at which cattle experience cold stress (from a temperature of 19° Fahrenheit to 59° Fahrenheit). This higher critical temperature means that cattle have to use more energy to maintain their body temperature and creates a situation where often the cattle just can’t eat enough to meet their energy requirements. When this occurs, they begin to use body fat reserves. If this happens for an extended period of time, those reserves can become depleted and the animal will not be able to maintain body temperature and will die.”

Wellness in Tough Times Webinar: Farmers and ranchers have many stressors in their lives. A free webinar will be offered April 23 from Noon-1 p.m. CST for farm and ranch families and will provide strategies for dealing with the stress of farming or ranching in today’s difficult economic environment. Perhaps anyone involved with agriculture could benefit from this additional information? The webinar can be accessed at http://go.unl.edu/farmstresswebinar and will be presented by Nebraska Extension Educators Glennis McClure and Brandy VanDeWalle. Participants will learn: How to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress; understand the role stress plays in our lives; and strategies and resources to manage stress. For more information, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu or (402)759-3712. Dates and locations for a separate workshop available to agribusiness professionals and service providers working with farmers and ranchers will be released soon:  Communicating with Farmers Under Stress. For more information on this workshop contact Susan Harris-Broomfield susan.harris@unl.edu

Gardening Expo in York: Join the Upper Big Blue NRD’s Project GROW, Nebraska Extension-York County and Common Ground for a Gardener’s Expo! It will be held on Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m.-Noon at the Killgore Memorial Library in York. Vendors from the Prairie Plains Research Institute, Nebraska Extension, Nebraska Bee Keepers Association, Miller Seed & Supply, Harmony Nursery, and Project GROW will answer questions about gardening, soil health, pollinators and trees. Door prizes include a rain barrel and composting bin. There are also free trees for the first 25 attendees.

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

JenREES 3-31-19

Our climate and weather experts speak of the past 60 days as “Nebraska’s most challenging days of weather”. In their article recapping events that have occurred since January 15th, Tyler Williams and Al Dutcher share, “The recent string of weather events is definitely one for Nebraska’s history books. The key word to that sentence is “string” because it took a combination of patterns and extremes to get us to this point. Beginning in mid-January, the weather pattern shifted from warm and relatively wet to a very cold and highly active pattern that brought snow, rain, and ice. This pattern lasted well into March. This almost 60-day period from mid-January to the March 13-14 storms and resulting flood will leave a lasting mark on Nebraska. Following is a description of how this scenario developed…” I would encourage us to read the full article at: https://go.unl.edu/0gbr.

In spite of more crazy weather last week, March did go out like a lamb! It’s hard to believe this week is April. Grateful for signs of greening up and new life after a long, hard winter such as greening wheat, rye, lawns, and new life with buds swelling on trees and various bulbs poking through the ground! For whatever reason, the first signs of green after winter seem so bright and stark to me, perhaps even more so this year!

And, I also realize with April upon us is the added stress that there’s so much to do yet for this growing season. Perhaps a bright spot is that the moisture has allowed for stalk deterioration which helps with the residue management side. Nutrient management is also on growers’ minds. Charlie Wortmann and Bijesh Mahajan, Extension Soil Fertility Specialists, addressed considerations for nutrient management going into 2019 in a CropWatch article as well this week: https://go.unl.edu/7u7u. I’ll share a few thoughts from it here and would encourage you to check out the full article in the link above. For those with wheat, the following addresses top-dressing winter wheat: https://go.unl.edu/pk6f.

Of concern is broadcast applications of phosphorus that occurred on frozen ground in January and February. It’s not a practice we recommend and unfortunately, this year may have resulted in quite a bit of loss as runoff from fields. The only way to really know where you’re at for phosphorus is to do soil samples and they’re recommending 0-8” depth.

For any nitrogen applied last fall, it’s not anticipated to have been lost yet due to the low soil temperatures. However, because of the full soil profile and gravitational water, there’s concern of nitrogen leaching as soil temperatures warm. In May there will be much potential for leaching of nitrate-N when the soil becomes warm enough to allow ammonium-N conversion to nitrate-N. The soil specialists share “residual soil nitrate-N from 2018 is already subject to leaching and that, on average, approximately 60 lb N/ac of residual soil nitrate-N is available annually in the upper 4-feet of soil.” They also share the potential for denitrification in June if we continue to see water-logged soils. So, I realize this isn’t good news on top of the stress you’re already under. The opportunity I see in all of this is the potential to move more nitrogen in-season. They’re recommending to move at least 50% of nitrogen application in-season. I realize this is a mind-shift and challenging equipment and perhaps cost-wise for some. I also think, perhaps hope, that it allows a future culture shift to more in-season nitrogen applications for future years.

A study from Purdue University found that between flowering and maturity, today’s hybrids can take up from 30% to 40% of their total N, over 50% of their total P and over 40% of their total sulfur. On the nitrogen side alone, hybrids today remove 27% more nitrogen from the soil after flowering than hybrids developed from 1950-1990. Thus, anything we can do to spread out nitrogen applications and aim for more in-season applications, can aid in nutrient uptake, yields, and reduce nutrient loss. Next week I’ll share more of our on-farm research and other research results regarding moving nitrogen in-season.

Also wanted to share that we have several updated articles on our http://flood.unl.edu regarding spreading flooded adulterated grain on ag land, considerations for gardens in areas that were flooded, reclaiming pastures and fields with silt/sand deposits, lease considerations on flooded ground, and fencing considerations. Prior to the flooding/blizzard, livestock producers were struggling with the weather and losing livestock. A team of us put together information for FSA regarding the severe winter as a disaster consideration. While that information was submitted several weeks ago, you can find our article at: https://go.unl.edu/6agf.

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

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