Crop Update: By the time you read this I truly hope and pray we’ve received some rain for the entire area who receive this! Al Dutcher and I have been somewhat frustrated regarding the drought monitor reacting to short-term precipitation events over long-term trends. We both spoke at a meeting this week where he shared parts of this area have 6-8″ deficits dating back to the beginning of our water year (October 1). The soil moisture sensor ground-truthing I’ve been doing with area farmers shows that the larger rains only helped the top two feet of the profile and rains have been spotty since. I think the driest portion of the area seems to be from Lawrence to Bladen south. Drought monitor did put a portion of our area back into ‘abnormally dry’ again and you can see the updated soil moisture readings for the region at http://jenreesources.com.
We were blessed with cooler temperatures which helped slow the crop progression. The heat was pushing crops along quickly which can negatively impact yields as we discussed in a recent CropWatch article. The cooler temps with humidity and leaf wetness also favored gray leaf spot, though, and I’ve seen it move up to a leaf below the ear in several fields in several counties this past week. Every field situation may differ so it’s important to check your specific fields.
Soybean Management Field Days: It’s hard to believe but this is the 20th year of Soybean Management Field Days! They will be held August 7-10 at four locations across the State beginning with 9 a.m. registration and concluding at 2:30 p.m.:
Kenesaw — Tuesday, Aug. 7, Dean Jacobitz Farm
Albion — Wednesday, Aug. 8, John and Mike Frey Farm
Hartington — Thursday, Aug. 9, Ed Lammers Farm
Cedar Bluffs — Friday, Aug. 10, Ray Jr. and Kevin Kucera
- Marketing, Risk Management and Farm Policy
- Weed Management: Cover Crops and Weed Control, Conventional vs. Traited, Soybean Variety Production
- Cover Crops: Managing Soybean Insects and Pathogens
- Cover Crops and Soybean Production Irrigation Management, Soil Fertility, and Cover Crop Research
Horticulture Update: It’s been a tough year for garden produce! The heat has affected flower set, pollination, and fruit production on many types of plants. I’ve also received many questions about tomato leaves curling. Leaf curling can be due to many things such as water stress, virus, and herbicides. Much of what I’m seeing now is water stress-related where uneven watering is occurring or because of the amount of leaves present (especially on heirloom plants) and the plant’s inability to keep up with transpiration. Have also received questions on bumpy tomato stems. The ‘bumps’ are actually adventitious roots (also known as tomato stem primordia) where if they touch the soil they’d form roots. Above ground, they are just these bumps and are present when we have high humidity or overwatering. These conditions are also being favored by the heavier one-time rain events that have been received during the growing season this year.
Squash vine borers causing tunneling in crown and vines of zucchini plants.
Also lots of questions this week regarding cucumber, squash, and melon vines dying! There’s a number of potential culprits. Most affected zucchini (including mine) and pumpkins contain squash vine borers. The female moth lays eggs at the base of plants where the eggs will hatch and the caterpillars will bore into the stem. The borer is white or cream colored with a brown head and can get to be 1″ long. They tend to prefer squash over melons and cucumbers. So what can you do now? Kathleen Cue, Extension Educator in Dodge County shares “If plants look good but holes in the stem indicate infestation, a knife can be used to cut with the grain of the stalk to find the borers. Use the point of the knife to pierce them and don’t be surprised if more than one borer is found in a stem. Once the borers are removed, cover the cut area with soil to encourage new roots higher up on the stem. Champion pumpkin growers will place soil over many nodes (the place where leaves emerge from the stem) along the length of vines to encourage lots of rooting. This gives plants greater resiliency if the squash vine borer has destroyed the crown of the plant.” So, if you’re still desiring more squash and pumpkins, that’s one option for you. If your plants are completely destroyed, you can just remove all the dead material to remove any actively feeding caterpillars as well. For next year, make sure to rotate the area where you plant your vine crops. Area master gardeners have shared they put aluminum foil around the stem base of vine crops to keep the borer larvae from penetrating the vines. Another option is to apply insecticides like carbaryl or permethrin around the base of stems. Trapping the adults in June by using yellow-colored containers filled with water can provide an indication when the moths are flying. You can then use floating row covers over the plants to prevent egg laying and remove them once flowering begins to allow pollination to occur. I will discuss other vine crop problems next week.
Reminder of York County Fair this week!
Last night brought much-needed rain and grateful for that! From driving today, also saw some crop damage due to flooding, hail, and greensnap. So sorry for those of you most affected by greensnap and hail!
Last month I focused on counting my blessings-which are many! One has been the wonderful rains we’ve received at critical times of being so dry. The crops overall are beautiful right now regarding overall color and especially soybean weed control! Another blessing has been the opportunity to serve people in several counties the past 2+ years. I’m grateful for the extra time to serve my former area while also getting to know people in my new one! Grateful that relationships can be maintained and built regardless of where a person works or lives! I’m also grateful that we’ve been able to hire an individual who I believe to be a good fit for the Clay County Crops/Water Educator position with accountability region of Nuckolls, Thayer, and Fillmore counties. Michael Sindelar begins this new role on July 2. Michael conducted graduate research at South Central Ag Lab (SCAL) near Clay Center, so he is familiar with the area and with SCAL. His major advisor was Dr. Humberto Blanco, UNL Soil Scientist, and one of their projects was looking at soil impacts on corn residue removal and any impacts of adding cover crops into that system. I asked Michael to provide a brief background so I could introduce him to you.
“Hi, I am Michael Sindelar, the new cropping and water systems educator based out of Clay Center, Nebraska. I was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. However, I was exposed to agriculture at a young age as my father would take me to the family farm located near Richland, Nebraska in Colfax county to “help” with the farm work. I joined the Navy in 2005 and served until 2010. I was a cryptologist collective (CTR) and worked in military intelligence. I was stationed out of Hawaii for my enlistment. I had the opportunity to see parts of the pacific and spent one year deployed in Afghanistan where I collected intelligence and conducted combat operations. After having fun for a couple of years I got my act together and earned a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy from the University of Nebraska. This spring I completed my master’s degree in Agronomy with a specialization in soil and water science from the University of Nebraska. I spent most of my master’s degree studying how changes in soil management affect soil water storage, recharge, and heat as storage and transfer through the soil. I look forward to starting my new position on Monday. I sign most of my emails using V/R which is a carryover from the military meaning very respectfully.”
There will still be a transition time of various projects currently underway with July 4 this week and Clay County Fair the next. Please be sure to introduce yourself to Michael when you see him!
When I transitioned to York/Seward a few years ago, I wrote a column entitled “Blessed”. I’ve been blessed to serve the people of Clay/Nuckolls/Thayer/Fillmore Counties a few extra years. And, I will always be grateful for relationships built and the opportunity you gave me entrusting me to help you with diagnosis and farming decisions! I hope you will also give Michael that same opportunity as he begins in this new role!
Tree Branches: Many of us had tree branches down again after the winds. After the last event, a few farmers mentioned to me that it’s frustrating when town people dump their branches in their farm ditches leaving the farmers to pick them up. So, while it’s only common sense and respectful to not do this, I said I’d mention to please not do this (although I’m uncertain if they would be reading my column)!
Glyphosate Resistant Palmer Amaranth Field Day: View field demonstrations and hear from experts at the Glyphosate-Resistant Palmer Amaranth Management Field Day Wednesday, July 11 at Carleton. The event is free and will be held from 8:30 a.m. (Registration) with program from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Keynote speaker will be Aaron Hager, associate professor and Extension weed scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He will speak on the biology of Palmer amaranth and current research on its control in corn and soybean, including in new technologies such as Xtend and Enlist soybeans. Populations of Palmer amaranth in Nebraska have been found resistant to glyphosate, atrazine, HPPD, and/or ALS herbicides, said Amit Jhala, field day coordinator and Nebraska Extension weed specialist. Demonstrations include:
- How row spacing and herbicide programs can affect glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth control in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybean;
- Management of Palmer amaranth in: Balance GT/Liberty Link Soybean (resistant to isoxaflutole and glufosinate) and Enlist E3 Soybean (resistant to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate, and glufosinate;
- Critical period of Palmer amaranth removal affected by residual herbicides in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybean.
These in-field demonstrations and research projects were funded by a grant from the Nebraska Soybean Board. Register online at http://agronomy.unl.edu/palmer to ensure appropriate meals and tour rides. Three Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) credits will be available for attending. If there are questions about registering, please call 402-472-5656. Directions: From Geneva go south on Hwy 81 for 14.6 miles. Turn west onto Hwy 4 and go 5.3 miles. The field day will be on the south side of Hwy 4 between C Street and Renwick Street in Carleton. (GPS: 40°18’24.7”N 97°40’29.0”W). Partial funding for this field day was provided by the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff and Nebraska Extension.
This year I was counting my blessings as we made it through May with no tornadoes in Clay County and no Memorial Day storms! Yet history seems to repeat itself on days. Last year, hail went through the counties north of us on June 3. This year, hail hit us on June 3rd….an estimated 30% of Clay County. Please also see the resources listed at the end of this post for more specific information regarding decision-making.
For more information on hail and replant decisions, please see: