Blog Archives

Center Pivot Irrigation Short-Course

Hope to see you in Clay Center on February 11 for this upcoming meeting!
(Please click on the picture to enlarge the text.)

Center Pivot Management Short Course

Apps and Mobile Sites for Mobile Devices on the Farm

It didn’t take long for the phrase “there’s an app for that” to be seen and heard regularly in the phone and mobile deviceUNL Extension Educator Gary Zoubek shares app information via his iPad during lunch at the Nebraska Technologies Association Conference world.  Today, there are many apps and mobile websites that can be fantastic tools for producers to use in decision-making.  University of Nebraska Extension has developed several mobile apps to take a look at and be sure to visit our site often to learn of additional new apps.  

In addition to our Extension Apps, Dennis Kahl, UNL Extension Educator, and I have also compiled a list of a few mobile apps that we think could be useful to farmers yet this year as they get closer to harvest, but also for next year to test out and see if they will indeed help them do work quicker and make decisions more accurately.

Today we are going to highlight a few mobile applications and mobile websites that producers may be using now as they make preparations for fall harvest.

  • UNL CropWater – provides an easy way to estimate soil water status based on Watermark sensors installed at depths of 1, 2, and 3 feet. With these sensor readings, the Crop Water app will estimate the water used as well as what is still available for Nebraska soils.
  • Market Journal –  Television for Ag Business Decisions.  Weekly crop reports, markets, weather and current insect, MJ app from UNL Extension based off Market Journal TV show http://marketjournal.unl.edu disease and harvest issues. It was also listed at Agriculture.com’s #1 ag app for 2013.
  • RealAgriculture – focuses on the issues that are impacting agriculture.  The site is focused on getting farmers the opinions on issues so that you not only get the news but the insight into what the news means in the production business.
  • DTN/PF – The Progressive Farmer – provides market data, link charts to market data for single, seamless view of how the latest prices correlate with current market trends.
  • Farm Progress – Keep up on local ag news, grain and livestock markets, enhanced weather and blogs as well as Nebraska Farmer magazine.
  • Husker Harvest Days Show – Maximize your time at Husker Harvest Days with this application that includes exhibitor and category lists, show maps and other tools to help you maximize your time at the show.
  • Ag PhD Harvest Loss Calculator – Allows farmers to estimate yield loss before and during harvest by recording the number of individual corn, soybean, wheat, sorghum, barley or oat seeds found on the ground in a square foot.
  • Combine Performance Optimizer by John Deere – Help operators adjust and set the critical settings for next year’s harvest of small and large grain crops to improve machine performance.
  • Calibrate My Sprayer – Aid in the proper calibration of spraying equipment.
  • In addition to the apps listed above, Crop Life featured a story of the Top 13 Mobile Ag Apps for 2013 and Agriculture.com has a list of mobile apps.  Take a look at these as well.

With wireless technology available in most areas of the state, we utilize Verizon Wireless with our mobile devices in the field and in our communities to update various social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs.  Mobile access has allowed University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension to provide current information and situations in the field at all times.  We encourage producers to subscribe to various resources including:

Special thanks to Dennis Kahl as a Guest blog contributor to this post!

Crop Update 6-20-13

The sun has been welcomed and crops are rapidly growing in South Central Nebraska!  Corn right now is between V6-V8 (6-8 leaf) for the most part.  Quite a few farmers were side-dressing and Corn that's been hilled in south-central Nebraska.hilling corn the past two weeks.  It never fails that corn looks a little stressed after this as moisture is released from the soil and roots aren’t quite down to deeper moisture.

Installing watermark sensors for irrigation scheduling, we’re finding good moisture to 3 feet in all fields in the area.  The driest fields are those which were converted from pasture last year and we want to be watching the third foot especially in those fields.  Pivots are running in some fields because corn looks stressed, but there’s plenty of moisture in the soil based on the watermark sensor readings I’m receiving for the entire area.  So we would recommend to allow your crops to continue to root down to uptake deeper moisture and nitrogen.

The last few weeks we observed many patterns from fertilizer applications in fields but as corn and root systems are developing, they are growing out of it.  We’ve also observed some rapid growth syndrome in plants.  This can result from the quick transition we had from cooler temperatures to warmer temperatures, which leads to rapid leaf growth faster than they can emerge from the whorl.  Plants may have some twisted whorls and/or lighter discoloration of theseOn-farm Research Cooperators, Dennis and Rod Valentine, get ready to spray their corn plots with a sugar/water solution.  Their study is to determine the effect of applying sugar to corn on yield and economics.  leaves, but they will green up upon unfurling and receiving sunlight.  This shouldn’t affect yield.

Damping off has been a problem in areas where we had water ponded or saturated conditions for periods of time.  We’ve also observed some uneven emergence in various fields from potentially a combination of factors including some cold shock to germinating seedlings.

We began applying sugar to our on-farm research sugar vs. check studies in corn.  We will continue to monitor disease and insect pressure in these plots and determine percent stalk rot and yield at the end of the season.

Leaf and stripe rust can be observed in wheat fields in the area and wheat is beginning to turn.  We had some problems with wheat streak mosaic virus in the area again affecting producers’ neighboring fields when volunteer wheat wasn’t killed last fall.  Alfalfa is beginning to regrow after first cutting and we’re encouraging producers to look for alfalfa weevils.  All our crops could really use a nice slow rain right now!

Preparing Irrigation Scheduling Equipment

It’s wonderful receiving the rain we did, seeing how quickly planting progress came along, and how quickly corn is popping out of the Gary Zoubek, UNL Extension shows a producer how to install and use an ET gage.ground!  Being mid-May, it’s time to get our Evapotranspiration (ET) gages out.  A reminder to only use distilled water in the gages, make sure to fill up the ceramic top portion of the gage before inserting the stopper, and gently dust off the ceramic top and replace the white membrane and green canvas cover.  We recommend replacing those membranes and covers each year so if you need a new one, please let the Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) or me know and we’ll get you a new one!  For those of you recording ET information online, please be sure to do so consistently each week to help your neighbors and crop consultants.

Early after crop emergence is the best time to install watermark sensors.  For those of you with watermark sensors, read them to ensure they read 199 kpa (dry).  Then “prime” them first by soaking them for 24 hours in water to ensure all the air bubbles have been released.  The sensors should have a reading of 10 kpa or below to be considered good.  If they read higher than that, either continue soaking them another 24 hours and read them again, or plan that they no longer are reading correctly and replace them with others from the NRDs.  Remember after soaking sensors that water moves up into the PVC pipe via capillary action, so be sure to dump the water out of the pipe Brandy VanDeWalle, UNL Extension, shows a producer  how to read watermark sensors after installation.as well.

When installing the sensors, be sure to install them wet, drain excess water, and look for areas that are not compacted, avoid tractor wheel tracks, and look for even spacing of plants.  Carefully install without breaking off any plants (thus easier when plants are small!).  It’s also important not to install sensors into extremely wet fields.  What we have found is that a thin soil layer can cover the sensor when pushing it into the soil of very wet fields.  When that soil layer dries, it can provide a reading of 199 saying the sensor is dry when it truly isn’t.  If this happens to you, simply remove the sensor, rewet for one minute and re-install.  It should be acclimated to field conditions within 48 hours.  If you have any questions regarding the installation process, please let the NRDs or your local Extension Educator know.  You can also view videos of the installation process and receive additional information to answer your questions.

On-farm Research

Wow, I’m sorry I haven’t published much the past two months!  Much has happened though as we’re in the middle of winter Extension ag programming season!  I love this time of year seeing farmers and ag industry reps-and just chatting about what happened last year and speculating about the upcoming season.  

Many of you are also attending numerous meetings.  You’re gathering information regarding products and production practices.  You may be wondering “Will this work on my farm?”  Why not go a step further and see for yourself?  On-farm research is a great way to test these questions for yourself using your own equipment in your own fields!

UNL Extension has partnered with the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers to form the Nebraska On-farm Research Network.  There are three main studies we are conducting state-wide:  corn population, corn nutrient, and corn irrigation studies…but we are open to helping you design a valid research experiment for your field to test what you would like-and it can be for a crop other than corn.

We have some upcoming opportunities for you to learn more.  On February 11 and February 12 from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at UNL’s Ag Research and Development Center near Mead and the York Co. Fairgrounds in York respectively, growers who conducted on-farm research in 2012 will be sharing their results; you can also learn more about conducting on-farm research in your own field.  There is no charge for the meetings courtesy of the Farm Credit Services of America but we do need an RSVP for meal count and handouts.  Please RSVP by calling (402)624-8030 for ARDC or (402)362-5508 for the program in York.  I hope to see you at these meetings as well!

On-farm Research Meetings

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