This past week contained many off-target herbicide concern calls. Prior to Memorial Day I had made a note that post-herbicide applications to corn began in much of the area and anticipated phone calls to begin in about two weeks. Most of the conversations this week were more FYI to let me know they had soybean leaf cupping.
Here’s a few things to consider if you are having soybean leaf cupping.
- First, was a post-herbicide application made to your soybeans? If so, check for any potential tank contamination (Check out this CropWatch article: https://go.unl.edu/fnig). If not, check out this publication (http://ipcm.wisc.edu/download/pubsPM/dicamba2004.pdf) to determine if any of the criteria mentioned could possibly be contributing to the problem.
- Determine how old the plant is by asking when the soybean was planted and even better when it emerged. A soybean plant will produce a new node every 3.75 days.
- To determine the timing of damage, I count the total number of nodes on the plant to the last trifoliolate where leaf edges are not touching. The total number of nodes may differ in different parts of the field such as irrigated and non-irrigated especially after herbicide damage and drought-stress (Example 8 nodes irrigated and 6 non-irrigated). Take the number of nodes X 3.75 to get total approximation of plant age. Then count back on the calendar to determine approximate emergence date. If I use 8 nodes in this example X 3.75 = around 30 days ago the plant emerged.
- I then count the number of nodes to the very first damage I see on leaves (Example 3). Multiply this number of nodes times 3.75 and count forward on the calendar from emergence to that date. For instance, in this case, damage occurred around 11 days after emergence.
- I also like to count how many completely unfurled trifoliolates are affected (Example 6 trifoliolates). Take that number and multiply by 3.75 (Example 6 X 3.75= approximately 23 days ago the damage occurred).
- In this example, it worked to count either direction (from emergence and from current date) to determine approximate timing of off-target movement occurring. In all the situations I’ve looked at thus far, the timing goes back to around Memorial Day with post-dicamba herbicide applications applied to corn.
- Auxin-like herbicides affect only cell division. Thus, fully developed leaves (no longer expanding via cell division) are not affected even though they may be expanding by leaf cell enlargement. Only the tips of the newest exposed soybean leaves may experience damage to dicamba as they are still undergoing cell division. Otherwise, it can take 7-14 days for leaf damage from dicamba injury to appear on susceptible plants and damage will occur typically 4-6 nodes. This is because dicamba is also translocated once inside leaf cells. Thus it impacts cell division of the leaf primordia at the stem apex. We may not even see those leaves yet because they are still enclosed in the stem apex tissue.
- In a matter of weeks, affected fields can go from appearing to have minor damage, to looking really bad, to growing out of damage. It looks worst when those affected nodes push upward giving the field a grayish/white cast to it as the leaves become much reduced in size and are tightly cupped. Eventually the leaves will begin to look more normal again in time (as long as a second off-target movement doesn’t occur).
What can you do? Water via irrigation and/or rainfall is the best recovery tool for dicamba damage. Waiting is another. We’re blessed to grow indeterminate soybean in Nebraska which continues to produce nodes and leaves upon flowering which allows our soybean to grow out of damage.
- Wait till harvest to determine any yield impacts if there are areas impacted vs. those which aren’t. Otherwise, field-scale damage is difficult to discern yield impacts.
- You can talk with your neighbors/ag retailers regarding what they sprayed. In our area of the State, it’s often difficult to pinpoint the source of off-target movement with so many applying dicamba products to corn for palmer control often around the same time-frame. Now that post-apps to soybean are also occurring, that may also become a challenge. Of all the fields I visited last year, less than a handful of farmers sought any sort of compensation and those were more often due to tank contamination issues. If you wish to pursue that route, you need to file a complaint with the Nebraska Department of Ag.
- For future dicamba applications, check out these best management tips: https://go.unl.edu/97ok.
- For those of you reading this in a source outside of my blog, I created a video to hopefully be more visual and clear on understanding this method of diagnosing timing. You can check it out at my YouTube site: https://www.youtube.com/user/jenreesources.
Bagworms: It’s June and one of my top questions has been “Have I found bagworms yet?” Well, they’re now feeding and forming new bags on junipers and spruces. What you’re looking for are not the old bags at this point, but very small (fingernail size) new bags that move as the caterpillar is feeding and making the larger bag. This video from Backyard Farmer (https://youtu.be/05A2quj9nO4) does a great job of showing various stages of bagworms and sharing on control methods. Check it out!
Irrigation Scheduling Workshops: Steve Melvin, Extension Educator in Hamilton/Merrick Counties asked I share about upcoming irrigation workshops hosted by UNL and Upper Big Blue NRD. The program will focus on installing the equipment and making irrigation scheduling decisions using the data generated by Watermark sensors. The workshops will be held from Noon-1:30 p.m. on June 25th at the Corner Café, 221 Main St in Stromsburg and also at the same time June 28th at the Hordville Community Building, 110 Main St. The Upper Big Blue NRD will provide the lunch. The first presentation will be Installation of Watermark Sensors and Data Logger presented by Dan Leininger, Water Conservationist with the Upper Big Blue NRD. The second will be Deciding When and How Much Water to Apply Using Watermark Sensor Readings presented by Steve Melvin. The irrigation scheduling strategies presented in Steve’s presentation can be used with any soil water monitoring equipment data. More information is available by calling Steve Melvin at (308) 946-3843 or visiting https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/merrick/.
Grateful March is here! With the warm weather the past few days and geese flying, spring will be here before we know it.
Wheat Stem Maggot Webinar: With that in mind, several with cover crops have asked if we have an update on wheat stem maggot and the timing of termination. If you recall, last year we saw wheat stem maggot move from wheat and rye cover crops into newly emerged corn in some fields where the cover was terminated at or after planting. We’ve had several farmers in the area who have went to the later termination and it seemed to have worked well prior to last year. While I wonder if it was more of a fluke due to a warm February in 2017, Dr. Justin McMechan, Extension Crop Protection Specialist, collected maggots from infested fields and reared them to better understand their life cycle. I asked him to share a webinar on what he’s learned including recommendations and information on insects of cover crops in general. If you’re interested, please join us Wednesday, March 14th from Noon-1 p.m. at the following weblink: https://unl.zoom.us/j/976118766.
Dicamba and 2,4-D: Also received a number of calls last week regarding clarification on training required for dicamba and 2,4-D. There is no required additional training to apply 2,4-D products or any dicamba products other than the RUP dicamba products XtendiMax, Fexapan, and Engenia.
National Spray Drift Webinar: Join pesticide spray applicators from across the nation on March 15 for a webinar on “Strategies for Managing Pesticide Spray Drift” being presented by Nebraska Extension Weed Scientist and Application Technology Specialist Greg Kruger. The webinar is tailored to growers, pesticide applicators and other interested stakeholders who use pesticides and pesticide application equipment. It will be held from 10:30 to noon CT on that Thursday. Pesticide spray drift is the movement of pesticide dust or droplets through the air — at the time of application or soon after — to any site other than the area intended. Spray drift can affect people’s health, damage nearby crops, and pose a risk to non-target organisms. Kruger manages the Pesticide Application Technology Laboratory at the university’s West Central Research and Extension Center in North Platte, where he uses a wind tunnel to test pesticides and spray adjuvants for drift. Kruger has a BS from the Ohio State University, where he studied agribusiness and applied economics, and an MS in plant pathology and a PhD in weed science from Purdue University. This EPA program is geared toward reducing spray drift from pesticide applications to crops, fruits and vegetables, and aerial applications. It will cover general pesticide applications with a focus on agricultural applications. The EPA program is free, but participants are asked to register in advance here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1526938365731023875.
Kiwanis Club of Seward and SCCDP Ag Banquet: The 50th Annual Kiwanis and SCCDP Agricultural Recognition Banquet will be held Monday, March 19, 2018 at the Seward County Ag Pavilion at the fairgrounds in Seward, NE. The banquet is held during this time in honor of National Ag Week, March 18-24, 2018. The event kicks off with a social hour of wine and cheese beginning at 5:30 p.m. followed by a Prime Rib Dinner beginning at 6:30 and Awards Presentation beginning at 7:00. Mike Meyer, radio announcer, will serve as the evening emcee with Governor Pete Ricketts as the featured speaker. Cast Family Farms (Roy, Doug, David, Patrick, Nathan, and Dustin) will be honored as the 2018 Seward Kiwanis Outstanding Farm Family of the Year. Bill White with The Austin Company, will be honored as the Seward County AgriBusiness of the Year. Tickets cost $25.00 and can be obtained by contacting Shelly Hansen at the Cattle Bank at 402-643-3636.
Farmer Appreciation Open House will be held for the public at the York County USDA Service Center in York March 5-8 from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. The Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Upper Big Blue NRD, and Nebraska Extension will have informational booths. Light refreshments and door prizes will also be available.
Pruning Trees: Kelly Feehan, Extension Educator in Platte County shares, “With shade tree pruning commonly started in March, there is a general rule for when to start pruning young trees. After planting a tree, avoid pruning for a few years; especially avoid removing the lowest limbs. Leave lower limbs until they are about one inch in diameter. It is fine to remove double leaders and dead or damaged branches at planting, but otherwise avoid pruning newly planted trees for about three years. From four to ten years after planting is the most important time for pruning young trees to develop a strong branching structure and to remove branches when small. Ideally, prune branches before they reach two to four inches in diameter. Smaller wounds seal and callus over quicker than large wounds and more efficiently produce chemical walls that prevent the spread of decay within a tree. It is important to avoid pruning too much at any one time so remove a few branches each year.”
Dicamba Best Management Practices: Last week I finished pesticide and dicamba trainings for our area. In each of the meetings, off-target injury from dicamba in 2017 was discussed. A few weeks ago in my column, I shared how dicamba applications to corn played a role in our area of the State. I’ve also received questions regarding best management practices for all dicamba applications in 2018. A team of Nebraska Extension Specialists and Educators have been discussing this for several months based on the research we could find in the literature. Grateful for this team working together and you will see three articles in this week’s UNL CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu. These articles include: best management practices for all dicamba applications in 2018, potential off-target movement from corn applications, and the tricky task of removing dicamba residues from sprayers. Please check them out! This week’s CropWatch also features several student intern reports on soil, forage, and cover crop research.
Farm Bill Meetings: A new federal farm bill is due this year and is under development in Congress. With action completed on a federal budget including some agricultural programs, the farm bill process could pick up quickly with proposals and legislation fully debated in the coming weeks.
Reminder of the last Farmer/Rancher College program Feb. 23 in Geneva (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) at the Fairgrounds on the farm bill and crop insurance. Great lineup of speakers including Steve Johnson from Iowa State University and Brad Lubben with UNL. No charge but please RSVP (402) 759-3712 as they are still taking registrations.
There’s also a series of Farm Bill Meetings upcoming in Nebraska and Kansas in late February/early March. The meetings will provide an overview of the current debate and current economic conditions in agriculture which help frame the discussion and will look at crop and dairy commodity programs, conservation programs, and nutrition programs and other policy issues, as well as proposed crop insurance changes.
Leading the discussion will be Mykel Taylor and Art Barnaby from Kansas State University and Brad Lubben from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Taylor is a farm management specialist with expertise in producer decision-making, including in-depth analysis of the 2014 farm program enrollment decision. Her analysis of past decisions and outlook will provide perspective on the commodity programs, the potential changes and the decisions ahead in 2019. Barnaby is a national expert in crop insurance with keen insight on the features and performance of crop insurance. His work will explore the proposed changes and the potential ramifications to the program and to producer crop insurance and risk management decisions. Lubben is a noted expert in agricultural policy with insight on both the farm bill issues and the process. He will help frame the debate and the expectations for new programs and policies to provide perspective on the broader budget and policy challenges facing members of Congress in writing the new farm bill.
Each meeting will run from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with refreshments and lunch served. The registration fee is $20 if pre-registered five days before the date of each meeting, and will increase to $30 after the deadline or at the door. The fee covers the meal, refreshments and meeting materials. To register, visit http://www.agmanager.info/events/2018-farm-bill-meetings and click on the meeting you wish to attend. Locations include:
• DODGE CITY, KS.: Feb. 28, Knights of Columbus Hall, 800 W. Frontview, Dodge City, KS. Host: Andrea Burns, email@example.com or 620.227.4542
• MANHATTAN, KS.: March 1, Pottorf Hall – CiCo Park, 1710 Avery Ave., Manhattan, KS. Host: Rich Llewelyn, firstname.lastname@example.org or 785.532.1504
• MEAD, NEB.: March 5, ENREC near Mead, Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, 1071 County Road G, Ithaca, NE. Host: Keith Glewen, email@example.com or 402-624-8030
• HASTINGS, NEB.: March 7, Adams County Fairgrounds, 946 S. Baltimore, Hastings, NE. Host: Ron Seymour, firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-461-7209
Further information is available at http://agmanager.info or http://farmbill.unl.edu or by contacting the meeting host at each location.
Central Nebraska Cover Crops Conference: From grazing cover crops, seeding methods, innovative methods to incorporating cover, and more, the Central Nebraska Cover Crops Conference offers the latest information to help Nebraska growers profitably incorporate cover crops into their operation. The event will be held Friday, March 2 at the Merrick County Fairgounds with donuts provided by Lincoln Creek Seed at 9:00 a.m. The event has a great lineup of speakers including Paul Jasa, Extension Engineer; Keith Berns, Green Cover Seed and Nebraska Farmer; Dean Krull, Extension Demonstration Project Coordinator; Mary Drewnoski, Extension Beef Specialist; Daren Redfearn, Extension Forage Specialist; and Steve Melvin, Extension Educator.
Exhibitor space is still available for anyone wanting a booth. The event is free but please RSVP to (308) 946-3843. More information is available at https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/merrick/.
SE Nebraska Soil Health Conference will be held March 5 at the Kimmel Expo Center in Syracuse, NE. The program begins at 9 a.m. (Registration 8:30 a.m.) with topics including no-till/cover crop research update, best management practices for planting into cover crops, grazing cover crops, and two Iowa farmers sharing on how they utilize cover crops in corn and soybeans and on their farms. This event is free and lunch is included but pre-registration is necessary by calling (402) 274-4755 or at http://go.unl.edu/senebsoilhealth.
A Sprayer Applicator Clinic will be held on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Kimmel Ag Expo Building in Syracuse, NE. “By attending this clinic, you will be a better prepared spray applicator,” says Greg Kruger, Weed Science and Pesticide Application Technology Specialist from North Platte, NE. Register by Friday, March 2, 2018, by contacting Nebraska Extension in Nemaha County at 402-274-4755. The cost of the program is $20 per person. Checks should be made payable to University of Nebraska-Lincoln and mailed to the Nemaha County Extension Office, 1824 N St, Ste. 102, Auburn NE 68305. Lunch is being provided by these sponsors: Midwest Farmers Cooperative, Dean Seeds – Syracuse NE, Andy Wellensiek – Channel Seed, Cook, NE, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension. For more details regarding the clinic see the https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/nemaha/unl-sprayer-applicator-clinic/.
Dicamba Updates: For those of you who farm in both Nebraska and Kansas, or have customers that do, the following is what is needed for RUP-dicamba training. Nebraska and Kansas have a reciprocal agreement regarding private, commercial, and non-commercial applicator training. Those who have a KS applicator license who wish to apply RUP dicamba in Nebraska don’t need to take additional pesticide training in Nebraska. They do need to apply for a reciprocal license in Nebraska through the NDA and pay the $25 fee (private) or $90 fee (commercial/non-commercial) for a Nebraska pesticide applicator license. There is no additional fee for dicamba training in Nebraska. Kansas Dept. of Ag accepts Nebraska’s dicamba training with no further requirements. Nebraska will accept Kansas dicamba training IF you can also prove you watched the NDA Nebraska specific requirements video. Otherwise, it’s perhaps simpler to take the RUP online dicamba training from Nebraska or attend a Nebraska face to face session.
If you missed the UNL face to face sessions for your area, you can also attend Industry trainings which are upcoming and listed on the NDA website at: http://www.nda.nebraska.gov/pesticide/dicamba.html (please refresh your browser). And, you may wish to attend an industry training anyway depending on the product which you plan to apply to hear more about specific buffer requirements and ask specific questions.
Also, to be clear, anyone who has attended UNL trainings will not receive certificates. Your proof of training will be to download the excel spreadsheet at the NDA website listed above and ensure your name is on that spreadsheet. I’ve been asking that you give NDA 7-10 days before checking it with all the paperwork coming in right now. If you attend a training and don’t see your name, please contact the trainer whose session you attended. It may take longer for those of you who became new pesticide applicators.
The York UNL dicamba training has been rescheduled to February 16 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. at the 4-H Building at the Fairgrounds in York. Updated FAQs can be found at this site (https://pested.unl.edu/documents/RUP_Dicamba_FAQ_2018.pdf) as we receive questions and verify answers with NDA and EPA (please refresh your browser for the updated info.)
Converting ground to annual/perennial forage systems: For the past few years, some of you have spoken with me about converting a pivot to an annual forage system if you owned the land and had cattle. We’ve worked through some economics and a handful of you have tried various options. With current corn and soybean prices, I’ve received an increasing number of questions regarding this topic from farmers and ag lenders. A team of Extension specialists including Dr.’s Jay Parsons, Mary Drewnoski, and Daren Redfearn are seeking your input into what they’ve put together for economics of example systems this coming year. A webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, February 13th beginning at 6:00 p.m. CST. To participate, you can click on the following url: https://unl.zoom.us/j/827594794. Audio can be through your computer speakers or you can also call in. Full details regarding phone number options and additional information can be viewed at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2018/economics-annual-and-perennial-forages-webinar. The goal of this webinar is to explain economic examples for both annual and perennial forage systems using different classes of cattle and allow you to provide input into those numbers and ask questions. For those of you interested in this topic and/or are already using annual forages/converted pivots to perennial grass systems, we’d greatly appreciate your input and please do consider sharing your insight!
York County Corn Grower Tour: Gary Zoubek, Extension Educator Emeritus, has planned a great Corn Grower tour for those interested in attending on February 13th! Please call the York County Extension Office at (402) 362-5508 if you plan to attend. Attendees will meet at the York County Extension Office at 8 a.m. with travel to Lincoln at 8:30 a.m. Tours in Lincoln will include Nebraska Innovation Campus (including Nebraska Innovation Studio (the makerspace), the Food Innovation Center, and the Greenhouse Innovation Center, home of the LemnaTec High Throughput Plant Phenotyping system). Attendees will then tour Quantified Ag that developed cattle ear tags equipped with sensors to monitor the health of the individual as well as the herd. Lunch at Valentinos will be followed by Campus visits including learning about biobased textiles, the Ag Econ Marketing Lab/Commodity Trading Room, and the UNL Dairy Store. The final stop will be at Neogen labs that develops, manufacturers, and markets a diverse line of products dedicated to food and animal safety before traveling back to York around 5:15 p.m. You can view more details and the full itinerary at: https://jenreesources.com/2018/01/29/york-co-corn-grower-tour-feb-13/.
Last week was the first week I hosted dicamba trainings. Socially I haven’t seen the divisiveness within conventional ag that I’ve observed around this topic.
As I showed the dicamba videos, I stopped on a couple of slides to make a few points that were true for our area of the State last year; some farmers thanked me for doing so at the end of my trainings. This column is going to focus on these points because they’re not being discussed and by not talking about them, we’re not sharing the entire story of what happened in Nebraska last year. Caveat: I’m speaking only from my observations for the area of the State I serve and my news column is not peer reviewed.
The majority of my calls still come from Clay, Nuckolls, Thayer, and to a lesser extent Fillmore Counties because we’ve built relationships and I continue to serve you till we have a new educator in Clay County. I received my first dicamba call in June. All but three soybean fields along the way to the field I was asked to look at were cupped for the entire field. There was drought stress in the area and at first I wondered if there was something environmental occurring. Then I started making phone calls as to what herbicides were applied to crops in the area. No one met me at the fields that day-I just spent the entire afternoon/early evening walking fields and taking pictures for a 20 mile radius. In my inquiries I learned numerous corn fields all had corn dicamba formulations applied to them; the soybean fields sprayed at that time only had burndown apps but not post-apps. I continued to look at damaged soybean fields for six weeks in 10 counties.
When we think about last May, it was wet, cold and windy delaying corn post
applications. The first few weeks of June were very hot and humid and in my notes I mentioned “seemed like the whole countryside was spraying corn at one time”. Humidity may have decreased during the night and some felt light winds may have shifted directions some evenings. There was potential for increased volatility and temperature inversions and in discussions a handful of agronomists agreed that “herbicide seemed to hang in the air”. Palmer had gotten too tall very quickly and corn dicamba formulations went on hundreds of thousands of acres in the area-more than what we’ve before experienced-and, they did a nice job against palmer in most situations.
Much of what we see and hear is about the three now RUP dicamba products that were used last year. I’m not saying that damage didn’t potentially occur from these formulations. However, at least 90% of off-target movement I looked at primarily in Thayer, Fillmore, Nuckolls, and Clay started with corn dicamba formulations. I don’t know if that is the case in other parts of the State. I was able to determine the same thing in specific situations I was called out to in York, Seward, and a few central Nebraska counties. As the summer progressed, the soybean formulations came more into play and we were also finding 2,4-D damage based on samples sent to the South Dakota lab, which is also interesting. There’s fields I looked at that were affected by off-target movement twice and a couple even perhaps three times as the summer progressed.
Why do I say so much damage started with corn apps? When I couldn’t figure out what
was occurring, I let the plants tell the story. UNL Research from Dr. Jim Specht says a soybean will produce a new node every 3.75 days. Research on dicamba shows that it takes 7-14 days for leaf damage to occur on susceptible plants. So I started counting nodes. I counted how many total nodes were on the plant and multiplied by 3.75 to figure out how many days old the plant was. I then figured out about the date of the trifoliate with the leaf cupping damage and counted back on the calendar 7-14 days. This correlated over 90% of the time to a corn dicamba product applied…and often several farmers or Coops in the area applied products so it was hard to tell where it came from. Most I talked to agreed to just wait till harvest because with whole-field damage, there wasn’t a good way to compare yields. There may be a better method and I wasn’t aware of others doing this till I started sharing it last summer in my news column-but it’s the only thing I could figure out at the time. I chose not to report the number of calls I received nor acres damaged as I was unsure how the information would eventually be used; thus, to answer the questions why on power-point presentations, the areas I serve remain blank regarding reporting when you all know we had large numbers of acres damaged.
Another point. There’s a number of ways that pesticides can move off-target including particle drift, through tank contamination, temperature inversions, and volatility. New research is also looking into movement on dust particles. If we just look at the potential for volatility, we know the three RUP products do not have ammonium sulfate (AMS) in them and it is off-label to add AMS. Research has also shown these three RUP dicamba formulations to be 50-70% less volatile than other dicamba formulations. There’s over 30 corn dicamba formulations registered for use in Nebraska; some have AMS in them or most allow AMS to be added to them.
Why is this important? AMS can increase the potential for volatility. In research from the University of Arkansas and from Purdue, soil was treated and placed in low tunnels between two soybean rows. The low tunnels were removed after 48 hours then percent soybean injury was measured. For example, adding AMS to Xtendimax (which is off-label but allowed for research purposes) resulted in a 20-30% increase in soybean injury due to volatility. The injury observed was similar to that of Banvel. The non-RUP corn dicamba labels allow for use of AMS while the RUP dicamba labels don’t. The label is the law and a legal document.
So what do we recommend for best management practices for corn dicamba apps? We’ve had numerous conversations within Nebraska Extension. I’m truly hoping we can come to some consensus based on the research that is known to provide BMPs for you in the next few weeks.
One consideration as we think about resistance management: UNL research found it only took three generations of spraying palmer amaranth in greenhouse settings before resistance occurred. One best management practice would be to not use dicamba in both corn and soybeans each year as it’s a tool too critical for us in managing palmer.
Ultimately, while I’m speaking of dicamba here, the overarching issue is pesticide applications in general and what off-target movement does to all sensitive plants and even what we’re breathing. I realize we can’t control weather. However, we all need to do what we can to always read and follow label requirements to avoid off-target movement of pesticides in all situations. To have another year like last year with great off-target pesticide movement may potentially impact pesticide applications in large ways in the future.