Grateful to hear the corn moisture is dropping and to see more replant corn being harvested! As November 1st is around the corner, some may be thinking about fall fertilizer. It’s important to consider soil temperatures regardless of the date one can apply fall fertilizer in area NRDs. Soil microbial activity and the conversion rate of ammonium to nitrate is very low when the soil temperature is less than 50oF. Thus, apply anhydrous ammonia (and manure) when the soil temperature at the 4” soil depth is below 50°F and trending cooler. We’re currently hovering above that mark and probably will be above it with the warmer air temperatures this week. You can view soil temps at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/soiltemperature.
With the dry conditions, make sure there’s a good seal. One may also wish to consider if the anhydrous is deep enough and consider how it may impact your seed zone next spring if we remain in dry conditions. Be aware that soil nitrates are typically higher than normal after a dry growing season, especially in non-irrigated fields and even more so in non-irrigated fields that had wildfire damage.
As one looks at soil test results this fall, also be aware that soil pH and potassium (K) results are often lower than expected due to dry conditions, particularly in non-irrigated situations. It is true that below-normal yields result in lower phosphorus and potassium removal from the soil. However, as Dr. Antonio Mallerino from ISU shares, “a couple of processes may counteract this possible increase and most likely will result in lower soil-test P and K results than expected.
- Below normal rainfall from the time of physiological plant maturity until the time of soil sampling results in much less K recycling to the soil than normal, and consequently lower soil-test K levels than with normal fall rainfall.
- While a small soil-test P reduction is possible, it is also less likely.
- Scarce or no rainfall since early September slows down the normal reactions between soil nutrient pools, which often results in lower soil-test K levels. Plants are like pumps taking up P and K from the soil, but the uptake decreases sharply a couple of weeks before the crop reaches physiological maturity. Normal rainfall allows for the replenishment of the available nutrient pools from the less available pools.
- Soil pH values likely will be less than normal (more acidic) with drought, with differences ranging from 0.1 to 0.4 pH units being common. This is because small concentrations of soluble salts normally present in the soil solution are not leached to deeper layers by rainfall, which results in higher hydrogen ion concentration and greater acidity in the topsoil. On the other hand, drought has little effect on the soil buffer pH, which is used to estimate the lime requirement.”
He suggests, if possible, to wait on soil sampling until at least a week after a ‘meaningful’ rain event occurs; he suggests that would be one that wets the profile at least 6”. Since that’s not looking likely, if obtaining soil samples this fall, it’s important to obtain a full soil core when sampling and be aware that the K results will be low, P should be fairly on track, and pH will also be low.
Returning to the Farm Workshop Dec. 9-10 at Holthus Convention Center in York: This is a workshop series for families who are in the transition process of bringing members back to the farm or ranch. The series assists families and agricultural operations with developing financial plans and successful working arrangements to meet their unique needs. It will guide families in developing estate and transition plans, setting personal and professional goals and improving the communication process between family members. The workshop fee is $70 per person. It also includes two follow-up virtual workshops in the evenings on Jan. 12 and Feb. 2. Registration & more info: https://cap.unl.edu/rtf22.
It’s been a very nice fall with gorgeous colors on the trees the past month! It’s also hard to believe tomorrow is Nov. 1. While there’s a Nov. 1 date for fall anhydrous application in area NRDs, we also recommend watching soil temperatures and apply when soil temperatures are 50F or lower. This is because nitrifying bacteria slow due to the cool temperatures and by 40F, the process of nitrification is near zero. Nitrifying bacteria are ones that, through a biological process called nitrification, convert ammonium to nitrate. They multiply and complete this nitrogen conversion quickest in warmer soil temperatures (low to mid-80’s). The cooler weather this week will help continue to drive soil temperatures down. At time of writing this, they’re setting at 49F at the 4” depth for last week in the York area. You can view daily and weekly average soil temperatures at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/soiltemperature. Also, a quick plug to consider an N rate study this coming year. It’s fairly easy to do…apply your current rate in one pass, compare that to 30 or 50 lbs. under the next pass, and alternate it across the field. For example, if you had a 16 row applicator and an 8 row combine, each harvest pass then becomes a comparison to the rate next to it (paired comparison) for on-farm research. You could also do 3 treatments comparing the same amount over and under your current rate using this protocol. A number of protocols have been updated at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/farmresearch/extensionprotocols.
With cooler temps, it’s also important to safely graze frosted sorghum species. More info here: https://go.unl.edu/d8kv.
Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Symposium will be held Nov. 8 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at UNL’s East Campus Union in Lincoln. The event will also be livestreamed. There is no charge and lunch and parking will be provided. The event will be structured as a series of panel discussions. Audience members will hear from farmers who are getting started in both traditional and non-traditional operations. They’ll also hear about financial and risk management resources available to farmers as they grow their operations. To register or watch the livestream, go to: https://ianr.unl.edu/young-beginner-and-small-farmer-symposium.
Flyers for both the events I mention next are found at https://jenreesources.com. On November 8-11, there’s a Holistic Management Workshop held in different locations throughout the State. On November 12 is an opportunity for youth and families to hear about animal behavior from Dr. Temple Grandin at 10 a.m. at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds in Kearney. Dr. Grandin brings awareness about autism and its relation to animals. She also will be the keynote speaker for the Kids and Dreams Autism Conference: http://www.kidsanddreams.org/.
Crop Input and Cost of Production Workshops will be held Nov. 9-11 in Hastings, Beatrice and the Mead area, which includes a virtual option for producers from across the state to join. Crops and agricultural economics extension educators will cover the forces that are driving input costs and commodity prices, discuss fertilizer recommendations based on soil test results, and provide information on preparing cost of production budgets. Attendees are welcome to bring their latest soil tests. Registration is required at: 402-472-1742 or https://cap.unl.edu/crop-input-and-cost-production-workshop-registration. The workshops will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the following locations:
- Tuesday, Nov. 9 in Hastings at the Community Services Building on the Adams County Fairgrounds, 947 S. Baltimore Ave.
- Wednesday, Nov. 10 in Beatrice at the Gage County Extension Office, 1115 W. Scott St.
- Thursday, Nov. 11 near Mead at the Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center, 1071 County Road G., Ithaca, Nebraska. (Face coverings required.) (Livestream option available for Nov. 11. Register here to receive the Zoom link.)
Cover Crop Grazing Conference will be held Nov. 16 at the Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center near Mead. The conference kicks off with registration, refreshments and a trade show at 9 a.m. at the August N. Christenson Building. Educational programs are from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and include a producer panel session, small group discussion and a live field demonstration. Featured presentations include “Early and Late Season Grazing of Cover Crops” with Dr. Mary Drewnoski and “2022 Cash Rent and Flex Lease Arrangements” presented by Jim Jansen. Registration is $10 and can be paid at the conference via cash or check. Please pre-register at: https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/enre/2021-cover-crop-grazing-conference/