On-Farm Research Updates: This week brings my favorite winter meetings, the on-farm research updates on Feb. 25 and 26! I’m passionate about on-farm research as it’s such a practical, inexpensive way to address the research questions growers have! These meetings are more meaningful to me because we get to hear from the farmers themselves who conducted the studies and have more discussion around the topics. They do look different this year with a huge number of people registered virtually vs. in-person. They’re also only a half day and we won’t cover the entire book of studies that were conducted. However, whether you participate virtually or in-person, you will hopefully hear from farmers who conducted on-farm research studies. And, this ‘in-person’ meeting does have people at most local sites also presenting in person. I realize that’s been a point of confusion/frustration as we’ve hosted many zoom meetings as ‘in-person’ watch events where no one presented live at the location. Register for virtual or in-person at: https://go.unl.edu/h83j.
I enjoy hearing from the farmers themselves regarding why they conduct on-farm research. The following YouTube video produced in 2020 highlights area farmers David and Doug Cast of Beaver Crossing and Ken Herz of Lawrence: https://youtu.be/tEy-I43CT0E.
Succession/Estate Planning opportunities are upcoming with a two-part webinar event held Feb. 25 and Mar. 4 at Noon. You can register for those at: https://farm.unl.edu/webinars . There’s also an in-person event at Central City at the Fairgrounds on March 2 at 9:30 a.m. and please RSVP to 308-946-3843 if you’d like to attend.
Tree and Houseplant Webinars: A webinar focused on trees will be Feb. 26 from 9 a.m.-Noon with registration here: Go.unl.edu/ProHort. A houseplant webinar series will occur on Feb. 27 and Mar. 6 from 10-noon with registration here: https://go.unl.edu/houseplants101.
Nitrogen Studies: With spring nitrogen applications around the corner, perhaps you are interested in testing different rates, timing, or inhibitors on your farm? On-farm research is a great option to consider! For some specific precision nitrogen studies (including inhibitors), there are stipends of $1300 available to producers interested in those studies. More info: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/precision-nitrogen-management-farm-research-project. There’s also a partnership with the Upper Big Blue NRD where those interested in conducting nutrient management or cover crop studies may receive $300 in reimbursement costs. If you’re interested in a study like this, please let me know. Next week I’ll share on nitrogen rate and timing results.
Farm Bill: Another tool that may be more visual in helping you make these decisions is the K-State tool at: https://www.agmanager.info/ag-policy/2018-farm-bill/tradeoff-between-20212022-arc-and-plc and I added it to my Farm Bill Decision Tools blog post. It shows you in one chart what happens with potential ARC-CO or PLC triggers by crop depending on what market year average price does or what county yield does. It doesn’t allow you to put in a historical irrigated percentage (HIP), so you need to consider that when selecting ‘irrigated’ or ‘nonirrigated’ in the tool. With it being in one chart, visually, perhaps that would help some of you more? It honestly doesn’t change what I’ve shared with you before, but it seems people are really struggling with this decision, so if you need another way to visualize what to do, it may help. Ultimately, no matter what tool is used, PLC is favored most often in corn, milo, and wheat. Soybeans often could go either way, and likely there may be no payment for soy or corn unless something substantial happens with MYA price or county yields. If you’re really on the fence, it may be helpful/wise to just split decisions between the two programs for different farms? For counties where there’s split irrigated/non-irrigated payments, particularly in areas that are drought-prone, look at what county average yield will trigger ARC-CO for your specific county using the tool. Crop insurance and marketing are ultimately a huge chunk of risk management too. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and no one can predict prices/yields. This information is just shared as a way to hopefully help with your decision making.
I still haven’t heard/seen that 2020 county average yields have been released for me to help anyone with looking at ARC-IC. From the past, we needed around 20% farm level yield loss compared to county average yield for ARC-IC to trigger. So, for those with significant yield loss from wind events, depending on how your farms are grouped, it still may be something to look at. Hopefully county average yields will be available soon.
It was great to have in-person meetings last week! Even though the set up and planning was more taxing, I’m grateful we were able to have them. Also, wanted to thank those who responded to the Extension survey for me; your feedback is greatly appreciated!
In-person Extension meetings are ‘a go’ for this coming week for this part of the State. For Crop Production Clinics, groups are allowed to watch together at Coops or businesses if you prefer. You will still need to register individually. Your ‘ticket’ for recertification is to individually complete the program evaluation and provide the codes provided during sessions throughout the day. Please also know any of the area Extension offices will work with you regarding picking up weed guides regardless of where you said you’d pick them up. Thank you for your patience as we navigate all this together!
Farm Bill: Received a number of calls this week regarding 2021 election sign-up. Honestly, I haven’t had the opportunity to run numbers in the tools yet. Will provide more info. in a future column.
On-Farm Research: This past week, we also peer reviewed all the on-farm research studies conducted in 2020. There were 20 studies where farmers worked with me in this part of the State and I’m grateful to all of them for their efforts! My hope is to share research results in the coming weeks as reports are finalized. Our on-farm research updates will occur on Feb. 25 and 26 and I’m really pumped about the format! The meetings will be morning only, hosted by the local Extension educator, providing more discussion of studies shared by the farmers, and allow planning for the upcoming year. Those attending virtually will discuss as their own group. Please pre-register early to ensure a spot. Registration at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/nebraska-farm-research-network-results-update-meetings-2021.
De-Icing Agents are sometimes needed for safety but can be harmful to plants. You may wish to check what you’re using at home. Common deicing compounds are listed below. These may be used alone or blended together to improve performance or reduce damage to concrete or landscapes. Also, keep products on hand that improve footing on slick surfaces, like sand, sawdust, or cat litter. They can be used instead of traditional deicing products, or blended with them to improve traction and limit deicer use.
- Sodium chloride, urea, and potassium chloride have high potential of damaging landscape plants.
- Calcium chloride is the most effective deicing product at low temperatures, working down to -25°F. It will not damage vegetation if used as directed.
- Magnesium chloride is sprayed on roadways before a snowstorm to prevent ice bonds from forming, making ice and snow removal easier. It causes very little damage to concrete or metal. It’s also gentle on landscape plants and pet safe if used as directed.
- Acetates can be found in three forms – calcium magnesium acetate (CMA), sodium acetate and potassium acetate. CMA is a salt-free product and is the safest product for use around pets and landscape plants. CMA is made from dolomitic limestone and acetic acid (the principal component of vinegar). Studies have shown the material has little impact on plants. It also has a very low level of damage to concrete or metal.
- Beet juice deicers, a newer organic option, are products derived from beet juice. They contain only 12% sodium chloride (salt), much less than traditional sodium chloride. Beet juice products are fully biodegradable, but shouldn’t be applied where melt runoff will move to aquatic areas.