It’s been a great week of planting weather regarding warmer days and soil temps! There were even a couple beautiful calm days! Thanks to those of you who filled out my quick survey last week. The results of 36 respondents showed in 2023: 17 planted corn first, 8 planted soybean first, 5 planted corn and soybean at the same time, and 6 hadn’t planted yet. So, the survey did informally show that 13 of the 36 people who responded plant soybeans earlier or at the same time as corn. The CropWatch article I was mentioning was released last Friday if you’re curious regarding the data behind some of the key points I stated last week: https://go.unl.edu/gqt3.
For this week’s article, will share answers to a number of questions I’ve received the past few weeks.
Pesticide cards: This has been my daily top question as producers are needing certification to purchase and pick up restricted use pesticides. For those who attended ANY in-person or online Extension training, you must pay the $25 fee to NDA that comes as a bill in the form of a postcard in order to receive your license. If you didn’t receive a postcard or misplaced it, the quickest way to pay the $25 fee via credit card is to call NDA at (402) 471-2351. This number gets you to the switchboard. Say that you need to pay your $25 fee to get your license and they will connect you with the NDA plant protection office. You will need to say your name, address, birth date, when you took the training and where, and may need to confirm your applicator number (unless you are new). You will then get your card and be listed in the ‘certified’ database that anyone can look up.
For those calling who still needing training, your only option is the online training and please read the directions mentioned once you register at this site: https://go.unl.edu/4tzw. There’s a test out option where you can take the test before going through any modules. If you pass, you’re done and NDA will send you your postcard bill. If you don’t pass, it will then let you take the modules and retest as many times as needed. Please call the UNL pesticide office with questions: 800-627-7216.
Drought Assistance Webinar: If you missed it, here’s the USDA Drought Assistance Webinar recording for Nebraska: https://go.unl.edu/ba8f.
- Fertilizers for Vegetables in Home Gardens (most garden soil tests I’ve seen in this part of State show minimal need for fertilizer!): https://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/g945.pdf
- Simplifying Soil Test Interpretations for Turf (Here’s a great NebGuide resource that’s very visual and shares Nebraska recommendations): https://turf.unl.edu/NebGuides/g2265.pdf.
- With soil temps over 50F for several days and this week’s temps continuing to be warm, for those who’ve asked, it’s time to get crabgrass preventer on lawns.
For those who planted new or overseeded Kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue grass this spring, I’m getting questions about what to do to prevent crabgrass. There is a product from Scotts called “Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action Built for Seeding” (blue bag) that’s supposed to be safe. It contains fertilizer and herbicide claiming to prevent crabgrass and dandelions for up to 6 weeks. Not an endorsement, just sharing an option. I hadn’t chosen to use it in past years because I knew the lawn would look interesting with white patches in the green, but decided to try it this year so I could see how well it worked for future questions. It contains mesotrione (a herbicide that is a pigment inhibitor, so it will turn your newly emerged weeds white). It gets reactivated with water. My lawn doesn’t have an irrigation system and gets watered sporadically, so I’m unsure if it would look better or worse with irrigation. So far, the dandelions are turning white and my lawn is thickening up. A person may need another crabgrass preventer product after 6 weeks, depending on how the lawn thickens, to catch the late flush that often appears.
Joy, Comfort, Hope. Three words the Pastors at my church have been preaching on this month. Been thinking about those impacted with much loss by the recent disasters of tornadoes out east and the wildfires and winds in Kansas. Also thinking about so many who have lost loved ones this year and the difficulty of holidays with those losses. There’s also plenty else going on in the world! All around us, people can sure use some joy, comfort, and hope right now! And thankfully, this time of year reminds us of that for those of us who celebrate Christmas; The Hope of the World came down to earth to be born to die so we can live! This Christmas may we have eyes to see those who are hurting, hands willing to help how we can, and hearts ready to share the hope within us. Have a blessed Christmas!
Pesticide Applicator Certification: Last week, I shared about changes to private pesticide applicator certification. Just to clarify, private applicators are purchasing and using restricted use pesticides on land they farm. Private applicators cannot apply to others’ land and receive a payment as they would then be considered commercial applicators. Private applicators can trade services by applying pesticides to other people’s land as long as money is not exchanged (ex. other party plants a field for the applicator in exchange for the applicator spraying his/her field).
Fumigation is no longer a topic we can teach with private pesticide training. The new law states that those who wish to fumigate need to obtain that specific certification by obtaining study materials and passing an exam (in addition to the private applicator training also required) . The fumigation materials and exam dates are the same ones commercial applicators have to take and are found at https://pested.unl.edu/ under the “commercial/non-commercial” study materials and exam sessions.
Commercial and Non-Commercial applicators are receiving payment to apply pesticides to other people’s ground (for non-commercial applicators, it’s a requirement of their job). To obtain initial certification, one has to purchase study materials for the categories the applicator wishes to apply (ex. ag plant, fumigation, etc.). All commercial and non-commercial initial applicators need to pass an exam that includes General Standards (category 00) and whatever additional certification the person is seeking. Go to https://pested.unl.edu/ and in the right-hand column, it lists certification information for commercial/non-commercial applicators. It has a direct link for the study materials and also a link for the exam sites. For recertification, the most common one for those working in ag industry would be Ag Pest Control-Plant (Category 01). The easiest way to do recertification, and what we recommend, is to attend a Crop Production Clinic. There’s one in York on Jan. 26 but you can find them all listed at https://agronomy.unl.edu/cpc. For recertification in other categories, an exam needs to be taken and passed; the dates are found at the https://pested.unl.edu/ website.
RUP Dicamba Training: Extension is not providing RUP dicamba training. This is being provided by the companies who sell RUP dicamba. Most of these are online and the 2022 trainings may not be on the websites yet. Below are the links for reference. One more thing that NDA wished us to share, any RUP dicamba product on hand that was formulated prior to 2021 is considered off-label as it doesn’t meet the updated EPA approved labels and cannot be used.
- Bayer (XtendiMax): https://www.roundupreadyxtend.com/stewardship/pages/default.aspx
- BASF (Engenia): https://www.engeniaherbicide.com/training.html
- Syngenta (Tavium): https://www.syngenta-us.com/herbicides/tavium-application-stewardship
Chemigation Training is for anyone who applies fertilizer and/or pesticides through an irrigation system. There is no charge for this training, but one does need to pass an exam whether for initial or recertification. Training and the exam can be done either at an in-person training or online for both initial and recertification. You can find the links for both options in the right-hand column of the https://pested.unl.edu/ website.