Happy Easter! This will truly be one to remember and hope you were able to still connect with family and friends in some way. For fruit trees and freeze temp. thresholds, please check out this resource: https://www.canr.msu.edu/uploads/files/PictureTableofFruitFreezeDamageThresholds.pdf. With planting having started for some or anticipated in the next few weeks, wanted to share some things I’ve been thinking about and some questions I’ve received.
As much as we have more physical distance in ag, it may be wise to have some plans in place in the event someone becomes sick with COVID-19 in your crop or livestock operation. Things such as disinfecting equipment and a sample 0-2 month plan with contact phone numbers are available in this week’s CropWatch at cropwatch.unl.edu. There’s also information on the CARES Act explaining the numbers. A series of Farm/Ranch COVID-19 free economic webinars are upcoming from UNL AgEcon. The first is this Thurs. April 16th at 3 p.m. CST. and features Nathan Kauffman, with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, presenting on COVID-19 Economic Developments and U.S. Agriculture. Details and recordings will be posted at https://go.unl.edu/manage2020.
Planting Considerations: It was nice to see equipment out in fields this past week! With tight economics, it’s important to make wise decisions with the factors we can control during planting season; it sets the stage for the rest of the year. One factor to consider is planting windows instead of planting dates. While this week is mid-April, it may not provide the best opportunities for planting. Be sure to check soil temps and plant at proper depth, not mudding in seed, and plant as close to 50F soil temps as possible when there’s a warming trend. Avoid planting when there’s potential for a cold rain/cold snap within 48 hours for corn and at least 24 hours for soybean. It’s also best to get seed in the ground 1.5-2” deep. For corn, this is critical in helping with nodal root establishment. For soybean, this aids in buffered soil moisture and temperature and helps delay emergence to aid against potential frost. Numerous research studies have proven the yield benefit to early planted soybean. Outside of the genetics, it’s the top way to improve soybean yields. When we conducted these studies via on-farm research, we also had planting date X planting rate studies. Those studies showed no yield difference when planting 120K vs. 180K in April vs. May beans. All the planting date studies had an insecticide + fungicide seed treatment and I have no data without it. Our soybean planting rate studies did not always have a seed treatment and now 13 years of that data still shows 90-120K planted seeds being the most economical while 120K is what we’d recommend for yield.
In this week’s CropWatch, I wrote an article with Jim Specht on soybean germination. The imbibition phase (water uptake) is the critical phase for potential seed chilling. Once the imbibition phase is complete, the soybean going through the osmotic phase can tolerate 35-40F soil temps as long as soil is not saturated. The reason why we say at least 24 hours for soybean vs. 48 hours for corn (regarding cold snap/cold rain) is because the soybean seed imbibes water much faster than corn. You can prove this to yourself! Put a soybean seed and corn seed in water and watch what happens. When teaching youth ag literacy, I put soybean seeds in water to show them the seed coat, root and first leaves. Granted, we’re not planting soybean into water, but it helps one see the difference in how the seeds imbibe water. Studies from journal articles showed the imbibition phase could complete in as little as 8-12 hours. However, it all depends on the beginning soil moisture, soil temperature, quality of the seed (no nicks in the seed coat, free of wrinkles from wet/dry cycles, higher seed moisture of 13-16%). There have also been experiments to suggest that soybean can be planted in 45F soil temps if soil moisture is stable and no cold rains occur during the imbibition period.
I’ve also received a few questions regarding rye rapidly growing and what to do. I have no research-only observation and talking to others. I’m still a fan of planting green. However, have noticed difficulty with residual herbicides applied to tall rye (above 12”) and getting down to the soil, thus weed escapes. So, a few thoughts. If you’re concerned about the rye, you can always terminate a few weeks before planting. Otherwise, consider splitting your residual with half on when you kill rye after planting with other half later or putting on your residual in a second pass after killing rye. Would welcome others’ thoughts/experiences of what’s working for you!
Dicamba Webinar: The National Ag Law Center is hosting a free webinar titled ‘The Deal with Dicamba: An Overview of Dicamba-Related Litigation’ on April 15th at 11 a.m. CST. It will discuss various lawsuits filed in response to crop damage allegedly caused by herbicides containing dicamba. Details: https://bit.ly/3e2LvGX.
Crop Update: It’s nice to see some signs of spring with planters going this week/weekend, crabapples and flowering pear trees in bloom, and tulips budded! The York County Corn Grower plot got planted on Saturday and grateful for Ron and Brad Makovicka’s efforts with that and for all our participating companies!
Rain did help the top foot of sensors in some locations I’ve been monitoring for pre-plant soil moisture. The graphs will be up at http://jenreesources.com by noon on Monday. The cooperators have all been interested in continuing to monitor moisture in these fields post-planting, so will plan to do that and add a York and Seward location too. I’m noticing in York as lawns are greening up, that portions are looking gray-green in color where trees are located in them.
As of April 26th, I hadn’t found any wheat jointing yet. The growing point was just approaching ground level in several fields I checked. We also need to keep an eye out for stripe rust as incidence is increasing in Kansas fields. There’s articles focusing on winter wheat in this week’s UNL CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu including nitrogen management and Nebraska wheat progress.
Wheat Stem Maggots (WSM) in Rye/Wheat Cover Crops: I meant to provide an update in last week’s column. Dr. Justin McMechan has been scouting wheat and rye cover crop fields for wheat stem maggots. So far, he captured one adult wheat stem maggot on April 16 in 100 sweeps from a wheat cover crop planted in late September at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Ithaca. He shared that “adults have been consistently collected at this location since first emergence with one to two found per 100 sweeps. This first occurrence of adults matches closely with data collected in 1933 by Merle Allen from Kansas State University. Our latitude north of Kansas and cold spring suggests this emergence might be earlier than Allen’s data. On April 23 two adults were collected at Clay Center and a single adult was collected near Marquette. Cover crops in these fields were less than 6 inches in height, with the field near Marquette grazed to approximately 3 inches in height. Sweeping these fields is challenging due to the height of the vegetation so adult captures are not likely to represent true numbers in the field. If you are skilled with a sweep net, we encourage you to sweep your wheat, rye, or triticale cover crops for wheat stem maggot adults.” At this point we’re not recommending any insecticide treatments. An interesting observation that a couple of Clay and Adams county farmers mentioned to me last year was they noticed the presence of a lot of flies as they planted corn into green rye and terminated at or after planting corn. The adult WSM is a small fly and you can see photos in Justin’s report in this week’s UNL CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu.
Which dicamba product before Xtend soybean: This has been a fairly common question this spring which Dr. Amit Jhala addressed in this week’s UNL CropWatch. I’ve also provided his answer here. “I recently received several phone calls from growers with questions on terminating broadleaf cover crop species and broadleaf weeds using dicamba products. They were particularly interested in whether dicamba products such as Banvel, Clarity, DiFlexx, etc. can be applied to terminate broadleaf cover crop species such as hairy vetch, field peas, or mixtures and broadleaf weeds such as henbit, field pennycress, or marestail immediately before planting Xtend soybean. The answer for the dicamba-based herbicides listed above is NO. Their labels have soybean planting intervals of 14 to 60 days, depending on the product and its use rates.
For example, for Clarity to be applied at 16.0 fl oz/acre, there would be a 28-day soybean planting interval after an inch of rain. If Clarity were to be applied at 8.0 fl oz/acre, the soybean planting interval would be 14 days after an inch of rain. The Clarity label also specifies: “Do NOT make Clarity burndown applications to soybeans in geographic areas with average annual rainfall less than 25 inches.”
If DiFlexx is applied burndown at 24 fl oz/acre or less, the planting interval for soybean is 60 days. This longer planting interval must be applied because Xtend soybean is not listed on Banvel, Clarity, DiFlexx, or other dicamba products.
Dicamba-resistant soybean, also known as Xtend soybean, became available commercially for the 2017 growing season. Three dicamba products (FeXapan, Engenia, XtendiMax) are labeled to be applied pre-plant, pre-emergence, or post-emergence (up to R1 soybean growth stage) for broadleaf weed control in Xtend soybean. You can use FeXapan, Engenia, or XtendiMax as per label requirements in burndown application and plant Xtend soybean without a planting interval.
If you apply 2,4-D prior to planting soybean, be sure to adhere to the planting interval specified on the label. Several 2,4-D products have different planting intervals for soybean, ranging from 7 to 30 days depending on product and application rate. (See this Crop Watch article.)”
Planting Considerations: This email newsletter reaches a wide area of the State, so soil temps vary quite a bit and some of you may be in better planting conditions than others. We still recommend planting into soil temps as close to 50°F as possible, check weather conditions for next 48 hours to hopefully maintain temps 50°F or higher, and avoid saturated soil conditions. If planting a few degrees less than 50°F, make sure to check with seed dealers on more cold-tolerant seed. This is most likely common sense, but I still feel worth mentioning. Everything we do at planting sets the stage for the rest of the year. We’re blessed to have equipment that can allow for many acres to be planted in a short amount of time. And…we also have the ability to mess up a lot of acres in a short amount of time.
Planting depth is also key. Aim to get corn and soybean in the ground 1.5-2” deep. This is critical for correct root establishment in corn to avoid rootless corn syndrome. Rootless corn syndrome is when the nodal (crown) roots don’t get well established and successive brace roots can’t establish either. This allows the seedling to whip around in the wind, potentially being dislodged, become weak or die. With center-fill planters, when adjusting down-pressure on the go, sometimes the planter ends may not always be seeding as deep as the center. Too often I’ve seen that resulting in seed 1” or less and the field pattern can be observed the entire growing season with potential yield impacts. So don’t just rely on the monitor. Take the time to dig up seed behind the planter and at spots along the whole planter length to ensure the proper seeding depth. And do this with every field, particularly with different tillage/residue situations. I realize this takes time, but you’ll be glad you did to catch any issues before too many acres are planted incorrectly.
With cold temps or higher soil moisture conditions, it’s still important to get that seed at least 1.5-2” in the ground. Planting 1.5-2” deep helps both corn and soybean to have that seed in even soil temperature and moisture conditions. You may be surprised on that recommendation for soybean, but I think it’s even more critical with planting early. In fact, UNL research near Mead compared planting depths of 1.0, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, 2.0, 2.25, and 2.5 inches in 2011 and an additional planting depth of 2.75 inches was added in 2012 and 2013. The study found lowest yields when soybean was planted 1.25” or less or 2.25” or greater with the highest yield at 1.75” deep. One of that study’s hypotheses was that planting deeper would buffer soil temperature and moisture and protect newly emerged seedlings from frost and freeze damage, particularly when planting early in the season.
Hopefully planting soybean early is still something you’re considering for this year! We wrote a CropWatch article this week at http://cropwatch.unl.edu to provide some updated research on amplifying the effects of planting early. There’s so much research regarding how early soybean planting increases yield that we wanted to share new research regarding maturity groups, etc. Essentially, what it appears from the research thus far, is that it’s more important to choose a consistent, high-yielding soybean for your area, regardless of specific maturity group. We’d like to get more specific data and have on-farm research protocols available to compare MG2.4-2.5 vs. MG3.0-3.5 and Dr. Jim Specht would also like to collaborate with us on documenting various factors. Please let me know if you’re interested in this! There’s also a protocol for comparing early vs. late planting of soybean.
Soil moisture conditions didn’t improve this week at the six sites I’m monitoring in Webster, Nuckolls, Thayer, and Clay counties. You can find the chart comparisons on my blog at http://jenreesources.com. Last weekend’s bizzard didn’t provide significant moisture in this area. With pastures slow with growth and drought increasing in Kansas, discussions with farmers have included cover crop termination, grazing rye that’s had anhydrous ammonia applied to it (with the original intention of termination and planting to corn), and grazing wheat. Most of these topics are included in this week’s UNL CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu. The articles are too long with too many considerations for me to add them in this news column, so please do check them out if you’re interested in these topics. Another topic I’ve had several questions about is regarding how temperature and rain affect burndown herbicide applications. Dr. Amit Jhala, Extension Weed Specialist, addresses that in this week’s CropWatch as well, so please check that out. Here’s wishing everyone a safe planting season with conditions to get #plant18 and #grow18 started off well!
Well, winter seems to be sticking around. My thoughts and prayers have been with those of you calving with the difficult conditions this year.
I provided an update regarding soil moisture status in non-irrigated fields both in this week’s UNL CropWatch at cropwatch.unl.edu and my blog at jenreesources.com. We’ll see what happens with moisture in the next few weeks and I’ll post updates to my blog.
Very few have tried planting in this part of the State that I know of. Grateful for all of you who keep me updated on what’s going on through your questions and comments! In this week’s UNL CropWatch, Dr. Roger Elmore took the lead on an article addressing corn planting. The message is to ideally wait till soil temperatures reach 50F with weather conditions allowing soil temperatures to remain at 50F or higher for the next 48 hours. We’ve observed when seed was planted and a cold snap with cold rains was received within 48 hours, some problems with seed germination and emergence. Hybrids vary in cold tolerance and seed companies are a great resource for that information as to which hybrids could be planted first in colder soils. Soil temperature information can be found at the UNL CropWatch site at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/cropwatchsoiltemperature. We’d also recommend you take the soil temperature in the field before you plant and can do so by using a meat thermometer.
Last year I remember receiving questions from April 21-24 regarding planting corn and soybeans with an anticipated cold snap later that week. At that time, I was recommending growers switch to soybeans. The reason? Soybeans imbibe (uptake) water more quickly than corn seeds and while we hear 48 hours to be on the safe side, the critical period is more like 24 hours. Also, several years of both small plot and on-farm research in Nebraska has shown the primary way to increase soybean yields is to plant early. Dr. Jim Specht’s research showed soybeans produced a new node every 3.75 days once V1 occurs. The nodes are where pods and seed occur. Our on-farm research planting date studies also showed regardless if the spring was cold/wet or warm/dry, the early planted soybean always out-yielded the later planted with a total average across trials of 3 bu/ac. The data ranged from 1-10 bu/ac. We never planted early without using an insecticide/fungicide seed treatment to protect that seed, so we recommend you add that if you do plant early.
Our recommendation would be to plant the last week of April or as close to May 1 as conditions allow. We’ve also seen good results after April 20 in years if the soil temperatures were around 50F with good weather conditions at least 24-48 hours after planting to maintain that soil temp. It’s important to know your level of risk, though. Crop Insurance planting date for replant considerations is April 25 and there may also be replant options from your seed suppliers. We never replanted any of our studies and I have only observed frost on soybean cotyledons one year where growers planted early with soybeans coming out of it. We had the largest number of acres I’ve seen planted by April 24 last year with thankfully no issues and they were able to take advantage of a high-yielding bean year. Perhaps this is something you wish to try for yourself this year? Consider planting some passes of soybeans early and come back with some passes three weeks later. You can use this Soybean Planting Date Protocol if you’re interested in trying this for yourself. Please let me know if you’re interested in this!
Depending on the number of acres you have, some growers are now planting soybeans first. Others are planting corn and soybeans at the same time by either running two of their own planters/drills or custom hiring someone to plant soybeans for them. This also spreads risk and can help with harvest. Regarding maturities, a study conducted at UNL East Campus compared a 2.1 vs. 3.0 maturity group variety at 10 day intervals beginning April 23 through June 19. Yield was highest for early planted soybean and a yield penalty of 1/8 to 1/4 bu/ac per day of delay in planting for MG2.1 and MG3.0 varieties, respectively was found. The study also indicated that yield of the MG3.0 variety was higher relative to the MG2.1 variety in early plantings (late April and early-mid May), but the opposite (greater yield in MG2.1 versus MG3.0 variety) was found for late plantings (late-May and June). In our part of the State, we’ve observed really high yields from strong genetics in the MG2.4-2.5 varieties when planted early; so I have a hard time automatically recommending later MG varieties without more data. Thus, I would love to work with anyone interested in planting early comparing a high yielding MG2.4-2.5 vs. a high yielding MG3.0-3.5 to obtain more data. Here’s a Soybean Maturity Group Comparison with Early Planting protocol to consider and please let me know if you’re interested in this!
Wheat: My colleague, Dr. Nathan Mueller in Dodge County, has taken the lead on
sharing wheat information for Eastern Nebraska. He’s put together an excellent resource on his blog at http://croptechcafe.org/winterwheat/. Every Friday he’s sharing an update called “What’s up this Wheat“. He also started an Eastern NE wheat listserv and his website explains how to subscribe to it. Grateful for his effort in this as we both have goals of increasing crop diversity in the areas we serve and there are many benefits to wheat in rotation!
Crabgrass prevention in Lawns: Just a quick note that while our Extension lawn calendars promote applying crabgrass preventer in mid-April, our horticulture experts say to wait till soil temperatures are 55F on a seven day average and we are currently far from that! Check out https://cropwatch.unl.edu/cropwatchsoiltemperature for soil temp info.
As I set here writing, we went from wearing t-shirts yesterday to receiving freezing rain and sleet today! The precipitation is much welcomed and it’s nice to see spring bulbs coming up and the grass turning green! But we’re unfortunately not out of the woods yet regarding this drought, and may not be for some time.
This Thursday, April 11, Elizabeth Killinger, UNL Extension Educator in Hall County, will be talking to us about gardening during drought. Come enjoy an evening of learning about drought-tolerant plants and ideas for your landscape! The evening begins with a light supper at 5:30 p.m. and we plan to be finished around 7:00 p.m. There will be no charge for this workshop, so please come and invite your friends and your youth who enjoy gardening as well!
Also, if you would like to bring some plants for exchange, you are welcome to do so and share with others! Please call the Clay County Extension Office at (402) 762-3644 or Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you’re coming so we can plan for the meal. See you then!
UNL Extension’s CropWatch newsletter has featured several wheat articles from Bob Klein, UNL Extension Cropping Systems Specialist and other Extension faculty. Since they’re on several different CropWatch release dates, I decided to put all the info. in one place for you. Hope this helps!
For those who have waited to plant winter wheat, Bob Klein, UNL Extension Cropping Systems Specialist, says to increase wheat seeding rate 10-15 lbs per acre (150,000-225,000 seeds/acre) per week for every week delayed after the seeding rate for our area. Hessian fly free seeding dates range from September 25 for most of our area to September 28 in southern Nuckolls and most of Thayer Co.
For no-till, he recommends automatically increasing seeding rate an additional 50%. So if you’re a dryland no-till producer planting in October, he would recommend seeding 90 lbs to 120 lbs maximum of wheat seed. For irrigated wheat, start at at least 90 lbs/ac and increase 15-20 lbs/acre every week later than suggested seeding date but don’t exceed a maximum of 180 lbs/acre of seed.
A review of seedling rates vs. yield potential: On the average, there are 22 seeds per head and 5 heads per plant, or 110 seeds per plant. With an average seed size of 15,000 seeds per pound or 900,000 seeds per bushel, a pound of average-sized seed with 80 percent germination and emergence has a yield potential of approximately 1.5 bushels per acre. Seeding 40 lb of seed with a weight of 15,000 seed per pound has a yield potential of 60 bushels per acre.
Paul Jasa, UNL Extension Engineer says to make sure the drill is running lower in back than normal. Transfer more drill weight to the back of the drill and add extra weight to the drill. This will allow for penetration into dry, hard soil, forcing the seed into the soil and insuring seed-to-soil contact. Also, don’t seed wheat too shallow. When using disc drills, plant at a depth of 2 inches or more.
- Fertilizer Options for Dryland Wheat: Is Wait and See a Good Option?
- Grasshopper Management Considerations in Emergent Winter Wheat
- Use of Seed Treatment Fungicides to Improve Wheat
- Guides to Winter Wheat Variety Selection
- How Wheat Seeding Date Affects Yields
- Assessing Winter Wheat Stands and Estimating Yield Potential
Increasing input costs are forcing producers to evaluate every decision they make. With soybean seed costs on the rise, producers in the Greater Quad County On-Farm Research group wondered if they could reduce their soybean populations while maintaining yield and saving money. On-farm research conducted in field scale, randomized, and replicated farmer plots and at the South Central Agricultural Laboratory near Clay Center from 2006-2008 proved producers could.
Since 2006, planting rates of 90,000, 120,000, 150,000, and 180,000 seeds per acre have been planted in 12 irrigated soybean fields on 30-inch rows. Prior to this research, most of these producers usually planted 160,000-180,000 seeds/acre. The 90,000 low rate was determined based on UNL research recommending not to replant a hailed soybean stand if at least 90,000 plants/acre remained in the field.
In 2008, cooperating producers used these same rates to plant soybeans at five sites with 20 replications. Planting dates ranged from April 29 to June 3. In the end, there was little difference in percentage stand and yield among the four planting rates (see Table 1). The 120,000, 150,000, and 180,000 yields were statistically the same (only a 0.3-bushel difference between the 120,000 and 150,000 rates) and were significantly better than the 90,000 seed-per-acre plots; however, note that the 90,000 plot yielded only 1.7 bu/ac less than 150,000 plot. All data was statistically analyzed to determine the yield differences due to the various treatments.
The findings are similar to the 2006 and 2007 studies. In 2006, yield results ranged from 65.5 bu/ac at 90,000 to 67.4 bu/ac at 180,000. In 2007 yield results were 59.4, 59.6, 59.4, and 60.2 bu/ac for 90,000, 120,000, 150,000, and 150,000 respectively with no statistical difference.
Most likely, these results are indicative of soybean’s ability to compensate for reduced populations. Figure 1 shows increased plant branching at lower populations compared to less branching at higher populations. This was observed in all fields regardless of variety. Also observed in 2008, were two additional nodes/plant at the 90,000 population compared to the 180,000 population. Nodes are important as flowers, pods, and ultimately yield are produced from them.
A dryland field in Nuckolls County also showed interesting results. This field was hailed at the cotyledon stage, so planted populations of 100K, 130K, and 160K became average actual stands of 74,417; 89,417; and 97,917 plants per acre. August rains in 2006 helped deliver yields of 38.6, 40.6 and 42.7 bu/ac, respectively.
Figure 1a. Lower planted populations of 120,000 compensated for reduced plants by increased branching, flowering, and pod set, regardless of typical variety architecture.
Figure 1b. Fields with planted populations of 150,000 were observed having a more erect architecture with reduced branching compared to fields planted at rates of 120,000.
Rates for Drilled Soybean:
In 2006, one drilled field in irrigated conditions in Fillmore County yielded 68.4 bu/ac, 66.6 bu/ac, and 67.2 bu/ac for planting rates of 150,000, 175,000, and 190,000 seeds per acre respectively. Another study in 2006 conducted by the Soybean Feed Grains and Profitability Project in a rain-fed field in Lancaster County showed a slight but significant yield advantage to drilling soybean at a rate of 152,500 seeds per acre compared to 115,000 seeds per acre. Yield for the higher seeding rate was 56.8 bu/ac compared to 56.0 bu/ac with the lower seeding rate. When using grain drills and reducing soybean populations, variable seed spacing and seed depth within a drilled row can be an issue for soybean emergence. This is why a population increase for drilled beans is often recommended.
Recommendation: Plant Soybeans at 120,000 Seeds/Acre
Based on three years of consistent research results, UNL specialists recommend reducing planting populations from an average of 160,000 seeds/acre to 120,000 seeds/acre in 30-inch rows. This reduction of 40,000 seeds per acre results in a savings of $10.66 to $18.57 per acre based on seed costs of $40-65 a bag. For three years producers were able to achieve a 90% stand and have not seen a statistical yield variance from 150,000 or even 180,000 seeds/acre. With soybean seed costs increasing, reducing soybean planting populations is another way producers can survive high input costs of crop production.