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JenREES 11-16-20

Ice Storm: Last week’s ice storm caused a great deal of damage to area trees and property from tree branches and trees falling. The process of clean up continues. Some trees, such as oaks, red and silver maples still had leaves when the ice hit, adding to ice accumulation. If a tree has sustained trunk failure, been uprooted, or has 50% or more broken branches, the tree should be removed immediately. Many trees had branches that bent under the tremendous ice load. Because these limbs bent instead of broke under the load suggests they have good structural integrity. When bending occurred in the lower 1/3 of the trunk (particularly in young trees), internal cracks may have occurred creating a point of weakness in the future. Support can be provided by staking small trees while they grow and strengthen the trunk.

Corrective pruning can help with trees that lost less than 50% of their branches (and don’t have additional issues such as significant decay). The pruning should be done to balance the limbs on all sides of the tree canopy (crown). Prune broken branches to the next larger branch or to the trunk. Cut at the collar area instead of flush to the trunk to aid the tree in healing. Cut large limbs in stages. With one cut, a branch often breaks before it’s completely cut, causing damage to the tree bark. Instead, as explained by K-State, “take a cut around 15” from the trunk. Start from the bottom and cut one-third of the way up through the limb. Make the second cut from the top down but start 2 inches further away from the trunk than the first. The branch will break away as you make the second cut. The third cut, made at the collar area, removes the stub that is left.” More information can be found at this resource from K-State:

York County Corn Grower Plot results can be found at: Special thanks to Ron and Brad Makovicka for hosting and to all our seed corn companies who participated!

Soybean Varieties: Seth Naeve, University of Minnesota shared that compared to lower yielding varieties, highest yielding varieties produce between 20 to 40% greater yields. Thus, variety selection is the greatest factor for impacting soybean yield. Third-party information is somewhat limited in Nebraska, and not all companies participate in third-party trials. If there’s interest around a soybean grower plot in the area (particularly someone willing to host this), please let me know. Some third-party resources include: F.I.R.S.T  Soybean Testing Program (, and data from Universities such as Iowa State, K-State, South Dakota State, and Missouri. Seed companies also have numerous locations with data. When possible, look at how a variety performs over multiple years at multiple locations.

Consider disease history in your field and select varieties with resistance for soybean cyst nematode (SCN), sudden death syndrome (SDS), brown stem rot (BSR), Phytophthora, etc.

One 2020 soybean maturity on-farm research study in Seward Co. comparing Group 3 (left) to Group 2 (right).

There’s also been a shift to using more Group 2 soybeans in the area. Reasons include spreading out harvest, opportunity for planting cover crops for greater fall growth, and spreading risk from weather events. We now have 9 site-years worth of on-farm research studies conducted in Seward and York counties where it’s shown no yield differences between specific high-yielding Group 2 and 3 varieties when planted early (April through first week of May). Thus, the improvement in soybean genetics provides opportunity to plant shorter season varieties for our part of the State. For non-irrigated fields, heat and lack of rain in August can impact shorter and longer season varieties differently, depending on when the stress occurs and the timing of that stress. We especially saw this in 2020 with a hot, dry August. Some growers felt their shorter season varieties did better because they were nearly mature at time of stress while others felt their longer season varieties benefited from rains after Labor Day. So in selecting soybean varieties for 2021, choose higher yielding varieties with disease tolerance/resistance for the specific field, plant early and consider planting a range of maturities to increase yields, mitigate risk, and spread out harvest.

2018: The Seward 1 and York sites were irrigated. Seward 2 was non-irrigated.
2019: Seward 1 site was non-irrigated. Seward 2 and York sites were irrigated.

JenREES 3-1-20

Happy March! One question that’s surfaced often is ‘at what maturity of corn and soybean do we start losing yield?’ There are many reasons for this question including planting a range of maturities to spread harvest load, taking advantage of marketing opportunities, and even planting shorter maturities to allow for increased cover crop biomass after harvest. The past two years, on-farm research growers in York and Seward Counties have compared Group 2 vs. Group 3 beans planted early to determine any yield differences. In 2018, combining the data from 16 reps over 3 locations planted the first week of May, the Group 2 and Group 3 beans yielded 70.2 bu/ac vs. 71.5 bu/ac respectively with no yield difference. In 2019, there were 13 reps over 3 locations. We don’t have these analyzed as a group. At the first (non-irrigated) location planted April 22, the 2.1 bean significantly out-yielded the 3.1 bean (70 bu/ac vs. 67 bu/ac). At the second (irrigated) location planted May 2, the 2.4 and 2.7 beans significantly out-yielded the 3.1 and 3.3 beans (71, 73, 70, and 67 bu/ac respectively). At the third (irrigated) location planted May 16, there was no difference between the 2.7 and 3.4 beans (71 vs. 72 bu/ac respectively).

Small plot research containing 16 soybean varieties with 8 relative maturities (range from 0.3 to 4.7) in Nebraska, Ohio, and Kentucky showed that soybean yields leveled off with no differences between Group 3 and Group 4 beans. They found a 3-4 bu/ac difference between Group 2 and 3 beans across locations. Ultimately, from looking at a variety of research studies including our on-farm research studies, we would suggest that when comparing really high yielding genetics of Group 2 vs. Group 3 beans, there aren’t yield differences. The small plot research also showed that there was an 11-13 day difference between R8 (full maturity) occurring in soybean from Group 3 to Group 4 and a 10 day difference between Group 2 to Group 3 occurrence of R8. What this suggests is for those seeking to plant Group 2 beans to get cover crop biomass established after harvest, one can gain an additional 10 days by following the drill behind the combine compared to planting a Group 3 bean and an additional 20 days compared to a Group 4 bean. It’s estimated every 0.1 in maturity results in 1 day harvest difference. Looking at our on-farm research data in York and Seward, for the grower who harvested the different maturities based on 13% moisture, the harvest date difference between his Group 2 vs. Group 3 beans lined up pretty well with that line of thinking.

For corn, relative maturities of 95, 105, 111, and 113 days were planted in 2017 in two locations. That year showed no yield difference for the 105-113 day but it dropped off for the 95 day. In 2018, relative maturities of 95, 99, 105, 111, and 113 were compared at one location. The yield trend showed the 113 day yielding significantly higher than 111 and 105 with the 95 and 99 day yielding the least. Based on that data and data from UNL’s South Central Ag Lab (SCAL), a 105 day relative maturity appears to be the cut off before seeing significant yield loss., but corn yields vs. maturity are highly dependent on hybrid and growing season. Greatest fall and spring cover crop biomass at SCAL planted after corn harvest (2015-2016) occurred after harvesting 88-105 day relative maturities.

Kiwanis Club of Seward 52nd Ag Recognition Banquet will be held March 16 at the Ag Pavilion at the Seward County Fairgrounds. The evening social begins at 5:30 p.m. with wine by James Arthur Vineyard and cheese from Jisa’s Farmstead Cheese. At 6:30 p.m. will be the prime rib dinner. Greg Peterson of the Peterson Brothers (YouTube celebrities) will be the evening entertainment. Honored as the Seward Kiwanis Outstanding Farm Family of the Year is Tomes Family Farm (Bill, Patty, Andrew, and Becky). Honored as the Seward County Agribusiness of the Year is the Lawrence and Della Beckler Family (Richard, Ruth and Kris Beckler). To purchase tickets, please call Shelly at (402) 643-3636.

2018 soy maturity data.PNG

2019 soy maturity data.PNG

SCAL cover crop biomass.PNG

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