Tag Archives: crops

Hail storms, which hit northeastern Harlan county (Huntley) and many regions of Franklin county have wreaked havoc. While Extension research information could not prevent these storms, it might be helpful for those impacted to visit the new Nebraska Extension “Hail Know” web resource.

Questions addressed include: Does the level of damage warrant replanting? Will the remaining stand yield better than replant would? and How should field inputs be adjusted for the remaining season? are outlined on this new UNL website. The “Hail Know” resource has six key topics: 1) hail storm information; 2) damage assessment; 3) crop insurance & risk management; 4) replanting considerations; 5) managing a recovering crop; and 6) cover crop options. This website also provides: short video training modules; infographics; and articles written by a team of Extension experts (agronomists, Engineers; technologists; economists and disaster extension specialists.

Todd Whitney, Nebraska Extension Cropping Systems Educator, says that accurate crop damage assessment is critical. For example, although many soybean plants looked bad right after the storm, if there are still buds left on the stem above the cotyledons and new leaves are emerging from the stem; then, there is high confidence that those plants will recover. Overall, if soybean fields have above a half-stand, then it is recommended to not replant. Issues such as weed control, though, may be a challenge; since many of these hailed fields will lack crop canopy as summer advances and days get shorter.

Corn producers considering fungicide treatments are advised to delay fungicide treatment. Jenny Rees, Nebraska Extension Plant Pathologist Educator, says that Nebraska research studies indicate that it would be most cost effective to delay fungicide applications until possible leave diseases blow into our region later in the season. Also, later fungicide treatments may also improve corn stalk strength.

For more information, contact your local Extension office or visit Nebraska Extension Crop Hail Management web resources such as cropwatch.unl.edu/hail.  On Twitter follow https://twitter.com/HailKnowUNL OR Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HailKnowUNL/

Todd Whitney, Nebraska Extension Cropping Systems educator, can be contacted through e-mail at: twhitney3@unl.edu or cell phone: 308-995-7272

An outlook presented to the Farm Credit Administration shows corn and soybean prices are projected to strengthen, boosting profit margins for crop farmers.

The report shows profit margins are expected to decline for livestock producers though, as rising grain prices drive up feed costs, and Southwest pasture conditions deteriorate because of severe drought. The quarterly report also notes that uncertainties regarding agricultural trade policy and the Farm Bill will have a direct bearing on the farm economy.

The outlook says producers across the farm economy will face stress on cash flows from rising interest rates and higher fuel costs, and declining cash rents will put downward pressure on farmland values. Meanwhile, for the first quarter of 2018, the Farm Credit System reported strong earnings, higher capital levels, and a favorable portfolio credit quality.

Overall, The Farm Credit Admiration considers the system as financially strong and says it “remains safe and sound.”

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — Scouting corn and soybean fields this time of year often requires adding “plant detective” to your resume.

hy is that corn plant growing striped yellow leaves? What poisoned that sickly soybean seedling?

Two of the biggest culprits — herbicide injury and seedling diseases — can sometimes be hard to distinguish. DTN consulted University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager and plant pathologist Nathan Kleczewski to create a four-step guide to uncovering the guilty party.

1. REVIEW THE USUAL SUSPECTS

At this time of year, the most common crop diseases are a rotten bunch. Roots infected by Pythium, Fusarium, Rhizoctonia and even Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) are all potential causes of sickly or dead corn or soybean seedlings, Kleczewski noted.

Don’t just snap a picture of the suspects — dig up affected plants and examine their roots, Kleczewski said. Here are the calling cards of each disease:

— Pythium: This fungus causes mushy, rotten roots that are nearly translucent in both corn and soybeans; if you run a finger along them, the external part of root will easily slough off.

— Rhizoctonia: Look for red or black discoloration of soybean or corn roots, sometimes accompanied red discoloration at the base of the seedling above the ground and little notches on the stem.

— SDS: This disease can turn soybean roots jet black, and produce a blue growth in especially wet conditions. Fine roots will be missing.

— Fusarium: Here, the rotten corn or bean roots can have a reddish hue to them, and will be clearly decomposing.

Of the herbicide suspects, fomesafen carryover in corn and mesotrione carryover in soybeans are not uncommon in drier years, Hager noted. Both are broken down by microbes in the soil. Microbial activity is slowed in dry soils and comes to a halt when winter descends.

“So this spring, when we went from parkas to shorts in a very short period of time, and everyone planted very quickly, there was not a whole lot of time while soils were warm enough for microbial activity to resume,” Hager explained.

On the flip side, cold, wet conditions can also leave soybean seedlings vulnerable to damage from lingering soil-applied pre-plant herbicides. “When a soybean is emerging in cold, wet conditions, its ability to handle that herbicide can be compromised and you will start to see injury effects on [the seedling] because the plant couldn’t metabolize the herbicide fast enough,” Hager said.

— Fomesafen (Flexstar, Reflex and others) carryover in corn: Look for white or yellow striping within the veins of the third or fourth leaf of a corn plant.

— Mesotrione (Callisto) carryover in soybeans: This can cause stunted soybeans and an unhealthy light-green to yellow hue.

— Soil-applied herbicide (such as PPO-inhibitors) injury in soybeans: Look for reddish or orange-colored lesions on cotyledons and hypocotyls, where plant tissue came in contact with the herbicide; new growth will likely look healthier.

2. TAKE IN THE BIG PICTURE

Mother Nature doesn’t make straight lines, the old saying goes. But sprayers do.

“Anytime you walk into a field, the first thing you should do is take in the big picture — what’s the pattern of damage look like?” Kleczewski said. “Am I seeing straight edges? Usually seedling diseases aren’t going to follow distinctive patterns.”

Low, wet spots in the field can tell a story, too, Hager said. If plants in those sunken holes actually look healthier than their surroundings, it could be that the higher organic matter there absorbed or tied up a herbicide left over from the previous crop. If instead those low spots look sicklier than the higher ground, a moisture-loving fungus is more likely the culprit, Kleczewski added.

The breakdown of some herbicide active ingredients, such as chlorimuron (Classic), depend on soil pH levels — high pH slows degradation of the chemical, and low pH speeds it up. “Look for patterns based on pH differences in the field,” Hager suggested. “Are plants severely stunted at the end of the field where the lime pile sat two years ago?”

3. KNOW YOUR HISTORY

The best detectives have long memories.

That means knowing what chemicals were used on each field, not just this spring, but in the past year, Hager said. Some herbicides are capable of causing carryover injury to crops half a year after a summer application, if conditions are dry enough.

Also consult your records for spring pre-emergence applications. “You have to consider: Did we screw up something this year — put something in the tank that shouldn’t have been there?” he said.

Knowing a field’s disease history is especially important for seedling diseases, which have spores that can hunker down in the soil year after year, Kleczewski noted. It’s worth knowing which ones are plaguing you, because seed treatments can be tailored to target certain diseases like Pythium or SDS. Consider sending disease samples to a plant diagnostic clinic to get an official ruling on which fungus is causing disease in your field, he said.

4. DON’T FORGET THAT SNEAKY OPTION C

Ah, yes, the trick answer.

“Sometimes they’re not mutually exclusive,” Hager said of disease and herbicide injury. “The conditions that favor pathogen that need cool, wet soils will also favor soybean injury from soil-applied herbicides, like PPO-inhibitors.”