Showing posts from October, 2022

Drought Pre-Planning

  Farmer’s fear drought which leads to reduced crop yields and profits. Worldwide, drought is affecting a number of countries: China, Argentina, European countries, and the USA. California, Arizona, Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma have experienced severe drought soil conditions this year. The Midwest is dry and experiencing drought problems, especially the Mississippi river with reduced barge traffic. Most farmer’s want to know what is the probability of a drought next year? Currently, a strong La Nina for the past 3 years is transitioning to a El Nino, perhaps by late Summer 2023. In most cases, strong El Nino’s signal an increased probability of a drought in the Midwest. Coupled with La Nina and El Nino ocean currents, there are increased solar flares and sun spot activity expected to peak by 2025. While droughts are hard to predict, the probability of dry soil conditions or a drought in the next couple of years. If you knew a drought was coming, how would you change your farming practic

Vomitoxin in Corn

  As harvest progresses, farmers are finding vomitoxin in their corn. Gibberella (GIB) ear rot is caused by Fusarium graminearum, a fungus that is also called Gibberella zeae. This pathogen infects corn and wheat causing ear rot, stalk rot, and head scab. Corn symptoms include a reddish or pinkish-white mold on the ear tips. This pathogen infects the pollen tubes at pollination and then produces vomitoxin and other toxins as it grows. The pathogen over-winters on plant residue, usually corn stalks/leaves and wheat residue (straw and chaff). GIB ear rot is most prevalent when cool wet weather occurs for about 21 days after silking. Fields most susceptible are corn after corn or corn after wheat, especially if the wheat was infected with Fusarium head scab. Corn that is stressed from lack of nutrients, by insects, or other types of plant stress (soil compaction, poor soil health) tend to have higher levels of GIB ear rot. Nutrient stress may come from nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and po

How No-Till Improves Land Values

  No-till Farmer (farming magazine) recently put together a report: How No-till Improves Land Values. This report put an economic value on conservation farming practices that improve the environment, but also preserves our soil. While farmers own the land and have the right to farm it how they choose; long-term, society has an interest in preserving the land for future generations. Here are some results of research on the benefits of no-till to society. An organization called Rural Investment for Protecting our Environment (RIPE) came up with $112 per acre as the value associated with no-till farming. This included $7 for increased carbon sequestration, $16 for improved air quality and human health, $25 for better water quality, and $44 for improved soil nutrient management; all on a per acre basis. No-till Farmer has been documenting farmer benefits for 25 years with farmers indicated they saved $25-$90 per acre in reduced production costs. A conservative figure is $30/A on average fo

Tips for Applying Fall Lime

  After crops are harvested, fall is a good time to apply lime. While lime can be applied any time, ideally, the soil should be dry to allow good spreading with out rutting up a field. Here are some tips for fall lime spreading. First, get a good soil test to evaluate soil pH. Dr. Steve Culman, Ohio State University says the ideal pH is dependent upon the crop and the subsoil pH. In western Ohio with calcareous soils (subsoils with limestone), lime is usually not needed until the subsoil pH for mineral soils gets below 6.0 for corn and soybeans and 6.2 for alfalfa. In other parts of the state (eastern and southern Ohio), where the subsoil pH is less than 6.0 for mineral soils, additional lime is recommended after the soil pH drops to 6.2 for corn and soybean, and 6.5 for alfalfa. Western Ohio soils needs less lime to buffer soil pH. Second, lime regularly. Soils that are regularly limed are not as critical as soils that seldom get limed and the pH gets too low. Regular liming maintenan

Tips for Late Wheat Planting

  The wet spring weather this year has delayed soybean harvest and stalled wheat and cover crop planting. While late planted wheat may not compete with seedings made in September, late planted October and even early November wheat can often be successful. Every day that wheat planting is delayed past the ideal planting window of late September and early October, fall tillering decreases and yield slips. The situation is especially concerning in the Midwest, which has seen less wheat planted early this year due to late spring crop plantings and later crop harvest. University research from Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania relate how best to manage late-seeded wheat fields to minimize yield loss and other problems. Here are some of their recommendations. First, watch your crop rotation. Avoid planting wheat into a corn crop because as grasses, both wheat and corn share many similar diseases. Diseases like Take All, a fusarium species, and head scab - fusarium, cause large yield losses, per