Showing posts from July, 2023

Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome

  Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) and soybean cyst nematode (SCN) damage are often linked together. SDS is a soil borne fungal pathogen (Fusarium virguliforme) that invades the roots and lower stems of soybeans producing a toxin. SDS can devastate soybean fields causing aborted flowers and yellow dying plants. SDS has two major phases. In the first phase, it attacks the roots then in the second phase, it attacks the leaves causing leaf scorch. SDS infection occurs early in the season and then the SDS symptoms show up later in the season. SDS and SCN symptoms are more prominent in hot dry years. Foliar SDS symptoms include small to pale green leaves early on with small circular spots in the late vegetative stages to early reproductive soybean stages. The area between the leaf veins turn bright yellow then brown as the disease progresses. When the infection get severe, on roots, blue fungal masses can be seen. SDS is common on sandy soils, top of hills and knolls, but also on plants under st

Summer Cover Crops

  Wheat harvest is mostly complete and many fields are being baled for straw. Some farmers have planted double crop soybeans, but with the sporadic rains, many fields are lying bare. Looking at the calendar, it’s too late to plant soybeans and bare fields just grow weeds! Another option is to plant a cover crop, depending upon your goals, and what crop will be planted next year. Cover crops planted in August have an advantage over fall planted cover crops. First, they capture more sunlight. Cover crops need at 60-90 days of growth before winter to survive. Second, if you spray the weeds first before you plant, there is less competition, so they produce better stands. Third, summer and fall rains allow cover crops to get better growth. Generally, what ever growth you get above ground is going to be matched below ground. For these reasons, planting cover crops after wheat has many advantages. To optimize cover crop growth, the best thing to do is bale the straw. It is not a deal breaker,

Payments for Regenerative Practices

  Due to government subsidies, a number of companies are now paying farmers for regenerative farming practices and conservation practices that reduce greenhouse gases. Agriculture, it is estimated, may be responsible for about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. However, agriculture can be a huge sink or storage vessel for stored carbon. Currently only about 15% of farmland is considered regenerative with the goal of reaching 40% by 2030! Reaching that goal will require higher payments to farmers to make that change. Most of the money comes from the Inflation Reduction Act passed last year, around 40 billion dollars. Companies get paid for buying farm commodities that reduce our “Carbon footprint” which can amount to multi-millions of tons of carbon. Several practices are being promoted from cover crops, reduced tillage, nutrient optimization, agro-forestry practices, and grazing. Farmers will have many opportunities to participate in these government/company sponsored p

Crop Nutrient Status

  A mixed bag is occurring this year. Some farmers have col, dry soil while others are getting too much rain. Variable weather conditions mean there are a variety of nutrient problems. The most common complaint seems to be slow growing soybeans. Soybeans planted into heavy cereal rye combined with cold nights is resulting in slower soybean growth, especially if it is dry (slow nutrient release). As summer progresses, temperatures should warm up the soybeans should catch up. Rye residue conserves moisture and keeps the soil in a more ideal range for optimal plant and microbial growth later in the season when temperature get hotter, high 80’s and 90’s. There are several nutrient issues farmers can scout for this year. On corn and soybeans, Boron (B) and Calcium (Ca) deficiency symptoms are noticeable. On corn, look for parallel lines or just slight zipper effects on the outside of the leaf to identify B deficiency. Boron is needed to get calcium into the plant. After nitrogen and potassi

Wildfire Smoke Impacts

  The Canadian Wildfires are playing havoc on humans, livestock, and agriculture. At least 3,000 Canadian wildfires have burnt over 20 million acres with over 500 wildfires still active. The fire season in Canda runs from May to October and this is the worst fire season (Level 5) since 1989. Dry weather, drought, plus poor forestry management has led to a lot of fuel for these wildfires, resulting in smoke and air pollution for the Midwest and Northeastern USA. The hazy atmosphere is due to excess smoke and fine particulates in the atmosphere and can cause lung and breathing issues. Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) in smoke inhaled in the lungs can lead to many health problems. Wildfire smoke symptoms include coughing, stinging eyes or eye irritation, fatigue (tiredness), headaches, rapid heartbeat, scratchy throat, short breath, runny nose, and wheezing. People with asthma and heart disease are at the most risk of having adverse reactions to the smoke and fine particulates. Humans are