Showing posts from June, 2024

Future Trends in Agriculture

Agriculture is changing quickly as farmers integrate new technology. Drones, robotics, sensors, and AI are just a few of the new innovations that are taking place. Small farmers are starting to use a new system called vertical farming, and even bee keepers have a new vaccine to help bees survive a devastating disease called American foulbrood.  Drones are quickly being adopted by farmers to monitor and improve crop performance. Drones can fly above crops and through thermal imaging and multi sensors, capture information on crop health, pests, environmental stresses (drought, excess moisture, heat stress, etc.) and nutrition needs of crops. Drones can map soils, check on crop variability, and help farmers make decisions about how to fix issues in the field. Real time information helps farmers respond quickly to improve crop performance. Often, farmers save money because nutrients or pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides) are only applied to areas that need attention. This sav

Bird Flu Prevention

  A wave of Bird Flu (Avian Influenza or H5N1 virus) is crossing the country, infecting both birds and bovine (dairy and beef cattle). So far, there is no evidence that the virus is being spread from mammal to mammal, only from birds or cattle. Poultry (chickens, turkey, ducks) and wild birds like Canadian Geese, pigeons, starlings, and sparrows may all be vectors or spreaders of this disease. Humans in China and Hong Kong have contacted the disease but it is not common in the USA. Milk pasteurization has been shown to be an effective way to keep the virus from infecting humans.  The Bird Flu virus has infected poultry and wild flocks of birds in the USA, Europe, Africa, and Asia. About 15 million poultry birds have died from Bird Flu in 1.5 years. More than 193 million birds have been culled to stop spreading the virus. Now Bird Flu has also been found in bovines or dairy cattle and even beef cattle. Usually milk production drops by 25% or more. Bird flu has been found in several poul

Dealing with Hot Temperatures

Farmers are finishing up planting, but some crops have been slow to emerge. Cooler nighttime temperatures may be delaying emergence. In most cases, moisture has been adequate but highly variable. However, summer has arrived and very soon hotter and drier weather conditions may prevail. The last two years plus this year look like a hot June. Last year, moisture was very short in May. This year, farmers have some moisture at the surface, however, subsurface moisture is very low. When it gets hot and possibly dry this early in the growing season, what can a farmer do? Crops' roots are still shallow and the crop is not well developed yet. Early planted crops appear to be in better condition to survive higher temperatures and possibly drier soil conditions because they have more developed roots. First, try to terminate cover crops and weeds quickly to save moisture. Second, reduce or avoid tillage because each tillage pass dries out the soil .5-1.0 acre-inch of water. Dry soil tends to

Corn & Soybean Replant

  Most farmers have finished planting for the first time but may be looking to replant. Replanting corn can be a difficult decision. Young plants can recover especially if the damage is above ground. However, below ground damage from insects, disease, compaction, saturated soils, or fertilizer injury are more difficult for corn to recover. With the cold nights lately and cloudy days, sometimes sunshine and warmer temperatures allow your crops to recover, making that decision easier to make. First, determine how widespread the damage is and how healthy the plants are that are remaining on the whole field. Aerial Drones can help cover a large area but you still need to inspect the remaining plants to determine their health.  Dr Robert Nielson, Purdue University offers these suggestions on corn replant decisions. Most modern corn varieties are fairly tolerant of both low and high populations. Based on 10 years research, populations ranged from 23,500 to 40,000 seeds per acre. Based on tho