Showing posts from April, 2022

Planting Date and Crop Yields

  As May approaches, farmers are gearing up for planting season. Every year, weather seems to play havoc with farmer’s desire to get crops planted timely. Early planted crops generally have a yield advantage over late planted crops. Most crop yield is related to moisture at pollination in both corn and soybeans. So, even if crops are planted later than normal, good yields are possible if there is adequate summer moisture. Usually, July rains have a big impact on corn yields, while August rains have more of an impact on soybean yields. With high crop prices, farmers are eager to start planting. Cold wet spring often delay planting. University of Illinois, Dr. Emerson Nafziger, offers some insights on corn and soybean planting dates and yield. Generally, there is about a 3-week window in Ohio for optimal planting which is between April 20th and May 10th. Planting after May 10th on average results in about a 0.3% yield loss per day corn planting is delayed and by the end of May, this loss

Breaking Down Crop Residue

  For many farmers, crop residue can either be a plus or a minus. Crop residue has many beneficial plant nutrients when it decomposes, but when the residue is slow to break down, it keeps soils cold and wet, and can be difficult to plant. Good crop residue breakdown is dependent upon moisture, temperature, soil microbes (fungi and bacteria) and particle size. Late harvesting and some insecticides and herbicides may delay or inhibit crop residue break down. When crop residue is slow to decompose; planting equipment can plug easier, crop populations may decline, and tires on equipment tend to wear out faster. When crops are harvested late, soil temperatures often decline. Most soil microbes (bacteria and fungi) grow the fastest when soil temperatures are above 50OF. Excessively wet soil conditions favor bacteria that thrive in low oxygen, and slows down crop residue digestion. Well aerated soils have aerobic bacteria that consume the sugars and easy to digest crop residues rapidly. Early

Increasing Wheat Yield

  High wheat prices are causing farmers to strive to optimize wheat yields. High yields are dependent upon maximizing wheat grain kernels per foot and increasing grain weight. High yields come from achieving the correct leaf and shoot numbers, maintaining a green leaf canopy through grain fill, increasing grain numbers/head and increasing grain size. Good fertility increases yields by getting adequate amount of all essential macro- and micronutrients. Wheat also grows best when there is adequate soil moisture to develop a well branched root system. If wheat has enough water during the early growing season, it will form the necessary roots. A good root system is critical for obtaining adequate and balanced crop nutrients. Adequate drainage, both surface and subsurface, helps improve wheat yields. Nitrogen and potassium are the nutrients required in the highest quantity for maintaining high wheat yields. Wheat utilizes 60% more potassium than nitrogen. For nitrogen, the best time to appl

New Herbicides

  Glyphosate has been the #1 herbicide used in the USA since the 1990’s when glyphosate resistant genes (genetically modified) were inserted into crops. Each year, farmers lose about $33 billion dollars in crop losses due to weeds. Over time, 514 unique weeds have developed resistance to 167 different herbicides in 94 crops in 71 countries. Conventional synthetic herbicides is a $27 billion dollar market in the USA. However, 41 countries and 25 states have either banned or restricted the use of glyphosate products. The introduction of safer, new bio-herbicides using natural plant extracts is a distinct advantage; for farmers, for consumers, and for the environment. These biocide herbicides offer new sites and modes of action to reduce weed resistance and can be used in organic and conventional agricultural fields. The worldwide bio-pesticide market is expected to reach $10.63 billion dollars by 2027. Government regulations, environmental risks to pollution, and consumer demand for orga