Showing posts from September, 2023

New Weed Resistance

  Farmer have a new type of weed resistance to worry about. Farmers have been using herbicide or chemical weed control for many years. Weeds have learned several ways to get around herbicides in order to survive. While it is recommended that farmers rotate different groups of herbicides and use full rates, sometimes that does not happen and weeds become herbicide resistant. That has been the main way weeds like pigweed, water hemp, and mares tail have become weed resistant. Some weeds have become resistant to one or several groups of herbicides and now some weeds have even learned to become resistant to almost any herbicide. That is a scary proposition! Often farmers use several passes of herbicides with different modes of action (MOA’s) to control weeds. The goal is to reduce the weed population down to zero so that no survivors pass on any genes that are resistant. The problem is that there are millions of weed seeds in an acre of land, stored over many years. So weed seed is always

Late Season Crop Diseases

  Late season diseases are occurring in corn and soybeans. Tar spot in corn and sclerotia or white mold plus soybean cyst nematodes (SCN) in soybeans. In many cases, it’s too late to prevent the diseases. However, there are some management practices to reduce future incidences of the diseases. For corn tar spot, the symptoms include irregularly shaped black structures on leaves. The black structures are firm, appear mostly smooth on the surface and the spots do not rub off or break open. Tar spot can also produce black spots circled by tan lesions with dark borders. Tar spot overwinters on surface crop residue. The spores are dispersed by the wind and rain droplets splashing the inoculum onto plants. The inoculum likes cool summer conditions with adequate moisture and high humidity. The recent August rains with cooler days and nights is causing good growing conditions. Field with a history of tar spot are most susceptible. The best time to apply a fungicide is at tasseling (VT) up to t

Estimating Crop Yields

  As crop start to mature, farmers are estimating crop yields. Weather conditions have been variable. Many soil are drier than normal. However, some fields have had almost perfect rains and some way too much. Expect yields to be as variable as the rainfall, even within the same field. The best way to estimate corn yield is to use the yield component method. This method was developed by the University of Illinois. The following procedure comes directly from Dr. Bob Nielson, at Purdue University. The yield component method uses four components. These yield components include number of ears per acre, number of kernel rows per ear, number of kernels per row, and weight per kernel. The first three yield components (ear number, kernel rows, kernels/row) are easily measured in the field. Final weight per kernel obviously cannot be measured until the grain is mature (kernel black layer) and a 15% grain moisture of 15% which is the typical moisture value used to determine a 56-lb market bushel.

Soil Conservationist: Hugh Bennett

  Hugh Bennett was the first Soil Conservation Service (SCS) director. SCS was created by our U.S. Congress in 1934. SCS later became known as the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). Hugh was an outspoken proponent of stopping soil erosion. In 1934, Hugh testified before congress during the Great Depression when the Dust Bowl was at its peak. The whole country was hot and dry during the 1930’s, hotter and dryer than today. The long-extended drought of the 1930’s (11 years, 1930-1940 with 15% to 25% below average rain per year) plus the over grazing and the tillage allowed USA soil to blow away. The previous decade, a large swath of the Southwest was converted from permanent prairie with long fibrous roots to wheat which was seasonal and corn, and oats (other seasonal crops). At that time, land was grazed heavily until the soil was almost bare. Once the roots and plants were gone, the wind started blowing and it carried the soil with it. Over 350 million tons of topsoil in Ka