Everyone was there yesterday at Dallas and Matt Breitbarth’s farm west of Bancroft. Right out in the middle of soybean fields, University of Nebraska Extension specialists shared the latest in technology and management research with soybean producers, young and old, from around the region.
BIOSTIMULANTS: UNL Extension educator, Michael Rethwisch, explains soybean biostimulant research trials to farmers attending Soybean Management Field Days at a farm near Bancroft.
The best thing about these field days is that farmers can sit down and listen to sessions on nearly every possible subject they might deal with in producing soybeans, and then they can walk out to the field plots and see the research in action, growing in the fields. This type of presentation brings the message home, and provides more opportunities for farmers to quiz researchers who are on the front lines these days in helping us produce higher quality soybeans as efficiently and economically as possible.
DISEASE UPDATE: Loren Gieseler, UNL Extension plant pathologist, discusses soybean diseases and fungicide treatments.
Sessions included nutrient management for high yields, pest management and yield enhancement products, weed management, marketing and risk management and hands-on demonstrations in the BIT Mobile of the popular Soywater irrigation software. We’ll be writing more about the topics covered at the field days in future print issues of Nebraska Farmer. There were many “take home” messages from the programs, but here is a quick sampling of a few messages that resonated with me.
1) Soybean aphids are around this year, but get out in your fields and scout them before treating. The economic threshold is 265 aphids per plant through the entire field, with populations increasing. (Pest management talk, UNL Extension educator, Keith Jarvi).
2) Direct farm payments are on the budget chopping block for real. While other cuts to farm programs are probably on the horizon, direct payments will most likely see deep cuts or they will go away completely, with new programs potentially favoring a combination approach of ACRE, SURE and crop insurance. (Marketing and risk management talk, UNL Extension public policy specialist, Brad Lubben).
3) Biostimulants can increase the potential for higher yields in soybeans, but they most likely need to be applied in combination with a nutrient package to actually see more soybeans in the bin at harvest time. (Yield enhancement products talk, UNL Extension educator, Michael Rethwisch).
4) Yield increases from routine fungicidal applications on soybeans will boost yields, but generally at a smaller rate than one might think. Farmers should try fungicides, but the best policy is to scout for diseases in the field and treat accordingly. (Disease management talk, UNL Extension plant pathologist, Loren Giesler).
5) Farmers should carefully consider spray nozzle size, operating pressure and rate of product in application, to do a good job of controlling weeds, without causing spray drift. (Weed management talk, UNL Extension cropping system specialist, Greg Kruger).
6) Liming soils with pH below 5.8 can pay big dividends because soybeans are more sensitive to acid soils than corn. It might take three or four years to recover the cost of liming, but yield increases at current soybean prices bring financial benefits down the road. (Nutrient management talk, UNL Extension soils specialist, Charles Wortmann).
WEEDS: UNL Extension cropping system specialist, Greg Kruger, talks with farmers about weed control studies.
Soybean management field days are sponsored by UNL and the Nebraska Soybean Board. In addition to the Breitbarth farm near Bancroft, they were also held at research sites this year at Clay Center, Elba and Cortland.