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Volunteer corn bad for crop ecosystem

Volunteer corn growing in soybean fields that originated from Bt corn the year before may be much more onerous than it looks. One possible negative effect is obvious: soybean yield loss. The other downside is more subtle, but could be just as damaging. It relates to promoting insect resistance.

Watch where you put less-resistant hybrids

You’re scouting an irrigated cornfield the first week of July. Gray leaf spot is off to a healthy start. Then you check the disease rating chart for that hybrid and see that it rates 6 of 9 for gray leaf spot, with 1 being most tolerant and 9 being susceptible.

New herbicides added to your weed control kit

Weed control systems expanded for 2010 if you’re using Roundup Ready or LibertyLink hybrids. Several new options are designed to help improve overall weed control in these systems.

Review how to stop rootworms

How do you control rootworms on refuge acres in Bt rootworm corn fields? Or how do you stop the pests if you’re growing non-GMO corn for specialty markets?

Score your cornfield for disease risks

Should you plan on corn fungicide treatments in 2010? The answer isn’t as simple as “How much does it cost?”

Plan soybean fungicides now

You look at current commodity prices and recheck your crop budget. It’s possible you may need to trim costs. If you still want to make sure your soybeans are protected as much as possible, where do you put those limited dollars you can spend on fungicides?

Which field should you harvest first?

How do you decide which cornfield to harvest first? The first part of the answer is easy — don’t leave it to chance.

Identify reason stalks fall over

Lodging in corn can cause slowdowns at harvest and yield loss. There are two types of lodging — root lodging and stalk lodging. Each is caused by a different set of factors.

When to inoculate bean seed

Considering last fall’s wet weather and the soggy fields this spring, farmers wonder about using inoculants on soybean seed in 2010. Should you use a rhizobium inoculant? Or, is there enough of the nitrogen-fixing bacteria, Bradyrhizobia japonicum, remaining in the soil?

Recognize problem spots in soybeans and take a soil test

Soybean cyst nematode is a yield robber, so the first step in managing SCN in the field is to test the soil to know that a population exists. It can cause up to 30% yield loss with no aboveground symptoms on the plants, and it has been found in 50 Nebraska counties, which produce over 80% of the state’s soybeans. Last year, SCN cost Nebraska farmers more than $25 million in lost revenue.

Weed resistance concerns grow

In January, Iowa State University Extension weed scientist Mike Owen was a keynote speaker at the first-ever Pan American Weed Conference. Experts from universities and industry gathered in Florida to share ideas and information about weeds developing resistance to herbicides. Some 200 people from North and South America attended, exchanging experiences and ideas on sustainable solutions.

Develop plan to manage aphids

It’s been a decade since soybean aphid populations skyrocketed across the upper Midwest. Managing this pest has become an important part of profitable soybean production.

CSI: Crop Science Investigation

Those TV “detectives” in Miami, New York and Las Vegas solve their murder cases in under an hour’s time with technology that often doesn’t exist, but they couldn’t keep pace with 4-Hers in Clay and Fillmore counties. After all, the crime scene investigators on the CSI shows are actors, while the youth in these two counties are identifying real crop problems and offering some real solutions as part of a special project involving 4-H’ers and FFA’ers.

Soil penetrometer could come in handy when checking for compaction

A soil penetrometer would be an expensive mixing rod to stir chemicals — they’re not cheap. It might tell you how hard it is to push into a bale, but it won’t tell you what nutrients are inside. And you might find it tricky to pull water samples with a device that features a solid metal rod.

Winter primer on insect trapping

Most farmers cringe at the thought of insects in their cornfields. Mark Lawson, Danville, invites them. In fact, sometimes he inoculates plots to make sure insects are present. Then he traps, keeps records and notices how well hybrids with insect-resistant traits handle the pests.

Sunflower scouting tips

Diligent crop scouting is essential when growing sunflowers. Some good recommendations from Extension specialists and private agronomists for successful sunflower scouting are detailed.

Keep ahead of nature’s curveballs

In mid-May, most of the corn in Iowa was finally in the ground, and we were off to a good start with soybean planting for 2011. But weather has challenged our crop emergence and crop growth this year, putting the planting and spraying well behind schedule. As a result, we may be in for some bumps down the road this growing season.

Crop imagery identifies early problems

You’re harvesting corn, and a couple of rows on a regular pattern don’t look as good. The only way to pick it up on the monitor would be to run those rows separate. What caused it?

Goss’s wilt spreads across Nebraska, biggest corn disease

Goss’s wilt continues its spread unabated across Nebraska, with more than 60 counties in which the disease had been officially confirmed as of 2010. But Tamra Jackson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln plant pathologist, figures it pretty much exists statewide.

60-year shift in weeds tells ag’s story

Quick! Take this quiz before you look at the chart. First, were perennial weeds more common today or in the 1940s? Second, which weeds have always given Midwesterners more fits, grasses or broadleaves? Finally, how many perennial weeds were among the recent top five common weeds?

Don’t let wireworms chew up stand

Wireworms are long, slender, brown, shiny insects aptly named since they look downright “wiry.” They’re more of a concern at earlier planting dates, notes Dan Ritter, Newton County Extension ag educator. Ritter is also a Certified Crop Adviser.

The 2009 season worth a closer look

Corn yields in 2009 ranked among the highest ever recorded in the U.S., despite delayed planting. According to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service, Indiana’s average yield was 166 bushels per acre vs. 160 in 2008, and 158 for the five-year average. It wasn’t hard to find farmers reporting whole-farm averages of 200 bushels per acre. Was it because of new genetics, traits, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides? Or was it thanks to the cool, wet summer with minima

Soybean supplies should be sufficient in Midwest states

Farmers want to know if they will have soybean seed to plant this spring. The good news is that most seed industry insiders believe there will be adequate supplies of good-quality soybean seed for planting this spring, especially across the heart of the Corn Belt.

How to get money’s worth when picking bean seed treatment

Ordering soybean seed these days is somewhat like buying a new pickup truck. You’ve got to do more than just specify the variety. Do you want your soybeans treated? If so, what do you want them treated with? Do you want a company’s deluxe treatment option?

Soybean diseases to watch for

Soybean diseases that max out in a cool, wet year thrived in 2009. Even farmers with 30-inch soybean rows battled white mold, and that’s not supposed to happen. However, the disease challenges you face in soybeans in 2010 could be different.

Start pondering fungicides now

Soybeans don’t go in the ground for three months. Then it’s another couple of months before you would spray fungicides. However, it’s not too early to weigh your options.

Don’t take 2,4-D drift lightly

Anyone who has sprayed 2,4-D knows it can drift and injure soybeans. Within two to three years, Dow AgroSciences hopes to introduce 2,4-D-tolerant corn, meaning 2,4-D may become popular again.

Search for missing plants

Keep your Bible on the nightstand and a copy of Purdue University’s Corn & Soybean Field Guide in the glove compartment. You’ll refresh your spirit, and insect and disease pests will get what’s coming to them, too.

Timing key to peanut yields

Some people say farming is both an art and a science. You might interpret the “science” side of that equation in terms of learning, knowing and performing the practices that are the best for your crop. If so, then much of the “art” of farming would be putting that science to work for you — and somehow pulling it off in the middle of a busy season, when you’re also trying to do a thousand other things at the same time.

Asian bug finds way into Georgia

If Joe Eger hadn’t stopped by Dan Suiter’s University of Georgia insect lab, homeowners in northeast Atlanta still wouldn’t know anything about the bug swarming their houses.

Prepare to face off against Goss’s wilt

For many Nebraska corn producers, Goss’s bacterial wilt and blight was like a scary, low-budget movie last year, but the sequel for 2010 could be even worse.

Rotation manages soybean yield robber

One of the best techniques a farmer can use to manage soybean cyst nematode is to rotate resistant soybean varieties, according to the preliminary findings of a Midwest SCN project.

Odd ears offer a teaching tool

The PowerPoint presentation has become a farm meeting favorite, but when it comes to showing farmers what can go wrong, it’s better to have something they can hold, says Peter Thomison, OSU Extension corn agronomist. So he brings along examples of abnormal ears.

Add 2 bean diseases to watch list

The soybeans have emerged, have taken off, and are growing well. We don’t have to worry about diseases in them anymore, right?

Scout to protect silage yield, quality

When scouting cornfields this summer, don’t forget your silage fields.

Step up sunflower scouting in July

Once sunflowers reach the bud stage of development, it’s time to initiate aggressive crop monitoring and pest scouting. Banded sunflower moth and red seed weevil are major insect challenges. In addition, lygus bugs have become a threat to confection sunflowers, and the long-horned beetle is becoming more prevalent in several areas.

Make your test plot data work for you

One sign of an innovator is someone who does test plots to learn what he or she doesn’t know. Often the plots include products they’re not using yet. The smart way to try them is in test plots, not on major acreages.

Farmers remember last season’s aphids

Soybean aphids hit late in 2009 and went further south in Indiana than perhaps ever before. What can you expect from soybean aphids this summer?

New way to deal with aphids

Preventing yield losses from soybean aphids where they pose a threat is more than a one-step process. Matt Tenhaeff, brand marketing manager for NK soybeans, says it’s a multistep process.

Long silks may be bad news

A farmer once told me what a bad day felt like. The PTO went out on the tractor running the auger, the engine blew in the tractor running the grinder, and a bin fan belt chewed itself up — all before 7 a.m.“Now that’s a bad day — I just went home and started over,” the farmer says. “It turned out to be an expensive day, too.”

Toasted soybeans deserve closer look

The Crops Corner panel of Indiana Certified Crop Advisers (see Page 22) tackled this tough question:

Scouting for soybean aphids

Light green to pale yellow soybean aphids have been a yield-robbing summer visitor to Nebraska soybean fields since their discovery in the state in 2003. Measuring less than one-sixteenth of an inch long, with two black cornicles or “tailpipes” on the rear of their abdomen, they have piercing and sucking mouthparts. They begin to feed on new tissue at the top of soybean plants beginning in late June and early to mid-July.

Battling a prehistoric weed

Scouringrush has probably been around for some 300 million years. With no leaves and very little branching, it has several names like snake grass, jointed grass, horsetail or horsepipes. Unique and interesting, this hollow green-stemmed prehistoric plant in the horsetail family can become a problem weed when it creeps out of streams, waterways and marshy areas into corn and soybean fields.

Deer chew off more corn than you think

Estimating the corn yield stolen by insects, diseases and other problems is usually not that difficult for university specialists or crop consultants. But have you wondered about yields consumed by deer feeding in your corn? It might be something to think about with the population surge of these four-legged critters in parts of Nebraska.

Tips to control giant ragweed

Giant ragweed is still high atop the public enemy list. Crop consultants believe it’s a battle you can win, even if some giant ragweed is resistant. Here are suggestions to wrestle ragweed down and pin it to the mat.

CCA consultants are trained to offer accurate crop advice

There are many acronyms in agriculture. Some of the more popular ones include FSA, for Farm Service Agency; ISDA, for Indiana State Department of Agriculture; and USDA. Another acronym in agriculture today is CCA, which stands for Certified Crop Adviser.

Don’t try this weed strategy at home

One ingredient you probably shouldn’t count on every time in your weed control strategy is luck. Yet here’s an example of what someone can do with modern herbicide technology and, yes, a little luck.

Green stem syndrome prevalent in 2010

Despite record soybean production in 2010, yields could have been even better, says a University of Missouri Extension specialist. One reason was green stem syndrome, or GSS.

Check growth stage of plants, not height

Three things became evident while checking plant-to-plant spacing in Indiana Prairie Farmer/Precision Planting plots last summer at the Purdue University’s Throckmorton Research Center. These three discoveries could help you make better management decisions.

Weevil warrior

Even away from his Abilene office, Lindy Patton finds if difficult not to have weevils on his mind.

Boll weevil battle faces hard road

Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation President and CEO Lindy Patton says the eradication program is making great progress in some real tough areas, but must work with limited resources now.

Watch corn closely

When corn starts emerging from the ground, it pays to scout fields and find out what’s going on as the stand establishes. Timely scouting early in the season could be particularly helpful this year with a cool, wet spring.

Watch for midsummer insects

It’s July and not a fun time to scout for insects in soybean fields, but you really should go look. Of course, the first insect to watch for is Asian soybean aphid, our most economically important soybean pest. Next you need to watch for Japanese beetle, a relatively new pest in some parts of Iowa.

Fast-start spring

June-like weather in March gave weeds a huge head start this spring. Soil temperatures in March matched what Iowa normally has in late April and early May. A mild winter and warm spring create greater weed challenges, especially for no-tillers. Winter annuals can turn fields green by late March. And weeds such as marestail grow faster and reach stages difficult to control much sooner than in a “normal” spring.

Evaluate forage stands for injury

It’s been an unusual winter — warmer than most and not much snow cover. Although winter was mild, you should still get out and evaluate alfalfa fields, mixed hay fields, pastures and other perennial forage plants. Now is the time to do it, says Steve Barnhart, Iowa State University Extension forage agronomist.

Soybean aphid a formidable foe

Over the past decade the soybean aphid has proven to be an adaptable insect pest. Severe infestations can reduce yields by as much as 40%, but it is a sporadic pest. You need to scout fields regularly to keep an eye on populations. They can explode in a matter of days to damaging levels.

ISU aids young entrepreneurs

A student business incubator program, part of Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is broadening the understanding of entrepreneurship and business development among its students.

Know what to look for when scouting for armyworms

True armyworms do not overwinter in Michigan. Armyworm outbreaks occur when adult moths are blown in from Southern states in the spring. The warm winter and early spring experienced in much of the Midwest this year may have contributed to the arrival of armyworm moths in the state by giving them a head start as they made their way north this season. Both Indiana and Ohio were reporting scattered outbreaks of armyworm feedings — some cases were quite severe — in la

Sound decisions ease harvest load

One used combine was all Jim Facemire figured he needed to harvest 2,000 acres, plus some custom work. He still felt that way on Labor Day. But by Oct. 1, everything had changed.

Ideas that should work this spring

Here are two quick-read ideas that might apply in 2010.

Yields through knowledge

After harvest and planting, June is our third busiest time in the fields, except when we’re still planting in June. Scouting fields, spraying pesticides and sidedressing fertilizer consume the majority of our time.

How to handle corn nematodes

I still remember the field day some time back when Purdue University pathologists first talked about sudden death syndrome. One farmer walked away from that talk as soon as it started. “I’ve got enough to worry about. I don’t need to know about some new thing that might become a problem.”

Sample to spot corn nematodes

Are nematodes why some cornfields got off to a slow start? Did you notice yellow, stunted patches? Are you sure it was just wet soils? Or could nematodes be part of the reason?

Solve mystery of missing corn plants

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out what went wrong in your cornfield. But it helps if you follow a systematic pattern and observe small details, much like the legendary, fictional character who recently returned to the big screen.

Is it time to apply fungicide? The answer varies by hybrid

To apply a fungicide on corn, or not to apply? That’s the question!

The scoop on pesky stinkbugs

A scoop — or shovel, if you prefer to call it that — was about as effective as any weapon Mid-Atlantic farmers tried last year against swarms of brown marmorated stinkbugs, or BSMB. Formerly just a stinking nuisance, the bug exploded into a major crop-insect problem last summer.

Be ready for the stinkbug invasion

Stinkbugs leave a powerful impression. As I began writing this story, I started smelling one that I searched for — in vain. Hopefully, you’ll also search for it in vain in your orchards and fields during the fast-coming growing season.

Detect ear-fill problems

Corn pollination is fast approaching, and it is an extremely important stage in the plant’s life cycle. Up to this point the corn plant has been determining its yield potential. The kernels to be fertilized are set at this point, and it is up to pollination to finish the process and begin seed development.

Predicting the last irrigation of the year

This growing season started with a wet, cool spring that delayed planting in some areas. The net result is that crops may mature in different areas of the state over a longer time than usual this fall.

Soybean bug of the year

If North Carolina State University entomologist Dominic Resig were giving out awards, the trophy for the insect with the most impact on soybean producers last year would have to go to the kudzu bug.