By James DeDecker , and Jon Zirkle, Michigan State University Extension
Producers and agribusiness professionals who haven't been able to travel to Michigan State University Extension's recent winter programs have no need to worry. On Thursday evenings March 14 and 21, MSUExtension will offer Online Crop and Forage Highlights addressing key production points for 2013 in a condensed virtual format. These programs will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and can be viewed independently online at no cost over a high-speed internet connection. Those unable to access the programs online can attend one of several group viewing sites throughout Michigan for $10 per person.
The March 14 program will focus on enhancing corn and small grain systems in the coming season by addressing emerging production and pest management issues. Presentations will include tips for maximizing corn production from Purdue University corn specialist Bob Nielsen, small grain production pointers from MSU Extension educators Martin Nagelkirk and Jim Isleib, a weed management report from MSU's Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Christy Sprague, and an insect pest update by MSU Extension's Bruce MacKellar.
Viewing sites for this event will be available in Bellaire, Benton Harbor, Escanaba, Grand Rapids, Monroe, Ontonagon, Rogers City, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Johns, Tustin and West Branch.
The March 21 program will address agronomic, economic and environmental aspects of forage systems. Nielsen will give a presentation on corn silage production, followed by Kim Cassida of MSU Extension and her discussion of drought recovery management for forages, a presentation on cost of production by MSU Extension's Phil Kaatz, and an introduction to MAEAP verification for forage and livestock systems by Josh Appleby.
Viewing sites for March 21 will be available in Bellaire, Benton Harbor, Escanaba, Grand Rapids, Ionia, L'Anse, Monroe, Rogers City, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Johns, Tustin and West Branch, Mich.
Central to Nielsen's presentations will be a discussion of how growers can increase corn yields in the near term by identifying the unique Yield Influencing Factors (YIFs) that most significantly impact production in their fields. There are countless potential YIFs that effect corn yield, and determining which factors are most important in a particular field is no easy task. For this reason, Nielsen recommends framing your search within the context of corn yield components including plants per acre (population or "stand"), ears per plant (degree of barrenness), kernels per ear (potential versus actual), and weight per kernel.
~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~According to Nielsen, focusing on these yield components will help you narrow your search to specific periods of the growing season simply because the various yield components are "determined" or "set" at different times of the growing season. If yield in a particular field appears to be limited by insufficient plant population, for example, YIFs that impact seedling emergence and survival such as soil compaction, planting date and starter fertilizer would be likely candidates for improvement.
The most prevalent YIFs worldwide, Nielsen says, are those related to water management. Many corn producers are considering ways to conserve soil moisture or provide supplemental water in 2013 following last year's drought. While these YIFs are certainly important in times of limited precipitation, Nielsen will also remind growers that particular YIFs may not be important every year in a given field. As we move through the 2013 growing season, insufficient soil drainage may instead prove to be a key YIF in Michigan fields.
To learn more about YIFs and other production points for 2013, register for MSU Extension's Online Crop and Forage Highlights. Details on viewing site locations are also available on the event website. Once registered, online participants will receive an email containing a link to connect to the programs. Each event will offer MAEAP Phase I and two MDARD Pesticide Recertification Credits for application to the Private Core, Commercial Core or Field Crops categories.
For additional information or assistance contact, James DeDecker at 989-734-2168. Call by March 7 to request accommodations for persons with disabilities. Requests received after this date will be fulfilled when possible.