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CROP WATCH

By Staff | Jan 22, 2010

The days of January march by as the coldest time of the winter should be upon us shortly. Maybe we will luck out and the current warm conditions will stay with us a while longer.

During the subzero weather of December most farmers’ thoughts were that it was down right cold, but thought it was better than in the good, old days when they would have been down on their bellies thawing out hog waterers with the thirsty animals trying to get into the fray.

Looking at the calendar the start of spring is only about 60 days away and the start of the planting season is only about 90 days away. That sounds like a long time, but it always goes fast as lots of activities and tasks will have to be crammed into each and every one of those days.

I have to confess that I was asked to escape a bit of cold weather and accompanied a group of 42 north central Iowa growers and reps to Mexico. On the west coast we saw quite a few acres of nice, loamy, productive soils and growers who were equipped -machinery and acumen wise – to produced grain and vegetable crops efficiently.

Events

There will be several educational and social events in the near future for Iowa agriculturalists. The first will be the big Iowa Power Show the first week in February. The crowds have always been very good for two of the three days and people always seem to run short of time to see everything they would like to see and hear.

Then on Feb. 9 and 10 there is a big Ag Showcase and Field Day sponsored by the Iowa Agribusiness Association held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

It is an event that will feature many good speakers and chances to amass 20 CCA CEUs. Growers and agronomists alike will likely want to find out more about it and make plans to attend.

Weed control

Thirteen or more years ago one of the big tasks was to read through the North Central Weed Science Society Research Proceedings and see how all of the new herbicides stacked up against the industry standards in controlling the common and emerging problems grasses and weeds.

Then in recent years new products were increasingly rare. That seems to be reversing itself in that there have been products such as Authority and Balance that were tweaked and resurrected, new components were added to products such as Corvus, newer foundation chemicals such as Callisto remain strong, and now Kixor is being introduced in several different application forms for different crops.

It seems that the need is now present for residual type products and the wet springs and summers that prevented timely applications have become more common.

Based on ratings and research findings both the Kixor and Balance Flex could find a home on quite a few acres across the state.

Company reps from all of the chemical firms will be at both shows and will be available to answer questions about their newer products.

Through this studying and learning process weed specialists from ISU continually emphasize that the right weed control program focuses on protecting as much yield as possible rather than on how well it can kill the weeds that appear in each field.

An updated 2010 weed control guide is now available courtesy of Drs. Mike Owen and Bob Hartzler and the ISU weed control department.

Each of the new products and mixes is discussed and comments made as to where each products will shine and where they might have their challenges.

Log onto the ISU IPM Web site or get a copy from a county Extension specialist.

Budgets

Over the next few months all crop growers will want to be running budgets to see how their expected returns and input costs will turn out.

One tool that might come in handy for doing those calculations can be accessed via the University of Nebraska Extension Web site.

Producers can look over the different categories of cropping and plug in their specific numbers and calculate how their own acres turn out.

Consider any mistake made on paper is typically not as expensive as any mistake made in the field next season.

Good luck in your task of preparing for the 2010 growing season.

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