March is definitely here though meteorologists are predicting warm weather is still a few weeks away.
That would actually make many seed companies waiting on South American-produced seed, and apple producers who got frozen out after a very warm March in 2012, happy.
In watching trends, if we can hope for a normal growing season we have to expect a more normal winter season.
On that note we had the opportunity to drive through Southeast Iowa and Northeast Missouri last weekend.
Temps were warm on Friday and much of the snow was disappearing at a rapid pace. South of Hannibal, Mo., and through St Louis, the snow was gone.
We had to move daughter No. 3 to an apartment for her new position so a bit of furniture hauling was on tap for Saturday. The fun never ends, as any parent can attest to.
On our return drive on Sunday afternoon we drove through heavy rain clear to Iowa City.
Every river, creek, waterway, and low spot was full of water and ice chunks.
So as the arm chair, crop- size forecasters comment on how it helped our drought situation immeasurably, ask them how much of our recent rains infiltrated the still- frozen moisture.
Nada, zero, zip as far as Iowa went. We still have a major problem.
If you ask your neighbors and friends when they hope to get into the fields to plant the crops their answers may be different than in most years.
I think more of them, if the weather cooperates, may space their corn planting over a long time period. Much of the mid-May corn ended up out-yielding their earliest planted acres by a big margin.
So to hedge their bets spacing out their pollination and grain fill periods, they are thinking about not putting all their eggs in one planting time basket.
In case it has not hit home yet, Goss’ wilt was still on 99 percent of the plants in 99 percent of the fields.
If you don’t think so you just need to be shown how to recognize the disease symptoms.
Last year’s dry weather may have actually saved many fields from a severe bacterial disease problem. If we have a wetter season you need to be proactive to avoid a similar problem.
In a research article authored by Anne Videvar, a professor emeritus in plant pathology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Goss’ expert, she wrote of sampling small plants six weeks after planting and finding the bacteria in plants even before any symptomology is present.
She didn’t deal at all with the question on what to do about it if the person doing the testing found a high degree of infestation.
So if a person does early-plant sampling it may be best to use one of the plant health boosting products like 42 Phi in conjunction with the labeled Procidic product.
That would be after any seed dusting product that boosts maganese uptake such as SabrEx is applied. Multiple steps are likely to be needed.
The science of soil microbes and what they do in the soil is a Pandora’s box that has been opened.
The large ag firms have realized this as they have all been purchasing the most visible of the firms and as new firms are started.
It has been interesting in watching them jockey for position or have been exploring for new bugs.
One I have been watching are the Pseudomonas flourescense bacteria.
What I have learned is that it will act as the sheriff of the soil and help fight pathogens harming seeds and seedlings.
It will also release organic acids that make phosphorous more available.
If you study your recent soil tests and if your P1 test levels are 25 percent or more lower than your P2 levels, you would likely benefit more by spending money on a Pseudomonas in-furrow application than on additional P fertilizer.
Most growers in South America have been using this bug successfully for a good reason, it works consistently.
A few agronomists have had people testing it up here for a few seasons and have liked the results.
Be watching for any commercialized product that would contain one of the select strains.
Bob Streit is an independent crop consultant and columnist for Farm News. He can be reached at (515) 709-0143.