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CROP WATCH

By Staff | Dec 9, 2016

By now most people are getting somewhat accustomed to this colder weather. Our blood is doing its job and getting thicker, as nature developed this method to ensure our survival. All of that anti-freezing process will be put to the test later this week if the forecasters are correct in predicting cold conditions moving in by Tuesday.

A friend who now lives in Florida relayed the story that he apparently ticked one of his Army superiors off in his younger days. They got even with him by sending him to help man a weather station in the Antarctic for two years. The average temp was about -56, so needless to say he was advised to stay indoors and not do something stupid. So he spent his time reading and memorizing ag textbooks he had on the shelves.

While that task seemed worthless at the time, he found that he can win any discussions he ever gets into. So at the time when a number of indicators and forecasters are predicting a cold winter, will we be reading books inside instead of spending much free time outdoors?

And to think that Christmas will be here in only two to three weeks. Where did the years go? When everyone was a kid growing up the anticipation for the season, Santa Claus, Christmas concerts and getting ready for the time off seemed so exciting.

Today, most people seem content to get a little time to relax and rest. May all of you be able to enjoy this time over the holidays.

Pipeline commotions

Over the last century there have been wars and skirmishes over oil and the dollars it generates. We still seem to have battles fought over it today as geopolitical battles get fought all over the Mideast over oil deposits and the ability to ship it.

Now we have local battles over a pipeline that has already been dug across many miles and acres of ground in the state. It was easy to watch the dirt being stacked along the trench as the 30-inch pipe was being buried. Anyone that stopped to observe was met with suspicious stares as the workers wondered what was coming. I hope people that sit in their houses being heated with natural gas, or fuel oil, or coal realize that they should thank their lucky stars they don’t have to chop trees down to sling the wood into their basements as we did years ago to stoke their wood furnaces and boilers.

That was hard work. Too many people don’t think about the work that goes into the oil and gas industries, or in farming to provide products most people take for granted.

Moving oil by pipeline is the safest way to move it from point A to point B. I did happen to cross the Des Moines River Bridge near Pilot Mount on E.18th Street northwest of Ames as they prepared to tunnel under the river. There were maybe 200 protesters that day in August.

I was looking for the bicycles, horses and skateboards that they came in on and all I could see were vans, cars and trucks. Did that suggest they burned gasoline to get to an oil pipeline protest? Is that not being hypocritical, just as Al Gore flying in a fuel-guzzling model of plane around the country transporting only him and Tipper while lecturing about global warming?

Conferences

Last week was one for anyone who wanted to gather as much ag knowledge as possible. We had an ag consultant’s late-fall tech seminar in Ames, the big ISU Extension-sponsored ICM Conference was held on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 on the campus, and the national Acres EcoAg Conference was held in Omaha. Being held in the same week made making a decision about which one of the two to attend necessary.

At the consultants meeting we got to listen to a number of presenters give us their company’s run downs on what new herbicide tank mix or mixes they were going to be introducing and selling this next season.

Most of the talks repeated the mantra that were very few brand new products, instead it was mostly a litany of what new combinations the major companies had assembled and were hoping to market in the coming year. The one actual new product as a new fungicide family contained in the Thrivent product from Syngenta.

It apparently lasts much longer than the Strobe or Triazole products.

In the area of weed control the major theme was that the use of residuals herbicides was expected to be increased even more that this year and that the common recommendation was going to apply then sequentially during the season so there was no herbicide gap that any weed species was going to exploit by having a new batch of seeds germinate and emerge while people were not paying attention.

I never thought I would hear this spoken. One of the reps mentioned that in their company’s greenhouse they were trying to develop 2,4-D and Banvel tolerant weeds and they were able to in three generations.

The take home message was that expect there to be strong selective pressure and enough heterozygosity in many weed populations to help force resistant genotypes.

Use overlapping residual herbicides and in the case of Palmer try not to let it germinate.

In the Dec 13 meeting in Ames, sponsored by SprayTech, one of the guest speakers will be Dr. James Norsworthy, an Extension plant scientist from Arkansas. He is well acquainted with Palmer and will provide advice on how to manage for it. Another speaker will be a noted plant pathologist/physiologist now retired from Purdue. We will also get to listen to Sue Martin and her marketing advice.

At that conference we will also get educated at their new mineral-based spray products that fill dual roles in controlling weeds and diseases. If this sounds interesting there still be room for a few more attendees.

Call Carol at (515) 231-6710 to see if any room at the Gateway in Ames is still available.

Safteners

One topic from the IICCA discussion was about plant safteners, how they work and their value. While they have been used in crops for several years not many growers know much about them and how they function.

The first modern one was called 1,6 Napthalic hydroxide. It came from a company in Manheim, Germany and protected plants against most ALS herbicides. This included Scepter and Pursuit and it worked miraculously well.

However there were differences in performance between the German- and Chinese-made products so it never got commercialized. Some got bottled as F-80. It worked by increasing the activity of the P-450 system.

Scepter eliminated the formation of three amino acids, so F-80 restored their production within the plants. Interestingly enough that same product was also used in the paint industry to coat metals before powdered paint dust was applied and baked on machinery.

Now we see Bayer’s safteners, which had root in the old Rhone Poulenc company’s library, widely used in several companies’ herbicides. DiFlexx, Status, Balance Flex, Rimsulfuron-based herbicides and Corvus are those that use them. One of them can be applied to the soil and foliarly and one only foliarly.

This allows their use on susceptible germplasm, of which there are several families that are more susceptible than average to ALS chemistry.

One of the big admonitions from the different reps was to always read the labels to see what is and is not an allowed application.

The big ISU Extension Conference, the Acres EcoAg Conference, and the two-day Farm News Ag Show in Fort Dodge were held last week with good crowds at all. I will discuss them more next week.

Stay warm in the meantime.

Bob Streit is an independent crop consultant and columnist for Farm News. He can be reached at (515) 709-0143 or www.CentralIowaAg.com.

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