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By Staff | Dec 3, 2018

First of all we hope everyone in the Midwest was able to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. It is supposed to be a time to be thankful for being on this earth and all the bounties it offers to us.

For the weather we received this season on the northern part of the Midwest, whoever was in charge needs to know they can spread it more evenly and let the farmers in much of southeast and in southwest Iowa and in much of Missouri and other states to the south and southwest get their fair share.

We could get by with much less than you supplied.

As it is the rainfall records in parts of northern Iowa and southern Minnesotasrecorded amounts up to and even exceeding sixty inches for the year. Then tack on additional amounts that fell in early November, and the tallies are even higher.

As to screwy weather there was in interesting article out last Monday that told how the sunspot event in 2018 went to almost zero. Thus the energy being sent to earth was reduced and the atmosphere was shrinking in size. The number of sunspots was a level off less than one tenth of what has been considered a normal active. If the atmosphere was shrinking, and there was a lot of water vapor, wouldn’t a lot of the water get rung out?

In the article it was noted that cities like Houston were getting measurable snow three to four weeks earlier than ever seen before.

A NASA scientist started a Thermosphere Climate Index reporting scale to quantify their readings. This drop was expected to show up but not as early and not to the degree it has appeared. If you read the report it makes one wonder about the risk of planting very full season hybrids next season. This would apply more the growers in the northern fringes of the Cornbelt where small grains used to be the norm.

The announced rulings on dicamba use

A touchy topic in the past two seasons was the forecasted and delivered problem with dicamba drift. The widespread problems in year two typically application when guys were trying to beat the expected rains and vapor drift when inversions occurred. For a few reasons like big money was involved and in large areas certain weeds have become resistant to glyphosate, PPOs, and ALS herbicides leaving growers with a limited number of products or herbicide families to chose from, the label was renewed for another two years. The real losers in this have been the neighbors with sensitive crops that were damaged or killed and suffered monetary damages without receiving any payment.

The most visible damaged party has been the big peach growing Bader family of Missouri that had considerable drift onto their 3,000 acres of trees where production for two years now has been severely reduced and they lost many trees. In that case Judge Limbaugh (where I we heard that name before) has ruled they have a valid case and it will be heard in the county where the trees were growing and the damage occurred. I wish any granting of another two years would have hinged on those damages being paid first.

On a state by state basis the extensions weed specialist voiced their opinions. The ruling that no applications could be made until one hour after sunrise and none after two hours before sundown still will not eliminate all inversion drift problems.

Iowa State University’s Hartzler commented that it needed to be used primarily as a pre or in a burndown mix, or no later than V2 to V3. Weed advisors in other states wish they would have given a firm cutoff date, but the reality under that rule would not have worked with many bean fields being planted very late this past spring.

Having to spend additional dollars on a trait to prevent chemical trespass from neighbors to generate cash for a big corporation seems too much like blackmail.


Geting the latest news on spray information on attending the SprayTec meeting scheduled for Dec. 18th in Ft Dodge.

Call your SprayTec representative or Drew Ewing to get your RSVP in.

Spreading manure on frozen ground

The late fall is typically the time when hog pits get emptied after harvest. This year the wet weather and time squeeze limited the opportunity to get this task done. Now with the ground frozen at a record early date there will be growers who may still have to lower the pits enough to get through till spring.

The recommendations made by manure specialists advise adhering to staying back 300 feet from any stream, drainage ditch, or tile inlets to prevent the material from entering the body of water.

New to no-till

With the late corn harvest and early freeze up there are likely to be many new soybean no-tillers this spring if weather at that time prevents any disking. Several years of success has shown that beans can be planted in standing stubble. They have to remember to get the seed an inch or so into the ground and expect the small plants to look somewhat hidden the first few weeks. Then typically as the beans get close to R1 or close to July 1 the beans will canopy and match the appearance of any of their tilled fields.

Any pre herbicides would be applied earlier since the chance to eliminate emerged weeks will not exist. If there are early emergers like ragweed, marestail or others a burndown product will be required in the mix. This early application should be reinforced with an additional application of an amide product when the broadleaf weeds are sprayed.

Smart sprayers

How many of you saw the article by author Willie Vogt in the Penton Farm Magazines? It was the first time the experimental sprayer from Blue River Technologies was pictured. The Silicon Valley Company was purchased by John Deere about a year ago, so the sprayer will be coming through that company when and if it is commercialized.

The question then for growers in states where the Palmer amaranth and waterhemp are resistant to most or all herbicides labeled for use in soybeans, is that product to put in the spray tank? You will have to ask me in person for the answer.

Opportunities for entomologists in the future

Thankfully for full or part time entomologist Mother Nature keeps coming up with new insects to scout for and to manage in field crops. The new ones on the horizon for 2018 in the Midwest were the Soybean Midge and Dectes Stem borer. The midges seemed to be primarily in the western three counties in Iowa and the three surrounding states. The egg laying adult is actually a fly and cousin to the Hessian fly of Kansas fame.

The Dectes borer is the larvae of a beetle that is seen to our south in a territory from southern Nebraska clear into Kentucky. Look for information sources on each from your agronomist of information source and know what to scout for next season.

If you are going to be attending the ISU Crops Conference you will be the latest info on many topics important for the coming season.

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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