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Crop watch

By Staff | Mar 1, 2019

It has been a very busy two weeks here. Three days in St Louis, two nights in South Dakota, two nights in Lincoln and finally two days in La Crosse. Most of the trips were for holding meetings or attending conferences that were ag related.

At the meetings growers were preparing for the upcoming season and wanted to learn what new practices or products would be available for their use. One of the conferences was the Nebraska Aeronautical Trade Association or in common language the Nebraska, Kansaa, and Colorado spray pilot conference. There they learned about the latest rules and training updates that either teaches them the new regulations or provided information and training on new navigational practices or tools that help ensure they return safely from ever application trip.ith their planes.

The final conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin was the 2019 National Organic and Sustainable Ag Conference. With their 400 plus exhibitors there were plenty of reps and technical people to answer questions from the 2,200 to 2,400 people in attendance.

Hanging over the crowd was the weather forecast telling of a 35-inch snowfall in Flagstaff, Arizona accompanied by 40 to 50 mph winds that would be working its way towards the Midwest. Typically such threats are meant to keep people off the roads that are not good ‘bad weather’ drivers. I made it back to Charles City by about 10:30 p.m. to help babysit four grandkids on Saturday. The bad storm moved in Saturday evening. Sunday morning we encountered whiteout conditions driving to Mason City and ended up following a snowplow. Currently with I-35 closed it looks like we will be moteling it near Clear Lake. While that was not ideal, it beats being stranded in a car stuck in a snow drift.

Speaking on sports how about the Texas Tech and their hot shooting against KU? Wow. Monday night’s game should be good. It was good to see the Mayor back in town as well and see he is doing well. Speaking of ex ISU basketball players, look up Jared Homan, farm boy from Remsen, IA. Our guess is that he has learned a few words in Portuguese.

Opportunity awaits

In previous columns I mentioned that lots of people from this and surrounding states did not complete their fall tillage. If their ground is heavy and tillage is needed they are now asking questions about how to manage the residue and soils in the spring and hope to avoid problems caused by using the wrong tillage tool, not letting the ground dry enough, any sweeps are allowed to cause a sheer layer or passes are made at the wrong angle.

Any pass made incorrectly could lower the productivity of the fields. Kevin Kimberley will be speaking at our March 14th meeting about tillage, tillage equipment, and planter adjustment/retrofitting. That can be a long and multi-day process and we can only have an hour for him. So based on his schedule and prior commitments he and his son Brock will be holding a one day session at his farm east of Elkhart on March 5th that could extend to second day if needed. It will begin at 8 a.m. with evening housing at the Adventureland Inn at a reduce rate in Altoona if needed.

Call Kevin at 515-240-8211 to make those reservations.

Insect questions

Two things that can result from a very cold winter are that insect mortality is typically greater especially if the insect is in the larval or above ground egg stage during the cold months, and the ground could freeze deep to break up shallower compaction, especially if multiple freeze/thaw cycles occur.

The temperatures we experienced with the first polar vortex should help reduce the populations of bean leaf beetles and soybean aphids. Insects tend to be very good at surviving freezing temps and typically either fly south or have developed anti-freeze proteins in their circulatory fluid.

Mineral deficiencies

The most profound information I have learned in my career after graduating from college, where my specialty was plant path/pest management and agronomy, was that most plant diseases are the result of mineral deficiencies with those minerals being those important to the plants’ immune function.

When I learned that from an Emeritus researcher back in 2009 it is such a simple and profound theory that needs to be adapted by more growers. Most medical practitioners have not been exposed to such training yet. The theory is worth mentioning since so much of the fertilizer still needs to be applied after the most recent soil sample results are studied before fertilizer recommendations and 2019 recommendations are made. We still see fields where early spring sampling is called for in order to formulate accurate recs. This increases the chance for corrective actions to be taken to minimize plant disease problems.

Instead of blindly allowing fungal disease problems to appear in and affect your crop yields you could act preemptively. Study your past soil test results and besides paying attention to the pH, N, P and K look at the S, Zn, Cu, Bo and Mn levels. Several of those minerals are best applied as dry products while several are most cost efficient as foliar applied liquids.

In the case of S the sulfate form is readily plant available while the elemental form must be oxidized first. This is believed to take one year to happen. AMS is perhaps the best form as would be ATS.

New to the Dakotas

By now corn growers have heard of Goss’s Wilt (GW) as caused the a Clavibacter bacteria. The newer Bacterial Leaf Streak (BLS) disease is caused by Xanthamonas vasicola and has been found in recent seasons in major corn growing states from Nebraska and Colorado to Ohio and Indiana.

It was officially diagnosed two or three years ago while the first symptoms were seen a few years earlier. Only one product so far that has successfully been used to minimize the effects of GW. No company has released a product to minimize BLS symptoms. That may change as a new product developed by the same PhD chemist has looked good in lab trials and is moving into greenhouse trials now. If it continues to look good it could move into widespread field use in states where it has been a yield robber. Two seasons ago in eastern Colorado, southwest Nebraska, and northwest Kansas in areas where there had been a few hail and wind storms the yield checks between affected versus unaffected fields showed that yield losses of 30 to 40 Bu/A were occurring.

In the discussions about Tar Spot at extension meetings the presenters showed a map of the U.S. and portions of the major corn growing states where corn pathologists from central American countries drew in the maps where they speculated the areas where Tar Spot was likely to find a hospitable climate. Based on those projections eastern S Dakota was projected to be included in this targeted range if a cool, wet conditions occurred.

The March meeting

Our planning for the March 14th informational conference continues. The two held in March and August 2018 were a success and led to lots of request for the same in 2019. The site of the meeting may move from Nevada to the Starlight/Quality Inn. Watch for announcement at our website: www.centralIowaAg.com

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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