Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dusty, Dirty Corn Fields

Dusty, Dirty Corn Fields

Earlier this week a corn sample was brought into our office (see photos).  The discussion centered on questions about the corn and why there was so much "black, sooty" mold on the leaves, making the fields dusty and dirty.  Fritz did a quick search and found a post from University of Nebraska in 2012 that seemed to explain one possibility of what we are seeing.

Here are a few thoughts. Remember the September 13th frost followed by several more frost events that followed?  The upper canopy of both beans and corn were killed in many fields.  This dead tissue is a great place for these decomposing fungi to start working.  These saprophytes live off of the dead tissue, creating the black, sooty mold on the dead leaves - which the corn fields now had plenty of.  They are simply "doing their job" decomposing the plant material - recycling. It's just a bit earlier perhaps, because of the frost killed tissue. 

Check out this article.  Perhaps you are seeing this in your fields too.  http://z.umn.edu/q6a
Dirty, Dusty Corn


Lisa Behnken, UM Extension Educator
Fritz Breitenbach, UM IPM Specialist
 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Soybean Trial Yields from Southeast Minnesota

Good Afternoon,


We finished harvesting the soybean variety plot located on the Lawler Farm (just east of Rochester) on October 17 and 18.  I am posting the yield results from this trial.  Click on each trial name to see the report. 

The Early Maturity (0.9 - 1.8) group out-performed the Late-Maturity (1.9 - 2.5) on average by ~4.5 bu/a.  The early group (31 entries) averaged 57.8 bu/a and the late group (38 entries) averaged 53.2 bu/a.  We did have frost damage on the plots and most of the damage was in the Late Maturity trial. 

 Results from other trials will be posted as they are available. Support for these trials comes from individual company entries and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.
Lisa Behnken
UM Extension Educator, Crops
Rochester, MN


Friday, October 17, 2014

Farmland Rental Rates for 2015 that Work for Both Parties

There have been a lot of questions and concerns about 2015 land rental rates. David Bau, Extension Educator in Farm Business Management is presenting over 40 meetings in the next two months to address this hot topic.  See more below.


Farmland Rental Rates for 2015 that Work for Both Parties
By David Bau, Extension Educator

I have completed two of 44 farmland rental workshops with most scheduled for November and December. The budgets for 2015 are ugly using current 2015 forward contract prices offered with both corn and soybean budgets in the red. Corn is negative by more than the average rent paid in 2014 and the farmer receiving no labor and management payment. The 2013 average rents in Southern Minnesota were $243 in the FINBIN database and the data provided by the Minnesota Agricultural Statistic Service in September listed the average rents as $227 per acre in 2013 and $237 in 2014.

Today's 2015 forward contract corn price is $3.27 and soybean price is $8.84. The record corn and soybean prices of recent years have significantly impacted land rents. Crop production expenses, farm profits and cropland rental rates all increased during the recent golden era of farming. Projected average input costs for 2015 based on adult farm management numbers for Southern Minnesota in the FINBIN database project to $639 for corn and $306 for soybeans before paying rent and paying no income for farmer labor and management. The numbers are in the red, using 180 bushels of corn per acre at $3.27 per bushel provides a gross income of $588.60 compared to $639 expense leave a loss of over $50 per acres before paying any rent. Using 50 bushels for soybeans at $8.84 generates $442 gross income, leaves $136 after $306 of expenses, to share between the farmer for labor and landlord for rent.  Read more at: http://z.umn.edu/pz0

Meeting dates are at: http://z.umn.edu/pz1

Thursday, September 18, 2014

How Did those Preemergence Herbicides Perform?

Lisa M. Behnken
Extension Educator, Crops
University of Minnesota Extension, Rochester

Lisa - 507-280-2867
Fritz - 507-280-2870

For many years now, Fritz Breitenbach and I have conducted corn and soybean weed management trials at our Rochester field location. We have a healthy population of giant ragweed, common lambsquarters and common waterhemp to evaluate in these trials - the three most common weed concerns of southern Minnesota farmers.

Do your soybean fields look like this?
In early July, we hold a tour to show folks the plots and talk about weed management systems - how can we do a better job. I mention this because we also encourage and welcome visitors to view these plots throughout the growing season..Seeing is Believing.

In the past few weeks, several groups have come to view these plots again -  yes, there is still something to see. The big interest, " How did those preemergence herbicides perform on giant ragweed and waterhemp?" Also, "What looks good, where are the weaknesses, are there new options and how did they perform, what other weed management options - non-chemical - do we need to consider, and finally how can we get the message across to folks?" Again, Seeing is Believing. Come and take a look.

Or, do they look like this?
There is still time to see how many of the herbicides performed. You are still invited and welcome to stop by and see the field trials at Rochester.  Please give Fritz or me a call and we will show you around the plots, share highlights and data from early ratings and discuss other options such as - What non-chemical options are you going to add to your weed management program next year?

Read more about Weed Issues - 'Got Weeds?  Evaluate Your Weed Control Program ' has been published to Minnesota Crop News.  http://blog.lib.umn.edu/efans/cropnews/2014/09/got-weeds-evaluate-your-weed-c.html



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Growing Concern about Growing Degree Days and the Corn Crop

Will we accumulate enough GDD to finish the corn crop? People are a bit concerned and talking about corn development - will it make it, will we have to dry most of the corn crop, etc.? I put an article together in 2009, comparing it to another cool year, 2004. In pulling that chart forward, adding 2014 and a long term average, 2014 doesn't look too bad for heat unit accumulation in southeast Minnesota (Rochester data).  We had a cooler than average July but a warmer than average August.  However, the issue is planting date.  Corn was planted in May this year, much after mid-May.  Delayed planting was also the problem in 2009.  We lost those early season heat units, at least a months worth, by not being able to plant in April.  Considering a May 15 planting date, we are at ~2100 GDD as of Aug 31.  For most corn grown in our region, we need around ~2400 GDD to reach black layer.  An average September (415 GDD) could do that for us, but corn at black layer is still 32% moisture. We will also need a nice October to help dry the crop.

For more information on corn drying and storage, check
NDSU Extension's Grain Drying and Storage (Kenneth Hellevang) website at: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/graindrying

One last point - the accumulation of heat units around the state, planting and growing conditions have certainly not all been the same.  A good site to "check the numbers" in your location is at the Minnesota Climatology Working Group, Custom GDD: http://climate.umn.edu/cropddgen/cropddgen.asp


Growing Degree Days (Corn) for May through September






Lisa M. Behnken, UM Extension Educator, Crops
Rochester, MN

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Soybeans - Aphids, White Mold, and Weeds

August 26, 2014 - Much needed rain was received across the area this past week.  Crop conditions in SE MN are quite variable, from very good to so-so.  Here is what we are seeing. 1) Soybean aphids - Populations have continued to increase in SOME fields, thus still a problem that needs to be dealt with.  However, not all field have required treatment.  As we scouted across the area, populations remained low in some fields, where others exploded and needed to be sprayed.  Scouting should continue until soybeans reach R6.5 (seeds fill the pods and pods and leaves begin to turn yellow).   2) White Mold - This disease, unfortunately, is showing up in soybean fields that received more seasonal rain, have lush foliage, and were wet in June.  When you combine this with our cooler than normal summer, white mold becomes a problem.  3) Weed Escapes - Soybean fields that seemed clean early, don't look as clean any more.  Waterhemp, common lambsquarters and giant ragweed has been popping through the canopy in quite a few fields.  There's nothing that can be done now, BUT you can map those areas, confirm which weeds are out there (hard to tell at 60 mph) and start planning your weed control program for next year.   Lisa M. Behnken
White Mold girdling the stem in Soybean - 8/26/14

Leaf symptoms of white mold in soybean- 8/26/14

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Soybean Aphid Update - August 11 & 12, 2014

Here are the results from the speed scouting fields around Olmsted County. We have been  scouting these fields over the past 3 weeks. The Speed Scouting Process - collect 30 plants throughout the field.  Count aphids on 11 plants, noting (+) if over 40 aphids/plant and (-) if less than 40 aphids/plant.  If  6 or less plants have over 40 aphids/plant, stop and then re-sample field in 7-10 days.  If you reach 7-10 plants with over 40 aphids/plant, continue counting aphids on 5 more plants, repeating the steps based on the number of plants with over 40 aphids/plant until you have counted all 30 plants.  The results will be a) Do Not Treat - re-sample in 7 -10 days, b) Re-sample field in 3-4 days or c) Confirm TREAT Decision by re-sampling in 3-4 days, then apply insecticide when confirmed.  

We will also make general observations in the field as we scout, population increasing, population exploding, presence of beneficial insects etc. As you can see, the population is increasing, and 3 Fields moved into the Confirm and Treat category. We will continue to scout these fields.  Lisa

Results August 11 & 12, 2014 in Olmsted County

Field 1 = 0 of 11 plants with over 40 aphids/plant = Re-sample in 7-10 days

Field 2 = 6 of 11 plants with over 40 aphids/plant = Re-sample in 7-10 days

Field 3 = 4 of 11 plants with over 40 aphids/plant = Re-sample in 7-10 days

Field 4 = 23 plants with over 40 aphids/plant = Stop Sampling, re-sample in 3-4 days

Field 5 = 27 plants with over 40 aphids/plant (population exploding) = Confirm TREAT in 3-4 days and then apply insecticide

Field 6 = 25 plants with over 40 aphids/plant = Re-sample in 3-4 days

Field 7 = 30 plants with over 40 aphids/plant, population exploding (since last week) = Confirm and TREAT
 
Field 8 = 30 plants with over 40 aphids/plant, population increasing, not exploding = Re-sample in 3-4 days and Confirm TREAT Decision

Field 9 = 4 plants with over 40 aphids/plant = Re-sample in 7-10 days

Field 10 = 8 plants with 40 or more aphids/plant = Re-sample in 7-10 days