Lebanon Crop Management Video

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22 September 2016

Manure Application Consideration

Del Voight- Penn State Extensiojn






Manure is a fertilizer and even application is essential to ensuring even crop emergence and even mineralization as the season progresses. A typical manure  analysis varies greatly however it is not uncommon to  have P and K values in that are quite high range so  if you soil test into the heavy strips as illustrated an inaccurate test and management inputs could be severely off.  Here is a video  illustrating how dramatic the manure application can be in one case study.
ARDrone Manure video

Soil Testing – Del Voight Penn State Extension

Here are some soil testing ideas
With the mild weather we have an ideal time to gather soil test information.  With 20% of the fields in Pa not having a current soil test from recent surveys this article will discuss  this issue.  Yields are variable in the Region from  less than 100 bu/acre to more than 250 bu/acre corn yield reports.  With high yields the plant food contained in the soil is depleted (200 bu corn crop pulls (80lbs of P and 60lbs of K)and it is important to get a bench mark as to what is left.  Soil test kits available at the local Extension Office for 9 dollars are the best way to indicate the relative amounts of food available for the plants.   A kit is nothing more than a bag and paper.  Errors occur when the sample is taken without regard to ensuring it represents the area to be tested. Some growers try to stretch a bag to more than 10 acres and that reduces the confidence that the test is accurate.  I have seen yellow corn, beans, stalk rot and mycotoxins from low K, purple corn from low pH and low P and numerous ear malformations from lack of fertility that could have been avoided with a simple test! Don’t forget those no till fields need a surface pH as well to get a handle on any acid roof that might form over repeated N applications in this reduced tillage system.

  1. Getting the sample now.
    1. You need to ensure that the 10-15 acres that one bag is designed to represent does just that represent the soil profile in that field. 
    2. By and large the plant food (fertilizer) industry has offered the service of pulling the soil test but it is still up to you to ensure that the sample comes from the correct field. It must represent the soil type and the field may need to be split into small parcels correctly.  A typical 200 acre farm would cost about 180 bucks in testing fees and take about a half a day to gather samples. If that is too much then do part of the farm each year.
    3. Take samples yourself or be sure a consultant with proper training is collecting them.  Order enough kits to cover the fields that are due for testing. 
    4. Plan a day to gather the samples.  When I was working in this area I could get 400 acres sampled by noon.  Frozen soil slows the process down.  With ATV’s other devices It should be a fairly speedy process. Label the bags first get them in a box in order and then go get them!
  2. Overall planning
    1. Have a plan!  Determine a method for your farm that allows for timely three year testing or shorter.  See if grid sampling applies (this could mean testing on a five year plan).  Avoid “rented ground syndrome” where some farmers (turned miners) forget the building blocks for maintaining yields.  Soil test, work with landowners, find solutions to providing the needs and not mining the soil. By the way, research indicates that depleted soils may take much more money to bring back fertility than adequately maintained soils.
    2. Plan to sample by rotations.  Many growers I work with will soil sample soybeans then fertilize (p and K) either from manure or commercial source in the fall for both a corn and soybean crop.  Thus in the crop season only N requirements are needed and it eliminates the following year application.  Remember P and K do not move in the soil and thus this can be a management suggestion.
  3. pH issues
    1. Lime ¼ to 1/3 of your farm each year.  This eliminates the tremendous bill and ensures that pH is maintained for the whole farm.
    2. On no till ground, turf areas, pastures, and alfalfa gain a 2 inch soil sample and test for pH. This can be done with at home testing kits. I recommend the Cornell PH test kit.  This might be the most important aspect of your fertility plan.
It’s that time of year to gather the tests.  Get a plan, get the kits and get it done.  I will write my cheat sheet in a future article detailing the benchmarks you need to know in order to read your soil test results.

01 September 2016

Minimize Soybean Harvesting Loss and Maximize cost per bushel.


 

Del Voight – Penn State Extension Crop Management Team
Some variability in dry down of soybeans. Notice wet spots that have delayed senescence. This field will be getting close to harvest moistures within the next couple of weeks.
Over the last several years of working with what I consider the top soybean producers in Lebanon County I have learned the importance of timely harvest of soybeans. This week  I noticed late group 2  beans were approaching harvest moisture.  It has been my experience that once 95% of the pods turn brown about a week later its time to combine. Once moistures dip below 13%  a grower grower is essentially giving the mill soybean dry matter since they will correct the moisture to 13%.    I still remember John Yocum referring to the fact that after it the plants first reach harvestable moistures dry matter losses occur simply by the alternating day night and heavy dew.  Here is a picture of our crop teams’ soybean planting date study.  Same variety, same seeding rate, same pest management program, the only variable was the date of planting in these plots from March 28th to May 28.  It is important to consider the variety since some varieties will have slight differences in the pod integrity and not tend to split as the heavy dew at night can speed up this process. There are also impacts of erect varieties that might tend to dry quickly and delays in harvest may impact those versus varieties that that  tend to lay over and nestle protecting large fluctuations in dry down. This picture was taken when the early planting was ready to combine the soybeans on the left (planted two weeks earlier than the beans on the right) could be harvested two weeks before later plantings.  If I were to wait as little as two weeks to harvest the plots until the rest of the planting dates matured I would lose a significant amount of soybeans from shatter losses.

Numerous tests of soybean combine losses show that up to 12 percent of the soybean crop is lost during harvest. Harvesting losses cannot be reduced to zero, but they can be reduced to about 5 percent. Combines can be operated to reduce losses without affecting the harvesting rate. This guide describes the major sources of loss. Consider shatter losses of 2 percent acceptable. Average losses are 5 percent or more.

If you assess the discount for bringing soybeans in a little wetter than normal there will be some cost drop the beans. In the following table you will note the relative cost per bushel of soybeans to be around 30 cents. This is a cost that is easily overcome by the reduced harvest loss in the field at current market prices.  It appears that soybean dryer than 13% return about the same to management but this does not take into account the penalty of shatter loss in the field.
Two discount Schedules for $10.00 Per Bushel Soybeans and the Weight/Value Lost From Soybeans at Moistures Other Than 13.5 Percent M.C. Standard


Discount of $.12 Per Bushel Per Point of Moisture (2% Per Point of Moisture)
Discount of $.20 Per Bushel Per Point of Moisture (3.3% Per Point of Moisture)

Soybean Harvest Moisture, %, Wet Basis
Weight of Water Loss (+) or Gain (-), Lbs/Bu to Convert Soybeans to 13.5% Moisture
$.12 Discount Per Bushel, $
Price Per Bushel, $
Value Per Bushel, $, Adjusted for Moisture
$.20 Discount Per Bushel, $
Price Per Bushel, $
Value Per Bushel, $, Adjusted for Moisture

19
5.5
$0.66
$9.34
$9.76
$1.10
$8.90
$9.28

18
4.5
$0.54
$9.46
$9.80
$0.90
$9.10
$9.40

17
3.5
$0.42
$9.58
$9.84
$0.70
$9.30
$9.52

16
2.5
$0.30
$9.70
$9.88
$0.50
$9.50
$9.64

15
1.5
$0.18
$9.82
$9.92
$0.30
$9.70
$9.76

14
0.5
$0.06
$9.94
$9.96
$0.10
$9.90
$9.88

13.5
0
0
$10.00
$10.00
$0.00
$10.00
$10.00

12
-1.5
$10.00
$9.93
$10.00
$9.93

11
-2.5
$10.00
$9.86
$10.00
$9.86

10
-3.5
$10.00
$9.79
$10.00
$9.79

9
-4.5
$10.00
$9.72
$10.00
$9.72

8
-5.5
$10.00
$9.65
$10.00
$9.65


Tips for keeping combine losses low                                              

There are combine heads that force air back into the platform to assist in reducing harvest as well as other types of heads. However there are some simple rules to follow.  I found the following excerpts from a Missouri article useful during harvest to capture the losses that may occur during harvest.   (Missouri Department of Agricultural Engineering)


Your best guide for correct combine adjustment is your operator's manual.
Remember that more than 80 percent of the machine loss usually occurs at the gathering unit. The height of the cutter bar directly impacts what beans get into the bin.  If I were to harvest pods by hand versus as little as a 3.5 inch height of cut that would equate to a 5% loss just from the cutter bar height go to 5 inch height of cut and that jumps to 10% loss.  The following suggestions will help keep these losses to a minimum.
  • Make sure that knife sections, guards, wear plates and hold-down clips are in good condition and properly adjusted.
  • Use a ground speed of 2.8 to 3.0 miles per hour. To determine ground speed, count the number of 3-foot steps taken in 20 seconds while walking beside the combine. Divide this number by 10 to get the ground speed in miles per hour.
  • Use a reel speed about 25 percent faster than ground speed. For 42-inch-diameter reels, use a reel speed of 11 revolutions per minute for each 1-mile-per-hour ground speed.
  • Reel axle should be 6 to 12 inches ahead of the cutter bar. Reel bats should leave beans just as they are cut. Reel depth should be just enough to control the beans.
  • A six-bat reel will give more uniform feeding than a four-bat reel.
  • Complete the harvest as quickly as possible after beans reach 15 percent moisture content.
  • A pick-up type reel with pick-up guards on the cutter bar is recommended when beans are lodged and tangled.
For a specific methods and sheet to take to the field refer to this publication and enter your own information.  You may also call me directly for copy to have on hand.  http://muextension.missouri.edu/xplor/agguides/agengin/g01280. - Crop Management Team

Finally, If you would like more reading on this I would direct you to navigate to the Agronomy Journal Publication D. B. Philbrook 1983 that address this issue in more detail.
B.D. Philbrook and E.S. Oplinger Harvest Loss in Soybeans


Small Grain Planting Considerations




Del Voight- Penn State Extension - Crop Management Team
I am beginning to get some questions pertaining to planting small grains this fall. Here are some tips that might assist you with your planting decisions. I would still adhere to the Penn State ideal planting date chart.
·         Variety Selection-A big decision is what variety to plant. Varieties can vary as much as 30bu/acre in a given test plot.  Local reporting as well as Industry reports is vital to selection.  Penn State tests numerous varieties those are available for online viewing at http://smallgrains.psu.edu/

·         Rotations- It is discouraged to plant wheat in a rotation with Corn. Diseases namely Take All, a fusarium species, and also head scab- fusarium, can cause tremendous losses. Some growers I discussed this with noted a 40 bu/acre loss from the disease. It is almost entirely avoided through a rotation with soybeans or other broadleaf crop.
·         To purchase seed or not?  First of all if the variety you have in hand has a legally binding agreement that limits saving the seed, you may not be able to replant it. Otherwise if one decides to replant the seed from last spring one needs to be sure to test the seed and utilize a seed treatment. If the test comes back below 80% then the decision should be to use certified seed.  
o   Another consideration with seed treatments is which product to utilize.  Visit this link for a partial list of products and their affect on disease.  If your area is prone to fall aphid or hessian fly activity also consider insecticide treatments containing imadicloparid for management of fall insect pressure. 





·        RELATIVE EFFICACY OF FUNGICIDE SEED TREATMENTS FOR MANAGEMENT OF CERTAIN DISEASES OF WHEAT IN PENNSYLVANIA
Source: Ohio State University adapted for Pa by Del Voight. Prices subject to change.
Trade name
Active Ingredient
Loose smut
Common bunt
Stagonospora nodorum
Fusarium Head scab
Pythium damping off
Price Per GALLON OR QUART
Allegiance/Dyna-Shield Metalaxyl
Metalaxyl
N
N
N
N
E
$384.75 / gal
Apron XL
Mefenoxam
N
N
N
N
E

Dividend XL
Difenoconazol+ Mefanoxam
E
E
E
G
E
$67.50 / gal
LSP Flowable Fungicide
TBZ
N
G
P
G
N
??
Maxim 4FS
Fludioxonil
N
N
N
G
N
$504.65 / quart
Raxil-Thiram
Tebuconazole Thiram
E
E
E
G
F
$68.75 / gal
Raxil MD
Tebuconazole Metalaxyl
E
E
E
G
E
$80.25 / gal
Raxil XT/Dyna-Shield Small Grains
Tebuconazole Metalaxyl
E
E
E
G
E
$55.85 / gal
RTU-Vitavax-Thiram
Carboxin, Thiram
G
G
F
G
F
??
Vitavax-200
Carboxin, Thiram
G
G
F
G
F
??
Cruzer Maxx Cereals – (insect protection as well)
Thiamethoxam, Mefenoxam and difenoconazole
E
E
E
G
E
$94.55 / gal
a Efficacy based on labeled rates of active ingredient for each product.

b Efficacy rating scale: E=Excellent, G=Good, F=Fair, P=Poor and N=No activity.


·         Seeding date-the date for proper seeding is rapidly approaching. Seeding date does impact the overwintering capability of the crop.  For proper seeding dates the agronomy guide details those dates depending on your farms location in the state.  IF THE PLANTING IS LATER THAN THE IDEAL BE SURE TO INCREASE SEEDING RATES 30% TO COMPENSATE FOR LOSSES DUE TO LATE PLANTINGS. For wheat specifically,
 Seed winter wheat between September 20 and October 3 in Area 1, between September 25 and October 8 in Area 2, and between October 1 and October 15 in Area 3 (Figure 1.7-1). 
Seed Depth
Seed 1.0 to 1.25 inches deep. Maintain a uniform seeding depth. 
Seeding Rate
The desired plant population for winter wheat is 1.3 to 1.5 million per acre (28 to 34 plants/sq ft). This requires a seeding rate between 1.5 and 1.7 million seeds per acre or 20–23 seeds per foot in a 7-inch row. Use the lower rates in Area 3 and the higher rates in Areas 1 and 2. The seeding rate should be based on the number of seeds per acre rather than pounds per acre. 
     10,000 seeds per pound (should be on the bag) would indicate the need to set planter at 150lbs per acre. where as if the seeds per pound 12,000 then 125lbs per acre would need to be set on the planter to reach the 1.5 million seeds per acre.  Refer to the agronomy guide when estimating the appropriate seeding rate for various drill row spacings.  Increase these rates when seeding under poor conditions such as a cloddy seedbed or a delayed planting date. When seeding more than 2 weeks following the fly-free date, later increase the seeding rate by 10 percent for each week delayed past that date. Do not delay seeding winter wheat because of dry soil. If fall pasture is desired, plant 1 to 2 weeks earlier and apply 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre in addition to recommended fall rates. 
·         No till Considerations – When no tilling small grains be sure to spread the residue evenly and increase seeding rates by about 15% to compensate for seed to soil contact issues.  One area that I run into frequently is seeding depth. The seed placement should strive to get the seed in the soil at a one inch depth. To measure this be sure to rule out the residue (that is not considered soil).  It is one inch of soil above the seed.  Slow down!  It appears that with larger equipment the faster the drill travels the more it rides up out of the soil and therefore places seed on the top.  This leads to poor root development and if any heaving occurs roots may be exposed to weather and herbicide applications.