Lebanon Crop Management Video


30 March 2011

Key numbers for Assessing Wheat stands this spring.

 Del Voight - Senior Extension Agent- Penn State Extension.
Wheat Stand Assessment by the numbers.
I have gotten some calls regarding some key numbers in wheat at this time.  This article seeks to give one some numbers with which to base some decisions on.  I have used the information obtained from the A Decision Guide for wheat from Kentucky Extension.  The full document is found at this link.  http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id125/03.pdf
Determining Plant Populations,Tiller, and Head Counts Plant Populations.
There are three methods to do the assessment.
The first one requires and yardstick or dowel rod 3ft in length.
  1. Make spring stand counts before greenup of the plants occurs to determine if winter damage has reduced the initial plant population obtained in the fall. Count only whole plants, not tillers. Fields with stand counts below 15 plants per square foot have less than 75 percent yield potential (Table 3-4) and probably should not be kept but used instead for planting corn or soybeans. If stand counts are adequate to keep but somewhat reduced from optimum, consider an early nitrogen application.
  2. To determine the number of plants per square foot:
    •  Use a yardstick, or cut a dowel rod to a 3-foot length.
    • Place the measuring stick next to an average-looking row, and count all plants in the 3-foot length of the row.
    • Record the number.
    • Repeat the counting process in at least five other locations well spaced around the field. Record all numbers.
  3. • Average all of the stand counts from the field.
Calculate plants per square foot with the following equation:
plant number =
(average plant count × 4)/row width in inches
A second method to counting stands is to determine the length of row needed to equal one square foot (Table 3-5).
 Mark the needed length on a dowel rod or stick and then count
the plants in a row.
A third method is to count the plants, or tillers in 1, 2 or 3 feet of row and use Table 3-6 to determine stands. Tiller and Head Counts. Taking a tiller count which includes main shoot and tillers at Feekes 3 (roughly Zadoks 22 through 26) is the first step in all fields for determining nitrogen needs in late winter or early spring. To determine tiller numbers, count all stems with three or more leaves. Tiller counts below 70 per square foot indicate the need for nitrogen at Feekes 3. At recommended populations, many plants will have only three to four stems (main shoot plus two to three tillers, Zadoks 22 or 23). Thus, 70 to 100-plus tillers (stems) per square foot at Feekes 3 are considered adequate.

Is My Farm a Business or a Hobby (Not-for-Profit) Farm?

Del Voight- Penn State Senior Extension Educator
 I have a small Angus operation as an extension of my wifes family Angus Farms. My brother in law and father in law both have production Angus farms that produce genetics through bulls that are sold for use on numerous crossbred and purebred cattle farms in the Northeast and as far west as Texas and  Montana.  Many purebred operations  aim at selling bulls and quality hiefers that command a little higher market price. After all they are selected for specific genetic traits that cannot be obtained once cattle are cross bred.
 As usual if they do not make it as a purebred due to EPD's or other phenotypical issues they can be sold directly into traditional markets.  The question remains many times what constitutes a farming operation.  Do they need 100 cows?  The average beef herd in Pa is about 10 cows from what I picked up from Dr. Kniffen at Penn State.  So what makes a  farm a hobby or production?  I found this factsheet useful in the discussion. I know that from my perspective I nor my kids and wife  do not get up and tend to calving or feeding needs for fun.  Perhaps once a year when the weather is nice the cows calved and are on grass and plenty of rain means plenty of forage, then it is fun.  Other than that it is work with the hope that a profit will turn to pay the bills. It is however a way of life for many producers.  We have to file a Schedule F due to the fact that there  is not other place to put our expenses and income for the farming operation. I
So here with is a nice piece discussing the IRS and what they consider a farming operation.

Prepared by: George Patrick, Farm Business Management Specialist The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service is an equal access/equal opportunity institution.
 FAQ 14
Reviewed by: Gerry Harrison
Some farms show losses year after year, and there is concern that the IRS may consider the farm a “hobby” or what the tax law refers to as a “not-for-profit” activity rather than a “trade or business.” Classification as a not-for-profit activity restricts the deductibility of many expenses. Activities with significant elements of personal pleasure, like riding horses, are more likely to be questioned. The nine factors test used by the IRS and the tax courts is briefly described below.
Tax Management: Hobby (Not for Profit) Farm vs. Business
Does failure of a farm to show a profit mean expenses are not deductible for tax purposes?
Tax law makes a distinction between a “trade or business” and a “hobby.” If an activity shows a profit in 3 of 5 years (2 of 7 years for horse-related activities), the activity is presumed to be a trade or business and all of the expenses are deductible on Schedule F (farm income and expenses). However, if an activity is a hobby, then the deductible hobby-related expenses cannot exceed the gross receipts of the hobby. Furthermore, these expenses, other than interest and real estate taxes, are only deductible on Schedule A (itemized deductions) to the extent they exceed 2% of the total adjusted gross income of the individual.
Failure to show a profit in 3 of 5 years does NOT automatically make an activity a hobby. However, the taxpayer will have the burden of proof that the activity has a profit motive in an audit situation. Part-time and farms involved in “new” or alternative enterprises may be questioned with respect to their profit motive.
There are nine factors that are considered in determination of a profit motive:
1. Manner in which the taxpayer carries on the activity
Does the taxpayer keep accurate books and records?
Is the activity conducted in a business-like manner? Does the taxpayer conduct the activity like similar activities that do show a profit?
2. Expertise of taxpayer or his advisorsHas the taxpayer prepared to conduct the business (education, training in accepted practices)? Does taxpayer consult with experts (Extension Educators)? If common production practices are not used, is the taxpayer attempting to develop new or superior techniques that may result in profits?
3. Time and effort expended by taxpayer in the activitySpending a lot of time in the activity, especially if there are no substantial personal or recreational aspects, is indicative of an intention to make a profit.
4. Expectation that assets used in activity may appreciate in valueThis needs to be more than just the value of the land is expected to go up. Will the increase in value of the assets be enough to cover the costs of the

28 March 2011

Power Up To Save Fuel this spring?

No Till obviously saves 60-70% of your fuel bill and while it might cost a little more in crop protection products the system results in a net savings of fueld. If you must utilize some horse power check out this link to potentially  save an additional 10% in fuel costs.
Power Up to Save Fuel

Fuel Cost calculator

17 March 2011

Brazil Soybeans germination in the pod.

Distributed  for
The U.S. Soybean Export
by John C. Baize and Associates Tel: 703-698-5908
This is what is happening to soybeans on plants in parts of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.  Big losses from too much rain.

15 March 2011

Farm Radiological Plan

After spending two days of a drill for LEMA, PEMA and FEMA to respond to a potential release our LEMA radiological officer recognize how farms operate offers some great commentary that growers need to know prior to and during an actual event.  This link details what you need to know about some radiation info that might be needed in time of emergency.


Glyphosate Impact on Disease? the need for Manganese??

The short answer is no glyphosate and or RR varieties do not impact disease severity and no again it does not impact your fertility management between non RR and RR varities. The long answer is it depends on your soils, the pH of your soil(high pH soils so that excludes most of you) .  One really needs to review some key basics.  Dr. Bill Curran sent a nice set of links to discuss the issues surrounding some claims that with Soybeans growers should add Manganese and or that diseases may increase.  There are three articles you need to familiarize yourself with to be knowledgeable about whether Managanese applications are useful. Some farmers might find they may have an issue. It appears that the majority of farms will most likely not see any impact.

14 March 2011

No Till Early Spring Weed Identification

As growers begin to assess fields for burndown options, occasionally weeds get through the program. In addition many growers with wheat are beginning to get out and view potential weed threats. With the specificity of herbicides it is a good management practice to I.D the weeds to ensure a potential resistance and or application error is avoided and or a more effective product is selected in the system. Here is a source for I.D that I think is great this time of year. In fact I just used it today to I.D. some spring weeds. Be sure you have it in your arsenal of books.