18 November 2014
A joint program between the Dairy team and the Crops Team will be held on January 20th 2015 at the Lebanon Expo Center in Lebanon. A full complement of credits will be offered in a breakout session format. Some highlights of the event are that Dr. Paul Knight will begin the general session with a weather outlook for the months of Feb to April and from May to July and again from August to September. He has been right on with his forecast from last winter. From there participants may choose which breakout to attend based on their credit needs. For those requireing a pesticide license then can attend 2 core and 2 category sessions in the morning and take in either manure, nutrient management or any of the other two silage and dairy sessions. The discussion of GMO in agriculture as well as local issues with the pipeline and how to remediate the value of disturbed soil will be discussed by both Williams pipeline and Dave Messersmith Penn State Extension. As we move toward more regulations this day long conference will meet the needs of growers in the area.
For registration information please navigate to: Penn State Dairy and Crops Compliance Day
16 October 2014
30 September 2014
You are invited to attend the fall crop walk to be held at the Southeast Experi-mental Center. Many of you might have never realized the vast amount of research con-ducted right in the back yard of Lebanon County. The farm has over 180 acres of re-search in numerous production practices. This site serves as a location for the testing of 28 hybrids of corn for silage, 23 wheat, barley, rye and triticale varieties in addition to alfalfa varieties. It serves as a site for the research in the efficacy of herbicides in all field crops. Please plan to join us on October 17th for this informative in the field walk of the farm Friday, October 17 , 2014.
10 am – Noon (light lunch served)
Welcome and Introduction: Dr. Alyssa Collins and discuss the farm and re-view her projects on the impact of fungicides on wheat, alfalfa, soybeans and corn.
Small Grain Assessment –Discussion on Dr. Roth’s current impact of winter annuals and forage quality.
Soil Testing Fundamentals – Del Voight
Interseeder Research – Dr Roth will detail his current work in interseeding cover crops into standing corn and the result fall growth and forag
Directions to the Southeast
Research and Extension
Center in Landisville
From Rt. 72:
From the North or South –
travel to Auction Road, located at the Manheim auto auction.
Turn west on Auction Road and fol-low to stop sign.
Make a right and immediate left, continuing on Auction Road for about 1 mile.
Farm is on right.
From Rt 283:
( From the west )
Exit at Esbenshade Rd.
Turn left at the end of the ramp.
Turn right on Auction Rd immediate-ly after you cross the overpass.
Follow this to the stop sign (Erisman Rd)
turn right, and then left back onto Auction Road.
The farm is on the left.
(From the east )
Exit at Salunga.
Turn right on Spooky Nook Rd.
Turn left on Shenk Rd. (opposite the Armstrong building).
Follow Shenk Rd to the covered bridge.
After crossing the bridge, turn right
Over the past few years The Penn State Extension Crop Management team has been offering a Penn State Soybean Workshop to discuss current research that Penn State has conducted with assistance from the Pa Soybean Board. Growers that attended in the past have responded to surveys that they were able to use some of the tips to increase their soybean yields and in some cases growers reported growing soybeans for the first time gaining over 60 bu/acre the first year on virgin soil. The workshop will feature topics that range from Cultural practices to pest management and harvest management.
One popular session is the farmer panel in which a local successful grower shares his/her tips for making soybeans work in that geography. The workshops are offered in 4 locations throughout the state to offer site locations that might be more central for growers to attend. This season we will be offering the workshops as follows:
2014 Penn State Soybean Workshops and follow the prompts to register. We hope to see you there!
23 September 2014
There are a tremendous number of double cropped acres of soybeans this season. Temperatures are rapidly dropping this time of year. Harvesting soybeans in various stages of growth presents a clear issue in dealing with proper management of the harvest and drying strategies for these soybeans. In the past mills could fairly easily deal with frosted beans by putting them on air however there are alot of important decisions to make to increase income and reduce discounts that growers might not be aware of. Here is an informative factsheet from Purdue University that details issues with frost damaged soybeans. The direct link is Harvesting, Drying, and Storing Frost-Damaged Corn and Soybeans Dirk E. Maier, Agricultural & Biological Engineering Samuel D. Parsons, Agricultural & Biological Engineering .
17 September 2014
Here is the link with all you need to know about sampling. I am going out to do 10 fields today. I have my wifes pruning sheers some rubber bands and paper bags. 10 6 inch stalks about 6 inches high will stick in the bag and send up to PSU Ag Analytics for testing.
Stalk Nitrate Test for Corn
09 September 2014
Corn Silage is one of the most reliable forages grown as a main source of feedstuff for cattle. Growers have invested a tremendous amount of time and money to plant and maintain fields to get them to this point of harvest and ensiling. The moisture matched to the structure in which it will be stored is absolutely critical to proper fermentation as is the quick and proper packing and subsequent feed out rates all come together to maintain high milk yields in the end. Too wet and seepage and improper fermentation may result, too dry and pockets will develop traping oxygen in the pockets and allowing molds to develop. Here are some review items to consider.
Harvest Moisture by structure.
Upright 60-65% moisture
Upright "Oxygen limiting" 50-60% moisture
Horizontal Silos 65-70% moisture
Bag Silos 60-70% moisture
Silage Dry Down Status as of 9/8/2014
Dry down is really variable among hybrids but in general this year the dry down is hastened and some growers are reporting silage is drying down sooner than expected given the weather. John Bray has been gathering samples for the last two weeks to monitor dry down. Yesterday we chopped more corn silage to get an idea of silage dry down. For corn planted
4/28 a 96-day hybrid tested 64.5% moisture on 8/29 and on 9/8 is 51% losing 1.3 points per day. On 9/16 tested 49% losing .25 points per day.
While another 106-day hybrid planted on 9/8 that tested 69.5% on 8/29, on 9/8 tested 60.5% losing
.9 points per day. and on 9/16 tested 52% losing at a rate of 1.06 points per day.
A 112-day hybrid planted on 5/13 tested 68% on 8/29 today is 65% moisture losing .3 points per day. Testing on 9/16 is 55% so the rate of dry down in the last week was 1.25 points per day.
There is variability between hybrids, the average is .85 point per day and this average for the hybrids is consistent with the previous week dry down.. In a typical year we would expect about a .6 point per day drop so this season is drying a bit quicker than normal. The point here is to gather moisture samples and get an accurate measure of the moisture to assist in proper timing of harvest. In communicating with Herman and Connie Manbeck they related that they are finding it is drying down fast "guys need to keep on top of it I did some yesterday that Friday it was 69% and on Monday 67% about a percent a day, that was 105 day corn for a Ag bag 66 percent is about great".
There are numerous methods to determine the moisture of the forages. We utilized a Koster Tester(@$300.00) to obtain our results and chopped the corn using a modified home shredder. Many farms that I get around to keep a Koster in or near the feed room and makes it ideal to keep track of changing forage moistures. A microwave oven and a small scale can also be used for this purpose. The point is that growers need to arrange for a quick and easy method to measure moisture.
What if my forage is dryer than the structure available?
Dry corn silage can lead to numerous feed out issues due to improper fermentation and in extreme cases cause fires in silos. Adding water to dry silage is widely used however may prove impractical because of the amount of water and the fact that this water is extra cellular not intercellular and may not prove useful. For example it would take almost 150 gallons of water to go from a 45% dry matter to a 35%(Undersander 9/9/2014). Locally however many growers will use water to aid in packing the top third of silo structures. Dry silage also will have harder kernals and the starch components will change and kernal processing becomes more useful in chopping dryer corn silage. Inoculation of dry silage may prove useful as the dryer conditions may result in less naturally occurring bacteria. One solution in extreme cases where an trench or bunker was the targeted structure is to go with an oxygen limiting structure for the dryer silage such as a bag to avoid the pitfalls and ensure better fermentation and harvest other ideal moisture silage for the bunker if possible.
Be safe. It is that time of year that growers are at a high risk of injury. Aside from the road hazards and phyisical stress, with silos the gas that may be formed can be deadly and observance of the 2-3 weeks of time it takes to allow for the gas to escape is advisable and not entering the silo until the blower has run for at least 20 minutes to remove the gases. Any yellowish brown fumes or bleach like odors should be a clue to keep humans and animals away until it is safe to enter.
There will be numerous other issues pertaining to this year as many fields were late planted and silage harvest will be pushed to the season end. In discussing this with a grower yesterday he has corn that is just silking now and will require 40-45 days to black layer so for silage harvest it might mean another 30 days to get this later planted corn to silage.
Source: Penn State Agronomy Guide, University of Wisconsin Corn Agronomy 9/9.2014
02 September 2014
If you have been no tilling for some time here are some considerations that may improve your no till system. Starting right in the fall as harvest comes into view might mean better jump on next seasons crop.
1. During fall harvest operations of corn and soybeans be sure to spread the residue evenly across the field. If a custom operator is selected be sure his rear spreader is engaged and working properly. Planters are able to compensate for variable depths across the field but by simply spreading the residue evenly over the field the planter will maintain a more uniform depth and result in even stand emergence. Too late? Then consider manageing the fodder this winter with a rake or other device to spread it evenly.
2. Several fields I visited this season after planting exhibited pH induced deficiencies. Although the overall plow depth pH was optimum the surface two inches surrounding the seed was in some cases 4.0 or below. BE sure to gather 2 inch as well as 6 inch depth soil samples. You might find as Dr. Beegle recommends that lime applications yearly in these scenarios to offset nitrogen induced pH problems will correct the problem.
3. Check for slugs this fall. Dr. Ron Hammond The Ohio State University discusses the how to of assessing slug populations this fall.
Slug sampling can be done this fall by placing about 10 square foot boards or roofing shingles throughout the field on the ground. Cups of beer can be placed in the soil underneath the boards to attract slugs. If beer is used, the shingles should be sampled the following morning. If only the boards are used, we would recommend sampling underneath the boards after a few days. Sampling would be most beneficial during warmer nights without frost, and is best done a few times during the fall.
4. Remove weeds and eliminate planting issues as well as eliminate cutworm egg laying sites. Many herbicide programs are offered for fall application that will keep fields that do not have a cover crop(great idea to put oats or other crops in to take the place of weeds) clean of weeds. In addition, when the cutworm moths migrate to the north in April to find egg laying sites, such as chickweed, you would have eliminated the chance for them to get a foot hold in that field.
5. Perennial weeds and crops should be sprayed this fall to eliminate be ready for spring planting. Research suggests September applications improve the control of tough weeds like thistles, hemp dogbane, and dandelion with a fall systemic herbicide. Grass and alfalfa fields that will be planted in the spring to a full season crop like corn should be killed this fall to provide an ideal seed bed next year. If the leaves of the plants are green and growing it is not too late to apply the herbicides. Once the leaves turn brown it is too late.
6. Consider pasture and hay field clean up with a systemic herbicide (dicamba, 2,4-D, Crossbow) now to ensure unwanted perennials in the stand are removed from the sod. Plan to over-seed this winter to fill the voids. Again if the leaves are in good shape then the products will work properly. Wait until the drought conditions are broken and plants are actively growing.
7. Rootworm adults will be emerging and now you can assess whether a field should be treated with an insecticide next year. Although the time to scout for adults to predict next years field treatment is just about over one might recall seeing large amounts of beetles in fields or where significant silk feeding existed. Target heavily infested fields that will be cropped in corn again next year with an insecticide or a Bt rootworm hybrid. We know this because the beetles lay eggs only in corn and by knowing where the beetles are at this time of year forecasts where the eggs laid now will hatch out next year. By the way those hybrids proved highly effective however they will not kill adult beetles feeding on the silks and will only kill rootworms so another complement insecticide should be used and may be already included as a seed treatment on purchased seed. At least write down which fields you noted severe beetle populations.
8. Consider treating alfalfa fields after the last cutting for chickweed control next spring. There are many options that will provide residual control(as well as post control) through the spring and as we come on to the peak time for chickweed germination now is the time to begin treating to ensure weed free fields in the spring.
9. Cereal rye and small grains are in short supply this year why not plant alternative crops such as Hairy Vetch, oats, red clover, field peas, birds foot trefoil or maybe some brassicas. Check out the cover crop factsheet for detailed information available at the Extension Office.
10. Standing Corn does not mean options are not available to clean up fields of perennials. 2,4-D at dent stage or glyphosate at black layer to treat tough perennials or escaped bur cucumber is a viable option to eliminate weeds. A high clearance sprayer would be needed but may prove effective if a problem exists.
11. Put to bed pastures and hay fields this fall with a herbicide treatment (2,4-dicamba, Cimarron, Overdrive, Crossbow others) to best eliminate perennial weeds. As the plants move nutrients into the roots for winter why not have the herbicide move with them and kill the weeds roots and all.
12. Burn down(glyphosate) stands of grass or alfalfa hay now so that next spring the field will be ready to plant corn or soybeans into and the planter will operate more effectively in well rotted sod than in a freshly killed sod.
13. Finally, why not calibrate the spray monitor, overhaul/calibrate the planter, and service equipment this fall before winter sets in ( and dealers get backed up) to ensure that when planting time comes all is in order to take advantage of the spring planting window?
29 August 2014
- This will vary with weather. Be sure to count the pods on the branches as well. Do this for at least 10 plants to get more accuracy.
23 July 2014
15 July 2014
03 July 2014
When it comes to the middle part of the season there is always a risk of wind and hail damage to crops. Many times there only a handful of growers that experience significant crop losses, however, to this growers there is nothing more disheartening then to find a crop dessimated by mother nature. We had a straight line wind event and golf ball sized hail a day ago at about 3 in the afternoon. By 430 I was receiving calls to determine the best course of action. In most cases I would prefer to wait a week and then go and check due to the fact that over the years I have learned that in most cases there is an exaggerated assessment immediately and a week of growth can really make the difference in determining options. But with local government agencies needing some initial assessment I decided to go out the day after and check. I assessed several fields in the most affected area and most if not all the corn that was hailed on though dramatic will grow through it with minimal impact. I use the hail damage fact sheet more to illustrate to producers the impact and try to sort through how the crop will react. Penn State Hail Damage Assessment and options. Young corn prior to V9 will take allot of leaf removal before a yield impact. In my experience with 20% damage growers assume it is a complete loss when in fact at that level little to perhaps a 4% damage might result. Again refer to the Hail Damage Assessment worksheet to balance research with applied use in the field.
There are other factors with light now shining to the soil more weeds might germinate. The damage to the tissue might allow infection of leaf diseases and the crop might be delayed in maturity. So there is the need to inspect fields and make decisions to assist growers in determine additional management to alleviate these concerns whether it be an application of a fungicide and or another run over the field to apply additional weed control products.
Disease risks associated with hail damage(Source Illionois Extension via Corn and Soybean Digest)
It is important to remember that a fungicide application cannot recover yield potential lost due to hail damage. Fungicides protect yield potential by reducing disease. There are some diseases of corn that are favored by wounding, e.g., Goss’s wilt, common smut and stalk rot. Similarly bacterial blight and bacterial pustule on soybeans are favored by wounding. Fungicides are not effective against the pathogens that cause these diseases. The foliar diseases that are managed by fungicides (e.g., gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight, eye spot and common rust on corn, and brown spot and frog eye on soybeans) are caused by pathogens that do not require wounds for infection. These foliar diseases will influence the yield response to fungicides more so than hail damage.
|On Left should be fine fine larger corn on right had 10% snapped corn and 30% defoliation will be left to go to harvest|
|Wind blown corn with green snap on majority 40% of plants and some 50% that are leaning. Considering replant|
|This field is leaning over roots are intact and there is little green snap. Should rise back up will check in a week.|
The take home here is that typically the damage is not as dramatic as it may seem. By checking some key factors such as percent damage, root and stem fitness and most important stage of growth a better management decision can be arrived at that is acceptable given these types of events.
23 June 2014
On the heat side however this map shows the relative difference between historic normal and what we are experiencing. To date Lebanon is about 100 to 150 heat units behind normal this is about 2 weeks off of the normal development. Take note of areas of the state in blue which are off more than a month. 2 Weeks might not sound like alot however looking to the fall 2 weeks could be a tremendous difference in the development of field crops due to the fact that our days will begin to shorten as today is one of the longest days. Soybeans will begin to flower and that will set the stage for the height of the crop. In the north we use indeterminate varieties which will help allow for internode elongation if proper conditions exist for growth mainly a constant supply of sunlight. On the flip side in low light internodes may stretch to reach more sunlight with indeterminate types.
We have had few clear bright sunny days with temperatures over the target of 86 degrees F to keep the corn in high growth zone. We have been diagnosing many herbicide maladies due to the lack of corn metabolizing products due to these overcast days. Likewise weeds have escaped as well due to the lack of the plant activly growing to adequately take in the enough herbicide to do the job. As we move into this mid season we need as much heat as possible quickly to move this crop toward harvest.
21 June 2014
29 May 2014
15 May 2014
You are invited to attend an informal Crop discussion that will be located at the Burnin Bushels Farm owner Darren Grumbine located off just north of the interechange of 322 and Mt Pleasant Road near Fontana. Arriving at Mount Pleasant Road travel north to the first farm on left(west).
We will start the day at 10am and conclude by noon. The key discussion points will be to form groups and assess stand establishment. Groups will enter the field and record the deviation of stand for corn and soybeans. Once data is collected it will be entered into a simply calculator to assess the dollars lost due to any singulation issues. As we see any root disease and or above ground pests we will identify and discuss management strategies.
John Bray will be discussing key herbicide program strategies given the recent weather conditions. We will finish the morning discussing the heat development in terms of cropping decisions from here on out. Lastly a nitrogen status report will be discussed on key technologies to assess N and either apply additional or not put any on depending on field history and weather conditions.
Please let us know your intent on attending by call 717 270 -4391.
See you there.
14 May 2014
Harvested some plots today as part of a small grain forage study. I noted today that the triticale was at boot stage, barley was at GS10.8 with fully elongated heads, wheat is at GS8 and rye was at GS10 with heads emerged but not elongated. I am currently processing the dry matter yields but it appears that while the barley may win this plot for YPA the rye will most likely combine both YPA and quality. Triticale will most likely be fairly high in quality but lower in yield. Once I get the dry matter and quality tests back I will update this post.
12 May 2014
02 May 2014
01 May 2014
1 May 2014
Back to the Basics
As we move into the age of internet and other ways to deliver information to you. I thought it necessary to go back to my time 20 years ago writing this Lebanon Farmer. Our mailing list has dwindled to less than 200 and I am sure that you might have use of some of the information obtained through this system. The Field Crop News remains our key method to get information to you. You can subscribe to that publication by simply searching on the internet for FCN Penn State and tap on the subscribe button. We meet weekly on Tuesday to discuss pertinent just in time information to assist in your cropping operation. I would like to continue sending the Lebanon Farmer to you three times a year to keep you apprised of our Penn State Crop Team activities and key information that may be useful in your goal to remain profitable. I maintain a Facebook account, twitter, blog and feel free to follow any or all of these feeds to get information to you on a daily basis. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I welcome your questions and comments. We are holding informal crop walks this summer and will hold a dairy and crops expo this winter as our key meeting delivery so please feel free to attend any of our offerings. Regarding field diagnostics, we will begin to charge a small fee to recoup travel costs due to the budget cuts, our travel budgets are tight. In most cases it is a minimal amount.
Please plan to enter your soybean contest fields as soon as you determine which fields might best be suited for a high yield environment. The enclosed flyer will need to be filled out and sent into Del Voight at the Lebanon Extension Office.
May 21 Crop Walk
Please plan on attending the Crop Walk from 9:30-12:00pm at the Darren Grumbine Farm located on Mt Pleasant Road, Lebanon. We will be discussing current conditions and estimating plant populations to determine if replant will pay depending on what is in the field. Please call into the office @ 717-270-4391 to sign up so I know how many snacks to get for the event.
Pastures are growing vigorously at the time of this writing. Grazing cattle poses unique risks particularly grass tetanus. You do not find the cows sick they are dead! Magnesium is at its lowest levels in the grass tissue in spring. This condition is worsened in cool wet weather. Lactating cows on pasture are at risk. Free choice mineral containing high levels of magnesium are critical at this time. Broadcast applications of magnesium may help but research indicates mineral supplements are the best defense against tetany. Potassium fertilizer applied this spring will also decrease magnesium levels so watch out for situations that lend itself to the issue. Contact a Vet if you have had issues before. Grass tetany is usually prevented with an appropriate mineral mixture available free-choice to grazing cattle. Commercial mineral mixes that are high in magnesium are readily available. A mix can be made at home, which also features a selenium supplement, with the following recipe (Wahlberg, 1995): 22.5% trace-mineralized salt, 22.5% dicalcium phosphate, 10% 0.06% selenium mix; 22.5% magnesium oxide, and 22.5% ground corn. Cattle should eat about one-fourth pound of the mixture daily.
Soybeans should begin to emerge and populations should be checked to ensure a minimum of 120,000ppa to ensure maximum yield. Be on the watch for bean leaf beetle, slugs and other pests to ensure you protect yield going forward this summer. For treatment options please refer to the Agronomy Guide.
We again are surveying fields as part of a Statewide Sentinel Plot and are scouting pests weekly. Please visit the Field Crop News for weekly updates on activities in Lebanon or the Lebanon Crop Management blog.
Most new seedlings appear to be growing normally despite the amount of rains received this spring. There are numerous weeds that invade and there are numerous options to control these weeds. Consult the Agronomy Guide and or call for specific recommendations. It appears that the cool weather has slowed the development of alfalfa weevils but be advised to check for damage and begin to sweep for leaf hoppers as the weather warms.
Early planted corn that is emerged should be checked not only for population but also for the deviation from the goal. Assess the plant evenness in the field. In fact Penn State research suggests that within row unevenness robs 12% of yield while between rows only rob 5% according to his research. At this time one can also assess the stand deviation. For each inch of deviation University research suggests a 2.5-5bu/inch loss. This is more critical as populations are increased with traited corn. Most No Till Corn Club participants that average over 280bu/acre of corn record stand deviations of below 2. A survey of Pa growers by county agents showed an average deviation of 4 so there is some room for improvement.
Chlorophyll Meter testing for Nitrogen
As corn nears the V5 stage you may choose to call me or one of my staff to assist you in assessing the need for additional nitrogen. We use the chlorphyl meter to make on the spot recommendations based upon the specific field needs. This system is only useful if you spread manure and there is not more than 15lbs of applied nitrogen either fertilizer or starter applied to the field. If you have applied N to the field already it is best to use the calculated N requirement. However you did not the meter is the best means to make accurate recommendations within minutes of surveying a field. I have a summer intern that is trained in the use of the unit and additionally you can use one of the three units we have if you have received instruction on how to properly use the system. Again we would have a nonprofit charge to recoup our expenses for travel so take that into account.
Delbert G. Voight, Jr.
Senior Extension Agent - Field and Forage Crop Team
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