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 email@example.com 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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