Lebanon Crop Management Video


30 September 2014

Lebanon County Field Extension Education Lab Crop Walk via the Lebanon Grazing Group

Del Voight- Penn State Extension
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


Southeast Research &
Extension Center in
1446 Auction Road
Manheim, Pennsylvania
October 17, 2014
10:00 AM—Noon
(light lunch served)
Cost: FREE

Registration: You can register for the walk at http://extension.psu.edu/plants/crops/events/crop-walk-via-the-lebanon-grazing-group or by contacting Penn State Extension - Lebanon County at 717-270-4391.

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

2014 Soybean Workshops Planned for this Winter

Del Voight- Penn State Extension

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:
9 December  North Hampton County 
10 December Bradford County 
11 December Union County 

12 December Centre County 
If you would like to attend please navigate to
2014 Penn State Soybean Workshops and follow the prompts to register. We hope to see you there!

23 September 2014

Harvesting Frost Damaged Soybeans

Del Voight - Penn State Extension - Crop Management
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 .
An early frost on soybeans can greatly diminish soybean yield, reduce bean size, and lower test weights because the beans may not have had enough time to fill completely. Given a cool September and an early frost, one can expect harvesting difficulties, and lower than normal protein and oil levels of the beans.
Whether early-frosted or not, late-planted beans in many fields will be quite "short" this fall - both in height and yield. And special consideration will be needed for combine operation and adjustment. Cutting as low as practical, as usual, will be necessary to get what little crop is there. Slow down if needed to avoid stones. Crisp, clean cutting is essential to minimize shatter and pod drop if bean and pod moistures are low. Keep cutterbar in tip-top shape at all times - knife sharpness, guard alignment and positive clip hold-down are needed.
Don't set and forget the reel! Adjust as conditions change, which may be needed in different parts of the same field - as plant height varies. Position the reel axis a few inches ahead of the cutterbar, with bats just low enough to catch bean tops and tip plants onto the platform. Bats should usually run 25-40% faster than ground speed depending on conditions - just fast enough to avoid pile-up on the cutterbar and excessive shatter and pod drop.
If beans are at "normal" harvest moisture content, keep cylinder speed to a minimum to avoid bean crackage - especially as beans dry out more in mid-afternoon. If beans are wetter than normal, more aggressive threshing action may be needed. If so, reduce concave clearance first (as with corn), then increase RPM until acceptable threshing occurs.
In addition to threshing, pay attention to other internal settings and adjustments for beans - including the separation and cleaning units. Bean loss out the back of the combine are usually not significant, but can be when conditions change, settings slip, or plugging occurs. Monitors can signal dramatic changes, but can't replace attentive, skillful operating and diagnostic expertise.

Field and weather conditions in the fall are usually such that field drying is sufficient to reduce the moisture content in soybeans to a safe storage level. However, wet and cool conditions this fall especially in fields that were planted late and/or frost-damaged may require harvesting of soybeans at 16 - 20%. Provided that soil conditions support equipment and soybeans are sufficiently defoliated, high moisture beans up to 18% can be successfully harvested and dried. Essentially, all grain drying methods (see Grain Quality Fact Sheet 15) are adaptable with some restrictions on the use of heat and handling practices.
Too much heat while drying soybeans causes excessive seed coat cracking, which results in splits. Seed coat cracking destroys the integrity of the seed and its protection during storage and handling. The key factor in avoiding splits is to keep the relative humidity of the drying air above 40%. This is a significant limitation on heat input and drying capacity. For example, 50F outside air with 80% relative humidity can only be heated to 70F in order to maintain humidity above 40%. Thus, high temperature drying with air heated to 160-180F or above is not an option when drying soybeans.
Medium Temperature Drying
The heat input in column and bin dryers can be restricted either by using short heat-on cycles, or changing the burner jets to a low-fire type. The resultant temperature rise from ON/OFF cycling is proportional to the percent of ON time.
For example, a burner with a minimum continuous fire rate of 40F rise will average about 20F rise if fired only 50% of the time. The same unit will average 10F rise if fired only 25% of the total ON/OFF cycle time. Utilization of a proportional timer that allows calibration of the total cycle by turning a percent dial can be used to control the length of the fire cycle. If splits are not as much of a concern, drying air temperatures limited to 120 - 140F to avoid heat damaged beans can be used.

Low Temperature Drying
Natural air above 60F and below 75% humidity will require no supplemental heat to remove 2 to 3 points of moisture from soybeans. However, natural air and low-heat drying in deep bins are slow processes. For example, a 24 ft diameter bin filled to 16 ft depth with 18% moisture soybeans will require about 23 days to complete drying to 13% during an average weather year. This assumes a 7.5 HP fan delivering 1.4 cfm/bu and a temperature rise of 10F.
Drying speed can be increased by reducing the depth in the bin (which increases the airflow per bushel), by adding more than 10F of heat, and/or by utilizing stirring devices. When adding supplemental heat, the 40% humidity requirement becomes the limiting factor. The limitation on drying capacity can be further reduced by only harvesting during the afternoon hours when moisture contents are closer to 16%.
Fans (and low heat burners) should generally be operated continuously as long as the average 24 hour air conditions are below 70 - 75% relative humidity and soybean moistures are above 15%. Generally, only little rewetting occurs, and then only in the bottom 6 to 18 inches. The balance of good weather during the day or week more than off-sets short high-humidity periods during the night, or 1 to 2 days of drizzle. Additionally, heat generated by the fan motor reduces the outside air relative humidity by 10 to 20 percentage points.
Green Soybeans
Green soybeans contain chlorophyll that will cause oxidation of the oil, and thus greatly reduce shelf-life. Although the chlorophyll can be removed as part of the oil bleaching process, processing costs and refining losses increase.
Data from the University of Minnesota indicates that the surface color does not change significantly during storage. During a six month test of green versus normal yellow soybeans under safe storage conditions, monthly surface color readings changed little. However, the green beans appeared to be slightly mottled at the end of the six months. Others have observed that green beans will fade somewhat after 4-6 weeks of aerated storage. They will also fade in the field if the stem has not been killed. Problems with green beans are generally most noticeable to processors at harvest time, and tend to diminish with time. This may be due to the perceived lightening of the surface bean color, or due to increased co-mingling with other beans.
Storage and Discounting of Green and Immature Soybeans
A related study by the University of Minnesota revealed that when either green or yellow beans at 18% moisture were stored, no significant difference in the rate of respiration of green versus yellow soybeans was determined. Thus, green beans dried in the field or in dryers do not appear to present a greater storage risk. The general recommendation for storing clean, high quality soybeans in aerated storage for up to six months is to maintain moisture contents at 13% or lower. However, given the concern over high FM levels due to ineffective weed control this past spring in many soybean fields and the kernel-to-kernel moisture variations among beans, it is advisable to reduce storage moistures to 11-12% moisture or lower to be safe. It has also been reported that moisture readings will generally read low on immature ("butter beans") soybeans fresh out of the field. Readings should stabilize after a few hours of equilibration at room temperature in a closed container.
Green and immature soybeans are included in the total damage factor in the U.S. soybean grading standard. In order to assign an official grade, the kernels suspected of being damaged must be sectioned or cut open and compared to the appropriate GIPSA line slide (SB-3.0 for green beans, SB-6.0 for immature beans). Since the revisions to the grading standard in 1986 the line for "greenness" on these slides is much lighter (and thus the definition for the amount of green present much stricter). Thus, although the surface color of the beans may fade during storage, once they are cut open for grading the amount of greenness may not have changed significantly during storage.
Although elevators and processors set their own discount levels, a typical discount may be 2 cents for each percentage point of total damage between 2.1-5%, 4 cents per point between 5.1-8%, and 6 cents per point above 8.1% total damage. It has been reported that during the fall of 1995 a number of elevators in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri rejected green soybeans at a damage level above 7% during the harvest season. Thus, the worst plan is to harvest green or immature soybeans wet and market them immediately at harvest. To reduce the potential for discounts further, it may also be desirable to screen out small beans before binning or delivery.

17 September 2014

Late Season Stalk Nitrogen Test - Time to get the samples to the lab.

Del Voight Penn State

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 Dry Down - Fast dry down rates Observed

Del Voight - Penn State Extension

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.
Type                                                          Moisture
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".
9675 49%
0604 52%
1498 55%
Moisture Testing
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

Some ideas for Fall Planning and No Tilling next spring.

Del Voight - Penn State Extension Agent
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?