Lebanon Crop Management Video


19 July 2016

Fall Forage Options for Lebanon Crop Producers

 After discussing some options for the management of forages for this coming fall I put the following chart together to better understand the different options available to growers to perhaps extend the grazing season and or to provide some additional forage for the silo. There are some major differences in the feed quality as indicated by the RFV section of the table.  In talking to some old timers that weathered numerous seasons it appears that Oats comes to the top of the list for many.  A local dairy man related using feed oats planted in August and almost coming to the point he could combine them in late fall.  Realistic expectations might be that they get an additional couple of tons of dry matter.  The table is written in terms of dry matter so as is basis can more than double the yield estimates.There are alot of options and they all cost money to plant and care for.  Be mindful of seeding rates per acre and the relative cost of the seed. Also some of the selections come with extra management to be safe I am thinking of the sorghum sudan and corn with nitrates and concern for Prussic acid. There are some ways to really achieve some high quality forage one just needs to make informed decisions and be timely in seeding and harvest. Most of the information is from Penn State Research on experiment farms but I did get some information from Dr Dan Undersander Wisconsin Extension and also from local farmers experiences. If you need more seeding information Dr. Jessica Williamson and Dr Greg Roth have detailed tables in the Penn State Agronomy Guide.

Fall Crop Planting Date  Harvest Date   Yield T DM/a        Crude Protein                 RFV
Rape          Mid June                  Oct                     2-3                         20-25                   150-250
(S)Turnip Mid June-Aug 1          Oct                      2-3                        20-25                    150-250
Oats              August                  Nov                     1-2                         10-11                  140-150
(S)Barley    August                    Nov                      1-2                          10-11                 110-130
(S)TriticaleAugust                     Nov                      .5-1                         13-14                130-140
(W)Wheat August                   Nov                       .5-1                        12-13                   150-160
Mix     Rye and Oats     August        Nov and May  3-5                       10-13                100-120
Corn                               August    November       1-2                              9-10            95-105
Sorghum/Sudan              Aug            November     1-2                            12-14            90-100

Staging Soybeans –R stage Critical Considerations

Del Voight Penn State Extension
Many fields of soybeans are actively growing and there some general information one needs to become familiar with what the plant is going through at this time.  Many fields at this time are in the R2 growth stage.  What does this mean? R2 is identified by first inspecting for the presence of  the flowers. Once flowers are observed within the top 2 nodes of the top  of the plant(full flower) the plant is in the R 2 stage.   Plants have two main stages V and R. The V stands for vegetative that is to say the stage that the plant germinates emerges and puts leaves on the main stem. Then the R stage which refers to the reproductive stage.  This stage marks a change in the plant from  simply growing green leaves to begin to prepare the metabolism and prepare to produce an ear or a pod.  In many cases both stages exist with Soybeans they will continue to put new leaves on while flowering.  Typically they will stay in the V stages for about 40 days or more.  Once in the R stage the plant will stay in R stages until harvest time.
Most fields should be in the R2 stage.  Now you know what I am referring to pertaining to stages.  At this stage the flowers are self pollinating.  The pods are being formed within the flower.   Intercanopy humidity and temperature will now factor into whether the pod forms and aborts.    The plants 300 bu/acre potential is now being dictated by temperature, pest pressure,  stress from drought or water.  Typically 60-75% of the total flowers fail to produce a pod.  The plant will stay in the flowering condition for a 30 day period but will move from R2-R3 in about 2 weeks. R3 is marked by the formation of a pod that is 3/16th of an inch at any of the top 4 nodes. The top third of the soybean leaves directly impact yield.  Therefore scouting is required to ensure limited damage from insect or disease.
Penn State Extension and Soybean Board funding of field research has been working on determining benefits of fungicides applied at  R3 to date the data suggest that  applications of fungicides average a return to the application of about 3-4 bu/acre.  Consider applications If there is visible disease and the weather in the two week forecast is wet and high humidity benefits might be greater than  if conditions remain dry and low humidity.Also realize that wheel traffick will reduce yields based on boom width.  Wider booms have less impact. For instance Ohio State Extension engineers have shown about a 2.5 bu/acre loss with a typical 45 foot boom and a 1.5 bu/acre loss with a 90 foot boom. Wheel width also may reduce the impact of trafficking in the soybeans.  Consider custom applications if wider boom width is not available on your farm.  Check for the presence of soybean aphids, stink bugs, bean leaf beetles and grasshoppers to ensure that they will not reduce soybean canopy by R3 to ensure yield is protected through the pod filling stages.  Check the Agronomy Guide for Pesticide options, rates and application specifications.

Sprayer Width Impact on Soybean Yield

Del Voight - Senior Extension Educator - Penn State Extension CMEG
. Growers will need to ascertain running soybeans over to apply many of the vast foliar products such as fungicides, insecticides, fertilizer and biostimulants. With the knowledge that soybean leaf diseases are forecasted to be at threshold levels this summer, considerations for running the beans over will be on growers minds. Two projects that detailed the impact of trafficking in standing soybeans have been researched and I have the two links included below. If we were to only look at an application with a Fungicide applied at R3 the costs would appear close to the following:
Cost of materials- $15.00/acre
Custom application - $12.00/acre
Reduced yield due to trafficking - ???? depends on width of sprayer.
Total costs could be close to $30.00/acre. That would mean at least a 3 bu/acre increase or protection should compensate for the direct costs. What about the sprayer impact?
In Pa data over time we have shown between 2-4 bu/acre increase due to a fungicide application so the economics are close to breakeven. This is where the boom width is important if a grower owns a 45 foot boom and the losses based on science suggest a loss of about 4% 2.5 bu/acre @(60 bu/acre yield)versus a loss of .75%(.5 bu/acre) with a 120 foot boom, then the economics can lean toward a profit for utilizing a wider boom if available. The higher commodity prices do demand revisisting thresholds and determine the best integrated approach.  Growers need to make  thier own decisions but the following two factsheets provide some informed research that might help with the decision.


Considerations for Foliar Fertilizer applications on Soybeans

Del Voight - Penn State Extension

As yields in soybeans continue to increase the demand for the soil to produce the required amount of fertility are becoming more important.  A typical removal of the plant available form of Phosphorus(P205) and Potassium(K20) for soybeans is 1lb of P205 and 1.4 lbs of K20. This equates to a normal yield of 60 bu/acre removing a total of 60lbs of P205 and 84lbs of K20. I was talking to a grower last week whom had whole field averages of 87bu/acre  and I commonly hear of yields in the low 80 bu/acre range.  If a maintains his soil fertility based on a 60 bu/acre harvest yet commonly harvests 80 bu/acre in time the soil will become depleted of fertility.  In this example the difference of 60 vs 80 bu/acre would about 20lbs of P205 and 28lbs of K20 for each year of missed calculations.  I commonly do not run into any issues with P205 however I have been running into numerous issues with K20 on all crops from alfalfa to corn and soybeans. This link Soybean K is to a photo gallery of a case study where the producer had deficiency and I took soil tests from both the good and bad areas.  Later in the day the producer spun on 0-0-60 at 200lbs per acre and the week later photo illustrates the rapid response by the soybeans to the fresh supply of K20.
To begin, it is important to know the goals within the soil when viewing soil tests.  Maintain P levels in the optimum range from 60 to 100ppm range and K levels also in the optimum. I tend to commonly use Dr Beegles recommendation of K levels maintained in the 2.5 to 5% saturation on the CEC.
Where I see foliar fertilizer fit is in optimum levels.  In past years with growers topping 90 bu/acre in many cases a foliar material is utilized and I have seen this first hand. I have also documented through tissue testing the however slight bump in K levels within the leaves.  For these extreme yields all stresses must be taken away. These products are not designed to remedy soil deficiency issues.  Again to supply 84lbs of K20 with 0-0-60 it would take 200/bs per acre of dry product while to meet the same 84lbs of K20 one would have to apply from 84 to 160 gallons per acre of foliar fertilizer depending on the formulation.

It is time to make the adjustment to increase rates of K20 applications to manage soil fertility.  As a source muriate of Potash(-0-0-60) is a great source for to correct deficiencies in the soil as well as in season deficiencies. There are times when soils are adequate however the roots might not get to the nutrient either from compaction and or other drought times.  In these cases either dry and or liquid foliar applications might be useful. However, if a deficiency is caused by low soil level K then foliar liquids are not economical to correct the soil issues  however they will bring the plant out of the deficiency for a short time. This season we had deficiency at a On Farm site and used 1 gallon per acre of a foliar K product.  It really greened up the plants however in as little as 2 months the plants displayed symptoms again.  This further supports two prongs correct the soil K levels and tissue to test to begin correcting any hidden deficiency.
If a grower decides to apply foliar fertilizer products to the field it is best to apply as a separate application and not combined with fungicide or insecticide materials.  In fact it is best utilized by taking a tissue test when the soybeans are in the R2 stage and select a foliar fertilizer that meets the needs of the plant.   Depending on the weather(hot(86 plus F), humid (60% plus), foliar burn (phyto toxicity) may result.  In our On Farm Network a few days afer treatments we observed burn in a few locations. We put a short video together to discuss this seasons plots. On Farm Foliar Fertilizer Phytoxicity 
It might be too late for this season however to avoid this situation next season growers need to test the soil this fall, plan on meeting the need of the crop at a minimum of 84 lbs of K20 (80bu/acre)(140lbs/acre of 0-0-60)

Salvaging drought stressed corn for silage

Del Voight - Penn State Extension (as in Roth ICM Website)
Corn has a remarkable ability to recover from drought stress, so delay a salvage harvest as long as possible. If the corn has tasseled and leaves cease to unroll at night and the tops start to brown out, the plants are probably not going to recover. As browning of the crop continues, the forage quality will decline as the plants are using stored carbohydrates in the leaves and stalk to sustain themselves. If half the leaves were dead or dying it would be a good candidate for evaluating for silage harvest. At this point you should probably consider harvesting it for silage. Delaying harvest will reduce yield and quality and reduce the potential for planting a second crop.
Moisture testing is essential in these situations because corn is often wetter than it appears. If the forage is extremely wet (greater than 75–80%), then harvest should likely be delayed since this will result in seepage and a loss in silage quality. Excessively wet silage like this has caused silos to collapse in some situations. Avoid chopping when the moisture is below 60–63%. If a drought ending rain occurs just before a planned salvage harvest, the moisture content of drought stressed, immature corn will increase, so harvest should be delayed in this situation.

Potential silage quality

Drought stunted corn will likely be higher in protein and some minerals than normal silage and lower in energy. The fiber levels are often higher in silage with less grain content but often the digestibility of that fiber is higher. An example of forage quality from six drought-stunted, 6–7 foot tall corn crops salvaged in mid August is shown in Table 1. Note the elevated crude protein, NDF, nitrate, Ca and K levels compared to normal corn silage. Forage quality differences are less if drought stunted corn develops some grain and is harvested near normal maturity. Without grain, starch concentrations will be very low.
When drought stunted corn is allowed to reach maturity and has some grain formation, forage quality will be impacted as well. In Table 2, forage quality values are shown for the same hybrid produced on the same farm in 1998 (normal rainfall) and 1999 (drought). The drought-stunted corn was about 6 feet tall with 6-inch long ears. Note that crude protein, NDF, Ca and K levels are elevated in the drought year as well but not to the degree that occurred in the immature corn in Table 1. Notice also that the lignin levels are also reduced in the drought-stunted corn and that the digestibility is similar for the two years despite the reduced starch in the 1999 crop. The drought-stunted crop also had moderate damage from European corn borer in the ears and some evidence of ear molds.
When feeding drought stressed corn silage, be sure to get a forage test so that you can have rations adjusted effectively. Drought-stunted, low grain corn silage also tends to be less dense- as a result; truck and silo capacities are often lower. Because of the lower grain content, drought stressed corn will be less responsive to kernel processing.

Table 1. Forage analyses of drought stunted corn obtained in Lancaster County in 1999.
Table 2. Forage analyses from the same hybrid grown in a normal year (1998) and drought (1999) year in Lebanon County.

Nitrate concerns

Elevated nitrate concentrations are common in drought stressed corn crops. The potential is greatest for high nitrate levels in young plants, especially in the stalks and especially in heavily manured fields. Typically elevated nitrate levels are common in Pennsylvania but only occasionally at toxic levels. The potential is generally greatest for 3-4 days following a drought ending rain, but can be a problem anytime.
Leaving a 12-inch stubble in the field can reduce nitrates but this would also reduce yields and may not be desirable unless a forage test confirms the presence of high levels of nitrates. Because the nitrate potential can be reduced through ensiling, grazing and green chopping drought stressed corn are not desirable harvesting alternatives. Even though nitrates are a concern, experience from testing and feeding past drought stricken crops indicates that excessive nitrate levels (>1700 ppm NO³-N) are not that common and that with good management most nitrate related problems can be avoided with careful feeding management.
High nitrates can contribute to animal feed problems and deadly silo gas. Be especially cautious when filling silos with these suspect crops. Silo gas is produced during the first 4-5 days after silo filling when nitrates are converted to oxides of N (NO, NO2, and N2O4). Of these, NO2, or nitrogen dioxide is the most common and is a yellow orange gas with a bleach-like odor. This gas is heavier than air and can form in the silo and then escape down the unloading chute into the barn, endangering both humans and cattle. Exposure to silo gas can cause immediate death or severe lung injury due to the formation of nitric acid in the lung. To avoid exposure to silo gases, keep the door between the feed room and the barn closed, ventilate the silo by running the blower for at least 20 minutes before entering the silo and learn to recognize the bleach -like odor and yellow-orange color as signals of silo gas.

Pricing Silage

Often the price is influenced by local supply and demand. The Dairy and Animals Science Department at Penn State maintains a spreadsheet with current estimates of feed and forage prices at: http://www.das.psu.edu/pdf/feedprices.pdf
Values of drought stunted corn will vary but in one recent scenario of prices, drought stunted corn with few ears was worth about 91% of normal silage, while drought stunted corn with no ears was worth only 66% of the value of normal corn silage. When pricing corn silage be sure to consider harvesting and hauling costs as well as the moisture content of the silage.

Ear molds

Hot, dry conditions associated with drought years are generally not thought to be conducive to growth of typical Fusarium molds that are common in Pennsylvania, but if European corn borer damage to the ear is significant, Fusarium molds can develop. Fusarium molds often appear as white or pink molds on the ear and are responsible for most of the mycotoxins we encounter in Pennsylvania. The presence of the mold does not indicate that mycotoxins will be present, however. The only sure way to determine if mycotoxins are present is through testing. Many forage testing laboratories can run a mycotoxin assay. In most cases mycotoxin analyses are warranted only if a problem is suspected.
Hot, dry conditions are conducive for the development of Aspergillus fungi, which is sometimes reported in Pennsylvania. Some species of Aspergillus can result in aflatoxin. The Aspergillus fungus is a greenish yellow mold that appears on the ear.
Common Smut is another common fungus that frequently appears during drought. Smut produces large gray smut galls on the ears, tassels or at the nodes. Smut does not produce mycotoxin so smut contaminated for is generally considered safe to feed.


Frequently drought stressed grain crops will have lower than average resistance to stalk rots. This results because the plant uses carbohydrates reserves from the stalk to fill the grain during periods of late season stress. It may pay to scout fields during the early fall to determine if any are at risk for stalk lodging problems. Typical symptoms will include some broken stalks and light and hollow stalks pink coloration in the inside of the stalk or some discoloration at the nodes inside the stalk. Fields with these symptoms would be good candidates for early harvest.

Economics of harvesting

Usually is still worthwhile to harvested drought stricken corn, but on some of the most drought stressed fields it may be a tossup. The variable costs such as fuel, labor and repairs, associated with chopping a light corn crop are in the $15 to $25/acre range, so if producers can harvest at least one ton of silage per acre valued at perhaps $20/ton they will break even. To achieve this yield may require corn about two feet tall.

Replanting options following corn

This will depend on the herbicide program used for corn. Generally, sorghum-sudan grass may be the most viable option if planting can be achieved by early August. Small grains, annual ryegrass or soybeans are also alternatives in some situations, but dry weather may make atrazine carryover high which will damage the more sensitive crops like oats and soybeans. Of the small grains, rye has the most tolerance to atrazine. Spring grains such as oats can provide fall growth but oats is the most sensitive to atrazine. Check herbicide labels for replanting restrictions-for example small grain crops are not registered to be cropped until the year after application of atrazine. If corn fields are unsatisfactory for planting fall forage crops, small grain stubble fields could be used to establish a fall small grain or annual ryegrass emergency forage crop. For highest fall forage yields consider using a spring grain in this situation.

Planning for the future

Drought stress on corn is not uncommon in Pennsylvania, although it varies from farm to farm depending on rainfall and the soil water holding capacity. Generally, shallow or shaly soils are most prone to risk from droughts over the long term. In situations where drought stress is common it is often wise to consider whether growing any corn is good idea. Often other crops may be more profitable than corn grown for grain. One solution is to reduce the amount of corn in the rotation and substitute soybeans or barley in the rotation. This provides some diversity in crops that can tolerate stress better and also results in corn that can tolerate stress better because it is grown in a rotation. We know that corn following corn often fares poorly in a drought. A second strategy might be to only grow corn for silage and purchase the corn grain needed on the farm. A third strategy might be to increase the amount of storage for corn silage on the farm to help cover lower yields during drought years. Another strategy might be to consider using crop insurance to cover losses during the occasional drought year.
Greg W. Roth, Professor of Agronomy, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University

11 July 2016

Perilla Mint in Pastures

Del Voight Penn State Extension
If it indeed is Perilla mint it can be very difficult to control. Many herbicides are not that effective on it and those that are active only suppress it (70-75% or so). I agree most of the literature comes out of the South since they deal with it more than we do up here. We do have some populations here in PA but whenever people have submitted samples of suspected Perilla it turned out to be something else (e.g., white vervain, etc.). Not to be a Doubting Thomas but It would be good to get another sample to look at it.
In the meantime, here are some resources to consider:
Since it's an annual, mowing or chopping it if possible will help. Just try not to let it go to seed. Here are some fact sheets to consider:
Hope this helps,

Dwight Lingenfelter PSU Weed Team

01 July 2016

Soybean Recropping after Small Grain Harvest- When is too Late?

Del Voight - Penn State Extension
This year has changed the game when it comes to double cropping soybeans.  Typically as July  progresses after small grain harvest producers no till soybeans.  The late timing this year might be an issue for other recrop forages after small grains, however with continued rains and ideal planting conditions many producers will continue to plant.   I have seen fields planted directly after barley that did emerge almost immediately with the rains.  We have ample moisture in the soil right now and it appears that some is in the forecast.  It takes about 90 days for soybeans to develop pods and dry seed so if we get an average frost we need to be planting beans by July 15- August 1 in Pa to be in the window for harvest based on average frost free dates.  Pa Average First Frost date  this map indicates some areas frost about November 1 in Pa so those areas could still plant soybeans.  Here are some other  considerations.
2014 Double Crop Soybean plots SEAREC
1.       Plan to establish at least a 180,000 ppa so to achieve that a minimum planted population of 200,000 is recommended for double crop beans prior to July 5 after which 220,000 ppa might be in order to ensure ideal canopy cover.  
2.       Plant narrow row less than 15 and 7 inch  or narrower preferred. There is less time for the soybeans to gain height to pod so the narrow rows allows for more beans to grow at higher populations.
3.       If the field has visible weeds be sure to burn down to ensure weed competition is kept to a minimum.
4.       Set a realistic economic target. Traditional double crop yields of 30bu/acre  is not out of the question (we typically see about a 50% response the first week of July)and at $9/bushel soybeans there is some but not a lot of room to spend input costs over and above that which needs to be spent to make the crop. This simple table best illustrates the impact of planting date.

Approximate yield response 
of soybean to changes in planting date.
Date                                                 Full yield potential (percent)
May 10                                                      100
May 20                                                       98
May 30                                                       95
June 10                                                       88
June 20                                                       76
June 30*                                                     70
July 10*                                                      60
Developed from Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania data.
*Relevant only in areas where double cropping is possible.
5.       Be aware that the potential for a early frost is possible and if forage is needed consider management for a forage use of the soybean.  If the goal is forage supply then perhaps sorghum sudan or other annual crop may be a better selection.
6.  Maturity considerations.
There has been talk about moving to a shorter maturity. Past experience in this area would suggest full season maturities for double crops may out yield short season maturities. Our double crop beans planted with full maturity over the last several years have matured with no ill problems in the fall. Last season which was also a wet season our Lancaster Double Crop Soybean Trials averaged 54bu/acre planted on June 24th at 220,000ppa.  To view the maturity and varieties please visit Pennsylvania Soybean Performance Test 2014.   Dr Dave Holshour from Virginia Tech related the impact of maturity on delayed planting. For April and May plantings a 3 day holding on plant timing resulted in a 1 day delay in maturity. For example if 30 days late planted this would cause a 10 day later maturity.  However in the June and July plantings a 5 day delay in planting will result in 1 day difference in maturity. For example if planting 15 days later the crop would only mature 3 days later than normal.  Most important is to plant a maturity group that would grow as long as possible in the vegetative stage to gain height before flowering which allows for an adequate canopy for maximum yield and still mature before a frost.
Finally Dr Roth and I looking at other parameters for double crop soybeans that might prove useful in the future to further add yield to this late plant timing.  We are revisiting row width, date of planting, growth regulators, seed treatments and other practices to ensure recommendations stay current.  Stay tuned for more information as the Mid Atlantic begins to focus on this double crop timing.


Double Crop Planting Date

 Del Voight- Penn State Extension
The results below represent the results of the 2015  initial test plots where we are looking a the impact of planting date on the yield and quality of double crop soybeans.  This video discusses the project and provides a view of the different planting dates  in the field.
No surprise here related to early planting and its impact on yield.  We need to explore the cost of drying to factor this into the economics of the system but it would appear the earlier plantings can benefited under the 2015 conditions. We are currently planting the second seeding date today at the research station this information will assist in management recommendations for double crop soybeans that might differ than our standard recommendations in the Penn State Agronomy guide.
Planting Date
Maturity Group
Height (in)
% Protein
% Oil
Seeds per lb



LSD Planting Date (.05)

LSD Maturity Group (.05)
NS (p-value = .53)

LSD Interaction (.05)
NS (p-value = .83)

LSD Planting Date (.25)

LSD Maturity Group (.25)
NS (p-value = .53)

LSD Interaction (.25)
NS (p-value = .83)

CV % (Planting Date)

CV % (Maturity Group)

Prepared by: Austin Kirt, Greg Roth and Mark Antle  Department of Plant Science