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Crop-Trak Archive
  02/05/16 8:48:37 AM

Crop Trak Update  09/16/15

Now that harvest is in full swing, we can really start to see how stress through the season has affected the outcome.  Even though we may have ended up with about the same amount of rainfall inches this season compared to last, the distribution was not the same as last season.  Rather than timely rainfall, we got months of constant rainfall after corn was planted.  This resulted in extremely high nitrogen losses.  Even with top dress applications you still see a lot of tipback on ears do to stress.  Once stunted plants got into good growing conditions they shot up to normal heights but with stalks that have less mass.  Now at harvest, we are seeing a lot of wind damage to corn and less than ideal stalk integrity in general.  Some varieties are more susceptible than others but in general most plants have thinner stalks.  Stalk rot will be more of a concern because of plant stress and lack of carbohydrates in the stalk.  It seems our average yields in this area are between 140-160 bu with yields above and below that.

The early September rains that we received in this area completely changed our yield situation in beans.  With warm dry weather for weeks prior to the rain, we were set up for less than ideal grain fill.  There are fields that benefited more than others due to their growth stage but all bean fields benefited from the rain.  With the timeframe beans were given, I think they are going to do well.  One caveat to that is the intense sporadic insect pressure we have had late season.  Podworms have been very damaging this year.  If you are looking at pods now and they have holes in them with no bean, its podworms.  Stinkbug damage will likely be more prevalent this season too.  Podworms favor late planted soybeans and the only thing that kept them from becoming an even bigger problem this season is moisture allowing the beans to grow thick closed canopies.  Beans planted late July are at the highest risk due to open short canopies.  Soybean aphids did reach our area this year and with beans being planted late, there were some fields that reached threshold in early grain fill stages and had to be sprayed.  Frogeye leaf spot came in late this year but just in time to cause yield damage to some fields and not others.  Many fields were sprayed with a fungicide and many were not due to their growth stage. 
This was a very important year to be scouting fields as insect and disease pressures came in later growth stages.  Depending on the pressure and growth stage would have depended on whether to spray or not.  The Crop Trak program is designed for these situations.  Every field is different.  The consultants within Crop Trak are able to adjust herbicide plans as situations change through the season.  They are deeply grounded in agronomic knowledge and handle every field according to its unique case. Contact a local West Central Agri Services store to learn more about Crop Trak.


Jason Mefford  CCA
Crop Consultant
West Central Agri Services
Cell: 660-525-5097
Email: jmefford@mfa-inc.com



7/13/15

 Corn continues to have good yield potential across the country side.  I am still not seeing disease progress enough to spray for.  Many guys are wanting to hold out and see if they will need to spray at all.  Beans are up but I only  have one grower who has perfect fields.  Otherwise, everyone has something that needs replanted and it ranges from half to all of fields.  Many people are on their third replant.  We should finally get to spray beans this week.  Not much else has changed since last week.  I have not seen any Japanese beetles anywhere yet. 

6-04-15
Checked corn and wheat in the Adrian area.  All corn is stressed from too much rain.  Just about every acre of corn I scout is going to be topdressed, 90% by plane if not 100%.  Theres stunting, yellowing, and in low areas some stand loss.  I do believe our top end yield is gone, but topdressing will still help maintain a good potential. All wheat fields have head scab to some degree and it ranges from 10%-50% from field to field and within some fields.  Its dependent on variety and whether they did a head scab treatment.  Even fields with head scab treatments have scab. 
Checked corn and wheat from Archie to Peculiar.  Same deal, too much rain and corn is struggling.  Everything is getting topdressed mainly by plane to keep some potential.   

Peculiar to Harrisonville.  Checked corn and wheat.  Corn is looking rough and needs some time to dry out.  Its getting topdressed and a few need herbicide still but, its coming as soon as the field dries out.  All of my growers are topdressing 60-70 lbs of N in all areas. The little bit of wheat I have here, still has a wide range on head scab through the field, but looks to be on average 15%. 
 
Garden City to Urich.  Corn is yellow, stunted, and is in the process of getting topdressed. Folks are trying to get soybean burndown done but are having much trouble because of to much rain.  I am telling guys to keep 2,4-D in the mix and take the restriction or disk.  Gramoxone is doing well but, its not going to get everything at this time.  If a grower is 100% no-till, then they will have to take restriction of some sort to kill weeds and it still may not get them.  If they are open to field work, I think that is the way to go from a weed killing standpoint.  It will slow them down so, many farmers may just settle with weeds. 
 
I have two soybean fields in, one will be replanted.  Any fields I have seen from the road (very few) will have replant in the field.


9-8-14
Corn yields are coming out way better than I had expected.  I rode in a combine last night where the yield monitor was riding around 240 bu/ac on 55-09.  These were the end rows, he was just opening the field up.  The ground is nothing special and its dryland, no topdress, no fungicide.  When I left the average yield was at 210, but Im sure it went up.  I think when corn dries down a little more, its gonna get crazy!  Most corn I have seen or heard about is running 16-17% moisture.  With the rains though, I have noticed not a lot of ears have actually nodded and Im finding kernals germinating in a lot of ears. 
 
Beans are doing pretty good.  I think yields will be all over the board, generally good yields though.  Found a lot of 4 bean pods in 48x10 the other day.  Tried to find a 5 bean pod in it, but never did.  Beans are basically done except for some later planted fields and wheat beans.  I have found a few podworms in wheatbeans and will probably spray this week for them. 
 
Jason Mefford  CCA
Crop Consultant
West Central Agri Services
Cell: 660-525-5097
Email: jmefford@mfa-inc.com

9-2-14
Most soybeans in the area are in the mid fill to early full seed stage.  Up until the rain, seed size was looking smaller than I would hope for, but now that we have some rain, many fields should fill out better.  There has been a lot of sudden death syndrome across the whole region.  Theres a picture attached that shows how much of a difference planting date can make on this disease.  The beans on the left have SDS, the beans on the right are the same variety planted 10 days later.  The cool wet conditions this spring made for widespread infection in most fields to different degrees.  However, it seemed to show symptoms later this year than it usually does, so I don’t think the yield damage will be as severe as it could be.  But, those plants affected will still have small beans. 

Corn is being harvested and looks to be coming out pretty good.  I had counted on that dry spell this summer during grain fill to hurt the corn quite a bit,  but it seems to be coming out better than I thought.  I have heard a lot of stories about corn being basically dry but, the plants still have green in them, making for slower runs through the field. 
 
Jason Mefford  CCA
Crop Consultant
West Central Agri Services
Cell: 660-525-5097
Email: jmefford@mfa-inc.com


8-11-14
Corn is pretty much done.  The rains will help the later planted corn with grain fill.  The earlier planted corn lost yield during the dry spell.  Fields that I thought would be 180 bushel, came out to around 150.  We could get a little test weight with the rain on some fields, but I have found some at black layer.  Disease never really took off in the corn for the most part once it got dry. 
  Beans got rain at the perfect time.  This will help grain fill and give the chance for the plants to keep more pods.  It was a million dollar rain.  Disease and insect pressure has been low all season.  Septoria has been the only disease I have found and most insecticides have been preventative.  The majority of beans are filling pods and may have a few blooms on the plant.  I think insect pressure will be a bigger issue from here on.  But, things can pop up.  Wheat beans are looking good and may have a lot more pressure than the full season beans. 
 
Jason Mefford  CCA
Crop Consultant
West Central Agri Services
Cell: 660-525-5097
Email: jmefford@mfa-inc.com

 Crop Scout Report 7-28-2014 by Jason Mefford
The dry weather lately doesn’t look to have gotten to the corn unless it had a poor root system.  Everything else looks to have taken the weather well.  People have been running pivots though so I do expect the irrigated ground to be a little better than dryland still this year.  All the corn is pretty much in the dough stage unless it was planted later.  This week will be cooler and that will give the corn a lot of relief. 
  The beans have not had a lot of insect pressure around here and continue not to.  Septoria has been worse this year than normal and many guys have been spraying for it and adding an insecticide in.  Rain now for the beans would be good as most fields are starting to set pods.  I had expected to see a lot of SDS this season but, have not.  Weed control seems to have been the biggest problem in beans this year so far. 


Scouting Report-Jason Mefford 7-25-2014
The corn is still looking real good.  But, right now guys are starting to run pivots so this is where the pivot ground will pull ahead.  Up until now, its all been pretty even between pivot and dryland corn.  Most corn is in the dough stage now and I have even found some early dent corn.  The only thing that is going to have a big impact on it now would be water. 
  Beans are doing well and there is not much for insect pressure in this region.  I have found newly hatched stinkbugs last week and empty egg sacks.  So, they will be just in time for pod set.  I think at the moment, stinkbugs maybe a bigger problem this year pretty soon.  I do not see many bean leaf beeltes.  Blister beetles are popping up in patches in a lot of fields, but they usually don’t get out of hand enough to spray for.  Septoria is about the only disease pressure I am seeing at the moment.  But, it has gotten bad enough to spray for in many fields.  I am starting to see downy mildew on the upper leaves, but it rarely is an issue.  I know other areas are having problems with Japanese beetles right now, but I have only found two so far. 

Scouting Report-Brandon Hebbert 7-7-2014
Most of the corn is finishing pollination and still looking great.  Annual precipitation is now just low enough in many areas here that growers should consider running irrigators this week in our area.  For more specific irrigation timing, check with the University of Missouri on “Woodruff Irrigation Charts” to help for more precise timing.  Many people have also flown on fungicides over the past week.  Grey leaf spot and Southern Rust are in many fields surrounding Rich Hill, but still in fairly low amounts.
 
Most double-crop soybeans seem to be planted and came up well.  Insect pressure in first-crop soybeans has been low this week in our area.  The majority of my fields still show less than 5% defoliation.  I started using a sweep net in all the fields to identify insects, and noticed mostly beneficial insects and a few green clover worms starting to show up.  Most beans are just now at full canopy and either at bloom or close to first bloom.
 
Scouting Report-Jason Mefford 7-7-2014
I have talked with MU and the mystery blight in some corn does not look to be a disease according to them.  The best answer I have gotten from them is that earlier in the year when it was cool out, those leaves got stuck in the whorl longer and built up sugars.  Once they emerged, they were unable to metabolize the sugar and became necrotic.  It is basically only in P0365 and 33F50 both pioneer, so I have been calling it the Pioneer blight.  I have found tiny bits of it in one field of 1151.  The corn still looks to be doing well even with the blight problem.  I think we are setting up for a record year in corn yields, especially after the rain this weekend.  However, I have found just about every foliar disease we can get in corn in one field or another.  Grey leaf spot, common, and southern rust are the most wide spread.  I have found Northern corn leaf blight, northern corn leaf spot, eye spot, and smut.  Haven’t seen southern corn leaf blight yet.  I expect to find more grey leaf spot this week.  At the moment, disease is the one thing that could make or break fields this year. 
Soybeans are looking good.  A lot of fields have started blooming and I have seen one in full bloom.  Disease is pretty low in the beans right now and leaf feeding is about the same.  But, we should see a bean leaf beetle cycle pretty soon.  Not much to report about in the beans.  The disease pressure is still low mostly due to the canopy not being completely closed yet on many fields or just starting to get there

 



Scouting Report- 6-23-2014

Beans here are as far along as V6 in some places and just starting to canopy on fields with 7.5” rows.  Some fields have had high disease pressure from Phytophthora.  This is a root-rot that can have a lot of economic damage.  So it is important to walk your fields and determine if this exists and the severity of the problem.  The only chemical treatment for Phytophthora is by using seed treatment.
 
Corn is mostly around V16 and the tassel has started to show in many places this week.  Expect fungicide applications to be made once tassel is fully emerged on many fields in this region.  Many dissected corn plants are showing good ear production at this point.
 
Wheat has been cut, but only in very small amounts here with little report of yields coming in so far. 

By Brandon Hebbert

Corn everywhere is still looking great.  At this time, there is enough moisture in the ground to allow for good pollination across our region.  Most corn will begin tasseling this week and most will be tasseling next week.  I have found very early signs of what looked to be grey leaf spot in corn.  We have great weather conditions for it at the moment. Rust doesn’t seem to be growing much. 
 
 Beans look to be growing out of the yellowing from all the moisture.  Weed control options are getting limited due to carryover concerns from here on.  Using Classic or Prefix could cause injury in corn next year from here on.  Septoria is the only disease I have been seeing, but it is growing. 
 
Jason Mefford  CCA
Crop Consultant
West Central Agri Services
Cell: 660-525-5097
Email: jmefford@mfa-inc.com


6-16-2014

There are still a lot of beans that aren’t planted.  Its looking like a lot of first crop beans are going to end up as wheat beans being planted so late.  Beans have been getting a lot of water and showing chlorosis signs for a couple of weeks now.  Once they dry out they should be fine.  Corn looks amazing.  Water standing in the fields and cloudy weather hasn’t been great on the corn, but I don’t think the stress has sacrificed as much yield as the hot dry weather we have normally been having this time of year. 
 
Jason Mefford  CCA
Crop Consultant
West Central Agri Services
Cell: 660-525-5097
Email: jmefford@mfa-inc.com

6-9-2014
Rich Hill Area Report by Brandon Hebbert

Scouting Report-
Corn is mostly around V8-V9 in this region.  There has been an increase in stink-bug and armyworm feeding in our area, but mostly below economic thresholds.  Most top-dressing is done.  The hot humid weather has really helped the corn out.  We are slightly below annual rainfall and may be running irrigation early this year since most corn has been planted early.  Most corn is very close to canopy.
 
Soybeans- Soybean planting still continues in our region.  There has been very little replanting.  Lots of beans are at the V3 stage, so it is crucial to check your fields at these stages and plan your overlapped residual herbicide accordingly.  Insect feeding is still very low at this point. 
 
Wheat has taken a hard hit from dry conditions in some parts of this region.  Armyworms have shown up in very trace amounts here, but I did not see any fields with cut heads.  Frost and dry conditions have caused discoloration on some flag-leaf samples.  We have sent in many samples showing flag-leaf discoloration to the University of Missouri  plant pathology department that have all come back negative for bacterial or viral diseases.  Wheat in this area is at the hard-dough stage and we may see cutting the last week of June here.

 

5-30-2014
Rich Hill Area Report by Brandon Hebbert

Early planted corn had been injured by frost, but this week is looking much better.  There has been only a trace amount of killed plants that were at the V6 stage where the growing point was more vulnerable to freezing temperatures as it was out of the ground.  Rain has been scattered throughout Northern Vernon county and Southern Bates county ranging from .2 -2inches.  Corn in this region in general is looking very good and responding well to the hot humid days.  Most corn here is around V6-V7 stage, so be sure to check the growth stage on your plants and check with your West Central location before applying an herbicide.   Waterhemp and cocklebur emergence has been on the rise.
 
Many farmers planted soybeans deep in this area to get to the moisture, with good results and plants just emerging.  Damping off has been noticed in some fields so scout and do stand counts to determine your field populations.  Some of the earliest planted corn is at the first trifoliate.  This is a crucial time to make sure you know your fields weed pressure and apply treatments as many chemicals such as Prefix can only be applied to the V3 stage.  This, as well as the whole season, is crucial to scout your fields and determine insect thresholds.
 
Wheat in the area had very uneven head emergence and flowering.  This made timing a head-scab fungicide very difficult to produce optimum results.  There are trace amounts of armyworms also appearing and head-scab just starting to show in some of the more Southern fields.  Frost damage to leaves is apparent in many fields as well.


5-28-14
Crop Trak Update:
Our corn has really taken off after this varying rainfall across our region.  We have had varying rainfall amounts from .25 inches to 3 inches in our area since the last Crop Trak update.  We have had some isolated incidents and reports of cutworms in our area, as well as armyworms in our corn.  Remember while spraying your corn to look at the label for number of collars not just crop height restrictions.
Soybeans that were planted a couple weeks ago finally received some beneficial rain which has allowed them to emerge.  From La Tour to Warrensburg, soybeans just emerged this last weekend of the most part.  There hasn’t been any noticeable insect pressure, but we did see a stand loss on fields that had untreated soybeans vs. treated beans.  Be on the lookout for soybean leaf beetles as we have seen some while out scouting.  Post emerge herbicide application on your soybeans will be needed soon especially if you did not use a pre-emerge herbicide.  Contact your local West Central Agri Services location to get on the books for application.

Wheat continues to look average across the area unless you were early planted.  Disease pressure is relatively low compared to last year and insect pressure is very light.  We are continuing to see most of our wheat in the flowering stage.  With rainfall in the forecast every day for the next week it could help us maintain yields, however, if it turns off hot and windy we could see some kernel development issues and lighter test weight.


Brandon Badgley
WCAS Agronomy Sales
Centerview/Chilhowee
660-624-2958



5-16-14
Crop Trak Update:
For the most part, corn across the region is in and has good stands.  There is very little replant going on.  Cutworms have been found in the region so, if growers are getting ready to spray corn, an insecticide added in would be a good idea.  Waterhemp has emerged in full force in the last week, so the clock is ticking to get fields sprayed whether its corn or no till burndown.

This years wheat crop looks to be an average year.  Late plantings in addition to a long cold winter has led to average stands with fewer tillers.  Disease pressure has been low this spring along with insect pressure.  Temps have recently dropped to about 32 degrees while wheat is flowering.  There could be some isolated areas of damage but, according to Colorado State University and others, temps need to reach 30 degrees to cause damage.


Jason Mefford  CCA
Crop Consultant
West Central Agri Services
Cell: 660-525-5097
Email: jmefford@mfa-inc.com

 


2/18/14

Stand evaluation of wheat needs to be done as soon as snow cover is off. Thin stands with minimal tillering needs some nitrogen applied before greenup. Thicker stands or stand that have tillered well can wait until after greenup for its first nitrogen aplication. The Crop-Trak scouting program can help you with these decisions to avoid these hidden yield losses.
  6/18/13 

  
As everyone knows, this spring has been off to a hectic start.  With constant rains, many growers were able to get into the field to plant a lot of their corn.  However, many didn’t get to finish planting corn let alone start on beans.  Being a race to get the crops in, growers have not had time to get a lot of herbicide on.  With that delay, weeds are getting larger than ideal for a good kill and products that are geared for earlier application like Degree Xtra may not provide the results that growers are looking for.  Adding in herbicides with more foliar activity like Callisto, RoundUp, Capreno, and Sencor would provide better results that are expected by growers.  Also, one thing to keep in mind is that once corn is more than a foot tall, it is off label.  Delaying chemical application would usually result in more loss of plants to cutworms, but this year has been mild on cutworm activity in this area unlike armyworms in the wheat this year.  Most wheat is in the later parts of maturity and armyworms have less of an impact from here on out, unless you find heads being clipped from the stems.  Sidewall compaction will be an issue on many farms this year with growers planting into ground a little more moist than they would otherwise plant into.  Sidewall compaction forces the plants roots to grow down the seed furrow rather than horizontally in all directions.  This can contribute to less nutrient uptake and a higher susceptibility to drought stress later in the year in addition to possible lodging problems.  Corn will most likely be stunted in growth from early on in the season.  Using toothed press wheels can help reduce sidewall compaction and give plants more room to grow.
     Soybeans are not off to as hectic of a start as corn was but, growers are pushing back their herbicide applications in soybeans to get corn’s done.  This domino effect can create the same weed problems in soybeans as is happening in corn.  However, the herbicide selection for soybeans is a little more limited than it is for corn and getting to weeds in beans sooner is important.  Coming over the top of beans with chemicals like Prefix, not only has foliar activity on weeds but provides an in season residual to help carry the beans to canopy.  But, Prefix applications need to be made by the third trifoliate.  After that, applications will be off label. 
     Seeking the knowledge of a crop consultant when times get hectic can help keep growers from making yield limiting decisions and growers can know what’s going on in the field while they are busy with getting the rest of their crops in.  That piece of mind in knowing that someone skilled is watching over their investment can give growers flexibility in other areas of the farm.  Becoming part of MFA’s Crop Trak program can give growers access to skilled crop consultants and allow growers more time to get seed in the ground.

Jason Mefford
Crop Consultant
West Central Agri Services
Cell: 660-525-5097
Email: jmefford@mfa-inc.com

 

5-7-13
Crop Trak
With the amount of moisture this year, it is a must to apply a fungicide.  Powdery mildew is growing rapidly along with all other fungus.  The constant moisture we have been getting this spring is causing nitrogen loss through denitrification on some level in almost all fields.  One positive aspect due to the high amount of rain is that the aphid populations have been lower this spring. 
 
Across the area, almost all fields have the flag leaf emerged or emerging.  So the application of Harmony and other herbicides is no longer an option.  Any weeds that are present now will have to be cleaned up once the wheat is harvested prior to planting beans.  I have not seen any freeze damage to heads as of now, either from the snow storm or a couple weeks prior when temps got down to around 29 degrees.  With the growth stage the wheat was in at the earlier time, it could take a colder hit.  With the growth stage we are in now it can’t take as cold of a hit, but luckily temps did not get below 30 degrees.  It is possible that some wet low lying areas could have gotten cool enough to cause damage, but I have not seen any yet. 
 
As late as corn is being planted this year, cutworms are going to be a major issue.  Having an insecticide labeled for cutworms such has Mustang Max, Warrior II, and Hero on hand will be important this year.  I would recommend using insecticide once corn plants are out of the ground as a preventative approach this year.  Larva will cut more than one plant and earlier ones have the chance to cut plants longer than later instar larva so, it is important to be proactive on cutworms this year.
 
Jason Mefford
Crop Consultant
West Central Agri Services
Cell: 660-525-5097
Email: jmefford@mfa-inc.com
 


DeKalb corn with resistance to earworm trait                  Corn without the resistance to earworm trait 
                                                                          
                                                                                                                                          
 

 
 


 




When drought stops plants making protein, nitrate poisoning can kill grazing livestock
Source: Robert Kallenbach, 573-884-2213

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Drought-stricken forages that accumulate nitrates can kill grazing livestock, quickly, warns a University of Missouri plant scientist.

“We’re getting reports of cattle dying,” says Rob Kallenbach, MU Extension forage specialist. “As hot weather without rain continues, we expect to hear of more death losses. It happens at the start of every drought.”

Large grasses, such as corn, sorghum and sudangrass hybrids, are most often the cause of problems, Kallenbach said on a statewide teleconference Thursday morning. Many plants, even ryegrass and fescue, can accumulate nitrates when soil moisture becomes short.

Johnsongrass and other common weeds can be deadly also.

Nitrogen is essential for forage and grain-crop production. Nitrates are in the plants all the time, creating normal growth. Nitrogen picked up by plant roots from the soil moves up into the plant. Eventually the plant stores that energy in the seed heads as protein.

Nitrates are converted into amino acids, which are building blocks for plant proteins. Protein is an essential part of animal diets.

Lack of moisture stops the flow of nitrates up the plant and the conversion to protein. The roots continue to bring nitrogen into the plant, where it accumulates first in the stalks. Too much unconverted nitrate can become toxic.

In a drought, producers needing forage turn cows to graze corn, sorghum or other large grasses. Usually the only time a farmer grazes corn would be when it is obvious the plant will not make ears of corn for grain harvest. Grazing is considered when drought stops conversion of nitrate into protein.

That’s when deadly trouble occurs.

Cornstalks and other plants can be given a quick test for nitrates. A few drops of test solution on a split stalk turn deep blue when high levels of nitrate are present.

Most MU Extension county offices have test kits to provide quick nitrate checks. This test gives only rough indications of potential problems. It’s a warning.

A more accurate, quantitative test must be done in a laboratory, but that takes time. The lab test works best on stored forages such as bales, balage or silage.

On the teleconference, a regional specialist asked Kallenbach about corn being chopped and fed to cow herds. That is being done already in dry areas of southern Missouri.

“That works well—if it is done quickly,” Kallenbach said.

The worst thing is to chop a load of cornstalks, then let the forage sit on the feed wagon overnight. In that time, the deadly nitrates convert into even deadlier nitrites.

“If you feed a load of high-nitrite corn to your cattle in the morning, by noon you can be out of the cattle business. The cows put their four feet into the air,” he added.

Nitrites tie up the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood hemoglobin. Without oxygen, the cow suffocates.

At even low levels of nitrate, pregnant cows can lose their calves.

Grazing drought-stressed cornstalks is safer than chopping, if managed right. Cows prefer eating corn leaves first. Usually, leaves have less nitrate content than stalks.

Management-intensive grazing works when a strip of a cornfield is fenced off with an electric wire. When the herd eats all of the leaves, but before they start eating nitrate-rich cornstalks, the cows are moved to a new grazing paddock.

Even after rains come, the water won’t clear up problems overnight. It takes the plant at least five days to convert nitrate to safer levels of amino acids. If there are no ears of corn on the standing stalks, conversion takes longer.

When cattle run out of pasture, farmers turn to alternative forages, Kallenbach said. Slow down and make a quick nitrate test to ensure safety of the herd. It is so long between severe droughts that people forget lessons learned in the last drought.

 
Crop Trak Update by Price Watson 6-22-12
The Thursday rain sure didn’t come any to soon, but did allow the corn to hang on. Many of the fields I have been over the last 2 days after the rain, the corn has perked back up and really looking good for the circumstances. I feel after this rain, we are in a slightly better situation than last year. The pollination of all the corn I have seen looks very promising. If many folks are wondering how the corn is looking as good as it is without the moisture, I think we can thank the cool nights we have had for the past month and a half. If we can manage to get another good 2-3’’ of rain this growing season (corn), we should be able to salvage about half of our corn potential we had going into June.
   



April 13, 2012
Wheat-
For most of the West Central Missouri area, the wheat is moving very rapidly into the heading stage and soon to Flowering. The recent rains will sure help replenish the soil moisture to allow for good flowering, but will also tighten up our window on getting the fungicide for head scab. Applying the wrong fungicide at this time can cause some yield loss. The fungicide of choice would be a Triazole chemistry fungicide. The fungicide needs to be applied at first sight of the Anthers on the Florets, as the picture below describes.



Corn-
As corn is being planted and emerging these next few weeks, please keep in mind that everything else is a month ahead of schedule as well. Insect pressure has been noted as a high risk this season and we at West Central have found cutworm damage already. The cutworm larvae is mostly in the first instar and are causing only minor damage which is small holes in the leaves as they unfold. Although damage is not yet severe, it can worsen quickly. Use of a pyrethroid insecticide such as Mustang, Warrior, or Hero can be a very effective prevention measure.
Price Watson
417-327-3122




April 13, 2012
The trend this spring has been everything has started showing up about 3 weeks early. Wheat is in boot early, soil temperatures were warm enough for corn planting early, even morel mushrooms shot up early. Cutworms do not appear to be an exception. This past week I have found some level of cutworm feeding in about 50% of the corn fields with emerged seedlings. I have yet to see any severe stand damage, but it is early.
I highly recommend as herbicide applications are being made to corn fields that an insecticide be added to the tank. Cutworms are one of the most threatening pests in our area, but are easily controlled with pyrethroid insecticides.

Jason Worthington
660-200-5115



April 5, 2012
As we move into the month of April, about the only thing there is to remind us we are in April is the calendar. If we were to rely on Mother Nature to tell us where we are, we would be certain we are in May.
In many places this past week, I have seen wheat in three different growth stages (jointing, boot, and heading) scattered from Nevada to Harrisonville, and most wheat is 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule. Some wheat didn’t get the N on early enough and we have seen some yellow wheat and in severe cases poor tillering.
The aphid pressure has been much higher this year than previous ones due mainly to the exceptionally warm winter. The early planted wheat that established well had the most aphid pressure overall. Even with the high numbers of Aphid, the Barley Yellow Dwarf virus which is carried by the Aphids has not been much of an issue this year. If the year had been cooler and wetter, the chances of BYD would have been increased.
Overall the wheat is looking good in the area. Remember that wheat typically likes cooler dryer climates, and it is anyone’s guess what the rest of the spring will bring us. Keep in mind that a fungicide application on wheat is a good investment as we are in a very humid fungus promoting climate.



  
4-5-12
As we move into the month of April, about the only thing there is to remind us we are in April is the calendar. If we were to rely on Mother Nature to tell us where we are, we would be certain we are in May.
In many places this past week, I have seen wheat in three different growth stages (jointing, boot, and heading) scattered from Nevada to Harrisonville, and most wheat is 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule. Some wheat didn’t get the N on early enough and we have seen some yellow wheat and in severe cases poor tillering.
The aphid pressure has been much higher this year than previous ones due mainly to the exceptionally warm winter. The early planted wheat that established well had the most aphid pressure overall. Even with the high numbers of Aphid, the Barley Yellow Dwarf virus which is carried by the Aphids has not been much of an issue this year. If the year had been cooler and wetter, the chances of BYD would have been increased.
Overall the wheat is looking good in the area. Remember that wheat typically likes cooler dryer climates, and it is anyone’s guess what the rest of the spring will bring us. Keep in mind that a fungicide application on wheat is a good investment as we are in a very humid fungus promoting climate.
Price Watson



 

Making Silage from Drought-Damaged Corn
Rob Kallenbach


Dry conditions around the state have many corn producers wondering about making silage from drought-damaged corn. Although silage made from drought-damaged corn is usually not as good as that made from unstressed corn, drought-damaged corn can make good livestock feed.
As a rule, drought-damaged corn will have 85 to 95 percent of the feeding value of normal corn silage. Ideally, corn silage would be 60 to 70 percentage moisture at harvest. If drought-damaged corn contains less than 60 percent moisture, producers could add some water at the silo.
However, when drought slows plant growth and delays maturity, the moisture content is often higher than is suggested by the appearance of the crop. Taking the time to check the moisture content before harvesting could save a lot of trouble later. MU publication G3151 (http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G3151) contains detailed information on how to measure the moisture content of silage using a microwave oven.

Drought-damaged corn should be chopped to 3/8 to 1/2 inch in length. This length of chop should help in packing the silage to exclude as much oxygen as possible. Producers should also sharpen the knives on their equipment before making silage.
Other tips include filling the silo quickly and packing the silage as tightly as possible. Remember, to make good silage, oxygen should be excluded at all points. One concern with drought-damaged corn is high nitrate levels in the silage. High nitrate levels are frequently found where high levels of nitrogen fertilizer were applied and where drought-damaged corn is chopped a few days after a rain.
Other factors that contribute to high nitrate levels in corn silage are cloudy weather, extremely high plant populations and shortages of soil phosphorus and potassium.

Ensiling drought-damaged corn is preferred to greenchop because during the fermentation process, the nitrate content can be reduced by 20 to 50 percent. If a producer suspects that the crop may have high nitrate levels, they should have it analyzed before harvest, if possible.
One word of caution: corn with high nitrate levels produces more silo gas (mainly nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen tetroxide) than normal corn silage. During the fermentation process, a portion of the nitrate in corn silage is converted to nitrogen dioxide or nitrogen tetroxide; the higher the nitrate levels in the plant, the more silo gas that is produced. The reddish-yellow fumes of silo gas often smell like chlorine bleach, and silo gas is toxic to humans. Remember that silo gas is heavier than air and thus tends to accumulate in low areas.
Most often, this is a problem for producers with upright silos, as the silo gas tends to accumulate in feed rooms at the bottom of silo chutes. Silo gas can be a problem for other silage storage systems as well and one should exercise caution around silos during the filling and fermentation process.

If producers have corn with high nitrate levels, there are a few things they can do.
First, they might delay harvesting until the plant begins to "outgrow" the nitrate accumulation. Usually, drought-damaged corn will have normal levels of nitrates after 10 days to two weeks of normal growth (once the drought ends!).
Second, producers might increase the cutting height to 8 or 10 inches. Nitrate levels are usually highest in the lower part of the stem, so increasing the cutting height can help lower nitrate levels in silage.
Finally, if they have high nitrate corn silage in the silo, they could dilute the silage in the ration with other low-nitrate feedstuffs.

Several producers have asked about making "big round bale silage" or baleage from drought-stressed corn. For those not familiar with the practice, this is simply baling high moisture forage and then wrapping the bales with plastic film to exclude oxygen. This could be a way to store the crop if typical silage-making equipment is not available, though corn is difficult to run through a standard round baler. Balers that have recutters to reduce particle length will make better silage out of corn than will balers without this equipment. Even for balers with recutters, corn stalks are prone to poking holes in the plastic film and thus spoiling silage. While 4 mil plastic thickness is recommended for normal grass silage, drought damaged corn made should be wrapped to a 6 mil thickness.

Harvesting drought-damaged corn for silage can be a way to salvage an otherwise useless crop. Paying close attention to moisture content, length of cut, packing and nitrate levels in drought-stressed corn cut for silage will help make the most of a bad situation.

 

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