Field Crop News, Vol. 12:15, June 12, 2012
In This Issue:
- Weather Outlook
- Armyworms, Potato leafhopper, and Corn rootworms
- Crop Disease Update
- Some Herbicide and Weed Observations
- Reading This Article Could Save Your Life
- Marketing Outlook
- USDA Gearing Up to Conduct 2012 Census of Agriculture: National Agricultural Classification Survey is an Important Step toward a Complete Count
- Upcoming Events
Weather Outlook — Paul Knight, Department of Meteorology, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
The rain clouds will move away from the state on Wednesday, though they will lurk offshore for much of the week to come. Virtually all of the next week (Wednesday to Tuesday, June 13–19) should feature settled and seasonably warm conditions with mostly sunny skies (after morning valley fog) and good drying weather to the west of the Alleghenies. From the Appalachians to the Delaware Valley, the vast majority of the time will be dry and much of the period is expected to have some sunshine. Temperatures statewide will vary between the low 50’s in the cooler northern valleys to the mid to upper 60’s in the urban southeast during the night to the low 70’s when it is cloudy during the day in the mountains to the mid 80’s on sunny days in the west. Total rainfall is expected to be less than a tenth of an inch for much of the region. Surface winds will be light (generally less than 10 miles an hour) and mainly from the northeast and therein is the forecast challenge.
Eventually, these onshore winds will invite the clouds and showers lurking off the mid-Atlantic coast back inland. There appears to be two opportunities for this to occur. The first is in the Thursday—Friday time frame when patches of low clouds and drizzle may seep westward into the Delaware and lower Susquehanna Valleys. This is about a 40% chance. The second opportunity is Sunday—Monday when a disturbance is expected to develop over the ocean and perhaps spill clouds and a few showers into sections of the eastern half of the state. This is about a 30% chance. The next significant front is expected during the middle of next week and should be preceded by at least one rather hot and humid day. A flow from the northwest should dominate as summer begins leading to dry, warm weather interrupted by occasional thunderstorms from June 21–26. Odds still favor the center of summer heat to be in the middle of the country so that hot spells in the eastern states should be short-lived. Persistent disturbed weather over the southwest Atlantic may promote another one or two early season tropical storms near the Southeast coast later in June and July. Cooler than average temperatures are still favored during the majority of August.
Armyworms, Potato leafhopper, and Corn rootworms — John Tooker, Entomology Specialist
We continue to hear about the armyworm outbreak across Pennsylvania, up into New York State and over into Ohio. This has been a widespread, destructive, and generally impressive situation. It reminds me that as much as we would like to have control over nature, occasionally it can produce situations that are beyond our control. The caterpillars are living up to their names, marching across corn, wheat, and grass hay fields, over roads, into residential yards, and, even in some extreme examples, clogging up swimming pool filters! Activity will have to slow down soon, but these caterpillars feed more as they get bigger, so be wary of the damage that can be caused by populations you encounter.
We are receiving an increasing number of calls of armyworm-infested fields where natural enemy populations are contributing to the fight—black birds, parasitoids, and viruses are getting into the act. If you see shriveled caterpillars hanging head down from plant, it is likely these were killed by some pathogen, likely a virus (Fig. 1). When large populations of insects develop, their diseases and other natural enemies are typically not far behind.
Once caterpillars get closer to 1.5 inches, they will be getting ready to pupate. There are three generations of armyworm each year and the expectation is that the second generation is rarely a problem and the third even less so. Given the extreme nature of this outbreak, however, I strongly believe there is potential for the second generation to be problematic in corn and grass hay fields. Growers would be wise to walk their fields and be on the look out for a second generation during early July. For more details on true armyworm, see last week’s article and our fact sheet.
Fig. 1. A healthy armyworm caterpillar and three that have been killed by a pathogen, likely a virus. These infected caterpillars are typically found head down. Viruses spread from their dying bodies to infect others in the populations. Photo by Mike Fournier—Penn State Extension, Bucks County.
A few weeks ago, we reported that the first populations of potato leafhopper had arrived in the state. Now we can share that local conditions have really pushed the populations along. From Chester and York Counties, we have reports of large populations of potato leafhoppers coming to residential outdoor lights and blanketing windows. In the Centre Region, some alfalfa fields have exceeded economic thresholds and have been treated. Keep those sweep nets handy and watch your alfalfa fields. Remember that once you see evidence of feeding damage (i.e., hopperburn on leaves) yield loss has already begun.
Lastly, we have learned from Midwestern colleagues that western corn rootworm adults are starting to emerge, which means their larvae is wrapping up their feeding on corn roots. Conditions appear to have been quite good for rootworms this spring, so growers with continuous corn acreage need to keep an eye on any higher than expected damage to roots. Recall that large portions of the Midwest appear to be tackling Bt resistant varieties of rootworms. To keep Pennsylvania as free as possible of Bt-resistant corn rootworm populations, growers need to report anything out of the ordinary including lodged continuous corn fields or high populations of adult beetles. For more information on this issue, see our previous newletter article.
Crop Disease Update — Greg Roth, Grain Crop Management
Corn: We have started to see some anthracnose showing up on young corn in central PA where precipitation has been regular the last few weeks. Anthracnose lesions are brown and oval shaped and usually ¼ inch wide and ½ inch long but the can elongate with time. Anthracnose is more prevalent in high residue fields and under conditions with wet and high humidity as we have seen in some areas recently. Often Anthracnose does not progress on to newer leaves and control is not necessary but with humid conditions through the season it can spread to upper leaves can cause top dieback or stalk rots late in the season. Hybrids vary in their susceptibility to this disease so track those that seem to have the worst infestations.
Wheat: Scab reports are spotty, but I have seen some blighted heads appearing in the last week. I would keep scouting to assess the potential and then plan harvest accordingly. Wet weather is causing some Stagonospora glume blotch to appear where fungicides have not been applied. I have also seen some significant patches of white heads appearing from what appears to be take-all which is a root rot of wheat associated with the wet weather. Take all is more common where wheat follows wheat or volunteer grasses.
Spring Oats and Barley: Barley Yellow Dwarf is common in oats this year and causes a yellowing and then red appearance of affected leaves. The symptoms seem to be more associated with field edges and fields next to winter wheat or cover crops that may have harbored aphid populations over the winter. Earlier plantings in March seem to have escaped some of the injury. Barley appears to have worse symptoms but mostly yellow leaves than oats likely due to the lower genetic resistance to this disease. For more details see our factsheet on Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus.
Anthracnose Infected Corn Leaves.
Some Herbicide and Weed Observations — Bill Curran and Dwight Lingenfelter, Weed Science
With the unusual weather we have experienced this spring, we are seeing and hearing about a few issues around the region. Herbicide injury to corn has been observed especially for some of the later planted corn that was exposed to the cooler wet weather, while emerging during the last half of May. In some of our trials at Rock Springs, we are noting a 10 to 15% height reduction, particularly with some ALS inhibitor herbicides. We saw something similar last year because of weather. The primary soil applied ALS inhibitor corn herbicides in our region include products that contain flumetsulam (Hornet and Surestart), thiencarbazone (Corvus), and rimsulfuron (Basis, Prequel and Resolve products). The potential for ALS injury increases with rapid uptake of the herbicides during warm wet weather conditions or when cool wet weather sets in slowing down the metabolism of the corn. We have had some heavy rainfall and temporary ponding in some fields which appears to exacerbate the symptoms. Hopefully good growing conditions over the next few weeks will allow the corn to recover leaving no impact on corn yield.
Some weeds are starting to break through soil applied herbicide treatments in both corn and soybean. We received almost 10 inches of rainfall in May in central PA and many of these fields were first treated back in April. Now is the time to scout those fields to determine if additional control is warranted. Also, the weeds in some soybean fields around the state are starting to get big fast. Some of these fields were burned down early and did not receive residual herbicide. Lambsquarters that is 12 to 15 inches tall in soybean is a concern. Using glyphosate alone for control of larger weeds produces inconsistent results and could increase the potential for herbicide tolerant biotypes.
We heard about a suspect glyphosate resistant population of lambsquarters last week in Southeast PA. With bigger lambsquarters in soybean, one of the better options is to tank mix 0.125 oz Harmony SG (50DF) or 0.375 oz Synchrony XP (28.4 WDG) for non STS soybeans for improve control. Although other herbicides can be tank-mixed with glyphosate to broaden the spectrum of control, thifensulfuron (active ingredient in Harmony and a component of Synchrony) is probably the best for improved lambsquarters control. Remember that Harmony and Synchrony can cause some temporary crop response (stunting and chlorosis), although the key word is temporary - welcome back to the 1990’s.
Because of some wet weather particularly in the southeast part of the state, some fields have yet to be planted and farmers may be abandoning the idea of growing corn. Unfortunately, the corn herbicide program may impact that flexibility. A number of residual corn herbicides limit immediate rotation to soybean and many other crops. Some dairy farmers may be considering sorghum or sorghum-Sudan hybrids. Atrazine, Dual, Outlook, Sharpen, Bicep, Guardsman, and Degree Xtra allow sorghum (and perhaps the hybrid), but may require herbicide-safened seed. Dual, Outlook, Metribuzin, Python, Sharpen (and Verdict), and Valor are labeled for both corn and soybean although some rate and timing restrictions may apply.
Reading This Article Could Save Your Life — Rob Meinen, Department of Animal Science
The recent tragic death of three Pennsylvanians at a Maryland manure storage should act as a reminder of the risks associated with all manure storages. Injuries and fatalities are commonly associated with confined space manure storages that are enclosed, such as beneath animal quarters, or belowground reception and pump out pits. However, these deaths occurred at a non-enclosed earthen dairy manure storage that was open to the atmosphere. For many of us these open-air storages are not thought of as confined spaces. It is important to realize that these storages still meet the definition of a confined space in terms of occupational safety and health. This is because the areas are not designed for normal worker/human occupation and often do not have means of egress. In a common storage situation, once you cross beyond the fence you are entering a confined space.
In the case of open-air manure storage pits and ponds there are many hazards to consider. Every manure storage is different. Footing near storages can be hazardous. Steep and slippery slopes that can make getting out of manure storages difficult or impossible. Localized layers of hazardous gases can exist above manure surfaces, especially on hot, humid days with little to no breeze. Increased rate of gas release may occur due to movement, agitation, removal, or addition of manure. This may mean that someone who is ‘treading’ in manure may not have sufficient oxygen to breathe. Finally, response time for adequate emergency actions can be slow due site isolation and remoteness.
Agricultural safety guidelines are admittedly crude in comparison to industrial standards. Dennis Murphy, Davis Hill (both with the Penn State Ag Safety program), Mike Aucoin, Department of Agriculture, and I have put together the following list of safety guidelines to follow.
- Make sure everyone that needs to be near manure storage structures understand the hazards that exist, including the effects that the various gases have on them.
- Make sure the open air manure storage has a fence installed around the perimeter and access gates are locked to keep unauthorized personnel from entering the area.
- The open air storage should have manure drowning hazard signs and no trespassing signs on all sides of the storage.
- If you must go into the fenced area of the open manure storage, wearing a safety harness with life line attached to a safely located solid object or anchor will enhance your chances of rescue.
- Never work alone. The second person’s role is to summon help in an emergency and assist with rescue without entering the storage (more than 50% of confined space deaths occur to rescuers!).
- Rescue equipment, such as a flotation devices and lifelines, should be attached to every manure pump.
- Move slowly around manure storages as the ground can slippery or uneven and may cause a person to trip or stumble. There should be no horseplay near the open manure pit or pumping equipment.
- Always act as if manure depths are deep. Unlike water, you cannot see into manure to judge the bottom surface.
- Bystanders and non-essential workers should stay away from pump out or other accessible areas.
- Explosive gas may be lurking near where agitation or pumping is occurring. No smoking, open flames or sparks should be allowed. If equipment malfunctions during agitating or pumping of the manure, shut all equipment off and remove it from the storage before servicing or repairing.
- If you feel unsure or uncomfortable with what you are getting ready to do near the open manure pit, step back, contact someone and review the situation before proceeding.
- Be prepared to call 911 if an emergency happens. Being prepared means accurately describing the incident, number of victims, and giving specific directions to the site of the emergency.
Further information on manure storage safety.
Marketing Outlook — John Berry, Marketing, Lehigh County
The latest USDA U.S. Crop Progress report was realized 8:30 on Tuesday, June 12th. Highlights include: Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.68 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the May 1 forecast but 13 percent above 2011. Based on June 1 conditions, the United States yield is forecast at 47.3 bushels per acre, down 0.3 bushel from last month but 1.1 bushels more than last year. Expected area for harvest as grain or seed totals 35.6 million acres, unchanged from May 1. Soft Red Winter production is up slightly from last month and now totals 428 million bushels.
96 million acres are planted to corn for grain in the U.S. which is up from the nearly 92 million acres in 2011. By May 6, producers had planted 71 percent of the Nation’s crop, 39 percentage points ahead of last year and 24 percentage points ahead of the 5–year average. With above average temperatures providing favorable growing conditions, nearly one-third of the corn crop had emerged by May 6. Fieldwork was rapid mid-month in many States, and by May 20, planting was 96 percent complete Nationwide, the quickest pace on record. Boosted by warm temperatures and mostly adequate soil moisture levels throughout the Midwest, crop development continued at a rapid pace during the latter half of the month. By June 3, emergence had advanced to 97 percent complete, 22 percentage points ahead of last year and 14 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Overall, 72 percent of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition on June 3, compared with 77 percent on May 20 and 67 percent from the same time last year.
74 million acres of soybeans are planted in 2012 compared to 75 million acres in 2011 Nearly one-quarter of the Nation’s soybean crop was planted by May 6, with progress ahead of normal in all major estimating States except Iowa and Wisconsin. By June 3, producers had planted 94 percent of this year’s crop, with progress 20 percentage points or more ahead of normal in 11 of the 18 major estimating States. Emergence had advanced to 79 percent complete. Overall, 65 percent of the soybean crop was reported in good to excellent condition. With the accelerated pace of crop development this year, comparable data from last year was not available.
May Weather Summary
Warmer- and drier-than-normal weather in May reduced topsoil moisture from the central and southern Plains into the Mid-South and lower Midwest. In those areas, the warm, dry conditions hastened winter wheat maturation at the expense of some production potential, but promoted an early start to the harvest season. In addition, diminishing moisture reserves led to an increase in stress on pastures and rain-fed summer crops.
In contrast, beneficial showers eased or eradicated dry conditions across portions of the northern Plains, upper Midwest, and Atlantic Coast States, stabilizing crop and pasture conditions.
Meanwhile, a period of warm, dry weather in California and the Northwest allowed for accelerated planting and crop development, following a slow start to the growing season. Cool, showery conditions returned, however, late in the month. Elsewhere, hot, dry weather in the Southwest maintained severe stress on rangeland and pastures, triggered an early end to the snow-melt season, and fostered the spread of wildfires.
In fact, near- to above-normal temperatures covered the Nation, except for some slightly cooler-than-normal conditions from the Pacific Northwest to the northern High Plains. Monthly temperatures averaged at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal at several Southwestern locations and in a broad swath stretching from the central and southern Plains into the Midwestern and northern Mid-Atlantic States.
My summary from where I sit:
- Plenty of wheat does not support prices.
- Corn is planted for a big harvest. Of course, price is mostly about favorable weather for now.
- Soybean acres are down some from 2011 which does offer marginal price support. Again, weather may be the key.
USDA Gearing Up to Conduct 2012 Census of Agriculture: National Agricultural Classification Survey is an Important Step toward a Complete Count — Submitted by John Berry
Surveys are now arriving in mailboxes around the nation to help identify all active farms in the United States. The National Agricultural Classification Survey (NACS), which asks landowners whether or not they are farming and for basic farm information, is one of the most important early steps used to determine who should receive a 2012 Census of Agriculture report form.
NACS’s Census and Survey Director, Renee Picanso says “The Census is the leading source of facts about American agriculture and the only source of agricultural statistics that is comparable for each county in the nation. Farm organizations, businesses, government decision-makers, commodity market analysts, news media, researchers and others use Census data to inform their work.”
NACS is required by law as part of the U.S. Census of Agriculture. By this same law, all information reported by individuals is kept confidential. NASS will mail the 2012 Census of Agriculture later this year and data will be collected into early 2013.
“The NACS survey is the first step in getting a complete count, so we ask everyone who receives a survey to complete and return it,” said Picanso. “The Census is a valuable way for producers and rural America to show their strength – in numbers.”
The 2012 Census of Agriculture is your voice, your future, your responsibility. For more information about NACS, the Census of Agriculture, or to add your name to the Census mail list..
2012 Farming for Success Field Day – June 21st, 2012
Penn State Extension is pleased to announce the “The Farming for Success 2012” Field Day which will be held at the PSU Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center (SEAREC), on June 21st.
Respected and informative speakers will address numerous production agriculture topics. In total, 14 different topics will be available to choose from. A sampling of topics includes:
- Perdue Soybean Crushing Plant Update: Hear directly from Perdue, details and progress toward receiving local beans for 2013, Dick Cole & Peter Heller, Perdue Agri-business
- All about Drills: Proper drill calibration and establishment are the essential first steps to reaping the many benefits of forage and cover crop species. See various brands of drills, & chat with representatives, Steve Groff, Cover Crop Solutions, LLC.
- See research being conducted on the farm and view field demonstrations including the new poultry litter (sub-surfer) manure injection system.
- Local ag sponsors will have equipment on display and personnel on hand to help you improve your crop production practices and answer your questions.
The program begins promptly at 9:00 AM, and concludes by 3:00 PM. Pre-registration cost: $5:00 (if received by noon of June 29th). Walk-in registration: $10.00. Registration includes a BBQ lunch. For preregistration and information contact Jeff Graybill, Penn State Extension in Lancaster County, 717–394–6851. The Penn State Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center (SAREC) is located at 1446 Auction Rd., Manheim, PA 17545.
Strategies for Soil Health and Nutrient Conservation Field Day – June 27, 2012
A comprehensive cropping systems field day is planned for June 27, 2012 at Penn State’s Agronomy Research Farm located on the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center ten miles west of State College. The event will begin with registration and light refreshments at 8:45 at the Livestock Evaluation Center located approximately 1.5 miles east of the Ag Progress Days site. A review of the highlights of three different experiments will be included. The field day participants will be able to spend time listening to researchers and several farmers who are practitioners of some of the ideas being investigated. Attendees will hear about and see research in progress for five specialty areas being studied.
To register for the field day OR learn more about the full day event, please go online to: http://extension.psu.edu
Click on “Events”
Click on “Strategies for Soil Health and Nutrient Conservation Research Tour”
Registration can also be accomplished by calling: 877–489–1398 or contacting Ron Hoover, email@example.com
Heritage, Organic and Specialty Crop Production Twilight Tour – June 28, 2012
The date of the tour is June 28, 2012, 6–8pm at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, Gate G and hosted by the Penn State Extension Crop Management Team
Tour research plots and variety trials to see:
- Emmer, einkorn, and spelt variety trials (organic & transitioning)
- Wheat variety trials (soft & hard, winter & spring, heritage & modern varieties are included, organic & transitioning)
- Fava bean seed production (organic)
- Heritage hulless oats (non-organic)
- Soybean performance after different histories of tillage, weed management, and crop rotation (organic).
Please RSVP to Charlie White at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814–863–9922 if you plan to attend. The research center is 2.5 miles west of Pine Grove Mills, PA along Rt. 45. Enter at Gate G and follow signs to parking. Research and demonstration projects on the tour are supported by the USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative, the USDA Risk Avoidance and Mitigation Program, and the Northeast SARE Pennsylvania State Program.
Rock Springs Agronomy Weed and Insect Tour, July 11, 2012
The Annual Agronomic Weed and Insect Tour will be held on July 11, 2012 at the Penn State Agronomy Research Farm, Rock Springs, PA (Meet at the Agronomy Farm, Rock Springs, Rt. 45 west of State College, enter Gate D). Dr. John Tooker will join the tour and showcase some of his insect pest/slug and beneficial insect research at the farm. Registration will begin at 8:30 am, lunch at noon, and we will conclude with the insect tour by 2:00 or 2:30 pm. A number of weed control experiments will be showcased and available for viewing including alfalfa, corn, soybean, sweet corn, and snapbean trials. Pest Management CCA CEU's and Pesticide Recertification Credits will be available.
We are using an internet-based registration site again this year for this event and credit card payment is available and preferred. Registration for this event will be $20.00 and includes a tour book and the noon meal. Click Register or paste http://agsci.psu.edu/agronomic-weed-insect into your web browser. You may pay online with any major credit card or mail your check made payable to 'Penn State' to Rock Springs Agronomy Weed and Insect Tour, Attn: Registration, 116 ASI Building, University Park, PA 16802 or call toll-free 877-489-1398 or FAX 814-863-7776. For additional information contact Lisa Crytser in the Dept. of Crop and Soil Sciences or 814-865-2543 or Bill Curran or 814-863-1014.
Penn State Agronomic Field Diagnostic Clinic — July 26 and 27, 2012
The annual Penn State Agronomic Field Diagnostic Clinic will be held on July 26 and 27, 2012, 9am – 4:30pm at the Penn State Agronomy Research Farm near Rock Springs, PA.
This year’s Clinic will include sessions on:
- Understanding and Optimizing Symbiosis between Legumes and Rhizobia
- New Methods for On-Farm Product Testing with Precision Ag Technologies
- Considering the Value of Seed Technology for Pennsylvania Corn Production
- Repairing Severely Damaged Soil
- Weeds: ID, Biology, and Management
- (CCA, NM, and pesticide credits will be available.)
- Visit http://agsci.psu.edu/agronomic-clinic for more information about each topic.
The cost is $75/person. ($95 after July 19)
To register, please visit: http://agsci.psu.edu/agronomic-clinic and use the “on-line” registration system or call toll-free: 877–489–1EXT (877–489–1398). Credit card payments will be accepted.
(Note: when using the registration system, please make sure to complete all the necessary steps.)
If you have questions about the Clinic please contact Dwight Lingenfelter (814–865–2242 or email@example.com).
Contributors: Extension Educator: Mike Fournier (Bucks), Andrew Frankenfield (Montgomery), Joel Hunter (Erie), Dwane Miller (Schuylkill), John Rowehl (York), Nicole Santangelo (Potter). Extension Specialists: Doug Beegle, Bill Curran, Sjoerd Duiker, Dwight Lingenfelter, Greg Roth, Crop and Soil Sciences, John Tooker, Entomology.
Editor: Mena Hautau (Berks)