Penn State Extension Field & Forage Crops Team offers a number of specialty workshops this December. Sign up today online to learn alongside your neighbors more about how you can better your crop production practices.
As expected, the world has a burdensome supply of wheat and corn from the 2016 season and adequate supplies of soybeans. This gives us two primary questions; “What should I do with what remains of my cash crops?” and “What can we do for 2017 crops?”
The warm fall coupled with timely planting has resulted in excellent growth of many small grain and cover crop fields across the state. While this is a bonus if you were looking to take a late fall harvest, it is not necessarily a good thing for winter survival.
Many have inquired about how late an herbicide application can be made in the fall and still be effective. Below are some comments about controlling perennials and winter annual weeds at this time of year.
With much of the eastern US experiencing dry and mild weather since the first of November, the next week will bring shots of some colder air to the state but with very little in the way of widespread precipitation.
Having vigorous plant cover is one of the best ways to protect soil from erosion and improve soil health. A thin stand of perennial grass or legume may need to be thickened up to improve soil health and increase spring forage production. While it is too late to plant perennials it is still possible to overseed a winter cereal into your pasture or hayfield.
While we have little evidence that Pennsylvania growers have suffered much from western bean cutworm, farmers in nearby states, including Ohio, New Yorker, Michigan, Ontario, and Indiana, have struggled to control this pest species, which feeds mostly in corn ears and has been feeding extensively on Bt corn varieties meant to control it. This open letter addressed to seed companies urges them to alter their claims about the value of the Cry1F trait meant to control western bean cutworm.
Diligent equipment care and good maintenance practices are key management habits for optimizing the usefulness of agricultural implements and for controlling equipment costs over time. Equipment upkeep and field-readiness are characteristic hallmarks of a good manager.
The innovative qualities of the Pennsylvania farmer is noteworthy and we’re canvassing the state to uncover those operators that have developed ways to make short work of planting cover crops and small grains.
Corn stover is often used as ground cover for the winter seasons or baled for bedding during the cold months but it can also be utilized as an emergency forage in some situations where feed supplies are limited.
We conducted a cooperative trial with a number of other states to evaluate potential spring barley lines for use in malting. The results of this trial are located in our small grains variety testing site. Please find the link to this site below.
After some very heavy rains brought flooding to parts of central Pennsylvania late last week, sub-freezing temperatures across much of Pennsylvania in the middle of this week will bring frost/freeze issues and an end to the growing season across much of the state.
With silage harvest well underway and corn grain and soybean not far behind, a number of farmers are considering cover crop establishment this fall. Remember that some herbicides can persist and potentially influence successful cover crop establishment.
With the dry summer that was bestowed upon most of Pennsylvania these past few months, many farmers are finding themselves short on necessary feed to get through the winter and may be pushing the limits to get one last cutting in. When it comes to harvesting alfalfa for the final cutting, how late is too late?
Penn State Extension Educators are regularly scouting 25 or so ‘typical’ soybean fields in nineteen counties across the state, reporting the populations of plant pathogens and insect pests that they find.
At a field day last week we used an infiltration ring and observed an infiltration rate of 6.67” in less than an hour. A nearby farmer measured infiltration of 8”/hr on his farm. These dairy farms used continuous no-till and cover crops. The numbers suggest that these farms would never generate runoff because it is extremely rare to have this type of rainfall intensity in Pennsylvania. Nonetheless runoff is observed occasionally from these fields.
Fall pasture growth often provides additional opportunity for grazing livestock; however, careful management of pastures is essential for the over-wintering of forages and improvement into the next growing season.
Final report: All the sentinel fields that we have been scouting since spring have exceeded growth stage R7, most are starting to senesce and practically speaking insects and diseases are no longer a concern. Some of our fields look excellent and a least one that received regular rain has an expected yield in the range of 80 bushel per acre. Undoubtedly others will be lower, but we hope that everyone’s field penciled out in the black.
Having unpriced bushels as we near harvest had some grain producers hoping the harvest pundits calling for severe yield reductions would be correct in their guesses. At this point it looks like a burdensome harvest will materialize.
Penn State Extension educators will be visiting farms over the next month to follow up on a survey Pennsylvania farmers received earlier this year asking about conservation practices they have adopted to promote water quality and soil health.
As we receive some much-needed rain, reports continue to indicate very mild insect pressure and little disease. Grasshoppers and Japanese beetles are still the primary defoliators, but populations remain below the economic threshold (15-20% defoliation).
Earn tax credits for BMPs that will enhance farm production and protect natural resources. The Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program operates on a first come, first serve basis. Applications for proposed projects will be accepted beginning August 15.
With dry weather affecting many parts of the state some farmers will be making an early corn silage harvest. Additionally, wheat, barley and oat fields are mostly open now after grain and straw harvest. In both cases, there are opportunities for planting cover crops that may also be used for forage.
We have posted our 2016 winter wheat and barley performance data online. This data includes evaluations conducted at both our Rock Springs and Landisville research farms. Barley tests include feed (hulled and hulless) and malt barley varieties.
Reports continue to indicate mild insect pressure and little disease. Grasshoppers and bean leaf beetle appear to be the populations that are causing most significant defoliation with some fields approaching by not yet exceeding the economic threshold (15-20% defoliation).
We could see some rain this week on drought stressed forages and this could set up for nitrate accumulation silo gas and wetter forage next week. This article shares a few ideas for managing that situation.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has launched a new Palmer amaranth and waterhemp website that has management information and includes a short survey for these two problem pigweeds in Pennsylvania.
PPO resistant pigweeds are increasingly more common in the cornbelt as we rely more on these herbicides for weed management in soybean. Using integrated weed management tactics that include effective cultural and mechanical control measures are more important than ever.
As we receive more much-needed rain, reports continue to indicate very mild insect pressure and little disease. Grasshoppers and Japanese beetles are still the primary defoliators, but populations remain below the economic threshold (15-20% defoliation). We expect these results to represent the majority of soybean fields in PA, but scout your fields to find out for yourself.
With the dry weather encompassing most of Pennsylvania this summer, a close eye should be kept on corn silage moisture and maturity so the proper harvest time can be achieved to produce quality silage.
Combines are one mechanism for the spread of herbicide-resistant seeds from one field to another; thorough cleaning and knowledge of the combine’s prior use can prevent the introduction of new herbicide-resistant weeds to your fields.
Corn silage dry down is hastening across the state, causing the need for farmers to monitor moisture levels so the optimum dry matter is achieved for ensiling and helping to ensure optimum forage quality.
Producers and crop scouts are reporting note-worthy worm infestations in field and sweet corn crops across the state that are most likely corn earworm, but another worm pest is possibly expanding its range in the northeast US which requires that we take a second look at these situations to confirm what we are seeing.
While western parts of the state have seen upwards of 2-3 inches of rain over the past week, much of eastern PA has remained relatively dry since last Wednesday. The upcoming week will be relatively dry and seasonal as meteorological fall begins on Thursday.
Insect and disease pressure remain low across most soybean fields in Pennsylvania. Grasshopper and Japanese beetle feeding damage being the two most prevalent insect pests found, with a low level of Soybean Aphids detected in a few fields. Little to no diseases of consequence were observed.
Summer Heat and Drought are revealing differences in drought stress within and between fields. Many growers are now seeing the benefits of good soil management practices and strategies. What practices and factors affect a field’s water supplying capacity?
This summer, some interesting differences show up between tillage and no-tillage treatments in our long-term tillage studies in Centre and Lancaster Counties. Tillage practices have been in place for 38 years in Centre County and for 12 years in Lancaster County.
The PA Soybean Board through the Penn State Field and Forage Crops Team sponsors an extensive network of on-farm, field scale research projects. Periodically, participating farms are highlighted in Field Crop News and the PA Soybean Board website.
This week we feature a research plot on one of the farms that is new to the on-farm soybean research network this year. In addition, we have a brief update on the seed treatment tests that are on our cooperating farms out across the state.
Although it is tempting to open the paddock gates and let livestock graze where and what they can find, maintaining a managed grazing system and keeping animals off scorched forages can be the key to healthy pastures in the fall and next spring.
Lack of rain and high-ish temperatures are impacting crops in several counties. A question more and more farmers are asking lately is something like – “What must I do if I suspect a crop loss on crop insurance covered acres?”
Wheat that flowered two weeks ago will be being to show symptoms of scab in the next week or so. It’s also a good time to start scouting for flag leaf and head disease symptoms to determine level of control and yield quality.
A grain marketer told me two weeks ago they were glad “... prices are finally getting exciting!” No argument that strong $4 corn and stronger $10 soybeans are better than what we had the five months following harvest. However, for old crops remember to subtract storage costs and interest expense from the final sales price, and new crop prices only count if you actually commit bushels.
While rain showers and thunderstorms have been consistently present across the state this past week, both short-tem (less than 14 days) and long-term (60-90 days) precipitation deficits exist across much of central and eastern Pennsylvania as meteorological summer begins.
Similar to the past four growing seasons, and again this year, the Pennsylvania Soybean Promotion Board is funding a Soybean Sentinel Plot Program, which is being managed by Penn State Extension and The Department of Entomology at Penn State.
The last couple of weeks have featured lots of sunshine and very warm temperatures, but much cooler weather will prevail for the coming week as a large circulation of Canadian air dominates our weather pattern.
Abundant opportunities exist for farming enterprises and businesses to achieve value-added production. Free, online courses from SARE provide support for making business plans and setting achievable goals.
The PA Soybean Board through the Penn State Field and Forage Crops Team sponsors an extensive network of on-farm, field scale research projects. Periodically, participating farms are highlighted on the PA soybean board website and their facebook page. This week we check in with Bob and Doreen Shearer.
If you’re involved in any way with field crop production in the state of Pennsylvania you have a role to play in the identification and management of invasive pigweeds. Tools to help with that effort are available now at upcoming events.
Perennial broadleaf weeds that have escaped earlier control attempts are making the phones ring for advisors across the state. The vulnerability of a weed to a control measure is function of the timing and choice of material used.
Current report: Our reports indicate very mild insect pressure, though grasshopper populations seem to be growing with the warmer temperatures. Slug activity has slowed down a lot as dry conditions have spread. Very little disease has been reported. Our scouting efforts indicate that insects, slugs, and pathogens are not posing a great threat to our sentinel soybean fields, and I would expect this to be the case the great majority of fields in PA; thus, insecticides and fungicides are likely not necessary, but scout your fields to find out for yourself.
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that this week’s weather is going to put you in a bind, in more ways than one. From a wheat disease perspective, many of us are looking at wheat that is approaching heading or flag leaf.
Reports from Kentucky and Indiana indicate that black cutworms are a bit more active than usual this year; thus, growers generally need to be aware of this situation and watch fields as the spring progresses.
Well it’s time to start taking about Palmer amaranth and waterhemp again. Penn State Extension Educators Mena Hautau and John Bray reported emerged Palmer seedlings last Friday at a cooperator farm in Berks County.
A grain producer called here early the other morning and asked me how high I thought corn would go. I almost choked on my bagel. If you know me at all you recognize I couldn’t care less about forecasting future prices. What I care about is what you are doing when it comes to price risk management. For many price levels offer at least a small amount of profit, today.
The past seven days has brought beneficial rains to many of the areas that were becoming very dry in late March and early April. Much of central Pennsylvania saw between one and two inches of rain since the middle of last week. The unsettled weather will continue through the remainder of the week and into the upcoming weekend.
Born on a farm in upstate New York, Dr. Kristy Borrelli began her duties April 15, 2016 in the Department of Plant Science and was previously working in the Pacific Northwest as an Extension Specialist.
Scout now for infestations of cereal leaf beetle in small grain fields. The larval stage feeds on the leaves and fields appear white if heavily infested. Treatments are outlined for when reaching the economic threshold.
Another site in Clinton County had a significant flight of black cutworm moths this past week. Look ahead to the 300 degree day mark (base 50) to begin scouting for cutworm activity. Cool weather may delay development for another week or two.
With wet weather, fungal spores are likely to be produced and spread in barley and wheat fields. Alyssa Collins reviews the tools, the timing and recommended fungicides for use in protecting the crop from infection.
The PA Department of Ag (PDA) has announced that pre-registration will be required beginning June 1 for pesticide exams in Region 6 (Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, and York counties).
The 2015 North American Manure Expo, which was co-hosted by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, is being recognized with the Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence, Pennsylvania's "highest honor bestowed upon businesses or organizations for environmental performance and innovation."
Much of Pennsylvania has soil conditions that are drier than average for this time of year. If you have cover crops that you intend to plant into prior to burning down(planting green) you should consider the amount of soil moisture they are using, especially if the spring continues to be dry.
Again this spring, Penn State Extension will be monitoring arriving populations of black cutworm moths. We will let folks know via this newsletter the status of arriving populations and when they should scout their fields for damage.
Alfalfa fields have been growing well across most of Pennsylvania. We have experienced a few nights in the twenties or lower in the past week. Low temperatures, whether visible frost is present or not, may affect the growth of both established forage plants, as well as newly emerged seedlings.
Remember that all vegetation should be actively growing and capable of intercepting the herbicide spray (e.g. not covered with crop residue). Air temperature before, during, and after application can influence control with burndown.
A very mild March has preceded a rather cold start to April. While there will be some swings in temperatures for the upcoming week, it will remain unseasonably cold for much of the next seven days. Most of the state has experienced relatively dry conditions over the past two to four weeks, but some much-needed rain will arrive to parts of the region over the next couple of days.
When profit margins get thin (or disappear) we tend to focus more on markets and marketing as a way to generate profits. Unfortunately, we can only take the price offered and in some cases this price does not meet our expectations. The challenge then becomes – “What do we do?”
Historically glyphosate resistant horseweed was limited to the southeastern Pennsylvania down into the Delmarva and West in Ohio, but now it is much more common in central PA and has appeared in western PA as well.
Parts of central Pennsylvania (encompassing approximately 40% of the total state) has entered the “abnormally dry” category, according to the US drought monitor. While recent rain showers and thunderstorms have brought some reprieve, many places are still much drier than normal. Over the next seven days, there will be some opportunities for widespread beneficial rains across the state.
March is the time to scout for alfalfa frost heaving so that preparations can be made if the stand will need to be rotated out in spring. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about frost heaving of alfalfa.
The first two weeks of March have been relatively mild across the state, with temperature departures approximately 5-10 degrees above normal. Precipitation has been very scarce for much of the eastern two-thirds of the state, with many places seeing just a quarter to half of normal totals for the first half of March. Unsettled weather through the remainder of the workweek will bring some relief for some of the dry areas of the state, though deficits will not be fully erased.
How to use the PA Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (PA PIPE) to keep track of soil temperature, heat units, and potential pests in your area. Identification, scouting, and control of alfalfa weevil is also discussed.
As you drove over your small grains to fertilize and apply herbicide this spring, you may have taken notice of some winter kill, possible snow mold patches and powdery mildew. While our long warm fall set us up for these issues, our dry warm spring is helping to fight against them.
The presence of this mite as a significant factor of timothy losses has been reported in Lancaster, Lebanon, Dauphin, and York counties over the past 2 years; however, this pest has most likely been present for a longer period of time but gone unnoticed. Some yield loss estimates range from 30-70%.
Marketing seems to be more of a focus at this time of year, just as some positive price movement occurs and the industry awaits official USDA planting projection reporting the end of March. Let’s not be caught off guard as we seek to secure the economic viability of our farm.
If you have not done yet lately, it’s time to meet with a crop insurance agent and think about what product helps you with your risk management plan. The purchase deadline is coming with the approaching spring.
How are you at staying abreast of the many conversations on the supply and demand conditions of the grains we grow and market? Let’s take a look at a relatively simple way to get a firm grip of these mysterious numbers.
The annual summary of what is “new” in the complex world of herbicide selection is available now from Penn State Extension Weed Science specialists. The article covers product updates and herbicide resistant crops.
Pennsylvania agriculture has done much to improve water quality in our local rivers and streams and the Chesapeake Bay. Yet, that positive story is often not told. Now is the time for farmers to tell that story!