Field Crop News
With July ending on a wet note after exceptionally dry conditions for much of the month, a return to very dry weather is in store for the upcoming week.
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.
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.
If you are in a drought stricken part of the state, here are some considerations on whether to chop your drought stressed corn for silage or leave it for grain.
A long-term grazing study shows the advantage of a diversified mix of pasture plant species.
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.
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).
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.
In late 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency issued the long awaited revision to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). Although it is now technically active it will not be enforced until 2017 but the original WPS will still be enforced until the end of 2016. Please keep in mind that the WPS covers both restricted use AND general use pesticides. This article will deal with the highlights to the revision but also some areas of the current WPS that need emphasized.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) have been renamed and are now referred to as Safety Data Sheets (SDS). According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Hazard Communication Standard requires the new format starting on June 1, 2016. One of the primary reasons for the change is that OSHA requires all SDSs to use a standard format.
The recent heat and humidity will give way to slightly cooler but persistently humid conditions for the end of the week and into the weekend.
Rachel Milliron joined the Field and Forage Crops Team in July as an educator in Armstrong, Westmoreland, and Indiana Counties.
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?”
Producers needing extra forage should take a look at the yields and quality Penn State has been getting with grasses and cover crops planted in September.
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.
Consider these proper equipment adjustments and techniques for making quality dry hay that few may know or do! A few pieces of aluminum foil can be used to properly set conditioner roll clearances.
Our reports continue to indicate very mild insect pressure, and still very little disease has been reported.
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.