From the Field Updates
As we head into June it continues to be a challenge getting into the fields, but everyone is working well with what we have. This wet spring has created favorable conditions for corn diseases including northern corn leaf blight, gray leaf spot and even tar spot. Don’t wait until you see symptoms in your field. Stay ahead of the curve and use fungicide in your post application of herbicide. Along with disease control, fungicide will improve stress tolerance and growth efficiency. Another thing to consider with alfalfa is using fungicide on your stands especially after this hard winter and the high hay prices. Beyond the plant health benefits of a fungicide application to alfalfa there are also harvest benefits, including improved lower leaf retention. Leaves are a big part of the plant’s protein at 28 to 35% and the stems are 10 to 12% protein. More leaves harvested = more protein in feed.
On the insect side of things, we continue to have high insect pressures in our area. Black cutworm counts are high this spring so far and will continue through June. A single black cutworm larva can cut four corn plants during its lifetime, they often feed at night and cause wilting, leaf damage and cut plants. True armyworm flight numbers are also looking high, they usually don’t start causing damage until July, but it is something to keep your eye out for. Lastly, wireworms over winter here in Wisconsin, they cause damage by feeding underground on roots and cause wilting to the plant. For all these different insects there are steps you can take to protect your crops, if you have any questions call your local Landmark agronomist.
Even with the passing of the prevent plant deadline, growers are wrapping up planting for the “spring”. Most guys I have talked with have an end date between the 5th and 10th for their last days to plant corn for grain. But, the forecast for the upcoming week looks to be the driest week yet. So there is still time to get in some corn and plenty of time to wrap up soybeans.
But, if you did take prevent plant acres, now is the best time to decided what to do with those acres. It is my recommendation to plant a cover crop in a field you can. A cover crop, will protect the soil from erosion and suppress weeds from growing. Additionally, some covers can hold on to nitrogen and other nutrients in the soil and protect them for next year’s crop. I like a good mix of species to get a good cover and soil activity out there. Talk with your local Landmark agronomist to find a mix that will work best for your soils and your cover crop goals.
Have a great week!
We all have commented lately that this weather pattern of sustained cool, rainy days is unusual and challenging. Progress in our area for this past week has continued slowly, but surely, for some. Farmers seem able to move quickly, and our challenge is to keep up with the speed of planting and growth of emerging crops. Growers will realize that our spray rigs must wait to enter the fields when soil surface is dry enough to drive across without getting stuck or leaving ruts, and when the wind conditions allow spraying chemicals without drifting off target.
Most important decisions are being made this week about “late planting and prevented planting” regarding crop insurance. Options and dates are listed in the attached video (by Dr. Paul Mitchel, UW Extension Specialist for cropping systems, environmental management, department of agriculture and applied economics : Late and Prevented Planting Options and Crop Insurance in Wisconsin)
Soil temps are maintaining above 5˚F degrees overnight which is better for germination and emergence. Wisconsin is now reporting 58% corn acres planted and 34% soybean acres planted. Hay production continues in between rain showers. Insect populations are low, but be scouting for black cutworm damage. Delayed planting of corn makes late emerging corn more vulnerable to insect attack if they are present. Scout for 3% leaf damage to corn seedlings up to the 5 leaf stage; and use insecticides if that threshold is reached in the field.
As always, the most important task, once you’ve decided to plant late, is to get the seed in the soil. We have plenty of options for weed control and late application of fertilizer available, though timing may not fit original farm plans. Our big nemesis, waterhemp, is growing fast and may require extra treatments to maintain control this year due to weather-delayed applications of herbicides.
Added value can come from proper care of crops throughout the season. Keep your chin up!