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Extension Update from Jenny Rees


Jenny’s REESources 

Feb. 22:  Farmers/Ranchers College:  Managing for Difficult Times, 9:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Fairgrounds in Geneva, RSVP  (402) 759-3712
Feb. 22:  Pesticide Training, 1:00 p.m., Firehall Meeting Room, Tobias, rpryor1@unl.edu
Feb. 23-24:  Women in Agriculture Conference, Holiday Inn Kearney, http://wia.unl.edu
Feb. 27:  Nebraska On-Farm Research Update, Hall Co. Extension Office, Grand Island,http://cropwatch.unl.edu/farmresearch
Feb. 27:  Farmers/Ranchers College:  Tips and Tricks for Women in Ag, 6:00 p.m., Lazy Horse Winery in Ohiowa, RSVP  (402) 759-3712
Feb. 28:  LBNRD Nitrogen Training, 9am, Shickley Community Center 402-364-2145
Feb. 28:  Pesticide Training, 1:30 p.m., Fairgrounds Osceola, mrethwisch2@unl.edu
Feb. 28:  Beef Profitability Meeting, 10am, Fairgrounds, Osceola
Feb. 28:  Master Gardener Training, 6:30-9 p.m., York (402) 362-5508 and Clay (402-762-3644) County Extension Offices
Mar. 1:  Chemigation, 1 p.m., 4-H Building, York, smelvin1@unl.edu
Mar. 1:  Chemigation, 1 pm, Pinnacle Bank, Columbus, anygren2@unl.edu
Mar. 2:  Pesticide Training, 9am, United Church of Christ, Crete, rpyror1@unl.edu
Mar. 2:  Pesticide Training, 1:30 p.m., Ag Building Fairgrounds, Aurora, smelvin1@unl.edu
Mar. 2:  Pesticide Training, 6 p.m., Bruning Opera House, Bruning, bvandewalle2@unl.edu
Mar. 6:  Pesticide Training, 2pm, Harvest Hall Fairgrounds Seward, jrees2@unl.edu
Mar. 6:  Pesticide Training, 6:30pm, 4-H Building Fairgrounds York, jrees2@unl.edu 402-362-5508
Mar. 8:  Pesticide Training, 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Fairgrounds Osceola,mrethwisch2@unl.edu
Mar. 9:  Pesticide Training, 9 am, Hall Co. Extension, Grand Island
Mar. 9:  Pesticide Training, 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., Hruska Library, David City,mrethwisch2@unl.edu
Mar. 16:  Chemigation, 1:30 p.m., Adams County Fairgrounds, Hastings, ron.seymour@unl.edu
Mar. 22:  Pesticide Training, 1:30 and 6:30 p.m., Adams Co. Fairgrounds, Hastings,ron.seymour@unl.edu
Mar. 23:  Pesticide Training, 9 am, Hall Co. Extension, Grand Island
Apr. 11:  Pesticide Training, 1:30 and 6:30 p.m., Hruska Library, David City,mrethwisch2@unl.edu

Master Gardener Training:  Tuesday evenings 6-9 p.m. from February 7-March 21 at York and Clay County Extension Offices.  Please RSVP to jrees2@unl.edu or 402-362-5508 for attending in York or Deanna Peshek at 402-762-3644 to attend in Clay.

Farm Finance Clinic Sites and Dates To sign up for a clinic or to get more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.

Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN):  Many I talked with after harvest were happy with their soybean yields this year, but if your yields seem to have plateaued or weren’t as good as expected, perhaps, soybean cyst nematode could be a factor to check.  Farmers can experience up to 20-30% yield losses with no symptoms on the plants.  Your yield maps may also provide a clue of places to test where yields were lower than expected.  I also recommend to test any areas where sudden death syndrome (SDS) occurred as this disease is synergistic with SCN in reducing yields.  We’ve found areas that had SDS only, SCN only, or the combination of both. 

How do you test?  Soil samples can be taken at any time, even after the field was planted to corn.  Simply use the same 0-8” sample you’re using for your soil fertility and send part of it to the lab of your choice for fertility analysis and part of it to the Pest and Plant Diagnostic Lab for SCN analysis.  Sample bags can be obtained through your local Extension Office.  For more information about SCN, please check out the following site:  http://cropwatch.unl.edu/plantdisease/soybean/soybean-cyst-nematode. Although SCN often goes undetected, it is here and reducing profitability for Nebraska soybean producers.

We encourage sample submission because it’s difficult to manage something you don’t know you have.  Last year, Seward County had the most SCN samples submitted with 63 and it was the county that tested the most positive for SCN of the samples submitted (32).  York County was honorable mention with 16 samples testing positive for SCN.  York County was the winner in the highest percentage of samples testing positive with 89% of samples.  Seward and Antelope Counties are two counties that have now submitted over 100 samples testing positive for moderate (greater than 500 eggs per 100 cc’s of soil) or high levels of SCN.  This just shows the importance of testing all our fields to know if SCN is present, robbing yield, and what the egg count is so we can work on managing this disease in the future.

Sampling is made possible through support and partnership with the Nebraska Soybean Board.  John Wilson, Extension Educator in Burt County and Loren Giesler, Extension Soybean Pathologist share the following regarding this partnership.  “Thirty years ago last fall, a microscopic pest was identified in a Richardson County soybean field near Falls City. The next spring, a comprehensive sampling program identified the same pest in six counties bordering the Missouri River as well as Pawnee County. Levels of this pest in the soil indicated it had been here much longer, but had gone undetected.

Thirty years later, this pest, the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is causing more yield losses for soybean growers in Nebraska and across the U.S. than all other soybean diseases combined! Last year SCN cost Nebraska farmers an estimated $40 million in lost yields; nationally, that loss is estimated at $1.5 billion.

Without a concentrated effort to sample fields for SCN, it was identified in 27 counties over the next 19 years. Then in 2005, the Nebraska Soybean Board started an extremely successful program that continues today. It provides Nebraska soybean farmers with free soil analysis for SCN by the UNL Department of Plant Pathology. It started slowly, but over the years it grew and has now processed 8,230 samples, almost a third of which have been positive for SCN.

This program had an immediate impact. The first year of the program SCN was identified in seven new counties and in the first seven years, the number of counties where SCN had been identified doubled the number found in the previous 19 years. We are pleased to have the Nebraska Soybean Board as our partner in this soil sampling effort. They recognized what a serious problem SCN was to soybean growers and, without their support, we would not have reached this many Nebraska farmers. Support from the Nebraska Soybean Board covers the cost of analyzing the soil samples, normally $20 per sample.”

Potential Winter Injury Alfalfa and Wheat:  The warm, beautiful weather has been enjoyable yet there’s also concern for our alfalfa and wheat.  It’s too early to know if there’s any injury; we just need to check it close this spring.  As Dr. Bruce Anderson, Extension Forage Specialist shares, “The recent long spell of daytime temperatures in the 50s, 60s, and even some 70s probably awakened at least some alfalfa plants from winter dormancy.  When alfalfa plants break winter dormancy they use nutrients stored in their roots and crown and start to grow as if spring has arrived.  A return to average winter temperatures forces these plants back into dormancy.  Another streak of warm weather could break dormancy again, using more nutrient reserves.  If this is followed by more cold weather, eventually the alfalfa plants will exhaust their reserves and be unable to start spring growth when spring truly does return.

Another potential problem in other areas has been snow followed by melting followed by freezing.  Prolonged or repeated formation of ice at or on the soil surface can prevent the exchange of gases between the air and the soil.  As alfalfa roots respire during winter they produce some gases that can become toxic to alfalfa plants if too concentrated.  The roots also need some oxygen to respire and remain healthy.  So ice can cause plants to essentially suffocate.”  Ultimately, we’ll need to be ready to check alfalfa and wheat this coming spring to determine any potential winter injury.

Women in Ag Conference returns this week on February 23-24 at the Kearney Holiday Inn.  If you haven’t registered yet, you can find more information at http://wia.unl.edu.  This year’s conference features many agricultural economics topics for helping deal with lower commodity prices on farms and ranches.   

Winter watering of trees and shrubs will be beneficial this year if warm winter temperatures and a lack of precipitation continue. The priority for watering is young plants first – those planted in the last year and especially those planted this past fall, and then evergreens, especially those growing in exposed locations and near the south sides of buildings. When watering, the soil should not be frozen and air temperatures need to be above 45 degrees. Irrigation should take place early enough in the day for moisture to soak into the soil to avoid ice forming over or around plants overnight. Water just enough to moisten the soil six to eight inches deep. One or two irrigations during winter should suffice. If conditions remain warm and dry through winter and into spring, it will be critical to begin irrigation as soon as soils thaw this spring.

Pruning tips With late February through March being the ideal time to prune shade trees, look at corrective pruning on younger trees, those planted in the last 3 to 10 years, to help avoid long term structural issues. Hire a certified arborist to prune larger trees. Corrective pruning includes removal of: a double leader, branches that are crisscrossing and rubbing against another branch or one that will eventually rub if left to grow larger, closely parallel branches that may eventually grow into one another, branches with very narrow forks that can lead to included bark and weakened branch attachment.




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