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Extension Update from Jenny Rees


May 30-21:  Youth Tractor Safety Class, 8am, Kearney Fairgrounds (308) 236-1235
June 28:  South Central Ag Lab Weed Science Field Day, SCAL near Clay Center (morning)
June 28:  South Central Ag Lab Cover Crop Field Day, SCAL near Clay Center (afternoon)
July 10-11:  Youth Tractor Safety Class, 8am, Grand Island College Park (308) 385-5088.
July 18:  Crop Management Diagnostic Clinic:  Soil Health, ARDC (now ENREC) near Mead
Aug. 2:  Crop Management Diagnostic Clinic:  Precision Ag Training, ARDC (now ENREC) near Mead
Aug. 8:  Soybean Management Field Days, North Platte
Aug. 9:  Soybean Management Field Days, Ord
Aug. 10:  Soybean Management Field Days, Auburn
Aug. 11:  Soybean Management Field Days, Tekamah
Aug. 23:  Crop Management Diagnostic Clinic:  Soybean Production Training, ARDC (now ENREC) near Mead
Aug. 24:  Crop Management Diagnostic Clinic:  Corn Production Training, ARDC (now ENREC) near Mead

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.

Crop Update:  Wheat is in the flag leaf to boot stage with heads beginning to emerge.  Beginning to see stripe rust of wheat on flag leaves at low incidence in southern Clay, northern Nuckolls and eastern Webster counties.  Stripe rust appears to have skipped the mid-canopy in fields.  Please be scouting your fields to determine any need to spray.  A list of fungicides with ratings to different wheat diseases can be found here:  http://cropwatch.unl.edu/2017-CW-News/2017-images/wheat-diseases/NCERA-184-wheat-fungicides-2017.pdf.  In the past I’ve also hoped we could time fungicide application for stripe rust with any potential application for prevention of scab (Fusarium head blight).  That may still be a possibility for some fields this year but will be very field dependent based on variety and environmental factors.  Applications for scab prevention (which also control leaf diseases) involve different fungicide products because they are applied during flowering in which other products are then off-label.  Please be monitoring your fields for stripe rust for any fungicide application decisions.

Corn and soybean germination and emergence for the most part is looking good.  There have been a few situations of potential fertilizer burn from both fall and spring applied anhydrous with shallower applications due to our dry winter/spring.  This week’s CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu has a number of stories regarding scouting for early-season insects and help for determining any potential replant situations. 

This week’s CropWatch edition also has an important article for everyone who has Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage.  Palmer amaranth was found in Iowa CRP as a result of seed mixes from several suppliers.  We fortunately do not have confirmed cases of this occurring in Nebraska.  However, we’re still urging that it’s important to scout CRP fields for the presence of palmer amaranth as seed can be dispersed via the wind, animals, and human activities.  A guide for controlling palmer amaranth in CRP can be found here:  https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/Herbicide-options-for-Palmer-amaranth-in-CRP.

Alfalfa: I’ve seen some alfalfa where first cutting has been taken and most alfalfa has recovered well from any frost damage.  The following is from Dr. Bruce Anderson in regards to first hay cutting timing based on your field conditions.  “Being aggressive on the first cutting is critical if high forage quality is needed.  Alfalfa’s forage quality changes faster during the first spring growth than at any other time of the year.  Plants are maturing and temperatures are increasing; both cause quality to decline.  So don’t delay if quality is needed.  Alfalfa used to feed beef cows may be a little different story, especially if you are trying to build hay reserves.  Normally we get our highest total yield by waiting until alfalfa is near full bloom.  Not only is yield highest, this also uses what soil moisture is available for the most efficient alfalfa growth.  In dryland fields in some areas you may need quite a bit more rain for good summer and fall harvests if deep subsoils remain dry.  But with a good first cut you at least will have some hay of good enough quality to feed your beef cows next winter.  Timing of hay harvest is important whether your needs are for high quality or for high yield. With alfalfa becoming ready to cut soon this spring, don’t miss your best time.”

Webster County Livestock Extension Educator Position:  We are grateful that the livestock educator position that was open due to Dewey Lienemann’s retirement has now been released for accepting applications.  The Beef Educator position for Kearney, Franklin, Adams, Webster, Clay, Nuckolls, Fillmore, and Thayer is released and posted at https://employment.unl.edu/. A direct link an to the position announcement can be found at https://employment.unl.edu/postings/54218.  The position closes on June 10.  Interviewing of candidates is anticipated for the later part of June with the potential start date as soon as possible.

Lawn and Garden Updates: Mulching plants is a beneficial plant care and water conservation practice. However, using the wrong type of mulch or an incorrect mulching practice can lead to plant problems. To benefit plants, place a two to four inch layer of organic mulch, like shredded wood, on top of bare, moist soil; and keep the mulch away from plant stems. Poor mulching practices include using too deep of a mulch layer and piling mulch against plant stems. Mulch up against plant stems can lead to fungal problems that may result in plant death or trunk decay in trees. A deep mulch layer, one that is deeper than four inches, can lead to weakened roots and stressed plants that may die, grow slower, or be more susceptible to disease and insects. Organic mulch is best as these decay over time to improve soil. Think twice about using rock or gravel mulch as these can retain heat and cause damage to plant stems and roots, and do not use recycled crumb rubber to mulch plants.

While it’s best to leave grass clippings on the lawn when mowing to replace nutrients removed, grass clippings can also be used as a source of mulch for vegetable or flower gardens.  Grass clippings can help conserve moisture and maintain cooler temperatures.  However, if herbicides have been used in your lawn, it’s important to read and follow those herbicide guidelines regarding using grass clippings for mulch.  Often at least several mowings are necessary according to label guidelines before clippings can be used as garden mulch.  Use only a two to three inch layer of grass and keep the clippings six inches away from plant stems. If mulch is too deep, it can repel water and limit soil oxygen. Grass clippings can also help improve the organic matter of your garden over time as they decay.

May is planting time for most annual flower and vegetable transplants. To avoid transplant shock and stressing young plants, take time to harden off transplants. Plants moved directly from a warm, moist greenhouse to windy and cooler outdoor conditions experience transplant shock and are stressed. This can negatively affect plant growth, flowering, and vegetable production. Harden off transplants by placing them outdoors, in a location protected from wind and full sun, for at least a few days before transplanting into the garden. Another way to harden transplants is to plant them in the garden, but then place a cardboard tent or wooden shingle around them for a few days to protect them from full exposure to wind and sun. Planting young transplants on an overcast, calm day or during the evening will also help reduce transplant shock.




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