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Extension Update from Jenny Rees

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UPCOMING EVENTS:  

Sept. 30:  Forestry Field Day, 9am-4pm, Horning Demonstration Forest near Plattsmouth, NE
Oct. 2:  Paul Hay Retirement Party, 3:00 – 6:00 pm (presentation 5:15 p.m.), Gage County Extension Office in Beatrice.
Oct. 5:  Non-Profit Boot Camp, Former ARDC near Mead, 4:30-8:30 p.m., RSVP 402-374-2929http://communityvitality.unl.edu/nonprofitbootcamp
Oct. 28:  From Recipe to Reality, UNL Food Processing Center, RSVP:  Jill Gifford at 402-472-2819 orjgifford1@unl.edu
Nov. 13:  So You Inherited a Farm, Now What? and Land Management Meeting, 4-H Bldg York.
Nov. 16:
  York County Corn Grower Banquet
Dec. 7:  Farmers and Ranchers College:  Dr. David Kohl, 1-4 p.m., Bruning Opera House, Bruning
Dec. 12:  Grain Marketing Seminar, 4-H Building York
Jan. 10-11:  York Ag Expo, Holthus Convention Center, York
Jan. 11:  Crop Production Clinic, North Platte
Jan. 16:  Crop Production Clinic, Norfolk
Jan. 18:  Crop Production Clinic, Lincoln
Jan. 24-25:  Crop Management Conference, Kearney
Feb. 7-9:  Nebraska Ag Tech Assoc. (NeATA) Conference
Feb. 19:  Nebraska On-Farm Research Network Update, former ARDC near Mead
Feb. 20:  Nebraska On-Farm Research Network Update, Lifelong Learning Center Northeast Com. College, Norfolk
Feb. 21:  Nebraska On-Farm Research Network Update, Hall Co. Extension Office, Grand Island
Feb. 22-23:  Women in Ag Conference, Kearney

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.

Harvest:  It was good seeing soybeans coming out timely last week in spite of challenges being wetter earlier in the week after the rains and then drying out very quickly.  Also seeing how winds are creating additional lodging/snapping off of plants affected with soybean stem borer.  Perhaps consider harvesting those fields most affected by soybean stem borer earlier as well.  I continue to see stalk rot in corn rapidly increasing.  Fields in general look pretty good from the edges but walking into them, stalk rot is evident in many.  One concern of our UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic is the number of samples they’re receiving of dead plants or portions of plants.  It’s very difficult to determine causes of dead plants.  Over a month ago, we started to see plants dying in fields next to healthy plants and I wrote how in the past, we’ve attributed that potentially to a fusarium crown and root rot; however, that all is still being determined.  Ultimately, just a reminder to check your fields prior to harvest to determine the amount of stalk rot present to aid in harvest determinations.  I use a pinch test where I use my thumb and pointer (index) finger and squeeze the stalk at the internode above the soil line.  I do this for 20 plants in different portions of the fields determining the percentage that easily crush.  That provides an indication of stalk rot. 

Also a reminder to remove soil moisture sensing equipment from fields prior to harvest.  Upon removal of watermark sensors, soak them in a bucket of water and use your fingers (don’t use brushes) to gently dislodge any soil from the sensors.  Allow them to dry and then store for the winter.  ET gages should also be removed.  Water should be dumped out of the main tube and the ceramic top and they should be stored where they won’t freeze to prevent damage to the ceramic top.

This week’s UNL CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu shares additional information regarding proper sampling for crown and stalk rot disease samples being submitted to the diagnostic clinic,  research from Iowa State on corn and soybean drydown, and questions we’ve received regarding drydown of higher moisture soybeans in the bin.  There’s also information provided on estimating bushels of grain in a bin and silage tonnage in a bunker.

Harvest is a special time of year as the hard work and effort of the growing season is gleaned.  Wishing all our farm families a safe and bountiful harvest!  Be sure to think safety first.  Also, for everyone driving, please give slow moving equipment space and slow down on gravel roads, especially when the dust is flying. 

Wheat/Cereal Rye Cover for Palmer Reduction Study:  Last week in my news column and also on NTV News, I spoke about a potential on-farm research study comparing wheat vs. cereal rye for potential palmer amaranth reduction.  If you’re interested in this study, please contact me at jrees2@unl.edu for the protocol.

Nitrate Toxicity Project:  With the rise of cover crops being used for fall grazing, I’m often asked about potential nitrates affecting livestock.  The current recommendations are based on early research in the 1940s and is based on research where dried feeds high in nitrate, or supplemental nitrate was used. Few studies have been done on nitrate toxicity using fresh forages. Many of the cover crops sampled in the spring and fall have had high nitrate concentrations, leading some producers to question utilizing this grazing resource. However, there are a variety of factors that may help mitigate high nitrates in the fresh, high quality, forage cover crops provide. In order to determine the risk and make better recommendations, more data is needed.

Dr. Mary Drewnoski, Extension Beef Nutritionist, desires to obtain more data with the help of her student Mary Lenz.  This study will require the cooperation of producers grazing annual forages to make the results practical and accurate. Methemoglobin in the blood, and nitrate levels in the forage will be measured in cattle grazing annual forages/cover crops. To measure methemoglobin, a subset of cattle will be gathered and blood samples will be taken. This will occur mid-afternoon, 4-7 days after turnout. This is a simple procedure, and the University can easily provide a portable corral and chute. To measure nitrates, a quality sample will be collected from the field, froze, and analyzed at the university lab. The data collection will be minimally invasive and should be a simple process.  If you are interested in this or have any questions, feel free to contact Mary Lenz at mlenz7@huskers.unl.edu, or 307-761-3353.

Lawn and Garden:  This past week I received a few questions about white grubs.  I’m also seeing them in my lawn and garden areas.  At this time of year, entomologists don’t recommend insecticidal control as the grubs are nearing the end of their feeding cycle and larger grubs are more difficult to control.  You may also notice something digging in your yard which could be skunks or raccoons foraging for grubs.  Entomologists recommend timely irrigation to encourage new root growth and recovery. 

Our soil profile has become fairly dry prior to the rains we’ve received over the weekend.  It’s important for us to ensure trees, shrubs, and lawns in particular remain watered (but not overly so) into October to help prevent winter desiccation and winter kill.  So how do you tell if you need to water?  Some people have installed moisture sensors into their lawns, but most don’t have anything like this around trees or shrubs.  One method, according to John Fech, Extension Educator, is to use a long-bladed screwdriver by inserting it into the soil at various locations around the tree or shrub.  If the metal rod enters the soil with only a moderate push, it’s a hint that moisture is adequate.  If it is resistant or hard to press into the soil, it’s probably too dry. 
 

Visually, once the probe is removed, taking a look at the screwdriver blade can be helpful. If mud is sticking to it, no water is required; if dust is covering it, watering is probably in order.  Water can be applied via running a sprinkler system, laying a soaker hose at the soil surface, using a drip system and using a portable sprinkler attached to the outdoor hose spigot. All of these devices have advantages and disadvantages. They key overall is to supply moisture to the roots in a slow and deliberate manner.  When it comes to where the water should be applied, John shares, “the big difference between watering woody plants such as trees and shrubs versus herbaceous plants like vegetables, groundcovers, annuals and perennials is that tree and shrub roots usually expand extensively beyond the periphery or “drip line” of the foliage, whereas most herbaceous plants develop roots directly below the crown and shoots. As watering of dry soils should be done over the entire root system of all plants, watering woody specimens should be targeted at the area twice to three times as wide as the spread of the leaves. No matter which device you choose to accomplish this goal, the idea to keep in mind is: moist; not soggy or dry.”

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