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Extension Update from Jenny Rees

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UPCOMING EVENTS:  
Nov. 1:  2017 Crop Insurance Workshop, Heartland Event Center Grand Island, RSVP:   https://cropinsure.unl.edu/
Nov. 3:
  Produce Safety Alliance Compliance, Raising NE in Grand Island, https://events.unl.edu/acreage/2017/11/03/123489/
Nov. 4:  Fall Hop Production Workshop, 8am-5pm, near Plattsmouth, NE https://agronomy.unl.edu/nebraska-hops
Nov. 6:  So You Inherited a Farm, Now What? Hall County Extension, Grand Island 9:30 a.m. RSVP:  308-385-5088
Nov. 8:  Growing Nebraska Summit, Cornhusker Hotel Lincoln, 8:15 a.m.-4pm, RSVP:  https://ianr.unl.edu/ianr-fall-conference
Nov. 9:  Forest Products Marketing Workshop, Kearney, NE, https://www.eventbrite.com/e/forest-products-marketing-workshop-tickets-38081724463
Nov. 13:  So You Inherited a Farm, Now What? 1:30 p.m., 4-H Bldg York, RSVP (402) 362-5508 or jrees2@unl.edu
Nov. 13:  Estate Planning Meeting, 6:30 p.m., 4-H Bldg York, RSVP (402) 362-5508 or jrees2@unl.edu
Nov. 15:  Sprayer Clinic for Dicamba/Enlist, NE College Tech Ag Curtis, 12:30 p.m., RSVP 308-696-6705or robert.klein@unl.edu
Nov. 16:  Grain Marketing Seminar:  Intro to Futures and Options, 9:30-3 p.m., former ARDC near Mead, RSVP (402) 261-7572
Nov. 16:
  York County Corn Grower Banquet, 6:30p.m. Social, 7pm Supper, Chances R
Nov. 19-21:  Facing Challenges: Shaping the Future Water Conference, Holiday Inn Kearney, http://www.newra.net/nwra-nsia-joint-convention/
Nov. 21:  Grain Marketing Seminar:  Intro. to Futures and Options, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Extension Office Holdrege, RSVP (308) 345-3390
Nov. 27:  On-Farm Research Brainstorm/Discussion Session, 1-4 p.m., 4-H Bldg Fairgrounds Aurora, RSVP jrees2@unl.edu or steve.melvin@unl.edu
Dec. 7:  Farmers and Ranchers College:  Dr. David Kohl, 1-4 p.m., Bruning Opera House, Bruning
Dec. 11:  Grain Marketing Seminar:  Intro to Futures and Options, 9:30 a.m.-3pm, Extension Office Beatrice, RSVP (402) 873-3166
Dec. 12:  Grain Marketing Seminar: Intro to Futures and Options, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 4-H Building York, RSVP (402) 362-5508
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. 18-19:  Hops Grower, Brewer Conference, Embassy Suites Downtown Omaha, http://www.growbrewnebraska.com/registration/
Jan. 24-25:  Crop Management Conference, Kearney
Jan. 30-31:  No-Till On the Plains Winter Conference, Wichita, KS http://notill.org/
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.

Crop Updates:  Last week’s weather was a challenge for our farm families.  Grateful for a beautiful day on Wednesday for harvest!  Thursday perhaps resulted in the worst of the damage we’re now seeing.  It’s just heartbreaking to see the fields and hear the reports of downed corn and dropped ears in so many fields throughout the State.  What I’ve seen thus far has ranged from 20-70 bu/ac on the ground and I’m hearing more than that from others.  Perhaps hardest is the fact we had tremendous harvest potential in the fields and that was a positive side of the lower commodity prices.  I’m not saying anything new to those of you who farm-my heart goes out to you.  On the positive side, some of you have finished harvest and can be grateful for that!  Finding things for which to be grateful can greatly help when things are this tough.  Here’s hoping everyone can finish this harvest season safely and get the remainder of the crop picked up as best as possible. 

When it comes to downed stalks with ears still intact, Marion Calmer, farmer and president of Calmer Agronomic Research Center, Lynn Center, Illinois, provided some tips for a meeting we had prior to harvest a few years ago.  I won’t list them here as it I don’t have enough room and because the presentation included in our CropWatch article has photos that aid in explanation.  You can view his tips here:  https://go.unl.edu/5nzw.

A method to estimate pre-harvest loss of ears on the ground is to count the number of ears dropped in 1/100 of an acre.  For a row spacing of 30”, measure off 29’ for a 6 row header, 21’ 9” for an 8 row header, and 14’ 6” for a 12 row header.  Then count the number of ears dropped in that header width and length measured.  In general, literature from different Universities say that a full-size ear equates to around ¾ lb. and would be around 1 bu/ac yield loss.  Larger ears with deeper kernels such as this year may be closer to 1.5 bu/ac yield loss.   

So what do you do about the corn ears on the ground?  A number of options have been tried in the past with varying degrees of success.  The following is information provided by Extension Educators after a 2012 windstorm.  “Some growers are using a V-rake to window the stalks and then coming back in with a windrow pick-up (bean) head on their combine to pick up stalks and ears from the ground. Harvest needs to be slow, as little as 1.5 mph, and the stalks and clumps of dirt will be hard on the combine and may cause it to plug. One grower had good luck tying down the rake’s wheels to keep them from riding up and floating over the corn stalks. Not surprisingly, this harvest process can be hard on rake teeth.”

“Other growers are using a flail chopper to finely cut the standing stalks and leaf material, then using a hay rake to gather the cut material and corn on the ground into windrows. Then they are using a combine with a windrow pick-up bean head set to run close to the ground.”

“After the flail chop, other growers are baling up the plant material and corn and processing it for feed. It’s recommended that the nutrient content of the feed be tested due to the above average level of corn it contains.”

“Some growers also have looked into rock pickers.  Others are going the human route and paying FFA or other youth groups to manually harvest affected fields.”

Another option to consider is grazing; however careful grazing is necessary to avoid cattle losses with that much corn on the ground.  Aaron Berger, Extension Educator, shared the following information for consideration, “Prior to grazing cornstalks with cattle, an estimate should be made of the amount of corn that is present in the field.  Any amount beyond 8-10 bushels per acre will require a well-planned grazing strategy to ensure that too much grain is not consumed by grazing cattle.

If it is determined that there is excessive corn on the ground, the following are strategies to implement to help minimize the risk of digestive upsets (acidosis), lameness and abortions for cattle grazing the cornstalks.

Limit access to corn by cross fencing the field and using a method called “strip grazing” where cattle are only given access to the determined amount of corn that they should eat for a given day. This method is the most reliable method for controlling corn intake. If downed corn is on an irrigated center pivot, one option for strip grazing is to attach the electric fence to the center pivot and move the pivot to move the fence.
 

Consider the class of livestock that is going to be grazed. Cattle that haven’t grazed cornstalks before, such as weaned calves or yearlings, will often take time before they actively seek out corn. This can give the cattle time to adjust and acclimate to the corn. Weaned calves or yearlings can also make best use of the corn and convert it into a saleable product as they are growing and adding pounds that can be marketed.

Non-pregnant cows that would benefit from gaining weight are another class of livestock that can be a good choice for grazing downed corn. Cull cow prices often seasonally increase from the late fall into the spring which complements the use of this resource.

Cows that have previous experience with grazing cornstalks will seek downed corn immediately. Cows should be adjusted to corn prior to giving them access to the field. Start cows on 2-3 pounds of corn a day and work them up to 10-12 pounds per day over a 7-10 day period. Adjusting cows to corn will help to reduce the risk of digestive upsets.

Have cattle full prior to turning out for grazing and provide good quality hay so cattle don’t over consume corn immediately. Feeding palatable hay or other feed daily can also help to reduce the amount of corn that cattle will be eating.

The use of a Monensin supplement fed daily can help to stabilize feed intake and reduce the risk of founder and bloat which are caused by overeating.

Managing cattle that are grazing cornfields with excessive downed corn can be a challenge for producers. However, with planning and strategy, cattle can clean up and make good use of this situation, benefiting both the farmer and the cattle producer.”

Fertilizing Corn Fields:  Natural Resources Districts in our area have a November 1st wait period before fall anhydrous ammonia can be applied.  It’s also recommended to wait till soil temperatures at the 4” depth remain consistently at 50F or below.  This allows the ammonia to not convert to nitrate which increases the leaching potential.  You can view soil temperature information here:  https://cropwatch.unl.edu/cropwatchsoiltemperature and read about a long-term study on nitrogen inhibitors conducted by University of Minnesota here:  https://go.unl.edu/8j0n.

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