Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rain Wreaks Havoc on Corn Silage Quality in 2013

This article was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

Preliminary analyses are indicating that the quality of new crop corn silage is considerably lower in 2013 than in 2012. Higher fiber content, lower fiber digestibility, lower starch content, and smaller ears can all be linked back to higher than normal rainfall this year. Slower than normal dry-down also delayed corn silage harvest on many farms. However it appears that BMR varieties have weathered the storm better than conventional varieties.

2013 Corn Silage
In the November 2013 edition of Hoard’s Dairyman, Dr. John Goeser of Rock River Laboratory discusses the decreased corn silage quality in the Midwest and the Northeast, Figure 1. “Starch levels have decreased and NDF (fiber) levels have increased, decreasing energy levels. To make matters worse, TTNDFD (total tract fiber digestibility) has also dropped from last year’s crop.”

Figure 1. Midwest and eastern U.S. region corn silage crop quality from 2011 to 2013.

The data from the Northeast region included 2012 & 2013 samples from over a dozen farms in western New York, Figure 2. Samples included conventional hybrids, BMR varieties, along with some Shredlage corn silages.

These changes in fiber content and fiber digestibility are due to the higher than normal rainfall experienced in both regions. Like all plants, corn transfers water from its roots, through its xylem, and out its leaves into the atmosphere. Think of the corn plant as a giant straw. In wet years that straw needs to move a lot more water from the soil into the air. The plant senses this and reinforces the strength of the xylem by adding more cellulose (increase in NDF) and more lignin (decrease in total tract fiber digestibility) in order to handle the increased evapotranspiration load.

Despite these overall trends there were considerable differences between the BMR and the conventional varieties, Table 1. BMR samples had no change in CP content, while conventional varieties lost 0.5% on average. BMR samples also had higher CP content (~0.5% in 2012 and ~0.9% in 2013) than conventional varieties. While all corn silage had increased NDF in 2013, the BMR corn silage experienced less than half the increase (~1.3%) seen in conventional varieties (~4%). Surprisingly, the lignin content actually dropped in BMR varieties (-0.5%), but increased as expected in conventional varieties (+0.2%). BMR varieties also had increased starch content in 2013 (+1.6%) compared to the drop in starch (-3.5%) in conventional varieties. Fiber digestibility as measure by TTNDFD and Dynamic NDF kd also showed that BMR silages dropped less than conventional silages in 2013.

Table 1. BMR & Conventional Corn Silage from Western NY 2012 & 2013
*CP = crude protein %DM, NDF = neutral detergent fiber %DM, Lignin & Starch are % DM, TTNDFD = total tract NDF digestibility, Dynamic NDF kd = % of NDF digested per hour.

Besides changing the plant physiology of the corn silages, forage quality was changed by the high rainfall conditions through high losses of nitrogen throughout the region. Many farms went back in and put on 50-60 lbs/acre of nitrogen as a side-dressing or through drop-nozzles at tasseling. Numerous fields that did not receive any additional nitrogen had smaller than normal ears as a result.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Corn Silage Gets Better with Age & Attention to Detail

This article was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

Leave Corn Silage in the Bunk
It is well-known that feeding “green” corn silage will result in lower milk production than “cooked” corn silage. This change in production is due primarily to the increases in starch and protein availability as the silage cures in the bunk or silo. Generally corn silage needs to be stored for a minimum of 3 weeks to complete the ensiling process. As corn silage sits in the bunk the availability of starch will generally increase up to 6 months of storage. However BMR varieties appear to buck the trend of conventional hybrids feeding poorly with little time in the bunker this year. My observations on farms in western NY that are feeding “green” BMR corn silage indicate little, if any, drop in milk production in 2013. Follow-up research is necessary to confirm if the BMR varieties are truly outperforming conventional varieties in wet years and coming out of the bunk “green,” but the initial observations are promising.

The Corn Silage Shake Down
A number of reports of poorly chopped and processed corn silage have come in from across western New York. Besides chemical analyses, using the Penn State Shaker Box and kernel processing scores to measure physical characteristics can help determine whether or not your corn silage was chopped and processed correctly. When corn silage has been chopped & processed properly most of the material will be in the middle screen of the Penn State Shaker Box, Table 1.

Table 1: Corn silage, haylage, and TMR particle size recommendations for lactating cows.

But there is an exception to these guidelines---Shredlage. A higher portion of the particles (~30%) will be in the Upper Sieve compared to lower percentages found in normal corn silage. No sorting has been observed by dairy cows fed Shredlage. Kernel processing scores are determined by drying corn silage, running it through a series of sieves (Figure 1), and ranking by the percentage of the starch (i.e. the kernels) that pass through the 4.75 mm screen, Table 2

Table 2. Kernel Processing Scores & Percentage of Samples

*Corn Silage Processing Score, 551 Samples, CVAS 2006 Crop Year

Most of the corn silage has room for improvement as less than 10% of all samples have optimal processing scores. Again Shredlage corn silage is the exception to the rule as most samples have received “Optimally Processed” rankings when analyzed for kernel processing scores. The reason why most scores are lower than desired is that adjustments are often not made to the chopping equipment during harvest. 

Figure 1. Kernel Processing Score Sieves

Whether you are chopping your own corn silage or rely on a custom operator the only way to know whether or not your silage is being chopped and/or processed correctly is to get out in the bunk and measure it as it’s starting to come in. While it is too late to change this year’s silage, you can run next year’s freshly chopped silage through the Penn State Shaker Box on farm when the first load comes in and send a sample off for kernel processing score analysis at most of the commercial labs. If nothing else, get out of the tractor and down into the bunk to have a closer look at your corn silage. Using these tools and your experience will help make the necessary adjustments to theoretical length of cut and processing roll settings in order to improve the physical characteristics of your corn silage in future years.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Soil Sampling

Now that most crops are off it’s a good time to review the basics of soil sampling before heading out into the fields this fall and winter. Monitoring soil pH and fertility is the foundation of productive fields and pastures. Soil needs to be sampled regularly and with the proper technique in order to build a successful fertility program on every acre.

Soil Sample Timing
Soil sampling generally occurs every 3-4 years on each field. In the “green-gold” rotation common on many dairy farms (3-4 years haylage, 3-4 years corn/corn silage) the soil is usually sampled in the fall before turning over the haylage field to first year corn. Similarly, farms growing corn, soybeans, and a small grain rotation will often sample after the small grain is harvested before rotating back to corn. In short rotations of corn and soybeans or continuous corn it is not uncommon for soil sampling to occur every 2-3 years. Any new ground acquired by a farm should be sampled as soon as possible. Sometimes crops show possible visual signs of nutrient deficiency, Figure 1. In these cases a soil and a tissue sample should be sent to lab to confirm a deficiency.

Figure 1: 
Corn with N and P deficiency from high rainfall, cool temperatures

Soybeans with K deficiency and downy mildew

Alfalfa with K deficiency from early season flooding

Soil Sample Analyses
It is important to use the same commercial lab for testing over time because analysis techniques are slightly different between labs.  In most situations testing for potassium, phosphorous, pH, and organic matter are adequate for planning fertility programs. Nitrogen is not stable in the soil and is lost over the fall and winter months. Testing in the spring prior to nitrogen application, or in a year like 2013 where we had high rainfall after the nitrogen fertilizer was put on, is more appropriate. Sometimes soils are analyzed for calcium and magnesium for specialty crops or those trying to “balance” cation exchange ratios. Regular liming supplies enough calcium and using dolomitic lime will supply magnesium. Additionally many of soils regularly contribute calcium, potassium, and magnesium to crops. While some people have spent their entire careers trying to prove there is a response to a specific Ca:Mg:K ratio in the soil, the consensus across the nation is that there is no response to managing these ratios in agricultural soils. Sulfur is similar to nitrogen and isn’t tested for in soil analyses in most cases. With the cleaner air in recent years most fields now respond to 15-25 lb/A of sulfur per year. Micro-nutrient analysis may be beneficial on sandy or muck soils, along with soils having low organic matter  and extreme pH levels that have not received manure in recent years.

Soil Sampling Methods
Soil sampling can be done on an entire field, in targeted management zones, or on a grid. For fields 20 acres or less the entire field is often the sampling area. Using a soil probe, Figure 2, sample two dozen spots throughout the field in a zig-zag pattern, Figure 3, at 6-8 inches deep and place into a plastic bucket for mixing. Metal buckets will add some micro-nutrients to the soil samples and should not be used. Thoroughly mix all of the samples and then take a subsample (usually about 1-2 cups worth) to send to a laboratory. Be sure to avoid sampling areas of the field that have had manure or lime piles recently, are known to be compacted (the headlands), or are low lying areas wetter than the rest of the field.

Figure 2: Soil Probe

Figure 3: Soil Sampling Pattern

Soil samples also can target management zones within the field. Often these areas will follow differences in soil type or areas mapped by yield monitors. For farmers pursuing variable rate fertilizer application and seeding rates it is best to start with three types of management zones: high, medium, and low yielding. Sample these areas in the same way as described above by taking 2-3 samples per acre in each management zone. A number of farms have done grid sampling on 1-3 acre squares in western New York. This is the method that was widely used initially in the Midwest for precision agriculture management. While a number of farms still take the mountain of soil samples necessary to do this, many have moved toward sampling management zones to save on costs while still having the capability for variable rate management.

Bottom Line:
1. Soil sampling needs to occur on a regular basis (every 3-5 years) in order to apply the proper amount of nutrients required by each crop and maintain a proper soil pH.

2. Standard soil testing measures ph & mineral nutrients (K, P, Ca, Mg, Mn, B, Zn, etc.). Testing soils for nitrogen and sulfur require a different type of test and more careful sampling.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Crop Alert: October 11, 2013

This article was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

Fumes in Manure Lagoons from Gypsum Bedding
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) fumes were detected during agitation of a manure lagoon on a farm that used recycled drywall for bedding in the region. These fumes can be deadly to people and livestock and form when gypsum is mixed with manure and stored under anaerobic conditions. The use of gypsum bedding is banned in the United Kingdom because of this risk. According to Wikipedia, "Hydrogen sulfide ... is a colorless gas with the characteristic foul odor of rotten eggs; it is heavier than air, very poisonous, corrosive, flammable and explosive." A factsheet with more information is avaibable at http://www.nwnyteam.org/submission.php?id=303&crumb=dairy|1.

Planting Small Grains in October
With the delayed soybean harvest the planting of winter wheat, winter triticale, winter barley, and winter rye has been and continues to be late across western New York. These grains can still be planted in October, however they will produce little above ground growth prior to the winter. Applying high amounts of nitrogen in the spring split over two or three applications will still result in yields comparable to earlier planted wheat fields. However spring forage yields will only be about 2 tons DM/acre (about 5-6 as fed/acre) for October planted small grains compared to to 3-4 tons DM for early September plantings. Temperatures across the region will be ideal for planting these grains this coming week reaching the mid 60s. Planting with a drill and increasing the seeding rate are vital for successful late season planting. Seeding rates should also be adjusted based on soil conditions, Table 1.

Table 1: Winter Wheat Seeding Rates
Seeding rates are millions of seeds per acre.
Source: Ag Focus September 2013.

Seeds should be drilled 1-1.5 inches deep for good emergence. See examples below on how to calculate million/pounds of seed per acre.

Live seed % = Recommended rate / Percentage of live seed = Rate/acre
Example: 1,350,000 seeds / .90 live seeds = 1.48 million seeds/acre

To figure out how many pounds per acre, use the following formula.
Seeds per acre / # seeds/lb. = lb./acre
Example: 1,450,000 / 13,000 = 111.5 lb./acre

Starter Fertilizer. At the 2013 Soybean and Small Grains Congress, Peter Johnson emphasized that wheat should not be grown without a starter fertilizer. Yield losses of at least 8 bu/acre are common when starter fertilizer isn't used. He stressed that phosphorus was most important for wheat. He used the example that while soybeans only need 1 pound of P and corn 5 pounds for strong seedling establishment wheat needs 15 pounds. Follow soil sample recommendations and remember wheat grows best at a pH around 6.3. We have seen an increase in the number of fertilizer boxes and liquid applicators going on drills in recent years.

Fall Silage Harvests
Corn silage continues to be harvested throughout the region, especially in areas delayed by the continuing rain. Fourth (and in some cases 5th) cut haylage, oat silage, and sorghum-sudangrass silage have occurred and will continue through the end of October across western New York. While there have been a number of frosts that have stopped corn growth (and some of the sudangrass fields) it will take more severe frosts (low 20's) to stop the growth of all other silage plants. Drying will take longer under the cooler fall conditions. Chop and ensile these crops once the plants reach at least 30% DM and inoculate the haylage, small grain, and sudangrass silages with a Lactobacillus inoculant.

Osprey Herbicide Reminders from Danny Digiacomandrea, Bayer CropScience
Several questions have come up about using Osprey Herbicide in the fall. Our experience in NY so far is only with spring applications which have worked extremely well! Russ Hahn at Cornell has done some fall application research and so far spring applications have looked the best
• Osprey labeled at 4.75 oz/acre on winter wheat only. Do not use on barley.
• Postemergence activity only, no residual
• Controls rough stalk blue grass and suppresses cheat (under NY 24c Special Local Needs label – Check the federal label for more information), good activity on chickweed and henbit
• Make timely applications. This will provide best control and is key to eliminating
early weed competition. Research shows enormous yield benefits from early weed
• Maximum label size of rough stalk bluegrass is 2 tillers
• Maximum label size of susceptible broadleaves is 2 inches tall
• Application prohibited once wheat has reached jointing stage
• Do not combine Osprey with liquid fertilizer application
• Do not top-dress liquid or dry within 14 days of Osprey application
• Must use an adjuvant
Application of OSPREY® Herbicide must include a non-ionic surfactant plus ammonium nitrogen fertilizer or a methylated seed oil or a “basic blend” type adjuvant. Use only spray grade quality urea ammonium nitrogen fertilizer (28-0-0 to 32-0-0 at 1 – 2 qt/acre) or ammonium sulfate fertilizer (21-0-0-24 at 1.5 – 3 lbs. /acre). When ammonium nitrogen fertilizer is used in tank mixture with OSPREY® Herbicide, transient leaf burn may occur. Do not use additives that alter the spray solution below 6.0 pH. Best results are obtained at spray solution pH of 6.0 – 8.0. Organosilicone-based surfactants or crop oil concentrate surfactants are not recommended for use with OSPREY® Herbicide – See label for complete details!
• 15 GPA, flat-fan nozzles, no flood jets or air-induction nozzles
• Air temps: for best results spray when day temps are 50° or higher and night temps
stay above freezing
• Read and understand product label before use
• Questions contact Danny Digiacomandrea 585-330-3263 dan.digiacomandrea@bayer.com

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fall Tillage Management

This article was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

As the crops come off the fields, many tillage operations will take place this month across western New York. Fall tillage operations are often needed to manage residue, smooth out ruts in the field, dry out the soil, in addition to incorporating lime, fertilizer, and manure. A number of best management practices can be used to greatly reduce the risk of soil erosion.

Plant a Cover Crop
In October winter rye is the only reliable crop that will provide some cover over the winter. Many farmers in the region have successfully planted this crop after their fall tillage operations. Very few growing degree days are left so plant as soon as possible with a drill and increase the seeding rate from 2 bu/A to 3 bu/A. Timely spraying or spring tillage will be necessary to effectively control this cover crop. With warmer weather during the early part of the month, plantings of winter triticale and winter barley have a better chance of establishment before the winter.

Increase Surface Residue
Increasing the surface residue to 30% ground coverage from 0% results in a 50% decrease in soil erosion, Figure 1. Smaller decreases in soil erosion occur as more residue is left in the field. Managing low residue levels is easier than large amounts of corn stalks, straw, and other material in the spring while greatly reducing soil loss.

Figure 1: Effect of residue cover on soil erosion, expressed as the percent of that occurring relative to that for a bare surface. 
Adapted from Laflen and Colvin (1981).

Till on a Contour
If ground must left open over the winter without much residue or a cover crop, tilling on a contour perpendicular to the direction of run-off can reduce soil erosion, Figure 2. In some parts of western New York strips of crops are still planted on the hill contours to further prevent erosion losses. However there are still soil erosion losses during the tillage operations on the sides of hills. Adopting reduce tillage practices on the hill-slopes will further decrease soil losses.

Figure 2: Farming on the Contour

Changs Tillage Equipment
Every piece of tillage equipment has a different impact on soil erosion. Often there is another piece of iron that can meet your needs while reducing erosion. Check out the NRCS’s Tillage Guide (http://www.nwnyteam.org/submission.php?id=39&crumb=soil|7) for more information. Using shallow tillage at an angle across the field can fill in ruts from previous field operations while reducing the destruction of soil structure. Vertical tillage equipment has become popular in recent years due to their shallow tillage of the soil while preparing a desirable seedbed.  Soil with good structure is more resistant to erosion. This is due to root channels from previous crops, some residue on the soil surface, and high populations of earthworms (and other animals) that create channels for water to flow more quickly through the soil ultimately resulting in less soil erosion.

Bottom Line:
1. Farmers can minimize soil erosion caused by fall tillage by planting cover crops, leaving some residue, tilling/farming on a contour, and changing the piece of tillage equipment used. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Crop Alert: September 20, 2013

This Crop Alert was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

The Effects of Frost on Field Crops
The recent frost in parts of western New York were not severe, but they will be in the coming weeks so it’s a good time to review how frost impacts our field crops. Temperatures near 32° F for a few hours or temperatures near 28° F for a few minutes will kill a corn plant (Carter and Hesterman, 1990). Most of the corn in western NY has reached at least the dent stage so yield and quality reductions will be minimal at this point in the growing season from killing frosts, Table 1.

Corn silage harvest is well underway across the region with some farms already finished. If you have not started corn silage harvest before your first frost you should begin as soon as possible to prevent yield loss--damaged leaves will quickly start to fall off the plant. Sorghum and sorghum-sudangrasses are killed by frost so silage harvest should take place soon after the first frost as well.
Late planted soybeans will be especially vulnerable to these early frosts. Yield reductions of over 30% will be likely occur if there is not at least one mature pod on the plant (R7 growth), Table 2.

However, oats and other small grains will continue to grow after frost, typically until late November or December when temperatures are consistently below freezing. These temperatures kill oats most years (2012 being the exception) and induce winter dormancy in wheat, rye, and triticale. Winter small grain height needs to be less than 6-8 inches tall to prevent snow mold from damaging the crops.

The first frost also increases the risk of pasture bloat, especially on high legume pastures. Make sure you are feeding some dry hay during the next few weeks to lower the risk of bloat and supplement with minerals to reduce the likelihood of other metabolic disorders. If you are grazing sorghum or sudangrass pastures that are frosted remove animals for 2 weeks to prevent prussic acid poisoning. Also do not feed green chop from these pastures. Making silage or hay will greatly reduce the chances of prussic acid poisoning.

Employers Must Provide Health Exchange Notice by October 1, 2013
from Joan Sinclair Petzen

The Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide employees with the Health Care Exchange Notice. October 1 is the deadline for providing notice to current employees. The Exchange Notice requirement applies to employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). Small farm employers may be exempt. A tool for determining if an employer is required to provide notices is available from the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) web site. Model notices are also available from the USDOL. This article details the requirements for providing the notice and provided links to resources at the USDOL. See our website at http://www.nwnyteam.org/submission.php?id=296&crumb=business|9

It is Time to Start Planting Wheat
Winter wheat planting has begun this week and will start to pick up speed as some of our early group soybeans are getting close to harvest. Here are some reminders on seed population and fertility. A good seed population to shoot for right now is 1.5 million seeds per acre. Check your seed label for the seeds/lb. and calculate pounds per acre needed. This could range from 100 to 130 lbs. Seed populations should increase as we move closer to November.

Starter fertilizer, particularly phosphorus, is very important to get the young wheat plant out of the ground, tillering, and in great shape to overwinter. It is a very important piece of the high management wheat system. At this year’s Soybean and Small Grains Congress, Peter Johnson, presented his research that showed almost an 8 bushel increase when a starter fertilizer was placed on the seed. Phosphorus rates at planting will vary based on soil sample results. We have seen good success with 25 – 50 pounds of P205 per acre on the seed at planting. Fifty to one-hundred pounds of MAP (13-52-0) is a common starter. Remember you will need almost three times the amount of broadcast fertilizer to equal the effectiveness of a seed-placed application. A little potassium is needed but it does not play as important a role as phosphorus. If higher rates of K are needed, it is usually broadcasted or placed away from the seed due to possible root burning and injury.

Weevils in Stored Wheat
Some reports are coming in regarding wheat that is getting rejected due to weevil infestations. Of all the grain crops, wheat seems to be the most susceptible to insect infestations and damage. Empty bin treatments like Tempo SC and Storcide II are very important if you plan on any long-term storage of wheat. What can you do now? Bin fumigation is the quickest way to kill the existing weevil populations. The problem is finding a commercial pesticide applicator in the region that is certified in category 1D (fumigation). We have been trying to find someone recently and have struck out (any help would be appreciated). The other option is aluminum phosphide tablets or pellets. These are restricted use products (RUP). Therefore, a grower can only purchase and use these products if they have their private pesticide applicator license. They can only apply to their own grain bin. There are many precautions to follow when using this product. Follow the label instructions closely. The pellets are placed in the top of the grain mass, 5 – 8 feet below the grain. Aluminum phosphide pellets turn into phosphine gas when moisture and heat are present. This gas is heavier than air and moves down through the grain mass. It can travel into places that a liquid or dust formulation could not. This includes within the seed where weevil larvae are feeding. For more information on NY-labeled products check out the team’s webpage (http://nwnyteam.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=297&crumb=grains|3) and (http://nwnyteam.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=298&crumb=grains|3)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Crop Alert: September 12, 2013

This Crop Alert was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

Small Grains in New Forage Seedings
Wheat, rye, barley, and oat seed that was left in the field after harvest has germinated in many new hay and haylage seedings across western NY, Figure 1. If left uncontrolled these small grains will greatly reduce the alfalfa in the these stands. Spraying with Poast Plus (http://www.cdms.net/LDat/ld00H006.pdf), Select Max (http://www.cdms.net/LDat/ld6SQ009.pdf), or Assure II (http://www.cdms.net/LDat/ld742006.pdf) when the small grain is 2‐6 inches should provide desired control. This herbicide application will kill or injure most perennial grasses planted, but it is necessary to protect the alfalfa. Clipping in the fall does not control small grains because most small grains (with the exception of oats) do not have any stem growth. Control of small grains contaminating hay and haylage fields the following spring with herbicides is much less effective than fall spraying. Spraying in the next couple of weeks will provide better control compared to a later spray under cooler conditions in October.

Figure 1: Wheat in Haylage Seeding

Shredlage Harvest Recommendations
We have recently received more detailed information from the Shredlage manufacture about the appropriate settings for a variety of situations. Check it out on our website:

Corn and Soybean Drydown
Corn and soybeans are beginning to drydown across the region. Most of the corn is partially or completely dented and many soybeans are in the R6 to R7 growth stages with some plants already dropping leaves. Given the delayed maturity this season the corn will probably be drying down in the 0.4‐0.6% per day range based on work from Purdue (http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/graindrying.html). Varieties with earlier maturities and in drier years (like 2012) have corn drydown percentages around 0.8‐1.0% a day. In good windy, warm weather soybeans can have 1% drydown per day, but under cooler, rainy conditions soybean drydown is only 0‐0.3% per day. While some corn silage harvest is occurring, many farms have been delayed by the recent rains and are holding off until this weekend/next week in order to avoid high effluent levels coming out of the bunks and silos.

Clean Sweep NY Fall 2013
This year Clean Sweep NY will target Region 8 which includes Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates Counties. Check out their webpage (http://www.cleansweepny.org/) to find out more information about this program for safely disposing of left over agricultural chemicals.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Crop Alert: September 5, 2013

This Crop Alert was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

Corn Silage Harvest
Corn silage harvest is underway across western New York and will be in full swing during the next couple of weeks. Check the moisture levels prior to harvest by working with your nutritionist, drying it yourself in microwave or Koster tester, or taking it to a local elevator/ag supplier. Corn silage should be harvested at about 68% moisture (32% DM) for bunker silos or bags and at 65% moisture (35% DM) for upright silos. Targeting corn silage harvest for the half milk line stage can have a wide range of moisture contents (58-65% moisture) and should not be used-measure the moisture instead. If possible, harvest before the corn silage dries down to 60% moisture (40% DM) as silage preservation is not optimal. Applying a Lactobacillus buchneri inoculant can help improve aerobic stability of the corn silage in situations where the DM is greater than 40%, bunk feed out is slow, and during warm weather feed out. Properly adjust your harvesting equipment before and during harvest so that all kernels are crushed and all stalks are short. In traditional kernel processors setting the theoretical length of cut (TLC or TLOC) to ¾ in (19mm) and setting the processing rolls between 0.04 and 0.12 inch (1 and 3mm) apart should break 90-100% of the kernels. About a dozen farms in western New York are chopping corn silage with Shredlage units with many others doing a demo for a bag or part of bunker. The TLC on these units will be slightly longer at 25-30 mm (see Figure 1), but the distance between the processing rolls will be similar (2.5-3.0mm). Additionally, changes will likely need to be made to the knife drum depending on the specific combine unit. Work closely with your local equipment representative or directly with the manufactures of the Shredlage units to optimize the settings of these units.

Figure 1: Shredlage vs. Kernel Processed Corn Silage

Cover Crops Following Corn Silage
What a difference a month can make when it comes to planting cover crops! We had lots of options when the winter wheat was harvested in the first half of August. Now that we are past Labor Day, many of those crops such as clovers, peas, radishes, and oats, will not gain the biomass needed to be an effective cover. What’s left? Planting cereal grains is our best option after corn silage in NWNY. We have some early fields that have been harvested, but many fields are at least 1 or 2 weeks away from harvest. That means cover crop opportunities might be a little later this fall. For those of you who planted small grains in August you will need to take a cutting or clip it to about 6-8 inches prior going into winter as snow mold can wipe out a small grain field planted too early with a lot of biomass. While it hasn’t been a concern in recent years, insect pressure (along with the viruses and diseases they spread) is greatly reduced when small grains are planted after the Hessian Fly Free date (Sept 15th in most of western NY).

Cereal rye is always the safest cover crop when it comes to establishment and biomass accumulation in the fall and spring. However, it can also be a nightmare in the spring if weather conditions do not allow for it to be sprayed or plowed under in a timely manner. Winter wheat also establishes well in the fall and makes good cover. It does not grow as fast in the spring and therefore provides a wider window for management. Winter triticale is a hybrid between rye and wheat. It is the best option if you plan on harvesting the cover for forage in the spring. This has become a very popular option in the last year (over 15,000 acres state-wide) due to lack of forage inventories and has been shown to be a high quality feed. Seeding rates for all these cereals should be about 120 lbs. per acre (2 bushels). Drilling small grains at 1-1.5 inches greatly reduces heaving and reduces weed growth the following spring. Applying up to 50 lb/A of nitrogen from manure or fertilizer at planting will likely increase spring small grain forage yields. Bin run small grain seed is a cheaper option-but the germination can be greatly reduced (below 10% in some casesdepending on post-harvest handling. Additionally there may be considerable fungal contamination depending on field management and/or post harvesting handling of bin-run seed. This year has been especially challenging for triticale seed production both in New York and in Canada. Harvest has been delayed (and in some cases is still occurring), and there is a 10-14 day turn-around for the processes involved in testing germination, cleaning, pre-chilling, and treating the seed with fungicides. Be patient with this process as it is necessary to ensure high quality seed is available for planting.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Crop Alert: August 29, 2013

This Crop Alert was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

Winter Malting Barley Seed is Now Available
The winter malting barley variety “Wintmalt” from KWS is now available through Seedway. It is certified seed, has performed reasonably well in the variety trials this past year, has very good disease resistance, high test weight, and desirable malt quality based on testing in other regions (the current year’s malt quality results are still being analyzed for our NY trials). Contact your local Seedway representative for more information on prices. Be sure to contact a local malt house or distillery before planting malting barley, see the Google Map (https://www.google.com/maps/ms?msid=200860025394836250060.0004ddeed7cd6a6661526&msa=0).

Soybean Diseases, Insects, & K Deficiency
Many soybean fields from across the region currently have disease in them. However, fungicide applications at this point in the growing season will have little, if any effect on yields given most soybeans are at the R3-R6 growth stages. Additionally, fungicide applications will greatly reduce the presence of fungi that attack soybean aphids. Aphid populations are highly variable across the region with some pockets approaching or exceeding 250 aphids per plants. A ground spray operation will have a guaranteed loss of 3-4 bu/A so that needs to weighed against the potential loss from disease and aphids. Aerial applications will not likely penetrate the canopy to control diseases that are present in the lower leaves (white mold for example). Additionally products have harvest restrictions ranging from 14-30 days or a certain growth stage. See our webpage for more information on harvest restrictions for soybean fungicides (http://www.nwnyteam.org/submission.php?id=269&crumb=grains|3). We have also seen a number of fields with soybean leaves yellowing along the leaf margins, Figure 1. This is most likely potassium (K) deficiency and has been observed on compacted headlands and in the lower, wetter spots in the fields. Application of K fertilizer is not recommended this late in the growing season.

Figure 1: K Deficient Soybean
Note: There is also downy mildew present on the leaf (gray spots).

Corn Silage Harvest
Some early corn silage harvest has begun in western NY due to short forage inventories. However most farms are currently working on finishing/starting 4th cut haylage the next couple of weeks before moving into corn silage harvest. It has been about 45-50 days since tasseling in western New York. Work from Bill Cox has shown calendar days to be a poor predictor of corn silage harvest (http://www.nwnyteam.org/submission.php?id=280&crumb=forages|2). Typically it takes around 750-850 growing degree days (GDD) from tasseling to corn silage harvest. However with the heavy rains experienced in recent weeks corn silage dry down in the field will be delayed this season. Also be sure to check out Larry Chase’s article on immature corn silage if you have not already done so (http://www.nwnyteam.org/submission.php?id=272&crumb=forages|2). For those you with Shredlage units (http://www.nwnyteam.org/submission.php?id=29&crumb=forages|2) give us a call or email as we want to track packing densities to see if the 3-5 lbs/ft3 increase experienced in the Midwest will hold true here in New York. Finally we have continued to see corn leaf diseases across the region. However fungicides have harvest restrictions of 7-30 days on corn silage with most needing at least 14 days (http://www.nwnyteam.org/submission.php?id=270&crumb=forages|2). There also is little evidence that foliar fungicide applications are beneficial past the tasseling to silking stage of corn.

Residual Herbicide and Cover Crops
For those of you who are planting/have planted cover crops it is good idea to double check to see if your herbicide programs can set back your cover crops. Check out this presentation from Bill Curran of Penn State, especially the charts on pages 9 and 12 (http://www.nwnyteam.org/submission.php?id=166&crumb=soil|7).

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Crop Alert: August 22, 2013

This Crop Alert was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

Soybean Aphids & Diseases
Reports have come in from across the region this past week of soybean aphids over the 250 aphid per plant threshold. While there are many fields that have reached levels where spraying is necessary, this does not mean that every soybean field should be sprayed. A number of soybean fields are currently at 100‐150 aphids per plant and should continue to be monitored until the soybeans reach the R6 growth stage, Figure 1. A spray operation this late in the growing season will run over 3‐4 bu/A of soybeans so it is very important to spray only if the yield loss from the aphids outweighs the yield loss of running over the field. Additionally we are past the point in the growing season where fungicide applications are economically on most soybeans. Fungicide applications up to the R3 stage in soybeans are likely to see a response if diseases are present. Some late-planted soybean fields may still be at the R3 growth stage.

Figure 1: Soybeans at the R6 Growth Stage

Small Grain Variety Trial Results
The results from the Soft Red Winter Wheat and the Winter Malting Variety Trials are in. For details check out our team webpage for the Soft Red Winter Wheat (http://nwnyteam.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=60&crumb=grains|3) and Winter Malting Barley (http://nwnyteam.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=278&crumb=grains|3) trial results.

Pricing Corn Silage
Questions are coming in regarding how to price corn silage. Check out our team webpage
(http://nwnyteam.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=279&crumb=grains|3) with links to factsheets and Excel spreadsheets that will help you arrive at a fair price for corn silage based on your local situation.

Planting Winter Triticale For Silage
Winter triticale planting will begin soon across western New York. Last year over 15,000 acres were planted state‐wide with about 10,000 of those acres in western New York. This past year fields planted in September 2012 yielded 2‐3 tons DM/A, while fields planted in October 2012 yielded 1‐2 tons DM/A. Drilling about 100 lbs. of seed/A (about 2 bu) at 1.5 inches deep is the most reliable and least risky planting method. Increased heaving of triticale and spring weed growth were observed in broadcasted fields this past year. Early research results and on‐farm experiences are showing that about 50 units of nitrogen (3,000‐5,000 ga/A of manure) at planting will likely increase yields. Further work on‐farm and at research facilities are examining this question in detail this fall and next spring. For more information on triticale silage check out the Cornell Factsheet (http://advancedagsys.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/factsheet56.pdf).

Monday, August 19, 2013

Crop Alert: August 16, 2013

This Crop Alert was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

Soybean Aphids
We have been getting reports that soybean aphid populations are on the rise in our region, have reached, and even exceeded the 250 aphid per plant threshold in areas of Wyoming County. Most soybeans are in the R2- R5 stages across the region. These are crucial stages of pod development and filling. All soybean fields throughout western New York should be scouted and sprayed with an insecticide if over this threshold. Special attention should be given to late planted fields. With the recent rains and high temperatures coming in the next couple of weeks, soybeans should have very good pod-fill if protected from aphids.

Corn Diseases
We have been on the lookout for corn foliar diseases such as Northern Corn Leaf Blight and Gray Leaf Spot. Both have been found in pockets in western New York at low populations. Grey Leaf Spot (GLS) is a foliar disease that has been a problem in the lower southern tier and east into the Hudson Valley. However, we recently received reports that GLS has been discovered near Trumansburg and on the Livingston/Wyoming border. Finding GLS infestation in these areas of our region is unusual and needs to be monitored, Fgure 1. Please contact Bill or Mike if you have similar leaf symptoms in your corn fields.

Figure 1: Gray Leaf Spot in Corn

Winter Wheat and Winter Malting Barley Variety Trial Results
We have had a lot of calls this week in regards to the variety trial results for winter wheat and winter malting barley. We will distribute these results as soon as we get them from campus, which will probably be next week.

Forage Yield Monitor Field Day
August 22, 2013, 10am-12pm O’Hara Machinery 1289 Chamberlain Rd., Auburn, NY
Interested in purchasing a new forage harvester with yield monitoring capabilities, but don’t know what the benefits are? Already own the equipment, but want to understand how to use the data? Attend the field day and get your questions answered. Program will include: importance of yield monitoring, overview of harvester components involved in yield monitoring, information on calibration, and farmer experiences. See the flyer for more information

Corn Silage For Sale
Table Rock Farm is looking to sell up to 2,000 tons of corn silage. The corn silage is processed, 36-37% DM, and has been treated with an L. buchneri inoculant. Price is $65/ton at the bunk. If you are interested contact Meghan Hauser at Table Rock Farm in Castile, NY at 585 880-4089 or 585 493-2517.

Timothy Hay Wanted
Advanced Feed Technology (AFT) of Geneva is looking at least 55+ tons, preferably in small bales, of Timothy hay over the next couple months. After that they will need approximately 20 tons per month through next spring. They are willing to pay up to $300 per ton delivered range for hay that meets their quality specifications and meets or exceeds guaranteed analysis levels. In addition they need to verify particular field lot locations for traceability reasons.

They will pay to have core samples analyzed for the following:
Crude Protein – 6% min. preferably between 6.5%-9.5%
Crude Fat – 2% min. preferably between 2.5%-4.5%
Crude Fiber – 24% min. & 32% max., preferably 25%-31%
Moisture – 12% max. preferably between 7%-11%
Calcium - .1% min. & .6% max., preferably between .2%-.5%
Yeast & Mold: <1000 CFU/g
Salmonella: Negative/375g
Aflatoxin: <20ppb
Appearance: A mixture of mostly stems, with some leaves and seed heads
Color: Light to Dark Green & Brown
Odor: Fresh, green & slightly herbal, no off or rancid odor.
If interested contact: Peter Hessney, Phone: 585-738-3500, Email: ph@kensagroup.com

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Crop Alert: August 9, 2013

This Crop Alert was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

By Bill Verbeten & Mike Stanyard, Cornell Cooperative Extension

Corn and Soybean Yield Contests
Time is running out to enter the 2013 Corn and Soybean Yield contests. Fields need to be entered and fees paid by August 19, 2013. For more information see the brochure on our website.

Cover Crop and Fall Forage Plantings
The next couple weeks are the time to get cover crops and fall forage seedings planted. The mild temperatures and rainfall are making growing conditions ideal for planting. Radishes, clovers, and oats need to be planted in August (along with 25-50 lbs./A nitrogen for oats and radishes) to accumulate enough biomass prior to winter. Winter triticale for silage should be planted in early September because too much top-growth (>6-8 inches) going into the winter can result severe losses from snow mold. In new haylage seedings after small grains, be sure to control the grain that sprouted behind the combine by tilling or spraying. Clear alfalfa seedings can be sprayed with Poast Plus or Select Max early on to control small grains that emerge after seeding. Round-Up Ready alfalfa fields have the added option of glyphosate for small grain control. Mixed seedings with grasses have few options for herbicide applications that will kill the small grain and not the grass. It may be better to delay the grass seeding until the spring or till the field if small grain regrowth is a perennial problem in your fall haylage seedings.

Soybean Disease Survey
We have had reports of various soybean diseases in the last couple of weeds. If you have disease pressure in you soybeans please contact us so we can document them and if necessary have samples sent out for further diagnosis. Phytophthora Root Rot, Figure 1 is one disease in particular that we need to send in to the lab for race identification

Figure 1 Phytophthora Root Rot in Soybeans

Immature Corn Silage From Larry Chase
In some parts of New York, the 2013 corn crop may not reach normal maturity. There may be small ears, poor grain fill or even no ears on the corn plant at the time of harvest. We have seen this same situation in previous years. The following points may be helpful as you work with immature corn that will be harvested for corn silage. For the full article check it out on our website.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Crop Alert: June 15, 2013

This Crop Alert was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

By Bill Verbeten & Mike Stanyard, Cornell Cooperative Extension

Water Water Everywhere
From 4 to 7 inches of water has fallen in most of WNY since June 6. This has resulted in ponded and flooded fields that might result in some crop loss, Figure 1. How long can corn and soybeans survive under water? Answers vary, but the consensus is 2 to 4 days. If the temperature is in the mid 60’s, crops can survive up to 4 days if it is partially submerged. Survival time will be less if the average temperature is in the mid 70’s. Under warmer temperatures, plants will use their available oxygen up faster. So we want cloudy cool days instead of warmth and sun. Even when the water subsides, recovery will be slow as long as the soil remains saturated.

Figure 1: Flooded Corn Field

Replanting/Delayed Planting
What about replanting options? We are just about to the end of our planting window for NY. Many of these wet fields will take some time to dry out before they would be suitable to plant. Corn for grain is very risky at this point and even the shortest season hybrids would need a little luck to mature. We still have a very small window to get some corn for silage in the ground and still have it make it through. Soybeans can go in a little longer but the risk factor increases after June 20. I have seen soybeans planted as late as July 1 mature but it usually depends on good moisture in August and a warm fall.

Delayed Forage Harvest
Hay and haylage harvest has been delayed across western NY by the recent rains. Many farms have had to chop some of their silage back into the fields. For stands that haven’t had first cut taken off yet, the lower leaves have begun to fall off the alfalfa and it’s beginning to come into full flower while all grasses are headed out at this point. When the ground finally dries out these fields will have high tonnage of low quality feed. At this point we may lose our last cutting from this rain on some acreage. Just be thankful we didn’t have wide-spread winterkill—my home area of Wisconsin lost over 50% of their alfalfa to ice sheeting and eastern Ontario has lost over 75% of their hay and haylage ground.

Planting Emergency Forages
For those of you who need to plant something to feed to your cows on these flooded fields there are some options once they dry out (however if you claimed insurance you probably won’t be able to plant those acres until fall). Corn silage, sorghum, sorghum sudangrass, and hybrid pearl millet will be the highest yielding emergency forages—work from the University of Minnesota showed that 4-6 ton DM/acre (12-15 ton @ 35% DM/acre) was harvestable when planted the end of June/first week of July and 75-200 lbs./acre of nitrogen applied. We have a longer growing season in western New York than near the Twin Cities & Fargo, ND where this research was conducted so we should expect similar to potentially higher yields of these emergency forages. Forage soybeans will yield between 2-3 ton DM/acre. July planted oats with nitrogen fertilizer will only yield 1-2 ton DM/acre of silage. August plantings of oats are generally more successful and have higher yields (2-3 ton DM/acre) due to lower heat stress compared to July seedings.

Crop Alert: June 21, 2013

This Crop Alert was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

By Bill Verbeten & Mike Stanyard, Cornell Cooperative Extension

Purple & Yellow Corn
Reports have come in from across the region of purple corn, Figure 1, and concerns have been raised about phosphorous deficiency and taking corrective action. There is nothing that can be done except to wait until the soil warms up and dries out. The purpling is caused by an accumulation of anthocyanins and is very common at the 3-4 leaf stage because the corn plant is changing how it grows. Up until about three weeks after planting the corn plant relies solely on the energy in the kernel to grow before transitioning fully to photosynthesis. Any stress that reduces root growth at that time (i.e. the flooded conditions across western New York) can cause a build-up of sugars in the leaves and increase the purpling in the corn. Some corn varieties naturally “purple” more than others. Bright, sunny days followed by cool nights can also increase leaf purpling. True phosphorous deficiency should be evaluated at the 6-8 leaf stage when soils are warm and root growth not restricted by cool, wet conditions. For more info on corn purpling see the following from Midwest Labs, Iowa State, and Purdue.

Heavy rainfall and flooded conditions have resulted in large nitrogen losses across the region in corn fields, especially where the fertilizer was applied at planting. Yellow corn has been the result. Side dressing nitrogen will be a requirement on most, if not all corn fields this year. The million dollar question right now is how much nitrogen needs to be applied. At minimum we are recommending to sidedress 50 lbs N/acre, though some situations may need more and will vary by soil type, manure history, and previous crop. If you want to test your soil for nitrate content (PSNT) your corn needs to be 6-12 inch high, the soil should be sampled at 8-12 inches deep, and samples need to be dried immediately to stop mineralization. See Agro-One’s website for the full description of the sampling procedure.

Figure 1: Yellow & Purple Corn

Rolling Soybeans & Aphids
Mike Stanyard and I have gotten numerous questions about rolling soybeans this past week. This has been done before or immediately after planting in the Midwest to improve field conditions for harvest (pushing down rocks & residue, creating a smooth surface). The University of Minnesota has put together a bulletin discussing their research along with findings from Iowa State and North Dakota State. The have found that rolling soybeans does not increase yield, and can greatly damage soybeans especially after the V3 stage and under wet field conditions. Soybeans should not be rolled under current wet field conditions in western New York. For reduce tillage farmers seeking to smooth out their fields, rolling immediately before or after planting is a good practice when done under proper field conditions in order to increase the ease of harvest. Delayed soybean planting continues across the region, with timely rains in August these later plantings will probably still yield well. The flooded conditions have also resulted in stand failures on the heavier clay soils in western New York due to soybeans rotting underground.

Mike has found soybean aphids over threshold (250+ aphids per plant) on soybean fields that did not have an insecticide seed treatment, Figure 2. If you did not use an insecticide seed treatment, you need to scout your fields for aphids. Most insecticides containing pyrethroids will control aphids.

Figure 2: Soybean Aphids

Wheat Head Scab
The weather conditions have favored the development of fusarium head blight across the region, Figure 3. It will be important to get out into your wheat and other winter small grain fields this next week to start evaluating how severe this disease is in your fields. Fungicide applications have reduced, but not eliminated the oc-currence of fusarium head blight. This is expected, and while disease will still be present if you sprayed, the severity will be greatly reduced (usually at least 50% reduction com-pared to not spraying). Spring small grains are starting to reach Feekes 10.5 (pollination) and will continue to do so next week(see picture). This growth stage generally occurs within 2-3 days after the heads completely emerge. Apply Caramba (10-17 oz/A), Prosaro (6.5-8.2 oz/A), or Proline (5-5.7 oz/A) within 5 days of seeing pollen on small grain heads to reduce the incidence of fusarium head blight.

Figure 3: Fusarium Head Blight in Wheat

Colorful Alfalfa
The wet conditions have also affected alfalfa and other hay crops. If your hay/silage field is molding (white, brown, or black color) after laying in the field during multiple rainstorms it will probably be better to just chop it back into the field instead trying to deal with the anti-quality compounds in the feed. Despite short feed inventories and high current hay prices it is better to buy clean feed than to compromise cow health by feeding garbage.

We have also seen potentially K deficient alfalfa in wet field conditions, but are waiting on a tissue sample analysis to confirm, Figure 4. Reports of ‘wrinkled’ alfalfa with general yellowing has also been found and are most likely due to feeding by plant bugs. There are not economic thresholds for plant bugs as leafhoppers and weevils are more damaging pests in alfalfa.

Figure 4: Potentially K Deficient Alfalfa in Flooded Field

Crop Alert: June 26, 2013

This Crop Alert was originally written for and distributed to farmers and other members of the agricultural industry in western New York.

By Bill Verbeten & Mike Stanyard, Cornell Cooperative Extension

Potato Leafhoppers
This yearly alfalfa pest has arrived across western New York on the storms we’ve had in recent weeks. Reports of leafhoppers over threshold are coming in from across the region, however many fields won’t be sprayed because second harvest will occur soon after this latest round of rain on many farms. If first harvest was delayed and 2nd harvest is more than a week away it will be very important to get out in the fields and scout for leafhoppers once it dries out. The re-growth after 2nd cut will also need to be watched closely while it’s small to keep the leafhoppers in check. For more discussion on this topic see Mike’s June 2006 Ag Focus article.

Yellow Soybeans
The soybean fields that have managed to survive the floods have been looking pretty yellow in parts of western New York. In addition to being a bit waterlogged, the soybeans are currently transitioning from their using the energy in their cotyledons for growth to relying on photosynthesis. Furthermore the soybeans are probably just being to form nodules and fix nitrogen, see this video from the University of Wisconsin on the topic of yellow soybeans.

Septoria Brown Spot
We are starting to see some brown lesions on the lower leaves of soybean plants. Septoria brown spot is probably the most common early leaf disease that occurs with wet warm weather, Figure 1. This fungus will start on the unifoliate leaves but can spread upward to the trifoliates. Soybean plants usually can outgrow it and the lower affected leaves will yellow and fall off. Usually not yield limiting unless it spreads to upper trifoliates on small plants.

Figure 1: Septoria Brown Spot on Soybeans

Side-dressing Corn
The rains have washed away much of the nitrogen put down at planting with the corn. Pre-sidedress nitrogen test (PSNT) samples from across the region have come back very low in a number of cases (below 10 PPM). If you take PSNT samples and they come back ≥ 25 PPM (not very likely this year) no side-dress nitrogen is needed. PSNTs between 21-24 PPM should have 50 lbs. N/acre this year with all of the rain (in dryer years 25 lbs. N/acre would be more appropriate). Below 21 PPM (very common this year) higher rates of 75-150 lbs. N/acre are justified. For a recommendation more tailored to your farm see the Cornell Corn N Calculator. For more information on PSNT sampling and recommendations see the Cornell PSNT Factsheet.

When side-dressing nitrogen, it should be injected/knifed in if possible. Dribbling liquid nitrogen on will have lower losses than broadcasting, but more than injecting. Adding a nitrogen stabilizer to side-dress fertilizer will not be worthwhile.

Fusarium head blight update, June 28, 2013
from Gary Bergstrom, Extension Plant Pathologist, Cornell University

Winter wheat in New York flowered primarily at the end of May and first few days of June during a period when the Risk Assessment Tool indicated low risk of FHB. Field observations this week in scattered locations across New York are telling a somewhat different tale. Some level of FHB is now visible in most winter wheat fields in the state, some non-sprayed fields in the range of 5-10% incidence. Even if you checked your fields a week ago, I urge you to check them again as symptom development has increased following the shift from cool to warmer temperatures. If you see significant incidence of FHB you might consider having a pre-harvest test done for DON toxin contamination before shipping your wheat to a flour mill. Much of the small, scattered acreage of spring wheat and barley flowered over the past week or so when the forecast risk of FHB was moderate to severe. Growers can still make an application of Caramba or Prosaro if the spring crop is within 5 days of the start of flowering (first yellow anthers appeared). Most are past that time. FHB symptoms should start to appear in the next week or so; with the high risk of the past two weeks, monitoring of spring grains will be very important this year. Powdery mildew, Stagonospora nodorum blotch, and leaf rust development has been observed on flag leaves of winter wheat; flowering sprays with Caramba or Prosaro appear to have reduced the severity of flag leaf disease to a significant extent. Stripe rust of wheat has been observed at low levels in Tompkins and Monroe Counties and was also recently reported in Grand Isle County, Vermont.