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|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 (|3) and (|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 (, Select Max (, or Assure II ( 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 ( 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 ( 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.