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)

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