A simple but potentially valuable spring task to consider is sampling fields for the soybean cyst nematode. And since we are heading into the cropping season, it makes sense that attention be given to those fields in which soybeans will be grown in 2016. Read more about Don't Forget SCN Sampling on Your List of Spring Chores
Integrated Crop Management News
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Seedcorn maggot is a seed and seedling pest of corn and soybean. Plant injury is especially prevalent during cool and wet springs. The larvae, or maggots, feed on germinating corn and soybean seeds or seedlings (Photo 1). They can feed on the embryo, delay development or kill the plant. Infestations tend to be field-wide instead of grouped together like for many other pests. To confirm seedcorn maggot injury, check field areas with stand loss and look for maggots, pupae and damaged seeds (e.g., hollowed out seeds or poorly developing seedlings). Read more about Look for Seedcorn Maggot in Corn and Soybean
The benefits of healthy soil in sustaining crop production are most evident when growing conditions are less than ideal. Healthy soils increase the capacity of crops to withstand weather variability, including short term extreme precipitation events and intra-seasonal drought. The extreme drought in 2012 resulted in variable yield reduction to corn and soybean production in Iowa with the worst impact on fields with conventional tillage systems (i.e., chisel plow, deep ripping, etc.). Read more about Soil Health Benefits for Sustaining Crop Production
The weather forecast appears to be favorable for field activities so people will be anxious to get into the field. A concern for many will be the effect of the widespread freeze on the performance of burndown herbicides. Unfortunately, there is no simple blanket statement that can be made since the plant response will vary depending on weed species, weed size, and the herbicides used. Read more about Cold Temperatures and Burndown Herbicides
The percentage of soybean treated with a seed treatment has increased greatly in recent years. Over the past five growing season, the Robertson lab has evaluated the effect of commercial seed treatments on stand count, disease incidence and severity, and yield of soybean with funding provided by Iowa Soybean Association. Read more about 2015 Evaluation of Commercial Seed Treatments on Soybean at Three Locations in Iowa
It’s time to plant small grains. When planting oats, spring wheat, and barley, farmers typically plant two to three bushels of small grains per acre, but there is a better way to optimize plant populations and grain yields. Farmers calculate corn and soybean rates by seed count and should do the same for small grains. Several factors affect final plant stands at oat harvest, including: desired final plant stand, number of oat seeds per pound, germination rate in the seed lot, and expected stand loss from irregular seeding depth or early plant death. Read more about Fine-Tune Oat Seeding Rate This Spring
Take time now to get a plan in place for terminating a cover crop. Whether termination will be done with a herbicide, rolling/crimping, or tillage, it is important to know not just the advantages, but also the limitations with a termination method. Regardless of termination choice, it is important to have a plan in place to minimize problems this spring. Read more about Terminating Cover Crops - What's Your Plan?
On February 3, 2016, Monsanto announced commercial launch plans for soybean varieties resistant to dicamba and glyphosate (designated Roundup Ready 2 Xtend varieties). This announcement followed China’s decision to approve grain from these varieties for import. Many weed management practitioners hope the use of this new technology will improve control of challenging weeds, including those with evolved resistance to glyphosate and herbicides from other groups. Read more about Dicamba and Dicamba-Resistant Soybean Varieties
Corn rootworm is a persistent and economically important pest in Iowa, with yield loss caused primarily by larval feeding on corn roots. Genetically modified corn with Bt traits kills western and northern rootworm larvae, and Bt-rootworm corn has been available since 2003. Read more about Approaches for Managing Corn Rootworm in Iowa
As spring plans are finalized, don’t forget to consider aerial imaging as part of a continuous improvement plan. Remote sensing and the use of aerial imagery has been used for decades in agriculture but since 2010 we’ve seen the number of available imagery providers grow extensively. The use of imagery can vary from farm to farm but several common uses include variable rate fertility recommendations, assessing water management performance, quantifying soil compaction and machinery induced yield limiters, locating late season weed outbreaks, and generally evaluating the consistency of crop vigor across a field. Read more about The Source Matters for Getting the Most out of Aerial Imagery