Flood waters are receding, but the challenges in recovery for farmers and livestock producers are just beginning. We recommend producers get out in their fields as soon as possible to assess the damage to pastures and hay ground, then check out possible disaster assistance. Look for three things in the assessment: debris, silt on the forage, and thinned or dead forage plants. Debris includes wire, metal and trash that may be injurious to animal health and is usually found along fence lines and in the corners of fields.
Integrated Crop Management News
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Reports of winter injury in alfalfa fields are coming in across the state. Old man winter along with other management factors can take a toll on alfalfa stands. Older stands, stands that were harvested between mid-September and late October, and stands with minimal stubble appear to have suffered the worst winter injury. Additionally, in many fields it is obvious where the snow drifted and provided insulation and protection as those parts of the field are the greenest.
Private pesticide applicators whose certification expired in 2018 have until April 15, 2019, to renew their certification if they plan to renew by attending a Continuing Instruction Course (CIC) training program. In order to renew by training an applicator must attend a CIC in each of the three years of their renewal cycle.
Planter maintenance is important for all farmers, particularly those in reduced and no-till systems. A well-maintained planter gives seed its best chance, and with field operations happening in a shortened timeframe this spring, planer maintenance will be as important as ever. Most of the physical responsibility for manipulating soil, placing seed, and getting the seed off to a good start rests on the planter.
Flooding has been extensive in several areas of Iowa this spring. In some cases, stored grain has been affected by flood waters. Land application of flood adulterated grain as a nutrient source for a future crop may be an option for some. See the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources (IDNR) and Iowa Dept. of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) publication for Proper Management of Flooded Grain and Hay.
You know what they say: March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.
Well, it certainly feels like this past winter was just one extended lion. While there were signs that maybe Iowa would be seeing greener pastures, that has not been the case, especially for farmers who have experienced flooding this past month. With the recent incidents and resulting disaster proclamations, as well as lost grain storage, the idea of farming greener pastures has a long way until fruition.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the requirement and availability of a new certified applicator training module for paraquat dichloride (also known as paraquat). Paraquat is a restricted use pesticide for use only by certified applicators. The restriction applies to mixing, loading, and applying paraquat, as well as other pesticide handling activities.
Prepare for a safe pesticide application season by checking the FieldWatch® registry before making pesticide applications. The FieldWatch® registry is intended to provide easy-to-use, accurate, and secure online tools to enhance communications and awareness between crop producers, beekeepers, and pesticide applicators.
Farmland in Iowa, western Illinois, and eastern Nebraska is experiencing flooding issues. Planting in these areas may be delayed or may not be planted to any crop in 2019. This can have significant economic and environmental consequences if flooded fields are left barren. Long-term damage to soil needs to be considered when planning for this year’s or next season's crop.
Spring weather has finally arrived and fieldwork will begin soon. Iowa State University research suggests cereal rye should be terminated at least 10-14 days prior to planting corn, so the favorable weather forecast may allow some farmers to begin terminating overwintered cover crops in the next few weeks.