Integrated Crop Management News

Links to these articles are strongly encouraged. Articles may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Integrated Crop Management News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If articles are used in any other manner, permission from the author is required.

Seed Quality at Harvest

September 29, 2008
Image of a soybean field with leaf blight late in fall

by XB Yang, Department of Plant Pathology

During the past planting season, there were many reports of low soybean seed germination rates, which may have been the result of last year’s wide spread of Phomopsis. Severe  Phomopsis fungus infection can reduce seed quality. This season, several diseases (Cercospora, downy mildew, and white mold) were prevalent in different parts of Iowa; the causal fungi of these diseases can infect seeds. As harvest begins, it is time to learn about these diseases and check seed quality.

Time to Scout for Stalk and Ear Rots

September 26, 2008

By Alison Robertson, Department of Plant Pathology

When corn reaches black layer, the crop should be scouted for stalk and ear rots. Anthracnose stalk rot is apparent in many fields across the state and Diplodia ear rot  has been reported. 

Cool and Calm, Now Hopefully We Collect!

September 25, 2008
Image of base 50 degree F degree days in regions of Iowa from May 1 to Sept. 23, 2008

By Rich Pope, Department of Plant Pathology

It is September 24 and thankfully no frost to speak of yet.   The 2008 season will be one to look back on as a reference for variable weather effects on crops.

I last posted degree day data in mid-August.  As mentioned in that article, daily degree day accumulations are less critical once corn and soybean progress to reproductive stages, when general water and temperature stresses and solar radiation drive development.

Combine Harvesting Tips for 2008 Harvest

September 24, 2008
Image of an example of adjusting sieve openings

By Mark Hanna, Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering

Proper combine settings will maximize grain quality while minimizing machine field losses. Taking time to achieve proper combine settings and harvest safety will benefit producers in the long run. Following are a few general tips, and some that relate directly to soybeans and corn.

Making Fertilization Decisions as Fertilizer Prices Escalate and Production Costs Are High - Part 1

September 23, 2008
Graph of the change in soil test over time

By John Sawyer and Antonio Mallarino, Department of Agronomy

Fertilizers are at unbelievably high prices, with reports of tight supplies and potash allocation to dealers. Total crop production costs are causing credit supply issues, which complicates decisions to allocate available funds for production expenses. These issues are causing producers to consider changing production practices, including cutting back on inputs like fertilizer. What can be done?

Fall Management of Alfalfa

September 22, 2008

Steve Barnhart, Department of Agronomy
Rain in May and early June this year put most alfalfa producers behind two to three weeks for their first, and correspondingly their second and third cuttings. Now in mid-September, producers are taking advantage of a favorable week of drying weather to make what is their last summer cutting. 

This is crowding into the normal four to six week fall rest period for the alfalfa stands. Producers should consider if these mid-September harvests will put the stands at risk. 

Nonconventional Soil Additives and Programs

September 16, 2008
Table of the minimum percentage of nutrient content for fertilizers to be distributed in Iowa

By John Sawyer, Department of Agronomy

Every year products and programs are touted to Iowa producers as being the cure for crop production and economic woes. These seem to increase in number when crop prices are low or input costs are high. The old adage states “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” How do you know?