Integrated Crop Management News

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Planting with Seedling Diseases and Low Germination Rates

March 29, 2019
Diaporthe can infect seeds, causing deformities in soybean seed and reduced germination.

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.

Management Considerations for Post Flooding Soils

March 26, 2019

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 Cover Crop Termination

March 21, 2019
cereal rye cover crop spring growth

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.

Alfalfa Winter Survival - A Complicated Subject

March 20, 2019

How did alfalfa fields fair this past winter? This is a complicated subject since several factors play into alfalfa winter survival. These factors include fall soil moisture conditions, 4-inch soil temperature, and other stresses like stand age, soil fertility, and fall stubble.

Flooding and Stored Grain

March 19, 2019

The rapid snowmelt in Spring 2019 has caused instances of stored grain being covered with floodwater. By current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy, grain inundated by uncontrolled river or stream water is considered adulterated and must be destroyed.  The situation in 2019 is one of river water flooding rather than of rain-driven pooled water in low ground, for which there are salvage options.   As shown by the example of the inundated Omaha sewage treatment plant, river-based floodwaters can bring in many hazards and rapid spoilage. 

Equipment Considerations for Anhydrous Ammonia Application

March 19, 2019
Anhydrous ammonia tanks

Because of limited fall 2018 anhydrous ammonia fertilizer application, fertilizer infrastructure including transportation, distribution, and application may be stressed this spring. A review of application equipment considerations can help ensure that your nitrogen fertilizer is properly and safely applied. This article focuses on anhydrous ammonia equipment.

Anhydrous ammonia tanks

Effects of Unharvested, Shattered, or Hailed-out Soybean Fields on Nutrient Supply for Corn

March 18, 2019

Flooded fields and wet soil conditions in the fall 2018 meant some soybean fields were not, or are not going to be harvested. Also, some fields occasionally experienced significant shattering or a hailstorm in the fall where soybean seed is knocked from the plants and thus not harvested. When the grain is not harvested, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) nutrients returned to the soil in the soybean grain can be accounted for when planning nutrient applications for the next crop. Other nutrients will also be returned, but most are not a fertilization need in Iowa soils.

Spring Burndown Treatments for Winter Annual Weeds

March 18, 2019
Horseweed (marestail) seedling prior to bolting

With the short timeframe for fieldwork this spring prior to planting, early weed management may fall to the bottom of the priority list for many.  For those who have persistent issues with winter annuals (field pennycress, horseweed/marestail) in no-till, an early burndown treatment may be worth the extra effort this spring.  Winter annuals resume growth soon after the arrival of warm temperatures, so as soon as fields are fit the weeds will be susceptible to spray.

Anhydrous Ammonia Application -- Spring 2019

March 15, 2019

It was a late harvest in fall 2018. Soils were wet and frozen when it was time to apply anhydrous ammonia. Those situations resulted in much less than normal anhydrous ammonia application last fall. Therefore, considerable anhydrous ammonia needs to be applied this spring. There is only so much capacity to switch from one nitrogen (N) fertilizer product to another. In Iowa, historically the two largest N fertilizers are anhydrous ammonia (largest) and urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) solution, with granulated urea a distant third.