As temperatures warm this spring, cover crop termination is on the to-do list for some Iowa fields. Killing cover crops with herbicides is the most common termination method. The effectiveness of herbicides at terminating a cover crop depends primarily on three things:
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Claims of poor fertilizer application and visual striping in fields have increased in recent years. This issue impacts all sectors of the supply chain including growers, custom applicators, cooperatives and agribusiness insurance companies. An increase in documented application problems is primarily driven by a broader use of aerial imagery that can easily detect problems and an increase in use of dry nitrogen fertilizers.
Significant sulfur (S) deficiency in Iowa crops was first documented about 15 years ago. First identified in alfalfa and then corn and soybean. Since then about 150 trials with corn (along with trials with alfalfa and soybean) have been conducted across the state, with approximately 50% of trials having a statistically significant yield increase. A main reason for the yield response to S in recent years, as compared to many years prior, has been reduction in atmospheric deposition as a result of the Clean Air Act.
After another relatively wet fall, late harvest season, and mild winter, early weed management may be important this spring for those who have persistent issues with winter annuals such as field pennycress and horseweed/marestail in no-till. 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.
With recent weather patterns, specifically high rainfall leading to wet soil conditions, some farmers have experienced damaging populations of slugs in their no-till fields. No-till fields are particularly affected since increased residue provides a stable, cool, and wet environment for these animals that are prone to desiccation (drying out). Oftentimes, farmers wonder if insecticides or seed treatments are effective at managing these non-insect pests. We will discuss management options for slugs in this article.
Drone activity in agriculture continues to increase, and the aerial imagery generated can provide unique insight throughout the crop production season. Over the past decade the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has continued to evolve the requirements for the operation of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS, UAS, UAV or drones) to create a reasonable legal pathway for use in agriculture.
Many states, including Iowa, received a record amount of precipitation in 2019. In fact, the past two growing seasons have been especially wet. Consequently, this has created a number of issues for farmers, including reports of millipedes damaging crops under no-till production in Iowa, which is likely due to a combination of wet conditions and high residue. People that experience millipedes under these conditions frequently ask if insecticides or seed treatments will provide control of these pests.
Iowa State University (ISU) recently completed a five-year study of high-speed planter equipment in corn and soybeans. The study utilized a 12-row planter equipped with the Precision Planting SpeedTube high speed planter system and a 24-row planter equipped with the John Deere ExactEmerge high speed planter system (Figure 1). Both planters utilized individual row hydraulic downforce and were tested using a side-by-side strip trial experimental design. Each planter was used on approximately 400 acres per year.
Perhaps you did not get planned nitrogen (N) applications accomplished last fall. Or you are pondering what the spring 2020 weather conditions might be – another wet spring? Are you are considering use of different products; if so how should they be handled?
A common question when incorporating cover crops into a production system is, will the cover crop interfere with the performance of residual herbicides included with the burndown treatment? This article will discuss the fate of residual herbicides applied to crop residue and living cover crops, and how this may influence herbicide effectiveness.