Springtime on a farm is typically filled with the hustle and bustle of gearing up for planting season. This is the time of year when most farmers focus on de-winterizing the sprayer, changing oil in the tractors and checking the seed meters on the planter. If you use a field cultivator, it is also important to make sure it is properly adjusted to help provide a uniform seedbed for the upcoming planting season. Whether this is the first season or the thirtieth season for the field cultivator, there are a few items to check before making your way to the field this spring.
Integrated Crop Management News
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With the critical need for respirators and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care, there is a potential shortage of PPE, particularly N95 respirators, in the marketplace for agriculture and pesticide applications.
Fertilization is just as important for forages as it is for row crops to maximize productivity. This article addresses spring fertilization considerations for forage crops and pastures.
Nitrogen (N) applications can either be a one-time, annual application or can be split applied. Suggested N application rates for single application are in Table 1 and rates for split applications are in Table 2.
Table 1. Suggested N application rates for a single annual application
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) has waived the deadline for pesticide applicators to meet recertification requirements, following a proclamation by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds March 22.
Over the past several years as row crop prices declined, farmers and landowners across the nation have searched for alternative crops that might improve the financial bottom line. With the passage of the 2014 and 2018 farm bills, industrial hemp became one of those possible alternative crops. The 2014 farm bill established industrial hemp (hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] concentration of 0.3% or less) as a potential crop, separating it from its illegal relative, marijuana.
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:
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.