Integrated Crop Management News

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Harvest and Storage of Weather-damaged Corn for Silage

August 18, 2020

Extreme weather events may lead to a decision to make corn silage rather than harvest corn for grain, or to harvest acres that will exceed current silage storage capacity. Before harvesting for silage, make sure you have a market for the silage or a sufficient number of livestock to feed it to. It may be difficult to harvest good quality corn silage if the crop has weather damage and the economic value of the silage will likely be lower than silage from non-damaged fields.

Silage Harvest of Drought-Stressed and Severely Lodged Corn

August 18, 2020
table 1

The decision to chop corn for silage should be made when there is no further potential to increase grain dry matter and whole plant moisture is in the proper range for the storage structure. The proper harvest moisture content is the same for drought stressed and normal corn. Recommended whole plant moisture contents are 65-70% in horizontal silos (trenches and bunkers), 60-70% for bags, 60-65% for upright stave silos, and 50-60% for upright oxygen limiting silos.

Wind Damaged Corn – Nutrient Content?

August 17, 2020
table 1

The August 10, 2020 high winds (derecho) caused lodged or flattened corn in many Iowa fields. The corn development ranged mainly from stages R3 (milk) to R5 (dent). Some fields may not be harvested, some chopped for silage, and some harvested for grain. Nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) remaining in the field may be different than with normal harvest due to partial plant removal, grain harvest, or grazing. Therefore, adjustments can be made for future fertilizer or manure applications.

Expectations for Lodged Corn

August 17, 2020

Derecho. Another of those words we wished we hadn’t heard in 2020 but are quite certain we won’t forget about the results from its occurrence. Millions of corn acres were damaged, and there are many questions about the lasting impact.

In cornfields, what did it leave behind? The damage varies considerably, but for this article, let’s break injury into three categories:

Using Cereal Rye Cover Crop and Narrow-Row Soybean to Manage Herbicide-Resistant Waterhemp

August 6, 2020
Waterhemp density in soybean with marginal (left) vs. aggressive weed control program plus harvest weed seed control (right) in previous year’s corn.

Waterhemp control is an increasing challenge for soybean producers due to the evolution of multiple herbicide-resistant populations. With dwindling herbicide resources, there is a need to integrate non-chemical strategies into current weed management programs in soybean. Cereal rye is the most common cover crop grown in the Midwest due to its winter hardiness and short life cycle. The high C:N ratio of cereal rye compared to legume or brassica cover crops results in a slow degradation of the residues; thereby, increasing the duration of weed suppression.

Scout Now for Palmer Amaranth

July 28, 2020
meaghan standing next to palmer plant

This is the time of year to begin scouting for Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) in Iowa crop fields. While Palmer amaranth has been identified in more than half of Iowa’s counties, new identifications have waned since the widespread introductions in 2016. Palmer amaranth is still a species to watch out for in every Iowa crop field. Minnesota recently reported finding the weed in a county previously not known to have infestations – thus the weed is still on the move.

Unsolicited seed packages in mail

July 28, 2020

Most people are probably aware of the unsolicited mailing of seed packets from China and other countries. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) has issued guidelines on how to deal with the situation if you should receive one of these packages.  The following statement was made by IDALS.

Why do we care?

Planning a Late Summer Perennial Forage Seeding?

July 23, 2020

Late summer can provide a window of opportunity to seed perennial forage legumes and grasses, whether you want to establish a new forage crop or need to fill in bare and thin spots in an existing forage stand. To help improve the chances for a successful late summer seeding of forages, consider the following.

Field preparation prior to seeding

Scouting reminders for spider mites

July 20, 2020
Twospotted spider mite.

As parts of Iowa enter severe drought on July 14 (D2, US Drought Monitor), I encourage you to scout for twospotted spider mites in crops. Twospotted spider mites can increase whenever temperatures are greater than 85°F, humidity is less than 90 percent, and moisture levels are low. These are ideal conditions for the twospotted spider mite and populations are capable of increasing very rapidly.


Potato Leafhoppers Abundant in Soybean and Alfalfa

July 10, 2020
Potato leafhopper adult (top) and nymph (bottom).

This year we have received many inquiries about potato leafhopper (Photo 1) in soybean and alfalfa. Although they are present in Iowa every year, populations are higher than in 2018 and 2019. Usually, potato leafhoppers are only considered a pest of alfalfa in Iowa, but they do feed on soybean, too. Potato leafhoppers prefer smooth leaves and are usually repelled by varieties with pubescence (hairs).