Leaving crop residue on the soil surface improves nutrient cycling and, ultimately, soil quality that will increase and sustain soil productivity. Through conservation practices that include balanced residue management and soil fertility, environmental quality can be substantially enhanced. By retaining crop residue on the soil surface, soil organic carbon (SOC) and nutrient-holding capacity are increased while protecting the soil from wind and water erosion.
Integrated Crop Management News
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Despite the environmental and soil benefits that cover crops provide, many farmers are reluctant to try cover crops because of reports of possible yield reduction in the following crop. Recently, Dr. Sotorius Archontoulis suggested that biotic factors could influence whether rye affects corn yield.
The 2016 crop year is in the books. While there were a couple of periods where it looked like the weather was going to have significant impact, it turns out only to be short lived. State average yields are projected to be a record for both corn (199 bushels per acre) and soybean (59 bushels per acre).
The EPA recently approved a new, low-volatile dicamba formulation - M1768 (XtendimaxTM with VaporGripTM Technology) for dicamba-resistant soybean cultivars. While we recognize the benefit this technology provides in managing the growing herbicide resistance problem, we have concerns regarding the risks for non-target plant injury associated with an anticipated expanded use of dicamba.
The soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is capable of causing serious yield loss on soybeans every year. Back in the “good ole days,” a farmer was “good to go” with SCN management if he or she knew what fields were infested with the nematode and then grew SCN-resistant soybean varieties in rotation with the nonhost crop corn. Nowadays, things are more complicated. SCN numbers may be building up and causing increased yield loss and the buildup can go unrecognized because a soybean crop often does not appear stressed above ground, even though yield loss is occurring. This article explains why this SCN numbers might be building up in your fields and how to check.
An online course to help employers of agricultural pesticides train workers is now approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and has been updated to meet the training requirements of the revised federal Worker Protection Standard (WPS).
Bumper grain yields are being harvested from most Iowa fields this fall. However, due to low crop prices producers are thinking of reducing phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilizer application rates. A few important management options should be considered when making decisions with unfavorable crop/fertilizer price ratios.
This time of year brings harvest, preparations for winter, and the planting of cover crops. Cereal rye is a popular and versatile cover crop that is planted in the fall and terminated in the spring. Traditional termination methods include chemicals, mowing, tilling, and even crimping prior to planting of the row crop. The roller crimper, originally designed by the Rodale Institute, is used to crimp the cereal rye stem in several places (Fig. 1). The flattened rye can create a mulch bed on top of the soil.
Iowa has had relief from the constant, late-September rains that were setting up for a difficult harvest season. As a result, the average grain moisture has fallen to a more typical 18-21%; lower in areas of lesser rainfall and vice versa. The potential for field drydown normally declines rapidly after mid-October. The issues of field mold that we reported in late September remain but shouldn’t be intensifying. Overall, the storage properties of 2016 will be average or below average, especially in wetter areas.
Nearly 40 years after its discovery in the upper Midwest, the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) continues to be a highly damaging pathogen of soybeans in Iowa and surrounding soybean-producing states. SCN is most damaging in hot, dry growing seasons, but yield losses of 10% to 25% or more can occur in years when temperatures are moderate and rainfall is average or above average. Growing SCN-resistant soybean varieties can slow the build-up of SCN population densities (numbers) in the soil and produce profitable soybean yields in SCN-infested fields.