Each year, Iowa State University evaluates the agronomic performance and nematode control provided by hundreds of soybean varieties that are resistant to the soybean cyst nematode (SCN). The research is funded by the soybean checkoff through the Iowa Soybean Association, and the experiments are conducted in each of Iowa’s nine crop reporting districts. A report containing the results of the 2018 experiments will appear in an upcoming issue of the Iowa Farmer Today. The results show that even low SCN soil population densities in the spring can increase greatly during a growing season and cause yield loss. And the yield benefits of SCN control provided by good resistant varieties are apparent in the results.
Integrated Crop Management News
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With this year’s harvest of soybeans delayed beyond what is considered an ideal window of time, the opportunity for diseases to infect seed pods and in some instances, to the seed itself, was greatly increased. Across the state and the north central region, seed suppliers have reported that this year’s crops of seed soybean are frequently testing positive for the Diaporthe fungus (Phomopsis seed decay), which is resulting in lower than normal germination rates of seed. Seed decay is characterized by cracked, shriveled seed with white chalk-colored mold on the seed surface.
On October 31, 2018, the EPA made the long-awaited announcement regarding dicamba registration for use on dicamba-resistant soybean. I suspect opinions regarding the EPA actions are as varied as people’s views of the technology. Following are pertinent changes on the dicamba labels:
As the season approaches its conclusion and harvest conditions are most challenging, there are few things worth remembering to protect and sustain soil health. At this time, soil is susceptible to compaction due to rain and saturated soil conditions. Soils remain saturated longer at this time of the year since water use by crops is negligible and there is low water evaporation due to cool temperatures.
SCN-resistant soybean varieties are critically important for managing the soybean cyst nematode (SCN). Iowa State University compiles a list of SCN-resistant varieties for Iowa farmers every year. The updated list has just been released, and it contains both fewer and more choices for 2019. Read the article to learn how this is possible.
Late harvest and the rush to get grains out of the fields may present an opportunity to rethink the need for tilling fields this fall or not. The question to ask is, “Do I need to till this fall?” Given the economic and environmental challenges farmers are facing, the answer in most cases is no. With harvest under way, now is a good time to start thinking about this decision.
As of October 14, 2018, Iowa soybean harvest was only about 20% complete, making it the latest soybean harvest on record. This was caused by the prolonged heavy rains in September and early October. As a result, field losses, abnormally high harvest moisture content and moldy/weathered soybeans are all issues this year.
Above normal rains in September have slowed field crop dry-down. Coupled with early season drought in South Central and Southeast Iowa and above-average rainfall in the Northwest, there is high risk of reduced grain quality. Corn and soybeans remaining in the field are currently exposed to excessive moisture that encourages the growth of ear molds. Moldy kernels are counted in total damage, thereby affecting the overall grade of the corn. Additionally, if the fungus is capable of producing mycotoxins, affected grain may be subject to marketing restrictions.
Rain events during September and October have created challenging conditions not only for timely harvest of corn and soybean crops but also for the impact harvest will have on the soil. These wet conditions coupled with a drop in air temperature will slow harvest operations. Soils are too wet for traffic from heavy equipment, making them susceptible to compaction during harvest operations. When soils are near saturated conditions, heavy equipment loads weaken soil structure where water works as lubricant, leading to the collapse of soil aggregates.
This year continues the chain of years with unusual harvest conditions driven by rapid weather changes in the latter part of the growing season. In mid August, crops were significantly ahead of schedule in terms of maturity. Heat and moisture in May and June accelerated the pace of development, to the point that signs of maturity were evident by the 15th of August.