From Across the Field – On the Road Again 8/21/2019

With the fair being the focal point of the office the past couple of weeks, I think I made my annual post fair rebound as things are almost back to normal. I say almost as our office renovation is still in progress and I am writing to you this week from our conference room on the first floor of the Hahn Center.

At the fair there was plenty of discussion regarding USDA’s crop report. I think based on the findings of the various crop tours, yield locally will be highly variable with some late planted corn likely not reaching USDA’s projection of 169 bushels per acre.

With the ongoing office renovation, it has made for an opportune time to do some teaching in other parts of the state. I always enjoy window scouting crops as I travel to different counties to primarily teach on livestock production, meat quality, and Grill Smart – our Extension grilling science course.

Before we kick summer to the curb, late August is a good time to prune blackberries and raspberries. Now that the crops are harvested, we can ready the plants for a successful season next year. Proper pruning now will improve production for next year by limiting damage from insects and diseases that over winter in the dead vegetation. After harvest, cut and remove canes that have fruited (except for Heritage and other fall-fruiting red raspberry cultivars). This reduces the incidences of blight, anthracnose, and cane and crown borer insects.

At a field day in Crawford County, I noticed there were more hoverflies in attendance than farmers. Often confused with sweat bees, hover flies often swarm near people attracted to the moisture and salts given off in sweat.  According to Timothy Gibb, entomologist at Purdue, these small black and yellow flies are much smaller than a yellow jacket but have a similar color pattern. Furthermore, since they are flies they do not possess a stinger. Hover flies tend to be most numerous near agricultural crops and since the do not directly harm people, chemical control is typically not necessary.

It is only ten days until September and as we turn the page on the calendar, it is close to time to seed lawns, divide peonies and even planting spring flowering bulbs. We also still have time to plant a few things in our gardens like short season lettuce, turnips, spinach and radishes.

The fair is behind us school has started and summer is slipping away. Days are getting shorter; dew is still on the grass midday and the sun is lower in the sky during the day. There simply is not as much daylight to get things accomplished as back in June, so we need to make the best of the time we have and try to enjoy the final month of summer. I’ll end this week with a quote from Oscar Wilde: “Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.” Have a great week.


Sept. 2: Labor Day (office closed)
Sept. 17-19: Farm Science Review

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