(More) Wet Weather Ahead

Source: Jim Noel (edited)

The weather pattern will support wet weather into the middle of November with a series of storms now every several days. With clay type soils and reduced evaporation this could lead to standing water in fields in the next few weeks. We expect a wet weather system for the middle of this week followed by another next week.

November will be marked with above normal rainfall and temperatures trending from near normal to above or much above normal for the second half of the month.

Rainfall for the next two weeks will average 2-4 inches across the state with isolated higher totals in the south and east sections. A few spots in the northwest sections may be below 2 inches. This is above normal in all areas of the state though and much above normal in eastern and southern sections. See attached graphic for the two week rainfall outlook from NOAA/NWS/OHRFC.

The pattern remains in place with overall wetter conditions into December (though the second half of November may dry out some). It still appears January into February and possibly March will experience normal or slightly below normal rainfall before more wet weather returns sometime in April of 2019.

Much of the state has seen freeze conditions already with only pockets of the state not seeing a freeze yet (like near Lake Erie in northeast Ohio). However, much of the state has not seen a hard freeze yet (though parts of Northwest Ohio have). There is a chance we will go well into November before we see a hard freeze widespread across the state of Ohio.

Harvest Progress

OK, While many of us feel that this picture represents how harvest has gone so far, we are not really that far behind.  The most recent Ohio Crop Weather report issued on October 9 shows corn harvest at 21%.  At this time last year we had harvested 12% of our corn while the most recent 5-year average is 17%.

Soybeans are lagging behind just a bit.  This report shows Ohio bean harvest at 30%.  This compares to 42% last year and a 5-year average of 36%.

So why do we feel we are so far behind?  Probably because we started sooner this year and have received just enough rain to prevent us from running beans many days this year.  Early reports that I am hearing have soybean yields much better than last year and good corn yields as well.

See the full report below.

Warm and Wet October Expected

Source: Jim Noel

After a very wet September across all but northwest Ohio in the Maumee River basin, we can expect more of the same in October. September saw some locations in the top 5 wettest on record for Ohio like Columbus and Dayton.

We expect the first two weeks of October to average 5-15F above normal with a few days almost 20F above normal. There will be a few days this week with lows of 65-70 degrees which is almost unheard of in October with normal lows in the 40s. The latest low of 70 at Cincinnati is Oct.9 in 1982, since 1947. It is possible to be near that level a few days this week across especially southern Ohio.

Overall, temperatures the first two weeks of October will average 5-15F above normal with the last two weeks 0-4F above normal.

Rainfall will average 1-4 inches the first half of October. The 1 inch will be in southern Ohio and the 4 inches would likely be in the north part of the state. Normal is 1-1.5 inches for two weeks.

See rainfall map above.

Rainfall may relax to more normal with a chance of below normal the second half of the month. The worst of the rain will be in the central and western corn and soybean areas where rainfall of 3-7 inches is possible so harvest delays are possible.

It continues to looks like frost will be no earlier than Oct. 10-20 range which is normal for Ohio but chances are growing it may be more in the Oct. 20-30 range.

Stalk Quality Concerns

Source: Dr.’s Peter Thomison, Pierce Paul, OSU

Poor stalk quality is being observed and reported in Ohio corn fields. One of the primary causes of this problem is stalk rot. Corn stalk rot, and consequently, lodging, are the results of several different but interrelated factors. The actual disease, stalk rot, is caused by one or more of several fungi capable of colonizing and disintegrating of the inner tissues of the stalk. The most common members of the stalk rot complex are Gibberella zeaeColletotrichum graminicolaStenocarpella maydis and members of the genus Fusarium.

The extent to which these fungi infect and cause stalk rot depends on the health of the plant. In general, severely stressed plants (due to foliar diseases, insects, or weather) are more greatly affected by stalk rot than stress-free plants. The stalk rot fungi typically survive in corn residue on the soil surface and invade the base of the corn stalk either directly or through wounds made by corn borers, hail, or mechanical injury. Occasionally, fungal invasion occurs at nodes above ground or behind the leaf sheath. The plant tissue is usually resistant to fungal colonization up to silking, after which the fungus spreads from the roots to the stalks. When diseased stalks are split, the pith is usually discolored and shows signs of disintegration. As the pith disintegrates, it separates from the rind and the stalk becomes a hollow tube-like structure. Destruction of the internal stalk tissue by fungi predisposes the plant to lodging.

Nothing can be done about stalk rots at this stage; however, growers can minimize yield and quality losses associated with lodging by harvesting fields with stalk rot problems as early as possible. Scout fields early for visual symptoms of stalk rot and use the “squeeze test” to assess the potential for lodging. Since stalk rots affect stalk integrity, one or more of the inner nodes can easily be compressed when the stalk is squeezed between the thumb and the forefinger. The “push” test is another way to predict lodging. Push the stalks at the ear level, 6 to 8 inches from the vertical. If the stalk breaks between the ear and the lowest node, stalk rot is usually present. To minimize stalk rot damage, harvest promptly after physiological maturity. Harvest delays will increase the risk of stalk lodging and grain yield losses and slowdown the harvest operation. Since the level of stalk rot varies from field to field and hybrids vary in their stalk strength and susceptibility to stalk rot, each field should be scouted separately.

Seed Quality Issues in Soybeans

Let’s face it – we’ve had historic rains in parts of Ohio during 2018 and we are now observing many late season issues that come with this.  Seed quality is one of them and the symptoms or warning signs that there could be issues are on the stems.  The stems in some fields are heavily colonized with a mix of disease pathogens that cause Anthracnose, Cercospora, and pod and stem blight (Figure 1).  The bottom line is that all of these diseases can be better managed with higher levels of resistance but ultimately during 2018 – we had a perfect storm, lower levels of resistance combined with higher than normal rainfall conditions and add in the presence of a new insect pest, stink bugs.  Below I’ve outlined the general conditions of the crop and for each disease, the distinguishing characteristics.

Figure 1

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Tips for Harvest and Planning for the 2019 Field Season

Source: Dr. Anne Dorrance, OSU (edited)

Based on my trip across the state on Saturday, it is clear harvest has started.  A couple of things to keep track of as the combines run across the fields:

  • Make note of those low yield spots in soybeans to soil sample for soybean cyst nematode levels.
  • Did you leave unsprayed strips?  Harvest each of these first separately.  Yield is not even throughout a field so comparisons to the average of these unsprayed strips are a more accurate measure of what the baseline level of yield is within a field.  This is the number to compare yields for any treatments.
    • Note: the outside borders of the field are usually not comparable since these have additional secondary factors such as shade from trees, compaction, old fence rows etc. which can impact yield.
  • Fields with Sclerotinia should be harvested last. Yes, seed quality will continue to decline but this will avoid contaminating equipment with sclerotia which can then be introduced into more fields.  There are limited fields with this pathogen, and this approach will help keep it that way.
  • Fields with stink bug injury, generally moldy due to Phomopsis etc.: harvest those ASAP and get the seed dried down.  Phomopsis will continue to colonize pods from openings on those pods caused by insect feeding and then colonize the neighboring seeds.  This fungus that causes Phomopsis seed decay as well as other seed decay fungi tend to be a bit slow growing.  If the seed can be harvested, and dried down it will prevent further growth. It has also been noted that on a seed germination test in the fall, germs will be lower, but the seed where only the outside is colonized, not the germ, the fungus will die under out winter conditions (if the storage is dry) and then the germ will improve over the winter for Phomopsis seed decay.
  • While you are also harvesting make note of the varieties that did well on your farms. Not every soybean variety is meant for our wet poorly drained soils. We’ve had lots of reports and observed shallow root systems, extensive root rot, as well as Phytophthora stem rot and sudden death syndrome during 2018. In fields where diseases developed in 2018, pay attention to the resistance on these and other diseases for 2019. 
    • Remember, every company uses a different rating system, read the fine print to be sure that you understand what resistance actually means for those varieties. Is 1 dead or is it the best?

Wetter Than Normal Pattern into October

Source:  Jim Noel

There is no change from last week as an overall wetter than normal pattern will persist into the October harvest season.

The one thing that has changed is that temperatures after last week’s hot weather do not look as warm into October. Temperatures are now more likely to be normal or maybe a degree above normal.

It still looks like the first freeze is on track with a near normal arrival. Most places tend to be in the October 10-20 range in Ohio from northwest to south.

Looking further ahead in November, indications are for a warmer and not as wet period. Rainfall will likely be normal or possibly slightly below normal.

Rainfall over the next two weeks will average 2-5 inches. Normal is about 1.5 inches.