What effect will cold temperatures have on pests and pathogens?

Source: the Bulletin, University of Illinois

Many in the Illinois agricultural community are wondering what effects the recent extreme cold might have on pests and pathogens. While it would be nice if the cold temperatures we are experiencing could help to reduce our potential for pest damage, past experience tells us that the most serious pests we deal with are unlikely to be impacted much by these conditions.

Many of the pathogens and insect pests that commonly affect field crops in Illinois are well adapted to survive our winter conditions.  In many cases, pathogens produce recalcitrant survival structures (e.g. cysts in soybean cyst nematode, oospores in Phytophthora, sclerotia in white mold).  These structures allow the pathogen to survive extreme conditions including cold, drought, and flooding. Different species of insects overwinter in different life stages, including eggs (for example, western corn rootworm), larvae (Japanese beetles), pupae (corn earworm, though they do not survive the winter in most of Illinois), or adults (stink bugs). The overwintering stage has characteristics that help these insects to survive the winter, either by adjusting its physiology to better survive the cold, seeking out an overwintering site that protects it (such as soil, tree bark, or leaf litter), or both. The overwintering sites that insects find mean that they are not experiencing the same temperatures that we are when we venture outside. Wind chill has little effect for this reason (even though it has a major, unpleasant effect on us).

Extreme cold temperatures can impact some insects and plant pathogens, particularly those that may not overwinter as well (e.g. powdery mildew).  When cold weather pushes into the Southern regions of the country it can push certain diseases, such as rusts, further south, delaying disease onset in Illinois and other regions further north. The same is true of migratory insects, such as black cutworm and fall armyworm, which do not usually overwinter in Illinois; colder temperatures during winter often delay the arrival of these insects, and may ultimately lead to lower numbers. The opposite is also true – warmer than normal temperatures during the winter can allow these migratory insects to become a problem earlier in the season.

Although cold temperatures may not impact most of the diseases we encounter in Illinois field crops, fluctuation between conditions of cold and warm may have a negative impact on some diseases.  Dormancy by fungican be broken by environmental conditions such as higher temperatures.  This is similar to what occurs in plants, where warm weather may result in trees flushing out buds and flowers.  Consequently, the wide swings in temperature that we have experienced during the 2018/19 winter may negatively impact some diseases. While some insects (such as stink bugs) can also break dormancy during brief warm periods, many of our most serious pests will stay “hunkered down” until the spring and avoid these fluctuations. Unfortunately, insects and plant diseases are unlikely to suffer as much from the recent cold as we have.

Sprouting Soybeans

Source:  Dr. Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension

Soybean sprouting. Photo credit: Amanda Douridas

 

We’ve received a few pictures from around the state of green soybean pods splitting and also seed sprouting out of pods. While it is not uncommon to see pre-harvest pod shatter just prior to harvest due to re-wetting of dry pods, the pictures we’ve received have been of soybeans at the R6 growth stage.

Splitting of green pods may be related to the recent warm, wet (high intensity rainfall), and humid weather. (The Western Agricultural Research Station in Clark County had a high temperature of ≥93°F over a three day period in September followed by 3.5 inches of rain in a four day period.) Wet conditions at the R6 growth stage results in a large seed size that may split pods. Once the soybean pod is open, the seed is susceptible to pre-harvest sprout (germination of seed in the pod prior to harvest). Researchers have found differences in pre-harvest sprout among soybean cultivars.

Another (potential) cause of pre-harvest sprout is insect feeding. Feeding may open the pod where moisture can enter and sprout the seed.

 

 

 

 

Preparation of Grain Bins for Storage of Corn and Soybeans

Source: Curtis Young, OSU Extension Van Wert County

Empty Bin Treatments for Grain Bins for Storage of Corn, Popcorn and Soybeans

First – before using any product to treat grain bins, always read the most current label for the product to assure that the product is used correctly.  This is for the protection of the grain to be stored in the bin as well as for the protection of the applicator of the product.  Labels for products are subject to change from one year to the next, product registrations can be changed and/or canceled and rates may be changed.  Errors made because of not reading the most current label could result in injury to the applicator or contamination of the grain with a non-labeled product making it unsalable.

Continue reading

Tip Dieback and Zipper Ears in Corn

by: Peter Thomison, Allen Geyer, Bruce Ackley, Alyssa Lamb, and Alison Peart, OSU Extension

Although ear and kernel development appears excellent in many Ohio cornfields, there are reports of incomplete ear fill that are related to poor pollination and kernel abortion. Several factors may have caused this problem. The ovules at the tip of the ear are the last to be pollinated, and under stress, only a limited amount of pollen may be available to germinate late emerging silks. Pollen shed was complete or nearly complete before the silks associated with the tip ovules emerge. As a result, no kernels may be evident on the last two or more inches of the ear tip. Uneven soil conditions and plant development within fields may have magnified this problem. Pollen feeding and silk clipping by corn rootworm beetles and Japanese beetles can also contribute to pollination problems resulting in poorly filled tips and ears.

If plant nutrients (sugars and proteins) are limited during the early stages of kernel development, then kernels at the tip of the ear may abort. Kernels at the tip of the ear are the last to be pollinated and cannot compete as effectively for nutrients as kernels formed earlier. Although we usually associate this problem with drought conditions, the stress conditions that occurred this year, such as N deficiency, excessive soil moisture and foliar disease damage, may cause a shortage of nutrients that lead to kernel abortion. Periods of cloudy weather following pollination, or the mutual shading from high plant populations can also contribute to kernel abortion. Agronomists and farmers characterize the poor pollination and kernel abortion that occurs at the tip of the ear as “tip dieback”, “tip-back”, or “nosing back”, although poor pollination is usually the factor affecting poor kernel set at the tip. Kernel abortion may be distinguished from poor pollination of tip kernels by color. Aborted kernels and ovules not fertilized will both appear dried up and shrunken; however aborted kernels often have a slight yellowish color.

“Zipper ears” are another ear development problem evident in some fields. Zipper ears exhibit missing kernel rows (often on the side of the cob away from the stalk that give sort of “a zippering look on the ears”).  The zippering is due to kernels that are poorly developed and/or ovules that have aborted and/or not pollinated. Zippering often extends most of the cob’s length and is often associated with a curvature of the cob, to such an extent that zipper ears are also referred to as “banana ears”. Zipper ears are often associated with corn plants that have experienced drought stress during early grain fill. Ohio studies indicate that some hybrids are more susceptible to zippering than others are and that zippering among such hybrids is more pronounced at higher seeding rates. Zippering has also been observed in corn plants subject to severe defoliation during the late silk and early blister stages.

Will Soybean Aphids Reach Threshold This Year?

by: Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon, OSU Extension

We have heard from a few extension educators and scouts that soybean aphids are starting to make their appearance.  Right now, the number of infested plants is very low (around 5%) and the number of aphids on the plants is also low (average 5-10).  With this level of infestation, it is highly doubtful that soybean aphids will reach threshold, especially in soybean that has already entered the late R stages (R5 and R6).  However, there is a fair amount of late planted soybean that could still be at risk—in fact we were in a field last week that just reached R2.  We recommend that growers continue to scout their fields to make sure that soybean aphid populations remain under the treatment threshold which is 250 aphids per plant.

Farm Science Review Agronomy College is September 11th

by: Harold Watters, OSU Extension

The FSR Agronomy College is held in partnership between the Ohio AgriBusiness Association & OSU Extension. The event is designed to educate agronomists, Certified Crop Advisers, custom applicators and farmers on current agronomy issues. The full-day event features time with OSU Extension staff in the field in the agronomy plots on the east side of the Farm Science Review grounds. Breakout sessions will feature topics including a weed management update, weed and crop screen, variable rate soybean seeding, an update to the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations, the new Ohio Phosphorus Index, and some how we will squeeze in even more. CCA and pesticide application credits available to those attending.

Date: September 11, 2018

Location: Farm Science Review – Molly Caren Agricultural Center, London, OH

Time: Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.; sessions begin at 9 a.m. and concludes at 4:00 p.m.

Cost: $120 Registration: Click here to register for the event. (or try this link:http://oaba.net/aws/OABA/pt/sd/calendar/67757/_PARENT/layout_details/false)

Contact: Janice Welsheimer at 614-326-7520 or by email: jwelsheimer@oaba.net

Or for additional information, Harold Watters, 937-604-2415 or by email: watters.35@osu.edu

Proven Production Practices for Increasing Corn Yields and Profits

by: Peter Thomison, Steve Culman, OSU Extension

In the quest for high corn yields, considerable attention has been given to increasing various inputs, including seeding rates and fertilizers, narrowing row spacing, and making preventative applications of foliar fungicides, growth regulators and biological stimulants. However, the significant drop in crop net returns that’s occurred in recent years warrants developing strategies to lower input costs. An input that might have paid for itself with $5.50/bu corn may not at $3.75/bu corn. A practical and economic approach to achieving high yields is to follow proven cultural practices that enhance corn performance.

  1. Know the yield potential of your fields, their yield history, and the soil type and its productivity.
  2. Choose high yielding, adapted hybrids. Pick hybrids that have produced consistently high yields across a number of locations or years. Select hybrids with high ratings for foliar and stalk rot diseases when planting no-till or with reduced tillage, especially after corn. Select high yielding Bt rootworm resistant hybrids where is potential for the western corn rootworm damage.
  3. Follow pest management practices that will provide effective, timely pest control – especially weed control.
  4. Aim to complete planting by May 10. If soil conditions are dry, begin planting before the optimum date but avoid early planting on poorly drained soils. If planting late (after May 25 in central Ohio) plant corn borer resistant Bt hybrids.
  5. Follow practices that will enhance stand establishment. Adjust seeding depth according to soil conditions and monitor planting depth periodically during the planting operation and adjust for varying soil conditions. Make sure the planter is in good working order. Inspect and adjust the planter to improve stand establishment. Operate planters at speeds that will optimize seed placement. Uneven emergence affects crop performance because late emerging plants cannot compete with larger, early emerging plants.
  6. Follow appropriate seeding rate recommendations. Final plant populations of 31 -33,000 plants/A are adequate for most production environments. Final populations of 23-24,000 plants/A are usually adequate for low yield, droughty soils.
  7. Supply the most economical rate of nitrogen. Recommended N rates have been updated and will be made available at the end of March. Consider side-dressing and using an application method that will minimize the potential loss of N (incorporation/injection, stabilizers under high risk applications, etc.).
  8. Utilize soil testing to adjust pH and guide P and K fertilization. Avoid unnecessary P and K application. High soil tests do not require additional inputs.
  9. Perform tillage operations only when necessary and under proper soil conditions. Deep tillage should only be performed when a compacted zone is detected and soil conditions are dry (usually late summer).
  10. Control traffic over field. Larger field equipment means greater chances of soil compaction. Use controlled traffic (driving over same tire tracks for field operations) to compromise only a small percentage of the field, leaving the majority of the field undisturbed. Maintaining soil physical structure is a long-term management strategy for productivity.
  11. Take advantage of crop rotation – corn grown after soybeans will typically yield 10-15% more than corn grown after corn.
  12. Monitor fields and troubleshoot yield-limiting factors throughout the season.

These are by no means the only management practices with which growers need to be concerned but they are keys to achieving high corn yields.

CONSERVATION TILLAGE CONFERENCE: NEW TOPICS FOR CHANGING AG

by Mark Badertscher

So what is the relationship between healthy soils and healthy water? How can you manage inputs and planting date for high economic corn yields? Which soils should respond to sulfur applications? What are some opportunities and considerations with subsurface placement of nutrients? How can you build soil health and organic matter with cover crops and no-till? How can you use economics in the choice between growing corn and soybeans? What will the revised P index look like? How can you get started in honey bees, barley, or hops production? What are some methods to manage invasive plants around the farm?

These are all questions you might have asked yourself, but have struggled to find an answer. This year’s Conservation Tillage Conference (CTC) has the answers to these questions and many more. The McIntosh Center at Ohio Northern University will once again be the location were about 60 presenters, several agribusiness exhibitors, and approximately 900 participants will come together March 6th and 7th in Ada, Ohio. Attend this year’s conference to add value to your operation by learning new ideas and technologies to expand your agronomic crops knowledge.

A general session with well-known author David Montgomery from the University of Washington discussing “From Dirt to Regenerating our Soils” will officially open this year’s conference. Corn University, Nutrient Management, Precision Ag & Digital Technologies, Healthy Soils for Healthy Water, Regenerative Ag, and Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils are the sessions that make up day one.

On the second day, conference participants will be able to choose from Soybean School, Water Quality Research and BMPs, Alternative Crops, Pest Management of the Atypical Pests: Slugs, voles and more, Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters Precision Nutrient Management, and Healthy Water. In addition, there will be an EPA required dicamba training on both days of this year’s Conservation Tillage Conference provided for pesticide applicators in attendance. To register for one of these Monsanto-provided dicamba application requirements training events, go to: www.roundupreadyxtend.com/training.

Find out what experts from OSU Extension, OARDC, USDA, and SWCD are learning from the latest research about the timely topics that affect today’s farmers, crop consultants, and agribusiness professionals who are out in the field working together to produce crops in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner. Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) and Certified Livestock Manager (CLM) credits will be available to those who attend. Visit ctc.osu.edu and make plans to participate in this year’s Conservation Tillage Conference by February 24 to take advantage of early registration rates.

 

eFields Report Now Available

eFields represents an Ohio State University program dedicated to advancing production agriculture through the use of field-scale research. This program utilizes modern technologies and information to conduct on-farm studies with an educational and demonstration component used to help farmers and their advisors understand how new practices and techniques can improve farm efficiency and profitability. The program is also dedicated to delivering timely and relevant, data-driven, actionable information. Current projects are focused on precision nutrient management strategies and technologies to improve efficiency of fertilizer placement, enable on-farm evaluation, automate machine functionality, enhance placement of pesticides and seed, and to develop analytical tools for digital agriculture.

 The results from Knox County Seeding Trials are included on page 86.  The entire report can be downloaded at https://fabe.osu.edu/programs/eFields