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Corn Newsletter : 2019-05
Wetter Pattern than Normal will Continue into March...and Possibly AprilAuthor(s): Jim Noel
Not a lot of great news in the short-term. The wet pattern so far this year is likely to persist into March as an active weather pattern from the Pacific Ocean moves across the U.S.
In addition, the temperature gradient is amplified more than normal this late winter into early spring meaning colder north and warmer south. This will help fuel the storms and keep things active.
The outlook for March calls for temperatures near or slightly below normal with precipitation above normal.
The outlook through May calls for near normal temperatures and near to above normal rainfall.
The two week rainfall graphic from the NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Center calls for 1.5 to 3.0 inches of rain across the state of Ohio. Normal is about 1.5 inches so expect above normal precipitation the next several weeks. The greatest totals the next 2 weeks will be in the southern and western sections of the state. Precipitation will begin to increase starting later this week.
All indications are the last freeze this freeze will be normal or a little later than normal. Hence, expect 2 and 4 inch soil temperatures to lag behind normal at least through April.
On another topic, if you think overall it has been wet, it has. The last 10 years is the wettest on record since 1895 in Ohio. The attached graphic shows the 24-month running average precipitation index for Ohio, provided by the NOAA Midwest Regional Climate Center. It shows even the drought in 2012 was not enough to turn the index negative for a 24-month period. You have to go back to the 2008/2009 period to see the last time the index was negative. No other time since 1895 has the index been positive for so long. Looking deeper at the data it does show northwest Ohio has seen the index drop briefly negative a few times over the last 10 years while southern areas have been all positive. Bottom line, it has been wet overall for quite a long time now.
What’s Legal to Apply to the LL-GT27 Soybean – The (maybe almost) Final StoryAuthor(s): Mark Loux
Having to issue a retraction to previous C.O.R.N. article where we thought we had it right is always fun. About a month ago we ran an article that covered the legality of POST glyphosate and glufosinate applications to the LL-GT27 soybean, which is resistant to both herbicides. The issue at that time was the legality of applying a mix of both herbicides, based on questions we had received. Cutting to the quick, our conclusion was that because it was legal to apply the mixture since both herbicides could legally be applied and labels did not prohibit mixing. We were naïve apparently, because that article caused the issue over whether it was actually legal to apply glyphosate to the LL-GT27 soybean to be raised. Since then, ODA, USEPA, and the companies who are the involved registrants have been working to come to a solution that clarifies this issue and keeps us all moving forward toward a resolution. The issue here seems to be this - wording on most glyphosate labels specifies application is allowed to “Roundup Ready” and “Roundup Ready 2 Yield” soybeans, and since the LL-GT27 soybean is not designated as such, those glyphosate products could not legally be applied. After a month of deliberation, the USEPA issued some guidance which took the form of the following:
“Users of pesticide products containing glyphosate should refer to the pesticide product labels of herbicide products containing glyphosate for the specific registered uses on pesticide-resistant crops such as soybeans with glyphosate-resistant trait(s). Regardless of the herbicide product name (brand name), if the label of the glyphosate product states it is for over-the-top (post-emergent) use on glyphosate-resistant soybeans, and it is not otherwise restricted by other label statements/directions for use, it can be used on any soybean that has a glyphosate-resistant trait. However, if the label of the glyphosate product states it is for use on crops such as soybeans, with specific glyphosate-resistant traits by name, then the glyphosate product can only be used on those crop(s) with those traits specifically identified on the label. Ultimately, growers and commercial applicators must comply with the entirety of the pesticide label. Please let us know if you have any questions.”
Questions – yes - excuse us while we look for the head scratching emoji. We can try to interpret in real-life speak. Here’s what it comes down to:
- the important part of the glyphosate label here is the use-specific directions, or the section within the larger “Roundup Ready” part of the label that deals with soybeans.
- If the soybean section of the glyphosate product label does not mention specific genetics by trade name, but just the wording “glyphosate-resistant” or “glyphosate-tolerant”, then it is legal to apply that product to the LL-GT27 soybean.
- if the soybean section of the label restricts use to certain genetics by trade name - “Roundup Ready”, “Roundup Ready 2 Yield”, etc, then it would not be legal to apply to the LL-GT27 soybean.
- if the wording on the label is along the lines of “For Use on Soybeans with the Roundup Ready gene”, or similar wording with other specific genetics, it would not be legal to apply to the LL-GT27 soybean.
Our not exhaustive search through glyphosate product labels indicates that most if not all do not contain any wording about “glyphosate tolerance” in the soybean section, and indicate use is specifically on “Roundup Ready” or “Roundup Ready 2 Yield” or “Soybeans with the Roundup Ready gene”. This includes Roundup PowerMAX, Durango DMA, Abundit Edge, Credit Extreme, and Cornerstone to name a few. Manufacturer reps with a glyphosate product label that varies from this are free to contact us so we know.
The inability to use glyphosate on the LL-GT27 soybean affects primarily growers who bought it for the genetics or other traits and not the LibertyLink trait, who might have planned to use only glyphosate POST. Most of the utility of this soybean on problem broadleaf weeds comes from the LibertyLink trait though (and it’s definitely legal to apply glufosinate POST). There’s plenty of generic clethodim around to help out with grass. We assume label language will adapt over time to take care of the glyphosate issue. We’re not even sure this issue would have come up if we hadn’t tried to clarify the tank-mix legality and stepped right in it. There appeared to be some confusion in the field about this though, with different stories being told, and better to just clear it all up way in advance of the season. Stay tuned for the next chapter. Offer void where not legal. Legality may vary by state. Your mileage may vary. Side effects may include confusion, apathy, anger, and spontaneous profanity.
Nitrogen Application Timing for Weak Wheat StandsAuthor(s): Ed Lentz, CCA
Late-planted wheat fields had little opportunity for growth before cold and wet conditions moved into the area last November. Fall tiller production was limited because of early cold weather soon after planting. In addition, some wheat stands have been damaged this winter from lack of snow cover, standing water, saturated soils, ice sheets, and days of very cold temperatures.
In these situations, producers have asked whether they should apply nitrogen earlier to increase the number of spring tillers. Keep in mind, it is fall tillers that provide most of the yield in a wheat field. Heads developing from spring tillers generally are much smaller than heads from fall tillers.
In northern climates, the vegetative period of growth is much shorter than the other wheat regions of the country; thus, plants have a much shorter time to recover from winter damage. From my experience, producers will have limited success in improving yields of poor stands and stands with reduced-growth by applying nitrogen earlier. A producer may get a few more spring heads, but not enough to significantly change the yield situation. The earlier application will also significantly increase the risk of nitrogen loss. In fact, a producer may need to readjust their yield potential for these fields and reduce their total nitrogen rate accordingly.
Wheat does not need large amounts of nitrogen until jointing (Feekes GS 6), generally the latter part of April. Soil organic matter and/or nitrogen applied at planting generally provide sufficient nitrogen for early spring growth. Ohio research has shown no yield advantage for nitrogen applied before jointing. The longer the time between nitrogen application and jointing, the greater the risk for nitrogen loss. Nitrogen source will also affect the potential for loss. Urea-ammonium nitrate (28%) has the greatest potential for loss, ammonium sulfate the least, and urea would be somewhere between the two other sources.
Ohio research has also shown that yield losses may occur from nitrogen applied prior to green-up regardless of the nitrogen source. The level of loss depends on the year (losses would be smaller if the ground is not frozen or snow/ice covered). This same research did not observe a yield increase from applications made prior to green-up any year compared to green-up or Feekes GS 6 applications. Keep in mind that green-up is a descriptive term and not a definable growth stage. My definition of green-up is when the new growth of spring has covered the dead tissue from winter giving the field a solid green color – thus, growing plants.
There is a legitimate concern that wet weather may prevent application of nitrogen at early stem elongation. Ohio research has shown a yield decrease may occur when nitrogen application is delayed until Feekes Growth Stage 9 (flag leaf fully emerged). Thus a practical compromise is to topdress nitrogen any time fields are suitable for application after initial green-up to Feekes GS 6. There is still a potential for loss even at green-up applications. To lessen this risk a producer may want to use a nitrogen source that has a lower potential for loss such as urea or ammonium sulfate. ESN (polymer-coated urea) would be another option but it needs to be blended with urea or ammonium sulfate to insure enough nitrogen will be available for the crop between Feekes GS 6 – 9. The source of nitrogen becomes less important as the application date approaches Feekes GS 6 (jointing). The percentage of urea and/or ammonium sulfate would need to be increased with ESN for application times closer to Feekes GS 6. A producer may want to consider the use of a urease inhibitor with urea if conditions are favorable for volatilization losses: warming temperatures, drying winds and no rain in the forecast for 48 hours.
A split application of nitrogen may also be used to spread the risk of nitrogen loss and to improve nitrogen efficiency; however, Ohio State University research has not shown a yield increase from this practice compared to a single application after green-up. In a split system, the first application should be applied no sooner than green-up. A smaller rate should be applied with the first application since little is needed by the crop at that time and the larger rate applied closer to Feekes GS 6.
In summary, some wheat fields look rough coming out of the winter. Applying nitrogen earlier may slightly increase the number of spring heads but probably not enough for a significant yield increase. The earlier application will increase the potential for nitrogen loss. University recommendation would be to topdress nitrogen when fields are suitable for application after initial green-up to early stem elongation.
Topdressing Wheat with Liquid Swine ManureAuthor(s): Glen Arnold, CCA
Wheat fields will begin to firm up in Ohio and the topdressing with nitrogen fertilizer will soon start. There is usually a window of time, typically around the last week of March or the first week of April, when wheat fields are firm enough to support manure application equipment. By this date, wheat fields have broken dormancy and are actively pulling moisture and nutrients from the soil. With the limited fall and winter opportunities to apply manure to fields, many livestock farms have more manure than usual for this time of year.
The key to applying the correct amount of manure to fertilize wheat is to know the manure’s nitrogen content. Most manure tests reveal total nitrogen, ammonia nitrogen and organic nitrogen amounts. The ammonia nitrogen portion is readily available for plant growth. The organic nitrogen portion takes considerably longer to mineralize and generally will not be available when wheat uptakes the majority of its nitrogen in the months of April and May.
Some manure tests also list a “first year available” nitrogen amount. This number is basically the ammonia nitrogen portion of the manure plus about half the organic nitrogen portion. Again, for the purpose of fertilizing wheat, the organic portion of the nitrogen should not be considered available in time to impact yields.
Most deep-pit swine finishing manure will contain between 30 and 42 pounds of ammonia nitrogen per 1,000 gallons. Finishing buildings with bowl waters and other water conservation systems can result in nitrogen amounts towards the upper end of this range. Finishing buildings with fixed nipple waters and surface water occasionally entering the pit can result in nitrogen amounts towards the lower end of this range.
To capture the most nutrients from manure farmers should consider incorporation. Incorporation can result in less nitrogen loss and can especially reduce the loss of dissolved phosphorus. Unfortunately, there are very few toolbars designed to incorporate manure into wheat.
Three years of on-farm wheat top-dress results are summarized in Table 1. Each field trial was replicated four times. In each plot, the manure ammonia nitrogen application rate was similar to the nitrogen amount in the urea fertilizer; typically about 105 pounds per acre. The manure was applied using a 4,800 gallon tanker with a Peecon toolbar 13.5 feet in width. This toolbar cut the soil surface with a straight coulter and a boot applied the manure over the soil opening. Urea was applied using a standard fertilizer buggy.
Table 1. On-farm Swine Fishing Manure Topdressing of Wheat Results (bu/ac)
Swine manure (surface applied)*
Swine manure (incorporated)
Date of nutrient application
*Incorporation was performed with a modified Peecan toolbar attached to a 4,800 gallon tanker
In addition to the Peecon toolbar, OSU Extension as also conducted manure research on wheat using the both the Veenhuizen (Grassland applicator) toolbar and Aerway toolbar. All toolbars cutting through the soil surface cause some damage to the growing wheat, but side-by-side yield comparisons with conventional surface applied fertilizer have rarely shown any difference in yields.
Some Ohio commercial dragline operators are routinely applying livestock manure to wheat each spring. This practice is gaining acceptance as it’s faster and more efficient than manure application with a tanker. The risk of soil compaction is also reduced.
Dairy manure has been utilized with on-farm research plots when topdressing wheat. Dairy manure contains far less ammonia nitrogen per 1,000 gallons than swine finishing manure and does not consistently produce wheat yields similar to commercial fertilizer. Research on dairy manure as a top-dress to wheat by adding 28%UAN to the dairy manure to increase its fertilizer value has produced wheat yields similar to commercial nitrogen.
When applying livestock manure to wheat it’s recommended to follow the NRCS #590 Waste Utilization Standard to minimize potential environmental impacts. These standards include a 35 foot wide vegetative strip setback from ditches and streams. Applicators in the Western Lake Erie Basin also need to look at the weather forecast to be certain there is not greater than a 50 percent chance of a half-inch of rain in the 24 hours following manure application. Print this forecast out so you have proof in the event of a surprise downpour.
Additional on-farm manure top-dress of wheat plot results can be obtained by clicking on the on-farm research link on the OSU Extension Agronomics Crops team website at http://agcrops.osu.edu/
OSU Extension YouTube videos of manure to wheat and corn can be found here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7jUsQNGM8fCHjbZUdT9pKw
Prepare to Evaluate Forage Stands for Winter Injury
Forage stands will begin spring greenup in the next few weeks, especially in southern Ohio. While winter injury in forages is very hard to predict, this winter has presented some very tough conditions for forage stands. This is especially true of legumes like alfalfa and red clover. Producers and crop consultants should be prepared to walk forage stands early this spring to assess their condition in time to make decisions and adjustments for the 2019 growing season.
We had some days with very cold air temperatures, but the soil temperatures have been much more moderate than you might expect. The soil temperature at the 2-inch depth is associated with the temperature of plant crowns. The coldest 2-inch soil temperatures recorded since January 1 at the Ohio State University Agricultural Research Stations occurred in late January to early February, falling to 17.8 F at Northwest, 25.4 at Ashtabula (mid-January), 30.3 F at Western, 32.3 F at Wooster, and 32.6 at Jackson. To put this in perspective, temperatures in the 5 to 15 F range as measured at or just below the soil surface can begin to damage perennial legumes and prolonged exposure to those and lower temperatures can kill the plant. Snow cover is an important component of protecting forage plants from sub-zero temperatures since even a cover of 4 inches of snow can provide 10 to 15 degrees of protection. So, it appears that the soil temperatures this winter in Ohio do not pose a concern.
The greater concern we have for injury this winter is associated with the rapid freeze/thaw cycles and saturated soil conditions. These cycles can cause plants to be physically lifted (i.e. heaved) out of the soil. The greatest potential for heaving is with taprooted legumes like alfalfa and red clover. This heaving exposes the plant crown, making it more susceptible to cold air temperatures and physical injury. In severe cases, heaving breaks off the taproot, effectively killing the plant. Heaving tends to be more of a problem in wet, saturated soils and clay soils, which are especially common in northeast Ohio.
Forage stand health evaluation and winter injury assessment needs to be done by getting out into the field once there is 3 to 4 inches of growth from the plant. This involves selecting random sites throughout the field and counting the plants in a one-foot square area. Check at least one site for every 5-10 acres, and like soil sampling, more random sampling is better.
In addition to counting the legume plants per square foot, a count of the total stems per square foot is also useful because healthy plants can often produce more stems per plant thereby compensating for potential yield loss from fewer plants per square foot. After counting the plants, dig up all the plants in a one-foot square area for every 5 to 10 acres and examine the crown and roots of the plants.
For more details on winter injury evaluation in forages, please refer to the updated Corn, Soybean, Wheat, and Forages Field Guide, available at https://extensionpubs.osu.edu/corn-soybean-wheat-and-forages-field-guide/.
Although winter temperatures and snow cover amount are primary driving factors affecting alfalfa winter survival, there are management factors that can affect the degree of winter injury suffered by forage stands. Those factors include:
- Variety selection: choose varieties with good winter hardiness and disease resistance.
- Soil fertility levels: potassium is associated with enhancing tolerance to winter injury.
- Improving soil drainage: helps prevent ice-sheeting and heaving.
- Harvest management: frequent cutting is generally associated with a higher risk of winter injury, particularly if the last fall cut falls in late September to mid-October.
Not Too Late to Register for the NW Ohio Small Farms Conference in ArchboldAuthor(s): Garth Ruff
The 2019 Northwest Ohio Seeds For Success Small Farm Conference will be held on Saturday, March 16 at Northwest State Community College, located at 22600 State Route 34, Archbold Ohio. The conference provides education and topics of interest for small farm and rural landowners. Participants will walk away from the conference with knowledge and ideas of how to improve existing enterprises or marketing opportunities. For those who have some acreage but don’t yet know what to do with it, the conference is an opportunity to consider possibilities, gather information and make contacts.
A program that has been on hiatus in NW Ohio for a number of years, the Seeds For Success Small Farm Conference offers 24 different breakout sessions divided between five different track topics; Horticulture, Livestock, Farm Management, Specialty Crops and Youth. Presenters include OSU Extension specialists, Extension Educators, Business owners, and small farm producers/entrepreneurs. Conference participants will have the opportunity to attend four different sessions over the course of the four breakout sessions. The Small Farm conference trade show offers another opportunity to learn and gather information. The trade show vendors/exhibitors feature goods and services used in small farm operations. The conference schedule includes time between each breakout session and over an extended noon hour to visit the trade show.
The horticulture track offers sessions on growing vegetables, microgreens, extending the growing season, managing pests and invasives. The livestock track includes sessions on raising and marketing pasture produced beef and poultry, as well as hay production, livestock nutrition, meat quality, and sustainable livestock production. The specialty crop track features sessions on malting barley and hop production to tap into the growing microbrewery businesses. One session will look at pumpkin production, while others focus on beekeeping and woodlot management with some maple production mixed in. The farm management track includes Ag law, business planning, tax issues, farmland renting, and creating profitable small farm enterprises. The youth track includes sessions on pollinators, managing wastes, soil science, and college opportunities in agriculture, featuring Northwest State Community College and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at the Ohio State University.
Conference registration/sign-in and the trade show opens at 8:00 am on March 16. Following some brief conference opening comments at 9:00 am, the first breakout session begins at 9:30 am. The conference concludes by 4:00 pm. Conference registration is $60/person. Youth discounts are $30 for those under the age of 18 interested in attending the small farm conference. Pre-registration for both the Small Farm conference is due March 8 at noon. On-line registration is available at http://www.cvent.com/d/16qnb9. A Seeds For Success Small Farms Conference brochure that lists session topics and presentation times along with a mail-in registration form, and a document with descriptions of all the presentation topics is available at https://agnr.osu.edu/small-farm-programs.
For more information about the Seeds For Success Small Farm Conference contact Garth Ruff in the Henry County Extension office at 419-592-0806, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the C.O.R.N. Newsletter
C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.
The information presented here, along with any trade names used, is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is made by Ohio State University Extension is implied. Although every attempt is made to produce information that is complete, timely, and accurate, the pesticide user bears responsibility of consulting the pesticide label and adhering to those directions.
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