Monday, June 17, 2019

Monday June 17 Ag News

Considerations after Crusted Soybean
Nathan Mueller - NE Extension Educator

Key Points
-    Management options to help alleviate crusting are irrigation, if possible, rotary hoeing, or even running the planter shallow back across field.
-    A general guideline is to leave a field alone if plant populations are greater than 50,000 plants per acre, the stand is uniform, and the field can be kept weed free.
-    If you consider replanting, consider leaving some check strips and/or consider an on-farm research study.
-    Flag a few plants where cotyledons have been stripped from the main stem to observe any regrowth.

Options to Alleviate Crusting

When faced with crusted soils, there are some management options to help plants that are struggling to emerge. For those with center pivot irrigation, running the irrigation system is the easiest option. The amount of water applied will need to be monitored to ensure that wetting is sufficient to reduce soil hardness.

For non-irrigated fields, options are limited to shallow tillage to attempt to physically break up the crusted top layer. Timing is an issue as one really needs to start running before any beans start emerging or shortly after to get the best benefit. If available, using a rotary hoe is an option. Some stand loss to already emerged plants is possible. Make sure to adjust the machine to only breakup enough soil to allow the plants to emerge. If a rotary hoe is not available, we have also heard of farmers running the planter back over the field with the depth set as shallowly as possible to allow either the disk openers or even the closing wheels of the planter to break the crust. As with a rotary hoe, this method may cause some damage to emerged plants.

Research with Low Populations

Soybeans greatly compensate for reduced populations by increasing branching. Nebraska On-Farm Research from eastern Nebraska and western Nebraska for 12 years of combined data showed only a 1.3 bu/ac yield increase when seeding 180,000 soybean seeds/acre compared to 90,000 seeds/acre in 15-inch or 30-inch rows. (No studies were in sandy soils). Average final plant stands became 154,924 vs. 83,067 plants per acre respectively. Specific examples with lower final plant stands follow:
-    A non-irrigated field in Nuckolls County in 2006 was hailed at the cotyledon stage, so planted populations of 100K, 130K, and 160K became average actual stands of 74,417; 89,417; and 97,917 plants per acre with a 4 bu/ac yield difference between highest and lowest plant populations. The average yield in the field was 40 bu/ac.
-    An irrigated field in Hamilton County in 2010 showed a 3 bu/ac yield difference between planted stands of 80K versus 120K seeds/acre. Final plant stands weren’t taken.
-    A York County irrigated field in 2018 comparing 90K, 120K, and 150K became final plant stands of 60,875, 88,125, and 121,750 plants/acre with yields of 93, 94, and 97 bu/ac respectively.

As you assess plant stands, keep in mind that a gap in one plant row will be compensated by plants in the adjacent flanking rows. They will form extra branches to take advantage of the sunlight. Thus single-row gaps may not be as yield-reducing as you might think, especially in narrower row spacings.

Replant Considerations

Any anticipated yield loss from the reduced stand must be balanced against the anticipated yield loss from replanting after the optimum planting date. Nebraska research has consistently shown the benefit of early soybean planting for higher yields. This is mainly due to node accrual on the main stem which allows for an increased potential for pods and seeds compared to planting later. Thus, replanting may not out-yield the original planted stand even at lower plant populations. Thorough scouting on foot or ATV and taking numerous counts may help pinpoint certain areas within a field to spot in/replant a portion of the field instead of the entire field.

Weed control is another factor, depending on the time of year, for soybean replant consideration. Leaving a poor stand may result in poor weed control or increased herbicide costs. Replanting may entail additional costs for seed, tillage, and replanting in addition to the potential yield penalty imposed by a later-than-normal planting date. We would recommend a seed treatment when replanting soybean.

When in doubt, consider testing this for yourself! Leave checks in your field that can be compared to where you replant. You can also consider this as an on-farm research study by contacting your local Extension Educator like a grower in Platte County did in 2014. He originally planted 145,000 seeds/acre on May 10 no-till into heavy corn residue. With a plant stand of 75,000 plants per acre, he chose to replant soybeans in strips across the field. He left the original stand and planted an additional 145,000 seeds/acre. Final yields were 58 and 57 bu/ac for the original and replanted stand, respectively.

For more information, see the “Soybean Replant Decision Calculation Worksheet” on page 39 in the Nebraska Soybean & Corn Pocket Field Guide.

Soybean Physiology

Don’t automatically write off seedlings where cotyledons were stripped off when pulling through crusted ground. If the growing point has moved up the main stem above the cotyledons and the epicotyl is not damaged, you may see a plumule form at the top of the stripped stem. The plumule is the seedling stem tip and its undeveloped leaves above the cotyledonary node. Without the cotyledons to serve as a carbon and nitrogen source, development of new seedlings with small leaflets will be slow and yield may be reduced by 5-10%. If one undamaged cotyledon remains, the delay and yield loss is usually minimal.

Emergence of Soybean Gall Midge in Southern Cass County, NE

On June 14 and 15, 2019, soybean gall midge adults were collected from Cass County. Trap sites in Saunders and Lancaster counties are checked daily and have not shown any adult emergence.

If you have soybean fields in Cass County or Otoe County and have had soybean gall midge injury in previous years in adjacent fields, an edge treatment of an insecticide on soybean would be warranted. We ask those of you outside of areas where emergence is occurring to delay making any insecticide applications until adult soybean gall midge emergence occurs in your area. We will continue to post updates on soybean gall midge emergence as it occurs at the other sites.

Rough degree day calculations in Nebraska indicate that Ithaca, Mead, and Wahoo areas are approximately 100 degree days behind the southern Cass County sites. The West Point area is about 220 degree days behind, and the Norfolk and Concord areas are about 300 degree days behind. Recent daily accumulations are around 24 degree days per day so we are not expecting emergence for several days at the northern sites.

Growers spraying too early may not have enough residual insecticide activity when adults emerge in the area and may not be able to spray the field again in that period, depending on label restrictions, limiting efficacy and increasing the likelihood for plant injury from gall midge.

I’m in an area with soybean gall midge emergence. Now what?

Because this is a new soybean pest, we do not as yet have research-based recommendations; however, we have developed some preliminary recommendations based on our recent soybean gall midge observations. Those who have experienced significant economic losses from soybean gall midge are advised to use an insecticide with residual activity. This application should be made as soon as possible after adult soybean gall midge emergence occurs in your area. We don’t recommend making an application if a field can’t be sprayed within six days of first adult emergence of soybean gall midge.

Research is currently being conducted on the timing of insecticides relative to the emergence of soybean gall midge to determine a window of efficacy for insecticide applications. Closely related insects to this species have a very short life span as adults so we expect that all of the egg laying will be done within that time period, greatly reducing the efficacy of an insecticide application. Also, be sure to adhere to the label when applying a pesticide.

Making an Insecticide Application

For your benefit, it’s best to not spray in two to three areas along the edge of the field (50 - 100 feet long and 90-120 feet wide, depending on the length of the boom) to determine whether the insecticide worked. If you’re in Nebraska and need assistance with evaluating damage later in the season, contact Extension Entomologists Justin McMechan (402-624-8041) or Tom Hunt (402-584-3863).

In-season Nitrogen Management for Corn in 2019

Charles Wortmann - NE Extension Soil and Nutrient Management Specialist

The 2019 spring weather conditions have complicated nitrogen management. Much residual nitrate-N and applied fertilizer-N was likely lost to leaching and denitrification. Other fertilizer-N was never applied due to spring rains.

This summer there will need to be more in-season N application than usual and the in-field variability may be greater than usual. The amount of fertilizer-N to be applied in-season can be estimated with the Late Spring Soil Nitrate Test (LSNT, also called the Pre-sidedress Soil Nitrate Test or PSNT) or by use of crop canopy reflectance sensing. This article addresses these options.

Late Spring Soil Nitrate Test

The LSNT has been available for over 30 years and is used for corn production in numerous states to assess the need for in-season N application. It has been less studied and used in Nebraska than in Iowa and we advise use of the Iowa State University guidelines: Use of the Late-Spring Soil Nitrate Test in Iowa Corn Production. The LSNT has been well-validated for medium and fine texture soils, but it is not expected to work well for sandy soil. Use this test as follows.
-    Collect a representative soil sample from the 0-12 inch depth taken when the height from the ground to the top of the corn plant whorl is 6 to 12 inches. The area represented by a sample should not be more than 40 acres with sampling zones defined according to soil properties likely to affect N availability or loss. Each sample should be made from at least 15 cores and more in cases of past manure injection. Avoid sampling in bands of fertilizer-N application. Samples should be collected at varying distances from corn rows. For example, three samples of varying distance from the row might be sampled at five sites for the management zone.
-    Refrigerate the samples or air-dry them in a thin layer on sheets of paper, or with the assistance of a fan. Alternatively, submit the sample so the analysis can be done within three days.
-    The laboratory analysis needs to be for nitrate-N only.
-    The critical value for an unusually wet spring, as in 2019, is 20 to 22 ppm nitrate-N. In a normal rainfall spring 25 ppm is a satisfactory critical value.
-        If nitrate-N is above the critical level, for example 23 ppm in 2019, do not apply in-season fertilizer-N
-        If nitrate-N is below the critical level, apply 8 lb of N for each ppm below the critical level.

For example, if LSNT results are 13 ppm nitrate-N, the N rate = (23-13) x 8 = 80 lb/ac N.

Sensor-Guided In-Season N Application

Remote sensing of the crop canopy reflectance is the best option to quantify the need for in-season N if the plants are large enough. The remote sensing can be with
-    a handheld sensor such as with the made-in-Lincoln Rapid Scan,
-    with sensors fitted for aerial sensing (drones, planes, satellite), or
-    with sensors fitted on high-clearance N application equipment.

Such remote sensing requires good canopy development such as the 8th leaf stage (V8; or with 10 horizontal/droopy leaves) or later. Remote sensing is best done with a reflectance index such as NDVI (normalized difference vegetative index); however, with corn, the NDRE index (normalized difference red edge) is preferred.

The crop N status for any given part of the field is determined by relating the NDRE for that part of the field with high NDRE readings from the field. The high NDRE readings are often from established “High N Reference” areas or strips in the field. These can be small, such as areas of 20 x 20 feet, with hand application of extra fertilizer-N, for example at a rate of 1 lb of urea per 100 sq ft. Data from sensor readings for other parts of the field are then compared to the high N reference with the ratio of the sensor reading from the field divided by the sensor reading from the high N reference equal to a “sufficiency index.”

The sensor-directed in-season N application is commonly done near the 12-leaf stage (V12 or with 13.5 horizontal or droopy leaves) of corn to correspond to a high rate of N uptake. The algorithms for calculation of in-season N rate are best calibrated for this growth stage. Early use is more likely to underestimate N need; however, in 2019 fields will often need an earlier application.


Fertigation is a common and cost-effective means of in-season N fertilization in Nebraska. As above, the use of LSNT, spot-checking of a field with a hand-held sensor, or use of imagery (from drones, aircraft or satellites) can help determine if N should be applied by fertigation, that is, if the sufficiency index (SI) is less than 0.95. If needed, 30 to 40 lb/ac N can be uniformly applied. The N need can be reassessed two weeks later using sensor information to determine whether an additional application of 30 to 40 lb/ac N is needed. This procedure can be repeated with the last application no later than the R3 (milk) growth stage.

Should In-season N be Applied and is Variable Rate Application Justified?
As written above, LSNT or canopy sensing, with calculation of the SI, is used to determine if and how much in-season N application is needed. If the results indicate much variation in N need across the field, the N rate might be varied. Three options can be considered for variable rate application.
-    This is most easily done on a management zone basis using LSNT or remote sensing.
-    Aerial imagery can be used to develop a prescription map for application with high-clearance variable rate equipment.
-    The crop canopy reflection can be sensed and the N rate determined on-the-go, with continuous adjustment of the N rate with properly-equipped high-clearance equipment.


This year more in-season application of fertilizer-N will be needed and the need may be more variable than normal. The in-season fertilizer-N rate can be determined using LSNT soil sample analysis for younger corn. Remote sensing of canopy reflectance can be used once the crop canopy is full enough to determine N need. The remote sensing information can also be used for variable rate application. Period remote sensing also can be used to determine if additional fertilizer-N is needed.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

How are your pastures looking?  Grass got way ahead of many of us so change your grazing strategy to try and use it effectively.

A big pasture management challenge is keeping grass from heading out, becoming less palatable and low quality.  This spring that wasn’t easy to do.  So now you might change how you graze the rest of the year.

Normally cows might graze a paddock for two to ten days, then move to a fresh paddock.  If you do that now with all the headed out grass, they’d just strip some leaves, trample a lot of forage, and leave most of the stems standing.  They’d probably end up eating less than one-fourth of the potential forage available.

So maybe you should pressure them into eating more of the plants by limiting how much choice they have.  Instead of giving them the entire paddock to graze for several days, use electric fence to limit them to very tiny areas at a time.

How tiny you ask?  Well, one possible initial goal would be to put the equivalent of about 250,000 pounds of cattle on just one acre.  That equals about 150 to 200 cow-calf pairs per acre.  Obviously, it won’t take them long to finish off that small area, so expect to give them a fresh strip as many as three times a day.  With that high density of animals, they might eat over half of the forage compared to the one-fourth they would eat otherwise.

Getting water to the animals can be a challenge so I suggest letting them walk back to water over previously grazed strips for a couple days before changing water locations.  It will take a little adjustment to get just the right size and water placement but after a couple days it should go smoothly.

If all goes well, you’ll get more cow-days of grazing with less waste.


The vast majority of alfalfa growers suffered rain damage to hay during the past several weeks.  How can we reduce this risk?

Rain damages windrowed alfalfa.  One inch of rain typically leaches 10 percent of the nutrients out of hay.  High quality hay has higher losses than low quality because it contains more soluble nutrients.  Rain also causes leaf shatter.  This may be as low as 5 percent of the yield, but hay turned after being rained on may lose up to 15 percent from leaf shatter.

There are many strategies to minimize rain damage; all involve reducing field exposure time.  Encouraging rapid drydown is one method.  Practices like spreading out windrows as wide as possible, chemical or mechanical conditioning, and timely raking help reduce field exposure anywhere from one-half to two days.

Another effective strategy is harvest at high moisture levels.  Chopping alfalfa for silage is a tried and true way to reduce weather risks.  A newer, yet similar, technique is to wrap high-moisture alfalfa as bale silage.  All silage making methods can get alfalfa off the field in two days or less.

A final strategy is to use protectants to bale alfalfa at a slightly higher than normal moisture content.  Materials used include preservatives like propionic acid and acetic acid as well as hay inoculants.  These materials try to reduce mold formation and heat damage of alfalfa baled just slightly wetter than normal when applied correctly under certain harvest conditions.  This sometimes saves as much as a full day of drying time.

Rain damage is expensive and frustrating.  Identify and use strategies like these to minimize your risks.

ICON to discuss international trade situation

Two businessmen with international trade experience will speak Friday, June 21 at the annual convention of the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska in Broken Bow.

Michael B. Yanney of Kearney has a broad range of business experience both in the U.S. and internationally.  He has conducted business in 15 countries, including the Soviet Union, since 1976.    “Nebraska is in a time of crisis; time to make changes,” is the topic of his presentation. 

Mr. Yanney is the Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Burlington Capital, formerly America First Companies, which has managed public investment funds as well as private.  From 1977 until the organization of the first such fund in 1984, Mr. Yanney was principally engaged in the ownership and management of commercial banks.  He served as a director and member of the executive committee of FirsTier Financial, Inc. — the largest bank holding company in Nebraska — from 1985 until his resignation in 1991.  He also served on the East West Institute joint US / Russia delegation in 2007, whose specific objective was to keep the two countries from going back into a Cold War.

Mr. Yanney is a member of the board of directors for Burlington Capital and America First Multifamily Investors, and was formerly a director of Level 3 Communications, Inc., the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, Freddie Mac Advisory Board, Durham Resources, Inc., Freedom Communications, Inc., Forest Oil Corporation, MFS Communications, Inc., PKS Information Services, Inc., Omaha Steaks, MFA Financial and chairman of the boards at Tetrad, Core Bank Holding Co. and Streck Inc.

ICON’s 14th annual meeting and convention will be held Friday June 21 from 1:30–8:30 p.m. (CST) at the Cobblestone Hotel in Broken Bow.

The afternoon and evening will also include a presentation by M. Brian O’Shaughnessy, the chairman of Revere Copper Products. O’Shaughnessy is also an expert in international trade.

State issues that affect Nebraska’s ranchers are also on the convention’s agenda.

Registration is just $25 and includes supper plus entertainment by Cowboy Poet RP Smith.

Science and agriculture family field day in northeast Nebraska

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Haskell Agricultural Laboratory near Concord will host a science and agriculture family field day on July 24.

All ages are welcome to attend the field day which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Attendees can come and go throughout the event.

Optional activities will be organized into two tracks: agriculture; and science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, or STEAM. Tours available in both the morning and afternoon will highlight research at Haskell, as well as the Northeast Arboretum and bee research. Panelists from Backyard Farmer, Nebraska’s must-see television program for gardening information, will be on hand to answer questions from attendees.

Activities and booths available all day include Nebraska Extension’s Mobile Beef Lab, science literacy trailer, maker space trailer, and robotics. Northeast Power will also be doing safety demonstrations. There will also be blender bike and healthy snack demonstrations, cover crop demonstrations and various child learning activities.

A free lunch, sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board, will be served.

Haskell Ag Lab is located at 57905 866th Rd, approximately one and a half miles east of Concord.

There is no cost to attend the field day. For more information call 402-584-2261 or visit

U.S. Pig Farmers Donate 3.2 Million Servings of Pork

Almost a million pounds of pork, or nearly 3.2 million servings, were donated by U.S. pig farmers during 2018, according to data compiled by the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council.

Data aggregated from pork producers across the country showed that during 2018, pig farmers:
-    Volunteered 54,570 hours in their local communities.
-    Donated more than $5.5 million to charitable causes.

“These numbers are astounding,” said Gene Noem, National Pork Board treasurer and a pig farmer from Iowa. “This shows that our We CareSM ethical principles are not just something we put down on paper, but are values we live by in our communities every day.”

When pig farmers introduced the We Care ethical principles nearly 10 years ago, it was important that five of the six ethical principles were production-related, according to Noem.

“For the sixth and final ethical principle, there was no question that it should address contributing to a better quality of life in the communities that we call home,” Noem said. “Giving back also plays a powerful role in building and maintaining consumers’ trust.”

The National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council will continue to collect community impact data for the pork industry’s sustainability report.

ASA Seeks Nominations for Annual Soy Recognition Awards

The American Soybean Association (ASA) wants to recognize exceptional soy volunteers and leaders—and we need your help. During ASA’s annual awards banquet, individuals will be recognized and honored for state association volunteerism, distinguished leadership achievements and long-term, significant contributions to the soybean industry. The nomination period is open through Oct. 14, 2019.

The Recognition Awards categories are:
    ASA Outstanding State Volunteer Award–Recognizes the dedication and contributions of individuals who have given at least three-years of volunteer service in any area of the state soybean association operation.
    ASA Distinguished Leadership Award–Distinguished and visionary leadership of ASA or a state soybean association is recognized with this award to either a soybean grower-leader or association staff leader with at least five-years of leadership service.
    ASA Pinnacle Award–An industry-wide recognition of those individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of contribution and lifetime leadership within the soybean family and industry.

All nominations must be received online, no later than Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. No nominations by telephone, email or fax will be accepted. A judging committee will be assigned to make the final selections.

Recipients will receive their awards at the ASA Awards Banquet on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas at Commodity Classic.

USDA and HHS Invite Oral Public Comments at the Second Meeting of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) invites the public to register to attend the second meeting of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The meeting, which includes an opportunity for oral comments from the public, will be held at USDA headquarters in the Jefferson Auditorium on July 10 and 11. Registration for in-person attendance begins today and closes at 5:00 p.m. July 1, 2019. Prior to this deadline, the public can also sign up, on a first-come, first served basis, to provide oral public comments to the committee during the meeting’s second day. Please visit for full registration details.

“Science-based dietary guidance is critical to a healthy future for our nation, and the process by which it is developed should be open and transparent,” said Food Nutrition and Consumer Services Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps. “We are pleased to highlight this next opportunity for the public to learn more about the Committee’s scientific review, and to offer their comments in person at the July meeting.  All those who care about these issues can stay informed and involved by providing written comments and visiting”

USDA and HHS look forward to robust public participation. This is the second of five meetings scheduled for the committee. An ongoing public comment period will remain open throughout the committee’s deliberations to ensure the public can submit comments. During this meeting – as well as the fourth meeting – the public will be able to provide oral public comments to the committee. Registration to sign up to provide oral comments is now open and is accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The meeting will also be webcast live and the recording will be made available at a later date.

The full list of remaining meetings includes:
-    July 10-11, 2019 – USDA Headquarters in Washington, DC
        + Register to present oral comments by July 1, 2019
-    October 24-25, 2019 – USDA Headquarters in Washington, DC
-    January 23-24, 2020 – USDA Agricultural Research Service in Houston, TX
        + Register to present oral comments by January 14, 2020
-    March 12-13, 2020 – USDA Headquarters in Washington, DC

“Public input and participation are a key component of developing policy and guidance that improves the health of the American people,” said ADM Brett P. Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS. “We value comments and oral testimony that will help the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee answer important scientific questions related to nutrition and inform the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is made up of 20 individuals of diverse backgrounds who are regarded as national thought leaders in the areas of nutrition and health. The independent advisory committee’s review, along with public and agency comments, will help inform USDA and HHS as the departments develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

For the first time, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will include recommendations for pregnant women, and children from birth to 24 months. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans serves as the cornerstone of federal nutrition programs and policies, providing food-based recommendations that help prevent diet-related chronic diseases and promote overall health. According to the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990, the guidelines are mandated to reflect the preponderance of scientific evidence and are published jointly by USDA and HHS every five years.

Syngenta celebrates National Pollinator Week by showcasing industry product stewardship efforts

Farmers nationwide are protecting their crops and pollinators, thanks to industry innovations and the observance of best-management practices by growers and applicators. In celebration of National Pollinator Week (June 17‒23), Syngenta is bringing awareness to a variety of individuals and organizations that champion pesticide product stewardship and help pollinators thrive.

Throughout the week of June 17, Syngenta will share videos on the SyngentaUS Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube channels highlighting people who are practicing pesticide product stewardship and the protection of pollinators. Those featured include a Syngenta seed treatment formulation expert whose efforts help reduce dust-off from treated seed and the leader of an aerial applicators organization whose members go to great lengths to protect pollinators.

“Efforts to continuously improve pesticide product stewardship are important to Syngenta,” said Caydee Savinelli, pollinator and IPM stewardship lead, Syngenta. “Our goal is to bring visibility to some of the lesser-known roles and facets of stewardship, while sharing real, tangible examples of how it is being practiced daily and how pollinators are benefiting.”

Coinciding with the growing season in the Midwest, the week-long celebration comes at a good time for reminding farmers to keep pollinators top-of-mind as they’re working in the fields. “As the 2019 growing season continues and farmers are making pesticide applications, the importance of observing best-management practices – including reading and following the product label – cannot be overstated,” said Savinelli. “Farmers care deeply about their environment and the health of pollinators, and we help them achieve the dual purpose of protecting their crops and pollinators.”

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