Factors to Consider Deciding When to Reseed Alfalfa
Mitiku Mamo,Water and Integrated Cropping Systems Extension Educator, Cedar, Dixon, Knox, and Wayne Counties
As county-based Extension Educators, this time the year we get in-person visits and telephone calls from producers with concerns related to their row crops, pasture, and backyard garden operations. One such recent question from a producer was related to alfalfa autotoxicity. Pipes were laid through his alfalfa field, and he wanted to know if he can reseed that strip of land disturbed when the pipes were laid, with alfalfa. His concern was that the toxins from the established alfalfa may affect the germination and establishment of reseeded alfalfa.
A Michigan State University study states that alfalfa autotoxicity is a trait which causes alfalfa to be toxic to its own seedlings, the cause of alfalfa autotoxicity has never been fully explained, and alfalfa autotoxins do not affect any other crop.
Research also showed that autotoxicity is affected by several factors. Alfalfa releases toxic chemicals into the soil even after alfalfa is killed, be it by spraying or tillage. How long the toxins remain and their effect on the new seedlings depends on soil type, temperature, tillage, rainfall amount and time since termination.
For example, on sandy soils toxins are readily available and easily taken up but are less persistent because they leach quickly through the root zone. Irrigation and rainfall before reseeding help leach toxins out of sandy soil profiles after termination of old stand. Under dry weather conditions, delaying reseeding may be necessary because toxins from the terminated old stand may persist in the soil profile. On heavier soil, however, because the toxins are tightly adsorbed to soil particles, their effect is less but longer lasting. Hence, delaying reseeding, after termination, on soils containing clay is advised even under moist condition.
The level of toxins in the soil is also affected by tillage. Research in Wisconsin has shown the effects of autotoxicity to be greater in no-till fields than those that were moldboard plowed. Soil disturbance by tillage helps to better mix and dilute the toxins. Higher temperatures are known to break down the toxins more rapidly. Tillage may help toxin degradation by exposing them to high temperatures.
The time interval between terminating an old stand and planting a new one also has a significant impact on the effects of autotoxicity. A Michigan study showed that alfalfa could be successfully established two to three weeks after killing the old stand. In a Missouri study plant density of 2- and 3-week rotations were 13-20% lower than that of an 18-month rotation.
In our case, because the area to be reseeded is a strip within an existing alfalfa field, distance between the old and new alfalfa is another factor to consider. Research indicates that for seedlings to survive and grow normally, they have to be at least 16 inches from an existing alfalfa plant. The decision when to reseed, hence, depends on one’s particular situation.
Nebraska Beef Council September Board Meeting
The Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors will have a virtual meeting at the NBC office in Kearney, NE located at 1319 Central Ave. on Monday, September 26, 2022 beginning at 12:00 p.m. CDT. The NBC Board of Directors will review a draft of the FY 2022-2023 Marketing Plan. For more information, please contact Pam Esslinger at email@example.com.
NDA AWARDS GRANTS TO 64 NEBRASKA MEAT PROCESSORS
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has selected 64 meat processing facilities to receive grants designed to support the growth of meat processing in Nebraska. NDA awarded a total of $4,914,247.08 of grants in the first round of funding through the Independent Processor Assistance Program.
“Nebraska livestock producers and meat processors continue to find ways to strengthen the nation’s food supply,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “Through these grants, meat processing facilities can implement projects that will benefit meat processing efforts today and strengthen the industry for tomorrow. These grants serve as a reminder that Nebraska is committed to the meat processing industry, and we value its importance to agriculture.”
The Independent Processor Assistance Program became a reality when Governor Pete Ricketts recommended using a portion of Nebraska’s share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funds to support projects designed to improve and/or expand Nebraska’s meat processing capabilities. In total, NDA will award approximately $9.8 million in grants through the Independent Processor Assistance Program.
Among the recipients....
Faltin Meat Market
Fremont Meat Locker
North Bend Locker
Oakland Meat Processing
The meat processors who received the grant money must have met certain criteria which included: existing meat processors to facilitate improvements, enhancements, or expansions to increase harvest capacity and/or product throughput; operating as either a USDA-FSIS facility or a federally regulated custom-exempt slaughter and processing facility; being domiciled in the State of Nebraska and registered in good standing with the Secretary of State to conduct business in Nebraska; existing sales revenue of less than $2.5 million; and employing fewer than 25 people.
Additional Independent Processor Assistance Program grants will be allocated again in the first half of 2023 to maximize the benefit to Nebraskans until funding is gone. Previous recipients of grant funding will be eligible to apply in subsequent rounds, but preference will be given to applications not previously awarded funding. For questions, contact Breanna Wirth, NDA Legislative Coordinator, at 402-890-1509 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GRAZING HIGH NITRATE CORN STALKS
– Todd Whitney, NE Extension Educator
Extended drought is challenging livestock producers to carefully manage their fall cornstalks grazing. High nitrate levels may be not only in rainfed (dryland) fields, but also in pivot corners or field edges where plants have been severely moisture stressed.
As row crop harvest begins, wheat and rye forages may be interseeded into potentially higher nitrate corn stalks. If these late seeded forages receive enough moisture for good fall grazing, can these forages and stalks be co-grazed safely?
Even high nitrate forages can be utilized if the livestock are stepped up on their exposure to consuming higher nitrate feeds. First, don’t turn cattle into drought stressed cornstalks when they are hungry. For example, feed lower nitrate forages earlier in the day until the animals become full; then provide access to the higher nitrate corn stalks later in the day. Second, collect stalk samples from potential high nitrate ‘hot spot’ zones and test for nitrogen levels. If the levels exceed 6,000 ppm nitrate, it may be wise to fence out pivot corners, field edges or zones where the stress is severe.
Generally, cattle prefer grazing corn leaves and husk, which usually are lower in nitrate than the lower one-third of plant stalks. So, resist the temptation to force the livestock to consume higher nitrate stalks after the leaves and husk have been gleaned.
Finally, when possible creatively step up cattle on grazing high nitrate feed over 7-10 days and utilize electric fence. Then, progressively provide increased access to higher nitrate forages while allowing free choice lower nitrate baled alternative forages. Gradually over time, the rumen microbes can adjust to higher nitrate content. In some cases, nitrate levels that might have caused death with a one-time feeding might be tolerated if introduced into the grazing system over 2-3 weeks.
More information on “Safely Grazing Stalks” is available on our UNL beefwatch.unl.edu and cropwatch.unl.edu websites.
Register for Farm Safety Week Webinars
Agriculture is known as one of the most dangerous industries in America. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), about 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury every day, and in 2019 the agriculture industry had a fatality rate of 19.4 deaths per 100,000 workers.
National Farm Safety and Health Week has been recognized during the third week of September since it was established by President Roosevelt in 1944, to help bring attention to the risks of working agriculture.
This year, AgriSafe has daily webinars for agricultural health and safety professionals, healthcare providers, extension agents, producers, farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers. Our partners at the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) coined this year's theme "Protecting Agriculture's Future," reminding all of us that the cornerstone of sustainable agriculture is healthy and safe workers. Each day will have its own theme: Monday is Tractor Safety and Rural Roadway Safety; Tuesday is Overall Farmer Health; Wednesday is Safety and Health for Youth in Agriculture; Thursday is Confined Spaces; and Friday is Safety and Health for Women in Agriculture.
From Sept. 19 to 23, AgriSafe's free webinars will cover a breadth of topics, including tractor and roadway safety, grain bin safety, wildfire and heat safety, workplace sexual harassment prevention, injury prevention, and mental health help for youth and adults. For more information on National Farm Safety and Health week, visit: https://www.agrisafe.org/nfshw.
NCGA: Rail Disruption Would Affect Farmers, Congressional Involvement Needed
As the country braces for a possible large scale interruption on Friday to freight rail service over a dispute between unions and industry, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is reminding leaders that the agricultural sector relies heavily on a consistent and reliable rail service and calling for Congress’s involvement.
“Rail is an essential piece of the agricultural supply chain, particularly as we approach harvest season, so any disruption to rail services would have a negative and lasting impact on our growers,” said Brooke S. Appleton, the vice president of public policy at NCGA. “Given the effect this could have on farmers and the nation’s economy, we urge both sides to do whatever it takes to resolve this issue by the end of the week. If an agreement is not reached soon, Congress needs to act.”
Appleton noted that NCGA has spent the summer actively encouraging industry officials and members of Congress to resolve the dispute. NCGA has also partnered with other groups to communicate the importance of expeditiously resolving the impasse. And today NCGA and its partners sent a letter to Congress again emphasizing how critical rail is to the agricultural community and encouraging Congress to prepare to intervene.
The issue began earlier this year as industry officials and union leaders failed to reach a contract agreement. As a result, President Biden established an emergency board, comprised of industry and union officials, which was charged with developing a resolution.
Last month, the board recommended several resolutions, including raises for rail workers. While most unions agreed to the proposal, two of the largest unions held out, citing the need for improved working conditions for rail workers.
This Friday marks the end of a 30-day cooling off period. If the two sides don’t come to an agreement, freight rail services across the country could come to a halt. Such an outcome, say experts, would have far-reaching ramifications for the supply-chain and the U.S. economy.
New data on soil conditions and temperatures indicates farmers should prepare for high variability during 2022 harvest
Golden Harvest released new data today that highlights how extreme weather conditions across the Midwest, such as intense heat, drought stress and other environmental factors, indicate corn harvest is likely to be highly variable in 2022. As farmers prepare for a challenging harvest in parts of the U.S., Golden Harvest agronomists have developed data-based insights and actionable recommendations to minimize yield loss and begin plans for next year.
Several factors led to increased variability this year. Wet planting conditions delayed planting in many areas, and fields planted in marginal soil conditions often see poorer root development, which can worsen the impacts of drought or heat that set in later in the growing season.
To manage variable conditions during harvest this season, Golden Harvest agronomists recommend scouting fields to determine the optimal time for harvest and begin planning for next season. Working with Golden Harvest Seed Advisors and agronomists to evaluate and understand which of the following factors were important this year can guide decisions for 2023 planting.
Evaluate potential drought impact
Drought conditions across the Midwest led to less grain fill time, earlier grain dry-down and poor nutrient uptake. Dry soil conditions can slow root growth and reduce the ability to transport nutrients into the plant. Research shows that drought stress during pollination can cause up to a 50% loss in yield, whereas just prior to or just after this crop stage period, drought yield loss ranges from 20% to 25%.1
“In extended dry periods, corn plants simply run out of steam with reduced nutrient and water uptake from the soil,” says Blake Mumm, Golden Harvest agronomist in central Nebraska. “We’re anticipating seeing reduced grain fill and yield loss in a lot of fields this year due to drought over the summer.”
If drought impacted fields, look out for rolling plant leaves, which reduces transpiration and conserves plant moisture. If leaf rolling is observed for 12+ hours a day, yield loss during harvest is more likely to occur, according to Mumm.
Prepare for yield loss from extreme heat
Extreme heat plays a separate but important role in grain development and yield potential. Higher temperatures toward the end of the pollination stage or early weeks of grain fill can result in tip kernels aborting. Increased temperatures overnight are usually accompanied by higher-than-average daytime temperatures and drier soil moisture levels. Data shows a 2.8 to 4.7 bushel per acre yield decline for every 1° F increase in July and August average night temperatures.
“Drought and heat are often linked. But even in fields that received adequate rainfall, heat by itself can deteriorate exposed silks, resulting in poor pollination of ear tips,” says Andrew Rupe, Golden Harvest agronomist in east central Iowa. “Several areas that have gotten timely rainfall are seeing significant tip back on ears due to the heat. However, cooler temperatures and rainfall during grain fill can help lengthen this period, leading to increased kernel depth, size and weight. I recommend monitoring temperatures throughout the day and night to anticipate how fields will be impacted.”
Tyson Foods Commits $2.5 Million to Fight Hunger
Tyson Foods announced its commitment of $2.5 million to address food insecurity by partnering with Feeding America® member food banks to provide greater access to protein in communities facing hunger. This September, during Hunger Action Month, Tyson is also donating 2.5 million pounds of protein, the equivalent of 10 million meals, to alleviate hunger.
Tyson Foods will allocate $1 million of its donation to support Equitable Food Access grants, which aim to improve access to nutritious food among people experiencing the highest rates of food insecurity, with a focus on communities of color and/or people living in rural communities.
The remainder of Tyson's $2.5 million donation will go towards Feeding America and member food banks' efforts to expand capacity to repack bulk or private label protein products into family size quantities, thus increasing the types of protein that can easily be donated and distributed.
Growth Energy Marks the End of Summer Driving Season with 2022 Biofuels Summit
This week, almost 100 Growth Energy members traveled to Washington, D.C. for Growth Energy’s 13th Annual Biofuels Summit to advocate for biofuels in our nation’s capital. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor kicked off the summit by applauding the Biden administration’s summer waiver for E15, allowing American drivers to save nearly a dollar per gallon in some markets. She also acknowledged the hard work of congressional champions who secured key biofuel provisions in the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act and expressed support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to set forward-looking Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for 2022.
“The work is far from done,” said Skor. “There are still critical industry priorities on the docket, and big policy changes could arrive later this year. We cannot take our foot off the gas. That’s why we’re demanding an even stronger Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) - one that will move America closer to a net-zero future, deliver more savings at the pump for working families, strengthen U.S. energy security, and drive further investment in rural communities.”
Skor also marked the end of the summer driving season on September 15th, noting that a permanent fix for E15 is vital before the next summer driving season.
“EPA’s emergency waiver only applies to this summer’s driving season. We continue to work hand in hand with our retail partners to demand a permanent fix so drivers can access lower-cost E15 year-round, nationwide, in the summers to come.”
“Together, we’ll make sure policymakers value the full diversity of our industry, share our vision, and understand our expectations.
“More importantly, we’ll make sure they have the motivation and knowledge to fully unleash America’s bioethanol industry, so we can deliver on a new wave of clean energy demand on the ground and in the air, at home and abroad, in today’s vehicles and tomorrow’s.”
Following Skor’s speech, attendees heard from EPA Administrator Michael Regan, who emphasized the importance of biofuels to meeting our nation’s climate and energy security goals. Administrator Regan also laid out EPA’s priorities for America’s biofuels industry. Growth Energy has been leading advocacy efforts on the RFS Set proposal, which will mark the first year a baseline for biofuel volumes is not specified by Congress but must be set based on statutory factors like fuel costs, environmental benefits, and commercial production.
"This is an exciting time for the clean energy sector and for our country," said Regan. "I'm committed to working with everyone in this room to meet the moment. Renewable fuels offer climate benefits, rural economic opportunity, and a key source of domestic energy."
Biofuels Summit participants also heard from U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh, U.S. Representative Randy Feenstra (IA-04), and Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman. After the general session concluded, members fanned out across Capitol Hill to share their stories with lawmakers and present Fueling Growth awards to the industry’s most steadfast champions.
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Tuesday September 13 Ag News
Factors to Consider Deciding When to Reseed Alfalfa