FAQ for Fire Damage to Unharvested Crops and Harvested Ground
Ben Beckman - Extension Educator
Alfredo DiCostanzo - Extension Educator
Leslie Johnson - Animal Manure Management Extension Educator
Mitiku Mamo - Extension Crops and Water Educator
Fires have been widespread in Nebraska this harvest season. We’ve received questions on what to do when both unharvested and harvested fields have been burned. Additional information about range/pasture damage and stocking rates were shared in this May 2022 FAQ. Make sure to contact your insurance company.
Q: What to do with unharvested corn?
A: Fire damage to unharvested fields can leave stalks remaining with a combination of ears attached to them and on the ground. One could take a sample of corn ears from across the pivot and send them in for feed analysis and also grain analysis. Ultimately, our recommendation is to harvest the corn like you normally would. Your local grain elevator may have insight into whether they would accept grain from an affected field and how this could affect quality or pricing.
Depending on grain analysis, one could take the grain to the elevator or mix with other grain in a ration for feeding. Cattle have been fed burnt corn grain before. The biggest concern would the loss in protein availability, depending on the extent of kernel damage. A fast fire may not have had enough time to burn through the starch and into the germ. That appears to be the case from the pictures we see. A measure of acid detergent insoluble crude protein would confirm how available crude protein is.
Q: What to do with corn ears on the ground? How to safely graze this?
A: One thought was to harvest what they could and disk the field. Then consider getting the ground covered with rye or wheat.
For those who would like to graze, Dr. Mary Drewnoski, beef systems specialist, shares the following recommendations:
Fire-damaged grain, if not completely destroyed, will have an appearance ranging from a slight brownish tint to black. This grain can be salvaged and fed to cattle. Common methods used by commercial labs for evaluation of energy content such as NIR analysis will not provide an accurate estimate of the energy availability from heat-damaged corn. However, color can be used as a crude indicator of the relative energy available for cattle. Based on research conducted at Iowa State, the amount of starch from brown and black corn that was digested in the rumen was about 30% less than normal corn. However, this corn would still have a significant amount of energy and can be used as an energy source.
The corn in burnt fields can be gleaned through grazing. However, cattle will need to be adapted to corn — similar to working cattle onto a finishing diet before turnout — or have limited access to avoid acidosis. Strip grazing is one method. Due to the fire removing the residue in the field, cattle will need to have a roughage source, such as hay, provided when grazing.
Grazing weaned calves on burnt corn fields could be a great way to use this feed resource. It is recommended to have them used to consuming at least 5 lbs of corn before turnout. In addition to a roughage source, these calves will need supplemental protein to make use of the best energy in the corn. Alfalfa hay could be used as a source of protein and roughage. Another option would be to provide free-choice grass hay plus 2 lbs of dried distillers.
Cull cows would be the next best option, as the corn can be used to put on extra weight and increase their value. Before turnout, producers should start feeding grain and work them up to at least seven to 10 lbs/hd of grain over a week to 10 days. If you don’t want to feed corn before turnout, then strip grazing can be used to adapt the cows to consuming corn. This Excel tool can be used to determine how much area to allocate.
Q: How can soil be protected from erosion in burned fields?
A: We realize we’re in the middle of a drought. We still recommend trying to get winter small grains (winter wheat, triticale or cereal rye) planted as a cover crop in these fields. Rye will germinate at soil temperatures of 34°F, while winter wheat germinates at 39°F. Later than ideal, winter small grains can still be planted until the soil freezes, usually sometime in December. They likely won’t provide any cover this late fall and winter but will emerge in the spring to provide much-needed protection from erosion (wind and water).
Seeding depths of 1.0 to 2.0 inches and seeding rates of at least 50 pounds per acre are recommended. However, higher seeding rates (80-100 lbs/ac) could be warranted to provide quicker cover and biomass in the spring. Fungicide/insecticide seed treatments are usually not necessary when seeded as a cover crop.
If you haven’t seeded cover crops before or want to learn more, Nebraska Extension and the Midwest Cover Crop Council has “getting started on cover crop guidelines” after soybean and corn.
Spreading manure — especially manure with any bedding in it — can also be beneficial if one has availability to this at a large scale.
Cooling Low-moisture Corn in Bins
Nebraska Extension educators have been receiving questions about low-moisture corn ranging from 8-13% and whether cooling the grain would also reduce moisture when air is run in the bin. Dr. Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University Extension agricultural engineer, helps address these concerns in the following Q&A.
Q: Should low-moisture corn be cooled in bins? Will running air remove much more moisture?
A: The temperature of the corn will change many times faster than any moisture content change. We can estimate the cooling time by dividing 150 by the airflow rate. So, if the airflow rate is 1.0 cfm/bu, it will only take about 15 hours to cool the corn. To change the moisture content of all the corn at that airflow rate will take about 40 days. Even at a typical aeration airflow rate of about 0.2 cfm/bu, it only takes about three days to cool the corn.
Anytime we cool the corn, there will be a minor (fraction of a percent) reduction in moisture. Therefore, with dry corn, running the fan at night during higher humidity conditions is beneficial. I would run the fan all day and night for the most rapid cooling, and just at night if willing to be controlling the fans.
I encourage farmers to cool the corn whenever outside temperatures are 10-15 degrees cooler than the corn, so they certainly could utilize the cooler air to cool the corn.
With the corn at moisture contents of 13% or less, it will store at the warmer temperatures for a while, so there is not a problem with waiting. They will need to cool the corn for winter storage at some time to limit the potential for moisture migration and wet corn at the top of the bin. This occurs if there is consistently at least a 20-degree difference between outdoor air temperature and the corn temperature.
Extension sets virtual financial record-keeping course for December
The next session of “Know Your Numbers, Know Your Options,” Nebraska Extension’s four-part record-keeping course, will be held virtually from 1 to 3 p.m. Central time on Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22.
Participants should plan on attending each of the four workshop dates. The course requires participants to have an internet connection.
This course is designed to help farmers and ranchers understand their current financial position and how big decisions like large purchases, new leases or changes in production will affect their bottom line. Participants will work through the financial statements of a case study farm, watch pre-recorded videos, complete assignments and participate in video chats. Upon completion of this program, participants will have a better understanding of how financial records can be used to make decisions and confidently discuss their financial position with their family, business partners and lenders.
The course fee is $20 per person and class size is limited to 20 people. Register by Nov. 23 at https://wia.unl.edu/know.
This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2020-70028-32728.
NCGA Announces 2023 Action Teams
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced the slate of new and returning farmer leaders who will serve as members of its action teams and committees beginning on January 1, 2023. These volunteer farmers will actively shape the future of their industry by guiding programs and carrying out the policies and priorities that drive the association.
Current 2022 teams, committees and members will remain in place until the beginning of the new calendar year.
Leadership for NCGA’s seven major teams in 2023 will be:
Ethanol Action Team: Kelly Nieuwenhuis, chair; Rick Gruber, vice chair; Bob Hemesath, board liaison.
Market Development Action Team: Troy Schneider, chair; Denny Vennekotter, vice chair; Randy DeSutter, board liaison.
Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team: Dan Nerud, chair; James Kanten, vice chair; Dan Wesely, board liaison.
Production Technology Access Action Team: Patty Mann, chair; John Pickler, vice chair; Jed Bower, board liaison.
Risk Management Action Team: Bill Leigh, chair; Richard Preston, vice chair; Gary Porter, board liaison.
Stewardship Action Team: Bryan Biegler, chair; Mikayla Colehour, vice chair; Kelly Harsh, board liaison.
Sustainable Ag Research Action Team: Jason Lewis, chair; Mike Berget, vice chair; Brian Thalmann, board liaison.
The action teams and committees will have their first set of meetings in St. Louis in January.
Scoular announces scholarship funding for three Midwestern universities
Students demonstrating leadership in their community are among those who will benefit from Scoular Foundation scholarship funding for three Midwestern universities.
Scoular announced the funding today for Kansas State University, Bellevue University in Nebraska and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“These are outstanding universities that make a big economic impact providing talented graduates for our company and our region,” said Scoular CEO Paul Maass. “We are thrilled we can give back to our communities by helping support the college and career plans of deserving students.”
The schools and scholarships are:
Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Five, $5,000 scholarships as part of the new Faith Legacy Scholarship Program honoring Scoular’s modern-day founder Marshall Faith and David Faith, Chairman of Scoular’s Board of Directors, both K-State alums. Scholarships will be based on such factors as need, leadership in academics and the community, and grade point average, with preference to those demonstrating compassion and community service.
Bellevue University, Bellevue, Nebraska
$10,000 in scholarships as part of the Faith Legacy Scholarship Program.
$10,000 toward the school’s American Dream Scholarship Program for students in need with an emphasis on first-generation, diverse student populations who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance for a degree.
$10,000 toward the school’s Student Emergency Grant Fund, which helps students overcome unanticipated health or family situations, temporary job loss, and other obstacles that might prevent a student from remaining enrolled.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
$10,000 in scholarships as part of the Faith Legacy Scholarship Program.
Scoular is committed to community engagement where our employees live and work, as well as developing a pipeline of diverse and high-caliber talent for the agriculture industry for the future.
2022-23 National FFA Officer Team Elected During 95th National FFA Convention & Expo
The 2022-23 National FFA Officer team was elected today during the final session of the 95th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.
Students from Illinois, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia were elected by National FFA Delegates today to serve as 2022-23 National FFA Officers. They will lead the organization for the next year.
These members were selected from 35 candidates vying for the honor. Candidates take part in an extensive interview process with the National FFA Officer Nominating Committee leading up to the selection.
Andrew Seibel of Virginia was elected national president. He is a former member of the Lord Botetourt FFA Chapter.
Jessica Herr of Pennsylvania was elected national secretary. She is a former member of the Garden Spot FFA Chapter.
Ryan Williamson of Texas was elected western region vice president. He is a former member of the El Campo FFA Chapter.
MacKenna Clifton of North Carolina was elected southern region vice president. She is a former member of the West Rowan FFA Chapter.
Karstyn Cantrell of Oklahoma was elected central region vice president. She is a former member of the Skiatook FFA Chapter.
Gracie Murphy of Illinois was elected eastern region vice president. She is a former member of the Macomb FFA Chapter.
Each year during the National FFA Convention & Expo, six students are elected by delegates to represent the organization as national officers. Delegates elect a president, secretary, and vice presidents representing the country's central, southern, eastern, and western regions.
Throughout their year of service to the National FFA Organization, the officers will interact with business and industry leaders; thousands of FFA members and teachers; corporate sponsors; government and education officials; state FFA leaders; the general public; and more. The team will lead personal growth and leadership training conferences for FFA members throughout the country and help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and the next generation of leaders.
The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 850,000 student members as part of 8,995 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Clean Fuels Highlights Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Role in California’s GHG Drop
Today, Clean Fuels Alliance America hailed California’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory for 2020, which reported a 16% decrease in transportation carbon emissions due in part to increasing use of biodiesel and renewable diesel. The state’s analysis notes that the percentage of biodiesel and renewable diesel in the total diesel pool grew from 0.4% in 2011 to 20.8% in 2020 through the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). According to California Air Resources Board data, biodiesel and renewable diesel generated 44% of the LCFS credits in 2020.
“As California aims to continue its progress in reducing carbon emissions, it is relying on increased production, import and blending of clean fuels like biodiesel and renewable diesel,” Clean Fuels’ CEO Donnell Rehagen stated. “Continued growth of the clean fuels sector is vital to maintaining progress in meeting carbon reduction goals and increasing climate benefits across the country.”
Without renewable fuels like biodiesel and renewable diesel, the analysis notes, California’s tailpipe fossil CO2 would have been 15 million metric tons higher in 2020. The reduction is equivalent to taking 3.2 million passenger vehicles off the road for the year.
Clean Fuels Director of State Governmental Affairs Floyd Vergara added, “Heavy duty transportation is a particularly tough sector to decarbonize just like aviation, rail, and marine transportation. California’s analysis demonstrates the critical role low carbon fuels are playing to achieve carbon reductions today. Additionally, using biodiesel and renewable diesel substantially reduces particulate matter emissions and the health impacts and costs associated with them.”
A Health Benefits Study conducted in 2021 by Trinity Consultants demonstrated reductions in cancer cases, asthma attacks, restricted activity days, and premature deaths for communities that reduce petroleum diesel use by using biodiesel. The study calculated substantial savings for California communities such as San Bernardino, Oakland, South Fresno and the port of Long Beach.
Vergara continued, “As California’s report notes, the transportation of food and essential consumer items returned to normal levels by the end of 2020, following the initial impact of the pandemic. But we can still anticipate progress in carbon reductions as California’s blend of clean fuels grew to roughly a third of the diesel pool in 2021.”
Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue Applauds NASEM Findings on L-band Use
The Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue applauds the September 2022 findings of the Congressionally-mandated National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) review of Ligado’s L-band spectrum and GPS. The outcome supports the FCC’s 5-0 decision in 2020 to deploy the lower midband spectrum to “make more efficient use of underused spectrum and promote the deployment of 5G…[with] stringent conditions to prevent harmful [GPS] interference.”
One of America’s most urgent national security priorities is the allocation of wireless spectrum for 5G-related innovation to combat the Chinese government’s technological aggression. China’s control over its public and private sectors streamlines its ability to deploy spectrum. A rapid, bipartisan U.S. response is required to close the gap.
“It is critical that our 5G networks are built with trusted technology to safeguard our freedom and maximize economic opportunities for Americans,” said Keith Krach, Chairman of the Institute and former Under Secretary of State. “Spectrum allocation is essential to our national interest and lower midband spectrum is an important part of our country’s advancement of 5G, 6G, and beyond.”
The FCC and its engineers studied the benefits of deploying L-band spectrum and determined that America’s GPS system would be protected. The National Academy has confirmed that L-band can be deployed safely. Purdue experts have also corroborated the findings of the FCC and NASEM. We encourage Ligado, DoD, NTIA, and the Department of Commerce to continue working together toward a mutually agreed upon solution leading to rapid implementation.
“As I have previously argued in Forbes regarding C-band, we must deploy available spectrum for 5G with urgency. L-band’s unique characteristics enable faster 5G deployment while also accelerating the use of C-band and other spectrum for 5G,” said Dr. Mung Chiang, incoming President of Purdue University and former Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State. "This NASEM review is yet another validation of the sound technical work of the FCC, and we know GPS and L-band spectrum for 5G can be made to safely co-exist while helping advance next generation U.S. technologies.”
The Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue believes that when America leads in technology, freedom advances. When the U.S. Government and the private sector come together around this principle, the most difficult problems can be solved. Americans deserve the economic and national security benefits that will come with U.S. leadership in 5G and beyond, and we support the immediate deployment of L-band spectrum toward that end.
Sunday, October 30, 2022
Saturday October 29 Ag News
FAQ for Fire Damage to Unharvested Crops and Harvested Ground