Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: United States


Articles from 2012 In February

Kuhn Krause introduces 8-row Gladiator strip-till, 40-ft. vertical-tillage implements

Kuhn Krause adds a smaller, 8-row version of its popular Gladiator line of strip-till equipment to match up with farmers’ row-crop tractors and 16-row planters. Suggested retail price: $84,000.
Also, the company extends its Excelerator vertical-tillage system with a larger, 40-ft. version called the Excelerator 8000, which is pulled by 400-hp tractors. The 2012 model features the Kuhn Krause red color. It also features hydraulically adjustable gangs, which Curt Davis, marketing manager for Kuhn Krause, explains. Suggested retail price: $112,000.
The two implements were on display during the 2012 National Farm Machinery Show. 
Arizona Agri-Weekly: winter vegetable harvest continues

Arizona Agri-Weekly: winter vegetable harvest continues

The Arizona Agri-Weekly report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service Field Office, released Feb. 27, 2012.

Field crops

Alfalfa conditions continue mostly fair to good. Harvest is occurring on more than two-thirds of the growing areas across the state.

Vegetables, fruit, and specialty crops

Central Arizona growers shipped broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, kale greens, bok choy, cilantro, parsley, and citrus.

Western Arizona growers shipped broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cilantro, Chinese cabbage, endive, escarole, frisee, kale greens, Boston, green leaf, iceberg, red leaf, romaine and other lettuces. Also shipped were arugula, bok choy, parsley, radicchio, spinach, and citrus.

Weather summary

Temperatures were mostly above normal for the week ending Feb 26, ranging from 6 degrees above normal at Douglas to 4 degrees below normal at Canyon De Chelly.

The highest temperature of the week was 87 degrees at Roll. The lowest reading was 10 degrees at Grand Canyon.

Precipitation was recorded in 3 of the 21 weather stations. The St. Johns area received the least at 0.01 inches. The Flagstaff area received the most at 0.08 inches.

Three of the weather stations have yet to receive precipitation in 2012. 

ANDY GRAVES from left Graves Agronomy Service Clarksdale Miss Macon LaFoe Bayer CropScience Olive Branch Miss and Jim Arrington Arrington Ag Consultants Tunica Miss were among those attending the annual meeting of the Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association
<p> ANDY GRAVES, from left, Graves Agronomy Service, Clarksdale, Miss.; Macon LaFoe, Bayer CropScience, Olive Branch, Miss.; and Jim Arrington, Arrington Ag Consultants, Tunica, Miss., were among those attending the annual meeting of the Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association.</p>

Glyphosate-resistant johnsongrass a concern in Louisiana


Johnsongrass has now “joined the party” for glyphosate-resistant weeds, with documented hot spots in two Louisiana parishes, says Daniel Stephenson, Louisiana State University assistant professor of weed science at the Dean Lee Station at Alexandria.

“In Rapides Parish, it took 7.2 times the normal rate of glyphosate to kill 50 percent of the resistant johnsongrass population,” he said at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association a Mississippi State University. “In Pointe Coupee Parish, it took 10 quarts to kill half the resistant population of rhizome johnsongrass, and 3 quarts just to kill the seedlings.

Research has shown, Stephenson says, that just two johnsongrass plants per row foot of soybeans can reduce yield by 16 percent when the weed is allowed to compete for four weeks.

“For 50-bushel beans at $12, that’s a 7.2 bushel loss and $86.40 per acre you’ve cost yourself by leaving johnsongrass in the field and allowing it to compete.

“Just one johnsongrass plant per row foot of cotton can reduce yield as much as 40 percent. At 1,000 pounds of lint, that’s $300 per acre you’ve lost.”

Johnsongrass, once labeled world’s worst weed, first started to be tamed in the era of recirculating sprayers and

a 2X rate of Treflan, Stephenson says. “That did a good job of controlling johnsongrass.

“Then came the graminicides, such as Poast, Fusilade, Assure, Select, and others that gave over-the-top control. Those materials still have utility, but we’re now seeing resistance.

“In 1996, Roundup Ready crops came along, and johnsongrass was no longer an issue because glyphosate worked so well. But unfortunately, we’ve overused it and now we’re having problems with resistance similar to that in Palmer amaranth and other weeds.

“Research has given us tools with which we can manage glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth. We’re now finding that glyphosate-resistant johnsongrass is difficult to control because of the limited tools we have.

“And as with Palmer amaranth, there’s no single solution for fighting resistant johnsongrass — you’ve got to rotate your crops and herbicide chemistries.”

In many areas of Louisiana, where no-till production is not utilized, he says, tillage can further spread rhizomes of glyphosate-resistant johnsongrass.

The resistant weed was first found in the state in 2008, but “has been spreading rather slowly, because growers and consultants have learned a lesson with glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth — if they see johnsongrass surviving a glyphosate application, they’re quick to get out there and remove it. They’re doing all they can to shut down resistant johnsongrass and keep it from spreading.”

Materials such as Fusilade, Assure, and Select “are beginning to lose effectiveness on this resistant population,” Stephenson says. “Thus far we’ve not documented multiple resistance, but if we keep banging away with graminicides the way we have the last couple of years, we unfortunately are likely to see multiple resistance develop. Past experience has shown that when we rely on one chemistry too long, we have problems.”

In cotton, if johnsongrass is not controlled, he says, “you can have all kinds of problems with picker heads when you start harvesting the field.

Control options limited

“Preliminary research indicates that 3.33 pints of Command can suppress early season growth of johnsongrass, but this treatment is quite expensive. What you do see, though, is Palmer amaranth, and I had Command-treated plots I couldn’t harvest because there was so much Palmer amaranth.

“We really don’t have an answer to control johnsongrass pre-emerge in cotton other than a super-high rate of Command. With LibertyLink cotton, Liberty postemergence does a pretty fair job — it doesn’t kill the johnsongrass; it just burns it black and allows the cotton to outgrow it.”

For Ignite or Liberty, Stephenson says, “It took three applications of 29 ounces to get possibly 90 percent control of johnsongrass. We’re stretching ourselves to the max with LibertyLink and Ignite, but it’s about the only thing we’re finding that will work in cotton to control johnsongrass.

“For Roundup Ready flex cotton, we’ve found that mixing a graminicide and glyphosate will provide something of a synergistic effect on glyphosate-resistant johnsongrass; however, this application still places selection pressure on graminicides, which may lead to resistance.

“Liberty, LibertyLink cotton, and glytol LibertyLink are looking like our best tools, but we need more research in this area”

Louisiana data show “corn may be the best place to fight this monster,” Stephenson says, “because we have some very good tools for dealing with glyphosate-resistant johnsongrass in that crop.

“In our trials, we’ve obtained 85 percent control with Corvus and adding atrazine bumps it to over 90 percent. Add a postemerge application of glyphosate and Liberty at the V4 growth stage, and you get 85 percent to 95 percent control of Palmer amaranth, morningglory, hophornbeam copperleaf, and other weeds.

“Corvus’ sister herbicide, Capreno, applied at V4, provided almost 100 percent control of glyphosate-resistant johnsongrass in my research. It’s expensive, but you might use it as a spot spray.”

Controlling glyphosate-resistant johnsongrass in soybeans is very similar to techniques for cotton, Stephenson says, noting that results with herbicides such as Classic, Flexstar, and SelectMax have been inconsistent.

“For LibertyLink soybeans, applying Ignite at 22, 29, or 36 ounces on 18-inch johnsongrass, and also on sequential rates, we found no differences Liberty rate for control. The biggest difference was in the timing of the sequential applications — whether we waited three weeks after the first application for the next spray, or waited four weeks. In every situation, we increased control and increased yield by delaying the second application until the fourth week.”

Take-home suggestions for glyphosate-resistant johnsongrass, Stephenson says, include:

· “If you’re growing corn, plant a hybrid that is Roundup Ready/LibertyLink so you can spray it with glyphosate and Liberty over the top. Do not put an organophosphate insecticide in-furrow, because then you’ve lost the ability to use a number of materials that have shown good utility on johnsongrass.

· “In cotton and soybeans, a graminicide plus glyphosate will require two applications. In LibertyLink cotton or glytol LibertyLink soybeans, use Liberty followed by Liberty and a graminicide, with the first application at 12 inches to 18 inches and a sequential application four weeks later. It may take a third application.

· “If you spray glyphosate on johnsongrass and it doesn’t kill, get out of your pickup, dig it up, get it out of the field and don’t let it make seed. Flag the spot, then keep checking back to be sure no more is coming up. Don’t let the situation get out of hand, the way Palmer amaranth has in many areas of the Mid-South.

· “If you see johnsongrass in your field, you may question whether it’s resistant or maybe the sprayer just missed a spot. It doesn’t cost you anything to get out of your pickup and pull it up so it doesn’t persist and potentially cause problems in the future.

“We all know what has happened with resistance in Palmer amaranth,” Stephenson says. “We don’t want the same thing to happen with johnsongrass.”

Jim Marois University of Florida
<p> Jim Marois, University of Florida</p>

Sod-based rotation provides multiple benefits

Farmers have known for ages that crop rotation provides benefits beyond a yield bump. Advantages include improved pest control, opportunity to switch herbicides and other crop protection materials and the potential to tap different commodity markets to spread financial risks.

Now, research has shown that a comprehensive rotation program, coupled with reduced or no-till systems, provides far-reaching benefits that go beyond the farm gate.

Jim Marois, University of Florida, says a sod-based rotation and no-till production system that includes perennial grasses offers significant benefits to farmers and the environment.

“It pays to get grass and animals back to where farmers grow crops,” Marois said during the No-till Oklahoma Conference held recently in Norman.

He said environmental conditions in the Southeast may be significantly different from those in Oklahoma and other Southwest areas. Some of the plants may not be as adaptable to the region and rainfall differences can be considerable. But the principles will apply.

“We see a lot of interest in water in the Southeast,” Marois said. Developing production systems that utilize water efficiently is becoming a priority. Building soil organic matter is a key, he said.

“Two-thirds of the biomass of perennial grasses is below ground,” he said. “One-third of annual grass biomass is below ground.”

He said perennial grasses push roots deep into the soil and build organic matter. “Going from 1 percent organic matter to 2 percent can mean a lot to a farmer,” said Marois. “After 10,000 years of agriculture extracting from the soil, we are now able to enrich it.”

He said integrating perennial grass into a rotation system can increase crop root growth by 50 percent. He said a sod-based rotation increases water penetration, plant water use potential and nutrient cycling.

Economic diversity

“It also increases economic diversity by adding cattle, hay and grazing options.  The system also reduces the amount of time producers spend on certain (seasonal) activities.”

He explained that rotations that include perennial grasses spread risks by dividing center pivots into quarter circles. “With just 50 acres of cotton, for instance, producers face less stress to plant in a limited time. They also have greater flexibility and can respond to commodity market changes.”

He’s worked with a no-till, sod-based system that included: cotton, bahiagrass, bahiagrass and peanuts. A conventional-till rotation system included: peanuts, cotton, cotton and peanuts. “We used a winter oat cover crop in both systems.

“One acre of bahiagrass,” he said, “produces 20,000 pounds of root mass in the soil, mostly in the second year. Oats produce from 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of organic matter. Sod-based rotation also sequesters an amount of carbon equal to 100,000 gallons of gasoline burned.”

He said the organic matter and soil moisture relationship is linear. “The more organic matter the more water in the soil.”

Leaching can be a problem in sandy Southeastern soil and is a particular concern near Florida’s many springs, Marois said. Sod-based rotations near those springs help protect the pristine waters.

He said no-till production “preserves what we have. Sod-based rotation restores what’s been lost—organic matter—by rotating perennial grasses through cropland.”

Cattle play an important role in the sod-based system. “We’re looking at the effect of cattle on compaction and nutrient extraction,” Marois said.  Researchers are weighing such factors as: nitrogen uptake, earthworm populations, soil compaction, crop yield and quality, organic matter content, economics, the impact of cattle on the soil, soil respiration and other issues.

“We’re also looking at the possibility of reducing nitrogen demand significantly with this system.”

He said cotton typically requires 50 pounds of nitrogen to make one bale of cotton. “We’re looking at growing three to four bales of cotton with just 60 pounds of nitrogen.”

A bahia, bahia, peanut and cotton rotation could be a key. “Bahia roots punch through the compaction layer and earthworms then push through. Cotton roots follow and go deeper (than usual).”

He said water infiltration increases significantly with a bahiagrass rotation. “Hard rains soak in quickly,” he said.

Deeper roots make a significant difference in avoiding water stress. Marois said roots that penetrate to six inches will need water every three days. Roots that probe to 60 inches can go without water for 30 days without moisture stress.”

Cattle advantages

He said cattle actually help nutrient management and may add as much as $120 per acre with nutrient cycling in the top six inches of soil. Cattle manure and urine contribute to nutrient levels.

Compaction is not a big deal. “Cattle compact soil a lot less than farmers feared,” Marois said. “Peanuts following grazed land were not difficult to dig.”

Typically, farmers place cattle on the land in June and keep them on until first frost, Marois said. In some cases, with overgrowth for instance, cattle may stay on longer or be put on for additional short periods to manage vegetative growth.

Farmers may seed fields while cattle are on and “let the cattle punch the seed into the soil.”

Aflatoxin is also less of a problem in peanuts with sod-based rotations. “With high temperatures, dry soils and plant stress we found no aflatoxin in either irrigated or non-irrigated peanuts. Soil moisture retention is better.”

He said they don’t see nematodes in bahiagrass.

Oklahoma State University Extension agronomist Chad Godsey said organic matter averages about 1 percent in much of Oklahoma’s cropland. “A 1 percent increase in organic matter means a lot of bushels of wheat or other crop,” he said.

Marois said farmers using strip-till in this system may rip the soil down to 10 inches to 12 inches so “the root system will go deeper, especially in heavier soils and with peanuts—not so much for cotton. We want to disturb the soil as little as possible.”

Marois said perennial grass options for the Southwest likely will differ from those suited to Florida, but he said the principles still hold.

“Start the program on the worst part of the farm,” he recommended. “If it works there it will be beneficial across the farm.”

Sod-based rotation research has widespread support throughout the Southeast, he said. Cooperators include Auburn University, National Soil Dynamics Laboratory, National Peanut Laboratory,  University of Georgia, Virginia Tech, Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Cotton Incorporated, Florida Water Management Districts, USDA, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and others. He said Coca Cola has also worked with the project on sustainability issues.

Residual herbicides can help combat weed resistance


Mississippi growers should be proactive and very timely in use of residual herbicides to help combat increased resistance of pigweed and other species, says Dr. Tom Eubank, assistant Extension and research professor at the Delta Research and Extension Center at Stoneville. He discussed suggested practices at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association.

Arkansas researcher probes secrets of Missouri’s soybean king

If there is a Babe Ruth of soybean production, it would be Kip Cullers.

At a time when the Arkansas state average yield in 2011 was 38 bushels per acre, Cullers, of Stark City, Mo., consistently knocks yield numbers out of the double digits and well past the century mark in the smallish, minimum-two-acre test plots outlined by contest rules. Take a look at his stats in the last few years:

  • 2006 --139 bushels per acre.
  • 2007 -- 155 bushels per acre.
  • 2008 -- 117 bushels per acre.
  • 2010 -- 161 bushels per acre.
  • 2011 -- 109 bushels per acre.

These yields have made him a multi-year winner in the Missouri Soybean Association Yield Contest. Arkansas, too, has its 100-bushel challenge, and growers are closing in on the goal. The highest yield reported for the 2011 Arkansas Soybean Association Yield Contest was 94 bushels per acre, and four additional Arkansas producers attained 90-plus bushels per acre.

Here’s where Ryan Van Roekel, Ph.D. student at the University of Arkansas, comes in. Working with Larry Purcell, University of Arkansas professor and Altheimer Chair for Soybean Research, Van Roekel has made a study of Cullers’ winning plots in 2011.

The researcher visited “Mr. Cullers’ contest field with the intent of documenting crop growth characteristics that would result in these yields,” Van Roekel said. The researchers also wanted to study yield potential of soybeans under intensive management on a large scale with strip trials in eastern Arkansas, and set up test plots at England and near Helena-West Helena.

However, 2011’s heavy rain, severe hail and record heat conspired to limit yields. In England, where heavy rain and hail battered the crop, yields averaged 69 to 74 bushels per acre. In Helena-West Helena, the average yield was 77 to 83 bushels per acre. By contrast, county average irrigated yields from 2006 to 2010 were 37 bushels at England and 44 bushels at Helena-West Helena.

“Many of Mr. Cullers’ practices are focused on maximizing yield, which does not necessarily maximize profitability or sustainability,” Van Roekel said. However, of those practices, Van Roekel said early planting, excellent pest management, timely irrigation and selection of the right varieties and paying close attention to soil fertility and plant nutritional needs are the ones that can be applied directly to Arkansas soybean production.

“If these five management goals are accomplished, we have demonstrated that yields can average more than 80 bushels per acre across a whole field in our strip trial research,” he said.

Other research found unusual characteristics in Cullers’ field as well, including ”high growth and nitrogen accumulation rates, and abnormally slow seed fill rates over a longer seed fill period,” Van Roekel said.

There is one “tough love” tactic Cullers used in the past that has been widely discussed: use of a Cobra herbicide to injure the soybean crop early in the season.

“Some farmers would comment on how it seemed like injured soybeans would yield a little better rather than worse like you would think,” Van Roekel said. “We felt it was something we needed to at least look into.

“While it is possible that stressing the plants early can allow them to come back stronger, it is likely that the potential yield benefit will be small.”

Previous research results on this practice have been unpredictable, with inconsistent yield increases.

“While our first-year data did show a potential yield increase, we do not recommend burning the soybean crop as part of a producer’s standard management practices,” Van Roekel said.

Lanny Ashlock, former Extension soybean specialist and now assistant vice president-special programs for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and coordinator for the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, is a fan of Van Roekel’s work.

“Striving to increase soybean grain yield has long been the goal of many Arkansas farmers, and the recent successes of Mr. Kip Cullers in southwest Missouri has certainly renewed excitement for this endeavor in the state,” Ashlock said.

“The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board is funding a multiple-objective Soybean Maximum Yield Project within the state, and we appreciate the cooperation from Mr. Cullers and the efforts of Mr. Van Roekel, and that of his major professor, Dr. Larry Purcell, as they attempt to determine those management practices or combinations of management factors that account for the outstanding soybean yields that Mr. Cullers attains.”

For more information about crop production, visit or see Van Roekel’s article here.

For more on Purcell’s work, see here.

For herbicide-resistant pigweed, control starts now

Across Arkansas, farmers are battling a formidable foe: herbicide-resistant pigweed. But its toughness can be blunted with proper control techniques, said Herb Ginn, Lawrence County agent for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

“Though pigweed is tough to fight, control is possible,” he said.

Pigweed is a difficult foe for many reasons. It quickly developed a fierce resistance to glyphosate, the weed can produce millions of seeds per acre, and it grows easily and everywhere. It’s tough, too – after reaching a certain maturity level, chemical control is impossible, prompting farmers to resort to an old weapon: hand-hoeing.

“This weed has many enemies, and few, if any, friends. It makes fields ugly, competes with valuable crops by consuming costly fertilizer and water, and robs yield. It can grow up to one inch a day, when conditions are right.”

There are a variety of control methods for pigweed.

When dealing with resistant weeds in soybeans, Ginn recommends starting out with a clean field by using tillage or a burn-down program. Make sure to put out a residual treatment of Prefix, Dual, Valor or Valor-containing pre-mix such as Valor XLT, Gangster or Envive.

Use Flexstar or Ultra Blazer at full rate from early-post to 3-4-inch pigweed. Rotate to LibertyLink soybeans and use Ignite in combination with one of the mentioned residual treatments.

With peanuts, there can be resistance to aceto-lactase synthase-inhibitor herbicides, or ALS. These herbicides kill weeds by preventing plants from producing essential amino acids needed for growth and development. In this case, there are several options.

One option is to use Prowl preplant incorporated, followed by Valor, followed by Cadre or Ultra Blazer and 2,4-DB on 3-inch or smaller pigweed. The other option consists of using Prowl preplant incorporated, followed by Paraquat, Storm and Dual at cracking, and then Cobra or Ultra Blazer and Dual Magnum on 3-inch or smaller pigweed.

A fact sheet is available here.

For more information on weed control, contact your county agent or visit

Increasing tolerance of cotton bollworms in Mississippi

In recent years, Mississippi agriculture specialists have been seeing increased tolerance of cotton bollworms to widely-used pesticides. At the annual meeting of the Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association, Dr. Angus Catchot, associate Extension professor of entomology and plant pathology at Mississippi State University, discussed some of the issues and recommendations for dealing with the problem. 

The winter that never was

This is turning out to be the winter that never was. We've had temperatures in the 50s the last several days. Our soil in Ohio is still wet with puddles of water everywhere. I've given up on hauling liquid manure. I've called a custom applicator who has a drag line. Hopefully he'll be able to pull the hose through the muddy ground with his track tractor. 

We're keeping busy working on equipment. Most of my tools and tractors will go to a dealership to have everything checked over and fixed. Lots of farm meetings and meals this time of year, also. The big topic is the buildup of algae in Lake Erie. Most of it is coming from the watershed that I am in so everyone is concerned but no one has the answer and no one knows for sure where the majority of the fault lies.