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Don’t pull trigger on fungicide without reason

southern rust on corn leaf
SCOUT AND SEE: Southern rust caused havoc in the southern half of Indiana in a rare outbreak in 2016. Normally, scouting and treating only if necessary will prevent losses.

My dad and I agreed we wouldn’t apply fungicide on corn to save money. All our hybrids were rated good or excellent on diseases, except southern rust. We live in central Indiana. Dad is getting cold feet and wants to spray. I disagree. Can you give us any guidelines?

The panel of Indiana certified crop advisers answering this question includes Don Burgess, agronomist with A&L Great Lakes Labs, Fort Wayne; Jesse Grogan, agronomist with Ag Reliant Genetics, Lafayette; and Bryan Overstreet, Purdue University Extension ag educator in Jasper County.

Burgess: It’s very unlikely that a fungicide application is needed here. Plant diseases require three factors to establish: the disease-causing organism, a susceptible host and favorable environmental factors. These three factors, often referred to as the disease triangle, all must be present for any plant disease to develop. Since a hybrid with strong disease resistance was selected, the susceptibility of the host has been greatly reduced. Genetic disease resistance is a good tool that will greatly lessen the likelihood of infection.

Southern rust, like common rust, doesn’t generally overwinter in Indiana due to the lack of a viable host. It must be blown in from the South to infest Indiana crops. In addition, southern rust is generally favored by warm, moist conditions. If the weather is hot with high humidity and heavy dews, these conditions may favor southern rust if the organism is present in your area. The best advice is to scout your fields and look for any symptoms of diseases or other problems.

Grogan: There are guidelines to spray for southern rust. Southern rust overwinters in Mexico and along the Gulf Coast on early-planted corn. It moves on summer winds and drops into the corn crop during storms. The rate of spread for southern rust depends on how early it starts and moves up the Mississippi River Valley. Disease development is rapid once it arrives. Heavy losses are experienced with two weeks of heavy infestation on susceptible hybrids. Hot and humid weather is ideal for development and local spread.

Southern rust usually arrives late in the season for central Indiana, from about the dent to black layer stage, and corn escapes the disease threat. However, corn planted south of Interstate 70, especially along the Ohio River, has experienced significant losses in recent years. Southern rust caused heavy losses in southern Indiana in 2016 due to hot and humid weather. It showed up again in 2017, but conditions were cool and drier, and the disease didn’t develop as expected.

If southern rust is identified at the flowering stage or two weeks after in your fields and counties near you, and there is an extended period of hot and humid weather expected, a preventative application could be applied.

Overstreet: Generally, rust spores blow in too late to do significant damage. You can watch reports from Kentucky to see if rust is moving your way. Southern rust requires dew periods of at least seven hours to survive and temperatures in the upper 70s and lower 80s. Spores usually arrive in late July and early August. If you decide to spray, there are several fungicides that are effective. Make sure you look at harvest restrictions.

Look at the Purdue Extension publication “Fungicide Efficacy for Control of Corn Diseases,” BP-160-W, to help you decide what fungicide to use. For more information, check out “Common and Southern Rusts,” BP-82-W. You can find these publications at edustore.purdue.edu.

My lucky day — could tomorrow be yours?

Fibers from a chainsaw safety bib
CLOSE CALL: Fibers from a chainsaw safety bib stopped the saw just in time.

It was my lucky day. I was in Menards and walked past the chainsaw section and saw some new safety bibs.

I had been cutting wood in the shelterbelt around our farmstead, but hadn’t been wearing my old chainsaw safety chaps. I’ve gained weight since I bought the chaps 20 years ago, and they just didn’t fit around the waist anymore. I had even tried using a rope to hold them up without success.

“But did I really need the chaps?” I wondered.

 I had cut wood for 40 years and never had an accident.

The new safety bibs looked like they would be easy to wear, though. They didn’t cinch at the waist. Instead they had suspenders.

So, I bought the bibs and tossed them on the counter I got home. I didn’t wear them right away, but one night when I was changing clothes to go out and work on the dead trees I thought, “Well, I spent $30 for these darn things, I better use them.”

So, I put the bibs on and walked out to the grove. I fired up the saw and started cutting a tree limb. The limb was about chest high and had to be removed to provide access to the tree trunk where I wanted to make the felling cut.

Either the limb was a lot more rotten than I thought, or the new chain on the saw was a lot more aggressive than the old, dull one it had replaced, but the saw roared through the limb like a hot knife through soft butter. In a flash, before I could lift my finger off the trigger, the revving chainsaw blade fell onto my thigh.

Then THUNK! The safety bib stopped the saw cold.

There was a gash in the bib where the chain teeth bounced against my leg. Through the hole, long strands of safety mesh had been pulled out and jammed the gear, bringing the saw to a stop.

In the sudden silence of the shelterbelt, I realized I had gotten lucky. If I hadn’t been wearing the safety bib, I would have cut my leg down to the bone, maybe even cut it off.

It had all happened so fast.

It was my lucky day.

Tractor Supply Co. celebrates youth at fairs

BrandyTaylor/Gettyimages girl at 4H fair showing cow
6-MONTH TOUR: In its fourth year, TSC’s “Follow Us to the Fair” tour begins June 1 and concludes Nov. 10.

Tractor Supply Co. is again celebrating youth and the fair season with the “Follow Us to the Fair” tour, which includes an 11,000-mile cross-country journey to state and county fairs. It will make 24 stops in 14 states over the next six months, including several stops in Michigan and Ohio.

In addition to family-friendly activities and opportunities to win prizes, the tour will celebrate local 4-H and FFA youth through TSC’s second annual “Great Neighbor” essay contest. The tour will recognize more than 100 4-H and FFA youth who are making a difference in their local communities.

This year’s competition encouraged youth to submit a short essay detailing how a memorable 4-H or FFA experience had influenced their development as a great neighbor in their community.

The tour is now in its fourth year, and TSC is sending its road team on an excursion that begins June 1 in Kentucky and concludes Nov. 10 in Nevada.

In Michigan, the tour will stop in at the Oakland County Fair in Davisburg on July 12-15 and at the Gladwin County Fair in Gladwin on July 18-21.

In Ohio, tour stops include the Duck Tape Festival in Avon on June 14-16 and the Pickaway County Fair in Circleville on June 20-23. More Ohio stops include the Marion County Fair in Marion on July 2-6, and the Ohio State Fair in Columbus on July 25-29.

“Fairs have a long-standing tradition of bringing people of all ages together to celebrate the local community and the key role that agriculture plays within it,” says Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing at TSC. “The ‘Follow Us to the Fair’ tour seeks to preserve this tradition while adding family fun to the experience. The ‘Great Neighbor’ essay contest is an added layer that lets us recognize the incredible work 4-H and FFA youth are doing all across the country.”

TSC selected local winners at each fair to be honored during a special ceremony. In addition to a commemorative plaque, contest winners will walk away with a special TSC gift pack.

The 2,000-square-foot traveling exhibit will give fairgoers the opportunity to experience the excitement of “Life Out Here” through a variety of entertainment options, including music, interactive games and ways to win prizes. Attendees will have the chance to test their abilities on a strength game, have their free photo taken on a bucking bull, race to “feed the animals” in a bean bag toss, take home huge prizes and participate in fun, educational activities.

To view the complete list of state and county fair stops and corresponding dates, visit tractorsupply.com/FairTour. To stay up to date on the “Follow Us to the Fair” tour, follow Tractor Supply Co. on Facebook.

Source: TSC

Farm bill action results in more uncertainty

rarrarorro/gettyimages capital building in washington
UNCERTAIN OUTLOOK: Even if both the House and Senate move forward successfully on their bills, it doesn't guarantee a final farm bill before the current one expires in September.

When the U.S. House of Representatives voted down the farm bill legislation on May 18 for only the second time in modern history, but also the second time in the past five years, it confirmed a growing challenge for farm policy.

The House voted 213 to 198 against HR 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. Only Republicans voted for the bill. All of the Democrats that voted joined 30 Republicans to vote "no" and defeat the bill. Procedural moves after the vote laid the groundwork for another vote on the bill in late June, but the "no" votes told a story of the difficulty of developing and delivering this year's farm bill across the finish line.

The House Agriculture Committee marked up the legislation under similar strained debate, as Democrats on the committee offered speeches — but no amendments and no votes for a bill — over concerns with cuts to food assistance. Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, proposed legislation that essentially kept budget dollars flat in the nutrition title, but shifted some spending away from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program toward job training and education programs for SNAP recipients.

The goal of transitioning people from SNAP benefits to gainful employment and education seems to be a readily accepted ideal. But when the policy changes to enforce work, or training requirements reduce benefits or enrollment, it also looks like and is often described by SNAP supporters as a cut in benefits. Additional language in the House farm bill to tighten eligibility rules and benefit calculations would definitely lead to a cut in SNAP support for some individuals and households. Even when the reduced benefits were reinvested in expanded job training and education, the overall response from Democrats was a unanimous "no" from those in committee and on the floor of the House.

The farm bill could still have moved through the House in May with only Republican support, and that seemed to be Conaway's strategy in veering to the political right with the proposed SNAP changes. However, about half of the right-wing Freedom Caucus voted against the bill, presumably not over specific complaints with the legislation, but as part of a political strategy to force a vote on a separate conservative immigration bill. When an about equal number of moderate Republicans also voted no, some with concerns over reductions in SNAP benefits for their respective constituents, the bill was doomed to fail.

Regardless of whether the House Democrats, the Freedom Caucus or Conaway's decision to push ahead to an uncertain vote are to blame, the failed vote was harmful to the farm bill process, even if it was no longer historic.

The House also failed to pass the last farm bill in June 2013 when it came up for a vote, and lost left-wing Democratic support over proposed SNAP cuts and right-wing Republican support over insufficient spending cuts to both SNAP and farm income support programs (commodity programs and crop insurance). After the failed vote in 2013, separate farm legislation passed in July.

A nutrition title revised with greater SNAP cuts to attract additional Republican votes was approved in September. However, for all the House action to fight for and eventually vote on significant cuts to SNAP, the bill still had to be compromised with a much more moderate Senate bill that had sufficient bipartisan support to pass out of that chamber. The final bill, signed into law in February 2014, settled on SNAP cuts much more in line with the Senate version than the House. That same fate seems likely to await the House legislation this time around, suggesting that both sides of the aisle in the House are fighting for legislation that can't effectively work in the final bill regardless.

The outlook from here is uncertain. The motion to reconsider the farm bill vote in the House suggests a late June vote, only after the Freedom Caucus has garnered its vote on conservative immigration legislation. In the meantime, the Senate Agriculture Committee was slated to begin markup on legislation in early June, with expectations for a much more moderate, bipartisan bill given the need for 60 votes to clear that chamber.

If both chambers move forward successfully, we could have both bills ready to go to conference between the time this column appears online in late May and the time it hits the mailbox in July. Even if we do, that doesn't guarantee a final bill before the current farm bill expires in September.

Given the expected major differences between the two chambers, the conference committee deliberations could be extremely difficult. Getting a compromise bill done and voted on before the end of September could give policymakers the ability to tout a completed farm bill back home on the campaign trail just in time for the November election. However, it also could be easier to campaign on what is being fought for in the final bill as opposed to what is accepted in a final compromise. That would point toward a final compromise and vote in a lame-duck session of Congress after the election. Then again, if the election creates a substantial power shift in either direction, there could be pressure to push a simple extension of current legislation and tackle the overall bill again in a new Congress in 2019.

The uncertainty with the farm bill debate and the rising partisan rhetoric simply adds more and more risk for producers. For a farm bill that is supposedly designed to help alleviate risk for agriculture, it is ironic and disappointing that the farm bill process itself has become so risky and unpredictable.

Unfortunately, that has become the case with more and more legislation in Congress. It is not just that proposals and deliberations have become more partisan, it is that even within each party, there seems to be sharper divisions and political battles over everything except which party to support for leadership. It makes crafting and delivering major legislation extremely challenging and makes it that much more important for agricultural producers and policy stakeholders to remain alert and engaged in the process.

Lubben is an Extension policy specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Flip through 1965 TSC catalog and see changes

vintage farm equipment
OLD-TIME AGRICULTURE: You need to know what a belt and pulley to run hammermills and other equipment is to understand this article. If you’re under 40, this state fair scene might help explain.

The catalog I picked up out of my collection was the 1965 Tractor Parts Blue Book from Tractor Supply Co. This issue celebrated adding the 100th store across the nation.

Tractor Supply Co., often referred to as TSC, now has 1,700 stores. You can still find tractor and equipment parts for sale, but you’ll also find a lot more items geared to people living on just a few acres.

Come along as I flip through a few pages of the 1965 Blue Book, and pay attention to items and prices. They say a lot about changes in agriculture.

• Page 3: Plastic corn planter plates. Remember those? They were advertised as 50% less expensive than cast-iron plates. You could buy plates for John Deere or Allis-Chalmers planters for 88 cents each, or International Harvester Co. plates for $1.09 each.

We threw away stacks of these when my dad retired. I thought seed corn dealers provided them for free — apparently not all the time.

Page 9: Wagon and tractor front and rear tires. You could buy a rear tractor tire for as little as $34.76! The most-expensive Huskee rear tractor tire for the biggest model listed was $83.97. Of course, that doesn’t include tax. No trade-in tire was required; you could put no money down, and three credit plans were available.

Page 23: Tailored seat covers for popular trucks. You could buy these full front-seat covers made of 12-ounce cotton duck for $8.95. Covers were available for Ford pickups back to 1948 and Chevrolet and GMC trucks back to 1950. All were $8.95 each — that was a bargain.

Page 24: Motorola all-transistor-type truck radio. Not a stereo, kids, just a radio. But if you didn’t have one, that was a big deal in 1965. You could get the radio and antenna to mount on the roof for $48.95 as part of the 100th store celebration.

Page 30: Trasco Heater Cabs. OK, many people referred to them as “Heat Housers,” but that was a brand name. They weren’t true cabs, but canvas material kept the heat in. You could get one to fit most tractors for $24.88 without a windshield or wings, or for $31.88 with a windshield and wings. The ad even talks about adjustable heat control. I admit we had a different brand on our D17 Series IV, but I don’t remember anything about heat control. It was either cold if you didn’t have one, or not as cold and bearable if you did.

Page 81: Hammermill belts. If you’re under 40, you may not know that this was a belt that ran off the pulley on the tractor to power not only hammermills, but also ensilage blowers and other things. We still used one on the silo blower in 1965. You could buy a “deluxe” belt with four-ply construction, 30 feet long, for $43.50, or a 40-foot-long belt for $54.50.

Page 98: Roto-Baler belts. If you still used an Allis-Chalmers Roto-Baler to make small round bales, you could buy the complete set of 12 endless original equipment belts for the baler for $141.50. You could also buy a plywood swathboard for your sickle mower for $3.88, or an all-steel one for just $6.29.

Page 108: Combine belts. If you were still using an Allis-Chalmers Model 66 orange pull-type combine that sent residue out the side, you could get a belt for it. You could also get belts for John Deere 12-A pull-type and Massey-Harris Clipper combines.  

Comments? Email tom.bechman@farmprogress.com.

TSC 'Follow Us to the Fair' tour begins June 1

BrandyTaylor/iStock/GettyImages- Child showing a beef heifer at a 4-H show during the County Fair.

Tractor Supply’s “Follow Us to the Fair” Tour is once again embarking on an 11,000-mile cross-country journey to state and county fairs, making 24 stops in 14 states over the next six months. The tour will recognize more than 100 4-H and FFA youth who are making a difference in their local communities. 

Now in its fourth year, Tractor Supply Company is sending its road team on an excursion that begins June 1 in Kentucky and concludes Nov. 10 in Nevada. In between, they will stop in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona and Utah.

In addition to family-friendly activities and opportunities to win prizes, the “Follow Us to the Fair” Tour will celebrate local 4-H and FFA youth through Tractor Supply’s second annual “Great Neighbor” Essay Contest. This year’s competition encouraged youth to submit a short essay detailing how a memorable 4-H or FFA experience has influenced their development as a great neighbor in their community.

“Fairs have a longstanding tradition of bringing people of all ages together to celebrate the local community and the key role that agriculture plays within it,” said Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply Company. “The ‘Follow Us to the Fair’ Tour seeks to preserve this tradition while adding family fun to the experience. The ‘Great Neighbor’ Essay Contest is an added layer that lets us recognize the incredible work 4-H and FFA youth are doing all across the country.”

Tractor Supply selected local winners at each fair to be honored during a special ceremony. In addition to a commemorative plaque, contest winners will walk away with a special Tractor Supply gift pack. 

The 2,000-square-foot traveling exhibit will give fairgoers the opportunity to experience the excitement of “Life Out Here” through a variety of entertainment options, including music, interactive games and ways to win prizes. Attendees will have the chance to test their abilities on a strength game, have their free photo taken on a bucking bull, race to “feed the animals” in a bean bag toss, take home huge prizes and participate in fun, educational activities.

To view the complete list of state and county fair stops and corresponding dates, please visit TractorSupply.com/FairTour.

Source: Tractor Supply Company

$8.89 million available for risk management education and training

samotrebizan/iStock/GettyImages Young man teaching elderly man.

USDA’s Risk Management Agency announced the availability of $8.89 million for risk management education and training programs. The funding will allow organizations such as universities, county cooperative extension offices, and nonprofit organizations to develop training and educational tools to help farmers and ranchers learn how to effectively manage long-term risks and challenges.

Programs

Available funding includes $4.73 million for the Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States Program for crop insurance education programs where there is a low level of federal crop insurance participation and availability. The targeted states are Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Additionally, $4.16 million in funding is available for the Risk Management Education Partnership Program, which provides funding for the development of general nationwide crop insurance education as well as other risk management training programs for producers.

A broad range of risk management training activities are eligible for funding consideration under these programs, including training on federal crop insurance options, risk analysis, and changes to the crop insurance program. Partners also can train farmers at all levels on risk management options that help secure local food systems and strengthen rural communities.

Information about how to apply to these programs is available at Grants.gov.

Application deadline

Applications for both programs are due by 5 p.m. EDT on July 30, 2018. All applications must be submitted electronically through the Results Verification System website and received by the deadline.

Interested organizations may apply by submitting documentation required as part of the Risk Management Education Partnerships Request for Applications. The applications are then

reviewed, and awardees enter into cooperative agreements that are managed by RMA’s Risk Management Education Division.

“Risk Management Education helps ensure that farmers and ranchers know and understand what tools are available to them and how to plan for unknown weather and financial situations. We work with private organizations to help us reach a wide range of producers, and connect them with resources from RMA, as well as from our partner agencies within USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area, the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service,” said RMA Administrator Martin Barbre. 

Source: USDA RMA

Do you have a digital strategy on your farm?

HAKINMHAN/iStock/GettyImages Strategy text with business icon on modern laptop screen with graph chart background.

Yield maps, online records, input costs, financials — you’ve been faithfully collecting data on your farm for years. But if we asked if you had a data strategy for all that data, how would you answer?

“We’re at a time and place in ag where farmers need to define a digital strategy for their operation, but I don’t observe many have sat down and developed today,” says Ohio State University ag engineer John Fulton. “Establishing a digital strategy ensures that the farmer has control of the data. The core of your strategy is: Save, secure and share, as needed.”

Having a digital strategy is an outline of key ways to make the data more useful, starting with how to use it to evaluate revenue potential throughout the growing season. You want your data to help you assess the maximum profit opportunities including maximum yield potential and the variables that impact yield through the growing season, Fulton says.

Data’s value and potential return depends on its access to the operation and to others providing services, says Ohio State’s John Fulton.

 

Write it down

This strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, but you should write it down and share it with others on your farm team. Start with goals: What data and digital tools do you use or plan to use, and why? Who do you plan to share the data with? How do you define success, and what is your evaluation plan? And do you have an internal plan to store, share and secure data?

“You should have a short- and long-term strategy,” Fulton says. “The long-term plan is your database that you’ll use to make decisions. Your strategy should include technology, data management and the analytical component.

“You may have data, but you’ve never downloaded off the machine. You need to collect data,” Fulton says.

“Second, data needs to be organized. You may need to sit down and actually figure out what’s on your thumb drive and figure out what it is and what information it could provide.

“Organizing the data is a key first step that needs to be completed,” he says.

Lastly, make sure you have a backup of the in-cab display and other data.

Seek out centralization

Migrate data into one standardized and unified platform, suggests Agrian CEO Nishan Majarian. Having data scattered across a variety of applications, or point solutions, doesn’t make for a robust data strategy — it makes for future headaches. A broad platform with broad capabilities will allow all your precision, agronomy and compliance data, across all your crops, to talk. And when your data is combined and used together, it can be a powerful tool to improve yields, produce higher returns and maximize input investments — not just in the future, but right now.

Evaluate your options 

Scrutinize the company that will need to stand behind your data strategy. Are they in it for the long haul? Or a novel technology looking to be sold?

“In recent years, the industry has seen a rise of venture capitalists driving point solutions that ultimately leverage the user’s data in an attempt to sell them something bigger down the line,” Majarian says.

“It’s an approach that often seeks to boost seed sales and push chemical products, while also aiming to disrupt the farmer’s relationship with their retail agronomist. Put your trust in independent technology companies that have transparent business models: selling you software to help power your decision-making,” he says.

What about security?

Use passwords, not just on the cloud but internally on laptops. That gives farmers the control they need. Any on-farm data storage should be locked up and fireproof. If it’s off-farm on a cloud, use the cyber security features that come with the service.

You’ll need to decide if and how you will share data. In a survey conducted by a group of universities, 90% of precision farmers are sharing data today; 44% are sharing data with three or more people, mainly seed reps and trusted agronomic consultants. Half of those surveyed say they find value in data warehousing and recommendations, such as prescriptions.

Who gets to see your data and why? What data gets shared and when? How will it be shared? Can you email it, put it on a thumb drive, or a cloud service, like Dropbox?

Next, determine how you will access your data. What happens to data if you chose to terminate the service? Can you sell or allow access to your data with others? How can you share data with others?

“The value of data and potential return on investment on data is dependent on making it accessible internally to the operation and to others providing services,” Fulton says.

Having access, say, to a yield map, immediately after harvest, is most valuable. Having it organized and knowing how it will be shared enables “decision-ready’ data.

To start this process, review the checklist above. The sooner you get this completed, the better you will feel about the usefulness of all that data you’re collecting.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

To mix or not to mix herbicides and acephate?

cahoon-cotton
One- to 2- leaf cotton response to glufosinate + Warrant + acephate 7 days after application.

I have received several calls concerning mixing herbicides and acephate (Orthene). With challenging weather comes the urgency to save time and trips across the field and at this time of year that usually means tank-mixing glufosinate (Liberty) + acephate.

However, due to abundant rainfall over the past couple of weeks, folks are worried residual herbicides applied behind or ahead of the planter have played out. So I have also been asked about cotton response to the three way mixture of glufosinate + s-metolachor (Dual Magnum)/Warrant + acephate.

First off, Dr. Dominic Reisig just put out an excellent article on making the decision to spray for thrips.

Back to herbicides. These are the typical questions I get.

Grower/Consultant/Extension Agent: “I have weeds coming and I need to spray for thrips. Can I mix glufosinate + ­s-metolachlor/Warrant + acephate?” Or, “How hot is glufosinate + s-metolachlor/Warrant + acephate; will it cause a yield loss?”

My answers is not as straight forward as you may think. Yes, you can mix glufosinate + s-metolachlor/Warrant + acephate. Will this mixture be hot? Absolutely. However, in our research, we have not seen these mixtures cause yield loss.

The last study I conducted addressing this was actually in Virginia during 2016. We looked at the response of an XtendFlex and Stoneville cotton variety to glufosinate, glufosinate + acephate, glufosinate + Warrant, and glufosinate + acephate + Warrant applied to 1- to 2-leaf cotton and repeated at 4-leaf cotton. Tank-mixes with glufosinate also included AMS.

Cotton injury was greatest 7 days after application. We observed minor necrosis from glufosinate. Adding acephate to glufosinate slightly increased cotton response.

The addition of Warrant to glufosinate elicited a little more response. And for both cultivars, the three-way mixture of glufosinate + acephate + Warrant was most injurious, injuring cotton approximately 20 percent.

Twenty percent injury is probably more than most growers are comfortable with, but cotton injury was completely gone 21 days after the second application. It is also important to note even when these treatments were applied TWICE, we still did not see a yield loss.

So my recommendation is this. For tank mixes of glufosinate + acephate or glufosinate + s-metolachlor/Warrant, pull the trigger. If you can live with some temporary cosmetic injury (and have the need for glufosinate + s-metolachlor/Warrant + acephate), it makes sense for you save a trip across the field with the three-way mix.

Cotton will recover and the temporary necrosis will not translate into a yield loss. If 20 percent injury will keep you up at night, splitting your herbicides and acephate sprays will be in the best interest of your peace of mind.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Charlie Cahoon, Jr., is a North Carolina Extension Weed Specialist.)

Disease management strategies for soggy Southeast peanut, corn, cotton

corn-June-wet_1

Many growers couldn’t buy a rain during the first half of May, and then couldn’t escape threats of daily downpours during the month’s second half.  These periods of extreme weather have left some struggling to figure out the best next step in growing their crops in 2018. 

As one farmer confided with frustration May 30, “Bob, I am behind in all of my sprays, and I still have to plant 435 acres of cotton and peanuts.  How do I get out of this?”

The past two weeks of rain and the passage of Tropical Storm Alberto will very likely impact diseases and disease management options in at least four significant ways:

  1. Moisture in the form of rain and high humidity creates a perfect environment for infection of our crops by fungal and bacterial pathogens.  The ensuing diseases can spread more quickly during extended periods of rainy weather.  Rain can splash fungal spores and bacteria from the soil and last year’s crop debris to the emerging seedlings and young plants and spread spores and bacteria from one infected leaf to other leaves. 
  2. The winds and rains of Tropical Storm Alberto followed a path from near the Yucatan Peninsula, through the Caribbean and to the fields of the southeastern United States.  It is quite possible that spore-causing diseases like southern corn rust and soybean rust were swept up in the winds, carried in upper air currents and then deposited hundreds of miles away.  The result for our growers will be increased risk to diseases like southern corn rust and soybean rust that must be introduced to most states annually. 
  3. Two weeks of dry weather followed by two weeks of rain has kept many farmers from finishing their planting for 2018.  Delays in planting may increase risk to some diseases that could have been better avoided if planting had occurred earlier.  Diseases that increase in severity because of delays in planting can include tomato spotted wilt and leaf spot diseases of peanut, and southern corn and soybean rust diseases.  Diseases like target spot could be more severe if conditions are wetter and more humid on late-planted cotton.   
  4. Rains have delayed timely fungicide applications even as the peanut and corn crops approach growth stages important for protection.  A significant portion of our corn crop has reached, or is approaching, the “tassel” growth stage (VT) and peanuts in some fields are at 30 days after planting, or beyond.  Tassel and 30 days after planting are potential trigger-points in many growers’ fungicide programs.

The rainy weather has had on impact on two diseases and, according to reports on social media, seems to have affected a third.  For peanut farmers, there is some good news.  Aspergillus crown rot, a disease that can punish a peanut crop during hot and dry conditions, becomes much less important, and often unimportant, in wet, cooler soils.  The rains have certainly slowed the development of Aspergillus crown rot. 

Unfortunately, soreshin seedling disease of cotton, caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani, has been widespread across some fields this season.  Unless growers take extra preventative measures to include use of additional seed treatments or in-furrow fungicides, there is nothing that can be done after closing the furrow.

On social media, a crop consultant from southern Georgia has reported bacterial blight on a young, susceptible cotton variety.  Without further testing I would not be able to say exactly how the disease got into the field.  However, recent periods of rain and 100% humidity have been perfect for infection to occur and for the disease to spread.  I am not surprised to learn that the disease was found by an observant consultant on a susceptible variety.  The final impact of the disease will be decided in large part by conditions throughout the rest of the season.

Extension agents and I are talking daily about critical management options for our growers now.  Here are two of the most important considerations. 

First, though southern corn rust has not been found, corn in many fields is risk for disease outbreak.  I have not issued a general recommendation to treat corn with a fungicide because we have not found rust.  Still, some growers will apply a fungicide anyway because of increased risk as a preventative spray can be very effective.  I expect fungicides like Tebuconazole and Tilt to provide about two weeks of protection.  I expect mixed products that include triazole, strobilurin, and/or SDHI fungicides to protect the crop for at least three weeks and perhaps longer.  Choice of fungicide is important; timeliness and coverage are perhaps even more important.

Some peanut farmers are late in applying the first fungicide to their crop and are at increased risk to leaf spot.  Growers who are behind in their fungicide program should get in the field as quickly as possible and consider using a systemic fungicide or mixing a systemic fungicide with their chlorothalonil for better control.  Examples of systemic fungicides or fungicide mixes include Priaxor, Alto, Domark and Absolute among others.  Timeliness is critical; systemic fungicides can help during periods of rainfall and delays in application.

Rain is not a bad thing.  As another grower messaged this week, “I’d rather be a little late planting into moisture than putting seed in dry dirt with no irrigation.  That is a recipe for bad seed stand and no residual chemical control.”  Excellent point; however the rain has also brought its own challenges.  I encourage growers to work with their local Extension offices to make best management decisions now and always.