0614 NowTime

6/14/2014 7:00 AM

To Check for Soybean Nodulation

Soybean acres continue to grow, and that means we will likely have more acres of soybeans planted in “virgin” soils where there has been no recent history of soybeans.

Sometimes, achieving good nodulation is tricky, even if growers try the multiple inoculant or triple inoculation strategies that we have recommended.

Extension agronomist Greg Roth tells us a key management practice on these fields would be to monitor nodulation now and determine whether nodulation has occurred on these fields.

Lack of nodulation is due to a lack of viable bacteria in the inoculant or environmental conditions that are not conducive to nodulation.

Very wet or dry conditions can inhibit nodulation. High nitrogen fertility can also limit nodulation. Sandy or low pH levels in soils can reduce bacteria levels and cause parts of fields to show less than ideal nodulation.

Reduced viability of the inoculant bacteria can also be caused by exposing seed or inoculants to high temperatures before planting, or through extended exposure to insecticide or fungicide seed treatment.

We should begin to see nodulation occurring in many May-planted fields now in early June, and ideally these plants should have 8-20 nodules by early flowering.

Nodules will form on both the taproot and the lateral roots. Those on the taproot are more likely associated with the inoculant applied.

Eventually, fields that are non-nodulated will appear light green and likely have patches or patterns of nodulated and greener areas. These are different from potassium-deficient fields that have yellow leaf margins.

The goal of early scouting is to identify non-nodulated fields prior to the onset of severe deficiency. Ideally, it is best to apply at least 60 pounds of nitrogen as a dry product that will not burn the foliage on a non-nodulated field prior to flowering. Take time now and look at the roots of some of the soybeans planted in these virgin fields.

To Attend Precision Dairy <\n>Technology Forum

With increasing competition and narrow margins, producers need maximum efficiency for their dairies. New precision technology can help save labor costs, improve animal performance and provide added opportunities for herd management.

The Precision Dairy Technology Forum will be held 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, at 811 Piney Creek Road, Martinsburg, Pa.

Dairy farm owners, herdsmen and related industry personnel will learn the positives and negatives associated with various precision technologies.

This program is designed to educate farm managers on strategies to implement these technologies and factors to consider when making the leap into modern dairy practices.

Topics to be covered include cow cooling and ventilation, solar energy options for dairy farms, working with Hispanic labor, cow bedding and a facilities tour.

Registration is free but required by July 2. To register, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PrecDairyTechForumSummerTour or call 888-373-7232. This program is eligible for two SmartStart credits from AgChoice Farm Credit.

To Monitor Small Grain <\n>Development and Diseases

Small grain development is still a bit late. Wheat headed around May 30 at the Rock Springs agronomy farm, whereas a typical average might be May 23-25.

Extension agronomist Greg Roth reports that later-planted wheat was delayed into June for heading. This late development will likely delay double-cropping planting dates and might eliminate the option for some on the northern fringes.

The risk of wheat scab has generally been rated as low to medium by the wheat scab model, but a lot of our wheat was hit by multiple showers during flowering and by heavy rains during early grain fill.

This has Roth a bit concerned about the scab risk. Wheat has been sprayed in many areas with Prosaro or Caramba as a precaution.

The heavy rains that we’ve had will likely start the movement of leaf blotch diseases up through the canopy as the wheat moves through the grain fill period.

Wheat trials in Centre County have had low powdery mildew levels at this point. The fungicide applications will likely limit the development of leaf blotch and glume blotch diseases.

Comparing sprayed and skipped areas in the corners of fields is one way to visually measure the impacts of fungicides on these diseases. This will provide some feedback on improving management tactics for next year.

We should be trying to manage wheat for consistent heading dates, which will help with the timing and effectiveness of fungicide applications from custom applicators.

Striving for uniformity in nitrogen applications will minimize variability, boost yields and avoid lodging in wheat.

Lodging is also appearing in barley as is often the case where we try to produce high yields with higher nitrogen rates. Some future options for these fields might be to delay some of the nitrogen until GS 5-6 in April and potentially use a growth regulator like Pallisade as part of the management.

Another interesting phenomenon I have observed in several fields is advanced maturity over the old corn rows. This could be the result of residual phosphorus from the starter giving a boost to the crop in the fall. It suggests that some fields benefit from the preplant phosphorus and potassium applications and there might be a response to starter applications on small grains in some cases.

Quote of the Week

“How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

— Abraham Lincoln

Leon Ressler is district director of Penn State Cooperative Extension for Chester, Lancaster and Lebanon counties.

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