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A weedy small grain field in spring.

Now is the time to learn the latest information on crop production.

Penn State Extension is offering a series of Crops Conferences around the state. The first one will be held in Lancaster County on Jan. 18.

On tap is a wide range of important agronomic topics to assist and educate farmers and other agricultural professionals.

The opportunity will also be available for a minimum of two core and two category Pennsylvania pesticide applicator points. Crop professionals can receive 3.0 certified crop adviser points.

The meeting begins with “Tar Spot and Other Important Diseases of 2021,” by Alyssa Collins, director of the Penn State research farm near Manheim.

Alyssa will discuss the spread of tar spot across the corn fields of central Pennsylvania, its severity, and prospects for this disease and others for the new year.

Leon Ressler, Lancaster agronomy educator, who will present “Factors to Consider When Replacing High-Price Fertilizer with Manure.”

Dwight Lingenfelter, Extension weed specialist, will discuss “Burcucumber and Other Difficult-to-Control Weeds,” while John Berry, a retired Extension specialist, will review factors affecting commodity prices and present “2022 Commodity Outlook.”

In total there will be 11 presentations to choose from with a wide variety of agricultural topics.

Winners of the Pennsylvania corn and soybean yield contests will also be recognized as 300-bushel corn and 100-bushel soybeans have been achieved here in the county. Meet the winners, and get some tips on how they do it.

Numerous local agricultural companies, including ag lenders, applicators, seedsmen and equipment dealers, will be on hand and have displays to support the meeting and answer your questions.

This is a great opportunity to discuss your crop needs and see some of the latest product offerings. The Lancaster County Conservation District, Penn State Extension and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will also be present and available to answer questions.

The conference will be held at the Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster, and will run 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with registration at 8:30.

There is a $20 registration fee ($25 for walk-ins), which includes lunch.

You can register for any of the locations by going to extension.psu.edu/crops-conferences or by calling 1-877-345-0691.

Call the Lancaster office at 717-394-6851 if you have specific questions.

The Crop Conference will also be offered in Lehigh County on Jan. 19, in Union County on Jan. 28, in Mercer County on Feb. 3, and in Bradford County on Feb. 8.

Get to Know Our New Grain Production Extension Specialist

This week we had a new grain production specialist join our Penn State Extension Field and Forage Crops Team.

I have invited Daniela Carrijo to introduce herself here.

It is a pleasure to introduce myself as the new grain production Extension specialist on the Field and Forage Crops Team. I am honored to serve the Pennsylvania farming community through Extension and research efforts.

This position resonates with me as I come from a soybean-corn farming background. I worked with soybean and corn production in Brazil for several years before moving to the USA.

In California, I led a large project on irrigated rice systems aimed at reducing irrigation water inputs while maintaining or even increasing productivity.

As I worked closely with farmers and agricultural professionals to provide data-driven solutions to the field, I realized that one day I wanted to have an Extension appointment.

I later transitioned to Oregon State University, where I last served as assistant professor of agronomy (2020-2021). My work in Oregon was mostly focused on malting barley, although I also led projects on grass seed crops and hemp.

I am excited to work with the different grain crops and cropping systems in Pennsylvania. As an agronomist, my research interests are diverse, but I am especially interested in improving the water and nutrient efficiency of our systems so that we can produce more with less.

I think there are some promising technologies to help us achieve this goal. Above all, my priority is always to fulfill the needs of the agricultural community.

My predecessor, Professor Emeritus Greg Roth, had a great connection with the agricultural community, and I hope to continue this two-way communication, in order to fine-tune my research program and bring back research findings to the real world.

I look forward to getting to know you all in the coming months. I will be at the soybean breakfast meetings as well as other Extension and agronomy meetings coming up this winter. Feel free to contact me at 530-746-1447 or daniela.carrijo@psu.edu.

Now is the time to consider these factors when developing farm maps for manure management.

Farm maps communicate important farm management information and can be important for supporting manure and nutrient applications when developed as part of nutrient balance sheets.

Key map information includes field name, field size, fields receiving manure applications, the location of setbacks or buffers from surface water or environmentally sensitive areas, and the location of farm features such as manure stacking areas.

Extension agronomist Jennifer Weld explains that when developing farm maps, several items should be considered.

First, identify farm field locations. On maps, field boundaries should be drawn as managed by the farmer. The field name or identification should be clear. If a field boundary is incorrect, it can affect the mapped field acreage and the soil information reported for the field.

Next, identify setbacks and buffers. If setbacks overlap a mapped farm field, the total field acreage may not be suitable to receive manure. Suitable acreage equals the total field acreage minus the setback acreage.

The suitable acreage calculation may become important when determining the total amount of manure that can be applied to a field.

The PAOneStop mapping application (bit.ly/paonestop) can be used to calculate suitable acreage.

Dividing fields on a farm map should reflect a farm management decision made to meet farm management goals.

When dividing fields to account for farm management changes or for long-term setbacks, the field identifiers must be clear and consistent with other farm information and documentation such as nutrient balance sheets. Over the long term, dividing fields can lead to changes in soil fertility.

For additional information about Pennsylvania’s nutrient balance sheet standard format and associated requirements, please visit Pennsylvania’s nutrient management education website: https://extension.psu.edu/programs/nutrient-management

Lancaster Farming

Leon Ressler is a Penn State Extension educator based in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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