Crop Reports

Nov. 30, 2015 Crop Report from USDA NASS

For the week ending November 29, clear conditions early in the week gave way to rain, sleet, snow and colder temperatures late in the week. Corn harvest continued to creep along in Panhandle counties, where melting snow and high grain moisture levels limited progress. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 5% very short, 18% short, 73% adequate, and 4% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 5% very short, 23% short, 70% adequate, and 2% surplus.

  • Winter wheat condition rated 6% poor, 31% fair, 54% good, and 9% excellent.
  • Pasture and range conditions rated 3% very poor, 8% poor, 30% fair, 54% good, and 5% excellent.

Nov. 23, 2015 Crop Report from USDA NASS

For the week ending November 22, snow blanketed western counties early in the week and northeastern counties over the weekend, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Rain preceded the snow in many areas with an inch or more common in the eastern two-thirds of the state. Fieldwork came to a halt as soils became too wet or snow covered to work. Harvest was near completion in most areas except for the Panhandle.

Temperatures averaged above normal across the east and below normal in western areas. There were 3.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 5% very short, 21% short, 71% adequate, and 3% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 5% very short, 25% short, 69% adequate, and 1% surplus.

  • Corn harvest was 95% complete, equal to last year, and near the five-year average of 97%.
  • Sorghum harvest was 95%, near 96% last year and 99% average.
  • Winter wheat condition rated 0% very poor, 6% poor, 31% fair, 54% good, and 9% excellent.
  • Pasture and range conditions rated 3% very poor, 8% poor, 30% fair, 53% good, and 6% excellent.
  • Stock water supplies rated 2% very short, 11% short, 86% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Extension Reports

Strahinja Stepanovic, Nebraska Extension Educator in Perkins, Chase, and Dundy Counties: Corn harvest has been very slow this year due to wet conditions. It started mid-September with picking high-moisture corn and some farmers are still trying to get it out of the field. We are seeing some field corn and especially popcorn hybrids dropping ears and lodging, reducing yields up to 20% in some cases. More corn grain in residue can cause founder/acidosis in cows if such fields are grazed during winter. Research shows that if ear drop is more than 8 bu/ac, sodium bi-carbonate should be added to water at a rate of 2.5 lb/100 gal. Another problem is controlling volunteer corn in the succeeding crop. If you had significant ear drop this year, glyphosate herbicides will not effectively control volunteer corn next year. Consult with your local Extension Educator or crop consultant to select herbicides that will eliminate this problem.

Corn yields have been very good this year due to all the rain. Dryland yields ranged from 70 to 140 bu/ac and irrigated ranged from from 200 to  270 bu/ac.  (11/23/15) (See more on agriculture in southwest Nebraska in the author's blog, Ag with Strahinja.)

Nov. 16, 2015 Crop Report from USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Temperatures averaged 6-8ºF above normal across the northeast and 2-4º elsewhere, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service report for the week ending Nov. 15. Rainfall of up to an inch was recorded across portions of the eastern third of the State, with lesser amounts elsewhere. Snow was recorded in central and southwestern counties with harvest progress slowed at midweek. Producers with harvest complete were working on fall tillage, fertilizer applications and livestock care.

Topsoil moisture supplies rated 6% very short, 26% short, 67% adequate, and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 6% very short, 28% short, 65% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Corn harvest was 92% complete, near last year's 89% for this period and the five-year average of 94%.

Sorghum harvest was 93% complete, near 92% last year and 96% average.

Winter wheat condition rated 0% very poor, 5% poor, 31% fair, 56% good, and 8% excellent.

Pasture and range conditions rated 3% very poor, 8% poor, 29% fair, 54% good, and 6% excellent.

See previous USDA NASS reports by week in the 2015 CropWatch Archive.

Extension Reports

Gary Stone, Extension Educator in Scotts Bluff County: Range still looks pretty green, a nice change for October. Sugar beet harvest will start here this week. Most dry beans are out, and all the winter wheat has been planted. Sunflowers still need to dry down and be harvested.  (10/6/15)

Julie Peterson, Extension Entomologist at the West Central REC in North Platte: We got rain over the weekend and some winter wheat is coming up and looking good. Soybeans are being harvested. (10/6/15)

Ron Seymour, Extension Educator in Adams County: Crops are coming out. Growers are making good progress harvesting soybean and some seed corn. Local residents are bringing in odd caterpillars for identification. (10/6/15)

Jenny Rees, Extension Educator in Clay County: Harvest is going pretty slow for us. With about half our soybeans at 2.4 maturity, harvest started before Husker Harvest Days. Then we got a lot of hail after Labor Day and just enough rain (.30 inch) to pop the pods, leading to a lot of shattering across all maturity groups. Basically we’ve got a green cover crop of soybeans coming up throughout the county, something I haven’t seen before. Dryland corn has been coming out at 17% moisture; they’ve started harvesting a little of the irrigated corn. Only a little wheat has been planted so far and there have been questions about vomitoxin, which has been confused with head scab. (10/6/15)

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, UNL Plant Pathologist: We are seeing stalk rot of corn in some areas and have received a few samples of ear rots. Be sure to scout for lodging and harvest those fields where there could be a problem first. In recent weeks two new corn diseases have been identified in Illinois and Indiana: Tar Spot (fungal disease) and Bacterial Stripe (Burkholderia andropogonis). (See more on the most recent report in the University of Illinois pest management newsletter, the Bulletin.) It’s thought that tar spot fungus may have moved north with an earlier Gulf storm. Neither of these diseases has been confirmed in Nebraska. (10/6/15)

Wayne Ohnesorg, Extension Educator in Pierce County: Harvest is slow here. We’re getting a lot of calls on brown lacewings. The larvae of these lacewings are beneficial and predatory to aphids. It’s unusual to see them in the large numbers we’re seeing this year. (10/6/15)

Tim Lemmons, Extension Educator at the Northeast REC in Norfolk: Bean harvest is about 65% complete in the county. Producers and seed companies are reporting rainfed soybean yields in the mid 60s (bu/ac) to mid 70s, with one at 84 bu/ac. Irrigated yields have been in the mid 80s to mid 90s. Most silage chopping is done and some are switching to taking out their high moisture corn. Corn grew so quickly and so well this year that some is laid over. Soybeans too had a lot of vegetative growth with layover in some areas. (10/6/15)

John Wilson, Extension Educator in Burt County: Harvest is just getting a good start. From last Tuesday to the Tuesday before we got 6.5 inches of rain with a few areas getting over 10 inches, which stopped harvest. Now growers are just getting back into the field. Only about 5%-10% of corn or soybean have been harvested and both are yielding well. One farmer reported soybean yields of 50 bu/ac in one of his roughest areas and representing an all-time high. (10/6/15)

Keith Jarvi, Extension Educator in Dixon, Dakota and Thurston Counties: In Wayne I had more than 6 inches of precipitation in a week. Prior to that it had gotten pretty dry so the rain was well received. About 50% of our soybeans have been harvested with yields above average. Bulk beans are in the 60s. Silage cutting is done and a little bit of corn is starting to come out. We’re seeing a lot of lacewings too. (10/6/15)

Al Dutcher, Nebraska State Climatologist: An upper air low over the Southwest will be moving into the Southern Plains and bringing moisture to the Central Plains. It’s expected to strengthen and could lead to scattered moisture in Nebraska from mid to late week. As it strengthens it will create a ridge over the Rockies for approximately 10 days, a classic signal with El Nino like conditions. The next widespread chance for precipitation in Nebraska will be Oct. 16-17 and may be enough to cause harvest delays. Another system will move in about Oct. 22 with more lows. I don’t expect any earth shattering cold that would catch late replanted or late maturing crops. (10/6/15)

dry bean harvest
With conventional dry bean harvest, more typical in the southern Panhandle, dry beans are cut, windrowed, and dried some in the field.
dry bean harvest
Dry beans are then combined. Nebraska ranks 1st nationally in production of Great Northerns and 2nd in pinto production. (Photos by Gary Stone)

Extension Field Reports Sept. 22-25

Gary Stone, Extension Educator at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff: Dry/edible bean harvest is underway in the Panhandle and western Nebraska.  More than half of the crop has been harvested. Producers cut and windrow the beans early in the morning while the vines are damp, to minimize pod shatter. The windrowed beans are allowed to dry for one to three days and then combined. Yields of 45 to 50 bushels per acre have been higher than expected, despite growing conditions this season.  Market classes include Great Northern, pinto, navy, kidney and black turtle.  So, if you like your baked beans, ham and beans. and bean salads, the Panhandle of Nebraska is where they may come from.  Remember, happiness is a crock of beans.

Wayne Ohnesorg, Extension Educator in Madison County:

Soybean harvest has started. An early planted field of 1.7 maturity soybeans was harvested last week at 9% moisture for 70 bu/ac yield. We’ve received just 0.10 to 0.15 inch of rain over the last couple of weeks. (9/22/15)

Nathan Mueller, Extension Educator in Dodge County: Harvest has been pretty slow here. Corn silage was cut last week. A lot of soybeans were planted late due to weather and are still green. As growers wait for harvest to get started they’re working on combines and yield monitors. (9/22/15)

Charles Shapiro, Extension Soil Scientist: We planted some cover crops last week and the radishes in the mix are germinating. At the Haskell Ag Lab we’ve harvested one early maturing dryland soybean plot for 55 bu/ac. Some silage is being cut. (9/22/15)

Keith Jarvi, Extension Educator in Dakota, Dixon, and Thurston Counties: Things are maturing rapidly and growers are getting ready to harvest. Conditions have been dry here, with just a few very small rains. Sub and top soil moisture are becoming limited and we could use a couple good rains.  (9/22/15)

Julie Peterson, Extension Entomologist at the West Central Research and Education Center, North Platte: We’ve been seeing quite a bit of corn harvested for silage. Growers are looking at planting winter wheat. Corn is coming along and soybeans are drying down. We had quite a few wooly bear caterpillars and when they moved out of soybeans, across roadways, to other areas, they were quite noticeable. (9/22/15)

Direct harvest combining of dry edible beans in the northern Panhandle
Direct harvest combining of dry edible beans in the northern Panhandle. (Photo by John Thomas)

Jessica Groskopf, Extension Educator at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Scottsbluff: A lot of dry beans are being harvested and sugar beet harvest started Sept. 15. Corn is drying down fairly rapidly and some high moisture corn has been harvested. (9/22/15)

John Thomas, Extension Educator in Box Butte County: Up in our area, most of the dryland wheat has been planted and is up. Thursday much of this area got a timely rain of 1 inch which should give wheat a great shot of moisture. Typically, growers will plant irrigated wheat after beans or potatoes. Corn is maturing with about 25%-30% black layered. Dry bean harvest is 35%-40% complete. With good weather predicted for next week, corn will mature and be drying down. Our early sugar beet harvest has started and the factory is slicing. (9/22/15)

Corn silage harvest in the Panhandle
Corn silage harvest was underway this week at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff. (Photo by Gary Stone)

Extension Field Report Sept. 8-11

Gary Stone, Nebraska Extension Educator: Yellow field pea harvest has been completed for several weeks now and dry bean and corn silage harvest are in full swing.  With our annual "normal" frost/freeze date in the Panhandle approaching, producers are getting their corn silage chopped and piled. The photo is at our Panhandle Research and Extension Center corn silage production fields. The silage will be used for feeding trials at the Panhandle REC feedlot, north of Scottsbluff.

Factoid: In Nebraska in 2014 260,000 acres of corn were harvested for silage, according to the January 2015 Crop Production Summary from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Average yield per acre was 21 tons, leading to a total yield of 5,460,000 tons. Nebraska ranked 10th in the nation in total corn silage production.

Soybeans near maturity that were hailed and shelled out prior to harvest. (Hail damage photos by Jenny Rees)
Late season hail-stripped corn
Corn leaves were completely stripped from their plants in this south central Nebraska field.

Hail and Wind Damage Information Meeting

This week a series of storms moved through south central and eastern Nebraska, ravaging corn and soybean fields just as they neared maturity. To address the particular challenges of these fields, Nebraska Extension educators will be holding a storm damage information meeting this Monday near Gladstone.  See this week's CW article for more information.

Todd Whitney, Extension Educator in Hamilton County: Crops progressed rapidly in the last week. Soybeans are yellowing and dropping leaves. Some still have a little more time and can take advantage of the 0.90 inches of precipitation we received over the weekend. This followed six weeks without any significant rain. Irrigation is underway, although it's likely to be shutting down soon. Growers could still put a little more on beans; an inch could do quite a bit of good. The little wheat we have in the county will likely be planted in the next week or two. (Sept. 8)

Michael Rethwisch, Extension Educator in Butler County:  We're just waiting for the crops to mature. Last week it rained, but it was spotty across the county. Some alfalfa was put up, soybean leaves are starting to turn color, and corn tassels are changing color. I'm seeing a lot of rust in smooth brome. With all this rain brome growth is way ahead of normal. (Sept. 8)

John Wilson, Extension Educator in Burt County: About 25% of soybeans are turning color and some are cropping their leaves. Pasture looks good and growers are just finished their third cutting of alfalfa. Most corn is dented. (Sept. 8)

Extension Field Report Sept. 1-4

Strahinja Stepanovic: Cropping Systems Extension Educator in southwest Nebraska: It has been three weeks since we had our last rain in southwest Nebraska and all dryland crops are showing signs of drought. Reference evapotranspiration (ET) in the Upper Republican NRD ranged from 1.6 inches in Perkins County to 2.9 inches in southwest Dundy County. This means that crops in southwest Dundy County used about 1.5 inches of water more than in Perkins County. See attached image for more details on ET and rain data as well as crop growth stages and their water use coefficients for this period.

According to the US Drought Monitor, none of the counties in southwest Nebraska are in abnormal drought, which means these conditions are (believe it or not) normal in southwest Nebraska this time of the year. According to 30-year weather data, average August precipitation and ET are 2.50 and 9 inches, respectively. This means that August weather conditions were very near the long-term average.  

We had very good growing conditions in May, June, July and August. Crops used all that water and heat to produce large biomass and increase yield potential. Now rain is much needed to keep up with high water demands during the grain-filling period in September, otherwise we will have to be satisfied with mediocre dryland yields at the end of the year. (Sept. 2, 2015)

Gary Zoubek, Extension Educator in York County: While we missed out on the significant rainfall events last week, my ETgages only dropped about 0.95 inch for the week.  If corn is fully dented, the crop coefficient of is 0.96; if not fully dented, it remains 1.1 so water use for the most mature corn was 0.91 inches for the week or 0.13 inch/day.  For the later maturing crops water use was 1.05 inch for the week or 0.15 inch/day.  With the warmer temperatures predicted for this week, ET will increase some. For the latest crop water use or ET go to and click on view weekly ET data.

Now is a really important time to monitor soil moisture and crop stages so that we dry down the soil moisture at the end of the season without shorting crops of moisture. I've heard many producers using soil moisture monitoring tools say it's harder to not irrigate than to irrigate.  (Sept. 1, 2015)

Extension Field Report Aug. 24-26

Roger Elmore, Extension Crops Specialist: Be careful not to turn off the irrigation too soon as corn and soybean still need to accumulate significant dry matter. At R6, when the seed completely fills the pod cavity, soybean still needs to accumulate 50% of its dry matter and is two to three weeks away from maturity. At R5 it still needs to accumulate 75% of its dry matter. Major pest or stress problems at R6 can affect seed weight, seed size, and seed number. Similarly, corn still needs to accumulate about half of its dry matter. (Aug. 25, 2015)

Keith Jarvi, Extension Educator in Thurston counties: You can't get any better weather than what we've seen the last two weeks for soybean aphid growth. Growers should be monitoring their fields as populations could explode and can double in three to four days.  We probably haven't seen this much treatment activity for several years in this area. Near Plainview populations were pushing over 1,000 aphids per plants close to R6. After about 3-4 weeks, populations can crash just as quickly. We're seeing some soybean diseases (brown stem rot and phytophthora), but probably not at treatable levels. The threshold for soybean aphids is 250 aphids per plant and increasing at R3-R and 400-500 per plant at R5. Depending on the population number, in some cases, even at the R6 growth stage, treatment may get a yield response. Price of beans may also be a consideration.

soybean aphids
(Left) Figure 1. White mold more common this year due to wet weather during flowering.
Figure 2. Soybean aphid populations only increased slightly from one week ago, many fields still below economic thresholds. (Photos by Nathan Mueller)

Extension Field Reports Aug. 17-21

Nathan Mueller, Cropping Systems Extension Educator for Dodge/Washington Counties: August 16-18 rainfall totals ranged from 2 to 5 inches across the Dodge and Washington counties bringing a likely end to the irrigation season for many. Rainfall totals were lowest around Fremont and highest around Scribner.

Most corn is between the dough (R4) and dent (R5) stages. Disease pressure from southern rust, gray leaf spot, and northern corn leaf blight caused many producers to spray fields during the milk and dough growth stages the last two weeks. There has also been several reports of higher than normal northern corn rootworms beetle populations (likely extended diapause) in corn after soybean fields this month. Many growers across northern Dodge County only irrigated 1 to 2 inches this season and some fields were not irrigated at all. Overall, most of the corn crop is in good to excellent condition. Rainfed corn yields of 220 bu/ac will likely be obtained in portions of northern Dodge and Washington Counties. 
4 soybean seeds in a single pod
Figure 3. More 4-seed soybean pods than normal this year.

Most soybeans are in beginning seed (R5) growth stage. More incidences of white mold (Figure 1), Phytophthora stem rot, and frogeye leaf spot have occurred this year compared to last year.  Foliar symptoms of sudden death syndrome just started to appear this past week on compacted end rows. Soybean aphid populations (Figure 2) have been gradually climbing over the past three weeks, with some hot spots within fields with over 250 aphids per plant.  However, soybean aphid pressure across most fields has not justified insecticide applications so far. Many farmers have been worried about how tall the soybeans grew this season and the risk of lodging. Unfortunately, heavy rains and strong winds from storms this week caused many soybean plants to lodge. Some yield loss will be attributed to this lodging. Overall, soybeans are in good to excellent condition. I have been finding more four-seed pods (Figure 3) this year than normal, so yield potential looks good.

Agronomic concerns for the coming week:
  1. Scout for soybean aphids and remember 250-80-6. This means the economic threshold is 250 aphids per plant on greater than 80% of the plants in a field with an increasing population prior to the full seed (R6) growth stage.
  2. Scout and take notes on your soybean fields to help prioritize variety selection for disease resistance (white mold, Phytophthora, and sudden death syndrome) when planting back into these fields next time.
  3. Scout and take notes on fields or portions of fields with waterhemp and marestail escapes to make adjustments next spring for increased pressure.
  4. Attend upcoming seed industry plot tours to learn how certain corn hybrids handled this year's disease pressure (gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight). Ask!
grasshoppers in soybean field
Figure 4. Grasshoppers were moving from field borders into crop fields this week. (Photo by Gary Zoubek)

(Aug. 21, 2015)

Gary Zoubek, Extension Educator in York County:  We're seeing grasshoppers move into crop fields. Figure 4 shows grasshoppers in a soybean field along a corn field. (See another of Zoubek's photos and treatment guidelines by UNL entomologist Bob Wright in this week's CropWatch.)

We received about 1.35 inches of rain Aug. 17-19 in areas of the county. Overall the rains were spotty and variable. (Aug. 20, 2015)

Extension Field Reports August 10-14

Soybean aphid
Soybean aphid

Tom Hunt, Extension entomologist at the northeast Haskell Ag Lab: Northeast Nebraska growers are reporting varying levels of soybean aphids and scouting is warranted. Outbreaks have been field-by-field. Some fields are increasing and being treated. Some, close by, are static or slowly building at 20 or fewer per plant. Farmers need to scout as the current weather is favorable for aphids. For more information see the July 17 Crop Watch article, Soybean Aphid Scouting and Management Recommendations and Soybean Aphid Life Cycle and Natural Predators. (Aug. 13)

Keith Jarvi, Extension Educator in Dakota, Dixon, and Thurston Counties: This is a typical soybean aphid year with populations increasing in early- to mid-August with an approximate 21-day window of increased activity. Some fields will or already have reached threshold levels and some will not.  It is important that each individual field be scouted since not all will reach treatable levels. (Aug. 13)

Extension Field Reports August 3-7

Keith Glewen, Extension Educator in Saunders County: You know it is summer as we get our share of calls from folks who are angry about their gardens and sweetcorn being sprayed unintentionally by aerial and ground rig spray applicators. We encourage those with complaints to visit first with the applicator before contacting the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

The challenge facing some growers is whether to spray a fungicide for the control of corn leaf diseases. The economic payback with $3.50 corn, favorable weather conditions for development of certain disease pathogens, and the lack of treatment thresholds for some of these disease pathogens makes the decision difficult.

Grasshopper numbers are very high in grass waterways and road ditches. Some growers have sprayed these areas in an attempt to reduce the amount of feeding on adjacent cornfields. (Aug. 6)

John Wilson, Extension Educator in Burt County discusses how to avoid spray drift in this week's Crop Tech Cafe blog. He notes that while drift may not be eliminated, it can be reduced and it's the applicator's responsiblity to avoid it. See these practical tips for limiting drift. The Crop Tech blog is written by several extension educators in northeast Nebraska.

Gary Zoubek, Extension Educator in York County: The York County Extension Office received a little more than 1 inch of precipitation over the weekend. The ETgages I've been monitoring weekly dropped an average of 1.3 inches for the week. With much of the corn and soybeans in our peak stages for water use, if we multiply by the 1.1, the average water use has been about 1.43 inches for the week or about 0.20 inch/day. For the latest crop water use or ET go to: and click on "View weekly ET data." (Aug. 3)

Downy brome near wheat
Figure 1. Uncontrolled downy brome (right) will cause problems for the next wheat crop if not managed now. (Photos by Strahinja Stepanovic)
Western bean cutworm egg mass
Figure 2. Western bean cutworm egg mass in corn


Extension Crop Report July 27-31

Map of ET rates in southwest Nebraska
Figure 3. ET rates and precipitation in southwest Nebraska July 13-21.

Strahinja Stepanovic, Cropping Systems Extension Educator in southwest Nebraska: Reference evapotranspiration (ET) in the Upper Republican NRD ranged from 1.70 inches in northern parts of Perkins County to 2.20 inches in southern Dundy County.  We received between 0 and 1.70 inches of rain in the last week. To more accurately estimate rain and crop water use on your farm, look at the map provided, obtain weekly reference ET value from the location closest to you and multiply that value by crop coefficient provided in the table.

It's time to control weeds in wheat stubble. New western Nebraska cropping systems specialist Cody Creech from the Panhandle Research and Extension Center suggests three steps:

  1. Carefully identify the weeds present in your field.
  2. Spray kochia, Palmer pigweed, pricly lettuce, Russian thistle and other tough-to-control summer annuals with a tank-mix of glyphosate, dicamba, and/or 2,4-D to prevent seed development.
  3. Monitor for winter annual weeds like rye, marestail, and cheatgrass and plan timely herbicide application in fall and early spring. For more information search for recent articles in CropWatch.

Corn is at reproductive growth stage. Adults of western bean cutworm have been emerging in the past week and spraying has been done in the area. UNL's recommended threshold for insecticide application is when 5-8% of corn plants have egg masses and/or small larvae. Sunflowers are at V5 to butonization stage. Field peas harvest is done. Soybeans are at R2-R4 growth stage (setting pods). Milo is at boot stage. Potatoes are in tuberization stage. Dry beans are at 80%-full cover. Sugarbeets are at full cover.

For more information and photos visit the author's blog, (July 28, 2015)

Robert Tigner, Extension Educator in southwest Nebraska:  We received good general precipitation over several days, some in the form of hail (not widespread). Crops look pretty good in southwest Nebraska. Wheat yields averaged 20-30 bu/ac due to impact from stripe rust. Those who used fungicide early reported yields of 65 bu/ac. (July 28, 2015)

Charles Burr, Water Extension Educator, North Platte: Wheat harvest is pretty much over in this area. In the last week we only received spotty on rains (¼-1/2 inch) and some dryland corn is starting to suffer.(July 28, 2015)

Julie Peterson, Extension Entomologist, West Central REC, North Platte: Western bean cutworm moths are still flying and we're only just beginning to see a drop-off in our black light traps. (See insect light trap reports for west central, south central and northeast sites at As of the weekend we were still seeing over 100 moths per night. A lot of people are treating and we treated research areas at the Stumpf Center.  The threshold is 5-8% western bean cutworm infestation for corn not protected by Bt traits, but we're seeing some with 20-30% infestations.  Western corn rootworm adults are still emerging and I have received one call about unexpected root damage. (July 28, 2015)

Gary Stone, Extension Educator, Panhandle REC, Scottsbluff:  We had storms Sunday night from Kimball into Cherry County near Gordon with some hail and heavy winds. Another storm moved through the valley Monday night, leaving just ½ inch of rain. These storms are making growers trying to harvest wheat and field peas a little nervous. Corn looks good and sugar beets look good. We have plenty of moisture and just need some heat. (July 28, 2015)

Ron Seymour, Extension Educator in Adams County: We got about 2 inches of rain and a lot of wind over the weekend. Crops look pretty good and growers have gotten a chance to catch up their weed control. Most of the wheat has been harvested and the second cutting of alfalfa is almost in. Some are cutting and baling grass hay. (July 28, 2015)

Todd Whitney, Extension Educator in Hamilton County: We got 1-3 inches over the weekend with winds up to 70 mph that cause damaged to outer edges of fields where there was some lodging. Crops look strong here and are still progressing well. Nearby counties have seen southern rust, but as of July 27 we hadn't had any reports.

Wayne Ohnesorg, Extension Educator in Madison County: We've been dry for the last nine days, except for sprinklings, and have been living off the three inches of rain we got last week. We will need moisture soon or dryland fields will be stressed, especially those on sandy soils. Corn is mostly tasseled out and the soybean canopy has closed. (July 28, 2015)

Gary Lesoing, Exension Educator in Nemaha County:  Pretty significant rain of 1-3 inches over the weekend. We don't have a lot of wheat, but what we do have didn't fare so well this year, and growers faced heavy docking at the elevator for disease. Most corn is past tasseling and crop dusters have been out. Soybeans have made a lot of progress in the last. The second cutting of alfalfa is in. (July 28, 2015)

Al Dutcher, State Climatologist: We're looking closely at spotty dryness in southwest Nebraska and might expect the Drought Monitor to reflect this deterioration.  (See July 28 Nebraska Drought Monitor.) Weather patterns over the Rockies and the Great Lakes next week will mean heat will build back in in this area for normal to slightly above normal temperatures and a potential for significant moisture over the northern half of Nebraska in the first half of next week. There are few days in the next 14 when we won't see some precipitation potential. The 30- and 90-day forecasts indicate above normal precipitation and below normal temperatures for the Great Plains. Temperatures are expected to stay close to normal over the next two weeks.  (July 28, 2015)

Monte Vandeveer, Extension Educator in Otoe County: We have received rains this past week that were needed; amounts varied widely across the county but most totals were close to 2 inches. Crop development also varies widely; a small share of corn is just now beginning to tassel, and some soybeans are still quite small.  Quality also varies, even within most fields. One can probably find a bare patch in perhaps a majority of fields. Wheat harvest has wrapped up, and grain quality was rather poor, with a few calls to the office about how to handle wheat with potential mycotoxin problems. (July 28, 2015)

green cloverworm on a soybean leafyellow-striped armyworm in soybeangrasshopper in soybean
Figure 1. Several defoliators are active in soybean fields in Dodge and Washington counties, including (from left) green cloverworm, yellowstriped armyworm, and grasshopper species. (Photos by Nathan Mueller)

Extension Crop Report July 20-24

An array of foliar-feeding insects are now in soybean fields in Dodge and Washington counties (Figure 1). It is sometimes hard to determine the% defoliation and to identify which insects are causing the defoliation in your soybean crop. As soybeans begin to set pods, an insecticide treatment generally is warranted when the combined defoliation from all pests approaches 20% and active feeding is still occurring. However, most people tend to overestimate the defoliation.

For more information estimating defoliation and treatment recommendations, please see Decision Making for Defoliating Insects in Soybean in this week's CropWatch. The following foliar-feeding insects were found in soybean during the July 16 Dodge County Crop Condition Tour and recent field visits:

  • Caterpillars/larva – thistle caterpillar, alfalfa caterpillar, green cloverworm, stalk borer, and yellowstriped armyworm
  • Beetles – bean leaf beetle, southern corn rootworm beetle, and grape colaspis
  • Grasshoppers – redlegged grasshopper nymph and probably others

For more information on local crop pests in Dodge and Washington counties, please visit Crop Tech Cafe.

Field pea and diseased wheat kernels
From left, Figures 1-2. A yield of 40 bu/ac was harvestsed from this on-farm research study; Figures 3-4. Ergot and Fusarium head scab in wheat kernels.  (Photos by Strahinja Stepanovic)

Strahinja Stepanovic, cropping systems Extension Educator in southwest Nebraska: Isolated thunderstorms delivered 0.2 to 1.8 inches across the Upper Republican NRD. Reference evapotranspiration (ET) losses were 2.0 inches on average. To estimate crop water use on your farm obtain the weekly reference ET value from location closest to you (see Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network ET resources) and multiply that value by crop coefficient provided in the table. Figure 5 shows ET values for three counties in southwest Nebraska.

In wheat, harvest is 95% done! Dryland yields range from 20 bu/ac to 90 bu/ac. Farmers that had hard winter kill and didn't spray wheat for stripe rust had lover yield and lower test weight (53-55 lb/bu). Wheat kernels (Figures 3-4) diseased with ergot and/or Fusarium head scab have been observed. Although these did not appear to be a major yield limiting-factor, they can affect marketability of wheat seed. Loads can be rejected at the elevator if 0.05% of wheat kernels have ergot (about 0.5 oz/bu) or if over 1 ppm concentration of DON toxin has been detected in Fusarium-damaged kernels. Setting up your combine to blow out "chaffy" seed can take care of this problem.

Corn is from V14 to tasseling growth stage. Adult western bean cutwormd have been emerging in the past week. If 5-8% of corn plants have egg masses and/or small larvae, consider an insecticide application either through a center pivot irrigation system or by airplane. It may be beneficial to select an insecticide that controls both spider mites and western bean cutworm as mite populations are increasing in the area.  For more information see this CropWatch article on western bean cutworm.

Field pea harvest (Figures 1-2) is in progress; dryland yields of 40 bu/ac have been reported. Soybeans are at R1-R3 growth stage. Milo is from V8 to boot. Potatoes are in the tuberization stage. Dry beans are at 50-80% cover. Sugarbeets are at full cover. For more information and pictures visit (July 21, 2015)



Extension Crop Report July 11-17, 2015

Todd Whitney, Extension Educator in Hamilton County: Most corn is in the tassel stage, about two weeks behind normal. Rainfall last week ranged from 1 to 2 inches, moving from west to east across county.  Most irrigators are in full-swing due to high temperatures and critical growth stages. Drip-irrigators are applying fertigation. Some soybean irrigation is underway although it's still early according to soybean growth stages (just blooming, no pods yet) and UNL's program.

Wheat harvest is underway here with strong yields 80+ bu/ac. Almost all wheat produced in this region is in organic crop rotation. Sorghum crop growth has been strong due to good, early rains. First cutting alfalfa hay in this area was below average quality (about 120 RFV), but tonnage was almost double normal levels for those who delayed harvest. Second cutting likely will have good quality given insect counts (alfalfa weevil and blister beetles) are below normal. (July 13, 2015)

Extension Crop Report July 6-10, 2015

Jenny Rees, Extension Educator in Clay County: Two months of humid, wet weather have allowed for corn disease development in south central Nebraska. Scout fields to know whether you have mostly bacterial or fungal diseases and consider disease pressure, where on the plant the disease is occurring, growth stage, and economics. When possible, consider delaying a fungicide application until later for economic and resistance-management reasons. Anthracnose is being found on lower corn leaves, particularly where we've had high amounts of rainfall, standing water, and/or hail.

Goss' wilt
Goss' wilt has been observed in corn fields in south central Nebraska, typically along field edges, pivot tracks, pivot/well roads or in hail-damaged firleds.

Goss' wilt (bacterial disease) has been observed in fields, typically along field edges, pivot tracks, pivot/well roads or hail-damaged fields. Plant wounds allow entry for this bacterial pathogen. Physoderma brown spot typically doesn't occur in our area until tasseling (which is where we are at now in some fields); however, I was seeing this as early as two weeks ago on some hybrids. The pathogen causing this disease is a fungal-like pathogen that moves with water. You will notice a purple/brown color on midribs of leaves, leaf sheaths, stalks, and tiny yellow/brown/purple spots on leaves. This disease isn't considered yield-limiting or of significance in Nebraska. It can be confused with southern rust, but Physoderma brown spot does not produce pustules. Rust has been visible in the mid and lower portions of corn canopies. Gray leaf spot is being found in some lower leaf canopies. It is easy to confuse with anthracnose as both diseases appear a little different on various hybrids. Gray leaf spot will be vein-limited while anthracnose is more blotchy in appearance.

For more photos and the full report see JenREESources Extension Blog.

(July 10, 2015)

Corn ear showing symptoms of Northern corn leaf blight
Figure 1. Multiple lesions from Northern corn leaf blight on lower leaf in a continuous corn field in Washington County.

Nathan Mueller, Cropping Systems and Ag Technologies Extension Educator, Dodge County:  Northern corn leaf blight first became visible three weeks ago in Dodge and Washington counties. The disease severity has been increasing in some high risk environments (disease present last year, corn-after-corn, and a moderate to susceptible hybrid). In low risk environments, such as corn planted after alfalfa, lesions have not been observed. However, some NCLB lesions can be found in many no-till corn fields that followed soybeans and more prominently in corn following corn where a susceptible hybrid was planted (Figure 1).

In some of these higher risk growing conditions, the disease has spread within the corn canopy to upper leaves. Hybrids with both low to moderate ratings are being impacted in these environments. Septoria brown spot on the lower leaves in the soybean canopy can already be seen in the area, which is not a concern unless we see progression of symptoms upward in to the mid-canopy. In spite of the wet weather, some area producers have been concerned about the amount of grasshoppers in field borders this week.

Agronomic concerns for the week:

  1. Scout all corn fields for Northern corn leaf blight to determine which fields may warrant fungicide application at tasseling.
  2. Monitor grasshopper pressure in field borders.
  3. Scout soybeans for Septoria brown spot in the lower canopy and watch for upward movement in the coming weeks.

For more crop reports from east central Nebraska see the Crop Tech Cafe blog with Extension Educators Nathan Mueller, Aaron Nygren, and John Wilson.

(July 10, 2015)

Extension Crop Report June 30 - July 2

Northern corn leaf blight and soybean defoliation
(L) Northern corn leaf blight and (R) soybean defoliation caused by insect feeding.

Nathan Mueller, Cropping Systems Extension Educator for Dodge and Washington Counties: Most corn is between the V6 and V12 growth stages. Growers, seed companies, and agronomists are monitoring northern corn leaf blight in the area as lesions are now visible. Scouting will be important, especially on more susceptible hybrids following corn. Corn blotch leaf miners are now active, but at low levels. Overall, corn crop condition has been improving with a slightly drier second half of June and producers have been actively fertigating. Most soybeans range from VE to R1 (beginning bloom). Insect pressure is low and has mainly been green cloverworm, which appears to be decreasing. In some fields they caused up to 10% defoliation, which would still not be economical. We're starting to see some Septoria brown spot on lower leaves of soybeans. Marestail has been more problematic this year due to later emergence, herbicide resistance, and late pre-plant herbicide applications due to the wet weather. Second cutting of alfalfa is starting and the few wheat fields in the area were hit hard by stripe rust, Fusarium head blight, and wheat stem maggot. 

Agronomic concerns for the coming week:

  1. Watch soybean growth stage limits, pre-harvest interval, and crop rotation restriction times on herbicides.
  2. Look up northern corn leaf blight ratings for all of your hybrids, scout hybrid's with weak ratings first.
  3. Evaluate herbicide program for next year based on current marestail pressure in your fields

Read more on Mueller's blog, (July 2, 2015)

John Wilson, Extension Educator in Burt County: We've gone from having too much rain to corn starting to curl on hotter days. Corn is about ready to tassel in early planted fields. (June 30, 2015)

Keith Jarvi, Extension Educator in Dakota, Dixon, and Thurston counties:  Corn really shot up in the last 10 days and growth is close to where it should be.  In surveying corn rootworm check plots, I found some third instars and pretty high infestations. Rootworms are expected to hit peak feeding the third week of July.

Tyler Williams, Extension Educator in Lancaster County: Corn and soybean growth stages vary widely in the county. We could use a little rain — maybe an inch — in northern Lancaster County and Cass County.  We got 8 inches of rain in early June, but nothing in the last 14 days. Looking at the forecast, next week should warm up and we might see some dry areas start to develop. (June 30)

Ron Seymour:, Extension Educator in Adams County: Conditions had been pretty wet in some areas, but are drying down and irrigation is expected to start soon. Corn is at the 8- to 12-leaf stage. Some fields have ponding and are showing signs of nitrogen deficiency. There has been a little common rust and some corn borer feeding. Soybeans are at a wide range of maturities and look tough in a lot of places. We're seeing a lot of weeds, some of which are pretty tall. Growers may have a tough time getting control when the corn is 8 inches and the weeds are already 12 inches. Pastures here look pretty good from spring rains, but need a little more water. (June 30)

Julie Peterson, Extension Entomologist at the West Central Research and Extension Center: Corn here is at the 4- to 8-leaf state. Conditions are dry again and some pivots are running; herbicides and fertilizers are being applied. We found two western bean cutworm adults in traps this week, indicating the beginning of their flight. Based on our model, in North Platte 25% of western bean cutworm emergence should occur between July 10 and July 15. (See WBC details and moth flight dates for multiple sites in this week's CropWatch story.) In continuous, no-till soybean research plots at the station, we're seeing pretty high populations of dectes stem borer, while the adjacent area in corn had none. Without crop rotation, numbers in these areas build up quickly. (June 30)

Robert Wright, Extension Entomologist: We're finding a few baby grasshoppers in field margins at the South Central Ag Lab, Clay Center. Some summer-feeding species are hatching out, but given the rains and plentiful vegetation in field margins, they should probably stay in these areas for a while. (June 30)

Keith Glewen, Extension Educator in Saunders County: Soybeans are still being replanted. Hopefully the third time is the charm.  In some cases active springs are causing water problems with replant and postemergence weed control in upland areas of eastern Nebraska. (June 30)

Extension Crops Report June 8-12

  washed out corn field

Nathan Mueller, Cropping Systems Extension Educator for Dodge/Washington Counties: The early season Washington County Crop Condition Tour was done on Tuesday June 9. Corn growth and development ranged from VE-V6 stage. Overall the corn crop was in good condition, especially across the Loess Hills. Very poor to good conditions were seen in the Missouri River and Bell Creek bottoms, with poor conditions due to saturated soils causing reduced corn growth and stand loss. Corn has been replanted in some fields.

The frequency of rain in May has significantly delayed soybean planting and the yield potential of the crop. Early planted soybeans have reached the V2-V3 growth stage and active nitrogen fixation is underway. Overall, the soybean crop was in fair to good condition. Producers in the Missouri River Valley were urgently planting soybeans this week ahead of the rain and a significant portion of the soybean crop had not yet been planted. To read the full report with numerous pictures, please visit

black chaff in wheat Field of hail-damaged wheat

Wheat in southwest Nebraska sustained damage from black chaff (left) and hail this week. (Photos by Strahinja Stepanovic)

Strahinja Stepanovic, Cropping Systems Extension Educator in southwest Nebraska: With less than 0.5 inch of precipitation in the past seven days, fields have dried enough for farmers to continue planting and spraying weeds. Carefully assess field wetness! Planting in wet soils can cause severe crusting and problems with crop emergence, especially in soybean. Try to stay out of low and very wet areas of the field when spraying to avoid sucking in mud. Mark these areas with a flag so you can come back with a lighter sprayer (e.g., ATV sprayer) and do spot spraying.

Water Management: Irrigating wheat is recommended to keep up with the water demand. On the 85-90°F days we had this week, wheat uses 0.37 inches per day, which is 2.59 inches per week. Wheat extracts water from top 3 feet, which means you need approximately 0.9 inches/foot/week to meet wheat water requirements. Most of our silt loam soils can hold 0.7 inches/foot at field capacity, which means wheat will start showing water stress at 0.35 inches/foot (50% depletion). In other words, irrigators on a typical soil in southwest Nebraska have an irrigation management span of 1 inch (in top 3 foot) to avoid water stress. In summary, you will need 2.59 inches on demand side and available soil moisture + rain + irrigation on the supply side of equation. Frequent irrigations of  0.5 inches are typically recommended to allow water infiltration and avoid runoff. Probe or use soil moisture sensors to estimate what you already have in the soil get you in the ballpark. 

Wheat: Wheat is at flowering stage. Hail damage was observed in west Chase County. Stripe rust is moving north and is now observed in Perkins and Chase counties. Fusarium head blight (head scab) has not been observed yet, but treatment with Caramba and/or Prosaro is recommended to protect the flag leaf from disease. Check the Nebraska Extension resource, Distinguishing Between Head Disorders of Wheat (EC1872), to correctly identify head scab. Black chaff is a seed-borne bacterial disease that started showing up in fields where bin-run seed of susceptible varieties has been planted last fall. No treatment is recommended to control black chaff; planting a tolerant variety and certified, pathogen-free seed are the best strategies to prevent yield losses caused by black chaff.

 Flowering potatoes
Potatoes in southwest Nebraska are at the flowering stage, presenting a bloom as beautiful as any from the tropics.
Field of field peas
The ability of field peas to close the canopy is amazing.

Corn: Corn growth stages range from emergence to V4. Soil-borne diseases have been observed in southwest Nebraska; popcorn seems to be more susceptible than field corn. Assess your field carefully for stand reduction before deciding whether to replant. Economic threshold for replanting irrigated corn planted at 32,000 seeds/ac is about 18,000 seeds/ac (about 45% in stand reduction). As fields are drying out we see more applicators spraying weeds that have been growing wild in the past couple weeks. Amaranth spp. (pigweed species) started emerging.

Other crops: Soybean are cracking and planting is about 55% done. Planting in wet conditions can cause crusting in some areas. If soil is crusting, a light irrigation can be used to help soybeans crack through the ground. Grain sorghum is emerging; field peas, potatoes and sugarbeets are in good condition.

For more photos and full report visit

Extension Crop Reports June 1-5

 Hailed corn at V5-V6Hailed soybean at V3

Heavy rains and hail in Clay County Wednesday and Thursday evenings damaged an estimated 30% of the county's crops. (Photos by Jenny Rees)

Flooded fields Clay County June 5, 2015
Flooded fields in Clay County after heavy rains.
Jenny Rees, Extension Educator in Clay County:  On the evening of June 3, exactly one year after the area suffered significant crop loss from storms and widespread hail damage, storms hit again and heavy rains and hail damaged an estimated 30% of the county's crops. Corn was at the V5-V6 stage; soybeans ranged from just planted to V3.  Many of the hail-damaged beans still had a cotyledon attached. I've seen new plumules shoot from the top of the stem when the growing point wasn't too damaged. The west fork of the Upper Big Blue flooded many fields along Hwy 6 between Hwy 14 and Sutton. There is a great deal of stripe rust in wheat, which also went down in the hail. (For more see Rees' blog, JenREESources Extension blog.) (June 5, 2015)
Soybean plants damaged by freezing temperatures
At first glance damage to these soybeans near North Platte may have appeared to have been from seedling disease, but was actually due to freezing temperatures in May. (Photo by Tony Adesemoye)

Tony Adesemoye, Extension Plant Pathologist at the West Central REC, North Platte:  Symtoms of freeze and disease damage of soybeans can look very similar. The symptoms of pathogens that will cause seedling diseases at this time of the year were not found in the roots of these seedlings (photo, right) when they were dug up. Typical symptoms of soybean seedling diseases with the recent environmental conditions include:

  • discoloration of the roots,
  • root rot, that is, a rotted appearance,
  • seedlings that can be easily pulled from the ground due to a reduced root system,
  • a hypocotyl with water-soaked lesions, or
  • reddish brown sunken lesions on the hypocotyl. (June 5, 2015)

Jeff Bradshaw, Extension Entomologist at the Panhandle REC, Scottsbluff: Wet cool weather in the Panhandle is supporting a surge in the wheat stem sawfly population. Emergence this year was probably about 1 to 1.5 weeks earlier than normal, likely due to the warm spell we had in March and April, and abundance is high. A crop consultant checking dryland wheat fields near Berea found about 100 sawfly adults per square foot, a high number in wheat. With the rain giving our wheat (as well as our cheat grasses) so much vegetative growth, we are going to see a very health crop of sawflies this year. (June 5, 2015)

 Varietal differences in field peas Field peas
(Left) Varietal test plots of field peas in southwest Nebraska show distinct differences. (Right) Yellowish appearance of field peas is not a concern when they are well nodulated. A few days of sunshine will make all the difference. (Photos by Strahinja Stepanovic)

Flowering wheat
Wheat has started flowering in southwest Nebraska.

Strahinja Stepanovic, Extension Educator in Perkins, Chase and Dundy Counties: Wet conditions in southwest Nebraska continue to interfere with timely panting and spraying operations.  Wheat is in good condition, with the exception of stripe rust being severe in some areas of Chase County. It's time to look at disease tolerance characteristics of variety planted last fall and consider preventive and curative fungicide applications to avoid catastrophic yield losses. Rain has also increased our risk for Fusarium Head Blight. Therefore, products that work well on both stripe rust and head scab such as Caramba and Prosaro can be used while wheat is at flowering stage.

Corn planting is 90% done; V3-V4 corn is also commonly found in the area. Fields show signs of farmers struggling to make timely herbicide applications. Aerial herbicide application is recommended if weeds are growing out of optimal control time. In western Perkins and Chase counties pea size hail damage is observed in corn. Research has shown that hail injury on V2 corn is not likely to cause yield losses. Soybean planting is still in progress (about 35% done). Grain sorghum planting is about 30% done. Field peas are at V6-V8 and look yellowish due to lack of sunshine. Farmers should not be concerned, however,  as nodules inhabited with nitrogen-fixing bacteria are present and active. (June 2, 2015)

John Thomas, Extension Educator in Box Butte County: About 90-95% of the corn was planted before the wet spell and most has come up. Due to the wet conditions, very few dry edible beans have been planted and growers are anxious to get them in the ground. Sugar beets got off to a good start, but cool wet conditions and a couple early frosts will make it an average crop. Wheat is coming along, with condition estimated at 10% excellent, 60% good, 20% fair, and 10% poor. We aren't seeing stripe rust yet. (June 2, 2015)

Tony Adesemoye, Extension Plant Pathologist at the West Central REC: Wheat disease is severe in some areas of south central and southwest Nebraska, (See CW article on wheat disease for details.) (June 2, 2015)

Todd Whitney, Extension Educator in Hamilton County: We're generally good on moisture, although a couple pivots were started briefly. We're putting in water mark sensors. Corn and soybeans are planted and average corn is at V5 growth stage. Soybeans are coming along well. (June 2, 2015)

Jennifer Rees, Extension Educator in Clay County: Conditions are dry here and we could use a shot of rain. Some pivots were started to address crusting issues and activate herbicides. We're seeing so much disease in wheat this year. A lot of growers didn't spray in time; other did spray early to protect their flag leaves, but were hit by stripe rust when the residual effect ran out. Another fungicide application could save the crop, but growers may want to review the economics. We're finding some wireworms. First cutting of alfalfa is underway. (June 2, 2015)

Tyler Williams, Extension Educator in Lancaster County: Field conditions are relatively dry here, but variable. Corn looks good, but some soybean fields still need to be planted. A lot of the alfalfa and hay is down. (June 2, 2015)

Gary Lesoing, Extension Educator in Nemaha County: Due to wet conditions, some growers are just getting into their fields and others are just getting back in. About 85% of the corn is in, but very few soybeans. Corn is at the 3-4 leaf stage and looks yellow due to lack of sunshine. Only a few beans are up. We don't have a lot of wheat, but the treated wheat looks good. Some have taken their first cutting of alfalfa, but a few fields have gone down. I hope the rain holds off until this harvest is in. (June 2, 2015)

June 1 corn in east central Nebraska
5-7 leaf corn in east central Nebraska
Corn in Dodge and Washington counties is, on average, at the V3 growth stage this week. (Photos by Nathan Mueller) ​


June 1 soybeans in east central Nebraska
Soybeans in east central Nebraska range from emerging to V3 and VE or VC being the average stage.

Nathan Mueller, Extension Educator in Dodge County: Based on a tour of fields in Dodge and Washington County over the last couple of days, corn is pretty much planted and some has been replanted. Some river-bottom land are too wet to plant. We have seen some damping off in corn, but at low rates (less than 1%) We're not seeing too many disease issues in soybean, but have seen a few bean leaf beetles, less than one for every five plants. Growers are taking their first cutting of alfalfa.

We're seeing some phosphorus deficiency in corn on ridges and terraces. Corn growth stage ranges from unplanted to V5 with V3 being average. Soybeans range from unplanted to V2 with most falling at the VE or VC growth stage. Overall, crop conditions are better than might be expected. Given how wet it has been during planting, it wouldn't be surprising to get some root development issues in corn. (See Mueller's blog at Crop Tech Cafe for more details and photos.) (June 2, 2015)

Keith Jarvi, Extension Educator in Dakota, Dixon and Thurston: We could use a soaker up her. As you move west of Wayne, the rains have been pretty spotty. Soybeans have emerged. Corn looks good overall, ranging in growth from the 2-3 leaf stage to the 4-5 leaf stage. It's been pretty cool around here and we didn't hit 70°F until June 1. Shapiro: The outbreak of avian flu in commercial poultry flocks and its potential economic impact on the community– it's one of the areas big employers -- is a key discussion topic here. This industry supplies a lot of manure to farmer fields. We've worked hard the past 20 years to help growers learn how to use it properly, and they've grown to like it. Now if they have to shift to something else, it may have longer term impacts for them. (June 2, 2015)

 Medicine Bow, Wyoming
Snowy Range Mountains in Wyoming. Wyoming and Colorado mountain snowpack was light this winter; however, heavy precipitation in Colorado and western Nebraska is making up the difference in moisture and the Platte River and reservoirs high this spring. (Photo by Gary Stone)

Gary Stone, Extension Educator at the Panhandle REC, Scottsbluff: Snow melt runoff continues in the high country of Wyoming and Colorado at the headwaters of the North Platte River.  Runoff will be less this year due to less than average snowpack in this region, but with the above average precipitation these past few weeks across southeast Wyoming and the Panhandle of Nebraska, the North Platte and Laramie Rivers are flooding.  There are lowland flood warnings for portions of eastern Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle along the Laramie and North Platte rivers through Wednesday of this week.  Releases from Glendo Reservoir in Wyoming have been cut back to help alleviate this situation; Glendoe is now in the "flood pool" for water storage.  The two main reservoirs on the North Platte River average about 73% capacity at this time and water releases for the irrigation districts are expected to be normal for this growing season. (June 2, 2015)

Monte Vandeveer, Extension Educator in Otoe County: A good share of growers did not quite finish their corn plantings prior to this week.  However, with a clear window over the last few days, most should be nearly finished by now.  Earliest corn planted is only 4-5 inches tall; plenty of moisture, but cool and cloudy weather seems to have slowed growth.  Soybean planting is behind  schedule after very little planting during May.  Haven't seen any alfalfa cut yet; wet conditions are scaring hay producers who fear it won't cure. (June 1, 2015)

Nebraska Extension Field Reports May 25-29

Aerial spraying diseased wheat near North Platte
Applying fungicide to winter wheat at the West Central REC near North Platte. (Photo by Bob Klein)

Robert Klein, Extension Dryland Crops Specialist in Western Nebraska: Aerial applicators were treating wheat at UNL's West Central Research and Extension Center (REC) near North Platte on Friday.  (See Stephen Wegulo's wheat disease update.) (May 29, 2015)

Nathan Mueller, Extension Educator in Dodge County: Southeast Dodge County and most of Washington County received heavy rainfall (upwards of 2 inches in some areas) on Monday, May 28, bringing total rainfall to 7 inches in May. Corn planting is finished except for in some poorly drained fields in the stream bottoms. Corn growth and development range from germination to the V4 (four visible collars) growth stage. Unfortunately, corn seedling diseases have become an issue in some fields.

Soybean planting progress continued Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in areas that received little or no rain. A majority of growers have greater than 50% of their soybean acres planted. Soybean growth and development range from germination to VC (unifoliate leaves). First-cutting alfalfa has been slow to start with all the rain and growers focused on planting. Waterhemp is starting to emerge in fields and growers will need focus on timely post-emergence herbicide application for good control in soybean fields given issues with glyphosate resistance and wet weather. Growers should consider applying soil residual herbicide options after soybean emergence to help with this issue. (May 28, 2015)

 Field of field peas in southwest Nebraska Nodulated field pea in southwest Nebraska, late May 2015 Field of potatoes in southwest Nebraska, late May 2015
Above normal rains in southwest Nebraska have been particularly beneficial to field peas (left) and potatoes (right). The middle photo shows well nodulated field peas. (Photos by Strahinja Stepanovic)
Muddy row crop field in southwest Nebraska
Wet conditions have hampered planting in some areas of southwest Nebraska.

Strahinja Stepanovic, Extension Educator in Perkins, Chase and Dundy Counties:  Precipitation of 3.5 inches in April and an additional 7 inches in May has been both a blessing and an obstacle for farmers in southwest Nebraska, where a variety of crops are grown. Following is a report on their growth stage and condition. Both dryland and irrigated wheat are heading and in good condition with soil moisture ranging from 20-40% of allowable soil water depletion. To my knowledge, there is no stripe rust in wheat fields here, but fungicide treatment is recommended to protect the flag leaf from stripe rust, Fusarium Head Blight (scab) or other infestation that may occur if temperatures increase in following weeks. See information on wheat fungicide treatments in CropWatch.

Corn planting is 80% done and most fields are at the V1 stage or emerging. Emerged corn looks chlorotic due to cloudy weather and limited sunshine the past week. Some seedling diseases are present. Rooting black tissue is observed above growing point, so there is no need for drastic measures at this point. Fields are muddy and in some cases may be growing out of optimal size for ground herbicide applications. Soybean planting started on irrigated acres and is about 20% done. Grain sorghum planting is close to being done on irrigated and is just getting starting on dryland acers. Field peas and potatoes that were planted in March and April are loving the current growing conditions (see pictures). Early season grazing started on the pastures —what a beautiful sight!  (May 26, 2015)

Nebraska Extension Field Reports May 18-22

 Soybean field washed out by recent rainsEmerging soybeans in wet field Emerging soybean photos
Recent heavy rains in Lancaster County washed away residue from last year's crops in this field where soybeans are only now emerging. (Photos by Tyler Williams)

Tyler Williams, Extension Educator in Lancaster County: Most crops in the area look OK; areas along creeks or drainage areas are of greatest concern.  There is still some ponded water, but most has drained away.  There is an issue with crops that are covered by residue or silt, as well as for fields that still need to be planted.  The pictures of the soybean field is a no-till field planted to corn last year, so you can see how the residue was washed away.  This field was completely underwater.  The stand is quite sporadic and the expectancy of the beans that are emerged may be quite low.  These soybeans were starting to emerge before the rain two weeks ago.  Most of the corn is at the two-leaf stage and the soybeans, planted before the rain, are just emerging.  There hasn't been much field work in the last two weeks due to the wet weather. (May 22)

John Wilson, Extension Educator in Burt County: Conditions here are cold and wet with temperatures in the upper 30s last night. Corn planting is 90-95% done and plants are emerging; soybean planting is about 50% done. We've received spotty rains from 0.10 to 1.0, so it's been pretty variable as to who can get in the field. We've got good moisture to carry us into the summer. Now we would like to see some warm up. (May 19)

Gary Zoubek, Extension Educator in York County: Producers haven't been able to do much fieldwork in the last 7-10 days due to wet conditions. Corn is coming up, but we could use some sunshine and warmer weather. Corn planting is 80-85% done, but soybean planting is well behind normal. We have quite a few fields where water is standing and there has been some erosion. (May 19)

Troy Ingram, Extension Educator in Merrick County: Corn planting is 90-95% completed and soybean planting is 60-70% done, with little emergence. We received 1.1 inch of precipitation over the last week, leading to fairly wet conditions and little opportunity for fieldwork. (May 19)

Todd Whitney, Extension Educator in Hamilton County: A few fields of wheat, mostly organic, are heading. With intermittent rains growers haven't had much of a chance to spray for scab. Corn planting is done, and soybeans are about 60% planted.

Chuck Burr, Extension Educator, West Central Research and Extension Center: Rains have been variable, ranging from 0.20 to 1 inch. Corn planting is done and growers are starting on soybeans. Wheat is heading out.  (May 19)

Robert Tigner, Extension Educator,  Red Willow County: Good, but variable moisture with most areas near normal.  Irrigated corn planting is done, yellow peas and potatoes are up. Warm weather could bring most corn up. There is concern however for the wheat, which may have been damaged by recent low temperaures. In on low-lying field I did find some twisted heads due to frost. (May 19)

Seedling field peas in the PanhandleSingle sugar beet seedling

FIn the Panhandle these field peas (left) survived last week's snow in good condition, while 2,400 acres of sugar beets had to be replanted and are just getting started. (Photos by Gary Stone)

Gary Stone, Nebraska Extension Educator, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Scottsbluff: Last week's snow storm in the Panhandle damaged more than wheat.  Approximately 2,400 acres of sugar beets have been replanted due to the freeze and snow. According to Jerry Darnell, Western Sugar Cooperative Sough Regional Manager, this year's sugar beet crop was off to the best start he had seen in years. The Nebraska Panhandle and eastern Wyoming sugar beet growers suffered the most damage while growers in northern Colorado and Montana had very little damage. About 15% to 20% of the sugar beets have had an herbicide treatment applied at this time. 

Producers are still assessing the damage to their winter wheat from the freezing temperatures and snow cover and will not know the full extent for several weeks.  Producers have been bringing in samples of winter wheat with broken and crimped stems, reported Karen DeBoer, Cheyenne County Extension Educator.  There were significant storms across Cheyenne, Kimball, Garden, Deuel, and Garden counties late Friday. There was a lot of precipitation and hail with these storms.  Producers have yet to report any hail damage in those areas.

Most of the corn crop is germinated and trying to emerge. With precipitation forecasted for the next five to seven days with below average temperatures, all of the crops could do with some warm weather to get them growing. Field peas are doing well. So far the cold, wet weather has not been a problem for this crop.Those producers with dryland field peas will have adequate moisture for a good crop. (May 19)

Nebraska Extension Field Reports May 11-15

Gary Zoubek, Extension Educator in York County: Between May 4 and May 14 we received precipitation seven times for a total of 4.67 inches so except for a couple days we haven't had a lot of planting or field progress. The last inch came the evening of May 13 was nice and slow all night. We have had a little flooding damage and not much frost damage that I could observe as I surveyed parts of the county. The earliest planted corn in the area was in the 2-3 leaf stage on May 13. We could sure use a little more sunny and warmer weather. We still have considerable acres of corn and soybeans that need to be planted. (May 14)
Freeze-Damaged Winter Wheat in the Panhandle
As the week progressed and more was added to this story, it was moved to panhandle-wheat-freeze-damage.

Extension Field Reports

May 4-8, 2015

Dodge County sunset over a field post storm
A severe thunderstorm surprised the forecasters and farmers on Saturday, May 2 in Dodge and Washington counties. (Source: Nathan Mueller)

Poor condition wheat in southwest Nebraska
Some winter wheat in southwest Nebraska suffered significant winter kill.  (Photos by Strahinja Stepanovic)

wheat trials at the UNL Stumpf farm
Wheat variety test plot at the UNL Henry J. Stumpf International Wheat Center near Grant has 50 varieties, all of which are in good condition.

Nathan Mueller, Extension Educator for Dodge and Washington Counties:
Corn emergence has been progressing nicely this week with the warmer temperatures. Little or no planting occurred however. A surprise thunderstorm (Figure 1) with hail moved through the area on Saturday, May 2, chasing many growers out of the field earlier than expected.  We missed the heavy rains and severe storms on May 6 and 7. Rainfall totals from May 2 through May 7 ranged from 2.5 to 4 inches across the area, bringing rainfall totals to 6 to 8 inches since April 1.

Flooding has only been a minor issue but ponding and waterlogged soils in river bottoms and upland potholes will reduce corn and soybean stands. The biggest concern is the forecast for heavy rain this Saturday night into Sunday delaying planting and causing flooding. Visit Crop Tech Cafe for additional figures and information.
Figure 1. Severe thunderstorm surprised the forecasters and farmers on Saturday, May 2 in Dodge and Washington counties. (Source: Nathan Mueller)

Karen DeBoer, Extension Educator in Cheyenne County:  For the most part, our wheat is growing rapidly with recent warm temperatures and moisture. The stems are elongating and approaching the boot stage. There is concern about predicted low temperatures early in the week that may damage wheat. However, damage to the emerging wheat heads won't be detectable for several days. There is an excellent Extension Circular (EC 132) Freeze Injury to Nebraska Wheat that growers can refer to if they have concerns. (May 7, 2015)

Todd Whitney, Extension Educator in Hamilton County: With favorable conditions this past week, corn planting progressed to 90% and soybean neared the 50% mark.  Planting should be wrapped up here in the next day or two. We are continuing to participate in the cutworm moth counts and have found mostly variegated and a few black cutworm moths. Monday night we received 0.20 of rain.  (May 5)

John Thomas, Extension Educator in Box Butte County: Sugar beets are 98% planted and around 50% emerged. Wheat is nearly 100% jointed with approximately 5% very poor, 10% poor, 50% fair 25% good and 10% excellent. Cooler wetter conditions over the past couple of weeks have helped the wheat. About 45% of the corn in our area is planted. (May 5)

Strahinja Stepanovic, Extension Educator in Perkins, Chase and Dundy Counties: Wheat condition is 70% good and 30% very poor, so southwest Nebraska is in an "either-or" type of scenario. Significant moisture (about 3 inches) received in April made wheat look a lot better. Poor conditions are the result of hard winter kill that most probably occurred due to shallow planting that exposed young wheat plants to frequent ambiental temperature fluctuations and cold winds. In some fields wheat looks better in wheel tracks due to increased seed-to-soil contact. Varietal differences appear to be a minor factor contributing to disastrous winter kill! Test plot in Grant on the UNL  Stumpf Family Wheat Research project has 50 varieties and all are in the good shape (see photo). Irrigated and no-tilled wheat seems to be in slightly better condition due to more moisture being available.

Corn planting is about 20% complete and progressing fast. I checked soil temperatures this morning throughout these three counties and, depending on soil type and moisture, they ranged from 53-58°F. Farmers are mostly done with planting field peas, potatoes and alfalfa. Soybean planting will probably start next week. Spring grazing started on pastures and wheat fields severely damaged with winter kill. (May 4)

Monte Vandeveer, Extension Educator in Otoe County: We received significant rains over the weekend:  2.3 inches in Syracuse (central county) to heavier rain in the southern part of the county.  Planting will be delayed for several days, considering the wet weather forecast for the first part of this week. (May 4)

Frost injured alfalfa; rain gauge
Figure 1 (left). Good rainfall across Dodge and Washington counties on Saturday, April 25.
Figure 2. Frost damage to alfalfa leaves from a morning freeze event on April 21. (Photos by Nathan Mueller)

Extension Field Reports

May 1, 2015

Nathan Mueller, Extension Educator in Dodge and Washington Counties: Corn and soybean planting this week started off slow due to rainfall on Saturday, April 25, that averaged around 9/10 of an inch in Dodge and Washington Counties (Figure 1). The area around Uehling was on the light side with several tenths while fields around Fremont received as much as 1.6 inches. Corn acreage planted built on last week's progress before the rain. Soybean planting progress started to pick up the end of this week. Overall, planting progress has been slowed in this part of the state due to an average to wetter-than-normal April with most areas receiving over 3 inches and some  over 4 inches. Topsoil and subsoil have adequate to surplus moisture. Unfortunately, some tillage and planting operations ran across soils on the wet side as a result.

Last week's freezing temps (at or below 28° F) on April 21-22 did nip some alfalfa leaves (Figure 2), but overall the outlook for first-cutting tonnage looks to be good.

Herbicide burndown of cover crops and winter annual weeds is mostly finished along with the late end to the anhydrous application season. Farmers and agribusinesses were pushing hard at the end of the week on spraying and planting given the forecast for wet weather starting on Sunday evening. Visit Crop Tech Cafe for additional figures and information. (May 1)

Monte Vandeveer, Extension Educator in Otoe County: A huge amount of corn was planted in Otoe County this week, and might be about half done with corn, after having hardly any progress a week ago. I haven't seen any alfalfa cut yet; none seen blooming, either. Wheat (what little we have) is responding well to the recent rains. (May 1)

Photos of emerging corn, stripe rust in wheat
Figure 3 (left). By the end of this week corn planted April 15 in Clay County was peaking through the soil in some fields or just able to be rowed.
Figure 4. Stripe rust was visible on wheat in Nuckolls and Clay counties. (Photos by Jennifer Rees)

Jenny Rees, Extension Educator in Clay County: A large%age of corn in the Clay County area has been planted and soybean planting has begun or even finished for a few. Earliest planted corn in the March 28-30 time-frame has a good stand with minor cold damage to leaves. Corn planted April 15 is peaking through the ground (Figure 3) and in some fields can just be rowed. Corn planted the week of April 20 has germinated and we will see if there's any damage due to cold temps/rains in the future. 

Wheat condition greatly varies depending on amount of winterkill. Many fields have jointed, but those further behind should reach joint by next week. Stripe rust (Figure 4) is present at low levels in many Clay and Nuckolls county wheat fields. Scouting is advised to determine progression of this disease. Please see the CropWatch story on stripe rust in wheat and the revised wheat fungicide table for any future fungicide application decisions during the wheat growing season. (May 1)