Field Reports 5-8-15

Field Reports 5-8-15

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)