Field Update - UNL CropWatch July 20, 2012

Field Update - UNL CropWatch July 20, 2012

Aerial application in corn

Figure 1. Aerial pesticide application in corn in Morrill County in the Panhandle.  (Photos by Gary Stone)

July 19, 2012

Dry Panhandle rangeland

Figures 2-3. Range and pasture in many areas of the Panhandle have dried up, as shown in these photos from Sheridan County (above) and Sioux County (below).  (Photos by Gary Stone)

Sioux County Rangeland

"Popcorn" thunderstom

Figure 4.  "Popcorn" thunderstorms in areas of the Panhandle this week provided spotty, but well appreciated relief.

Gary Stone, Extension Educator, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Scottsbluff:  This week I spent three days refilling ET gages in the Panhandle for the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network and just finished taking winter wheat stand counts and cut stem counts for the wheat stem sawfly survey being conducted by Jeff Bradshaw and Susan Harvey. This gave me a chance to get a good look at crops and rangeland in the Panhandle.

Where we have center pivot irrigation, the crops look very good, with little or no stress. Those with furrow irrigation are just getting their fields caught up to an adequate moisture level.  They are a little behind, but then again, everything else is a little ahead. Corn is starting to tassel and sugar beets look very good. Dry beans are OK but with this heat and wind, young plants are getting stressed. Most of the winter wheat has been harvested, just a few pivots are left. Dryland crops are stressed unless they happen to be under one of the few-and-far-between thundershowers that come through. Any dryland corn and millet that missed these rain events is stressed and struggling. Sunflowers look fine for now, but could use some moisture.

Rangeland continues to be very dry and very poor. Range has lots of “crunch” when you walk across it., if there is anything at all. Plants have little or no green to them, unless they received some rain. Most of the straw from the harvested wheat fields across the Panhandle have been baled for use as forage. Not many were left with full standing stubble. Yesterday I watched as one producer harvested an upland grass meadow / field. The grass had grown up about a foot or so was being cut, windrowed, and baled. He didn't have to let it dry and cure, it had already done that standing! Better that than having it catch fire.

We haven’t had very many major fires. Earlier there was one at Harrison and Wyoming has had some. Guernsey had two and now there is one between Guernsey and Glendo on the National Guard firing range (23+ sections burned).  We can see the smoke plumes if you are north of Mitchell on some high ground (about 110 to 120 miles away). The Big Springs area (Chappell, Julesburg, Big Springs) had a significant storm pass through this week with rain, hail, and a tornado.