July 11, 2008
Bill Booker, Extension Educator in Box Butte County: The biggest issue here is the drought. We got enough moisture to save the wheat crop, but overall it will only be an average crop. The Scottsbluff area has gotten just to 2/3 of its average rainfall. With the recent dry weather and heat, the crop is finishing up pretty fast. Some will be harvested next week and the bulk of the harvest will be in 10-14 days. There's been a considerable amount of yield-limiting wheat streak mosaic this year as well as hail which will contribute to volunteer wheat and possible wheat streak mosaic next year. Growers may be interested in Mace, a new variety of wheat resistant to wheat streak mosaic. With the recent heat units, corn and dry beans are catching up. Some beans had to be replanted. Corn went in on time but didn't come up so quick.
Bob Klein, Extension Crops Specialist, West Central REC, North Platte: Wheat harvest has started in the southern counties. We hope to see some pretty good yields. This week we got about 0.30 of rain, but it came with hail and high winds. Over the past few weeks we've lost several areas to hail. With the increased rains this year we had more scab and diseases that aren't typically as much of a problem. A pretty fair number of irrigated fields were sprayed. Corn and soybeans are behind, and in some areas where they planted in some pretty wet conditions, we're seeding sidewall compaction. It would have been better if growers could have waited a day or two before planting, but we're not really used to planting in wet conditions here. We're seeing some lodging in wheat fields.
David Stenberg, Extension Educator in Dawson County: We're also seeing lodging in wheat. With the added rain, the wheat's been taller and is struggling to stay up. Corn is all over in height from knee high to shoulder high, sometimes in the same field. With the warmer temperatures this week, corn has taken off. Beans have been variable and replant decisions were difficult. Usually they'd be well into their second cutting of alfalfa but this year only about 10% has been cut. We don't have a lot of wheat, but what we have looks good. It's about 10 to 14 days behind schedule; we haven't seen too many disease or insect problems so far.
Drew Lyon, Extension Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist, Panhandle REC, Scottsbluff: We'll likely see some combines by the end of the week, but in the northern Panhandle the wheat's still green in spots. We won't see too many combines until next week and the week after. There has been some concern about the potential for wheat test weights being a little light since the heat came on a little earlier in the physiological cycle. We lost a few fields to hail, but damage wasn't widespread. Summer crops like proso millet, corn and dry beans are just getting some heat and taking off. They've been getting water deliveries in the canal the last week or two. Sugarbeets are variable.
Paul Hay, Extension Educator in Gage County: I just finished a survey of tillage in three counties of southeast Nebraska. No-till use in Gage County was up a little and in Pawnee and Johnson counties, it was up a lot. We are looking at changing our focus to learning how to manage no-till better. We had 38 cropping combinations in Gage County - a lot of diversity out there. In Pawnee County we found an area of approximately 10 square miles that had been consistently missed by the rains. The corn was knee high and curling. The bluegrass lawn had already gone dormant. We've had a little bit of late planting and don't have any pivots running yet. Generally, the crop looks fantastic. We looked at a dryland corn field that should get 170 bu/ac with a little warm sunshine and water.
Charles Shapiro, Extension Soils Specialist, Haskell Ag Lab, Concord: Growers are noticing differential water movement down through the soil and wondering how far the nitrogen moved down and whether the roots will catch up with it. It can be tough to catch up. For some, crops in the wheel tracks are looking better than those in the field because compaction kept the nitrogen from moving down too far. Four out of five years you'd want the moisture to infiltrate. Wheat harvest is about 10-14 days out.
Robert Wright, Extension Entomologist, Lincoln: The first soybean aphids were found July 3 in low numbers in Dixon County. Overall the region is seeing low numbers. Just like the crops this year, insects will be slow to develop. Western corn rootworm scouting should begin. Western bean cutworm moth flight started in southern Nebraska and egg laying will begin soon. If they hatch on pretassel corn, they will burrow down and feed on the ear. We're seeing some potato leafhopper injury to alfalfa at Clay Center. Corn blotch leafminers are starting to damage whorl stage corn in central Nebraska.
Alert: With the increased variability in plant growth this season, different parts of the field may be more attractive to insects at different times. Scouting could be really challenging this season and growers and consultants will need to keep up with it. Refuge fields should be scouted and could be especially attractive to European corn borer and western bean cutworm. Western bean cutworm numbers are still low but likely to pick up.
Gary Lesoing, Extension Educator in Nemaha County: Last week we didn't receive any significant rainfall. This allowed farmers to generally complete planting in areas along the Missouri River that were too wet before. Some flooded areas won't be planted or replanted. The break in the weather allowed farmers to get hay put up and fields sprayed with herbicides. Some wheat has been harvested. Yields will be all over the board; there have been reports of as low as 10-20 bu/ac to up to about 50 bu/ac. The benefit of fungicide application this year has not been determined yet. Some of the earlier planted corn and soybeans look very good, but could use a shower of rain. Some corn is starting to tassel and soybeans are blooming.