Field Updates from Across Nebraska (7-09)

Field Updates from Across Nebraska (7-09)

July 24, 2009

Chuck Burr, Extension Educator in Phelps and Gosper counties: A hail storm hit Phelps and Kearney counties this week, damaging a strip 5-9 miles wide and 15 miles long. Damage ranged from 10% to 100% leaf loss and 50% stalk loss. Soybeans were severely defoliated.

William Booker, Extension Educator in Box Butte County: Wheat harvest was underway this week with noticeable, but variable progress. Some growers have harvested their dryland fields but may need to delay harvest of irrigated fields for a week; other growers are keeping up with their dryland fields as they become ripe and dry. The wheat that is still green tends to be in fields that received adequate nutrients and was not struck with adverse environmental conditions. Yields have varied with the early wheat being in the 40s and later fields in the 50-70 bu/ac range. Fertility has been obvious this year with adequate moisture. By the weekend wheat harvest could be one-half to two-thirds complete. Elevators are piling wheat on the ground now.

Gary Lesoing, Extension Educator in Nemaha County: Wheat yields were good to excellent in the area, with reports of 55-60 bu/ac to over 70 bu/ac. We have received some timely rains this summer and corn and soybeans generally look excellent. The cool weather we experienced recently was excellent for the corn during pollination. Most of the silks have turned brown on the corn. Soybeans are blooming and starting to set on pods (R1-R2 stage) Gray leaf spot is showing up on the corn with the wet conditions conducive to the disease spreading more in fields with susceptible hybrids. Several fields have already been sprayed for gray leaf spot in the area. Incidence of soybean disease is low. I am seeing an increase in bean leaf beetle recently in soybean fields. I have not identified any soybean aphids yet. There have also been some reports of potato leaf hoppers in alfalfa fields.

Allen Dutcher, State Climatologist: In reviewing the national report of crop progress, as of Sunday, only about 5% or less of the corn crop was silking in much of the eastern Corn Belt in Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota, and South Dakota. More typically, 20-40% of their cron would be silking. In Illinois and Indiana crops are two to three weeks behind in some areas, especially areas that had to be replanted. Nebraska and Iowa are doing pretty well, running several days to a week behind in some areas.

A lot of cold air out of the Hudson Bay Region has been moving straight south, dragging cold air back into our region. Nebraska should see widespread rain next week, beginning Monday evening (July 27) when a front pushes across western Nebraska. There could be two to three waves of precipitation on Tuesday through Wednesday with cooler days to the end of July, followed by a more normal, warming trend. Areas of the state could see 1-2 inches of rain early next week. Areas not receiving the rain, but moving into a rapid warm up could have problems. Subsoil moisture levels are below normal in many areas. The 90-day forecast indicates cooler than normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.

Michael Rethwisch, Extension Educator in Butler County: Things are fairly quiet here, with some gray leaf spot in corn. Wheat harvest is done with yields in the upper 50s to mid 70s with some unsubstantiated reports of more than 80 bushels per acre. Growers are starting their third cutting of alfalfa. Grasshoppers are out and about. We’ve had some nice rains, with 0 .40 to 1 inch in the last week.

Tom Hunt, Extension Educator at the Haskell Agricultural Lab, Concord: It was wet enough to keep some growers out of the field early this week. We've seen some fungicide spraying in the area, especially in fields with heavy hail bruising. We still haven’t seen too many aphids in soybeans. Usually we see multiple “seeding” events, when aphids migrate in from Minnesota and Iowa, but we haven’t seen that yet this year. Iowa and Minnesota are just starting to see some significant migrations now. I've seen a few western bean cutworms and some grasshoppers in grassy areas moving into beans. Bean leaf beetle numbers have been really low. I would expect to see some increases in soybean aphids, however, it would be later than expected, and hopefully growers may just need to spray once this year.

Paul Jasa, Extension Engineer, Lincoln: Corn near Lincoln is tasseled and pollinated and we’re seeing some gray leaf spot. Wheat at the Rogers Farm has been harvested; we’re seeing some area fields where a forage crop such as turnips, rape or sudan are going in after wheat. Soybeans are starting to put on small pods. We got about ½ inch of rain at the farm Monday, but could use more. Last week we noticed a lack of moisture when we dug soil pits four feet deep near Howells.

Robert Klein, Extension Western Nebraska Cropping Systems Specialist: Wheat harvest has been pretty good here. Much of the area has enough soil water, although some areas are getting dry. Corn looks really good, although there is some gray leaf spot, mostly on the lower leaves. Grasshoppers are doing great and getting heavy in some areas. Alfalfa cuttings were delayed with the rain.

Robert Wright, Extension Entomologist: We’re getting increased reports of grasshoppers, especially from western Nebraska. They are about half grown and appear to be moving into crop fields now. We’re watching light traps and moth flights at Clay Center for western bean cutworms. The cooler weather has probably inhibited their growth. We caught up to 85 one night last week and then it dropped off, but it may pick up again when it warms up.

Tom Dorn, Extension Educator in Lancaster County: I found spidermites in several popcorn fields and a couple of dent corn fields in southern Lancaster County on July 17 and gray leaf spot lesions in nearly every corn field I looked at (both dent corn and popcorn). I have not seen gray leaf spot or mites above the ear leaf yet. The popcorn, of course, is not genetically modified. First generation European corn borer had already entered the popcorn stalks. Grasshoppers (several species) have moved out of the road ditches and into soybeans. Soil moisture in the top foot was over 50% depleted in every rainfed corn field I visited.

Jennifer Rees, Extension Educator in Clay County: Bean leaf beetle and grasshopper feeding is increasing, but we haven't seen soybean aphids yet. Soybeans are in beginning pod stage and weather has been good for corn pollination. Gray leaf spot varies in severity throughout this area — in most cases it has yet to reach the ear leaf or the leaf below. Airplanes are applying fungicide to corn.

Robert Tigner, Extension Educator in Chase County: Hail damage assessment is an issue here. Some of the corn fields I have seen are either just before or just after tasseling. The hail damage has been spotty but seems to have occurred in most parts of the area due to the many recent storms.

Ron Seymour, Extension Educator in Adams County: Most of the irrigated crops look very good. The dryland fields are beginning to show some moisture stress. The top 16 inches of soil in pasture areas have very little moisture, resulting in some pastures beginning to turn brown. Field corn is in the silking or blister stage. Grey leaf spot up to the eighth leaf is common. A number of fields have corn leaf miner feeding, but the damage is minimal. Soybeans are blooming. Some brown leaf spot was noticed as well as a few bean leaf beetles. Alfalfa growth stage varies. Some fields have potato leaf hopper and spotted alfalfa aphids but damage from these pests has been minimal. Grasshoppers are still abundant in field edges and gardens