August 22, 2008

Douglas Anderson, Extension Educator in Keith, Arthur, and Perkins counties: Rain was spotty but gave much needed moisture to most areas. Hail in the Brule area and south of there last week did quite a bit of damage and will
hurt yields. In most areas dryland crops look good. Soybeans and field beans are late and will require a nice fall to yield up to potential. Grasshopper numbers through the North Platte River valley are extremely high and many acres have been sprayed aerially. Pastures are in decent shape and still green, but forage and pasture production will be down about 40% from a normal year. Dryland corn still retains the potential to yield.

Dewey Lienemann, Extension Educator in Webster County:  We have been getting some nice rainfall which has really helped get the crops to a preharvest condition that we're not used to seeing.  We also have been fortunate in avoiding too many fungus problems. at least up till now, which is unusual for our part of the country. I have not seen much disease or rust in the soybeans, however there have been several soybean producers spraying fungicides, likely for plant health.  The same is true with corn.  We have found gray leaf spot on lower leaves in many fields and there are several incidents of common rust and some corn blotch leaf miners.  I have not seen any southern rust at this point.  A lot of  corn producers sprayed their fields with fungicides, from tasseling to about the brown silk stage — again I think more for their own peace of mind and for plant health. There is some stalk rot showing up in the  area of eastern Webster County where we had the early June hail and wind storms.  Even those areas look better than I had anticipated from a potential yield standpoint. I think that a lot of that is due to those producers taking a proactive treatment right after the hail.  I am concerned on some of the replant corn,  beans and milo as it is pretty far behind the rest of the crops and it seems we are not getting those good growing degree days that we are used to getting this time of year. 

We are starting to see some soybean aphids in the soybean fields, but I have not seen any at the threshold point. I expect a lot may be treated though. We're seeing a lot of annual grasses and some volunteer wheat "greening up" the wheat stubble. Some have already started spraying those fields, others plan to graze them.  An unusual number and variety of grasshoppers are starting to show up in almost every field, pasture and grassway. They range from just a few to "way too many". Crop damage is visible, especially on the perimeters and moving in. Pastures are holding on pretty well; however, there are an unusual number of anual weeds and invaders that came in during the last few years of drought and overgrazing.  We've had a problem this year with pinkeye in the pastures, even with vaccination programs.  This is probably due to the taller grasses and weeds.  Grain sorghum seems to be behind in heading and
maturity.  Some old timers tell me that it needs stress to make a good head.  I never thought I would want to see some stress on crops, but maybe they are right.  It seems like we have been about 10-15 days behind all season.  A lot of people are expecting an earlier than usual frost and have brought out the wive's tales to prove it.  The way
the year has been going, I wouldn't doubt it.

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