Test Plot Walk Through

Test Plot Analysis

Dennis logging variety information.

Dennis and I like to walk through our test plot pre-harvest to get a feeling for how varieties are performing ahead of combining them. The rains this year presented a challenge in getting this done in a timely manner. We exited the field with a large amount of mud on our boots.Green husk

While surveying the plot we do a stand count to see what percent of our planted stand put on a harvestable ear. We also look for health problems that are presenting themselves. This will give us an idea of what’s going on in the fields that are planted to a particular variety that’s also in the test plot. If a plant has stalk weakness or ears are already hanging down, then we know that we’ll need to keep a close eye on the field we’ve planted that variety in. If that variety isn’t in the field, we probably won’t consider it for planting another year. This is a great reason to have your own test plot rather than just looking at numbers on paper!broken corn ear

Aphid scouting

Soybean aphid scouting 2Early August is prime time for scouting for soybean aphids. We try to get through our soybean fields with the pickup so we can thoroughly scout. Our 2005 Toyota Tundra is about 4 inches narrower than a full size pickup so it fits well down the 30 inch soybean rows. The high clearance is easy on the tall beans. We did push it a little too late this year though and drove down some beans that were starting to lodge. Soybean aphid scouting

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Hailed corn one month later

Hailed Corn July 13It’s been a month since one of our corn fields was decimated by hail. We chose to let it grow out and harvest what’s left. What is there is coming back nicely but, as you can see in these pictures, the east-west headlands have very few plants left. Our weed control will be running out soon as well. As time goes forward, we will need another round of weed control. This can be either a herbicide broadcast or hand weeding.Hailed Corn Headland July 13

 

 

 

July 18 Update – Another round of heavy rain has filled up the low areas once again. Morgain water July 18

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Soybean weed control

Weed

One of the few weeds.

Spraying Right Boom ViewWeed control in soybeans is a summer long effort. In early July, we made our 3rd pass with the sprayer. The first pass was right after planting and consisted of a herbicide to burn down existing weeds as well as one that gave us about 1 month of control for emerging weeds. The second pass was similar but using chemicals with different modes of action to circumvent weeds becoming resistant to the few chemicals we have left. For the 3rd and final pass we use Roundup and a grass control herbicide. The grass control herbicide controls the volunteer corn. The Roundup will control some weeds that aren’t resistant. We will use hand weeding as a follow up to control weeds that are Roundup resistant.

Final Pass Spraying Beans

Excellent pre-emerge herbicide control.

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Cattle Fly Control

cattle-fly-controlA rain break from field work allowed us to put the finishing touches on a new fly control system for the cattle. This year we decided to utilize a liquid wicking system instead of a dust control system. Permethrin is blended with oil at a 1% dilution and poured into a tray. The hanging ropes are saturated and the cattle walk through thus putting the fly control mix on their hides.

Cattle are not the bravest animals in God’s creation. After a short time of avoiding the ropes, they became used to them and eventually realized the benefiting result of less flies biting. Now we will see them playing with the hanging ropes and even lounging right under them.

June 17 Morgan Hail Event

radar-screen-shot-stormJune 17, 2016 will stand out in my mind for many years to come. I have never witnessed such devastation of crops over such a large area. We were told that the hail track was 5 miles wide and 35 miles long. The center of the storm received wind-driven pea sized hail for 35 straight minutes. One of our corn fields is located about 1 mile west of the center of the hail track. We had just spent the first 2/3 of the day building ridges in this field readying it for next year’s bean planting.

My stomach churned then next morning as I drove to survey the damage. The last three miles made me tense up even more. I was seeing badly damaged corn and it was still getting worse as I continued east.

june-2016-hail-morgan-stand-day-6-headsThoughts were going through my mind like “How bad could it be?”; “Surely it would get better after a couple more miles. Hail isn’t usually that wide”. ¬†As I crossed the last intersection, 1/2 mile from the field, I gave up hope. I surveyed the extensive damage and huge ponds of water that first made it look like a complete loss. East-west rows were almost completely wiped out while north-south rows shielded each other from the almost straight north wind-driven hail giving them a higher survival rate. Continue reading