Air March 26 - 30, 2007
Planting Time Seed Treatments
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. For quite some time many of us have been on the fence when it came to fungicide seed treatments. If we were planting corn early, sure we treated seed. We have been using more seed treatments on grain sorghum - things like Gaucho became very popular and I would encourage you to continue to use these, regardless of if you think there will or won't be a chinch bug problems. Wheat we often do treat with seed treatments mainly because we want to control bunt. But that takes us to the soon to be new queen of Geary County crops, soybeans. You see, last year, there was as many acres of wheat planted as soybeans. We harvest more acres of wheat because dry weather caused us to swath some soybeans for hay. Anyway, soybeans we have usually been planting in late May to early June and we have normally said that the soils are warm enough that it just wasn't going to gain us anything to treat our soybean seed with a fungicide. But a couple of years of data are starting to show that this isn't the case. We can probably justify, nearly every year, of treating soybean seed with a fungicide. I would add to that another caveat that if you are planting prior to May 15th or planting anytime in notill, that you need to treat with one of the newer combination treatments like Apron Maxx or Warden or Rival plus allegiance. There has always been concern about the impact of these treatments on soybean innoculant. Most new products will tell you that there isn't a problem, but as a general rule of thumb, try to minimize the amount of time that the two are in contact before planting. This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
Roundup Ready Alfalfa issues
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. An interesting situation emerged earlier this month in regards to roundup ready alfalfa. A district court judge in northern California issued an injunction to stop future sale and planting of roundup ready alfalfa. It does not affect roundup ready alfalfa that was already planted, nor does it affect seed sold prior to March 12th. If you bought seed prior to March 12th, and can get it planted by March 30th, it doesn't impact you either. The base for the lawsuit is that the growers of roundup ready alfalfa seed are not required to separate their fields from non genetically engineered alfalfa seed fields by enough distance to halt honeybees from carrying pollen from roundup ready plants to non-roundup ready plants, thereby contaminating the traditional fields with pollen from genetically engineered plants. This is going to be very interesting to watch how this evolves and what, if any impact, it has on other genetically engineered crops. Unlike most other crops that farmers grow, at least in Kansas, alfalfa is very dependent on insect pollination, where others are self pollinated or wind pollinated. I've kept honeybees before and all I can say is good luck figuring out how far of separation you need between fields. Now, planting alfalfa the last week of March isn't normal for us, but we can do it. If possible try to disturb the soil as little as possible, in fact no-till might be preferable if there isn't much residue. It's also going to be very important to make sure you get some starter fertilizer applied - if you haven't soil tested, just plan to apply 100 pounds of 18-46-0 to make sure that the alfalfa has a chance to get a good start! This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
Growing Degree Days and Insect Alerts
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. The normal to abnormally cold winter weather has certainly rolled away and we again are dealing with above average temperatures. While we may enjoy above average temperatures, we have to remember that many insects, as well as plants and even diseases are closely regulated by those temperatures. As we accumulate heat units or growing degree days, we find that the calendar doesn't matter, those critters are going to respond to growing degree days. Okay, that's a lot of nice predictive research type data, but let's bring it down to planet earth and apply it. Army cutworms have been active across much of the state, but with the accumulated heat units, they are probably big and about ready to turn into moths and leave us until fall. However, we've got other things happening that are of far greater concern. Number one being alfalfa weevil. By late last week we were starting to see the very first weevil larvae that had hatched and started getting active. The alfalfa is growing fast, but it's small. It's not going to take very many to cause significant damage, ESPECIALLY given the price of alfalfa right now. When you are finding feeding damage on 50% of the stems, I would spray. But I would only spray when the temperature for the next two days is forecast to be above 50 degrees and preferably sunny. Forget about heavy rains knocking them off and drowning them, forget about any so called systemic insecticide action. If the weevil larvae do not feed on treated foliage, they aren't going to die. If you spray and the weevil stay low on the plant for 2 or 3 days and then climb up the stem - they will go right past the spray and feed on new, untreated growth!
This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
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