June 12 - 19, 2007
Before dismissing hay field management, consider the value of the hay
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. I have been talking with several producers of alfalfa or brome hay in recent weeks about fertility issues and weed control issues. Many brome fields simply were not adequately fertilized this year and it is easy to see that. Many alfalfa fields had some horrible weed problems, especially from those annual bromes, and the freeze damage only made it worse. But it seemed like every time I brought up the topic of dealing with these very correctable problems, the producer would develop a pained look on their face and talk about not wanting to spend the money. Okay, I can appreciate how darn expensive fertilizer and herbicides have become. But let's keep in mind the value of that hay recently. If you are selling hay, you know what the value is. If you are producing it for your own use, you may not see that value very quickly UNTIL the day comes that you need to buy it. By under fertilizing bromegrass or even alfalfa, you can actually increase the cost per ton not to mention the negative impact on quality. What's the protein and palatability of a clean bale of alfalfa compare to one that's full of cheat grass? According to a recent Hay Market News report, in northeast and north central Kansas brome grass in large round bales was bringing $75 to $85 per ton, and alfalfa was running from $85 a ton for fair alfalfa to $140 a ton for dairy quality new crop. It doesn't take much management to get 3 tons per acre from either a good stand of brome or a good stand of alfalfa. Let's calculate the gross potential returns per acre from those hay fields and re-evaluate our management. This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
What's up with the wheat?
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. Well, in the past several days we've been seeing a big change in the wheat crop and this really shouldn't be a surprise. There's been a few questions about the white heads that were showing up in wheat. Some years answering this question is much easier than it is this year! Okay, in a normal year, a single white head here and there is an indication of wheat stem maggot. If you grab the head it usually pulls right out of the stem and you can see where it was fed on. If you see scattered plants that are all white heads, that is usually take all disease and it tends to be worse the 2nd to 4th year of continuous wheat. Wheat in rotation or continuous wheat over 10 years will have very very little take all. This year we also have to try to factor in all the impacts from the freeze. We have a lot of wheat stems that were hurt by the frost, but not killed outright. As long as we had the cool, cloudy, wet weather of May, these tillers were getting along just fine and we were lucky to get that crop as close to maturity as we did before it turned off hot and windy. Then with diseases taking out the leaves and that hot windy weather a lot of those stems just couldn't keep moving enough water and the stem prematurely died. These stems are also going to be substantially weaker than normal because of that freeze damage, and that is why areas of fields are falling over now which will make harvest a lot of fun. Ultimately, don't write off any variety as being weak stemmed this year because it appeared to lodge. A lot of that lodging is not a flaw of the variety, but a result of the weather, or in some cases Hessian Fly, but that's the topic for another day! This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. It seems like now days, selecting and using a herbicide is like trying to hit a moving target - it changes every day. And contrary to what many people think, it isn't all just Roundup or glyphosate. We have crops that are not roundup tolerant and we have more weeds popping up all over the country each year that are roundup or glyphosate tolerant. So it behooves us to use a multiple herbicide approach and hopefully delay development of glyphosate tolerant genotypes in our area. And the good thing is that weed seeds don't generally move around like insects and diseases do. One of the newer sorghum herbicides is Lumax. It was granted a section 18 special local use permit for controlling weeds in grain sorghum this year with the condition that it had to be applied by June 15th. Well, it was recently announced that because of the ongoing wet weather, that deadline has been extended to June 30th, giving growers more time to consider using this new product. If you are applying Lumax yourself you do need to have a copy of the Section 18 label and I can help you obtain that if you need it. I would also encourage you to consider using some pre or post-emerge soybean herbicide to help delay the first glyphosate application. Soybean are more sensitive to early season competition than our other crops. Grain sorghum and corn can recover from early season competition without losing too much yield. Soybeans just don't have that flexibility. If you didn't use a preplant or pre-emerge product you need to get out there, identify the weeds and grasses that are coming along and determine what options, besides glyphosate, you might have! This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
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