Air May 21 - 28, 2007
Alfalfa and Brome Harvest
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. I've started to see some alfalfa go into windrows so it looks like the message is getting out. Even if you wind up getting some alfalfa rained on, I think your losses are less than if you wait for the spring black spot diseases to defoliate everything. Keep an eye under that windrow both before and after baling for feeding damage from adult weevils. We truly feel that once the windrow is removed, the adult weevils will head for the timber. Some people are referring to this cutting as the second cutting, but I don't really feel that way. Alfalfa will keep regrowing until cold weather shuts it down. Sure, the first start get nipped back, but it's still the first cutting. The alfalfa doesn't keep track, it just grows as rain and temperatures allow. Now, don't let that swather rest once the alfalfa is down - you need to move right into the bromegrass. Most of it is heading and some is already starting to bloom so it's time to get that cut also. Don't wait too long, hoping for more yield, because any increase in yield will be offset by loss of quality. And don't go scalping the ground when you swath it trying for more yield. You really need to leave at least a four inch stubble. This is critical to leave a little area for photosynthesis, that is food production. You need to leave that stubble simply to protect the crown. With the good soil moisture we may even get some decent regrowth post cutting, something that we haven't had for a long time. But you need to leave that regrowth uncut and ungrazed. That's what the plant is going to use to build up the plant for next year! This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
Wheat Rust and other issues
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. As if the wheat hasn't had enough problems this year, wheat leaf rust and stripe rust are really starting to explode. One producer commented late last week that one field had turned his pant lets orange. From what I'd seen early last week, I knew it was about to happen. Now we also have stripe rust showing up in force in the south part of the state. Sadly, we're now too late to get any fungicide applied. All we can do is ride it out. And some fields that may have appeared to be coming out of the freeze okay are really starting to show the Barley Yellow Dwarf infection. That's what's causing a lot of these fields to look so uneven and accounts for all those yellow and sometimes red tinged leaves in the fields. I've been cranking through some figures on those borderline wheat fields to try to help you determine whether to leave it in or tear it out and go with an alternate crop, if the wheat herbicide will allow it. First of all, if you had crop insurance, don't do a thing until you've got the go ahead from your insurance adjuster. And then, if you and your adjuster agree to a yield, you don't even have to leave a test strip in most cases. Given the up front production costs that most of you have in the crop, and anticipated harvest expenses, you probably need 25 bushels per acre to just break even. Below 25 bushels per acre, I'd say you have no choice but to go to a second alternative if you have one. Between 25 and 35 bushels per acre is really a gray area, over 35 bushel projected yield, keep it. Of course, this assumes that we don't have two weeks of hot and dry weather and that the rust doesn't get extremely bad. It's never an easy choice, so call me if you have any questions! This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
Herbicides and weeds
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. I've been in a lot of fields in recent weeks and do you know what I'm seeing? Lots and lots of weeds. We've got grasses in the alfalfa, we've got bindweed in the wheat, we've got everything in the no-till stubble. With the abundant rain, we probably have two to three years worth of seeds getting cranked up. This is going to give us several things to be thinking about in the coming weeks and months. You may want to use a preplant, pre-emerge or even post-emerge herbicide in your soybeans, even the roundup ready soybeans. Soybeans are far more sensitive to early season weed competition than corn and milo. If you hold off too long for that first roundup application, trying to reduce how much you need, you could really be shooting yourself in the foot. Sure, you can go in at anytime with the roundup and clean things up, but if the field is solid green before you spray, you could have easily already lost 10 to 20% of your yield potential. And given the price of beans right now, that could easily have paid for a pre-emerge soybean herbicide. Field Bindweed was not hurt by the various droughts over the past five years. And now that it has plentiful rainfall, it is looking really good. Start walking your wheat fields to identify where those bindweed patches are. Then, once you get the wheat harvested and the bindweed has had some time to grow, use the fallow period to apply some treatments. Options are going to include Tordon, glyphosate, 2,4-D and dicamba. All can work, but which one you use is going to depend on how soon you'll be going back in and with what crop. But bindweed is still a problem, and you need to work on it! This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
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