Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Post-Emergence Herbicides in Corn

Post-Emergence Herbicides in Corn
Aaron Hager, Extension Weed Scientist - University of Illinois
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It is time for farmers to control weeds in their corn fields. However, as Todd Gleason reports, the cool, wet start to the growing season makes it doubly important to read and follow herbicide labels.

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Farmers are heading to the field again. This time with machinery used to control weeds. The post-emergence herbicide labels they’ll be following usually allow applications to be made at various growth stages says University of Illinois Extension Weed Scientist Aaron Hager.

(Gleason Stand Up) Hager says it is really important to read the label, making sure to get the height, or the stage, maybe both, of the crop correct.

This is because most all of the products for corn have a growth stage listed on the label beyond which applications, at least broadcast applications, should not be made. It is usually either plant height - measured at the highest arch of the uppermost leaf at least 50% out of the whorl - or a leaf number. Hager says if both are listed, then it is important to use the more restrictive of the two.

Hager :34 …to determine the stage of the corn plant.

Quote Summary - For example, because of some of the weather conditions we’ve had across a large part of the state this year we may have corn plants which older than their height would suggest. Using the leaf collar method is typically a better way to stage the development of the corn plant. If you can do both the height and the counting, the leaf collar method is the better method to determine the stage of the corn plant.

Corn plants under stress conditions may be more prone to injury from post-emergence herbicides. On that note, Hager says farmers should be sure to consult the product label when selecting spray additives. Many labels suggest changing from one type of additive to another when the corn crop is stressed. Also, trying to save a trip across the field by applying a post-emergence corn herbicide with liquid nitrogen as the carrier is not advisable. The U of I weed scientist says while applying high rates of UAN by itself can cause corn injury, adding a post-emergence herbicide can make it worse.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Don’t Risk a Lot to Save a Little

Don’t Risk a Lot to Save a Little
Karen Chan, University of Illinois Extension
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“Don’t risk a lot to save a little”, that simple phrase has stuck with University of Illinois Extension’s Karen Chan through many years. All the way back she says to when she learned it while studying for her Certified Financial Planner designation. It is one of three basic principles of risk management. The idea is not to try saving a nickel when that decision might end up costing $10. Karen has a list of examples.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Treat NOW for Emerald Ash Borer

Treat NOW for Emerald Ash Borer
Phil Nixon, Extension Entomologist - University of Illinois
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Emerald ash borer adults are emerging from Illinois to Ohio and points northward. Todd Gleason has more on what to do if you want to save your tree.

They’ll continue to do so for several weeks…
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They’ll continue to do so for several weeks and it means now is the time to treat for them in hopes of saving your Ash tree. This should most definitely be done if the emerald ash borer has been found within fifteen miles of your tree says University of Illinois Extension Entomologist Phil Nixon.

Nixon : …find the girls and you eliminate the problem.

Quote Summary - If you treat the trees on an annual or bi-annual basis for approximately 20 years, this is about the amount of time it will take for the untreated trees to all die, then the number of emerald ash borer drops down and the boys cannot find the girls and you eliminate the problem.

Again, you can save your Ash tree, but it’ll take about twenty years to do that… if the experience in the state of Michigan is any guide. You or a professional can do that by making an insecticide application.

Nixon : …over a span of about eight years

Quote Summary - The beetles are out right now. They are about half-an-inch long. They are metallic green, emerald green and they come out of holes that are about one-eighth of and inch wide and D shaped, flat on one side and round on the other. The larvae girdle the trees underneath the bark. This kills the trees from the top down over a span of about eight years.

Call your local Extension office for more details about the process and how best to go about treating for the Emerald Ash Borer.

Adjusting Nitrogen for this Corn Crop

Adjusting Nitrogen for this Corn Crop
Emerson Nafziger, Agronomist - University of Illinois
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Despite the wet weather many think may be causing nitrogen fertilizer to get away from corn plants, it is still far too early to make that decision. Todd Gleason has more…

While it seems likely some nitrogen fertilizer…
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While it seems likely some nitrogen fertilizer has moved out of the upper soil as a result of rainfall this year University of Illinois Agronomist Emerson Nafziger says if soils dry out, the torrential rains stop, the sun shines, and the weather gets warmer things should be all good.

Nafziger :29 …to look good in almost every field.

The crop is going to tell us this. If by the middle of June some of the crop has really greened up nicely and some has not, then we might need to think about those that haven’t and determine if enough nitrogen is missing to cause this to take place. My suspicion is we will not see very much of that at all. If we are warm and dry and with sunshine for a week, I think the crop is going to look good in almost every field.

One indication the topsoil hasn’t been stripped clean of nitrogen is the good recovery of green leaf color. Nafziger says, as soils dry out, root systems start to expand and the color will change. He explains the corn crop at this point looks like it does not because of lack of N, but due to cool temperatures and abundant rainfall. While it is premature to revise nitrogen management based on what has happened so far, Nafziger cautions it cannot be ruled out.

Nafziger :27 ….back and plan to put more on at this point.

I would be very reluctant now to make a decision that we need to go put more nitrogen on, especially if we’ve already put the full amount on. If we still need to side-dress and we add 10, or 15, or 20 pounds I don’t have a problem with that. But I think it is premature to decide so much of the nitrogen is gone that we put out there that we need to go back and plan to put more on at this point.

The good news is there is still time to make such decisions. The corn crop takes up barely one pound of N per acre for every inch of growth it makes up to about knee-high.

Nitrogen deficiency develops over time, and Nafziger says it is almost always more related to current soil moisture than to the amount nitrogen in the soil. So, if fields aren’t extra wet or extra dry over the next month, this season could still turn out to be much more typical than many now expect.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump Administration Budget Sets Farm Bill Guide Posts

Trump Administration Budget Sets Farm Bill Guide Posts
Jonathan Coppess, Agricultural Policy Specialist - University of Illinois

This week the Trump Administration released its FY18 budget. It includes harsh cuts to agricultural entitlement programs. Todd Gleason discusses the plan with University of Illinois Agricultural Policy Specialist Jonathan Coppess.

Crop Progress & June Acreage Could be Really Bearish

Crop Progress & June Acreage Could be Really Bearish
Todd Hubbs, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

There is a rule of thumb for marketing that says “Consider the crop year normal until that is no longer the case.” Yesterday’s USDA Weekly Crop Progress report - despite the rainy weather - tells us the nation’s farmers are on pace this season. They’ve planted 84% of the corn crop and 53% of the soybeans. For University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Todd Hubbs this suggests, at a minimum, farmers need to really think about making new crop soybean sales prior to the USDA’s June 30th Acreage Report.

Hubbs :44 …could be really bearish soybean prices.

Hubbs writes about commodity prices each week for the University of Illinois. Those articles are posted to the farm-doc-daily website each Monday.

Summer Pricing for Corn & Soybeans

Summer Pricing for Corn & Soybeans
Todd Hubbs, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

Farmers should take heed of last week’s one day drop in the soybean market. Todd Gleason has more on why from the University of Illinois.

Last Wednesday night the price of soybeans…
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Last Wednesday night the price of soybeans tumbled as news of a scandal in the Brazilian government developed. The price decline on one piece of political news says Todd Hubbs provides an indication of the precarious price situation. He has been, and continues to advise that farmers sell new crop soybeans and the University of Illinois agricultural economist has a timeline, too.

Hubbs :31 …I think you might be prudent to do that.

Quote Summary - There is only one direction I see soybean prices going currently, barring some type of extreme weather event, and that is downward. Yes, we’ve seen some difficult weather early in the crop year, but does that portent difficult weather this summer? Who knows? Will we have weather rallies? In all probability we will. Still, on pricing 2017 soybeans, if you can get a good price before that June 30 USDA Acreage Report I think you might be prudent to do that.

Corn, on the other hand, is a different story. It starts with the lower number of acres farmers told USDA they were going to plant this season. It was down some four million from last year when USDA took the survey in March. And that thread - maybe now a threat - of lower acreage has been complicated by the weather says Hubbs.

Hubbs :39 …there is support in my opinion.

We’ve seen this real issue with planting and replanting in not normally a good thing for yield. Will we see a huge yield like we did last year with corn? It is hard to say? I think moving into the summer there could be a much larger rally in corn prices than in soybean prices. While are supplies are large, these are being reduced with good consumption and USDA is projecting lower ending stocks. So, when I look at corn prices long-run, I see them flat to up. There is support in my opinion.

Support which should provide a marketing opportunity for both old and new crop corn. Todd Hubbs summarizes it this way.

Hubbs :20 …not where you would want it to be.

Quote Summary - If you get a good rally in the summer I think you’ll have an opportunity to price the crop. Soybeans, on-the-other-hand, after the June Acreage Report - we’ll have to see how it shapes out - that could be a really bearish signal to the market. It might put prices, even it they were to rally later, at a level not where farmers would want them to be.

The risks associated, then, with waiting for a summer price rally is larger for soybeans for several reasons. Soybean acreage is more likely to surpass planting intentions. Soybean yields may be less vulnerable to summer weather problems. And finally soybean prices appear more vulnerable to downward movement given the state of domestic and global supplies.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

UPDATED | HRW Condition in Kansas with @KSUWheat

UPDATED | HRW Condition in Kansas with @KSUWheat
Romulo Lollato, Extension Wheat & Forage Specialist - Kansas State University

The hard red winter wheat crop in Kansas has been under serious stress this spring. It’s been frozen, covered with snow, drown, and riddled with disease. Still, as Todd Gleason discovers, it may not be as bad off as conditions suggest.

6 Ways to Age Successfully

6 Ways to Age Successfully
Karla Belzer, Extension Family Life Educator - University of Illinois
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Studies have shown there are six main characteristic to aging successfully:

  1. Maintaining a positive or optimistic attitude. People who are more positive and optimistic are more resilient due to their creative, flexible, and open ways of thinking about things. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Let go of worry and practice self-care by managing your stress, laughing, and practicing positive self-talk.

  2. Stay socially active. Get involved in a cause or interest, pursue a passion, and do something you enjoy each day. Being socially active will help you reduce stress and benefit your mental and physical well-being.

  3. Live with purpose. Looking beyond yourself through giving to others is a hallmark of people who live with purpose. Consider volunteering in your community and think of ways you can give back. Share a talent or skill with others. Work as a mentor or tutor. Volunteering is a great way to build purpose into your social relationships.

  4. Eat well. What you eat and how active you are plays a role in how well you age. Strive to eat healthy and maintain a healthy weight. Adopt a heart healthy diet and use the My Plate method and recommendations made at

  5. Be physically active. Physical activity is good for your body and your brain – improving reaction times, concentration, and focus. Aim to be physically active a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity three days per week. Make sure you start out slow and do something you enjoy so you’ll stick with it.

  6. Challenge yourself intellectually. Stimulating your brain with new, interesting, and increasingly difficult tasks helps it stay healthy. Try a new hobby, learn something new, take a class, or play brain games.

We are all aging. Every minute you are older than you were a minute ago. By looking past the negative stereotypes and changing your view of aging, you can to look forward to your later years rather than dreading them.

Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” You can age successfully and lead a productive, inspiring, and fruitful lifelong into your golden years.

University of Illinois Extension Family Life Educators have a program on positive aging titled, “I’m Positive, I’m Aging.” To learn more about this program, contact your local Family Life Educator.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Yellow Corn Needs Some Heat

ifr170512–122 Yellow Corn Needs Some Heat
Emerson Nafziger, Extension Agronomist - University of Illinois

Farmers are worried about their corn crop across the Midwest. Some of it most certainly will need to be replanted because of standing water, but as Todd Gleason reports some whole fields have turned yellow.

Farmer don’t worry too much about…
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Farmer don’t worry too much about a few very young yellow corn plants in their fields. They do get concerned when every plant is yellow. The problem, in this case, isn’t the wet weather says University of Illinois Agronomist Emerson Nafziger.

Nafziger :10 …more than it is of wet soils.

Quote Summary - Well, yellow corn is a direct consequence of having cool temperatures, more than it is of wet soils.

It’s the night time temps that are mostly causing the problems. When those overnight lows are in the 30’s, and 40’s, it damages the leaf.

Nafziger :32 …temperatures they way they are now.

Quote Summary - The bright sunshine we’ve had the last couple of days adds an extra ding to the low temperatures. If it is 40 degrees in the morning under bright sunshine the leaves react by yellowing. They are taking in sunlight energy, but are not in condition to do something with it. So, it will actually cause a little bit more damage. They are going to grow out of this pretty well, but it is not going to happen very fast with temperatures they way they are now.

The corn should green up once air temperatures return to normal. However, it may be only the new growth that is green says Nafziger. He’s not sure if there will be longterm consequences.

Nafziger :08 …can come back and start to grow.

Quote Summary - Our optimistic answers is we don’t think so, as long as it can come back and starts to grow.

The good news, though it is cold comfort says Nafziger, is that any replants that must be done in these yellow fields won’t be so very far behind because the standing plants haven’t really been growing much.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Condition of Kansas Wheat | an interview with Romulo Lollato

The Condition of Kansas Wheat | an interview with Romulo Lollato
Romulo Lollato, Extension Wheat & Forage Specialist - Kansas State University

The Wheat Quality Tour has predicted a very good Kansas crop. However, as you’ll hear, the numbers produced are likely only good for the day they were released. Todd Gleason has more on how the hard red winter wheat crop may deteriorate.

Areas of Above & Below Trend Yields in the Corn-Belt

Areas of Above & Below Trend Yields in the Corn-Belt
Gary Schnitkey, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois
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Farmers in Illinois and other parts of the eastern corn belt have had above average yields over the last several years. Gary Schnitkey wondered if this was due to the weather or some other reason. He explored the topic and came to three conclusions.

First, yield expectations in the current year likely are more heavily influenced by more recent experience. In those areas where yields have been high, it may be tempting to building financial budgets and expectations on relatively high yields. Doing so could result in higher projections of incomes than are warranted. Farmers in Illinois and other recent high yielding areas should be cautious about building in high yield expectations.

Second, the comparison of above average yields in Illinois and near average yields in Iowa is instructive in understanding whether high yields are caused by technological change. The high yields in Illinois in recent years likely are not a result of technological changes. If technological change was causing the yield differences, Iowa would have had above trend yields as well as Illinois. Rather, high Illinois’ yields likely are the result of good growing conditions. Over time, areas with good growing conditions will move around the greater Corn Belt, as has happened in the past.

Third, the above yield maps likely are indicative of relative financial performance since 2012. Overall, incomes have been lower since 2012. However, farmers in Illinois and other higher yielding areas likely have fared better than farmers in Iowa and other regions with near average yields. Again, weather variations can change from year-to-year, so areas with higher and lower yields will change over time.