Johnston County Ag Report
May 20, 2013
The Johnston County Ag Report is edited weekly by Agricultural Extension Agents at the Johnston County Extension Center. If you have any questions about the content, please call the Extension Center at 919-989-5380.
Tim Britton, Extension Agent – Field Crops
Dan Wells, Extension Agent – Livestock
Amie Newsome, Extension Agent – Horticulture
Shawn Banks, Extension Agent – Horticulture
Bryant Spivey, County Extension Director
Disclaimer: The mention of companies, products or brand names in this publication does not imply endorsement by North Carolina State University nor does it discriminate against similar products and services not mentioned.
Johnston County Ag-Business Tour-June 13, 2013
Tobacco Farm Life Museum
709 Church St./US Hwy 301 N. Kenly, NC 27542
Vernon James Research Center and the Northeast Regional School for Biotechnology and Agriscience
207 Research Station Rd, Plymouth, NC 27962
Mackey’ Ferry Peanut and Gift Shop
30871 US 64
Jamesville, NC, 27846
Tobacco Farm Life Museum
709 Church St./US Hwy 301 N. Kenly, NC
A light breakfast will be provided at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum and lunch will be provided at the Vernon James Center. One hour of pesticide credit will be offered in all categories except V. The fee for the tour will be $10.00 for members and guest and $20.00 for non-members and guest. Fees include transportation, breakfast and lunch. Anyone interested should call Cooperative Extension Service at (919) 989-5380 by June 6th, 2013.
The preliminary NC threshold is 5 bugs per seedling, until plants are one foot tall. Fields infested at these levels will likely be a rare situation. Then, the threshold will change to 10 bugs per plant for plants from 1-2 feet tall. The established threshold of one nymph per sweep (one swoosh of the net) should be used for plants above 2 feet tall. Plants should be sampled at least 50 feet from the edge of the field. The reason for this is that the adults have an extended migration period (6-8 weeks) and colonize field edges first. If you sample the edges, chances are you will make a spray decision too soon before the migration is over.
Insecticide evaluations indicate that bifenthrin (e.g. Brigade), bifenthrin + chloronicotinoid combinations (e.g. Brigadier) and lambda-cyhalothrin + thiamethoxam (e.g. Endigo) are very active against kudzu bug on soybean. Because these chemistries are broad-spectrum, beneficial insects will likely be eliminated, putting fields at greater risk for mid- to late-season lepidopteran infestations, such as corn earworm, armyworm species, and soybean looper. Fields should be intensively scouted through R7 for this and all other pests. Kudzu bugs were found in most of North Carolina’s soybean-producing counties in 2012. For now, the most effective approach to managing this threat to profitable soybean production is to scout regularly, use recommended thresholds, and spray when needed with effective insecticides.
Tobacco Fertilizer Options
As profit margins have decreased, lower cost fertilization has been essential for tobacco growers. The cost of fertilizer materials will be high again this year especially for some nitrogen and potassium materials. The following recommendations will keep costs low without compromising yield and quality.
- Use UAN products, such as 30 percent and 24S, for at least the side-dress application if not the entire nitrogen needs. Research has shown that fertilizer programs with up to 75 percent of the nitrogen in the ammonium form do not adversely impact yield or quality.
- Apply no more phosphorus than recommend from the soil test. 5 pounds of phosphorus from a transplant water fertilizer works well to boost early season growth if no phosphorus is applied in the base fertilizer. This can be obtained from multiple brands of water-soluble products designed for transplant water or even by using bulk products like 10-34-0 or 11-37-0. Accurate rates and uniform application are important.
- Select fertilizer materials to supply potassium based on lowest cost. Potassium chloride (KCl or 0-0-60) is the cheapest source of potash but also contains chloride. Chloride should be limited to no more than about 25 to 30 pounds per acre. So, you should never apply more than 65 pounds of 0-0-60 per acre. Other potential sources of potassium include potassium sulfate (0-0-50), potassium-magnesium sulfate (0-0-22) and potassium nitrate (13-0-44).
Improve Odds of Bright Tobacco
Many purchasers of flue-cured tobacco have expressed a desire for leaf that is bright and clear. While numerous factors can affect whether you produce bright tobacco or not, many of these are out of your control. Extension Tobacco Specialists at NCSU suggest that two important factors for producing bright tobacco are adequate but not excessive nitrogen rates and timely harvest.
Selecting the proper nitrogen rate is complicated and depends on soil type, rainfall, variety, harvest timing and other factors. The following table shows appropriate base nitrogen rates for flue-cured tobacco based on depth of topsoil. Excess nitrogen will result in more suckers, greater insect pressure and lower quality tobacco.
* Does not include leaching adjustments.
Rainfall has been variable in Johnston County during the month of May. At the Johnston County Ag Center, it has rained about 4.3 inches for the month and it is raining now. Some areas have reported receiving over 4 inches of rainfall this weekend. In some cases, the rain has come quickly and in other areas this has been slow steady rainfall. Remember slow and steady rainfall is more likely to leach through the soil and remove nutrients that rapid rainfall. Fertilizer application varies widely at this time from all to about 50% of the target nitrogen rate applied. Obviously, if all of the target nitrogen has been applied at this point, it is much more likely that leaching adjustments will be required.
When considering leaching adjustments, it is important to consider the topsoil depth to clay, the estimated water percolated through the soil, the age of the crop, and the placement of the fertilizer previously applied. My best recommendation is to use the chart on page 67 of the 2013 Flue-Cured Tobacco Guide to help you determine the percentage of nitrogen that you should replace.
Please remember that only the portion of fertilizer applied prior to the rainfall event(s) is considered in making leaching adjustments. This can be confusing as fertilizer has been applied at multiple times throughout the months of April and May. Good rainfall data and fertilizer application records are essential for making proper leaching adjustments. In addition, broadcast fertilizer may be more subject to leaching due to placement and earlier application. Further, plant roots are not as efficient at finding and utilizing the broadcast nutrients resulting in greater leaching potential.
When applying additional fertilizer for leaching adjustments, it is important to consider several factors. First, be careful that you do not over apply nitrogen. Additional nitrogen can be applied later in the season if it is absolutely necessary. It is better to have too little nitrogen than too much. Second, apply the fertilizer in the best manner possible. If tobacco is already having difficulty picking up nutrients, broadcast application is not optimum. The fertilizer should be applied in a band near the plant if at all possible. Third, for every pound of nitrogen that is applied as a leaching adjustment consider also adding a pound of potash, sulfur, and at least some magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is often referred to as “sand drowning.”
Much of the crop is in the late milk stage with some further along in the late dough stage. During this stage there is a noticeable increase in solids as nutrients in the plant are redistributed to the developing kernels. During the milk stage a white, milk-like fluid can be squeezed from the kernel when crushed between fingers. By the end of the milk stage, the embryo is fully formed. In the soft dough stage, the kernels are soft but dry. The water concentration of the kernel has decreased so that the material squeezed out of the kernel is no longer a liquid but has the consistency of meal or dough. The kernel rapidly accumulates starch and nutrients and by the end of this stage the green color begins to fade. Most of the kernel dry weight is accumulated in this stage. In the hard dough stage, the kernel has become firm and hard and is difficult to crush between fingers. It can be dented with a thumbnail. Kernel moisture content decreases from a level of 40 percent to 30 percent. At the end of the hard dough stage, the kernel reaches its maximum dry weight and the wheat is said to be physiologically mature (no more weight is added to the grain). At the ripening stage, the kernel moisture content is still high, usually ranging from 25 to 35 percent, when wheat begins to ripen but decreases rapidly with good weather. The plant turns to a straw color and the kernel becomes very hard. The kernel becomes difficult to divide with a thumbnail, cannot be crushed between fingernails, and can no longer be dented by a thumbnail. Harvest can begin when the grain has reached a suitable moisture level (usually less than 20%). It is important for grain quality that the harvest begins as soon as possible. Test weight (and hence grain yield) may be reduced during the ripening process. Decreased test weight results from the alternate wetting (rains or heavy dews) and drying of the grain after the wheat has physiologically matured.
A timely wheat harvest provides the best test weight, minimizes gathering loss and simplifies combine operation. Conflicts with other crop operations that delay wheat harvest may significantly reduce per acre income. When wheat dries below 15 percent, weather may cause field losses. Harvest delays are more costly than most anticipate!
During days of low humidity, wheat moisture content falls rapidly. Wheat may dry 2 to 3 percentage points during a hot, dry day or rewet, depending on the weather and soil moisture content. Waiting for all immature green heads to ripen is impractical because field shatter may cause significant loss. Wheat moisture content should be monitored daily once it drops to 20 percent. Consider beginning harvest between 15 and 16 percent moisture. Those who need additional time to complete the harvest, including rain delays, should consider starting harvest between 17 and 18 percent moisture.
The initial reaction to high-moisture discounts should be tempered with the cost of moisture loss in the delivered grain, deteriorating test weights and the potential for good harvesting weather. Drying some of the first wheat that is harvested can be a profitable opportunity.
Timely wheat harvest adds greatly to the yield potential of the succeeding crop in a double-crop field.
To maintain this potential yield, upper wheat leaves (particularly the flag leaf – the top leaf) need to be healthy. This includes minimal insect feeding and disease development. Weekly scouting is suggested through the grain fill hard dough stage.
Cereal Leaf Beetles
Cereal leaf beetle larvae are leaf feeders. Typically, by this time, CLB are not a threat to yield.
Fungal diseases include powdery mildew, leaf rust and stripe rust and conditions have been right for the development of these diseases. Another issue that we must be aware of is head scab which usually infects the plant at flowering.
Powdery mildew lesions are first noticeable as white, powdery spots on lower leaves and stems. The disease may then progress up the plant. Powdery mildew variety resistance is the most economical control measure. Pay special attention to wheat fields planted to powdery mildew susceptible/moderately susceptible varieties. A fungicide should be applied if powdery mildew reaches 5-10% coverage of the upper leaves.
Leaf rust lesions are small/circular/brown and individually spaced. Stripe rust lesions are small/circular/yellow-orange and merge to form stripes. Leaf rust/stripe rust variety resistance is the most economical control measure. Pay special attention to wheat fields planted to leaf rust/stripe rust susceptible/moderately susceptible varieties. If the variety is rated susceptible/moderately susceptible and 1-3% of the leaf area is covered with lesions, a fungicide should be applied. If the variety is rated resistant or moderately resistant, it likely has adult-plant resistance meaning that although a few lesions will appear, it will not be profitable to apply a fungicide.
The primary symptom of scab is premature bleaching of heads. Part or all of the head may die prematurely. Once the wheat has turned, scab-infected heads may develop a pink or orange fungal growth at the base of, or on the dead glumes. Infected plants may be in patches or scattered throughout a field.
Premature death of wheat plants can result from other problems, such as root rot; so do not assume that it is always scab. If heads die early, but the leaves and roots still appear healthy, this is a good indication that scab is the culprit. Heads with scab will have no grain or very shriveled grain that takes on a chalky-white appearance. A darkening of the head often follows pre-mature ripening, as secondary fungi, such as Alternaria and Cladosporium, colonize the dead tissue. This condition often is often referred to as black or sooty head mold and is a sign that heads died prematurely but does not indicate the original cause. Black head mold is not harmful in itself.
The scab fungus survives in crop residue and windborne or splashed spores infect the heads during flowering. Moist weather and moderate temperatures are conducive to infection. Scab can devastate yields if a large proportion of plants are infected. Some fields may not be salvageable. F. graminearum also can produce harmful mycotoxins, especially deoxynivalenol (vomitoxin). If a badly affected field is harvested and much of the grain looks shriveled, it can be cleaned and most of the shriveled seed will be removed. This will significantly reduce the risk of mycotoxins. One can also combat this contaminated grain by raising the airflow setting on the combine so that much of the infected, shriveled grain is blown away with the chaff. Scabby grain is a poor candidate for storage.
Scab is difficult to control when weather is favorable for the disease. Fungicidal control has not been effective. The fungus infects wheat and corn, so these crops should be rotated with a legume crop. Tillage will help reduce the survival of the fungus. Some wheat varieties are less susceptible, but none are highly resistant, and information is vague. Scab infected seed should not be planted because emergence is poor. Seed treatments can improve emergence of scabby seed, but they do not prevent infection of the plants later in the season.
Saving Wheat Seed
Saving wheat seed of most current varieties for plant-back even on the grower’s own farm is illegal. In the few cases, where the law permits saved seed for plant-back is extremely risky. Consequently, it is recommended that you purchase and use of high quality certified wheat seed.
2013 Wheat Contest
Anyone interested in entering the 2012/13 Wheat Yield contest should contact Tim Britton at the Cooperative Extension Office at 989-5380. Remember that you must have three acres of contiguous wheat to enter the contest.
Corn is highly responsive to chemicals, fertilizers, and environmental conditions. It grows rapidly, and the duration of reproductive growth is brief. It follows that problems limiting the productivity of cornfields often arise suddenly and must be corrected quickly in time to preserve full yield potential. It may not be possible to correct some problems during the crop year in which they are discovered. It is imperative that such problems be accurately diagnosed in order to maintain the profitability of fields in subsequent years.
Poor corn growth is usually caused by environmental conditions or inadequate fertility programs. Most situations must be remedied before the crop is 18 inches high. Anything that appears abnormal in a field should be quickly investigated and systematically diagnosed. Diagnosing problems in cornfields is frequently a difficult task requiring objective thinking, considerable knowledge, and some experience. However, a careful, logical approach to each situation coupled with soil, tissue, and nematode analyses will usually yield the reason for poor corn performance.
High pH and Corn
Damage caused by manganese deficiency is rare in corn but does occur in North Carolina on soils extremely low in manganese. Damage is most often found where soil pH is excessively high as a result of improper liming or use of effluent as and irrigation source. Symptoms appear first on the youngest leaves. The leaves become pale with interveinal chlorosis. Stalks appear stunted as a result of shortened internodes. Preventive treatment should include placing 3 to 5 pounds of actual manganese per acre with an acid-forming fertilizer in a band near the corn row. Preplant broadcast applications should range from 10 pounds of actual manganese per acre on mineral soils to 20 pounds per acre on organic soils. Corrective action after emergence-generally the application of I to 2 pounds per acre of manganese sulfate-may also be necessary.
Soybean Planting and Variety selection
As Johnston County farmers begin to plant soybeans this year, we know that we will have a lot of double crop acreage. Keep in mind that if you had some micronutrient deficiencies in your wheat, you may also have similar problems in soybeans as similar soil pH’s are required for both crops.
Manganese deficiencies can occur in fields with a pH higher than 6.2. Manganese can be applied to the soil to prevent this deficiency in soybeans. The recommended rates are 10 to 15 lbs/A or 4lbs/A within a band. A foliar application of manganese (manganese sulfate) can be applied as a rescue treatment at a rate of 0.4-0.8lbs/A if needed later in the growing season. High solubility manganese sources are more effective fertilizers. Manganese Sulfate is approximately 20-27% active manganese/lb. It is a highly soluble source of manganese. It can be applied as a solid or in a liquid form.
Nematode issues in certain fields will also require nematode resistant varieties. If there is a concern about nematodes, a soil sample should be taken and sent the Nematode assay lab. There are many group IV and V varieties to chose from if you are not double cropping and just as many group VI, VII, and VIII varieties for double cropped beans.
North Carolina State University Official Variety Test books are available from the Extension Office and local seed dealers to assist growers in making variety selection decisions. Come by or call the Cooperative Extension Service at 989-5380 to obtain a copy of the “Cotton and Soybean Green Book”.
As the 2013 growing season quickly approaches, the major concern again this year will be resistant weeds. It is not to early to start planning your herbicide program. Round-up Ready and more Liberty Link varieties are available this year.
Choosing herbicides with different modes of action is extremely important. This is not something new and has been stressed in production meetings since resistance was found in North Carolina. Always use full labeled rates of herbicides. No cutting back to save money. Where applicable use a pre-emergence with a contact, following all planting guidelines. Try tank mixes with different MOA’s, use proper surfactants at labeled rates, and always read label for compatibility of different herbicides. Make sure the spray volumes used will provide adequate coverage.
Spring is a busy time and scouting is sometimes impossible to do. However, most herbicides only work on weeds that are at or below a certain height. In some cases, these weeds are shorter than the row crops they are growing in so a spray schedule may work better. Remember, dry conditions may inhibit herbicide activity. Surfactants and application timing can help increase that activity during dry weather.
Good field history records can be a big help to growers, extension agents and extension specialist when planning or assisting with a resistance strategy. Glyphosate resistant Horseweed, Common ragweed, and Palmer Amaranth are becoming more prevalent in fields across Johnston County. Remember, the best way to control resistant weeds is to keep them form coming up.
Pesticide Container Rinse and Recycle Program
The pesticide container rinse and recycle program has expanded to two new locations, giving Johnston County more room to properly dispose of pesticide containers.
These sites are located at 820 Stewart Road in Four Oaks, 1096 Scout Road in the Bentonville area, 9349 NC Hwy 96 S in the Meadow area, 5677 US Hwy 301 in Kenly, 15031 Buffalo Road in Clayton, and at the Johnston County Landfill site on County Home Road in Smithfield.
Properly rinsed containers can be taken to these sites during normal operating hours. You do not need a county solid waste sticker to dispose of containers. Remember, to remove the label and lid, on buckets, remove the label and large lid, and on 35 and 55 gallon drums, drill holes in bottom and do not crush.
Current Status of Soybean Rust in North America – May 10, 2013
Soybean rust (SBR) was reported to be severe in the winter soybean nurseries in Puerto Rico in April. The fields affected are in Isabela on the north coast.
Relatively warm temperatures have allowed SBR to survive the winter on kudzu along the Gulf coast and in a few urban-areas further inland. The disease has now been found in 21 counties including eight Parishes in Louisiana, five counties in Alabama, and four counties in both Florida and Georgia. All the reports have been on kudzu with the exception of one case of SBR detected on volunteer soybeans in Louisiana. In Mexico SBR has also been reported on soybeans, jicama and yam bean in January of 2013.
The disease has now been found in eight Parishes in Louisiana, five counties in Alabama, four counties in Georgia and three counties in Florida. All the reports have been on kudzu with the exception of one case of SBR detected on volunteer soybeans in Louisiana. Relatively mild winter weather has allowed for some survival in the continental US. Sentinel plots have been planted in Mississippi, with no rust detected at this time.
Resources for Soybean Rust in 2013:
Some sources for more detailed information on Asiatic soybean rust are listed below:
The USDA soybean rust web site
Farmers Manage Deer Program
In support of row-crop farmers located in tobacco-dependent counties of North Carolina, the “Farmers Manage Deer” program will host a series of special hunts during the 2013-2014 NC deer hunting season.
Farmers will be paid by the program for the use of their land and hunters will be charged a nominal administrative fee to provide for hunt insurance and landowner liability protection for each hunt selected. Hunters will be asked to harvest multiple deer, keeping what they will use and donating the rest. The program will pay the cost of processing deer harvested during these special program hunts that are donated to NC Hunters for the Hungry. “One deer can provide an average of 160 meals,” said Guy Gardner, manager of the Farmers Manage Deer program. “Deer are the chief culprits in causing an estimated $29.4 million in damage to North Carolina crops” stated Steven Troxler, Commissioner, North Carolina Department of Agriculture in his letter of support to this project.
Pending the success of the project, William Upchurch, executive director of the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, hopes the program can serve as a model that can be applied to other crops and other areas that may be experiencing deer overpopulation.
“This is a positive opportunity to get local civic-minded groups involved as well.” said Guy and Judy Gardner, managers of this program. Hosting a drop-off site, transporting venison to the processor, and funding the processing costs of deer donated are examples of how the community can get involved.
Farmers/Landowners may inquire about enrolling their farms into this program by contacting the North Carolina Wildlife Federation program managers Guy and Judy Gardner by phone at 919 608 3386 or e-mail to: email@example.com
Hunters are encouraged to check back in the late summer 2013 to register for special hunts. The Farmers Manage Deer project is made possible through funding provided by the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission
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There are two web site directories for people selling haying or looking for hay to buy. It is free to list your hay for sale.
1. North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Hay Alert is at http://www.agr.state.nc.us/hayalert/.
Producers can call the Hay Alert at 1-866-506-6222 or you can sign up to list your hay on-line.
2. The Southeastern NC Hay Directory is available at http://onslow.ces.ncsu.edu/files/library/67/HayDirectory.pdf.
Call your Extension Agent to learn how to include your farm on the list.
Beaver Management Assistance Program
Johnston County participates in the beaver management and assistance program conducted by the USDA. County, state, and federal monies provide the program designed to give individual technical assistance and advice to landowners with beaver problems. Property inspection and consultation is free. Consultation may include showing the landowner how to trap beavers and destroy dams.
For work that the USDA actually conducts, landowners will be charged a fee for each visit to the site and a set amount for each dam destroyed. USDA will do all or part of the work.
Interested landowners should call or contact Tim Britton with the Johnston County Cooperative extension service at (919) 989-5380 or by email at Tim_Britton@ncsu.edu.
Disclaimer: Recommendations are included as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services does not imply endorsement by North Carolina State University nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned.