Saturday, April 23, 2011

Soil Temperature and Moisture and Seed Treatments

While today's (Monday) weather has been the sort of day we have been lacking recently, the USDA-NASS Wisconsin Crop Progress for April 25th indicates that in almost all of the reporting districts, subsoil moisture is either adequate to surplus! As we get itchy to be in the fields planting, a very relevant question to ask is if seed treatment fungicides will be effective in soybean in 2011. Our experience over the past few years has been that these products can be a cost-effective management tool. We have seen consistent responses in both inoculated and non-inoculated trials for some products. Several factors drive this response including soil temperature and soil moisture. Below are the soil temperature and soil moisture levels for Arlington and Chilton over the past 30 days. What should be rather obvious is that the soil temperature dropped steadily as the month progressed. Temperatures have only recently begun to increase but are still holding in the mid-40's. Soil moisture has been good at both locations and increased with either recent snows or rain. As such, right now conditions are at such where the use of a seed treatment may be warranted and effective, especially in reduced tillage to no-till environments.

Arlington soil temperature and soil moisture.

Chilton soil temperature and soil moisture.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

2011 - Foliar Fungicides for Field Crops

With grain commodity prices remaining strong, we have updated our "Number of bushels needed to cover the cost of a foliar fungicide application" table for 2011. We will be shortly updating this record on the Field Crops Plant Pathology website. For 2011, we have the estimated bushels across a wide range of commodity prices as well as fungicide costs and application prices. Commodity prices range from $3 to 13 per bushel while fungicide cost and application prices range from $13 to 27 per acre. Fungicide prices were estimated from several sources, including consultation with industry colleagues. In general, the breakeven number of bushels (across the range of prices) ranges from 1 to 9 bushels per acre. This is meant to be a guide as other costs can include wheel track damage in wheat and soybean with fungicide applications, if made using ground equipment. Our best results for response to a fungicide application are when conditions are favorable for disease development and we have knowledge of the variety reaction to specific diseases that can cause yield loss.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Early Assessment of Wheat Stands Suggest We are Off to a Great Start

A visual survey of our Arlington, Janesville, and Lancaster winter wheat variety trials suggest that green-up of the 2011 winter wheat crop is occurring 5-7 days later than last year. We were unable to accurately assess our Chilton site last week due to delayed crop development. Our green-up assessment at the southern locations suggest very little winter-kill occurred (Image 1). Given the calendar and the inclement spring weather-to-date growers and retailers are anxious to apply nitrogen. It is important to remember that the functional purpose of spring N is to 1. stimulate tillering and 2. provide crop nutrition. If ample tillering (> 70 tillers per square foot) has occurred growers can delay N applications up to pre-joint (Feekes 4-5; Zadoks 30). This practice will aid in minimizing early spring N loss. Applications of N made after this growth stage may lead to wheel track damage. If growers have < 70 tillers per square foot it is important to get across those fields as soon as possible to minimize yield loss due to low tiller/head counts.

(Lancaster variety trial - T. Wood)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2011 Winter Wheat Workshops

Thank you to everyone who participated in our recently completed winter wheat workshops! We had a great time over the three days and really enjoyed the discussions and interactions with everyone. We will be posting shortly on the Field Crops Plant Pathology website notes from the meeting and a summary of participant evaluations. In the meantime, enjoy a few of the photos from the workshop!