Pat Branick, NW Wisconsin
Harvest: Bountiful year for some, cruel year for others! This year will turn out to be one of “the have” and “the have not”. Those that received timely rains have deeper heavier soils and are blessed with a good-to-excellent crop, those that did not and do not, are at the other end of the spectrum. So what happens next year? Art Douglas, professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences at Creighton University, doesn’t predict another drought in 2013 but all the conditions that led to the 2012 drought appear to be still in place for 2013. He says very dry soil and early heat in 2012 could account for about 40 percent of the drought which is the share of normal rainfall that is recycled water from surface evaporation. With nothing to evaporate, that’s a 40 percent rainfall shortage. He suggests that cold Pacific waters (coldest in 60 years) between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii and the warm north Atlantic waters (several degrees above normal) events tend to run in 25 year cycles – of which we are in the midst of – and tend to produce more droughts than normal (Iowa Soybean Review). In fact these patterns are similar to the 1930s and 1950s. You can read the full article on the internet at www.soybeanreview.com/article/what-ocean-has-say.
New Pioneer brand products: DuPont Pioneer is introducing new Pioneer brand products and stacked products into the corn genetics lineup. Please check with your Pioneer sales representative for more details on these exciting new products.
Early pay period: Early Pay Period for Pioneer products ends Oct. 31. For those wanting the top Pioneer genetics at the most economical price, contact your Pioneer sales representative prior to this date. The top performing hybrids and varieties are still available but as growers begin to wrap up harvest and make plans for 2013, these top genetics will disappear off the seed shelf in a hurry. Don’t delay – lock in the best products at the best prices in October.
Tim Mansell, NE Wisconsin
Corn: Corn residue has increased in some fields over the years which can lead to potential problems in the spring of 2013. The dry weather this year has appeared to slow residue breakdown even more. Excessive corn residue can build up over time due to increased plant populations and the additional stover they contribute along with reduced tillage and residue breakdown. It is very important to manage this residue properly to reduce the risk of delayed emergence of corn plants in the spring after planting. In fields with high yields, stover yields themselves can be as high as 16,000 pounds to an acre. Uneven plant emergence can be one indicator of too much crop residue. This crop residue can keep soil temperatures cooler in places and cause plants to emerge later than others next to them. These later emerging plants often appear as “runts” that end up not producing much in terms of yield, but still manage to use some of the nutrients that other neighboring plants would have used. Shredding and crushing stalks at the corn head of the combine or optional knife rolls may help and aid in the breakdown of residue. Fall tillage incorporating the residue into the soil will also aid in breakdown.
Remember this is not the year to leave corn standing waiting for it to air dry even more. As we move into later October, field dry down rates can slow to ¼ to ½ percent per day under ideal weather conditions. If you are at 23 percent moisture, it can take up to 20 days of field drying to reduce this to 18 percent. Keep in mind that delaying harvest will result in additional field loss due to wildlife damage or ear drop.
Soybeans: You might want to consider having your fields sampled for soybean cyst nematode. This pest is one of the most damaging to soybeans and often you may not even be aware that it is in the field. Sampling fields and sending them off to a qualified laboratory is the only way to detect SCN before it becomes a major problem. Sampling a field just after harvest is a good time of the year to do it while it is still fresh in your mind. Also SCN populations tend to be higher around harvest time. Sample areas should include field entryways, fence lines, parts of the field that tend to pond or flood and low yielding areas.
Winter wheat: How late can I plant winter wheat? Planting winter wheat later in the fall always comes with increased risk as we are dependent upon the weather and temperature to allow the wheat seedlings enough time to not only germinate but also establish successful stands. When deciding to plant wheat this time of year, make sure that the outlook for temperatures the week ahead is favorable for establishment. Soil temperature should be above 45 degrees along with adequate moisture for germination. Seeding rates need to be increased at least 10 percent to compensate for reduced fall tillering.
Julia Engler, SW Wisconsin
Nitrogen management: Each year we get numerous questions regarding N recommendations and this year’s drought has increased the questions regarding N credits. Have a discussion regarding the following management areas with your Pioneer sales representative, account manager or area agronomist:
Start your fertilizer program by setting realistic yield goals and then making the necessary applications. With N, we do not use the old 1.2 pound of N times your yield goal any longer. Now N rates are based on market price and cost of N per pound.
With the number of fields significantly affected by this summer’s drought, N uptake was reduced, thus the unused nitrate-N could be considered in the N rate for the 2013 corn crop. The carryover N could be estimated two ways: First, you could sample the soil profile at a minimum depth of two feet at one foot increments after harvest and measure the nitrate-N concentration. The University of Wisconsin recommends to only consider nitrate-N greater than 40 with the remaining amount then subtracted from the normal rate recommendation. A second method uses the 2012 grain yield in bushels per acre. You would then assume 50 percent of that amount will remain available to the 2013 crop if precipitation is normal or below normal this fall through early spring.
Even though anhydrous ammonia is the most stable form of nitrogen for fall applications, NH3 should not be applied until soil temperatures are 50 degrees or less to reduce the potential for losses.
Application of N fertilizer in several split applications during the growing season can be an effective method of reducing N losses on sandy soils that have high potential for N loss through leaching.
Finally, Nitrogen stabilizers like N-Serve, Instinct, AGROTAIN and others are a good investment. They slow conversion of N to the less stable nitrate form.
Fall weed control: Dandelions caused higher than normal reductions in yields this year through reduced herbicide activity and increased competition for soil moisture. Fall is the best time to control dandelions. By eliminating dandelions in the fall, you can improve spring seedbed conditions and plant earlier. You can also reduce herbicide costs since dandelions are easier to control and need lower rates for fall applications vs. spring applications. See your Pioneer rep or Crop Protection Specialist for specific recommendations.