September 17, 2008
After the rains of the past few weeks, many are wondering if the soil will ever dry enough to harvest this years crop. There just isn't a great deal of evaporation nor will crops be taking a lot out of the soil to allow drying to occur. Wheat producers are even more concerned since most of that crop is sowed after soybean, and although May planted soybeans are close to mature, the June planted still have quite a bit of pod fill to go yet.
If wheat growers haven't yet placed a seed order, time is of the essence. Wheat varieties are numerous. Utilizing yield trials to determine varieties gives better results. The U of I variety trials are located at this address: http://vt.cropsci.uiuc.edu/wheat.html
The research conducted in IL has shown wheat sown after soybean has a higher yield versus after corn. This is due to better stands behind beans as well as less disease potential. Tillage has increased yield compared to no till wheat after soybean, but probably not to the extent that the extra cost of tillage would outweigh the better yield. However, wheat planted after corn has benefited from a tillage trip.
Wheat seed treated with an insecticide seed treatment have generally yielded positive results at the Orr Research Center. And the further you head south in IL the more positive the results.
Application of 20-30# of nitrogen in the fall is recommend. 150# of DAP would provide this, as well as provide much needed phosphorus. 50# of 0-0-60 would also be required. Both these application rates are based upon the amounts of fertility 75 bushels of wheat would remove from the field. If the soil is low in either nutrient, then additional fertilizer should be added. Remaining nitrogen should be applied in the spring, in a single application.
The fly free date for our area is approximately Oct. 1st (note the Logan County dates are September 29 on the north and range to October 3 in the south). Seeding at or close to that date would be recommend. 1.2- 1.4 million seeds per acre would be the goal. Consult the seed tag to determine seeds per pound on the variety you are seeding to determine pounds per acre required to achieve this population.
Since the soybean crop needs to be harvested prior to wheat seeding, delayed seeding will be the norm this year. Because delayed seeded usually results in fewer fall tillers that develop, increased seeding rates should be considered. Tillers are what produce seed heads, and you don't want to compromise yield. For each week that seeding is delayed after the fly free date, increase the seeding rate by 10%.
September 17, 2008
I am not sure how much more rain to expect this season, but I have had enough. I also know that diseases love the wet weather. This season we had a wet July, a dry August, and now a very wet September. The wet July weather that occurred after and during the corn silk stage has probably contributed to the development of Diplodia ear rot that has been found in corn fields since late August. Planting corn after corn and minimum tillage also favors development of this disease, because the organism causing disease survives in corn stalks left on the field from the previous year.
Often the fungus causing Diplodia ear rot will infect the ear just after flowering which causes the husk and the ear leaf to appear bleached and brown, compared to the normal green color of the remaining leaves. If the husk leaves are pulled back to expose the ear and kernels, the ear may appear shrunken and gray-brown in color, while infected kernels will be surrounded by a dense mass of white fungus that fuses the kernels to the husk leaves. The white moldy growth often begins at the bottom of the ear, and if infection occurred early could cover the entire ear or only a portion of the ear if infection happened later. As the season progresses, the white moldy growth will turn gray-brown and small, round, black specks (fungal fruiting bodies) will form scattered about on the husk and kernels.
While the fungus causing Diplodia ear rot will not produce a toxin in the grain, like ear rots caused by Fusarium or Aspergillus fungi, it will cause the grain to be light weight, shriveled, and have lower nutritional value for livestock. Usually this ear rot is not a problem in stored grain, but infected grain should be dried to below 15% moisture to prevent growth by this fungus in storage. A good description and photos of ear rots can be found in the 2007 issue, volume number 21, article 3 of The Bulletin at http://ipm.uiuc.edu/bulletin.
Diplodia is not as common as other ear rots, but in wet years like this one, it can be a problem. Management options are limited but include crop rotation and selecting less susceptible hybrids for next year. Talk with your seed dealer, as corn hybrids differ in their susceptibility to Diplodia.
The wet, cool weather poses other harvest concerns, such as lodging of corn in wet soil, being able to get equipment into the wet fields, and the ability of grain to mature and dry. Along with these concerns, I suggest being vigilant about scouting for stalk rots. If Diplodia ear rot is present, this same organism may show up in the stalks as well. The base of corn stalk with Diplodia stalk rot will have small, black specks embedded in the plant tissue. There will be no pink color and the black specks will not rub off as with Gibberella stalk rot. White mold like that seen on the ear kernels may be found in lower stalks but not always, and splitting the stalk in half may reveal internal shredded plant tissue with small, black specks (fungal fruiting bodies).
September 17, 2008
Effective last fall, the State of Illinois requires many motor carriers to comply with the Unified Carrier Registration Act. The program replaced the State Registration System in Illinois, and requires all farmers and for-hire motor carriers to register. There is an annual registration fee for this program, and it is based on the number of carriers in your fleet.
Many farmers are caught in the requirements of the program because of the interstate commerce aspect of grain sales. Even delivered to a local elevator, grain then moved to a river terminal for export or shipped to another state for livestock feeding makes the grain sale an interstate commerce transaction.
There are two criteria that define whether the vehicle needs to be registered. One is bashed on weight. If the vehicle combination is over 10,000 pounds it is considered a commercial vehicle, regardless of whether it is for-hire. The second test is the interstate commerce part which we have already covered. This program works in concert with USDOT number registration, and the USDOT number is required before application.
Illinois Farm Bureau has put together a good question and answer document on the program, from which I will try to quote with some accuracy. There is no farm exemption from this program. The program is basically aimed at safety, and fees are used to help pay for policing the program. Payment of USDOT and UCR fees may be a part of the vehicle safety inspection.The class of license plate on a vehicle doesn't have anything to do with the definition of commercial. If the GVWR, or combination vehicle in the case of a truck and trailer, is over 10,000 pounds it is considered a commercial vehicle. The USDOT number does not cost anything, but the UCR number does. The UCR fees are $39 for 0-2 vehicles, $116 for 3-5 vehicles, $231 for 6-20 vehicles, and $806 for 21-100 vehicles.