Wheat Pete’s Word, July 8: Hot Hay, Market Bounces, Greenseeker Tech & Disease Control Tips

The hay crop, white mould, norther corn leaf blight, and nitrogen management tools are all high on farmers’ radars this week as we head into the first full week of July.

To kick off this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word, Peter Johnson, RealAgriculture agronomist, has a word of caution about the hay crop. Wet ground is complicating haying as even hay that doesn’t end up rained on is staying tough because of high ground moisture, if you’ve put up hay in the last few days to a week, get back out there and check your stacks. Wet spots in that hay can heat in a hurry, and nobody needs a fire.

Before Johnson switches gears from hay to soybeans, a quick note about the markets. As we covered in last week’s market update (found here), there was a nice price pop following the USDA and StatsCan reports. Johnson reminds growers to keep an eye on pricing opportunities, basis levels and to watch what markets are offering for some wheat types.

939-Wheat-Petes-Word-banner_660x330_3On to the soybean crop, and Johnson has to admit that for those with conventionally tilled beans, the first flower stage MAY be the right time to spray, if the crop is canopied and has flowers at the top nodes. For those with no-till beans, first flower is likely too early. Listen to the audio below for a discussion on the fields at highest risk of white mould, and why you need to be ready with a second pass in 10-14 days from the first.

Staying with soys, but switching gears to insects, there have been reports of fields at threshold for aphids. That said, aphids are a pest that requires careful monitoring for both population dynamics and beneficial insects (there’s even a handy app to help. Find it here.) Which fields should you prioritize? Early planted soys,  untreated fields and crops that may be short on potash — aphids seem to prefer these plants and reproduce faster, Johnson says.

Have you got a Greenseeker? Loads of questions this week on the use of these neat nitrogen-measuring tools, but Johnson says you’ve got to be using them properly to reap the benefit. Remember that the Greenseeker is measuring NDVI (or “green-ness” of a leaf) but you have to have an N-rich strip to compare to to make this useful. Johnson explains this and some other pitfalls some of you may be making in using this tool, so listen for that.

To wrap up this week’s word, Johnson reminds farmers that there are significant hybrid differences between corn varieties when it comes to norther corn leaf blight susceptibility (there’s more on that here), and that we could be in for a serious gibberella year, so be ready. Also, another reminder to get into that wheat ASAP when harvest approaches — fusarium and the toxin it creates will continue to spread and build the longer infected grain sits in the field.  He also provides a quick economic analysis of blowing out a few too many kernels vs. not as an example of how important harvest management of fusarium infected wheat is.

All that and more, below!

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Related: Hear past episodes of Wheat Pete’s Word here