This is the Last Issue of Weekly Crop Update
for the 2003 Season
2003 has not been an easy year for those of us in Agriculture. We dealt with more than adequate rainfall and cool temperatures. Just as we thought things would dry out, more rain would set in. I hope the information that you received in ‘Weekly Crop Update’ has been helpful and relevant. As editor, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all individuals that contribute to Weekly Crop Update. Thank you to our dedicated office staff that help pull everything together each week, especially as we rush to make the deadline.
We welcome your comments and suggestions for improvements to ‘Weekly Crop Update.’ Please feel free to contact me at 302-856-7303, or firstname.lastname@example.org
As you may have noticed, my title changed in the middle of
the summer. On
I look forward to interacting with many of you during the winter meetings. Best wishes for a safe and prosperous harvest season.
Although the rain helped to reduce populations, we can still find DBM and an occasional cabbage looper and imported cabbageworm in fall cabbage fields. The treatment threshold is 5% of the plants infested. Avaunt (3.5 oz/acre), a Bt, Proclaim (3 oz/acre), or Spintor (4-5 oz per acre) will provide control of all 3 species. If cabbage looper and imported cabbage worm are the predominant species, a pyrethroid, Intrepid (8 oz/acre) or Confirm (8 oz/acre) will also provide control.
Before the hurricane, we saw an increase in webworm moth activity and egg laying. Small to moderate size garden and Hawaiian beet webworms can still be found. Although not as high as last season, we can also find beet armyworms in the mix. Fields should still be scouted for webworm and beet armyworm larvae. Controls should be applied when worms are small and before they have moved deep into the hearts of the plants. Also, remember that both insects can produce webbing on the plants. Confirm, Intrepid or Spintor will be needed for beet armyworm control. If webworms are the predominant species, Ambush, Pounce, Confirm (6-8 oz/acre), Intrepid (8-10 oz/acre) or Spintor (4-8 oz/acre) should be used.
Nematodes in Veggies.
Fall is the best time to soil sample for nematode pests such
as root knot, lesion, and other plant parasitic nematodes. After fall harvest,
but before any fall tillage is done, take soil cores six inches deep between
plants in the row. Samples should be taken in the root zone of the old crop. Twenty cores/sample should be taken from random spots in the
field and placed in a plastic bucket gently mixed, and a pint of soil submitted
for analysis. Nematode test bags and instructions are available for purchase
In vegetable production, it is not a good idea to leave old crop residue in the field any longer than necessary. If the crop is allowed to survive after harvest, fungi that cause many diseases continue to increase on the surviving plants. This allows higher numbers of the fungus to potentially survive until next season. Sanitation (plowing or disking the old crop) will help prevent pathogen carry-over.
I have seen several samples this week of fruit rots caused by Fusarium that produces round, rough, sunken spots on the sides and the bottom of the fruit. Fusarium fruit rot is more likely to occur during wet seasons. Little is known about how these Fusarium fungi (11 different Fusaria have been reported to cause fruit rot) infect cucurbit fruit. Fungicides have not provided much control of these because of the difficulty to cover the fruit effectively. Infection is thought to take place in the field and causes decay both in the field and post-harvest as well. Since many of the fruit rot Fusarium occur on corn as well, there maybe some correlation with increased incidence of fruit rot following corn in wet seasons. Phytophthora fruit rot is also beginning to appear following the heavy rains.
The Year in Review
– Vegetable Crops -
2003 has been one heck of a year! It actually started raining in the fall of 2002, and never really stopped. Twenty-five years ago, George Papen of Papen Farms told me he would rather “pump the water on, because he can’t pump it off.” While we all get tired of “blaming the weather,” there is no doubt that the wet and cool conditions experienced this year hurt yields, shortened the season, and created disease and quality problems across all crops. Each crop in each field is a biological system placed in diverse and sometimes harsh environment. That crop, or biological system, is definitely impacted by the conditions that surround it. In 2003, those conditions were adverse to the crop from the beginning. In fact, the determination and tremendous management exhibited by the growers as they coped with this situation was the only reason for any success at all. It was a major achievement to reach profitable production levels under the current cost/price squeeze in the face of further cost increases associated with bad weather.
There are some lessons that we can take from this. First is timeliness. The late Palmer Corey of Bridgeville told me
once that “the difference between a good farmer and a bad farmer is about three
days.” In other words, being ready to go
is the first step towards success. Here
are some observations about some of the vegetable crops grown in
Pickling Cucumbers – In general, yields were down 25-30%. Phytopthora, belly rot, and pythium were seen in fields, especially in or near wet spots. Growers who sprayed routinely experienced less problem with these diseases, although some plantings were sprayed in a timely manner, but four inch rains set the stage for disease development in spite of proper applications. Wet spots in themselves removed some acreage from many, many plantings. Crooks and nubs, which are non-paid culls, were higher because cloudy weather inhibits bee activity, less sunlight reduces good growth, and high soil moisture levels may leach nutrients, especially nitrogen.
Watermelons – The planting season was totally disrupted as transplants experienced the worst conditions in years. The bad start and continuing cool, wet weather put the harvest season back by two weeks, thus compressing the season. Wet and humid conditions created an ideal environment for many foliage and fruit diseases, thus driving spray costs higher. Despite this, yields in many fields were good, perhaps not as high as experienced in the past, but still decent.
Lima beans – Lima bean harvest is in full-swing at this time. In general, yields are decent, perhaps not record yields, but still at profitable levels. Downy mildew has been identified in some fields, but control measures seem to be effective.
All of the details associated with these crop issues will be covered at the Delaware Vegetable Growers Meetings in early January, and in my upcoming columns in ‘The Delmarva Farmer.’ Of course, you can always call your county agent or myself with specific questions.
Field Crop Insects
Although most folks tend to think about disease management, you should also consider slug management if you plan to plant no-till small grains. Combinations of heavy slug populations this past spring and early summer and wet summer conditions could result in significant damage in no-till small grain fields. In the past, we have seen significant damage when fall weather conditions are cool and wet and small grains are planted in a field with a history of problems and heavy crop residues. Although the growing point of small grains technically stays below the ground until tillering, continuous feeding can reduce plant reserves resulting in a significant reduction in tiller production and in some cases plant death. In the past, we have seen slugs kill the growing point and replanting has been necessary. If you look under corn stubble in recently harvested fields, slugs can be found under the surface trash. The best control option would be tillage. Tillage helps to lower the potential for damage because it removes the residue which provides a favorable slug habitat, and also assists by warming and drying the soil to encourage more rapid plant growth. However, if you are already committed to no-till planting, be sure to watch for feeding soon after plant emergence. Growers achieved the best slug control on corn this spring with the use of Deadline M-Ps broadcast at a rate of 10 lbs per acre with a cyclone spreader. This material is also labeled on cereal grains. It is important to calibrate the spreader so you are getting at least 5 pellets per square foot. In general slugs, stop feeding in 2-3 hours even though it may take them 2-3 days to die. If conditions remain extremely wet, slugs sometimes can absorb enough moisture to compensate for the water lost in mucus production so a second application may be needed. Trails End LG (3.5% metaldehyde) is also labeled on cereal grains.
Be sure that you plant wheat varieties with high levels of disease resistance. Seed should be treated to protect them from loose smut and common bunt. Varieties that are susceptible to powdery mildew should be treated with Baytan or other seed treatment that will protect them from early infection.
Do not ignore soybean cyst nematode. It is still present and
in spite of the wet season and good growth of soybeans this season, SCN can be
present in high numbers as well. The wet season has helped plants compensate
for nematode damage, which lulls growers into thinking that everything is fine
because they see no severe stunting. During wet seasons SCN numbers can
increase dramatically on susceptible varieties. Some late season
troubleshooting samples have shown that SCN was responsible for poor growth
(short plants) in some fields. Soil sampling after harvest before any fall
tillage is recommended for fields to be planted next season to soybeans
following this year’s crop. Soil sample bags are available from the
Grain Marketing Highlights -
New Crop Soybean Prices Headed Higher.
With the weekly export sales report exceeding
trader expectations for
New crop corn futures are currently trading
at $2.21 per bushel and will remain in a sideways trading pattern until the
October 10th crop report is released. Early corn yields reported in the central
The old adage "buy the rumor - sell the
fact" applies to the current soybean market. This means that soybean
prices are currently bidding up based on trader expectations for a reduced
production estimate for the
New crop corn basis levels that are currently
( under) Dec.
futures, and lower world corn and coarse grain stocks are indicative that corn
prices should recover after harvest, placing
Mark Your Calendar.
The Grain Marketing Strategies Conference for
Fall Control of Perennial Weeds -
Fall is the most practical time to treat perennial weeds because it is the time that plants are best able to move the herbicide to the roots where it will do the most good and it is easier to get into the field. When considering fall weed control, the emphasis should be on what the patch of weeds will look like next spring or summer not the amount of dead stems this fall. Also, it is important to consider that a fall application will not eradicate a stand of perennial weeds; the fall application will reduce the stand size or the stand vigor. Fall applications of glyphosate is the most flexible treatment for most perennial weeds such as artichoke, bermudagrass, Canada thistle, common milkweed, common pokeweed, dock, hemp dogbane, horsenettle and johnsongrass. Rates of 21 to 42 oz/A of Roundup WeatherMax or 1 to 2 qts/A Touchdown IQ are consistently the most economical. Banvel at 2 to 4 pints is also labeled for artichoke, bindweeds, dock, hemp dogbane, horsenettle, milkweeds, pokeweed or Canada thistle. (Planting small grains must be delayed after Banvel application 20 days per pint of Banvel applied.) Allow 10 days after treatment before disturbing the treated plants. Fall herbicide applications should be made to actively growing plants. Allow plants to recover after harvest before treating them. Consider the options of spot treating in a standing crop; keeping the combine header as high as possible so the weeds are quicker to recover; or combining around the weed patches and then spraying those patches immediately after harvesting. Weed species differ in their sensitivity to frost; some are easily killed by frost (i.e. horsenettle) others can withstand relatively heavy frosts. Check the weeds prior to application to be sure they are actively growing.
Options for Harvest Aid Treatments in Soybeans
A harvest-aid may be a consideration to dry down vegetation prior to harvesting to reduce foreign matter in the harvested grain. Gramoxone and glyphosate are labeled. Gramoxone can be applied to determinant type varieties after at least one-half of the soybeans have dropped their leaves; or indeterminant varieties when at least 65% of the pods are mature brown or seed moisture is less than 30%. Glyphosate (Roundup, Touchdown, and Glyphomax) are labeled for an application when pods have lost their color. A waiting period of 7 to 14 days before harvesting is required depending on type of beans and the product applied. Be sure to read the label for all precautions.
Weed Control for Grass or Mixed Pastures -
Weed control options are very limited for establishing a grass or mixed stand pasture. There are no products to use pre-plant incorporated or preemergence that will provide residual control and not injure the crop. Early postemergence options are also very limited. Ally, Banvel, Crossbow, Overdrive, or 2,4-D can be used for pure grass seedlings (they will kill clovers and alfalfa), but grasses need to be well established at time of application. Ally can injure fescue and ryegrass. Fescue injury can be reduced if Ally is tankmixed with 2,4-D. Pursuit is labeled for established mixed pasture stands (broadleaf plus grass pastures).
Weed Control in Seedling Alfalfa -
Getting seedling alfalfa off to a good start is critical for a long-term quality stand. The following herbicide suggestions are for pure alfalfa stands. Gramoxone or Roundup can be used prior to planting to kill emerged weeds. Balan or Eptam can be used pre-plant incorporated for control of small-seeded broadleaves such as pigweed or lambsquarters and most annual grasses. Residual control of either Balan or Eptam is only a few weeks. Fall postemergence treatments include Butyrac 200 ( alfalfa trifoliates), Buctril (at least 4 trifoliates), Kerb, Poast Plus, Select, and Raptor or Pursuit (at least 2 trifoliates). Raptor provides the broadest spectrum of control. Kerb must be applied when soil temperatures are 50 degrees or less and requires rainfall for activation. Applications to small weeds are critical for effective control. Poast Plus and Select are effective only on grasses, and cannot be used on alfalfa plus grass stands. Most of the labeled herbicides can cause some crop injury to the alfalfa. Refer to the respective labels for spray additives.
Late Planted Soybean Pod Fill and Cold Night Temperatures - Richard W. Taylor, Extension Agronomist, email@example.com
With the prediction of some rather cold night-time temperatures this week, I asked a number of soybean experts across the county what effect such temperatures might have on soybean seed or pod fill and soybean development. Although I’ve only heard from a few folks so far, I thought I would share those comments with you. I will try to update this article in the near future if more or different information comes in.
First, in discussing it with Dr. Jim Dunphy and Dr. Patterson at North Carolina State University, they feel that the cool night temperatures may actually be of more help than harm to the soybean crop as long as the crop is not damaged by a frost. The cool night temperatures will retard respiration and transpiration during the time of day when photosynthates are not being produced. This will mean a net increase in the amount of carbohydrate stored in the grain as long as daytime temperatures remain near normal.
If daytime temperatures remain in the mid to low 40’s, they will likely retard photosynthate production. However, both these responses will be temporary and metabolic activity will return to normal or near normal when temperatures return to more moderate levels. Long periods of cooler than normal temperatures will cause reduced seed size and may delay maturity only slightly.
Information from two very northern soybean growing areas
support the conclusions above in that temperatures below 40ºF will have no
positive benefits to beans and can lead to frost damage, and cool nights and
daytime temperatures between 60ºF and 70º F can hasten seed fill and push late
planted fields toward maturity. Dr. Naeve from
I expect more information and reports soon and will try to update this on the web site in the near future, so if you’re interested check back in a week or so.
Nutrient Management Certification Sessions
Early registration for the 2003 Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School to be held at the Princess Royale Oceanfront Hotel and Conference Center in Ocean City, MD on November 18 to 20, 2003 will end on Friday, Oct. 3 so if you have not sent in your registration materials now is the time to do so. To register both on time and on-line, you only need a major credit card and access to the internet. The URL address for on-line registration is as follows:
The registration fee increases to $200 after October 3. Also, if you have yet to make reservations at the Princess Royale, the deadline to obtain the discounted room rate is October 24. To make room reservations, call the hotel at 410-524-7777 and indicate you are with the University of Maryland Crop Management School.
A number of classes have reached capacity so register as soon as possible to obtain a class schedule as close to your preference as possible.
The first day is training - - 4:30 pm. Training continues the
morning of the second day, - .
Be sure to bring your Workbook!
The exam starts at the second day. Closed book!! Bring your calculator for the calibration questions.
Delaware Department of Agriculture (302-739-4811) on Rt 13 south of
Ag Safety & Health Conference
Location & Times to be Announced
Royale Oceanfront Hotel and
Delaware-Maryland Agrability Conference
Focus: Arthritis and Farming
Grain Marketing Strategies Conference
For More Information: Contact: Carl German 302-831-1317 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 5, 6 & 7, 2004
(note date change)
or Gordon Johnson at 302-730-4000; email@example.com
This year's conference will be held in conjunction
with the Horticultural Industry Expo at the
For More Information: Contact Susan Whitney at 302-831- 8886; firstname.lastname@example.org
Delmarva Ag Safety & Health Conference
Week of September 25 to
0.02 inches: September 27
0.13 inches: September 28
Highs Ranged from 82°F on September 26 & 27 to 65°F on September 30.
Lows Ranged from 63°F on September 27 to 43°F on September 30.
68°F average for the week.
(Soil temperature taken at a 2 inch depth, under sod)
* Data taken from Warrington Farm Weather Station.
Web Address for the U of D
Compiled and Edited By:
Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture
and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the
United States Department of Agriculture cooperating,