Volume 12, Issue 1                                                                     March 12, 2003


The Weekly Schedule Begins – April 2, 2004


This newsletter is designed to provide subscribers with the latest information on disease and insect problems, weed control information, crop progress reports, and other timely topics related to agronomic and vegetable crop production in Delaware.  University of Delaware Extension Specialists and Agents provide information for the newsletter.  The weekly issues will begin on April 2, 2004 and continue through the month of September.  The Weekly Crop Update can be obtained by mail, fax (subscription cost is $30) or from the Internet at http://www.rec.udel.edu/TopLevel/Publicat.htm for free.  Use the enclosed form to subscribe. We also offer a weekly email reminder to those of you who wish to receive one.  Please forward your email address on the enclosed form or to my email address below.  I ask those of you who plan to access the newsletter from the Internet to please notify me of any problems you may encounter during the season.  Please forward any comments or concerns to me at 302-856-2585 ext. 312 or at wootten@udel.edu .



Email Address Changes


Please forward email address changes.  If your email address has changed in the last 6 months, please forward the new address to me at wootten@udel.edu.    Thanks!





Avian Influenza Update – March 11, 2004


Field application of poultry litter and complete cleanouts allowed March 11

Today, Michael Scuse, Delaware Secretary of Agriculture, lifted restrictions on the spreading of poultry litter, and on the complete cleanouts of poultry houses in
Delaware, effective March 11, 2004. The action was taken under 3 Del. C. §§6301 and 7101(a), which gives the Secretary the duties and responsibilities to protect, prevent, suppress, control or eradicate dangerous, contagious, or infectious diseases within the poultry population of the State of Delaware.

The rescission of regulation 1.0, which refers to the movement, transportation, or field application of poultry litter, and regulation 2.0, which refers to poultry house cleanouts, means normal poultry litter removal, storage, and land application using a nutrient management plan can occur beginning 12:00 AM, March 11, 2004. The regulations being rescinded were adopted on an emergency basis on
February 20, 2004 and amended on February 27, 2004.

The rescission is being ordered in cooperation with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc., and the Delmarva Poultry Industry Emergency Disease Task Force.

The regulation concerning the transportation of live poultry intrastate or in or out of
Delaware will remain in effect.

Secretary Scuse said, “Rescinding these regulations is not a call for ‘business as usual’. The recent and unfortunate avian influenza cases will forever be a wakeup call for Delmarva’s poultry industry, all poultry industry personnel and suppliers, and all poultry growers, whether they are commercial growers, back yard growers, or hobbyists. We must be more vigilant and more careful in practicing good biosecurity to protect our poultry flocks. I encourage producers and everyone traveling in the area south of U.S. Rt. 50 to practice the same strict biosecurity precautions that we have had in effect since February 6. We don't want to re-infect Delaware flocks nor create more problems for our neighboring states that have cooperated with us in every way as we have fought to contain and eradicate avian influenza in Delaware.”

“In addition, I want to thank the agri-business community for their cooperation in canceling auctions and meetings in the past 5 weeks. At this time, auctions and meetings not involving live birds can resume. Any person associated with the poultry industry who must attend these auctions and meetings should practice strict biosecurity and change clothing and shoes worn in poultry operations before participating.”









Vegetable Insects - Joanne Whalen, Extension  IPM Specialist;   jwhalen@udel.edu


Seed Corn Maggot (SCM) in Spring Planted Vegetables.

Although soil conditions are drier and warmer compared to this same time last year, seed corn maggot can still be a potential problem in all early planted fields. Seed corn maggot flies lay eggs in recently plowed and/or manured fields. Cool wet conditions at planting, the use of manure and/or plowing under of green cover crops close to planting all favor maggot problems.


(a)  Peas and Beans: In recent years, the use of a hopper box treatment of diazinon 50W has provided excellent SCM control in peas and early planted beans. At the present time, this is the only diazinon formulation registered for use on peas and snap beans. It should be applied at a rate of ½ oz per bushel of seed and graphite added to prevent bridging in the planter. Unfortunately, we will only have this product available until July 2004 or at the latest November 2005. Lorsban-SL, only available as a commercial seed applied treatment, has also provided very good control. Cruiser 5F (thiamethoxam), another seed applied material, was labeled in the fall of 2003. It is labeled for succulent shelled and edible podded beans including lima beans, blackeyed peas, cowpeas, southern peas, snap beans, and wax beans. The label states early season seed corn maggot protection at a rate of 0.765 – 1.28 fl oz/100 lbs. of seed. It is also highly recommended that Cruiser be used with compatible and registered seed treatment fungicides.


(b) Spinach:  The only available SCM control option is a broadcast application of 2- 3 qts/A of diazinon AG500 applied right before planting and immediately incorporated 2-3 inches deep. In order to achieve effective control, diazinon should not be incorporated too deeply and the ground should only be worked once after application.


(c) Sweet Corn: In addition to the permethrin (Kernel Guard Supreme and KickStart VP) and the diazinon/lindane(Kernel Guard, Agrox Premiere and KickStart) hopper box treatments, we now have two new hopper box treatments available in 2004: Concur and Latitude. These hopper box treatments should be applied at a rate of 1.5 oz/42 lbs of seed. The insecticide component in both products is imidacloprid (same active ingredient as Gaucho). In addition to hopper box treatments, a number of seed applied treatments including Lorsban SL, Gaucho, Poncho and Cruiser are available for sweet corn. Soil insecticides including Force, Lorsban, Fortress, Furadan and Counter are also labeled for SCM control in sweet corn. 




Back to Basics:Vegetable Crop Fertility I Ed Kee, Extension Vegetable Crops Specialist; kee@udel.edu


Vegetable crop fertilization questions seem to be springing up more frequently than in recent years.  I think this is a result of higher fertilizer prices, new fertilizer products, and a new generation of farm decision-makers who are facing these choices for the first time.  Therefore, I will be addressing these questions weekly, as well as other timely topics related to general vegetable production.


Understanding the acidity of the soil and how liming soils works is the foundation of any soil fertility program.  Many farmers and others remember Leo Cotnoir, long-time soil fertility specialist with the University of Delaware. Many of you were students and vividly remember his 8:00 a.m. class, simply titled, “Soils.”  Leo would say, “Probably more research has been done on soil reaction and liming than any other aspect of soil fertility. Yet, it is a subject that still generates more questions than any other aspect of soil fertility.”


The two main reasons for liming soils are to make soil plant nutrients available and to prevent aluminum toxicity due to soil acidity.  There you have it.  A pH test measures the relative acidity or alkalinity of the soil.  On the scale, seven is neutral; less than seven is acid, greater then seven is basic.  In the humid regions with abundant rainfall, our soils have a natural tendency to be acid.  Maintaining the soil pH at a level between 6.0 and 6.5 on most of our soils does allow soil plant nutrients to be more abundant in forms that are absorbed by plants and does reduce aluminum levels to non-toxic amounts available to plants.


The major implication here is that if the soil reaction as measured by soil pH is between 6 and 6.5, more efficient use of fertilizers, manures, and green manures is obtained.  This is expressed as better crop yield potential and real savings in fertilizer dollars.  The lime requirement of a soil depends on total acidity that must be neutralized to raise pH to the desired level.  Most vegetable crops have a target pH of 6.2 or 6.5; only sweet potatoes or scab-susceptible white potato varieties have a target pH of 5.2.  In those cases, the plant pathogens that cause diseases do not thrive in a low pH environment.


In addition, lime is the cheapest and most readily available supply of calcium, a plant nutrient critical for yield and quality for many vegetable crops.  Calcium is a major component in the structure of cells, including cells in the harvested fruit of many vegetable crops, such as cantaloupes, watermelons, cole crops, cucumbers, and many more.  Calcium is considered to be largely immobile within the plant.  That is, it does not move from one part of a plant to another, but rather is taken up by the roots and distributed to the developing tissues.  Having adequate amounts of soil calcium readily available is critical for not only good yields, but good quality as well.


Soil pH and soil calcium, as determined by soil test are only roughly related.  In all cases, calcium increases as soil pH increases.  The amount of soil calcium at a particular soil pH level, is a function of soil properties, especially soil texture and cation exchange capacity.  Sandy soils with a low cation exchange capacity will have a lower calcium content at a give pH value than a finer textured soil with a higher exchange capacity at the same pH level.  Hence at a pH of 6.0, a sandy loam may have 400 pounds per acre soil test (exchangeable) calcium, while a fine textured silt loam may have as much as 2000 pounds per acre soil test (exchangeable) calcium.  In most cases, if the pH is at the recommended level for a particular crop on a given soil, the amount of available calcium will be adequate.  When lime is applied, calcium levels increase and are readily available for the plants to use.  Magnesium levels are also increased with lime applications, because lime is essentially calcium oxide and magnesium oxide.





Vegetable Diseases - Bob Mulrooney, Extension Plant Pathologist, bobmul@udel.edu


Stewart’s Wilt of Sweet Corn.

Stewart’s Wilt is still one of the most important diseases of sweet corn on Delmarva. Control of this bacteria (Erwinia stewarti) is based on control of the corn flea beetle which vectors this bacteria to corn and causes wilt on susceptible hybrids. Planting resistant fresh market and processing hybrids is the best control strategy. If susceptible hybrids are grown, control of flea beetles is extremely important. The Winter Temperature Index is helpful determining the risk of Stewart’s wilt based on flea beetle survival. As you can see from the table, most years here are very favorable for flea beetles surviving overwinter. Predicting severity of Stewart’s wilt based on predicting populations of beetles carrying the bacteria in reality is very difficult. However, the last several years have not been favorable for Stewart’s wilt and it has not been much of a problem here. Sweet corn growers can protect susceptible and moderately susceptible hybrids by using soil insecticides or commercially applied seed treatments. Counter and Furadan are the only soil insecticides labeled for sweet corn that provide effective flea beetle control. The commercial applied seed treatments, Gaucho, Poncho and Cruiser, will also provide flea beetle control.  Recent research in Illinois and Delaware indicates that the lower seed treatment rates will provide cost effective control for most processing varieties. Highly susceptible fresh market may benefit from higher rates.  Be sure to check the Poncho and Cruiser labels for rotational restrictions. Bob Mulrooney and Joanne Whalen.


Winter Temperature Index For Predicting Stewart’s

Wilt in Delaware Sweet Corn, 1994-2004.


Average monthly temperatures in oF at Georgetown, DE. REC. 1994-2004


2003- 04
























































Average monthly tempertures in oF at Newark, DE Experiment Station. 1994-2004.


2003- 04
























































Severity Index: < 90, usually absent; 90-100, intermediate; >100, usually severe.

Used to predict overwintering flea beetle populations that vector Stewart’s wilt.



Prediction for 2004

Newark:                Intermediate – Avg. monthly temp. (Dec., Jan., Feb.) 31.2°F

Georgetown:                   Severe - Avg. monthly temp. - 34.3°F





Vegetable Diseases - Bob Mulrooney, Extension Plant Pathologist, bobmul@udel.edu



Just a reminder, as growers begin to treat seed potatoes for planting, that late blight was not a big problem in seed areas last year, but there was some around. Hopefully, your seed is free from late blight, but there is more reason this year to use a seed treater with mancozeb or maneb for late blight control. These include the combination seed treaters Maxim MZ, Tops MZ and Tops MZ Gaucho, Evolve, MonCoat MZ, and the mancozeb alone products including Polyram.


Note: For a great article on physiological aging of seed potatoes, check out the article written by Alexander Pavlista, Extension Potato Specialist in Nebraska. http://www.panhandle.unl.edu/pdf/peyes.pdf




Vegetable Diseases Kate Everts, Extension Plant Pathologist University of Maryland and Delaware, everts@udel.edu


Fungicide Update.

Recently several new fungicides have been registered for use on vegetables. In addition, some formulation changes have occurred since the 2003 field season.  The following is a short, non-comprehensive list of some of the changes:


Endura 70 WG is labeled on beans, bulb vegetables, carrots, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions.  It has activity against white mold, Botrytis diseases, rust, Purple blotch on onion, and Alternaria diseases such as early blight.  In our 2003 trial on lima bean in Delaware, Endura provided excellent control of white mold and significant yield improvement.

Pristine 38 WG is labeled for use on bulb vegetables, carrots and cucurbits.  It has activity against Alternaria, anthracnose, Cercospora, gummy stem blight (GSB), downy and powdery mildew.  In our trial in 2003, Pristine used in alternation with Bravo did not provide superior control to Bravo used alone.  Trials in Georgia indicate that Bravo alternated with Pristine, in that location, gave superior GSB control in comparison to Bravo. 


Amistar 80 WP has the same active ingredient, and is a formulation change of, Quadris.  It is labeled on the same crops.  Expect it to be effective on the same diseases that Quadris managed.


Tanos 50 WDG is labeled on lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes and cucurbits.  Tanos has activity against Alternaria diseases, anthracnose, and downy mildew.  Tanos is not registered for gummy stem blight (GSB) management, although in our trial it had some efficacy on GSB.  In other words, don’t use it for GSB, however if you are using it for anthracnose or Alternaria, there should be some suppression of GSB.  Tanos also has activity against Phytophthora diseases: late blight, Phytophthora blight of peppers (foliar and fruit phase, only), and buckeye rot (suppression only).


For more specific information on rates and efficacy, see The Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations and the individual fungicide labels. 


Resistance management guidelines have also changed.  We now recommend that QoI class fungicides (Quadris, Amistar, Cabrio, Flint, etc.) always be tank-mixed with a different class of fungicide to delay onset of resistance.  In addition, QoI class fungicides should always be applied alternately with a fungicide in a different class.  Powdery mildew has become highly resistance to the QoI class fungicides.  Gummy stem blight is also resistant (insensitive) to the QoI class. 




Field Crops


Field Crop Insects - Joanne Whalen, Extension  IPM Specialist;   jwhalen@udel.edu


Field Corn Soil Insect Management.

In addition to the diazinon-lindane and permethrin hopper box treatments, two new hopperbox insecticide seed treatments are now labeled for field corn. They are Concur and Latitude. Both contain imidacloprid (the same material in Gaucho and Prescribe) and are labeled at a use rate of 1.5 oz/42 lbs of seed. In addition, Poncho and Cruiser, commercial seed applied treatments are also available for field corn. It is my understanding that Gaucho and Prescribe will not be offered in 2004, except on pre-existing seed stocks. In addition, we now have a number of pyrethroids labeled for in-furrow use.  The following is a brief summary of available materials and insects appearing on the label:


I. Corn Rootworm (Larval Control) - In addition to soil insecticides and Bt rootworm technology, the following commercial seed applied treatments are labeled for control of rootworm larvae:


(a) Cruiser 5FS (thiamethoxam): Commercially applied to corn seed at 5.1 to 9.0 fl oz / 100 lbs of seed. The label states corn rootworm protection only for light to moderate infestations. Do not apply less than 1.125 mg / kernel and do not exceed 1.4 mg / kernel. 


(b) Poncho 1250 (clothianidin): Commercially applied to corn seed at 1.25 mg ai/seed.


II. Wireworms:  High soil organic matter, sod covers, and heavy grass weed pressure the previous season all favor wireworm populations. Fields having a combination of high organic matter and heavy grass weed pressure are the most susceptible to damage. Wireworm larvae spend multiple years in the larval stage and the larvae move up and down in the soil profile following moisture gradients. Therefore, good control is often difficult to achieve. Soil insecticides including Regent, Force, Fortress, Furadan, Lorsban and Counter are labeled for wireworm control. All materials must be placed in-furrow to get effective control and applied at the higher end of the labeled rate. In furrow applications of Warrior and Baythroid are also labeled for wireworm control. The use of a hopper box seed treatment that includes imidacloprid, lindane or permethrin will provide protection against seed injury by wireworms. Commercially applied seed treatments including Cruiser (thiamethoxam) and  Poncho (clothianidin)  have provided good wireworm control. NOTE – Labels state seed and seedling protection.


III. Grubs:  In general, grubs are favored by a number of factors including planting into double crop soybean stubble, old sod, hay, pasture or set-aside acreage. The most accurate way to measure the potential for a grub problem is to sample fields for grubs before planting, but it should be done before a field is tilled. The most accurate results will be obtained when the soil temperatures at 6-inches deep are at least 45 degrees F. At each site, sample one square foot of soil dug six inches deep. One to two samples should be taken for every 10 acres with no less than 10 samples per field. A treatment is recommended if you find 1-2 grubs per foot in heavy soils or 0.5 – 1 grubs per foot in sandy soils. Soil insecticides need to be placed in-furrow to get effective grub control. Counter, Force, Fortress and Regent are labeled for grub control. In furrow applications of reduced rates of Baythroid and Warrior only provide grub suppression.  (Remember, at planting insecticides are only designed to provide control of grubs present at planting time. You should not expect control of larvae present in August and September that resulted from eggs laid in early July). In addition to the standard soil insecticides, the hopper box seed treatments Concur and Latitude are labeled against white grubs and the commercially applied seed treatments including Cruiser (thiamethoxam) and Poncho (clothianidin) are also labeled against white grubs. NOTE – Labels state seed and seedling protection.


IV. Seedcorn Maggots: Cool wet conditions at planting, the use of manure and/or plowing under of green cover crops close to planting all favor maggot problems. Depending on spring weather conditions, most early planted conventional corn and all no-till plantings will be susceptible to seed corn maggot attack. In addition to soil insecticides and in-furrow pyrethroids, seed treatments have provided effective control. Hopper-box treatments containing diazinon, imidacloprid or permethrin as well as seed commercially treated with clothianidin (Poncho) or thiamethoxam (Cruiser)  will provide seed corn maggot control.


V. Black Cutworm.

This insect is favored by late planting, broadleaf weed growth (especially chickweed) present before planting, poorly drained field conditions and reduced tillage. Rescue treatments can be applied for this soil insect if you are able to scout fields twice a week once leaf feeding is detected. If you are unable to scout and you have conditions favoring cutworms, a pyrethroid (Ambush, Asana, Pounce, Mustang or Warrior) or Lorsban tank mixed with an herbicide and applied close to planting has provided effective control. Asana, Mustang and Warrior are also labeled as a liquid t-band application at planting for cutworm control. The granular insecticides Force, Lorsban and Fortress are labeled for cutworm control, but must be applied as a T-band to be effective.  Pheromone traps placed in the field by mid-March can be used to determine when to look for cut plants as well as areas of the state most likely to experience economic levels. Look for pheromone trap counts in future reports.

The seed treatments, Cruiser and Poncho, also list cutworm on the labels. Since these products are systemic, larvae must feed to be affected. The Cruiser label only states cutworm suppression, not control. The Poncho 250 label states that larvae up to ½ inch long are affected. The Poncho 1250 label states that larvae up to 1-inch long are affected. In the Delaware/Maryland area, we are mainly dealing with populations that lay eggs early on weeds or in some cases an overwintering populations so we generally find larger larvae (1/2 inch and greater) present in fields at planting time.  Therefore, we feel that Poncho 250 will probably not provide economic cutworm control. Poncho 1250 may provide better control; however, fields should still need to be scouted carefully.




Small Grain Weed Control - Mark VanGessel, Extension Weed Specialist;  mjv@udel.edu


Ryegrass control is limited to Hoelon this time of year.  There are areas of Hoelon-resistant ryegrass, and these biotypes will not be controlled with Hoelon.  Hoelon should be applied to ryegrass before it is 5 inches tall or more than 2 tillers.


It is time to consider your weed control for the small grain crop.  Fields that were no-tilled or chickweed emerged shortly after planting in the fall are fields to check first for spring treatment.  If you have wild garlic or Canada thistle the time of application should be delayed since you need to spray these weeds when they have fully emerged.  Coverage is important for these species.  If weed pressure from winter annuals is great, it may not be possible to get control of the winter annuals and perennials with one application.  In that case, two applications maybe required.  You can mix your Harmony Extra with nitrogen.  If spraying Harmony Extra with nitrogen be sure to pre-mix it in water first.  If using nitrogen as your carrier, no need for a surfactant unless wild garlic is over 8 inches tall.  Applying Harmony Extra in nitrogen diluted with water, use a non-ionic surfactant at ½ to 1 pint/100 gallons of solution.  If applying it in water, use non-ionic surfactant at 1 qt/100 gallons.


Have you considered resistance management with your small grains?  Most of the small grains get treated only with Harmony Extra, which contains two ALS-inhibiting herbicides (some type of herbicides as Pursuit, Accent, Classic, etc).  Many weeds have developed resistance to herbicides that have this mode of action.   Consider how often a field is planted to small grains and how often it gets treated with Harmony Extra.  If this rotation is short, 3 years or less, consider tankmixing another herbicide with Harmony Extra to minimize the risk of developing herbicide resistant weeds.


Finally, the following are the timing limitations for small grain herbicides.  The timing restrictions are based on crop safety.


2,4-D - up to jointing stage (pre-jointing)

Banvel/Clarity - up to jointing stage (pre-jointing)

Buctril - up to boot stage

Harmony Extra or Harmony GT - up to flag stage (pre-flag leaf)




Control the Horseweed (or marestail) in No-Till Soybeans When it’s Small - Mark VanGessel, Extension Weed Specialist;  mjv@udel.edu


The presence of glyphosate-resistant horseweed has made no-till soybean burndown programs more challenging.  (Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup and Touchdown).  This species is not a problem in tilled fields (because it emerges before the tillage is completed, so tillage kills it) or in corn (because atrazine is pretty effective on it).  Rather the problem has only been showing up in no-till soybean fields where glyphosate alone has been used for burndown control prior to planting.  The presence of glyphosate-resistant horseweed is so wide-spread and it moves so easily with the wind, you have to assume that the horseweed plants in your field are resistant and not rely on glyphosate to control them. 


What to use??  A program based on a plant-growth regulator herbicides (2,4-D or dicamba).  Glyphosate will not kill the resistant biotypes.  Paraquat often will not effectively control all the plants, and it often requires two applications for good control (and two applications is not a sound resistance-management strategy).  There is concern about excessive use of ALS-inhibiting herbicides such as Amplify, FirstRate, Canopy, or Canopy XL that could lead to additional resistance.  That leaves 2,4-D or dicamba.  Dicamba is the active ingredient in Banvel and Clarity.  The pint rate of 2,4-D ester is only marginal on horseweed (particularly when the plants are 4 inches or taller).  A quart rate of 2,4-D ester is needed to consistently control this species.  For most formulations, a quart rate (assuming 4 lb ai/gallon formulation) requires a period of 30 days from time of application until soybeans can be planted.  There are a few formulations available that require only 15 days between application and planting soybeans.  So, this treatment should be made as early as possible due to controlling small weeds and allowing the time interval prior to planting.  There are some differences between Banvel and Clarity labels.  Banvel is labeled for 8 to 16 oz/A and requires a 30-day interval between application and planting soybeans.  Clarity use rates are 4 to 16 oz/A.  The interval between Clarity application and soybean planting is defined by a total accumulation of 1 inch of rain followed by 14 days.  Averaged over the past 20 year weather records, this is a 26 day period, but it can be longer.


There are a number of weed species not controlled by 2,4-D or dicamba.  These products should be tankmixed with a non-selective herbicide such as paraquat or glyphosate.  (Paraquat is the active ingredient in Gramoxone Max and formulations are available).  Since most of the no-till soybeans will be planted with Roundup Ready soybeans, paraquat would be a better choice from a resistance management standpoint.


Additional flush of weeds is possible with this early application, so a tankmixture with a residual herbicide (such as Boundary, Sencor, Valor) may eliminate the need for an application of paraquat at planting.




New Weed Control Guides For Corn and Soybeans Available - Free - Mark VanGessel, Extension Weed Specialist;  mjv@udel.edu


Available from your county extension office are two weed management guides for assistance in weed control in corn and soybeans.  The first half of each guide deals with soil-applied herbicides and the second half is for postemergence herbicides.  These guides have pre-mixes and what is in the pre-mix, expanded weed control tables, information on application timing, comments for each of the herbicides, and much more.  Contact your county extension office or visit http://www.rec.udel.edu/weed_sci/WeedPublicat.htm  for these free guides.





Grain Marketing Highlights - Carl German, Extension Crops Marketing Specialist; clgerman@udel.edu


Soybean Analysis.

Price bidding in the soybean market is continuing in a volatile fashion with some evidence of old crop supply rationing taking place. Cancellations of old crop soybean sales, already on the books, are becoming more of a factor each week, with net export sales for old crop soybeans resulting in a reduction in those sales again this week. New crop export bookings were up 4 percent from the previous week, but down 6 percent from the 4-week average. The strength in soybean prices this week is due primarily to the interest in new crop soybeans, due to the anticipated reduction in Southern Hemisphere production. Brazil is now expecting a 56 million metric ton crop, and Argentina is now projected to raise a 34 mmt crop, for a total of 90 mmt. USDA's February estimate placed the total at 97.5 mmt. USDA's March production estimate for Brazil and Argentina will be closely watched.

According to one long time market observer, "Anyone that has any remaining old crop soybeans should go ahead and price them, making sure that any beans (tested for germination) needed for planting should be kept back, because it is going to be that tight."


Corn Analysis.

The U.S. is by far the largest producer and exporter of corn, and the long-term price outlook remains very positive. Demand for corn has been very strong thus far this marketing year, with the lagging sales reported for the week ending February 26th thought to be a minor aberration. At nearly the half way mark into the '03/'04 marketing year, the U.S. is now nearly at the 50% level of USDA's total export projections for the year. As a reminder: domestic demand is very strong with no current indications of letting up any time soon; the U.S. needs to plant an 80 (+) million acre '04 corn crop just to keep pace with use projections, and the U.S. has produced a 10 billion (+) bushel corn crop only twice in historical terms. These factors alone will place a lot of weight on the March 31st Prospective Plantings report.


Wheat Analysis.

New crop July '04 wheat futures are currently bidding at $3.79 per bushel. The life of contract high for new crop wheat futures was set at $4.02 per bushel in early January. In mid-February, Jul '04 wheat futures were bid to the $4.00 per bushel mark once again. It can be argued that this market can possibly retest the life of contract highs between now and harvest.


Currently, there isn't anything dramatic going on in the wheat market. Even though demand continues to exceed USDA projections, and some of the U.S. winter wheat crop is not in very good condition, wheat price rallies from here on out may be few and far between. Of course, one needs to allude to potential help that the wheat market might get in the event of a 'weather scare' during the '04 U.S. row cropping season. We really need to get to the first of April (Easter) before more is known concerning U.S. winter wheat crop conditions. If one were to decide to make wheat sales now, then that would require a lowering of pricing expectations. The new crop basis into Seaford is currently 25 under. If one were to elect a $3.80 July put option the minimum sales price that can be obtained is $3.80 Strike Price - .21 premium - .25 basis = $3.34 MSP. The forward cash contracted price currently = $3.53 per bushel.


Marketing Strategy.

U.S. row crops (corn and soybeans) and small grains (wheat, barley, etc) are going to continue to compete for needed acreage this spring. This means that prices are going to keep bidding for acres as we enter the '04 planting season. For that reason, it is not likely necessary to be in a hurry to book new crop corn, soybean, or wheat sales. The life of contract highs for new crop corn, soybeans and wheat are about $3.00; $7.55; and $4.02 per bushel, respectively. Any move toward those highs should be rewarded with new crop sales. When considering making a sale, look for opportunities that may be available to lock in a minimum sales price while leaving upside price potential open. Minimum price cash contracts are offered locally. Each decision made will require that one does the math comparing the minimum price to the forward cash contracted price offer. Basis levels and the price outlook are going to impact the sales method chosen.





Winter Cover Crops – Monitor Your Soil Moisture Levels Closely - Richard W. Taylor, Extension Agronomist; rtaylor@udel.edu


The wet weather pattern of the past 16 months seems to have shifted to a drier pattern in at least some areas of Delmarva.  Of course, this shift may only be temporary but growers and consultants should closely monitor the current pattern in which we find ourselves.  Although soil moisture levels are still quite good in most areas as spring temperatures begin to rise and cover crops begin to green up and grow rapidly, soil moisture use rates will accelerate.  In fields where rye, wheat, or other crops have been planted as cover crops, growers should carefully monitor both surface soil moisture and subsoil moisture to ensure that the cover crops do not dry out the soil too much.  This will be especially true towards the end of the month and the beginning of April when the small grain cover crops will begin jointing and evapotranspiration rates rise.  Cover crops should be killed or plowed under before they lower soil moisture levels to the point that the following crop’s emergence and early growth are likely to be affected.




Nitrogen Management Under Field Restrictions - Richard W. Taylor, Extension Agronomist; rtaylor@udel.edu and Derby Walker, Jr., Extension Agent, Sussex County



Whether an individual field can not be accessed because of restrictions such as those applied under the Avian Influenza (AI) emergency or because of wet soil conditions, sometimes growers will have problems applying enough N to their small grain crop.  As part of contingency planning in case the AI problem spread, we explored the options open to growers to physically enter fields with ground equipment either because of restrictions or wet field conditions.  The option likely remaining is to fly nitrogen (N) onto the small grain crop.


Manure applications to small grains depend on a field or grower’s location with respect to identified poultry farms with AI.  Be certain to check for and follow the latest restrictions on applying manure and doing other field work before proceeding with small grain fertilization.


Many fields of small grains do not look very healthy at this time, and could use an application of N to stimulate tillering and early spring growth.  Aerial applications are limited because of weight restrictions, but it should be possible to apply from 100 to 150 lbs of ammonium nitrate per acre or 100 lbs urea per acre (the latter can be considered as long as air temperatures remain below about 60˚ F and either rain or irrigation water can be reasonably expected to occur in the next couple of days following aerial application).  This initial application should be made before or as close to green-up time as possible to stimulate small grain spring growth since many small grain fields have been severely stressed due to our open winter.  Keep in mind that this early N application is too early for Warrior to be applied for insect management, but depending on the growth stage and growth activity of the weeds, may work out for Harmony Extra or Harmony GT application.


Additional N fertilizer should be applied by ground rig if such activity is allowed in your geographic area before jointing (Feeke’s growth stage 5 when the first node is visible above the soil surface).  Although expensive, a second aerial application should be considered if you can not get back into a field.  Two aerial applications can provide from 66 to 90 lbs N/A depending on fertilizer source and application rate.  You should be able to achieve close to 90 percent of the maximum barley yield with around 50 to 60 lbs N/A.  For wheat, you’ll need 80 lb N/A to achieve 90 percent of maximum level.






Pest Management Recommendations for Field Crops 2004 Available




You may obtain copies of the Pest Management Recommendations for Field Crops 2004 from the Research & Education Center by mail, cost is $15.00 (includes shipping and handling), or purchase a copy for $13.00 by stopping by the Research & Education Center in Georgetown.  Please use the enclosed form and make checks payable to “University of Delaware” and allow one week for the delivery of the books.










YOU’RE             INVITED!



All Cattlemen on the Eastern Shore are invited to a meeting on Friday, March 26, 2004 at the Kent County Extension Office in Dover, DE beginning at 7:00 pm to discuss the formation of a Delmarva Cattlemen’s group to assist in networking, educating, and promoting the beef cattle industry on the Eastern Shore. In addition, Ed Draper, Program Manager from Wye Angus will be speaking.


If you have any questions contact Chris Breeding at (302) 363-1080 or Ron Wright at (302) 398-3219.


Susan Truehart Garey, Extension Agent Animal Science, University of Delaware





University of Delaware

Beekeeping Short Course


Saturday, April 17, 2004

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Course Fee $25 (individual/family); Youth (18 or less) $10


Lunch included.



Topics to be covered: 

¨      Honey Bee Biology

¨      Basic Beekeeping Equipment

¨      Honey Bee Diseases & Parasites

¨      In the Apiary

¨      Care & Feeding of Your New “livestock”

¨      Where Do We Go From Here??

¨      Time & Labor Saving Tips/Suggestions



Registration required.  For more Information on the Program Contact Dewey Caron, University of Delaware, 302-831-8883 or dmcaron@udel.edu .







                  Weather Summary



Weeks of March 1 to March 10, 2004


0.04 inches: March 2

0.42 inches: March 6

0.11 inches: March 8

0.05 inches: March 10


Readings taken for the previous 24 hours at 8 a.m.

Air Temperature:

Highs Ranged from 76° F on March 5 to 42° F on March 10.

Lows Ranged from 52°F on March 2 to 30° F on March 9 & 10.

Soil Temperature:

49°F average.

(Soil temperature taken at a 2 inch depth, under sod)


Web Address for the U of D Research & Education Center:  http://www.rec.udel.edu



Compiled and Edited By:

Tracy Wootten

Sussex County Extension Agent – Horticulture

University of Delaware



Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating.  Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Delaware Cooperative Extension, University of Delaware. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age or national origin.





I would like to subscribe to the Weekly Crop Update Newsletter for 2004


Please make checks payable to “University of Delaware


Please send this form to:

          Tracy Wootten

          University of Delaware Research & Education Center

          16483 County Seat Highway

          Georgetown, Delaware 19947


I would like to receive Weekly Crop Update via:


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Please send me ___ copy (ies) of the Pest Management Recommendations for Field Crops 2004. Cost is $15.00/book (includes shipping and handling).


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Please make checks payable to University of Delaware


Please send check and this form to:      

Tracy Wootten, University of Delaware Research & Education Center,

16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown, Delaware 19947.