Challenges to watch for as harvest approaches

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Matt HutchesonAs producers across the state of gear up for 2016’s harvest, there are a few things to keep in mind. This growing season has created various challenges that Ohio’s farmers will need to cognizant of as they wrap up the growing season. Several issues will affect yield as well as management practices throughout and following harvest.Drought conditions that persisted throughout Ohio in June and July have impacted crops. By the end of June, much of the state was at 50% to 75% of normal rainfall. Some areas experienced several weeks of hot dry weather. Every day plants experienced stress from the dry conditions this summer, yield was diminished.“By rule-of-thumb, the yield is diminished by 1% for every 12 hours of leaf rolling — except during the week of silking when the yield is cut 1% per four hours of leaf rolling,” said Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension corn specialist in a recent 2016 C.O.R.N. Newsletter.Soybeans have also been affected by drought conditions. Stunted plant height, aborted pods, and aborted seed development can result from dry conditions. Although many areas recorded substantial rainfall toward the end of August, dry conditions may have diminished soybean yields, especially in earlier maturity varieties.In the past few growing seasons crop diseases have been a concern, especially in corn. One disease that was of major concern in 2014 and 2015 was northern corn leaf blight (NCLB). Despite the heavy disease pressure in 2015 and the presence of inoculum on crop residue, incidence of NCLB has been limited in 2016. Gray leaf spot (GLS) has developed in many areas at low to moderate levels for the most part, however, some areas of the state have seen heavy GLS pressure. Anyone scouting fields has also observed Anthracnose leaf blight, as well as Anthracnose stalk rot throughout the state. In soybeans, agronomists and producers have observed some sudden death syndrome and frogeye leaf spot.One area of concern growers should be aware of is standability of their corn. Root-restricting compaction exists in fields that were planted when soil was too wet or “marginal.” With limited root development, the possibility of root lodging is a concern. Additionally, Ohio’s corn fields have experienced various environmental factors that create stress conditions for the plant, and as a result, stalk rots (especially Anthracnose stalk rot) could be an issue late in the season. Ohio State University Bulletin 802 states: “The severity of stalk rot is confounded by plant stress. In general, the greater the stress the plant endures, the greater the severity of stalk rot. This has been demonstrated very well with plant nutrition. Plants with excessively high levels of nitrogen or with an imbalance between nitrogen and potassium are very susceptible to stalk rot. Plants stressed by drought (especially late season drought), foliage disease, or insect injury generally have more stalk rot.”As of late August, strong storms with high wind speeds have revealed the lack of stalk quality in some corn fields, causing severe lodging. It is critical for corn growers to walk fields and perform the “pinch test” on stalks to determine which fields to harvest first.Herbicide resistant weeds persist as a growing problem throughout the state. Marestail continues to be a challenge, growers are having more difficulty controlling giant ragweed in soybeans, and more isolated populations of Palmer amaranth have been discovered. With the growing presence of herbicide resistant weeds, weed control will continue to be a challenge for Ohio’s farmers. Being able to identify weed species that are potentially herbicide resistant is the first step in managing them. Where herbicides failed to control weeds, they may need to be removed by hand or mowed to keep them from going to seed. To minimize the spread of weeds such as Palmer amaranth, it is extremely important that plants are identified, removed from fields, and not run through the combine this fall. Clean fields next spring start with herbicide applications this fall. Soybean producers who continue to maintain clean fields with effective control of weeds have adopted fall herbicide programs.Over the next several weeks growers will have the opportunity to wrap up 2016 and set the stage for a successful 2017 growing season. Use of sound management practices this fall will help growers maximize their productivity in the next growing season.last_img

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