Recent News & Information

Weekly Field Crops Pest Report

Posted Apr 26, 12 in Crop Management

This article from Cornell University was brought to our attention by our own consultant Nate Herendeen.


Posted Sep 15, 09 in Crop Management

By David DeGolyer

This past year, at the urging of one of our directors, Donn Branton, I had the pleasure of sitting in an intensive wheat seminar presented by Phil Needham. His research work and experience has crushed my preconceived ideas about raising wheat.  Too often we look at wheat as minor when compared to other crops grown on the farm. With higher management, we can raise the yield without additional expense. Before sowing your wheat, spend time with your consultant talking about ways to improve your production.

Sowing the Wheat

Like any other crop, well planted seed means higher production.  Wheat should be planted through a grain drill that controls the proper rate, placement, and seed treatment. Seed depth should be one inch. The seed needs to be treated with fungicides to control early plant diseases. Some producers are also using Cruiser for early planted wheat to control the spread of viruses by aphids. The rate of seeding is based on live seeds per lb., not the old adage of bushel per acre. Seed bag labels should have the information, but it can also be obtained by sending the seed to Geneva experiment station to measure live seed per pound. The range will be from 9,500 to 14,000 seeds per pound, with an average of approximately 11,750.


(Poor conditions include heavy residue and/or lumpy and crusty soils. If seed is 90% germ test, increase the rate by 10 percent.)

When it comes to wheat, more is not always better. Too thick of a stand with higher tiller counts and early spring application of N will be more likely to cause lodging next summer. Thick stands (weaker stalks) may be a bigger culprit of lodging than N.

Immature Corn Challenges

Posted Aug 15, 09 in Crop Management

by Nate Herendeen, Crop Consultant

The May through July Growing Degree Days (GDD) for corn were about 250 below the long term average for the Rochester weather station.  This is typical for all of western NY.  Add to that the delayed planting due to excess rainfall and the conditions are right for a dry corn disaster.  Heat has improved in August, but it will take two exceptionally warm months to catch up.  That puts us into late September for corn silage and who knows when for 56 lb test weight dry grain.  GDDs determine corn growth, not calendar days.  We are into shorter days and cooler nights.

GDD to Make Maturity:  On an August day when the high temp is 85 and the low temp is 55, we accumulate 30 corn GDDs.  It takes 900 GDDs to go from blister stage to physiological maturity.  That means you need 30 of those days to finish the corn!! 

It takes 700 GDD to make it from milk stage and 475 GDD to make it from early dent stage.  At that stage, whole plant moisture is barely at 70 %, generally too wet to make the best silage and still at 80 % of maximum yield.  But, this year it looks like that will be the time to start.  Don’t even think about the possibility of an early frost.  That would be a catastrophe!  At full dent stage, the plant has reached maximum yield and whole plant moisture is about 65%. 

Once corn grain reaches physiological maturity (black layer formation), it is all a matter of dry down whether for HMC or dry grain harvest. On a good fall drying day, corn grain will lose about 3/4 to 1 point of moisture per day. On a rainy day, it may regain a little moisture. On a cloudy, cool day it won’t change much at all. for optimum HMC, grain needs to be less than 30% moisture. To harvest for dry shelled grain, anything below 32 % will harvest OK, but it will cost a lot for fuel to dry it to 14 %. Some years the grain will get down to 20% in the field, but that is not likely this year.

What are your options?  Many fields were still at blister stage in mid-August.  Have fields scouted now and record growth stage or stage of maturity.  If you have the option of making late maturing fields into silage, plan accordingly now.  The problem is that they may not be dry enough to make silage until after a frost and then they will all be dry enough at once.  Save the most mature fields for grain, if possible.  Perhaps you need to select some early fields for silage to get started and also some of the latest ones.  Work with your consultant and nutritionist when considering alternatives.


View Previous