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Crop Watcher

Herbicides see spotty results due to hot, dry weather

kurt rewinkel preparing to plant

Preparing for another planting season, Kurt Rewinkel of rural Wakefield will plant corn in the majority of his fields this year.

The heat has pushed our crops along quickly with growing degree units catching up to normal for this time frame.

We received about an inch of precipitation in three different events. Just enough to keep the dryland crops going, but the recent increase in humidity has been more beneficial to stabilize the crop condition.

Crops look “fresh” in the morning, but later in the afternoon look defensive.

Herbicides have had spotty results due to the heat and dry weather during most applications. Just got through the high 90s when we sprayed, and the volunteer corn was rolled enough to not be impacted by herbicide.

Looks like herbicide application time is when most neighbors start visiting, asking about what traits did we planted, if we used dicamba or Enlist?

Noticing lots of cupped beans again in areas. We did try the Enlist last year and did have “cupping” from dicamba drift, but overall yield was still right at 60, consistent with other varieties, and yield averages in our area.

Not enough rain yet to incorporate late applied urea on corn in our area. Fortunately, we decided to do most urea applications the first few days of June, and it caught a couple early June rains. That’s been helpful to retain the plant health needed during the heat and limited moisture.

Teddy (our she-poo) and I have been busy the last week injecting nitrogen/thiosul with pivots, getting the final nitrogen needs added that was outlined in our crop plan. He enjoyed all the rides, I endured the hectic schedule.

We did reduce our total nitrogen application on most fields this year due to spring nitrate tests completed by our agronomist that showed about 100 pounds of residual nitrogen is available from last year.

Results of residual available nitrogen were consistent on dryland and irrigated. We also put 35 pounds per acre alongside the row with the planter, to improve nutrient availability. By placing closer to the row, and with a test confirming residual available nitrogen, we felt confident that we could lower our total nitrogen by about 30 to 40 pounds.

With minimal June and July precipitation, there’s been no leaching of nitrogen.

Looking ahead, decisions will need to be made on whether insecticides and fungicides are needed, or can be economically justified on corn and beans, especially dryland crops.

Enjoyed our local fair this last week. I’ve helped with the kiddie tractor pull for many years. It’s always fun to see the kids have a great time, and the parents get so excited to cheer for a big effort and a trophy.

Take in your county fair, support and promote ag, and the youth in your community.

That’s “sustainability.”

Kurt Rewinkel farms in Dixon County, Nebraska. 

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