Ag Report : Washington County Ag Report June 3, 2003
Washington County Ag Report
|Rain Past Week||1.06||0.82||0.78||1.14||0.96||0.86||0.91|
|So far this month||0.05||0.32||0.2||0.49||0.52||0.58||6.14|
|Total since April 1st||5.77||6.12||5.38||6.76||7.41||6.74||6.14|
|GDD Base 41 Growing Degree Days = [hi temp + low temp]/2 - 41|
|Since April 1st||619||731||684||804||801||877||734|
|GDD 86/50 [hi temp + low temp]/2 - 50 High’s >86oF are set to 86oF, low’s <50oF are set to 50oF|
|Since April 1st||395||494||451||574||503||585||524|
SOIL TEMPERATURES AT 10:30 AM TODAY, SUNNY, WERE 58 - 62oF.
Midwest Commodity Prices - from the Wall Street Journal
Corn per bushel $2.37/bu Cotton Seed Meal per ton $133/ton
Soybean per bushel 6.025/bu Corn Gluten Feed 65/ton
Hominy Feed per ton 50/ton Wheat, soft white 3.52/bu
48% Soybean meal per ton 187.5/ton Tallow per pound .195/lb
These prices are provided only to show where the general market trends are moving and to help you determine appropriate ration ingredients. Local prices will vary due to shipping, processing, and discounts.
ONE PERSON'S OPINION (mine): I would like to offer my comment on the "Cooperative Working Together" meeting last Thursday evening at the Elk's Lodge. It seems to me that the three-point plan to reduce the milk supply and increase exports has a some "if's" to it. However, this historic time and decision for farmers to be united is critical to your future. The CWT plan for sure will have bumps in the road. It may not work as well as planned. Some folks will abuse it. But it can have some decent success. However, I think that the more critical opportunity is for farmers to be united. The plan can evolve and be improved later. This can be the first step down the essential road of dairy farmer unity. Ken Bailey, a dairy economist at Penn State also has his opinion of the CWT plan (much more educated than mine). Some of his reservations for the plan were answered for me at the 5/29 meeting ("dumping" cheese on the world market and the CWT plan fueling more expansions). Ken has some good points and to be open minded, I feel obligated to inform you of his website and let you decide. Find Ken Bailey's "weekly dairy outlook" comments at http://dairyoutlook.aers.psu.edu/. The 6/2 edition has his comments on the CWT plan. AG
FARM BUSINESS MANAGEMENT: Just to let people know, we still get some calls in the office from people both in and out of the area looking to rent or purchase barns or farms. Usually, they do not want to talk with real estate agents and are looking for ideas. If you want to receive calls or get potential tenants for you to call, you need to call me and get on the list. At the present time we have several people looking for freestall barns. It is important to remember that our agri-service infrastructure and community are very attractive to people that are looking to re-locate.
The CWT program is moving forward with information, but worksheets still are not yet available. Remember that the assessment may not be voluntary but any other type of participation in the program is voluntary based on bid acceptance.
Soil Quality: Equipment - Reduce Radial Tire Pressure to Speed Up Fieldwork and Reduce Compaction - Radial tractor tires should be inflated to the lowest pressure possible, making the sides bulge a little. This reduces soil compaction, decreases wheel slippage and tire wear, and reduces fuel usage. In an Ohio study reducing tire pressure from 24 to 14 psi resulted in an 8% fuel savings in 4WD tractors and 26% in front-wheel drive assisted tractors. In addition, the cooperating farmers reported a 4% and 11% increase, respectively, in the number of acres worked per hour. In another study duals inflated to 24 psi caused more compaction than 25 and 35-inch wide tracks. When inflated to the correct pressure of 6 psi, however, the duals caused less compaction than the tracks. Correct ballasting is also important. Front to rear weight distribution should be 55-45% for 4WD, 35-65% for MFWD, and 25-75% for 2WD tractors. (from S. Duiker, Penn State)
Alfalfa: The break in weather has come just in time. Alfalfa today is in early bud stage and at 42% NDF according to the "alfalfa stick". Fortunately, temperatures will be moderate this week. Stop harvesting grasses and harvest pure alfalfa before it goes by all the way. Alfalfa weevil (AW) larvae are still mostly small. Usually they die after harvest because they are exposed to the sun and rain (as well as being made into alfalfa weevilage). However, sometimes there is AW feeding on regrowth. What do you do with marginal stands of pure alfalfa (mixed with weeds)? Don Specker (Pioneer) points to a Michigan study (using a computer simulation model) that shows that killing the stand early and planting a full-season corn is the most profitable choice 63% of the time (16 out of 26 years). Keeping the alfalfa stand for the entire season was the most profitable choice 23% of the time. Taking first cutting and planting corn for silage was most profitable only 15% of the time. Lots of properly timed rain is needed if you decide to double crop with corn. It is too late now, but frost seeding red clover is another option that has worked for some farmers to fill in thin alfalfa fields.
Field Corn: Last week I saw black cutworm damage in Hartford.
This week I saw a very minor amount in Easton. Infestation will vary depending
on the field history (weeds, late-planting). I am finding damage in fields
that had heavy manure applications. The manure may just be coincidental
or indirectly connected. Plant corn at least 1 ½" deep. I
think that 2' may be better. I am finding some plants are not unfurling
properly because that particular seed was planted too shallow (the rock
effect, or is it driving too fast?) and it is getting herbicide injury.
I also measured stand uniformity. I explained the simple procedure in
the 5/13 "Ag Report". Here are distances between consecutive
plants in 5' of row from a couple of fields. The standard deviation should
Row A: 5", 12", 5", 12", 6", 22", 5". Ave = 9.6", Stand. Dev. = 5.9. Poor.
Row B: 9", 11", 5", 5", 6", 12", 8", 5". Ave. = 7.6, Stand. Dev. = 2.6. Good
Row C: 5", 7", 7", 6", 2", 9", 2", 5", 3", 7", 8". Ave. = 5.5, Stand. Dev. = 2.3. Good
It looks like 4 skips in five feet is too much, and that 2 skips is okay. Double plants are less trouble (at least statistically) than skips.
Grasses: Reed canarygrass is in the boot as I write. Do not forget to apply 50 lbs of nitrogen after harvest. If you lost quality in 1st cutting, then you still have a chance in 2nd cutting. Apply nitrogen to bump up the yield and protein content. Grasses should be harvested at a 28 day or so interval for quality. (Just enough time to catch a nap after 1st cutting.)
Pasture: Now is a good time to fertilize pastures to increase growth during warmer weather. Clip the orchardgrass heads that are up. It makes a more pleasant grazing experience for the livestock.
Solanaceae: Applying calcium such as lime and gypsum in the early season is less effective than water soluble calcium applied during bulking in increasing calcium in potato tubers. 100 to 200 lb. per acre of soluble calcium during bulking improves tuber quality by dramatically decreasing internal defects. The calcium concentration in the tuber increases 50-100% causing decreased bruising during handling and a plant with more heat stress tolerance.(Jiwan Palta, University of Wisconsin-Madison in the May 2003 Vegetable Grower News)
Greenhouse: Except for the occasional burst of sunshine, the cool, cloudy weather has made for perfect disease conditions and less than perfect customer conditions. I have seen a significant amount of gray mold in houses that are still too crowded - remember to deadhead as much as possible and do not throw the old blossoms on the floor! Even if it isn't warm out, use the fans to keep air moving. Dead spots in greenhouses cause lots of problems with disease. I've seen powder mildew on verbena and plenty of fungus gnat problems that have been exacerbated by the lack of air movement and high humidity.
One interesting pest was identified recently out in the field. Columbine Sawfly larvae are tiny, green larvae with brown-black heads. The larvae feed on the leaf edge eating inward until the entire leaf is gone. The larvae then drop from the plant and pupate. Adults emerge within 2 weeks, and, depending upon the year, may have a second generation. Insecticidal soap or a pyrethroid insecticide will control the larvae. Another pest that will continue to be a problem are slugs. Lots of damage on the usual suspects - hosta, helianthus, delphinium.
We had a report about Bacopa looking like it had iron chlorosis (interveinal yellowing). According to The Ball Co., Bacopa should be held on the dry side and the weather that we've had hasn't allowed it to dry out resulting in some very anemic looking plants.
Nursery: Blooming this week are Vanhoutte Spirea, 'Miss Kim' lilac, and deciduous Azalea. A lot of disease type symptoms are showing up in a wide variety of woody plants. Three year old weeping willows in containers had large cankerous lesions about halfway up the trunk. Dr. George Hudler believes they are winter injuries and can be prevented in the future by wrapping trunks of thin-barked trees with light colored tree wrap. We have also had many samples from trees that are exhibiting winter freeze symptoms. Wilting, leaf browning and dieback in young plants develops in late spring as damaged sapwood is unable to conduct enough water to newly developed leaves and shoots. These plants looked perfect 2 weeks ago and now look like they are going to die. Probability is very good that the tree will survive and just need to be nurtured, by eliminating stress.
The one definite disease diagnosed this week is Leucostoma (Cytospora) canker of spruce. We've also seen this disease on hemlock. This disease will cause the tree to die, so it's important to keep an eye out for branches that turn brown and excessive needle loss. Pruning out infected tissue is the only way to control the disease.
Aaron D. Gabriel
Extension Resource Educator
Crops and Soils