Dodge County Crop Condition Tour – June 1

Dodge County soil association map

Figure 1. Major soil associations (colored polygons) in Dodge County are used to segment the crop condition report due to difference in soil texture, drainage, and topography.

In this report, I will use the definitions used by USDA-NASS for crop conditions:
General crop conditions. The county’s entire crop should be assigned a percentage by category, with the total of the categories equal to 100 percent. Categories are defined as follows:

  • Very Poor – Extreme loss of yield potential; complete or near complete crop failure.
  • Poor – Heavy loss of yield potential due to excessive soil moisture, drought, disease, etc.
  • Fair – Less than normal crop conditions. Yield loss is a possibility, but is not severe.
  • Good – Yield prospects are normal or better. Moisture levels are adequate with minimal disease and insect damage.
  • Excellent – Yield prospects are above normal and crops are experiencing little, if any, stress.

June 1 2015 driving route

Figure 2. Driving route for the June 1, 2015 Dodge County Crop Condition Tour.

Platte River Valley (Fremont, Ames, North Bend)

The growth and development of corn ranged from recently replanted to the V5 – five visible collars (corn growth stages) in the Platte River Valley (Figure 3). Corn on well-drained soils are in good condition while some fields and portions of fields corn did not survive the waterlogged conditions (Figure 4) during May (CropWatch Article: Corn and soybean survival in saturated an flooded soils). The corn crop ranged from very poor to good condition, with an average rating of poor to fair condition.

The soybean growth and development ranged from “in-the-bag” to the V2 growth stage (link to soybean growth stages). Seedbed preparation, planting, and spraying were all being done on Monday in the Valley. Some fields planted in April on well-drained fields were in good condition (Figure 5), however delayed planting into late May and early June has already reduced the yield potential of this year’s crop. Numerous fields, especially north and east of Fremont where more rain has fallen are still saturated and won’t be planted this week. Please read strategies with delayed planted soybeans as you try to get those last fields planted this season.

There are only a handful of winter wheat growers and a couple hundred acres at most in Dodge County. The winter wheat field I came across on my tour was in good condition and located on a sandy soil in the river bottom (Figure 6) and it showed no symptoms from stripe rust that has infected the wheat crop in southern Nebraska. Winter wheat (hard red) is a great crop in rotation for certain fields and can be delivered to Scoular Grain in Fremont at $5.80/bushel for new crop, which is 40 centers over futures. Nebraska Extension will be hosting a wheat variety tour on Thursday evening, June 11 at the University of Nebraska Agricultural Research and Development Center (ARDC) near Mead. The tour will start at 6:30 p.m. at the ARDC Agronomy Research site located ½ mile west of County Road 6 and H in Saunders County. For more information visit press release.

corn seedling at V5

Figure 4. April-planted irrigated corn (corn-after-corn, conventional till) has reached the V4-V5 growth stage with an average stand of 34,000 plants/acre in this field.

corn survival in waterlogged soils

Figure 5. Few corn plants survived the waterlogged conditions in this field near North Bend in the Platte River Valley.

early planted soybeans

Figure 6. Early planted soybeans (April) at V1-V2 growth stage with an average of 135,000 plants per acre in this location of the field.

winter wheat flowering in east central Nebraska

Figure 6. Winter wheat crop flowering (Feekes 10.5.1.) and no stripe or leaf rust was found in this field in the Platte River Valley.

Central Upland Flats and Maple Creek (Located north and south of the Maple Creek along the Webster Rd and Co Road N)
First cutting of alfalfa is finally underway as the crop has reached the early flowering stage (Figure 7). The wet weather and late planting delayed growers from starting first cutting.

The corn crop along the Webster Road (Co Rd K) was in good condition (Figure 6) ranging from the V1-V4. The potholes in the area were planted and not much stand loss has occurred yet this season compared to last year. Most growers plant corn on 30-inch rows, though one field along the route was planted with a twin-row planter on 30” centers (Figure 8). I did see some corn seedling diseases (hypocotyl decay) in a few fields along the tour, however the percent of affected plants is low (Figure 9). Corn populations in irrigated and dryland fields along the route averaged 34,000 and 28,000 plants/acre, respectively.

The soybean crop ranged from still-in-the-bag to V1 growth stage. A lot of no-till planted soybeans were at the VE growth stage (Figure 10). I didn’t take many soybean stand counts this week as many soybeans are still emerging, but I didn’t notice any major issues. Bean leaf beetles are causing slight defoliation, but well below economic levels for treatment (Figure 11).

first cutting alfalfa

Figure 7. First cutting of alfalfa underway as the crop is in the early flowering stage.

twin-row corn

Figure 8. Irrigated twin-row corn at the V3 growth stage on the upland flats in good condition.

corn seedling diseases

Figure 9. Corn seedling showing hypocotyl decay and damping off from disease.

no-till planted soybeans

Figure 10. Most no-till planted soybeans starting to emerge.

bean leaf beetles

Figure 11. Bean leaf beetles causing slight defoliation, but well below economic threshold levels.

Elkhorn River Bottom (Scribner, Hooper, Winslow, & Nickerson)
Similar to the Platte River Valley, some corn have already been replanted in portions of a field (Figure 12). However, some corn on better drained fields were in good condition (Figure 13). Similar to previous areas, corn ranged from recently replanted to the V4 growth stage. Post-emergence herbicide applications have already been done in some fields.

Soybean planting has been delayed significantly more so than in other regions due to excessive wetness. Numerous fields in the Elkhorn River Valley have not been planted, but operators were busy working on seedbed preparation or burndown applications.

replanted corn

Figure 12. Corn replanted in portion of a field in the Elkhorn River Valley near Scribner.

corn crop in good conditon

Figure 13. Irrigated corn on well-drained field at the V4 growth stage and in good condition between Winslow and Nickerson.

Northwest Rolling Hills/Pebble Creek (Snyder & Dodge)
Corn plant growth and soybean development was further behind in the northwest rolling hills than some other areas. Corn growth stages ranged from VE-V3. An average from April 10 to May 31, the Dodge area will accumulate 40 GDUs less than Fremont. Also, on average a larger percent of the acres in this area are under no-till corn-soybean rotations (Figure 14). We know that GDUs to emergence is affected by residue cover. Average corn plant population on one no-till irrigated corn field was 33,000 plants per acre. A lot of soybeans acres were planted in the past week and however fewer fields were left to plant compared to central and southern Dodge County.

no-till irrigated corn

Figure 14. Irrigated no-till corn (33,000 plants/acre) after soybeans Northwest Rolling Hills at the V3 growth stage.

North-Central Sand Dunes/Cuming Creek (North of Scribner)
Corn growth stages were V3 to V5 on these sandy soils (Figure 15). Some early-season phosphorus deficiency was noticeable in a few fields (Figure 16), but warmer temperatures may alleviate this problem. Irrigated corn populations on one irrigated and one dryland field were 30,000 and 26,000 plants/acre, respectively. Soybean growth ranged from germination to the V1 growth stage.

corn growing on sandy soil

Figure 15. Irrigated no-till corn (30,000 plants/acre) growth (V4-V5) picking up on sandy soils in north-central Dodge County.

Phosphorus deficient corn

Figure 16. Dryland corn (V3 growth stage) on sandy soils showing phosphorus deficiency.

Northeast Rolling Hills/Logan and Clark Creek (Uehling)
The corn crop was in good condition (Figure 17) and ranged from the V1 to V4 growth stage. Average dryland corn plant population from two fields was 28,000 plants/acre. I did see some phosphorus deficiency in a few areas similar to Figure 17. The area around Uehling has been one of the drier areas of the county in the past 60 days. However, the soybean planting season has not finished here either.

V4 growth stage

Figure 17. Dryland corn in good condition in the Northeast Rolling Hills west of Uehling with 28,000 plants/acre.

Agronomic issues think about this next week


  1. Know your weed species, height, and corn growth stage for timely post-emergence herbicide application on early-planted corn.
  2. Scout for corn seedling nutrient deficiencies (N, P, K, S, Zn). Take soil and plant samples in good versus bad areas.
  3. Assess damage levels from wireworm and corn seedling diseases to help make board plans for next season.


  1. Stay on top of waterhemp by scouting and spraying when waterhemp is small and add a residual herbicide with your post-emergence application on high pressure fields.
  2. Monitor bean leaf beetle pressure
  3. Start taking stand counts as I have heard of a few fields with poor emergence in neighboring counties.
Dodge County Crop Condition Tour – June 1
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