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.
Platte River Valley (Fremont, Ames, North Bend)
Corn and soybeans on well-drained fields in the Platte River valley mostly are in good condition with the drier weather this past week. About 10% of the corn fields are pollinating (Figure 2). Gray leaf spot at low levels were found in a field northwest of Fremont (Figure 3.) Soybeans that were planted early are at full bloom, R2 growth stage (link to soybean growth stages). Wet conditions in June have negatively impacted a significant portion of the valley and these crops are in poor to fair condition. Some growers I talked with are planning on fertigating (fertilizer applied through the pivot) anywhere from 30 to 50 lbs nitrogen (N) per acre depending on the severity of nitrogen deficiency. “Platte Valley Yellows” or iron deficiency chlorosis in soybeans (Figure 4) is not often alleviated by one foliar iron (Fe) application with iron sulfate or iron chelates. The best management option is to utilize iron chelate-coated seed at planting. Contact me for more information about iron chelate-coated seed. There were quite of few herbicide applications being made on Monday with some acres still left. Large waterhemp and volunteer corn (Figure 5) will be tougher to control this late in the season. However, most applicators had very few suitable days for field work in June.
Central Upland Flats and Maple Creek (Located north and south of the Maple Creek along the Webster Rd and Co Road N)
Crops along both County Road N and the Webster Road are in fair to excellent condition (Figure 6). Corn fields are mostly in the V14-V16 growth stage (link to growth stages of corn) with some reaching R1 (silking) (Figure 6). Most corn hybrids I have looked at have 20 leaves or 20 leaf collars. Most of the corn is approaching a critical stage (VT/R1) when it is most susceptible to moisture and heat stress. Soil moisture is adequate and temperatures for the next two weeks are predicted to be below normal, thus yield prospects are good. I did see some common rust pustules (Figure 7) in a corn field west of Hooper, but no gray leaf spot. Bailing of early second cutting alfalfa was going on at one field (Figure 8). Bacterial blight in soybeans is very common across the county, but seems to be less severe this week (Figure 9). Most soybeans are at the beginning to full bloom stage and about 1 to 2 ft tall (Figure 10).
Elkhorn River Bottom (Scribner, Hooper, Winslow, Nickerson)
The Elkhorn River bottom finally had a chance to dry up this past week, though some oxbows will be holding water for a while (Figure 11). Even though some corn fields are in poor condition (Figure 12) there are also some fields in good condition that were starting to pollinate (Figure 13). Soybeans also range from poor to good condition. Variability is normal across fields in the Elkhorn River bottom, though more than normal this year.
Northwest Rolling Hills/Pebble Creek (Snyder, Dodge)
The crop ratings for the Northwest Rolling Hills along Hwy 79 and 91 near Snyder and Dodge are in fair to excellent condition. Corn nitrogen deficiency is starting to show up across some fields (Figure 14). At the location south of Snyder for the Soybean Management Field Days, 15” row beans have completely canopied the ground (Figure 15) and soybeans are at the R2 or full bloom growth stage. Crop water use from June 30 to July 7 was 1.41” corn and 1.40” for soybeans (link to measurements). Soil watermark sensors at the 1 ft depth have dropped below field capacity by 0.2 to 0.4”. This is still greater than 80% of field capacity for this soil in the top foot. Soil moisture was still at or near field capacity at the 2nd and 3rd foot.
North-central Sand Dunes/Cuming Creek (North of Scribner by Lone Tree and Dead Timber)
Some pivots have been repaired or completely replaced over the last two weeks. Some water stress was visible at field entrances and sandy knolls. As mentioned in previous weeks, the excessive rainfall has caused nitrogen deficiency (Figure 16) in many corn acres in this region. Streaming on urea ammonium nitrate (28 or 32% UAN) with a highboy will still increase yields on dryland acres at these corn growth stage (V14-VT). If producers have a fertigation system, they should consider applying 30-50 pounds of nitrogen per acre prior to tasseling. The crops are in poor to fair condition in this area.
Northeast Rolling Hills/Logan and Clark Creek (Uehling)
Replanted corn has reached the V6 growth stage and soybeans the V2 growth stage. Fields retained as-is after the hail storm with 15,000 corn plants per acre ( Figure 17) and soybeans with 75,000 plants per acre (Figure 18) along the Herman-Scribner road will have some challenges with later emerging weeds. Attention to which weed species that produce seed this year will be helpful in planning an effective herbicide program next spring. As mentioned the last two week, cover crops may become a viable option to keep soils healthy this season for next year’s crop. Flooded soil syndrome can cause yield loss next year and can be mitigated by growing something this season (Figure 19). The few fields of winter wheat in Dodge County have reach maturity and harvest should be underway this week (Figure 20). Fusarium head blight and Septoria leaf blotch were the main disease issue this growing season with no leaf or stripe rust observed. Spraying a fungicide at flowering time or variety selection for resistance to Fusarium head blight (also called scab) are the two main management options for growers next season. For more information on winter wheat variety selection and other wheat production resources, please feel free to contact me as I have wheat production experience from both Kansas and South Dakota.
Agronomic issues for this next week
- Late-season control of volunteer corn and waterhemp in soybean fields (also herbicide applications on replanted corn and soybeans)
- Evaluate soybean herbicide program for control of weeds like waterhemp – think about plans for next year
- Contact seed dealer to determine more susceptible hybrids to fungal diseases and scout for diseases like gray leaf spot (Does is make sense to spray all hybrids?)
- Fertigation prior to pollination if nitrogen deficiency is evident (30 to 50 lbs may be helpful).
Check in next week for the July 14th crop report for Dodge County.