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Showing posts from August, 2013

Diseases Developing in Minnesota's Corn and Soybean Fields in Early August

Dean Malvick, Extension Plant Pathologist
The unusual weather this season in Minnesota has created favorable conditions for various diseases in corn and soybean crops. Some diseases have been appearing since June due in part to delayed planting and crop growth and abundant rainfall in many areas. This article focuses on diseases that have been recently been confirmed and have raised concern. In corn fields, above average levels of common rust are being reported and Goss's wilt was confirmed in two fields. In soybean, Phytophthora root and stem rot and the less important but often noticed leaf diseases bacterial blight and Septoria brown spot are widespread. This is a good time of the year to scout fields for crop diseases.

The Art of Swathing

Swathing or windrowing of wheat, barley and oats were, at one time, the default operations that signaled the beginning of harvest. The primary purpose of swathing is to speed up and even out the dry down of the crop. Swathing always posed a risk as grain in the swath is more prone to preharvest sprouting if threshing is delayed due to adverse weather

Therefore, most wheat and barley is now straight cut in large part because modern varieties allow for it. Preharvest applications of glyphosate have further reduced need to swath wheat. In oats swathing remains more common place.

Protect pollinators while trying to protect your crops

By Robert Koch & Marla Spivak, Extension Entomologists
Honey bees and native bees forage in and near soybean and cornfields, especially during dry weather. When treatment decisions are being made for pests of these crops, it is important to consider minimizing the risk to these pollinators. Bees are the most important pollinators of our fruits, vegetables and crops like alfalfa hay that feed our farm animals. Honey bees and the thousands of native bee species all rely on the flowers they pollinate for good nutrition and health. Bees are being pushed to the tipping point by various factors, such as disruption of natural habitats, diseases and parasites, and widespread overuse of pesticides.