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Field and sweet corn are good hosts for the southern or cotton root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita Race 3).  This is the same root-knot nematode that has plagued Alabama cotton and soybean along with some vegetable producers for generations.  Based on a recent Alabama study, cotton root-knot nematode can reduce expected corn yield by 30%.  Available corn hybrids have also proven to be an excellent bridge hosts for maintaining high populations between cotton crops.  Yield gains from nematicide treatments in field trials have consistently been in the 10 to 18% range, which suggests that the 30% loss value may be real because no nematicide gives 100% yield protection. 

Stubby root nematode is a damaging early season-pest in seedling corn.  Irregular patches of stunted corn with off color foliage and stubby roots that does not respond to nitrogen are typical symptoms of stubby root damage.  Yield losses due to stubby root are in the same range as those reported for cotton root-knot.  

Recent trials have focused on the efficacy of the seed treatment nematicide products Avicta Duo Corn and Poncho VOTiVO as well as the insecticide/nematicide Counter 20G for the control of cotton root-knot and corn yield response.  While sizable yield gains from Avicta Duo Corn have been recorded, recent Alabama trials have failed to show yield gains with either of the above nematicide seed treatments.  In contrast, the granular insecticide nematicide Counter 20G has consistently returned yield gains up to 20 and 30 bu/A in stubby root and/or cotton root-knot infested fields, respectively, in multiple Alabama studies.  The experimental fungicide/nematicide fluopyram applied in-furrow has also shown promise in protecting corn yields in nematode-infested fields.  

Nematode damage diagnosis and control practices were reviewed in a February Crops Webinar. The URL is    https://auburn.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=6b751a71-898b-432c-9db9-bb5e89774a26


Dr. Dennis Delaney, Extension Specialist with Auburn University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System has some advice on when to terminate cover crops this spring. The goal is to terminate the cover crop when the benefit from the cover crop is greatest.  It all goes back to understanding that soil carbon and cover crops are the key to making conservation tillage work in Alabama.  It is not the lack of tillage but the production and conservation of crop residue that counts.  Dr. Delaney discusses various factors that help make the decision of when to terminate the cover crop in his recent webinar.  Learn why one of the most important factors is the rainfall forecast in the 2-3 weeks leading up to the planned planting date.  If no rain is forecast during that time, the cover crop should be killed.  :

[[BLOGVIDEO: https://auburn.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Embed.aspx?id=6751e824-2205-45c1-8e77-b7280f30927b&v=1]]

This webinar was part of the March 14 session of the 2017 Alabama Agronomic Crops Webinar Series.  Webinars in the Alabama Agronomic Crops Series are presented live at 9 AM on the second Tuesday of each month.  A schedule for all the 2017 Webinars, connection information, and links to the recordings of previous webinars are posted on alabamacrops.com.


Kathy Flanders

flandkl@auburn.edu


Three experts from Auburn University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System recently shared some advice on using soil temperature as a guide for planting cotton, soybeans, and peanuts in Alabama.  Their webinars were part of the March 14 session of the 2017 Alabama Agronomic Crops Webinar Series.


Dr. Trey Cutts recommends planting cotton when average soil temperature (4 inch soil depth) has been 65 degrees Fahrenheit  for 3 consecutive days and warm temperatures are forecast. Plant when you can expect 50 degree-days (base 60 degrees Fahrenheit) in the next 5 days.  The optimum cotton window usually extends ifrom April 15 to late May.  Planting earlier or later is risky but has advantages under certain circumstances.  Learn more by listening to his short presentation.

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Kris Balkcom  provided advice on the best time to plant peanuts.  Soil temperatures are affected by air temperature, soil type, soil moisture, cover crops, and tillage.  He recommends planting peanuts only after the average soil temperature (4 inch soil depth) has been 68 degrees Fahrenheit for three consecutive days and when there is an extended range forecast of consistent weather.   He discusses how to obtain soil temperature data, and provides the reasons for recent changes in peanut planting recommendations in his webinar.

[[BLOGVIDEO: https://auburn.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Embed.aspx?id=9a32fa44-c902-4d08-ac46-bd22c495ba22&v=1]]


Did you know that soybean seedlings can be permanently damaged if they are planted when soil temperatures are too cold?  Temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the first 24 hours of germination cause the cell membranes in the seed to become leaky, resulting in chronicaly stunted seedlings.  Dr. Dennis Delaney explains that soybeans grow best between temperatures of 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.  He recommends planting when soil temperatures (2 inch depth) are at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit during the morning.  Watch the extended weather to make sure there are no forecasts of cold fronts or cold rain, particularly in the first 24 hours after planting.  Learn more by listening to his webinar:

[[BLOGVIDEO: https://auburn.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Embed.aspx?id=dfc8dd39-f764-488f-ab7e-b97468dc37d1&v=1]]

Webinars in the Alabama Agronomic Crops Series are presented live at 9 AM on the second Tuesday of each month.  A schedule for all the 2017 Webinars, connection information, and links to the recordings of previous webinars are posted on alabamacrops.com.


 

Kathy Flanders

flandkl@auburn.edu


​Dr. Austin Hagan, Professor and Extension Specialist with Auburn University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System recently provided information on seedling diseases of cotton.  His webinar was part of the March 14 session of the 2017 Alabama Agronomic Crops Webinar Series.

Cotton seedling diseases are most common when seed germination or seedling emergence is delayed.  Delayed emergence is more likely in cool, wet weather; in low organic matter soils; when there is poor seed to soil contact; when seeds are planted at the wrong depth;  when soils are compacted; or when seedlings are under stress from herbicides or other factors.  Common seedling diseases and available in-furrow fungicides are discussed.   He provides a risk assessment tool, which includes factors such as rotation, seedling disease history, weather, seed quality, tillage, and seeding rate, to help decide when to use an in-furrow fungicide to supplement seed fungicide treatments.  The majority of in-furrow fungicides target seed rot and seedling disease caused by Pythium and Rhizoctonia fungi, though Priaxor also has activity against Fusarium.  Velum Total, when applied in-furrow for nematode control in cotton, will suppress Fusarium and possibly Rhizoctonia-incited diseases.  Learn more by watching his webinar:

[[BLOGVIDEO: https://auburn.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Embed.aspx?id=91777a4a-07b0-416d-98c9-37d6a1657aaf&v=1]]

 

Webinars in the Alabama Agronomic Crops Series are presented live at 9 AM on the second Tuesday of each month.  A schedule for all the 2017 Webinars, connection information, and links to the recordings of previous webinars are posted on alabamacrops.com.


 

Kathy Flanders

flandkl@auburn.edu


​Over the past few months, you may have noticed changes being made to www.AlabamaCrops.com.  Almost all of the content that was contained in the "Breaking New Ground" section of the top page has been moved to its relevant spot(s) under the listings in  the left side menu.  For instance, all of the Alabama Variety Trials reports are now found under that listing in the side menu.

Another change is that the crops calendar has gone away.  All of the events are now in the calendar feed found just below the blog section on the main page.  Anyone who has a login to the Ag Crops intranet may add an event to the calendar.  If you post an event, you're the only one who can edit that event.  If you want to have an event posted, please email all of the pertinent information to Jon Brasher at brashjh@auburn.edu .

The only item that remains on the main page for now is the link to the 2017 Crops Webinar Series.  There is a link to that page in the side menu.

Thanks for your patience as we've made these changes.  Watch this blog section for future updates!


DOES MY WHEAT NEED A PLANT GROWTH REGULATOR?

Eddie McGriff

Alabama Extension Regional Agent

 

Wheat fields that are at risk from lodging may benefit the most from a plant growth regulator. These fields may be at risk from lodging due to excessive nitrogen being applied; high seeding rates; varieties that are prone to lodge; or around the turn rows where nitrogen applications may have overlapped. Palisade EC is the plant growth regulator we have the most research and experience with in wheat. The active ingredient in Palisade is Trinexapac-ethyl.

The optimum time to apply Palisade is at the onset of stem elongation and before the emergence of the flag leaf. The use rate is one gallon to 9-12 acres with 11 acres per gallon being the most common. Palisade interferes with the biosynthesis of gibberellic acid to prevent cell elongation, which shortens the internodes and strengthens the stem. The wheat stem is shorter and thicker which can reduce lodging and improve yields. It is foliarly absorbed and suppresses but does not inhibit growth. Palisade will tank mix with most fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides but do a jar test if it is not on the label.   

Oskie is a plant regulator labeled to minimize lodging in wheat. We have far less research and experience with Oskie than Palisade. The active ingredient in Oskie is Ethephon. Oskie should be applied at the point the flag leaf is slightly visible to the boot stage. Crop damage and decreased yields may occur if application contacts exposed heads. There are several tank mix precautions with Oskie so please read the label carefully if you decide to use Oskie.

Eddie McGriff is the NE Alabama Regional Agent for row crops. He can be contacted at 256-557-2375 or e-mailed at dem0029@auburn.edu.


​The Cotton Research Report for 2016 is posted on the Alabama Variety Testing page.  As the AlabamaCrops website is redesigned, content that was once highlighted on the main page will be moved to subject matter pages, the titles of which can be found in the left side menu.


Have you ever wondered what a cotton producer's year is like? If you thought cotton farming was a seasonal job, think again! Check out the Cotton Production Calendar on insight into growing cotton in Alabama. For more information visit alabamacotton.com.​

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Alabama No-Till Corn Champ Nick McMichen and son Matt

Alabama No-Till Corn Champ Looks Back on 2016 Crop

Eddie McGriff

Alabama Extension Regional Agent

Alabama farmer Nick McMichen won the 2016 National Corn Growers Association state contest in the no-till/strip-till irrigated category harvesting 284.9 bushels per acre. Nick farms near Centre in northeast Alabama and irrigated his corn out of the winding Coosa River. He no-tilled his corn in soybean stubble that combined 90 bushels per acre in 2015. He planted Dekalb 62-08 at 35,000 seeds per acre in thirty-inch rows.

If you want to finish strong, a good start is important. Nick credits the best planting conditions he had ever had as a key factor in his high yields. He notes, "This was the best start we ever had. All our corn came up within 24 hours. We had more heat during pollination. I believe we would have broken 300 bushels if temperatures would have been more favorable."

Nick believes fertigation helped him overcome some of the effects of the heat and added an extra 10-20 bushels per acre. Nick applied two and a half tons per acre of chicken litter before planting and came back with 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre at V7. He then applied three shots of thirty pounds of nitrogen per acre through the irrigation system with the last two applications dictated by his weekly tissue samples.

Nick says, "Farmers can't keep throwing inputs at a crop, you got to know what going on inside the plant. Weekly tissue samples were critical in showing me my nitrogen to sulfur ratio was out-of-balance. I used some 28-0-0-5 when fertigating but should have used it every time instead of 32-0-0."

Looking back on 2016, Nick says in the future he will up his seeding rate on high yield corn from 35,000 to 40,000 and apply more sulfur.

2016 Alabama Corn Winners

Non-Irrigated

Grower                                              City                                      Hybrid                           Yield (Bushels per Acre)

1. Stuart Sanderson                       Madison                             Pioneer 1319                     232.7    

*Jason Weber                                 Atmore                               Pioneer 1197YHR             196.4

2. Mike Tate                                    Meridianville                      Pioneer 1637YHR             192.3

 

No-Till/Strip-Till Non-Irrigated

1. Jason Weber                                Atmore                               Dekalb 65-19                     229.3

2. Jerry Ward                                   Dozier                                 Pioneer 1319HR               199.4

3. Gregory Key                                 Arab                                   AgriGold 6499VT2/RIB     166.2

 

No-Till/Strip-Till Irrigated

1. Nick McMichen                           Centre                                 Dekalb 62-08                     284.9

2. Jeff Tate                                      Meridianville                       Pioneer 1257YHR             270.1

3. Seth Moore                                  Aliceville                             Pioneer 1197YHR             247.6

 

Irrigated

1. Chad Henderson                         Madison                             Pioneer 2089YHR             305.7

2. Michael Dehazo                          Headland                            Dekalb 62-08                     293.6

*Chad Henderson                           Madison                              Dekalb 64-87                     286.5

3. Brooks Hayes                             Headland                            Cropland 6640VT3P/RIB   282.4

 

Eddie McGriff is an Alabama Extension Regional Agent in NE Alabama. He can be reached at 256-557-2375 or e-mailed at dem0029@auburn.edu.


 

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2016 Alabama Corn Irrigated and Non-Irrigated State Winners

Henderson Farms (L-R) Jackson, Chad and Mike Henderson, Stuart Sanderson

ALABAMA CORN CHAMPS SHARE PRODUCTION TIPS

Eddie McGriff

Alabama Extension Regional Agent

 

Alabama corn champions Henderson Farms in Madison, just below Huntsville, topped the National Corn Growers Association state contest in both the irrigated (305.7 bushels per acre) and the non-irrigated categories (232.7 bushels per acre). The Henderson clan of Mike Henderson along with son Chad Henderson and nephew Stuart Sanderson accomplished the feat on the heavy red north Alabama clay soils. It is so sticky that after a rain you will be several inches taller after walking the field. Chad's son Jackson, who is still in high school, runs the grain carts and helps after school, and this summer will join the farming operation full-time after graduation.

Chad and Stuart are students of the crop, always striving for higher yields and looking at ways to make their farming operation more efficient. Their state winning irrigated yield was with Pioneer 2089YHR on thirty-inch rows with a seeding rate of 40,000.  

UNIFORM EMERGENCE A KEY

Chad says one of the keys to their success was an ideal stand with uniform emergence. He notes, "Three years ago we planted by the date rather than the conditions. The soil was wet and we had sidewall compaction. I don't think farmers sometimes grasp how big a difference there is in plant growth and yield when they plant in less than ideal conditions. I could see it on the combine, spindly stalks and up to 40 bushels difference on the yield monitor, when I harvested these areas in the field. We want all the seeds to germinate and emerge within less of a day, twelve hours would be better."

Chad advises, "You want to make sure your planter is in top-notch condition and you plant in as ideal conditions as possible. Those are free bushels when you do this." Stuart nodded his head in agreement, "We'll wait a little longer to plant if the field conditions aren't ideal and there isn't a favorable weather forecast."

They believe starter fertilizer was another key to their success but are not resting on their laurels. They will fine-tune their starter program this year. This past year they applied three gallons per acre in-furrow of an 8-16-11-2 with micronutrients and seven gallons per acre of 10-34-0 two inches deep and two inches beside the row. This year they will apply ten gallons of 28-0-0-5 and five gallons of 10-34-0 with a micronutrient package in a two-three inches band on both sides of the row two inches deep (half of the mixture on each side of the row).

Chad says, "We have a high phosphorus level in our soils so we are cutting back on the 10-34-0 and increasing our nitrogen and sulfur. We feel like getting enough nitrogen and sulfur out early is important to get that seedling off to a great start but we want to have some readily available phosphorus close to the seedling in our cooler soils in the spring."

Chad says they learn the hard way that not all micronutrients would mix with starter fertilizers and advises growers to do a jar test before mixing any micronutrients with starters.

They applied a total of 300 pounds of nitrogen to produce 305 bushels of corn, an efficiency of less than one pound of nitrogen per bushel of corn. They were able to improve their nitrogen efficiency by fertigating through the irrigation pivot with multiple applications of 28-0-0-5. Their last fertigation application came at tasseling. Stuart notes, "You can't just throw nitrogen out and expect a yield increase. It starts with knowing your soil so you can decide on the right nutrient program. Your soil sample results and weekly in-season tissue samplings are vital to a high yield program."

Their weekly tissue samples was a revelation for them. The two nutrients the tissue samples showed they were short on in their 300-bushel corn was sulfur and magnesium. Their nitrogen to sulfur ratio was also out of balance. A nitrogen to sulfur ratio of 10:1 to 15:1 is best for optimum yields and at ear leaf their nitrogen to sulfur ratio was 18:1 to 20:1, something they plan to correct in 2017.

Chad points out that they are striving to produce 300 bushels on every acre under irrigation. They irrigate by plant water usage and knowing their evapotranspiration. He says, "It is important not to let the plant stress at any stage. Anytime the plant stresses you are potentially losing yield. We plan our irrigation to stay ahead of plant usage."

Stuart warns, "Inputs are not going down, they are steadily going up, so our only option is to increase our yields. We can do a better job of marketing our corn if we can depend on higher irrigated yields. We have the option of taking advantages of weather scares during the growing season and booking more corn."

The adage-an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure- is their belief that fungicides are insurance. They may not pay every year but they are a good policy from preventing diseases, such as southern corn rust and northern corn leaf blight, from becoming established and severely reducing yields. They applied Headline AMP at V7-10 and again at tasseling.  Stuart says, "Normally we apply a fungicide to our dry land corn but this year it was burning up and we didn't."

 DRY LAND CORN

Henderson Farms also won the state non-irrigated contest. They recorded a 232.7 bushel per acre yield with Pioneer 1319 with a seeding rate of 28,000 per acre. They only applied 170 pounds of nitrogen on their dry land corn and had an extremely efficient nitrogen use rate of 0.73 pounds of nitrogen per bushel of corn. Besides reduced fertilizer use to match their yield potential on their non-irrigated, they use the same basic production practices as their irrigated corn except weed control.

They ran a do-all in front of their planter so the ground is clean. Their dry land corn was non-GMO so they used Roundup + Dual + Leadoff at burndown and came back with Capreno at lay-by. They had more flexibility with their irrigated Roundup Ready corn. They used the same burndown program, then applied Roundup + Atrazine at preemergence, and followed up with Roundup + Atrazine at V3-4.

Stuart advises, "The key to one post-emergence herbicide application is to start clean and getting the plants to grow fast and shade out the weed. We were fortunate that we got some timely rains after planting and got spectacular emergence and early growth. Another key to excellent weed control is having the sprayer capacity to get over your crop before the weeds get too big to control."

Even with all their yield success, Chad and Stuart see opportunities for increased yields. They are working with Alabama Extension with replicated trials in high yield potential fields to see if they can eliminate the sulfur and magnesium deficiencies and improve yields. They have adopted the 4-H motto of "To make the best, better".

2016 Alabama Corn Winners

Non-Irrigated

Grower                                              City                                  Hybrid                               Yield (Bushels per Acre)

1. Stuart Sanderson                       Madison                             Pioneer 1319                     232.7    

*Jason Weber                                 Atmore                              Pioneer 1197YHR             196.4

2. Mike Tate                                   Meridianville                      Pioneer 1637YHR             192.3

 

No-Till/Strip-Till Non-Irrigated

1. Jason Weber                                Atmore                               Dekalb 65-19                     229.3

2. Jerry Ward                                   Dozier                                 Pioneer 1319HR               199.4

3. Gregory Key                                 Arab                                   AgriGold 6499VT2/RIB     166.2

 

No-Till/Strip-Till Irrigated

1. Nick McMichen                           Centre                                 Dekalb 62-08                     284.9

2. Jeff Tate                                      Meridianville                       Pioneer 1257YHR             270.1

3. Seth Moore                                  Aliceville                             Pioneer 1197YHR             247.6

 

Irrigated

1. Chad Henderson                         Madison                             Pioneer 2089YHR             305.7

2. Michael Dehazo                          Headland                            Dekalb 62-08                     293.6

*Chad Henderson                            Madison                             Dekalb 64-87                     286.5

3. Brooks Hayes                               Headland                          Cropland 6640VT3P/RIB   282.4

 

Eddie McGriff is an Alabama Extension Regional Agent in NE Alabama. He can be reached at 256-557-2375 or e-mailed at dem0029@auburn.edu.


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