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Highlights of crop scouting with WNYCMA

Round-up Ready volunteer corn weeds in Roundup Ready soybeans

This blog reflects upon what I’ve learned and enjoyed doing and seeing this summer at WNYCMA. It has been a good experience and I’ve taken a lot from it. I had the opportunity to see how to apply many of the principles and concept from the last several years of school to crop production. I really liked the weeks when there was a variety of crops and types of scouting to do. The opportunity to see how many of the crops are managed and how the pests are controlled was a great experience. I was told that this summer was more intense than a usual scouting season. The armyworms and drought conditions made us return to many of the fields to look for reoccurring pests or ones that could increase in population (i.e. spider mites) due to specific environmental conditions. Some of the farmers I scout for really got hit hard by armyworms, especially my farmers who had strip cropped grass hay fields next to their corn. Often I would scout for armyworms one week and find a low population and return the next week to find the populations increased in the hay fields and the “troop” of armyworms moved into the corn to eat that.

I also really liked the weed management aspect of crop scouting this summer. Call it weird, but I enjoyed identifying all the various weeds and how they grow and interfere with the growth of the crop in various ways. I got interested in weeds during the Weed Biology and Management class offered at Cornell and I look forward to taking the Weed Ecology and Management course with Toni next year, during my last undergrad semester. So for me, identifying and learning about the weeds was the most interesting of the job. I was given a “Weeds of the Northeast” book as I did my scouting and if I had any questions as to what I was looking at I would consult and review the book to verify the weed. Weeds were more an issue for the first half of the summer and after the crops got bigger and closed the canopy only a few weeds were commonly seen. These were usually common ones such as velvetleaf, pigweed, various annual grasses, and lambsquarters. We were always on the lookout for weed escapes and tried to rely on the residual action of the herbicides for control. The most commonly seen weed escape I saw this summer was Lambsquarters in soybeans. In a couple fields we had a few areas (of about 3 acres total in a 55 acre field) where there was lambsquarters t about the same height of the beans (about 32”). We talked to the farmer about the situation and after talking it over figured we would destroy more soybeans getting a sprayer out there to control the weeds. I think that my favorite crop to scout this summer was soybeans.

An early 1960’s John Deere 5010

I also have a passion for ag. equipment both new and old, but primarily the old stuff. I used to be a technician at a couple auto/truck and farm equipment repair shops before I decided to return to college. I have a few old John Deere and International Harvester tractors that I enjoy repairing. I enjoy getting these old tractors running and using for some field work. This summer’s experience allowed me to see all sorts of pieces of agricultural equipment from years gone by. While taking pictures of crops and crop pests I also took pictures of cool old pieces of equipment. The various agronomy skills I attained this summer at WNYCMA, interactions with the farmers, and the interesting places and things I saw made this a very worthwhile and memorable summer.

An old allis chalmers pull type combine

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