Cornell Field Crops News

Timely Field Crops information for the New York Agricultural Community

November 8, 2018
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on Fall is the Time to Test for Soybean Cyst Nematode

Fall is the Time to Test for Soybean Cyst Nematode

Jaime Cummings, NYS IPM Program

Since its first confirmation in Cayuga County in 2016, New York soybean farmers have a new pest to be leery of, the Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN).  SCN is considered the number one pest of soybeans globally, causing yield losses of approximately 100 million bushels annually across the U.S. alone.  These high yield losses are due to the rapid and highly productive life cycle of SCN (Fig. 1).  It’s true that those yield loss estimates don’t relate directly to our current situation in NY at the moment, but the best way to avoid these potential losses is to gain a better understanding of SCN populations statewide.

Figure 1. How SCN populations increase exponentially in a field. (Image courtesy of SCN Coalition website)

Fortunately, a network of pathologists and nematologists across the US who have been dealing with this potentially devastating pest for years have come together to fight as a unified front as an organization called the SCN Coalition.  Their website is full of useful information, resources, recommendations and much more, including proper sampling techniques, which labs you can send soil samples to for testing, and best management practices.

We highly recommend that NY soybean growers take a proactive approach at identifying and managing SCN while populations are low.  And, now is the best time to get out and take your soil samples for SCN testing.  Just because it’s only been officially confirmed in one county doesn’t mean it isn’t more widespread, or possibly even in your own fields.  And, once established in a field, management can be tricky because this pest has been developing races that have been overcoming the most widely deployed sources of genetic resistance incorporated into the majority of the commercial soybean varieties.  Check out this short video for more information on the SCN resistance issue.

Since SCN populations are likely low in fields across NY at this time, it’s important to focus your soil sampling for testing on fields with a long history of soybean production, and in areas of those fields that are most likely to harbor populations.  The most high risk areas for finding SCN in your fields include compacted areas such as entryways, areas that are frequently flooded, areas where you have found sudden death syndrome, sections with high pH, or areas of fields that you notice are consistently low-yielding (Fig. 2).  Despite your focused soil sampling efforts, you may get zeros as your test results.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that your fields are SCN-free though, because it can be challenging to detect SCN at low population levels due to the way cysts are distributed in the soil (Fig. 3).  Zeros are good, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to sample annually.

Figure 2. High-risk areas in fields where soil sampling should be focused when attempting to confirm presence of SCN. (Image courtesy of SCN Coalition website)

Figure 3. Detecting low population levels of SCN can be challenging. (Image courtesy of SCN Coalition website)

Although SCN management is getting more challenging as resistance is breaking down, we recommend an integrated management approach.  This would involve annual testing of your fields to know your numbers (and eventually your races of SCN), rotating SCN resistance sources in your soybean varieties, crop rotation with non-host crops (corn, wheat), and utilization of nematicidal seed treatments (Fig. 4).

Figure 4. Take an integrated approach to managing SCN once detected. (Image courtesy of SCN Coalition website)

Now is the ideal time for you to collect soil samples for SCN testing.  Focus on high-risk areas outlined above, and collect 15-20 1-inch-diameter core samples, 8 inches deep from within soybean rows near the roots.  Mix the cores well and send to an SCN testing lab, following specific packaging instructions from individual facilities.  Many options are available for SCN testing facilities, including public and private labs.  Testing prices on average are around $25-$28 per sample at most SCN testing labs.  The Cornell plant disease diagnostic clinic offers this service, or you may consider one of the most highly recommended facilities which focus entirely on SCN, such as Midwest Laboratories, SCN Diagnostics, or University of Illinois Plant Clinic.  Most private and public testing facilities accept out of state samples.

For anyone interested in further, in-depth information on SCN, please check out this hour-long training webinar on the biology and management of SCN from Iowa State Nematologist Greg Tylka.

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October 16, 2018
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on NNYADP Research Advancing Dairies’ Whole Farm Nutrient Efficiency

NNYADP Research Advancing Dairies’ Whole Farm Nutrient Efficiency

Northern NY farm scene; photo: Michele LeDoux

Northern New York dairy farmers are using a whole-farm nutrient mass balance software tool to identify opportunities to improve their farmwide use of nitrogen phosphorus, and potassium. The ultimate goal is enhancing watershed and agricultural stewardship while simultaneously increasing on-farm efficiency, milk production and crop yield.

Farms participating in an assessment of the use of the software statewide have adjusted management practices over the last decade, resulting in an estimated 25 to 30 percent decrease in the import of nitrogen and phosphorus, without a decrease in milk production.

With funding support from the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, Dr. Quirine M. Ketterings, director of the Nutrient Management Spear Program at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., leads the research and extension project that is using the whole-farm management approach to help farmers evaluate opportunities to reach optimal balance.

“We are working with farmers and farm advisors on whole farm nutrient mass balance assessments to help identify opportunities for better nutrient use and to document improvements over time. The ultimate goal is to be both economically viable and environmentally sustainable,” said Ketterings.

The whole-farm nutrient mass balance software tool allows farmers to compare the nutrient imports in feed, fertilizer, animals, and bedding brought onto the farm with the nutrients exported off the farm as milk, crops, animals, and manure. The difference is called the farm balance that can be presented as a plus or minus balance per acre of cropland or per hundredweight of milk produced.

Practices that help increase nutrient use efficiency include increasing on-farm forage production of higher quality forages; better distribution of manure on the farm’s land base; improving feedbunk management; adjusting feed rations to meet varying nutritional needs of calves, heifers, and milking cows; and other changes that result in better use of nutrients across the farm.

“A number of farms have shown tremendous progress in nutrient use efficiency over time by adjusting management practices that reduce imports such as feed and/or fertilizer, by better aligning crop and animal nutrient needs, and supplying nutrients only as needed to eliminate excesses and losses,” Ketterings said.

With grants from the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program and other funders, Ketterings and her team have developed feasible mass balance ranges for New York dairy operations, using actual balances from commercial dairy farms in New York. Farms operating outside the optimal operational zone most likely have opportunities to improve their nutrient use efficiency.

Farmers interested in learning more about whole-farm nutrient mass balance assessment will find information on the Nutrient Management Spear Program website at http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/NYOnFarmResearchPartnership/MassBalances.html.  Farmers can download an input sheet to submit to Ketterings and her team for confidential review.

Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York Senate and administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Learn more at www.nnyagdev.org.

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September 25, 2018
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on 2018 Corn Data Feeds Yield Mapping Efficiency for Northern NY, Northeast Farms

2018 Corn Data Feeds Yield Mapping Efficiency for Northern NY, Northeast Farms

NNY corn field; photo: Quirine Ketterings

Data from the 2018 corn harvest on Northern New York farms will contribute to yield-based zone management for corn growers and evaluation of yield potentials for New York soil types statewide.

Zone-based management and yield mapping present the opportunity to better allocate resources to save on expense, time, and labor, and to reduce environmental loss of nutrients not taken up by the crop or soil.

Dr. Quirine M. Ketterings, Director of the Nutrient Management Spear Program at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., leads crop production enhancement research funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program. Using data from four farms in NNY and eight other farms statewide, Ketterings and her team of collaborators are evaluating nitrogen management for farm specific, field-specific stability zones.

Farmer participation is essential to identifying yield limitations and developing strategies that make best use of resources like manure and fertilizer. Our goal is to find ways to improve yield and nutrient use and reduce the risk of nutrient loss to the environment at the same time,” Ketterings said.

A minimum of three years of data from yield monitors on harvesting equipment is needed since stability zones are farm-specific and field-specific and are based on farm average and variability over a period of three or more years. Yield data from all fields in the same year are used to determine farm yield averages and variability in yield over the three-or-more-year timeframe.

Yield stability zone mapping is evaluated to identify in which zones farm resources can be best allocated for the biggest return on investment. Zone-based allocation applies to the use of manure and fertilizer, seed density, crop variety, and other factors.

With yield data of three or more years for a field, a map can be created with four zones. This mapping allows us to evaluate where to invest limited resources,” said Ketterings.

She notes the current focus of the zone mapping is on nitrogen management, but this zone-management approach can be expanded to other nutrients, manure application method and tillage decisions, variety selection, population densities, foliar applications, and other production considerations.

The goal is to identify when and where we could expect a yield response, and to identify what we can do to elevate yields in the areas not yielding as much or very variable in yield over time,” Ketterings added.

Ketterings’ work on the use of yield monitor data included the development of a protocol for obtaining and cleaning corn harvest data collected by the yield monitor systems that are increasingly used on regional farms. The data cleaning process is as important as field calibration of the yield monitors.

This regional research funded by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is part of a statewide effort.

Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Learn more at www.nnyagdev.org.

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September 20, 2018
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on Anthracnose Top Dieback Prevalent Across NY, September 2018

Anthracnose Top Dieback Prevalent Across NY, September 2018

Jaime Cummings, NYS IPM Program

Figure 1. Anthracnose top dieback symptoms. Photo: Agrigold.

Many of us are familiar with Anthracnose leaf blight and Anthracnose stalk rot, but many of us were caught off guard this year by another form of disease, Anthracnose top dieback, caused by the same fungal pathogen Colletotrichum graminicola.  Reports of this disease have been received from all parts of the state in the past week.  It affects silage and grain hybrids and is readily identified by its typical symptoms of death of leaves and stalks in the upper 1/3 of the canopy (Fig. 1).  It’s important to note that top leaves my die from a number of factors, including corn borer, drought and other environmental stresses.  Therefore, accurate diagnosis is important when suspecting this disease.  Symptoms initially involve purpling or yellowing of flag leaves, and is often more randomly distributed in a field than top dieback caused by abiotic stresses.  Anthracnose top dieback is the result of the fungal stalk rot occurring on upper internodes, which restricts upward movement of water and nutrients, thus resulting in necrosis of leaves, tassels and stalks above the point of infection.  The easiest way to identify Anthracnose stalk rot and top dieback is to look for signs of the fungal pathogen.  Examine stalks for the typical black anthracnose lesions on the stalks, and peel back the leaf sheath to look for the black fungal fruiting bodies, called acervuli (Fig. 2).  A hand lens is helpful in identifying these spiny fruiting bodies, which may be full of pinkish, wet spore masses under moist conditions (Fig. 3).  Split stalks will reveal rotten or disintegrated pith tissue at the point of infection (Fig. 4).

Figure 2. Anthracnose stalk rot lesions on stalks. Photo: Ohio State University.

Figure 3. Colletotrichum fungal fruiting bodies called acervuli. Photo: Cornell University, Nelson lab.

Figure 4. Anthracnose stalk rot internal stalk symptoms. Photo: APS Press.

This pathogen overwinters in corn residues and spores are transmitted via wind and rain and can infect corn plant roots or stalks.  Insect feeding damage may enhance infection by this pathogen.  Since this pathogen is more prevalent in fields with high corn residues, crop rotations can significantly reduce this disease.  Hybrid resistance is available for anthracnose stalk rot, and hybrids with good foliar disease resistance often reduce stress overall, resulting in less susceptibility to stalk rots in general.  The IPM approach to managing anthracnose top dieback in your fields would involve crop rotations, planting resistant hybrids, and cultural practices to ensure minimal plant stress (balanced fertilization, adequate plant populations, and proper drainage).

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September 20, 2018
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on Weather Outlook –September 20, 2018

Weather Outlook –September 20, 2018

NOAA Northeast Regional Climate Center, Cornell University

Last week temperatures were 8-12 degrees above-normal. Precipitation has ranged from less than ¼“ to over 4”. Base 50 growing degree-days ranged from 110-170.

A strong cold front will move through Friday into Friday evening, with cooler temperatures to follow.

Today temperatures will in the upper 60s and 70s with partly sunny skies. Overnight lows will be in the mid 50s to low 60s with a few light showers possible.

Friday will be in the upper 70s to 80s with showers and thunderstorms possible Friday into Friday night with a frontal passage; some storms could be severe and there is a chance for flash flooding and gusty winds. Overnight temperatures will be in the upper 40s to low 60s.

Saturday a few morning showers are possible, then a mostly dry day with temperatures in the upper 50s to near 70s. Overnight temperatures will be in the upper 40s.

Sunday highs will be in the 60s to mid 70s. Overnight temperatures will be in the mid 40s to low 50s.

Monday temperatures will be in the 60s to mid 70s with a chance of afternoon showers. Overnight temperatures will be in the 50s.

Tuesday highs will be in the 70s. Overnight temperatures will be in the 50s with overnight showers possible.

Wednesday highs will be in the 70s with showers possible. Overnight temperatures will be in the 50s.

The seven-day precipitation amounts will range from an inch to near 3 inches.

The 8-14 day outlook (Sept 26-Oct 2) slightly favors below-normal temperatures for western and northern areas and slightly favors above-normal precipitation for western, central, and northern to eastern NY.

Maps of 8-14 day outlooks:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/814day/index.php

National Weather Service watch/warnings map:
http://www.weather.gov/erh/

US Drought Monitor
http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home.aspx

Drought Impact Reporter:
http://droughtreporter.unl.edu/map

CLIMOD2 (NRCC data interface):
http://climodtest.nrcc.cornell.edu

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September 17, 2018
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on Reduced Tillage Handbook Now Available Free

Reduced Tillage Handbook Now Available Free

A handbook for improving soil health in both organic and conventional vegetable, row crop, and small grain systems is now available at no charge from Cornell Cooperative Extension and partners that made possible a popular field day event that served as the basis for the handbook.

The Reduced Tillage Field Day Handbook is available free in the Horticulture: Vegetables section of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org.

“The field day was such a hit with the 70 people who attended and received the handbook that we are making the information available on a broader basis to encourage interest in soil health practices that reduce tillage intensity and mechanical soil disturbance. Over time, this helps maintain or increase crop yields, while reducing production costs due to reduced labor, equipment wear, and fuel use,” said field day organizer Amy Ivy, a vegetable specialist with the CCE Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program.

Highlights and excerpts from the 107-page handbook include:

  • 2018-2019 New York Soil Health Priorities and Plans
  • More than 60 percent of farmers who used reduced tillage or cover crops and responded to a New York Soil Health survey reported that flooding prevention, drought resilience and less erosion resulted from those practices.
  • Stacking tillage tools can save time for field preparation and reduce labor and fuel needs.
  • Cultivation is typically most effective for improving weed management with small weeds in dry, loose soil.
  • A project in Virginia is evaluating the potential for farmers to increase their use of cover crop rolling, which has been used successfully by individual farmers from Alabama to Pennsylvania but has yet to see widespread use in the U.S.
  • High-residue conservation tillage systems involve using large amounts of cover crop residue to suppress weeds, reduce soil erosion, and conserve soil moisture.

Although the event, held at the Willsboro Research Farm in Willsboro, N.Y., was targeted to meet organic grower expressed interest, the practices discussed in the handbook will also benefit conventional growers.

Materials are included from the field day presenters, including Bryan Brown of the New York State Integrated Pest Management program on managing weeds in small-seeded crops; Ryan Maher of the Cornell Small Farms Program on zone tillage systems; and John Wallace, Cornell University Specialty Crops Systems, on weed seedbank management.

The resource materials in the handbook consider crimpers, rollers, the biology of soil compaction, understanding microbes and nutrient recycling, caring for soil as a living system, and the use of reduced tillage and cover crops for organic and conventional vegetable production. Other sections look at how to avoid roller crimper problems, winter-hardy cover cropping, using cover crops to convert to no-till and no-till management for organic systems.

The handbook includes information from a variety of sources including Iowa State University, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ohio State University, Penn State Extension, the Rodale Institute, Rutgers University, the Sustainable Agriculture Research Education Program, and the Virginia Association for Biological Farming.

The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, New York Soil Health, and Lake Champlain Basin Program sponsored the Reduced Tillage summer field day event. The Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program, CCE Essex County, and the Cornell University Willsboro Research Farm coordinated the field day programming.

Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Learn more at www.nnyagdev.org.

 

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September 13, 2018
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on Weather Outlook –September 13, 2018

Weather Outlook –September 13, 2018

NOAA Northeast Regional Climate Center, Cornell University

Last week temperatures were within 2 degrees of normal. Precipitation has ranged from ¼ “ to over 3”. Base 50 growing degree-days ranged from 40-120.

Scattered showers Thursday into Friday, dry for the weekend. Moisture from Hurricane Florence to reach NY next week??

Today temperatures will in the 70s to low 80s, with scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms. Localized heavy downpours are possible. Overnight lows will be in the low to mid 60s.

Friday will be in the 70s to mid 80 with scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Overnight temperatures will be in the low to mid 60s.

Saturday will be dry with temperatures in the mid 70s to mid 80s. Just a slight chance of afternoon showers. Overnight temperatures will be in the upper 50s to mid 60s.

Sunday highs will be in the mid 70s to mid 80s with continued dry conditions. Overnight temperatures will be in the upper 50s to mid 60s.

Monday temperatures will be in the 70s. Precipitation is questionable due to Hurricane Florence. Overnight temperatures will be in the 60s.

Tuesday highs will be in the 70s. Precipitation is questionable due to Hurricane Florence. Overnight temperatures will be in the 60s.

Wednesday highs will be in the 60s to low 70s. Precipitation is questionable due to Hurricane Florence. Overnight temperatures will be in the 60s.

The seven-day precipitation amounts will range from an inch to over three inches. Highly dependent on track of moisture from Hurricane Florence.

The 8-14 day outlook (Sept 20-26) slightly favors below-normal temperatures for part of the state and slightly favors above-normal precipitation for western to central NY.

Maps of 8-14 day outlooks:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/814day/index.php

National Weather Service watch/warnings map:
http://www.weather.gov/erh/

US Drought Monitor
http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home.aspx

Drought Impact Reporter:
http://droughtreporter.unl.edu/map

CLIMOD2 (NRCC data interface):
http://climodtest.nrcc.cornell.edu

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September 4, 2018
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on Sudden Death Syndrome and Soybean Cyst Nematode in Soybeans

Sudden Death Syndrome and Soybean Cyst Nematode in Soybeans

By Jaime Cummings – NYS Integrated Pest Management Program

Sudden Death Syndrome (photo by Jaime Cummings)

It has been an optimal year for sudden death syndrome (SDS) in some parts of New York State.  Reports and diagnoses have been received in western and northern NY fields.  This disease is favored by cool, wet spring conditions, followed by hot and dry weather.  The infection occurs very early, at germination and emergence, but symptoms rarely appear before reproductive stages and pod filling.  Symptoms are most obvious as interveinal chlorosis on the leaves, and can be confused with other diseases that have similar foliar symptoms, including brown stem rot and northern stem canker.  Splitting the stems of an SDS infected plant will reveal a white pith with discoloration of the vascular tissue of lower stems (see photo).

Few varieties adapted to our region are available with moderate resistance to this disease, and rotation is not very effective since the pathogen can survive for many years in the soil and on other crop debris.  The ILeVO seed treatment has shown good results in trials from other states, and may be your best bet for managing SDS in fields with a history of the disease.  Improving drainage and compaction and delaying planting until soils have warmed up, in addition to planting moderately resistant varieties (where available) with seed treatments, are good IPM practices for fields affected by this disease.

It’s also important to note that there is a synergistic effect of SDS and the soybean cyst nematode (SCN).  If you have a field with a history of SDS and lower yields, this would be a good candidate for SCN testing.  We are approaching the optimal time to take soil samples for SCN testing.  There are many public and private labs available for SCN testing.  The Cornell plant diagnostic clinic offers this service, and there are a number of labs and clinics that specialize in this service and accept out of state samples.  The most highly recommended testing facilities include the University of Missouri SCN Diagnostics lab, the University of Illinois Plant Clinic, and Midwest Laboratories.  Please see a complete list of testing labs and other information on SCN provided by the SCN Coalition:

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September 4, 2018
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on NYS IPM Weekly Field Crops Pest Report: August 31, 2018

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