Corn Foliar Diseases and Fungicide Application

From Jeff Miller, Ag Program Leader, Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County

A reminder to growers: fungicide application to corn fields is not usually economic unless disease is present in the field.  The below graphic summarizes the results of 100’s of studies on corn yield responses to fungicide applications.

FungicideDiseaseResponseTo read the full article, visit

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Oneida County Scouting Report – July 25, 2014

The latest edition of the Oneida County Scouting Report is out and available through the Oneida County Cooperative Extension’s website.  No major pest problems in most crops. Wheat growers are finding DON in samples that are being tested, so it is important that you test your wheat.  And if you have a few fields … prior to harvest so that you can segregate if you need to.

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New York State Weekly Weather Outlook – July 24, 2014

From Jessica Spaccio, NOAA Northeast Regional Climate Center, Cornell University

Last week temperatures ranged from normal to 6 degrees below normal. Most areas received a trace to an inch of precipitation; part of eastern NY had over an inch.  Base 50 growing degree-days ranged from 60 to 140.

A couple dry and sunny days before unsettled weather arrives with the passage of a warm front on Saturday and lasts into early next week.

Today will be mostly sunny and considerably less humid with temperatures throughout the 70’s.  Overnight temperatures will be in the upper 40’s to mid 50’s.

Friday will be sunny with highs in the mid 70’s to low 80’s.  Low temperatures will be throughout the 50’s.

Saturday will be partly sunny with highs in the upper 70’s to low 80’s with showers and thunderstorms beginning in western NY during the afternoon ahead of a warm front.  The front and associated showers and thunderstorms will track east throughout the evening.  Overnight temperatures will be in the low 60’s.

Sunday will be partly sunny with highs in the upper 70’s to low 80’s and showers and thunderstorms likely.  Overnight temperatures will be in the upper 50’s and low 60’s.

Monday we’ll have a continues chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms with highs in the mid 70’s and low 80’s.  Overnight temperatures will be in the upper 50’s to low 60’s.

Tuesday will be partly sunny and a morning passage of a front will bring cooler air with highs in the upper 60’s to mid 70’s.  There will still be a possibility of scattered showers and thunderstorms.  Lows will be in the 60’s.

Wednesday’s highs will be in the 70’s.  Lows will be in the 50’s.

The five-day precipitation amounts will range from ¾” to 1”; 7-day amounts will range from 1” to 1 ½”.

The 8-14 day outlook (July 31 – Aug 6) is showing below normal temperatures for central to western NY and above normal precipitation for all but the northernmost counties.

Maps of 8-14 day outlooks:

National Weather Service watch/warnings map:

NRCC Drought Page which features the US Drought Monitor map (updated every Thursday):

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Sneaky Pasture Weeds – Sedges and Rushes

by Kitty O’Neil and Mike Hunter, Regional Field Crops and Soils Specialists

We’ve discussed pasture grasses, legumes, pasture weeds and management ideas for pasture improvement on these pages many times before.  All good topics.  When you call to mind pasture weeds though, I’d bet you picture milkweed, goldenrod, a couple different types of thistles and maybe bedstraw.  These are pesky and important weeds in many pastures, but there are other, sneakier weeds that may escape your attention.  These sly and mischievous weeds require closer inspection and a bit more scrutiny to figure out.

Ideally, pastures are dense, perennial sods consisting of mixtures of high-yielding, palatable grasses and legumes.  In reality, most pastures do not quite match this perfect ideal.  Weeds are normally present in some number, ranging from insignificant to seriously problematic, depending on management and history.  Weed density within a pasture can change over time, and can vary from one area to another within a pasture.  You may notice, in your own pastures or hay fields, that weeds are often not distributed uniformly, but rather that some plant species are concentrated on knolls, along the woods, in wet spots, or in high traffic areas.

A well-managed Northern New York pasture.  (Photo: K. O'Neil, August 2013)

A well-managed Northern New York pasture. (Photo: K. O’Neil, August 2013)

Let’s turn our attention to some particularly sneaky weeds that are often, but not always, found in lower, wetter areas of the pasture – the sedges and rushes.  I’m referring to them as ‘sneaky’ because they’re a bit harder to spot in the pasture.  They look a lot like grasses to an amateur observer, but that is about as far as the similarities extend.  As a group, grasses consist of a jointed stem with a few tillers, long and slender leaves with parallel veins.  They range in height from turf to giant bamboo.  Grasses may be annual or perennial but all have their growing points near the soil surface, so they can survive repeated mowing or grazing.  Grasses reproduce via seed or underground structures.  Most of the hay and pasture grass species (bluegrass, orchardgrass, timothy, fescues, reed canarygrass, etc.) are quite palatable and produce moderate to high yields.

Sedge and rush species also have long slender leaves but occupy completely different branches on the evolutionary tree of life than grasses.  Sedges and rushes are perennials that livestock typically avoid, finding them unpalatable.  There are well over 1000 different sedge species, but the most common sedge found in Northeast pastures and hayfields is Yellow Nutsedge.  Yellow nutsedge is noticeable for its pale green color, spiky flowers and underground tubers, but its most distinctive feature is its stem.  If you compare the lower stems of sedges and grasses, you’ll discover that sedges typically have triangular stems without nodes while grasses have round or flattened stems with nodes.  This key difference is the reason for the memorable phrase “sedges have edges, but grasses have knees.”  Sedges reproduce by underground tubers and rhizomes.

Rushes are short plants that resemble grasses and sedges and are also found in lower, wetter areas of a pasture or hayfield, although rushes may grow in drier or compacted areas too.  The unique feature of rushes is their 3-petal, lily-like flowers.  In fact, botanists refer to rushes as “lilies turned to grass” to help them remember their distinctive flowers.  Rushes reproduce by vegetative rhizomes or by seed.  The tough, wiry, round stems of rushes are also avoided by livestock who generally do not find them palatable.  In the Northeast, the most common of the rushes is Slender Rush.

Nutsedge and rushes might be most noticeable as animals are finished with a pasture or paddock.  The livestock will have eaten grasses and other appealing plants, leaving behind patches of Yellow Nutsedge and Slender Rush.  It is disappointing to see large, uneaten areas of low-yielding, unpalatable pasture, but biological features of rush and sedge make them difficult to control.  Their underground reproductive structures make mowing or clipping ineffective as a means for removal, but this strategy can slow their spread, if it is timed before flowering.  Herbicide options for these two weeds are limited, but Permit and Yukon have recently had hay and pasture applications added to their labels.  They may be used on yellow nutsedge in grass pastures with no grazing restriction for lactating or non-lactating animals.  If the field is not too wet for machinery, suitable grasses or legumes can be overseeded with a no-till drill or, as a more drastic measure, the sod may be killed and soil can be tilled for replanting of appropriate grasses and legumes.  Often though, the sedges and rushes occupy areas that may be difficult to access with tractor equipment.  In this case, the field could be tiled for better drainage if that option is economically advantageous.  Legume species such as red or white clover can be frost-seeded in the spring to try and introduce more desirable species, but the rush and sedge species will likely persist.  Sedge and rush weeds take a keen eye to notice, but their impact can be just as important as thistles or milkweed or goldenrod in a pasture or hayfield.  Their presence reduces overall productivity of the field and presents a challenge to the farm manager.

Additional resources:

  1. Uva, Neal and DiTomaso, Weeds of the Northeast, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997.
  2. Kersbergen, R.  2004. Bulletin #2491, This Old Hayfield: A Fact Sheet on Hayfield Renovation.  U Maine Extension.
  3. Specification Guide Sheet For Pasture and Hay Planting (512), Vermont NRCS
  4. Yukon ( and Permit ( herbicides, Gowan Company.

For more information about field crop and soil management, contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office or Kitty O’Neil, Regional Field Crops and Soils Specialist, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, 315-379- 9192 x253;

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Ear to the Ground

by Kitty O’Neil, Ph.D., Regional Field Crops and Soils Specialist

  • Temperatures and growing degree-day accumulations continue to hover above normal across NYS since April 1.    Soils across the state are at least adequately moist; very few areas report dry soils.

- – Accumulations from April 1 to July 6, 2014 – -

Precipitation, inches

GDD Base 50 °F

GDD Base 40 °F









Watertown Int’l Airport







Fort Drum





















Plattsburgh Int’l Airport







Tupper Lake









1 DFN = difference from normal; 2 precipitation days = number of days with ≥ 0.01” precipitation.

  • Corn and soybeans are in and progressing well across the North Country.  Continue to monitor weeds in both crops.  Few insect pests have been problems so far this season in either crop, but monitor soybeans for soybean aphids.
  • Second cutting is progressing slowly.  Recent thunderstorms, wind and hail did not cause much damage to hay fields.  Scout alfalfa for potato leafhopper as a few have been found in alfalfa and soybean fields.
  • Western Bean Cutworm moths are being trapped and monitored across the North Country and the state.  The first moths of the season have now begun to appear in the last 10 days.  Populations have been increasing in the North Country in recent years and peak flight is expected in late July/early August.

Additional resources:

  1. Weekly Crop Progress & Condition Report. 2014.  New York USDA-NASS.

For more information about field crop and soil management, contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office or Kitty O’Neil, Regional Field Crops and Soils Specialist, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, 315-379- 9192 x253;

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