NNY Corn and Soybean Disease Survey Alerts Growers to New Arrivals

The Northern New York corn and soybean disease survey work will continue in 2017 with new funding from the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program. Photo: Scott Bauer, USDA

Two soybean diseases not previously confirmed in Northern New York crops were identified in 2016 by the annual corn and soybean disease survey and assessment funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program. The proactive disease assessment program helps protect the security and profitability of corn and soybean, two major agricultural crops fro the Northern New York region.

Survey project leader and Cornell University plant pathologist Dr. Gary C. Bergstrom, Ithaca, NY, notes, ‘The unusually dry conditions of the 2016 growing season resulted in very low disease pressure for corn and soybeans in general across Northern New York, but provided a unique environment which favored the development of some soybean soil-borne diseases never before confirmed in the region.’

The soil-borne charcoal rot and Phythophthora root rot were confirmed in soybean in Northern New York for the first time in 2016. Fusarium root rot was first diagnosed in soybean in the region in 2015 and was present again in 2016. Northern stem canker was first identified in soybeans in Northern New York in 2014 and in 2015 and 2016.

Northern corn leaf blight was observed at relatively low levels in NNY cornfields in 2016. Bergstrom suggests regional growers plant corn hybrids with moderate resistance to the disease in 2016. Northern corn leaf blight has been identified as the most prevalent disease affecting corn production every year since this survey effort began in 2013. It occurred at its lowest levels, however, in 2016.

Prior to 2013 no systematic assessment of corn and soybean diseases had been made in the region for decades. Bergstrom is urging Northern New York growers to be alert to a potential resurgence of corn head smut which has not been a major concern in the region since the 1980s but was identified in crops in the western part of the area in 2014 and 2015.

Fifty-six farms located across the six-county Northern New York region participated in the 2016 survey. Cornell University Cooperative Extension Field Crop Specialists Mike Hunter and Kitty O’Neil noted disease symptoms and collected samples for analysis by the Bergstrom Lab at Cornell University and as needed by Wang Lab of the USDA at Cornell University. Soybean disease results for 2012 – 2016 are posted to the Cornell Field Crops website at https://fieldcrops.cals.cornell.edu/soybeans/diseases-soybeans/soybean-disease-survey.

The results of the regional work are being added to Cornell’s statewide mapping of the distribution of corn and soybean diseases to help growers make well-informed seed selection and crop management decisions.

The Northern New York corn and soybean disease survey work will continue in 2017 with new funding from the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, a research and technical assistance program serving Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.


Hemp, Alternative Forage, Nutrient Balancing on March 13 New York Certified Organic Agenda

Industrial hemp trials under evaluation by the University of Vermont. Photo: UVM

The last of the 2017 New York Certified Organic winter meetings on Monday, March 13 in Geneva, NY, will include an update on organic hemp production trials plus presentations on nutrient balancing, crop production, and alternative forage production for organic farming systems. Presenters include Cornell University and University of Vermont faculty and a New York organic dairy farmer.

The meeting will start promptly at 10 am in Jordan Hall at 630 West North Street at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva. There is no cost or need to register to attend the NYCO meetings; participants are asked to bring a dish for potluck lunch. The Monday date is a break with the traditional Tuesday meetings.

Dr. Heather Darby, an agronomic and soils specialist with the University of Vermont, will review field trials conducted at the University research farm on organic hemp production in the Northeast and narrow row organic spring grain production.

Dr. Quirine Ketterings of the Cornel University Nutrient Management Spear Program and Cornell PRO-DAIRY Program Senior Extension Associate Karl Czymmek will show how doing annual whole farm mass balance assessments can help farmers understand the long-term capacity to support optimum yields, identify management strategies that will optimize farm nutrient imports and exports, quantify a farm’s footprint and track how it is changing over time, and summarize and evaluate the farm as a whole system.

Organic dairy farmer Tim Demerree from Little Falls, NY, will talk about his experience with growing annuals, including sudangrass, millet and sorghum for forage and how they fit in his crop rotation. Demeree will also share a comparison of the ensiling profiles of baleage using different preservatives. Nutritionist Adam McFarland of Agriking worked with Demeree to develop this comparison.

Round table discussions after lunch provide farmers the opportunity to ask questions and hear from the combined experience of the group that includes new and transitioning farmers and long-time organic producers.

The March 13 NYCO meeting also includes a brief description of how crop insurance can benefit organic farmers.

The New York Crop Insurance Education Team and Cornell Cooperative Extension provide support for the NYCO meetings. For more details, contact Fay Benson, 607-391-2699, afb3@cornell.edu. Benson is an educator with the Cornell University SCNY Regional Team, project manager for the NY Organic Dairy Program, coordinator of the NY Soil Health Trailer, and a member of the New York Crop Insurance Team. Information on past NYCO meetings is online at http://blogs.cornell.edu/organicdairyinitiative/.