Cornell Field Crops News

Timely Field Crops information for the New York Agricultural Community

October 31, 2017
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on Farm Pest Biocontrol Developed in NNY Now Sought Across U.S.

Farm Pest Biocontrol Developed in NNY Now Sought Across U.S.

Lewis County dairy farmer Bernie Gohlert and NNYADP biocontrol nematode project intern Allyson Jones-Brimmer of Cornell prepare a biocontrol nematode application. Photo: NNYADP, Brian P. Whattam

Farmers in New Mexico, Texas, Ohio, and Michigan want to know more about a crop pest solution developed on farms in Northern New York and in the Shields lab at Cornell University.

Initially developed to protect the alfalfa crops so critical to the Northern New York dairy industry, using biocontrol nematodes as a non-chemical management practice has shown promise for reducing not only damage by alfalfa snout beetle but by other field crop and fruit pests.

With a mandate backed by a 30-year commitment from the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, Cornell University entomologist Dr. Elson Shields and Research Specialist Antonio Testa pioneered the science of using a combination of two NY-native nematodes to reduce the alfalfa snout beetle populations that were frequently destroying entire fields of alfalfa in one season.

Once they proved the biocontrol nematodes, in a single application, could significantly reduce the pest population by destroying alfalfa snout beetle larvae over multiple growing seasons, Shields and Testa tested and found success with the use of the biocontrol nematodes for managing pests in strawberry and blueberry crops.

Current funding from the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is underwriting on-farm trials evaluating the impact of biocontrol nematodes on corn rootworm in corn grown in rotation on alfalfa acres.

In June 2017, New Mexico-based researchers established a biocontrol nematode test plot in an alfalfa field infested with white fringe beetle, an insect similar to alfalfa snout beetle and similarly not controlled by conventional pesticide treatment.

If soil samples analyzed this fall by the Shields Lab show establishment of the microscopic biocontrol nematodes in the trial plot in northeastern New Mexico, the research will be expanded to include the potential to control white fringe beetle and longer-term persistence studies.

In West Texas, near Dalhart, a biocontrol nematode trial was established in May 2017 in a cornfield with severe corn rootworm populations. Rootworm populations in the area are suspected of becoming resistant to the various Bt-rootworm toxins incorporated into corn varieties.

Shields notes, ‘We did not expect any positive results from the West Texas trial until 2018, but the biocontrol nematodes reduced the rootworm feeding damage by two-thirds compared to conventional corn planted without soil insecticide. The NY-native nematodes performed beyond expectations under the extremely heavy pressure.’

Recently analyzed samples from the West Texas trial showed the biocontrol nematode population there has dramatically increased.

Shields and colleagues in Ohio and Michigan are awaiting response to a USDA grant request to test the NY-native biocontrol nematodes against corn rootworm in those states and to continuing the promising field work in Texas.

Northern New York farmers on 100 farms have applied the biocontrol nematodes to more than 19,000 acres of alfalfa as of September 2017.

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program commitment to the science needed to develop a solution fostered a sound, science-based approach that has provided farmers with a biocontrol system utilizing naturally-occuring and persistent soil nematodes in tandem with progressively-bred alfalfa snout beetle-resistant alfalfa varieties developed by a separately-funded NNYADP project led by Dr. Donald Viands and Dr. Julie L. Hansen of the Cornell University Plant Breeding and Genetics Department.

The Northern New York biocontrol nematode research has also attracted international attention. In June 2015, a Russian delegation representing the largest milk producer in Russia and Europe traveled to Northern New York specifically to meet with Dr. Shields and tour regional farms seeing the results of applying the biocontrol nematodes.

In Europe, alfalfa snout beetle is also a pest of grapes and hops, newly emerging agricultural crops across New York State. The New York Farm Viability Institute, which funds projects statewide, is currently funding biocontrol nematode trials against pests in corn, sod, apples, strawberries and greenhouse crops in the Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley and other regions of New York State.

The history, results and widespread impact of alfalfa snout beetle research are chronicled on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org.

The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provides research and technical assistance to farmers in 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 by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

MORE INFO:
See a connection on the home page at www.nnyagdev.org for history on the invasive alfalfa snout beetle arrival in New York State, when the solution seeking research began, and a new business enterprise that developed as a result of the research.

October 23, 2017
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on Northern NY Research Tests Corn-Rye Double Cropping Yield, Conservation Opportunities

Northern NY Research Tests Corn-Rye Double Cropping Yield, Conservation Opportunities

Could this cornfield support a winter crop? Northern New York Agricultural Development Program-funded research is testing corn-rye combination yield, conservation opportunities.

Harvested cornfields may look barren, but in some a winter-hardy crop is already growing. The results of field trial research funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program evaluating the opportunity to grow winter rye planted in Northern NY cornfields are posted at www.nnyagdev.org.

W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, Chazy, N.Y. Is leading the double cropping research. A second of trials assessed the yield and quality of the two crops grown on the same acreage and the opportunity for conservation benefits.

‘Our field work in both years suggests that the presence of the rye cover crop reduced losses of nitrogen and phosphorus in field surface runoff,’ said project leader and Miner Institute Agronomist Eric O. Young.

‘Double cropping with rye and corn silage may be a good fit for farms in Northern New York looking to increase hay forage production while reducing nutrient losses,’ Young added.

Overwintering forage crops such as winter rye, also known as cereal rye, germinate at cooler temperatures and are hardy against Northern New York cold and snow.

‘Establishing a winter forage crop such as rye or triticale after corn silage harvest can reduce soil erosion and improve soil health, and can potentially supply a hay forage crop for spring harvest, but attention to management and the right growing conditions are needed,’ said Young.

The research team has developed insight into practices that could improve the opportunity for yield from both the corn silage crop and the winter rye crop.

The 2016 trials showed that planting corn for silage following a winter rye crop can decrease the corn yield significantly. The corn silage yields were approximately four tons per acre lower in the winter rye plots that year,’ Young said.

He suspects that rye actively growing when the corn was planted in the 2016 trial and no-till planting to establish the corn crop likely exacerbated a yield penalty associated with the rye.

In the 2017 trials, rye and control plots were disked prior to planting corn and there was no significant difference in corn yield.

Young suggests that the rye should be terminated two weeks prior to planting corn in combination with some level of tillage to increase the rye biomass decomposition and allow for easier planting and more consistent planting depth for the corn.

This project is taking advantage of small field plots equipped with tile and surface monitoring capability funded earlier by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program. Those plots were used to evaluate the impact of tile drains on phosphorus loss and will assist the double cropping project by indicating how the winter rye impacts the loss of nitrogen and phosphorus in field runoff.

The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provides research and technical assistance to farmers in 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 by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

October 9, 2017
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on NNY Corn Yield Potential Research Update: Strengthening Future Crop Production

NNY Corn Yield Potential Research Update: Strengthening Future Crop Production

Photo: Cornell University, Quirine Ketterings

Data from the 2017 fall corn harvest in Northern New York will help Cornell University researchers re-evaluate a corn yield potential database used by farmers and crop advisers to determine the nitrogen needed via fertilizer or manure application to achieve an optimal corn crop under most conditions in the region. A report on this research in 2013 through 2016 is posted on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org.

The Re-Evaluating Yield Potentials of Corn Grain and Silage in Northern New York project is funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program to learn how advances in corn breeding and production practices are impacting crop yields and if the associated nitrogen application guidelines need updating.

‘The farmers and farm advisers in Northern New York were frontrunners in the database re-evaluation that started in 2013,’ said research leader Dr. Quirine M. Ketterings of the Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program, Ithaca, N.Y. ‘With more yield monitors in use, we now have a great opportunity to more quickly and more widely obtain real-field data.’

While early on-farm trials showed substantial agreement between yield potentials and actual yields when averaged across fields, there were notable exceptions between actual harvest and yield potential expectations in some fields.

‘Over the three-year study, one-third of fields tested yielded less than 90 percent of the yield potential, while 26 percent of the fields evaluated yielded more than 110 percent of the Cornell yield potential,’ Ketterings noted.

Increasing reliability of yield monitor equipment and data, greater yield monitor use, and development by the Cornell team of a more reliable approach for handling yield data sets in recent months allows for much quicker evaluations of yield across a larger number of soil types.

Yield map data from the corn harvesting in Northern New York will also be added to the statewide yield potential database and used to refine nitrogen application recommendations for future corn planting.

Jefferson and Lewis County farmers who wish to contribute to the corn yield database project may contact Cornell Cooperative Extension NNY Regional Field Crops Specialist Mike Hunter at 315-788-8540; farmers in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and St. Lawrence counties may contact Cornell Cooperative Extension NNY Regional Field Crops and Soils Specialist Kitty O’Neil at 315-854-1218. Mike Contessa of Champlain Valley Agronomics is also a key collaborator to the project.

The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provides research and technical assistance to farmers in the six northernmost counties of New York State. 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.

MORE INFORMATION:
The statewide corn silage and grain yields from 1919 through 2015 show that yields have steadily increased since the second World War in New York State and in Northern New York. The data show, however, large year-to-year variation and very limited advances over the past 10 years.

Each of the more than 600 soil types found in New York State has an estimated yield potential in the Cornell University soil database.

Weather-related conditions from drought to excessive rainfall impact year-to-year differences in crop yield, thus, multiple years of data need to be collected for each soil type of agricultural importance.

October 6, 2017
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on The Capital Area Ag Report – October 5, 2017

Here is this week’s Ag Report: http://bit.ly/2fY9dee

In this issue:
Grain Storage Management

Aaron Gabriel
Sr. Extension Resource Educator, Agronomy
Cornell Cooperative Extension
415 Lower Main St.
Hudson Falls, NY 12839
518-380-1496 cell
518-746-2560 office
adg12@cornell.edu
www.fieldcrops.org

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Capital Area Agriculture and Horticulture Program
http://blogs.cornell.edu/capitalareaagandhortprogram/

 

October 2, 2017
by Cornell Field Crops
Comments Off on 2017 NNY Harvest Data Will Add to BMR vs Non-BMR Corn Research

2017 NNY Harvest Data Will Add to BMR vs Non-BMR Corn Research

Corn harvesting at Miner Institute, site of NNYADP BMR vs. Non-BMR Corn Research

Chazy, N.Y. The 2017 corn harvest in Northern New York is providing data to researchers with a grant from the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program to compare forage quality and yield between two distinct types of corn.

‘We are interested to see if yields for the 2017 crop will continue to show no consistent difference between the BMR and non-BMR hybrids grown for silage,’ said project leader Eric O. Young, research agronomist at the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, Chazy, N.Y.

‘In our regional trials to date the BMR hybrids have had a distinct advantage in fiber digestibility and therefore milk production potential,’ Young added.

Brown MidRib, or BMR, corn has a naturally-occurring genetic variation that produces higher fiber digestibility that, in turn, increases the milk production potential of dairy cows. However, farmers are concerned that BMR corn may not yield as well as non-BMR corn hybrids.

‘Until this project funded by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program there has been relatively little research evaluating performance among brown midrib hybrids and non-BMR hybrids with respect to yield and forage quality,’ Young noted.

The research in Northern NY includes commercially-available BMR hybrids currently on the market.

Data from the 2017 harvest will be compared with trial results with five corn hybrids grown at two farm sites in 2015 and 2016. Crop samples were evaluated for yield, digestibility, percent dry matter, acidity, starch and other components, silage fermentation and quality after harvest.

Young notes, ‘The differences in yield, starch, and fiber digestibility all have important implications for dairy ration formulation and farm economics. Our early results in the Northern New York trials have shown clear differences in fiber digestibility related to corn hybrid genetics.’

This research provides a data foundation for analyzing the potential milk production impact of using BMR and non-BMR hybrids in the dairy cow total mixed ration.

The 2015 and 2016 NNY BMR evaluation reports are posted on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org.

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program funds agricultural research and technical assistance in 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 by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

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