USDA to Measure Small Grain Production

During the week of August 26th, growers of small grains around the country will receive survey forms from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The agency is taking a comprehensive look into the 2019 production and supply of small grains, which include wheat, oats, barley, and rye.

“The small grains industry is an important part of Northeastern agriculture and it is crucial for all involved with the agriculture sector to have accurate data about this key sector of the economy,” explained King Whetstone, director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. “We will contact more than 4,000 producers in Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to accurately measure 2019 acreage, yield, and production for small grain crops. The data collected from this survey will also help set small grain acreage, yield, and production estimates at the county level, to be published in December 2019.”

NASS will contact survey participants to gather information on their 2019 production and the quantities of whole grains and oilseeds stored on farm. As an alternative to mailing the survey back, and to help save both time and money, growers will have the option to securely respond to the survey online. Farmers who have not responded by August 30, 2019 may receive a phone call or visit from a NASS representative who will help them fill out the survey form.

“NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents and publishes only county, State and National level data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified,” stated Whetstone. “We recognize that this is a hectic time for farmers and ranchers, but the information they provide helps U.S. agriculture remain viable and capable. I urge them to respond to these surveys and thank them for their time and cooperation,” said King Whetstone.

NASS will analyze the survey information and publish the results in a series of USDA reports, including the annual Small Grains Summary and quarterly Grain Stocks reports, both to be released September 30, 2019. Survey data also contribute to NASS’s monthly and annual Crop Production reports, and the USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board’s monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE).

All NASS reports are available online at For more information call the NASS Northeastern Regional Office at (800) 498-1518.

USDA-NASS: Farm Computer Usage and Ownership Highlights

General computer usage and internet access categories increased from 2017 to 2019 in the United States. Nationally, 75 percent of farms reported having access to the internet, while 83 percent of farms in New York reported having access to the internet. Farms that used a desktop or laptop computer to conduct farm business was down 4 percent from 2017 in New York. While nearly 60 percent of the farms in New York used a smart phone or tablet to conduct farm business, equal to that in 2017. Notably, the percentage of farms with internet access in 2019 was 81, down from 83 in 2017.

In 2019, 21 percent of N.Y. farms used satellite, significantly up from 8 percent in 2017, and 25 percent of farms used a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) to access the internet. Since 2017, Satellite and DSL continue to be the most popular choices that United States farms use to access the internet. While mobile access has also seen an increase since 2017, up 3 percent.

For the complete “Farm Computer Usage and Ownership” report, go to:

Weather Outlook – August 22, 2019

A pretty tranquil week is in store for New York.  Temperatures will be very close to normal and there will be little if any rainfall through late Tuesday at the earliest.  Daytime high temperatures will be mainly in the 70s to low 80s at best through Tuesday and a bit warmer on Wednesday (low- mid 80s). Nights will be clear and crisp with lows from the low 50s to about 60 across the state.  By Wednesday lows will be in 60s everywhere.  Over the weekend upstate locations will see lows in the 40s especially in the North Country and Southern Tier, which is normal for late August.  Expect less than an inch of rain for the week. The week 2 period which will take us into early September appears to be near normal temperature-wise, maybe a tad on the warm side.  There will be a weak trough to our west which will give us a few chances of rain in this period, but I would not expect any big rain producers with such a pattern.

Weather Outlook – August 15, 2019

NOAA Northeast Regional Climate Center, Cornell University

Last week temperatures ranged within 2 degrees of normal. Precipitation has ranged from a quarter inch to 3 inches. Base 50 growing degree-days ranged from 80 to 160.

An active weather pattern expected for the week. Temperatures and humidity will increase for the end of the weekend into next week.

Thursday a week frontal system will bring a chance for showers and thunderstorms, a few strong storms could develop with gusty winds, hail, & brief downpours; northern areas of the state will stay dry and sunny. Temperatures will be in the 70s to near 80. Overnight lows will be in the mid 50s to mid 60s with overnight showers and thunderstorms.

Friday scattered showers and thunderstorms will move through, with increased humidity and temperatures in the mid 70s to low 80s. Overnight temperatures will be in the mid 50s to mid 60s.

Saturday temperatures will be in the low to mid 80s with afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Overnight temperatures will be in the upper 50s to mid 60s.

Sunday highs will be in the 80s to near 90 with increased chances for shows and thunderstorms with gusty winds. Overnight temperatures will be in the 60s.

Monday will be warm and humid with temperatures in the 80s to near 90. Showers and thunderstorms are possible. Overnight temperatures will be in the 60s.

Tuesday highs will be in the 80s. Overnight temperatures will be in the 60s.

Wednesday highs will be in the low to mid 80s. A cold front is expected to bring cooler temperatures and lower humidity. Overnight temperatures will be in the 60s.

The seven-day precipitation amounts will range from a quarter inch to one and a quarter inches.

The 8-14 day outlook (August 22-28) favors above-normal temperatures for the state, with high probability. The outlook slightly favors below-normal precipitation for northern and eastern areas and near-normal precipitation for the rest of the state.

Maps of 8-14 day outlooks:

National Weather Service watch/warnings map:

US Drought Monitor

Drought Impact Reporter:

CLIMOD2 (NRCC data interface):

More Pokeweed than Usual?

Jaime Cummings and Ken Wise (NYS IPM), Jeff Miller, Mike Hunter and Paul Cerosaletti (CCE)

We are receiving reports and more questions than usual on pokeweed incidence this season from various parts of the state.  Particularly with regards to it seemingly surviving glyphosate applications in fields.  Some of us are familiar with this large weed, and know that once established in your fields, it can be a serious challenge to eradicate.  And, sometimes by the time you notice it, it has already flowered and set fruit, and the birds are helping to spread it further.

Here are some quick questions and answers on pokeweed:

Why is pokeweed so challenging to manage?  It’s a perennial with a very large and persistent taproot, and is also a prolific seed producer with a wide emergence period.

Why is pokeweed becoming more prevalent?  Plowing and soil-applied residual herbicides were the typical management strategies for this weed.  With the widespread adoption of no-till or conservation tillage practices, and a move away from some of those residual herbicides in combination with less crop rotation diversity, we are experiencing a resurgence of pokeweed.

Why do I still have pokeweed in my fields that were treated with glyphosate?  Pokeweed seedlings can emerge from May – August, which means that you may have missed some of the later emerging seedlings during your typical early-season corn and soybean herbicide applications, especially if you didn’t include a residual herbicide in the mix.  And, since pokeweed is a perennial, you may be trying to kill plants that over-wintered and have established huge and hardy taproots.  It’s challenging to kill any weed with well-established taproots with a single herbicide application.

Pokeweed seedling emergence
Figure 1. Research at Penn State University illustrates seasonal patterns pokeweed seedling emergence. This figure can be found as part of a larger presentation, available at

Pokeweed seedlings can emerge continuously throughout the summer, with a peak in May and ending in August (Fig. 1).  This long period of emergence makes it difficult to manage with a single-pass program of post-emergence herbicides alone.  And, it’s important to manage any seedlings that emerge later in the season, because although they are unlikely to set seed that season, they can produce a serious taproot to overwinter and pop up the following year (Fig. 2).  Research by K. Patches at Penn State University from 2011-2013 investigated the biology and management of pokeweed, and determined that many herbicides (including glyphosate and plant growth regulators) provided at least 80% control, when applied with either air induction or flat fan nozzles (Figs. 3 & 4).  And, in those trials, glyphosate applications after mid-June provided better control than applications made earlier in the season (Fig. 5).  This is because systemic herbicides applied at flowering on perennials are more likely to be translocated down to the roots to kill the taproot.  For increased later season pokeweed control, consider rotating into a small grain crop and applying herbicides in August to kill the seedlings that emerged after your typical soybean or corn herbicide applications.

Pokeweed seedling continual emergence
Figure 2. Pokeweed seedling continual emergence May – August, as observed in research ( at Penn State University. (Photos by K. Patches)
Chart showing effect of corn herbicides on pokeweed
Figure 3. Results from Penn State research trials on herbicide efficacy against pokeweed in corn 12 weeks after application. (Figure courtesy of Penn State University)
Chart showing effect of soybean herbicides on pokeweed
Figure 4. Results from Penn State research trials on herbicide efficacy against pokeweed in soybean 12 weeks after application. (Figure courtesy of Penn State University)
Effect of glyphosate application timing on pokeweed
Figure 5. Timing of glyphosate applications for controlling pokeweed in corn and soybean. (Figure courtesy of Penn State University)

Weather Outlook – August 8, 2019

NOAA Northeast Regional Climate Center, Cornell University

Last week temperatures ranged within 2 degrees of normal. Precipitation has ranged from a hundredth of an inch to near 3 inches. Base 50 growing degree-days ranged from 70 to 170.

A cold front will bring strong to severe storms on Thursday, with cooler and dryer weather following.

Today a cold front will bring afternoon to evening showers and thunderstorms with gusty winds, hail, and heavy rain possible; temperatures in the mid 70s to 80s. Overnight lows will be in the mid 50s to low 60s.

Friday will be cooler and windy with temperatures in the 70s and isolated afternoon showers. Overnight temperatures will be in the 50s.

Saturday temperatures will be in the 70s with mostly dry conditions, a few isolated showers are possible. Overnight temperatures will be in the 50s.

Sunday will be sunny with highs in the 70s and low 80s. Overnight temperatures will be in the 50s with showers overnight.

Monday temperatures will be in the mid 70s to mid 80s with possible showers. Overnight temperatures will be in the mid 50s to low 60s.

Tuesday highs will be in the mid 70s to mid 80s. Overnight temperatures will be in mid 50s to low 60s. Showers and thunderstorms will be possible Tuesday into Wednesday.

Wednesday highs will be in the mid 70s to mid 80s. Overnight temperatures will be in the mid 50s to low 60s.

The seven-day precipitation amounts will range from a hundredth of an inch to one and a quarter inches.

The 8-14 day outlook (August 15-21) favors near-normal temperatures for most of the state; slightly favors above-normal temperatures for southwest NY. The outlook slightly favors below-normal precipitation for all of the state.

Maps of 8-14 day outlooks:

National Weather Service watch/warnings map:

US Drought Monitor

Drought Impact Reporter:

CLIMOD2 (NRCC data interface):

Incentive Program Survey – make your voice heard!

Cover crop, Diakon radish field and blue sky

Cornell University, with support from Sustainable, Agriculture, Research, and Education (SARE), is conducting a survey for all fruit, vegetable, field crop, grain, and mixed crop-livestock producers in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Vermont to identify the biggest challenges that farmers face, as well as the best solutions in regards to cover crop incentive programs. You do not need to have experience with cover crops to participate.

Our goal is to understand what the most important factors are for farm owners and managers when deciding whether or not to use incentive programs. Notably, the survey also provides an opportunity to share your experience managing issues related to cover crops and incentive program requirements.

Key findings from the survey will be published and communicated to grower organizations and other farmer advocates so that recommendations, actions, and outcomes reflect what you identify as being most helpful for your operation. Whether your farm is small or large, organic or conventional – your responses to this survey can be a powerful tool for change.

Please click the below link fill out the survey:

Tall Waterhemp and Herbicide Resistant Marestail found in Northern NY

Mike Hunter, North Country Regional Ag Team, Cornell University Cooperative Extension

We knew that it was only going to be a matter of time before we found herbicide resistant tall waterhemp and marestail in NNY.  In July, we confirmed two fields on two different Jefferson County farms that have herbicide resistant marestail and three fields on one farm that has tall waterhemp seedlings.

Tall waterhempUpon further investigation and doing some additional field testing we have strong evidence to believe that the two marestail populations are resistant to both Group 9 (glyphosate, i.e. Roundup) and Group 2 (ALS herbicides, i.e. Classic, FirstRate) herbicide Sites of Action.  This finding is not surprising due to the fact that the seeds of marestail are windblown and can be easily moved 50 to 100 miles.

The tall waterhemp (see photo) was found in three adjacent fields on a farm in Jefferson County.  Prior to this finding there were nine counties in NYS with confirmed populations of herbicide resistant tall waterhemp. While we cannot be sure that the tall waterhemp found in Jefferson County is resistant to any particular herbicide.  We can certainly assume that it will be resistant to Group 9 herbicides based on the fact that all current populations of tall waterhemp in NY is known to be resistant to this herbicide family.  We are currently working closely with this grower and will be doing additional testing to confirm its resistance to different herbicide families.

For additional information about marestail and tall waterhemp, I would encourage you to read an article on pages four and five of the CCE NCRAT North Country Ag Advisor May 2019 newsletter

If you suspect you have one of these weeds on your farm or have a weed that is surviving applications of glyphosate please contact your local CCE Field Crop Specialist if you’re outside NNY or one of the CCE North Country Regional Field Crop Specialists Mike Hunter (315)788-8450 or Kitty O’Neil (315)854-1218.  Don’t be afraid to bring this to our attention because we will keep farm name and field locations confidential.

Immature and Variable Maturity Corn Silage for 2019

Kitty O’Neil, Ph.D, Field Crops & Soils Specialist and Team Leader – North Country Regional Ag Team, Cornell University Cooperative Extension

This has been a challenging year to grow corn in the North Country.  Extremely wet weather delayed or prevented field fitting and corn planting, and saturated soil conditions limited plant development in June and early July.  Despite this poor start, some corn fields look remarkably good, almost normal.  But most fields are weeks behind and may be sporting some version of the ‘rollercoaster’ look – with bare spots, replanted areas and plants of variable height and maturity.  Some fields, or parts of fields, will probably not reach full maturity while the best parts may.  Some corn plants will have normal ears; some plants may have unusually small ears or poor grain fill, or even no ears at all, at harvest time. Dr. Bill Cox at Cornell determined that corn requires 750 to 800 GDD86/50 from silking, to reach 32% moisture, nearly harvesting stage.  This variable maturity will present some problems when chopping silage in a few weeks.  Dr. Larry Chase from Cornell University has outlined some key points to keep in mind during corn silage harvest in this sort of year.  He makes 4 main points.

Late planted and thin corn field in St. Lawrence County, July 1, 2019.
Late planted and thin corn field in St. Lawrence County, July 1, 2019. Photo by K. O’Neil.

Yield will be highly variable and difficult to estimate. Dr. Greg Roth at Penn State suggests that silage yield for corn without ears or with poorly pollinated ears may be 1 ton of wet silage yield (30% DM) per foot of plant height. An older study at Cornell by Dr. Bill Cox indicates that silage yields at the dough stage are 65 to 70% of yields at the milk line stage.  In the same study, yields at the silk stage were 40 to 45% of those obtained at the milk line stage.

Some growers like to estimate yield and quality of standing corn so that it may be sold for silage before harvest.  Estimating yield of highly variable fields is risky.  It’s possible to weigh DM from sampled row lengths and calculate yield of the whole field, but the number of samples required for an accurate estimate in these variable fields is prohibitively high.  Instead, as fields are chopped, silage wagons or trucks should be counted and a representative sample of them should be weighed to calculate a more accurate yield and price.

Harvest management requires some additional planning and checking.  When the most mature plants in a corn field are at the proper dry matter (DM) content for harvest (32-24% DM), the less mature plants will be much wetter (less than 30%).  For fields with variable maturity, wait until the average whole plant DM for the field is 32-34% DM.  Harvesting wetter forage will increase runoff losses from the silage and make it difficult to get a good fermentation.  If possible, store immature corn silage separately from proper maturity silage.

Check chopper settings and particle size of the material coming out of the chopper. If using the Penn State box, target 10-20% on the top screen and < 40% in the pan. This may require increasing length of cut.  Since ear and kernel development on under-developed corn is poor, kernel processing may not be needed.  Follow normal silage management practices of filling fast, packing and covering the top with plastic or with oxygen limiting barriers.  Immature corn silage is generally high in readily available carbohydrates to support good fermentation, however, it may be low in the natural bacterial population entering the silo on the corn plant. The addition of a lactic acid-based inoculant may be beneficial to stimulate fermentation in this case.  Lastly, give the silo 3-4 months of fermentation before feeding out.

Estimating value for corn silage when it is so variable – is tough.  The sale price of variable maturity or immature corn silage will depend on yield, dry matter content and nutrient composition. Dr. Bill Weiss at Ohio State indicates that immature corn silage is worth about 85% of the economic value of normal corn silage – if it is the same dry matter content.  Dr. Larry Chase provides examples of price calculations that consider the Ohio State conversion and variable DM content.

If the value of “normal’ corn silage = $70/ton (assuming 35% DM), then the value of immature corn silage = $70 * 0.85 = $59.50 (still assumes 35% DM). If the actual dry matter of the immature corn silage is only 27%, then the adjusted price = 27/35 *$59.50 = $45.90/ton.  To ballpark the value of the standing crop, use 70% of the adjusted price. This would be $41.65 for this example of immature corn silage at 27% DM standing in the field.

Penn State researchers have developed a more detailed spreadsheet for pricing standing corn for corn silage based on the value of grain corn.

When using any of these methods for valuing corn for corn silage in 2019, consider that estimating yield of the standing crop may be the most uncertain component in your calculations.  Therefore it may be best to count and weigh trucks or wagons rather than estimate yield.

Nutritional value of this immature and variable crop will present another challenge. In addition to variable moisture content, nutrient composition of the corn silage will also vary with maturity, so periodically collect samples of the chopped forage during harvest to provide information on the nutrient content of the silage for use in ration balancing.  Less mature corn is likely to be higher in crude protein, higher in fiber, higher in sugar and lower in starch than normal corn silage.  Because the fiber in immature corn is more digestible, the energy value of immature silage may be 85-95% of normal, despite the significantly lower starch content.  A wet chemistry analysis may be more accurate than NIR analysis since NIR calibrations for normal corn silage may not accurately predict immature silage composition.

Work with your nutritionist to determine the best use for your variable maturity or immature corn silage.  You may decide to feed immature corn silage only to specific groups of cows or young stock depending on its nutrient composition. Immature corn silage can have higher acetic acid content after fermentation which can decrease dry matter intake if not neutralized. The addition of sodium bicarbonate added to the ration at 0.75% of total ration dry matter may help.

Additional resources:

    1. Working with Immature Corn Silage. August 2013. L. E. Chase, Cornell University.
    2. Pricing Standing Corn Spreadsheet. Beck et al.  Penn State Cooperative Extension.

For more information about field crop and soil management, contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office or your CCE Regional Field Crops and Soils Specialists, Mike Hunter and Kitty O’Neil.

Kitty O’Neil Mike Hunter
CCE Canton Office CCE Watertown
(315) 854-1218 (315) 788-8450

Zinc Deficiency in Corn

Kitty O’Neil, Field Crops & Soils Specialist and Team Leader – North Country Regional Ag Team, Cornell University Cooperative Extension

Corn can exhibit interveinal chlorosis (striped leaves) as a result of several factors – nutrient deficiencies or other causes.  Many times, these stripes appear during a cold, wet spring and later disappear.

Nutrient deficiencies that can cause striped leaves include sulfur, manganese, magnesium and zinc.

  • Sulfur deficiency can occur on low organic matter, coarse soils receiving little or no manure or other organic inputs.
  • Manganese deficiency can occur when soils are dry for extended periods or in high pH soils.
  • Magnesium deficiency can occur in low pH, coarse soils or when soil K is especially high.
  • Zinc deficiency can occur in high pH, coarse, low OM soils – especially in a cold, wet spring.
  • Lastly, herbicide or nematode damage can cause striped leaves sometimes too.

On a typical NYS dairy farm where fields are have a reasonable pH and plenty of manure applied, early season striping in corn is usually caused by Zn deficiency caused by the cool, wet spring.  Striping often goes away as the season warms up and plants grow.  Tissue testing can help to diagnose a nutrient deficiency if the symptoms persist or are severe.

For a deeper dive into zinc deficiency, see the Nutrient Management Spear Program’s Fact Sheet #32.