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R4-R5 Pod Development Stage in Soybeans as well as a new Weed Pest in Western New York

This is me scouting Soybeans at one of the farms participating in the TAg Soybean team of Ontario County in Western New York.

As we move into August, the main focus with soybeans is pod development and maturation. Of the seven fields participating in the TAg Team of Ontario County here in Western New York all of them seem to be right on track for a good return at harvest time. The plants are between the R4 and R5 growth stages. The “R” stands for reproductive stage and the numbers are a mere gauge for the growth of the bean pods. As of right now the plants that are at the R4 growth stage are at an average length of 2 cm long at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem with a fully developed leaf. The plants that are at the R5 growth stage has pods that are 3mm in length and is at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem with a fully developed leaf. The biggest concern now for growers is to keep beating the drought like conditions that have been coming in stages. The pods need moisture in order for the pods to fill, so rain is a welcomed friend to the growers.

Close up of Field Horse tail weed.

In other news, I have been seeing a new weed in some of the Soybean fields that I have been scouting that is a rising concern for the agriculture community, Field Horsetail.  Field Horsetail has been found worldwide but predominantly in cereals and grasses, but it can also be found in vegetable crops, pastures, landscape settings, woodlands, waste areas, and roadsides as well as along railroads. It can tolerate a range of soil conditions but does best in sandy, gravely, or wet poorly drained soils. Field horsetail is resistant to most agronomic herbicides, and can survive under many conditions because of its deep rhizomes and tubers. Rhizome fragments and tubers are easily spread to new areas in infested soil through farm machinery. As a result, this species is often difficult to control. It can be a strong competitor with crops, as well as a threat to grazing animals due to toxic compounds. In addition, field horsetail extracts can inhibit germination and reduce vigor of 30 grass species. With its high resistance and few answers as to how and control this weed, it is becoming a big concern to growers.

A patch of Field Horsetail Weed found on the edge of a field in Ontario County.

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