Experts at Lake Region Round Up provide advice
New corn strategies, new provisions in specialty crop contracts and the best flexible crop leases were some of the topics discussed at the 2012 North Dakota State University Extension Lake Region Round Up in Devils Lake, N.D.
• NDSU Extension Round Up provides valuable tips and advice.
• Specialists suggest investing in sidedressing equipment for corn.
• Glyphosate-resistant kochia will likely become the next weed problem.
• Corn strategies. If you are serious about growing corn, you probably should be prepared to sidedress nitrogen, said Joel Ransom, NDSU Extension agronomist. Last year, nitrogen losses from leaching and denitrification were serious enough to reduce North Dakota’s average yield from 134 to 110 bushels per acre. He said spring application of fertilizer plus sidedressing may reduce N losses and increase corn yields. He recommended knifing anhydrous ammonia in the middle of each row, or every other row. Dribbling liquid fertilizer between the rows or broadcasting dry urea are also options.
• Kochia worries. You might not have to worry about glyphosate-resistant waterhemp if you farm west of the Red River Valley, but you will have to contend with glyphosate-resistant kochia. In some ways, glyphosate-resistant kochia will be as bad or worse than glyphosate-resistant waterhemp, which has caused some serious problems in the Corn Belt. Kochia, commonly known as tumbleweed, will spread resistant seed as it rolls across a field. Resistant kochia will also cross pollinate with susceptible kochia, and the new plant will be resistant. Rich Zollinger, NDSU Extension weed specialist, showed some pictures of Kansas wheat fields where resistant kochia blew in and took over in just a couple of years.
• Crop contracts. Read specialty crop contracts carefully. Frayne Olson, NDSU Extension crops marketing economist, said that they are getting more complicated. New provisions for 2012: Prevented planting clauses (you may not be able to replant another crop on a contracted field) and MRLs (maximum residual levels for the presence of desiccants and other crop-protection chemicals).
• Unnecessary adjuvants. Ever wonder if all those adjuvants that custom applicators sometimes add to wheat fungicide are necessary? Scott Halley, crop scientist at the NDSU Langdon Research Extension Center, did. He set up a test and found that changing nozzles and adjusting pressure produced the same results as the adjuvant. “You can save a few dollars,” he said.
• Best spring dandelion control. Use Express plus glyphosate for fields to be planted to corn or soybeans. Greg Andres, NDSU Extension agronomist, Carrington Research and Extension Center, said the field should be sprayed 14 days before planting corn and soybeans. The tankmix will suppress dandelion for three to four months. Fall is the best time to hit dandelion. The most effective and most economical tankmix in the fall is glyphosate at 0.75 pound active ingredient per acre and 2,4-D at 1 pint per acre. Glyphosate with Valor or Sharpen is also an option.
• Best Canada thistle killer. A new product called Perspective from DuPont is not labeled yet, but when it is, you’ll likely get nearly complete control for one to two years.
• Best soybean practices. NDSU agronomists keep looking for something new that will increase soybean yields. But trials keep confirming that current recommendations are still the best.
Plant about 150,000 seeds per acre; use 14- to 21-inch-wide rows (they are better than 30-inch rows or solid-seeding); don’t put fertilizer with the seed; don’t add N, inoculate seed instead; add phosphorus and potassium if soil test levels are medium or lower; don’t apply micronutrients except sulfur (on eroded hilltops and coarse soils) or iron (where there is iron deficiency chlorosis). You can try a fungicide and other special inputs if you like, but NDSU researchers have conducted trials for eight years with more than a dozen products used alone and together in a high-yield scheme and haven’t gotten any yield responses that would be cover the cost of the products.
• Best flex-rent arrangement. A minimum cash rent plus a bonus based on price, yield and cost of inputs is best. A flex rent based on price or yield alone is too risky, said Dwight Aakre, NDSU Extension farm management specialist. If a flex rent is based on price alone, the price may be high, but you could have a crop failure and still have to pay the landlord a bonus. If it is based on yield alone, you could have a good yield, but prices may crash. And if you don’t include a factor for inputs, you could still get in trouble even if you have a decent yield and price. Higher costs could reduce your profit margin.
This article published in the February, 2012 edition of DAKOTA FARMER.