Articles, Blog

Ag PhD Show #1124 (Air Date 10-20-19)

D: Hello and welcome to Ag
PhD, I’m Darren Hefty. B: And I’m Brian Hefty. Thanks
for joining us today. 2019 was one of the worst years
we’ve ever seen for diseases in crops all around the
United States. It was terrible. Well we’re going
to talk today about how you can improve the situation
going into next year. How can you reduce disease
issues on your farm? D: It was also a challenging year
to get phosphorus applied to many fields. We’re going to
talk about fall applications versus spring applications
and give you a strategy for your farm. B: Coming up
later in the show we have an Iron Talk and we got a tough
Weed of the Week as well, but first, here’s this
week’s Farm Basics. B: During our Farm Basics
time today we’re going to talk a little about herbicide
carryover for next year. Now – if you are a non-farmer,
the reason why we’re talking about this a little bit is
just so you understand a little bit about how
herbicides work in general. And let me first say – with
most of the herbicides that we’re using on the farm
today – they’re actually quite safe for humans and
for the environment. Many of these products are what we
would call natural products. The most popular corn
herbicides today are HPPD herbicides – so again HPPD –
and these got discovered because there was a
researcher who had a tree and there we no broadleaf
weeds around this tree, and he thought, “You know, I
wonder if there’s something in the tree killing these
weeds?” Well, he discovered that and called the product
Callisto and that was the origin for a lot of these
HPPD herbicides. D: Well for any of these pesticide
products to come out, it takes years of study, tens
of millions of dollars’ worth of research to prove
that it’s safe and prove, “how long does this product
have to have before it’s safe for the next crop?” and
so forth. So they determine what the rotational
intervals will be before future crops. So, for
example, if you apply that HPPD on time and you’ve got
a whole year before the next crop gets planted, well no
problem if you’re rotating to corn or rotating to
soybeans, for example. But let’s say that the year
turns out like 2019 and the crop goes in 2 months late
and the herbicide application goes on 2 months
late. Now all of the sudden farmers may have to adjust
what they rotate to. B: Yes, we had delayed planting, we
had delayed spraying in 2019, but we also had a lot
of rainfall. What we usually are looking for with
herbicide breakdown is a moderate amount of rainfall
and lots of heat. Because the number one thing that’s
going to break herbicides down in the soil is bacteria
and bacteria want heat, they want lots of heat, and they
want just a normal amount of rainfall. Now if there’s too
much rainfall one of our concerns this year is soils
were sitting plumb full of water. Well if soils are
plumb full of water that means there’s no oxygen in
there and that means that many of the bacteria that
could break the herbicide down will die. So that could
be a concern going into next year. D: Well it absolutely
could be, Brian. I don’t know how to quantify that
exactly for farmers, but I can say this – If you’ve got
a herbicide that has a 10-month rotational
restriction to the crop that you want to plant next year,
and all of the sudden you got it applied late, the
weather went against you, your soils were saturated
for a long period of time – I would probably add at
least 50 percent to that, if not double it, just to be on
the safe side. So just like we do in situations where we
have drought and crop loss – where we’ve got flooding and
very saturated soils, you may want to rotate back to
that same crop next year in some situations. B: So when
we talk about residual for herbicides, there are two
things we’re always discussing: One is how long
will the herbicide actually kill weeds? And two – how
long will it actually hurt the next crop? So in terms
of weed killing potential, that runs out much sooner
than any potential damage to the next crop. D: Yeah, your
crop rotational restriction to, say pigweeds, is
probably very small because most products – unless
they’ve just been put on within the last month –
don’t have a lot of killing residual for pigweeds. B:
Wait-stop. You just said “crop rotational
restrictions” to it. It’s all different if you’re
talking about- “are we going to raise a crop?” D: Right. B: Or, “are we trying to
control 100 percent of the weed species out there?” For
example, if I’m going to take this HPPD and I’m going
to rotate to soybeans next year – I’m not trying to
kill all the soybeans, but the thing is I don’t even
want a tiny amount of damage. I can’t even lose 2
bushels on my yield. So that’s why we have to have
all that extra time to make sure all the soil residual
is gone and all we’re trying to say today is – if I was a
farmer, and I am, I’m going to be much more concerned
about residual carryover into this next crop. D: Well
when you think about the products that were applied
in 2019, many of them were applied targeting our Weed
of the Week. We’ll show you how to stop this tough weed
later in the show. B: Last week on the show
we talked about fall nitrogen applications and
just how careful you have to be. With phosphorus, it’s a
completely different discussion – we’re going to
talk about how you need to apply fall phosphorus in
most cases. D: Here’s the big thing with phosphorus –
it just doesn’t move much in soil. Now if you’ve got
complete sand and a CEC of one, you may disagree with
me and say, “Well I can get it to move a little bit.”
But I tell you what, if there is anything to your
soil – if you’ve got a little bit of organic matter
or if you’ve got a little bit of clay out there, this
stuff just doesn’t move. In fact in our heavy soils
where we farm and a fairly dry environment most years –
we can’t get phosphorus even to move a quarter inch. So
we really need to put it where we want it. By placing
it a little bit deeper you can speed up the process by
decades – of moving phosphorus down. B: The
reason why I say we like fall applications of
phosphorus is – because it doesn’t move in soil, it’s
great to just get this done. Now the only exception would
be if you’re worried about soil erosion, because like
Darren said – phosphorus doesn’t move in soil. So if
you lay your phosphorus on the soil surface and you
don’t till it in, well now if you have any erosion –
guess what’s going to leave the field along with your
soil? Your phosphorus! So we do like putting that
phosphorus down in the ground either injected or
tilled in. D: This is a really big deal for the
no-tillers out there. Now if you’re in conventional-till
and you say, “Look I’m going to spread it on top of the
ground – I’m going to till it in 6 or 8 inches or even
deeper,” ah OK, you’re moving most of that
phosphorus down deep, but if you’re in no-till you
absolutely have to inject it, put it on 2 by 2,
something to protect that and get it down deep because
phosphorus is the limiting factor for algae growth in
fresh water. If we have any of that phosphorus on the
surface it erodes – that can cause a problem quickly. B:
One of the biggest questions we get with phosphorus is –
tie-up in the soil. What can happen is if you have excess
calcium or excess aluminum or iron, you can have tie-up
with that phosphorus, and all of the sudden you
applied phosphorus you spent money and now it’s not
available for the plant. So ideally what we’re looking
for here is get your soil pH into the 6’s and now you’re
going to find more of your phosphorus is just available
in your field. So that’s what we’re after – that way
you’ll have a lot less tie-up. D: The other thing
with availability, Brian, is getting it closer to the
row. We’ve done a lot of banding of phosphorus over
the years on rented ground. This is a great way – if you
say, “Wow phosphorus doesn’t move, I don’t want to put it
out there and leave it for whoever’s going to rent this
ground after I’m done.” I understand that, we’ve got
ground like that. So we want to put that phosphorus a
little bit closer to the row. Now it doesn’t
necessarily have to be in the furrow – it sure can be
– but you can also put it over in a 2 by 2 or a 2 by 2
on each side of the row, or you can do strip-till and
place it throughout that root zone where you’re going
to be growing and just spread it out in your 8 or
10 inch wide strip. B: One of the other important
things you’ve got to keep in mind here is again – since
phosphorus doesn’t move in the soil like nitrogen does
– or even sulfur or boron for that matter – your
plants are not going to bring in all the soil’s
phosphorus in one shot. What I’m saying here is you have
to have extra phosphorus there because your plants
can’t access it all right away. So if you need 100
lbs. you probably better make sure you have at least
200, 300, 400 lbs. sitting there ready to go available
in the soil. What we encourage you to do first is
take a look at the Ag PhD fertilizer removal app, put
in your crop, and look at the total phosphorus that
your crop is going to need for your yield goal, and
then again – if it’s me – I’m going to make sure I
have plenty of extra out there because phosphorus
isn’t just going to move around in the soil and your
plants aren’t going to magically find 100 percent
of the soil’s phosphorus. D: Here’s the other thing,
Brian – don’t just look at N, P, and K on a soil test. You’ve got to look at the
micronutrients and secondary nutrients too. For example,
whenever I think about phosphorus, I think about
zinc, because if we get a lot of phosphorus out there
in our soil, we have to have a lot of zinc too. If
they’re not in balance at least in a 10 to 1 ratio of
phosphorus to zinc, we’re going to have some issues. So if you’re in a 30 to 1
ratio where you’ve got 30 parts per million of
phosphorus, 1 part per millon of zinc – you
desperately need to get some zinc out there for this
year’s crop and I would be applying that now as well. B: And it works the other
way – on our farm, what’s happened is we have some
areas where we have too much zinc in relation to the
phosphorus. Well, as we get more phosphorus out there,
our yields go way up. So make sure you’re getting
that ratio – Darren said 10 to 1 – I’d say 8 to 1 to 12
to 1 – somewhere kind of that range – that’s a pretty
good place to start. D: Well phosphorus is a very
important nutrient. Your crop needs a lot of it, as
Brian mentioned, just go to Ag PhD fertilizer removal
tool – type in your crop and yield goal to find out
exactly how much you need. We recommend placing it down
into the soil – injecting it somehow – to protect it from
erosion and also to make it more available for your
crop’s root system. B: Well unfortunately when you do a
great job with phosphorus for your crop, you will also
have done a great job of phosphorus and raising more
of our Weed of the Week. But we’ll tell you how to stop
this tough weed coming up later in the show. B: 2019 was a terrible
year for crop diseases, so today we’re
going to talk about how we can make 2020 a much better
year and have fewer disease issues on your farm. D:
First of all let’s talk about crop rotation. This is
one of those reasons why crop rotation makes so much
sense. Let’s say, for example, that you had Goss’s
wilt in corn. Well if Goss’s came in it overwinters in
your field in the residue. If you plant corn right away
again in that field – if you get rainfall just at the
wrong time and if you have some damage to the plant –
that splashes up on the leaves and you’ve got Goss’s
again if you’re in continuous corn. Goss’s does
not impact soybeans. So if you put soybeans in that
field, there is literally zero chance you’re going to
have Goss’s wilt in your soybeans. Crop rotation can
really be your friend. B: Another thing that can help
is tillage. Now this is one of the reasons – if you talk
to people in our grandpa’s generation for example, they
would say, “Hey our only great way to control
insects and diseases – and for that matter a lot of
weeds – was full scale tillage. So we’re pulling
out the moldboard plow, we’re going to bury
everything.” And that absolutely can help. Now,
there are plenty of other issues with doing that full
scale tillage, but I’m just trying to say – tillage
absolutely can help reduce disease issues on your farm
next year. D: Let’s talk about hybrid or varietal
tolerance. So when you’re picking your corn or you’re
picking your soybeans or whatever crop you’re raising
– the variety can make a big difference in terms of
protecting you from certain diseases. I mentioned Goss’s
wilt before, physoderma was a big issue in corn also
this year, and picking that right variety can really
help you. You’ve got natural tolerance for things that
you may not be able to protect with – with
pesticides. B: I think my favorite all time agronomic
topic to discuss is drain tile. I love having great
management of the water table out in the field. Because when you do that,
what you’re going to find is a much healthier plant
overall. All we’re trying to do with water table
management is have a proper amount of oxygen in the
soil, and when there is a proper amount of oxygen in
the soil, you will find bigger root systems, much
more beneficial microbial growth in the soil – you
just flat out have a healthier soil, which means
you have a healthier plant, which means you’re going to
have fewer disease issues on your farm. D: Alright now
let’s talk about some of the crop protection solutions. The first one I want to
mention is seed treatment use. This was really key in
2019 and – let’s face it – 2020 – it’s going to be a
big deal too. We’re going to have some wet soils out
there, it’s going to be late in some areas before farmers
are able to get in the fields, and whenever you are
getting planting done late, it’s because there is too
much moisture – when there is moisture, there is often
more disease that comes with it – don’t skip the seed
treatment next year, in fact, go to the premium seed
treatments. They made a huge difference this year and
will again. B: Yeah, so on our farm this year we used
36 seed treatments on the soybeans, we used 33 seed
treatments on the corn. If you do something like that
you’re going to have a lot healthier plant. This is one
of the reasons why our plants emerged faster, why
they looked healthier all season long versus the
untreated or the lesser treated. So for example here
this fall, you’re going to buy seed corn, in most
cases, alright? When you buy that seed corn, ask your
seed dealer, “How many seed treatments come on this
seed?” If they say 3 or 4 or 5 – say, “Um is there
something else you can do? Because I want more seed
treatments, I want more protection, I want more help
against diseases and all the other problems that are
going to come out there in my soil.” D: Of course later
on in the season there are some foliar diseases that
come in late. We can protect against those by putting a
preventative application of a fungicide out there. What
we saw this year was – we needed at least two modes of
action – if not three. Many of those three way
fungicides included a strob, a triazole, and an SDHI
chemistry – they worked really well, but the key is
to get them out before you see the disease if you want
the best protection. B: Alright so fungicides
absolutely can help, but the last thing I wanted to
mention is – let’s just talk about general fertility. I
already said – having drain tile out there and managing
the water table – you’re going to have an overall
healthier plant – same thing when you have the right
fertility levels. It’s just like you or me. If we take
our vitamins every day, if we eat right, guess what? We’re going to be healthier. Make sure you’re looking at
not just N, P, and K but take a look at soil pH, base
saturation, look at all your micronutrients. Do a good
job balancing the fertility in your soil, and you will
have a healthier crop and fewer disease issues. D:
Crop diseases were really a big deal in 2019, we expect
them to be in 2020 as well, so take these steps to
protect your crops. Also another thing you want to do
to protect your crops is control our Weed of the
Week. Can you identify this week’s weed? B: Our Weed of the Week
is wild buckwheat. D: This is an annual weed
and I know I talk to farmers all the time that say, “Wait
a minute, no it’s a perennial weed.” It’s
actually not – if you’re seeing a perennial weed that
looks very similar to this, it’s often field bindweed. When you pull up the root
system and see that simple taproot, it’s a pretty good
indication you’ve got wild buckwheat – but it will vine
out like field bindweed will, so make sure you’re
controlling it early, otherwise it gets to be
pretty difficult to hit all those growing points. B:
Yeah that’s the whole thing – if you can get it small,
control can be pretty good. I also wanted to talk about
this weed today because we talk so much about these
HPPD herbicides in corn and they’re great in almost
everything – except for these vine species like wild
buckwheat. So if you want to use an HPPD on your farm,
that wild buckwheat better be an inch or two tall,
otherwise I wouldn’t expect fantastic control. D: The
other product that really doesn’t work well enough on
wild buckwheat is Roundup. Over the years we’ve just
had a tough time controlling wild buckwheat with straight
Roundup. We like some of the other chemistries a little
bit better. B: Yeah so you can say, “Oh this weed’s
developed resistance to Roundup.” It always kind of
had a good amount of tolerance. You can still
kill wild buckwheat with Roundup, but it takes a
tremendously high rate and you’ve got to spray it when
that buckwheat is tiny. D: Alright Brian I’m just going
to queue it up for you because I know one of your
favorite products – dicamba – has been one of the go
to’s on this weed. B: Well yeah any of these growth
regulators are fine. You’ve got dicamba – for that
matter – 2,4-D in a burndown situation. There’s Distinct
in non-crop areas, there’s Status in corn. So all the
growth regulators are really pretty decent- in my opinion
– on wild buckwheat. D: Ok the only thing I like
pre-emerge though – like in soybeans for example – has
been using a little bit of Pursuit out there, so
whether that’s one of the Optill type products – B:
Wait, you said the only thing – that’s not the only
thing. We want you to use the 3 pre’s. Use a yellow,
use Metribuzin, use Valor or Authority but then yes – D:
But I’m just saying highly effective on a broadleaf
weed like this – B: Yes. D: That’s been my favorite. So
having that in the mix, either pre or post is a good
way to go. Now if you’re going to spray post-emerge
with something like Pursuit or Raptor, you’ve got to get
out there really early when the buckwheat is really
small, then you’re going to have some pretty good luck. If it gets a little more
size to it in soybeans – I like to add some Flexstar or
Cobra in there to help add some more burn. B: Yep in
corn I would probably start with something like Verdict
– that’ll be a pretty good way to go and then
post-emerge I prefer Status. D: In wheat I like Sharpen
and then come back with a high rate of Huskie – that’s
been pretty good, although again, it has an HPPD
component, so getting even a little bit more Buctril out
there – maybe like in the old Bronate type products –
would be just as good. B: Well that’s it for our Weed
of the Week but stay tuned, Iron Talk is coming up next. D: Harvest loss is very
costly to farmers around the world. In soybeans for
example, our national average yield is around 45
bushels per acre and the average farm has a 3 to 4
percent yield loss. In today’s Iron Talk we’ll
discuss how to determine exactly what that harvest
loss is costing you on your farm right now. First of
all, I’d recommend making a square for you to use in the
field while you’re combining. Brian and I use 1
foot squares made out of PVC pipe so they are durable and
hold up even with snow, rain, and mud. Second,
download the free Ag PhD Harvest Loss app that we
developed in conjunction with Case IH. Then head to
the field. We’ll talk about soybeans right now, but the
same information holds true for a number of other crops
as well. As I’ve already mentioned, on a 45 bushel
crop the average yield loss is 3 to 4 percent. That’s
about a bushel and a half. At 9 dollar soybeans, that’s
13 dollars and 50 cents per acre. On 1000 acres, that’s
a 13,500 dollar loss. Start by walking into any field
you’re harvesting and drop the square to the ground in
an area that hasn’t been harvested yet. Count the
number of seeds on the ground. Then pull up the app
and pick the crop you’re working with. Type in the
current crop price – we’ll use 9 dollars – and the
number of seeds you found in that square foot, 8. You can
also adjust based on the seed size you have. For
example, big seed may be 2500 seeds per pound. Smaller seed, 3000. In the
small seed example, 8 soybeans on the ground per
square foot is a 2 bushel per acre loss. If this loss
is before you’ve run the combine, you’ve got some big
problems already with shatter. Then as you run the
combine through the field, put the square down behind
the combine to see total loss. Place the square down
and drive just the head of the combine over the area to
see the loss at the head. By comparing all these things,
you can diagnose exactly where your harvest loss is
coming from. Again, download the free Ag PhD harvest loss
app and use a one foot square in your field. The
cost is just about zero, and the information you gain can
save you thousands. That’s all for today’s Iron Talk
and now, back to the show. B: Before we sign off here
today we would just like to encourage you – check out
the Ag PhD Insider Magazine. We’ve got a lot of great
agronomic information from Darren and myself and many
other guest contributors. Every edition we have from
Ag PhD Insider. You can go to to learn
more. D: And don’t miss the next Ag PhD TV Show, we’ll
have another Weed of the Week, Farm Basics, Iron
Talk, and a whole lot more. I’m Darren Hefty. B: And I’m
Brian Hefty. Thanks for watching Ag PhD. Copyright 2019
IFA Productions. All rights reserved.

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