Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Late Dry Weather is Hurting Corn and Soybean Yields

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The USDA NASS lowered their estimates for Kentucky corn yields by 10 bushels per acre and soybean yields by 2 percent in their latest report. The negative numbers reflect calls and comments we are receiving from producers across the state.

In August, most of our corn and soybean fields looked great. The foliage was lush, canopies were closed and the crop looked to be in excellent condition. Now, farmers are getting surprised about low yields in some fields. Just to clarify, these reports do not reflect all fields. There are some really good yields being reported. But, there are some really bad yields as well and these fields were the surprise. I think the biggest contributor to these bad surprises is the weather. Most of Kentucky was wet early and dry late. The wet weather encouraged shallow root systems. The dry weather late penalized crops with shallow roots.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

2016 Early Bird Meetings

Colette Laurent, Grain Crops Coordinator, University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky Grain Crops Team and Cooperative Extension Service are happy to offer the Early Bird meetings for 2016. The primary goal of these meetings is to bring  research and information to help producers discuss options for next season. The three meetings are scheduled for December 6th, 7th and 8th and will occur in Sedalia, Henderson and Hopkinsville, respectively,  The session will begin at 8:00 am (CST) and end with lunch.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Decision Tools for Hauling Grain to Market

Jordan Shockley, Farm Management Specialist, University of Kentucky

Harvest season is upon us and while transporting grain to the market may be the last input cost in the production of grain it is a critical decision a producer has to make, especially when margins are thin. Determining which market to sell your grain (if you have options) can be a complex decision. Most producers, especially in Western Kentucky, have multiple potential markets to deliver their grain. This leads to the question of, “Should I sell my grain to the closest elevator or should I transport it a further distance to an elevator offering a higher price?” What market you choose not only will determine the price you receive but will also determine the cost associated with transportation. The market that provides the highest price is not always the most profitable price. The trade-off between maximizing price per bushel received from the buyer and minimizing transportation costs could be the difference between making a profit that year or being in the red. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Preparing for the Winter Wheat Planting Season

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky
The optimal planting window for winter wheat in Kentucky is quickly approaching: October 10-30. Prior to the physical planting of wheat, farmers must make several critical decisions to maximize wheat grain yield and profitability the following June.  

Friday, August 19, 2016

Pay Close Attention to Moisture of Corn for Silage

Chad Lee, Donna Amaral-Phillips and Nick Roy
Extension Agronomist, Extension Dairy Nutritionist and County Extension Agent, University of Kentucky

Milkine is a poor indicator of
whole plant moisture.
The wet August and healthy corn crop are great for tonnage, but will present challenges for determining when to harvest the corn crop for silage. Whole plant moisture is the most important factor for deciding when to harvest corn. Ideal whole plant moistures are 65 to 70% for bunker silos, 62 to 65% for uprights and 62 to 68% for silo bags. Moisture at harvest determines how well the chopped crop will pack which directly impacts the quality of silage when fed-out. Silage harvested too wet will undergo an unwanted fermentation and could limit feed intake and hurt the health of dairy cattle. Plant growth stage is another consideration, but it secondary to whole plant moisture.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Soybean Yield Expectations when Planting in July (and possibly August) in Kentucky

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky

The 2016 soybean season has quickly become a challenge for much of the state. For soybean fields planted in June, stands were reduced because of the extremely dry conditions across much of the state. Some regions received less than 2” for the entire month of June. These struggling soybean stands were then inundated with significant rain starting over the Fourth of July weekend and not ending until last week. The official precipitation recorded by University of Kentucky Agricultural Weather Center was as much as 10” for parts of the state. However, localized reports of more than 16” occurred. This led to considerable flooding in the state or at a minimum extended periods of saturated soil conditions. As such, many producers are considering replanting soybean fields.

The first question on most minds is “How much yield should I expect from late-planted soybeans?”.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The sugarcane aphid arrived to KY a month earlier in 2016 than in 2015

Raul Villanueva, University of Kentucky Extension Entomologist

Insect description and damage
The invasive sugarcane aphid (SCA) Melanaphis sacchari has arrived to Kentucky almost a month ahead in 2016 compared to 2015 ( Sugarcane aphids have caused yield losses going from 30% to
Figure 1.  An adult SCA (pink arrow) and first 
instar nymphs (blue arrow) detected on a sweet 
sorghum  field in Trigg County, KY on 07/15/16. 
(Photo credit Raul T. Villanueva)
100% to sorghum grower since 2013 on many states of the US. Sugarcane aphids affected severely grain and sweet sorghum fields last year in GA, SC, MO, and TN and KY. Last Friday (7/15/16), a small numbers of sugarcane aphids were detected in a field of sweet sorghum in Trigg County (Fig. 1). Although the numbers are still low in this field, populations may pick up sooner. So far in the U.S all SCA populations are composed by female individuals. Each female can produce 6 to 12 nymphs per day, and in less than one week they can complete its life cycle. This rapid life cycle can cause quick outbreak of SCA populations.