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Field crop weekly IPM report

EAST LANSING, MI. – Weather - Despite cooler weather recently, temperatures are actually near normal.  The soil temperatures that were in the 50’s for nine straight days have dropped back to the mid 40’s.    Rainfall since March 1 has increased, with up to 1.25 inches last weekend, but is still at a five year low by almost two inches. Although it is very early to look at growing degree day (GDD) (heat units), since March 1, the MSU Enviroweather station in Deerfield has recorded 243 GDD (base 50ºF), which is well above any of the past five years and the five year average of 127.3 GDD.  

Cover Crops    - Farmers who seeded cover crops last fall, some have winter killed while others such as cereal ryegrass now need to plan to terminate the crop, either by herbicides or tillage.  Due to potential allelopathic effect of rye to corn, it is recommended to terminate cereal rye at least two weeks before planting corn.  However, corn has been and can be successfully planted into green cereal rye.  

Winter wheat - Overwintering wheat continues to appear in good condition and is at the Feekes growth stage 5.  Farmers need to plan on the second half of their topdressing nitrogen application when wheat reaches Feekes’ stage 6, which is when stem elongation begins, and the first node is visible at the base of the stem.  Weed control options diminish considerably now to growth stage 8.  Herbicide labels vary as regards tank-mixing with other herbicides or fertilizer, pre-harvest restrictions, wheat used for seed, feed or malting, straw that is grazed or fed, nighttime air temperatures and crop rotation restrictions.   The Michigan wheat checkoff renewal vote passed overwhelmingly, and farmers can enter the national Wheat Foundation and Michigan Wheat Program 2021 yield contests.     A free “perk” to wheat farmers is free diagnostic sampling of wheat plants sent to the MSU Plant Diagnostic Laboratory.  The Michigan Wheat Program started this service in 2013 to allow farmers to submit samples to the lab which diagnoses general crop health, cultures fungal and bacterial pathogens, test for viruses, analyzes nematodes and detects and identifies insect pests.  Depending upon the diagnosis, farmers will either receive an email or a phone call from Martin Nagelkirk or MSU Wheat Specialist Dennis Pennington.  Farmers can go for more information and submittal forms.  Brad Kamprath of Ida is the regional board member representing southeast Michigan.

Malting Barley - The malting barley plot at the Monroe County Community College Student Ag Farm received about 75 pounds of top-dressed nitrogen a week ago.  The TeePee variety of 2-row malting barley was provided by Independent Barley and Malt of Litchfield, Michigan and planted last October 20, 2020.  If field, health and safety and other conditions allow, a twilight field day will be held in mid-June at MCCC for this and an MSU Soybean cyst nematode cover crop suppression project.  More information will be released later.  

Pesticide Record-keeping    Farmers need to carefully document all pesticides applications, including as much weather information as possible.  Newer pesticide labels are more specific about what items need to be recorded and when.  Some records can quickly be entered into a smartphone application while in the field, and later transferred to an complete electronic or paper record keeping system.