Farm Week in Picture 07/28/2013

Farm Week in Pictures for the last full week of July 2013 offers up some rough looking corn despite how well the crop appears to be doing this year.  We are also getting ready to say goodbye to our 2010 9670 STS combine.

Army of ManyArmyworm Corn DamageA neighbor stopped by first thing Monday morning to let us know a field of ours was showing signs of pest feeding.  Turns out we had quite the infestation of armyworms.  Later that day the local aerial applicator was able to get insecticide on and stop these guys.

Several acres of this field are defoliated up to the ear.  The worms were starting to eat the silks, but the corn seems to have already pollinated.  I haven’t noticed more damage since we treated, but we will definitely be watching for these pests.  We’ll find out in the fall how this affects yield.
Armyworm FeedingThese corn leaves are across the road from the previous picture.  The armyworms will consume the leaf all the down to the tougher mid rib.  We did not spray the entire field, but we did have a few passes made along the affected areas.  The worms don’t seem to have continued their march through this field.

ArmywormA dead armyworm is a good armyworm.  They prefer to feed on grasses and the adult moths likely laid eggs in the grass ditch banks earlier this season.  Corn is a grass too in case you didn’t know.

As we delve into planting more cover crops, especially grassy covers, we will need to be aware that we might be providing a tempting spot for pests to hang out since some of our fields will be green most of the year now.

Japanese Beetle

Japanese beetles are out now too.  They will feed on corn silks causing pollination issues.  All our corn seems to be pretty much pollinated by now, so this isn’t really an issue anymore this season.

High and DryDrought CornOn our farm North of US 24 we get into some sandy soils.  Although these acres have actually been excessively wet the highest and sandiest spots are suffering from lack of water and probably some leaching of nutrients due to high amounts of rain and the low ability of sand to retain nutrients.  When you see corn leaves rolled up like this you can be sure the plants are stressed from too little moisture.  Rolling is a way for the plants to protect against heat stress, but if night temps stay too high and leaves don’t unroll overnight you have a problem.  This is of course pretty normal on these sandy areas.  The entire field doesn’t look like this for the record.  However, during the drought of 2012 almost all our corn looked a lot like this!

Can I Get a Volunteer?Volunteer Corn

We spent some time in the late afternoons hand weeding volunteer, or rogue, corn from soybean fields.  Much of our soybean crop is for seed production so we can’t very well have corn plants growing to maturity and putting kernels in the combine.  We can spray for volunteer corn for about $5/A, but if there aren’t a lot of them present walking isn’t that bad.  Before the advent of Roundup Ready soybeans I spent a lot of days walking soybean fields all day for weeks at a time in the summer heat cutting weeds of all kinds.  Dad and I weeded this 168 acre field of just a few dozen corn plants in less than two hours.  Before RR a crew of half a dozen guys might not have finished this field in a day.

Weed HookThe results of walking soybeans with weed hook in hand.  Your pants turn green and the soybeans tug at your shoes and untie them somewhat frequently.  This harkens back to the “good” old days I mentioned previously walking miles each day over uneven ground in the heat.  No till fields add last year’s corn stalks to step on between the rows.  If you’re in the right spot you can find a wheel track to walk in.  Of course you’ll be crossing rows frequently to reach all the weeds.  I’d argue that if weeds are big enough to find and cut by hand this late in the year they’ve already done their damage as far as yield goes.

Farewell, 9670!
John Deere CombineThis will be the last time we clean this machine out after a harvest.  It will being moving on to another farm and we will be picking up a 2011 9670.  We generally trade combines every 2 years to maintain trade value and mitigate repair costs of having a machine with more operating hours.  It doesn’t hurt that John Deere continues to offer financing at 0% on used equipment.  We have two brand new heads coming in a few weeks.  We will be upgrading from and 8 row corn head to a 12 row, and we’ll be getting our first draper style head for soybeans and wheat.

See you next week!

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  1. In the top couple of pics, I see grassy weeds growing in the corn. Is this carryover rye grass from the cover crop? How will these weeds affect yeild?

    1. No cover crop in this field last year. It’s not abnormal to find grass in a corn field later in the year. This area I think is actually a low spot meaning it has probably been pretty wet this year. Slow corn growth may have let the grass take hold. Yield hit should be minimal or none.

  2. I used to hate pulling corn when i was a kid…. Our corn is taller than I can ever remember…. hopefully the ears are filling out…. One really hot week and since then cool and damp.

    1. I used to be pretty accurate with corn. Our weed crew was usually me and a few friends about my age. A volunteer corn plant a few feet high with a little ballast from the root ball can be held by the leaves and whipped just right can really nail another guy up to maybe 30 yards away. And then there were walnut fights.

  3. Think I asked you on Facebook when you shared the pics of Armyworm damage. The corn fields with Armyworm damage were bt traited, correct? We had a similar infestation in a small portion of one of our corn fields last summer as well. Bt don’t seen to bother em. Ha

    1. None of that corn was Bt. Also it was all waxy. At the back of another waxy field you could see where they’d been in our field and hadn’t touched the neighbor’s corn less than 3′ away. I can’t tell you if that corn was Bt or not, but it’s probably a safe bet it was. We are curious to know if they went after ours because there was no Bt or maybe the starch content of the waxy is just more appealing? They came after pollination and didn’t appear to hurt yield at all. I did some looking and not all Bt traits are listed for armyworm.

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