Note from the field 5-22-23
May 22, 2023
- The previous week continued to feature a roller coaster of ups and downs in the temperature department. Highs for the week range from 60F on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday while the days in between featured mid and upper 70’s. Little to no rain fell the entire week which allowed soil conditions to dry. Soil in fields with cover crops and heavy crop residue still trended to be on the wetter side. Soil temperatures early in the morning at 6:00 AM hovered around the lower 50s most days.
- The dry, sunny weather allowed soils to dry sufficiently for planting and tillage operations to commence in the southern Lake Winnebago region. Even areas east of I-41 on the notoriously wet Kewaunee and Poygan clay soils of southeast Winnebago and FDL counties dried enough for fieldwork to commence.
- Alfalfa continues to grow well. Early observations of the alfalfa crop indicate the potential for good to excellent yield potential. Alfalfa height was in the 21-23- inch range. No buds were discovered as of Saturday. PEAQ stick measurements are indicating that the quality of the alfalfa is in the 200 RFV (relative feed value) range. The PEAQ stick is used as a guide to estimate quality of 1st crop alfalfa. Sending a sample to the lab or utilizing the scissors cut program is a better indication of quality potential of the crop. Despite all the testing that can be done to estimate quality in the field, it all boils down to harvesting and storing of the alfalfa crop properly. Leaf loss, poor fermentation, and less than ideal forage moisture at harvest all can chip away at the potential quality of the forage before it reaches the mouth of a cow. Rumor on the street is that a number of dairies will begin to cut the crop at the end of the week.
- The alfalfa fungicide and Ascend trial in the Malone area will be harvested this week. Yield and quality will be measured. Leaf to stem ratios will also be analyzed on those treatments. More info to come later.
- Alfalfa seeding that was planted during our summer weather in mid- April looks fantastic. Croplan’s Megatron AA is looking awesome! The seeding currently is in the 2nd to 3rd trifoliate stage. A number of these seedings were no tilled into rye cover crop and were terminated a few days after planting.
- Winter rye is rapidly approaching the boot stage. Growers in the area will be harvesting this forage in the next week with their alfalfa crop. Early indications seem to indicate good to excellent yield potential of that crop.
- Winter triticale plot with the use of Ryzup Smartgrass will be harvested this week to determine yield and quality. More info will follow later.
- Corn planting progress for the week was phenomenal in the Malone area. The area went from having just a few percent of the acres of corn planted to being nearly completed in one week!
- Soybean planting progress also occurred at a rapid pace. The focus for the week was getting the preemerge herbicides applied before soybeans emergence. One of my favorite products that I like to apply to no till soybeans with heavy dandelion pressure is Synchrony. Synchrony applied with a product like Boundary (metolachlor and metribuzin) does an awesome job on that troublesome weed. The one watch out with that product is that Classic cannot be applied postemerge as it would be doubling up on that chemistry. Classic is helpful in controlling yellow nutsedge.
- Weeds continue to emerge and thrive as we have been accumulating growing degree units. Giant foxtail was seen for the first- time this week. A carpet of this grass has been observed in a few recently planted corn fields. Giant foxtail is characterized by the hairy ligule that it possesses along with hairy leaves and stems. So far waterhemp has not been seen, but emergence of that troublesome weed likely will be seen in the next week or so.
- Preemerge herbicides on both corn and soybean are being applied fast furious. Hopefully, the area will receive a half inch of rain in the next week to 10 days to get these products activated and get them into the zone where weed seedlings germinate.
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May 30, 2023
Last week continued the stretch of dry weather with little to no precipitation falling since May 8th. It was sort of a roller coaster ride in the temperature department with highs near 80F most days, however, highs struggled to reach the mid 60’s during the midweek time frame thanks to a backdoor cold front.