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2014 Projected Commodity Costs and Returns for Louisiana

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Please see the link below for information on the 2014 projected commodity costs and returns for Louisiana.

Cotton, Soybean, Corn, Grain Sorghum and Wheat Production in Louisiana

2013 Macon Ridge Research Station Pest Management and Crop Production Field Day

2013 Macon Ridge Research Station Pest Management and Crop Production Field Day published on No Comments on 2013 Macon Ridge Research Station Pest Management and Crop Production Field Day

MRRS Flyer

Corn at R1 or silking growth stage. One of the most yield sensitive stages for stress.

End-of-season corn checklist

End-of-season corn checklist published on No Comments on End-of-season corn checklist

Josh Lofton, Research Agronomist- LSU AgCenter, Macon Ridge Research Station

Beatrix Haggard, Regional Soil Specialist- LSU AgCenter, Northeast Region

With the month of July currently upon us, we begin to see how different two years can be.  Last year many were greasing up the combines and some very early corn was about to come off the field.  However, this will not be the true on a state-wide basis for 2013 with the majority of Louisiana’s corn ranging from silking through dent.  With harvest comes a sense of completion and satisfaction from intense hours of labor and management.  However, there are some issues that should be addressed to not only ensure optimum production for the current year’s crop but also set up next year’s crop with the best opportunity to succeed.

Identifying corn growth stages and associated management decisions:

While this article will not go into all of the growth stages in detail, a more complete description of most are given by Dr. Erick Larson (http://www.mississippi-crops.com/2013/06/26/identifying-corn-reproductive-growth-stages-and-management-implications/)

R1- Silking

This stage (as well as the previous stage VT- tasselling) is the final stage in which late-season N management can be made.  However, in optimum situations this late-season management will have been during VT.  This is because corn is extremely sensitive to stress during this period and any stress can have a large potential to drastically decrease yields.

Corn at R1 or silking growth stage. One of the most yield sensitive stages for stress.
Corn at R1 or silking growth stage. One of the most yield sensitive stages for stress. (Courtesy of Dr. Ronnie Levy)

R5- Dent

This stage is the beginning of hard starch formation and the maturation of the kernels.  While this does indicate the beginning of kernel maturation, it does not mean irrigation can terminate as final grain weight is still being determined and as much as 20% yield loss can occur from premature irrigation termination.  Additionally, early termination can decrease stalk strength and has the potential to increase lodging, given the right conditions.

 

R6- Physiological maturity

At this stage the crop is considered complete.  It is typically identified by a black-layer which forms when hard starch has progressed throughout the kernel.  When black-layer is achieved, most management practices, especially irrigation, have no further effect on the crop or final yield.

Physiological maturity or black layer. Typical management practices at or beyond this stage will have no further influence on yield.
Physiological maturity or black layer. Typical management practices at or beyond this stage will have no further influence on yield. (Mississippi State Extension)

 

Managing crop residue:

One of the more challenging management practices for corn production does not actually occur when the crop is in the ground and that is residue management.  Corn produces a high amount of biomass, which can almost be a double-edge sword at times for the production system.  Corn residue can contribute more than most row-crops to the soil organic matter content.  Problems have occurred when corn stalks are cut too short or are shredded prior to winter.  This can lead to high amounts of residue run-off with winter rains as well as impeding some production practices in early spring.  In an attempt to alleviate these challenges while still allowing this valuable residue to contribute to improving soil quality, consider leaving corn stalks knee high in the fall.  Over-winter the roots will do a better job holding the residue in place and by spring most of the residue will have decomposed enough where planting equipment can easily push over the standing stalks.  In addition, these standing stalks will be easier to plant through than the residue “mat” that can occur due to shredding the residue in the fall.

 

Nutrient management plans:

As any soil scientist will tell you, correcting soil fertility deficiencies is much easier during the fallow season than while the crop is actively growing; however, much can be learned from the current crop to ensure optimum fertility for successive years.  This can be done by using the actively growing crop and any yield data as a guide for identifying fields that might have a nutrient deficiency problem.  Once fields have been identified, or if your farm has not been sampled in over three years, collecting soil samples can directly identify nutrients which will be deficient in next season’s crop.  A detailed guide on correctly collecting soil samples can be obtained at the Louisiana crops blog (http://louisianacrops.com/2012/09/05/soil-samplingtesting-recommendations-for-louisiana/).  Using these soil samples and problem areas within a field will help to create a nutrient management plan that can be a beneficial guide for not only short-term nutrient management planning but also for more long-term nutrient budgeting.

 

Compaction:

While compaction was more of a wide-spread problem in 2012, it can still cause problems with root growth and therefore cause phantom nutrient deficiencies.  Many producers have the ability of running deep vertical shanks to break through any plow pans or hard layers that may be present.  These activities will also allow for winter rains to penetrate the soil more deeply and build a greater moisture profile for the following crop.  Deep tillage should be conducted when not only surface soil is dry but also when sub-soils do not have excess moisture because hard pan shattering will not be as affective.

Potassium deficiency caused by a compaction zone.  Soil tested optimal for soil K; however, root growth was restricted.
Potassium deficiency caused by a compaction zone. Soil tested optimal for soil K; however, root growth was restricted.

Fallow field management:

With corn harvest in Louisiana occurring in late summer and early fall, it exposes the fallow ground for up to 6 to 7 months.  Much can be done during these fallow periods to make early spring practices simpler as well as improve the potential productivity of the successive crop.  Two management practices that should be considered are fall weed control and the utilization of cover crops.

 

Weed scientists at the LSU AgCenter have been warning that winter weeds are not only becoming harder to control due to resistance issues but also, if left unchecked, can create problems during spring burn-down.  LSU AgCenter weed scientists have indicated that a proactive weed management program that utilizes at least one fall application paired with spring burn-down can be more efficient and help better control fall and winter weeds.  For further details on specific weed control and area specific questions, contact you parish County Agent or Drs. Daniel Stephenson and Donnie Miller.  Additionally, the below two links to the Louisiana Crops blog discuss these topics in greater detail.

http://louisianacrops.com/2013/05/03/the-battle-within-the-battle-glyphosate-resistant-palmer-amaranth/

http://louisianacrops.com/2013/05/03/ryegrass-management-scout-now-for-fall-control/

While research identifying the benefits of cover crops in Louisiana is currently underway, much research is still needed to quantify the benefits.  However, numerous other states have detailed the benefits to soil water holding capacity, water infiltration rates, suppression of winter weeds, and improvement of soil quality.  In addition, cover crops can provide ground cover during the winter months, which are often times the most intense rainfall periods.  With winter cover provided, either through previous crop residue or winter cover crops, soil detachment can be decreased and therefore surface runoff of soil sediment will be reduced.

Surface run-off with high sediment load from a bare fallow field during winter rains.  Ground cover has the potential to drastically reduce sediment load and increase rainfall infiltration rates.
Surface run-off with high sediment load from a bare fallow field during winter rains. Ground cover has the potential to drastically reduce sediment load and increase rainfall infiltration rates.

 

While harvest within the coming months may indicate the completion of the current corn season, it indicates just the beginning of next year’s crop.  If a producer is pro-active and starts their planning right away, it will provide the successive crop the best opportunity for optimum production.

For further information, comments, or questions please contact:

Josh Lofton, Research Agronomist, jlofton@agcenter.lsu.edu, 318-498-1934

 

Beatrix Haggard, Soil Specialist, bhaggard@agcenter.lsu.edu, 318-498-2967

 

Ronnie Levy, Soybean and Corn Extension Specialist, rlevy@agcenter.lsu.edu, 318-542-8857

 

Wind damage and lodged corn:

Wind damage and lodged corn: published on No Comments on Wind damage and lodged corn:

Josh Lofton, Research Agronomist, LSU-AgCenter

Recent severe weather in Louisiana has resulted in a number of reports of corn lodging throughout the state.  With the current corn crop being within its critical growth and development stages, many are wondering what yield loss can be expected from this lodged corn.  While this may seem like a fairly straightforward question, there is not an absolutely clear answer and it will depend on the lodging conditions.  Firstly, not all lodging is created equal.  Root lodging may appear as if the entire field had been “steam-rolled”.  This
typically occurs when the soil is relatively saturated and high winds cause the corn to appear as if the roots have been dislodged from the ground.  Typically, given good growing conditions, corn stalks will continue to grow upward with a more “goose necked” appearance.  While the severity of the damage will not be known until harvest, root lodged corn typically looks worst a day or two after the incidence occurs than what can be expected at harvest, especially if this occurs prior to pollination.

Root lodged corn at this stage will typically "out-grow" this lodging
Root lodged corn at this stage will typically “out-grow” this lodging

 

The other damage to corn from high winds is snapped corn.  Snapped corn occurs when the main corn stalk is physically broken, with the highest potential of snapped corn occurring at actively growing nodes between V5-R2 growth stages (often referred to as greensnap).   Corn stalks that have experienced greensnap will have a difficult time recovering and often times will die shortly after.  However, overall effect of this greensnap on yield can vary with how widespread the damage is and at what growth stage the corn is at when the damage occurs.  A study conducted by Iowa State University indicated that when only 25% of the total corn was lost at or before the V8 growth stage only 15% or less yield loss can be expected.  These losses were higher when 50% and 75% of the corn was damaged (32% and 53% yield loss respectively) and when greensnap occurred later in the growing season (around tasseling).  One potential reason for lower yield loss at early stages is the flex ability of many of our modern corn hybrids possess.  Typically when damage occurred prior to complete determination of yield potential (ear size and kernel set, which occur between V8 and V14), the surrounding corn ears can partially compensate for the loss.  However, when damage and corn stalk loss was more widespread or occurred after yield potential determination, the yield loss could not be compensated for and higher yield loss occurred.

Greensnap in corn.  Ultimately this plant will die; however, since the damage is not wide-spread the surround corn should partially compensate
Greensnap in corn. Ultimately this plant will die; however, since the damage is not wide-spread the surround corn should partially compensate

A majority of damage reports from this last storm are ranging from single digit stalk loss to less than 30%.  Therefore, yield loss should be minimal.  However, even partially broken or damaged corn can lead to increase secondary disease, nutrient, and water stress in the coming weeks to months and careful attention should be focused on field that had injury to ensure minimal yield loss.

For further questions, concerns, or comments contact:

Josh Lofton, Research Agronomist, Macon Ridge Research Station, 318-498-1934

Ronnie Levy, Soybean and Corn Extension Specialist, 318-542-8857

 

Timely First Corn Irrigation Important

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Rainfall has been more than plentiful so far this corn growing season meeting water demands but important yield determining factors begin before tasseling.  The number of kernels per row and kernel rows per ear begins to be determined between V6 and V8 as the ear shoots are formed.  Much of the corn crop that emerged around March 15 is at or near V6(6th leaf collar visible).

Kernels per row will not be complete until about one week from silking which makes these vegetative stages important in final yield. Current Evapotranspiration(ET) rates(ET= transpiration or plant use + evaporation)  for corn emerging around March 15  is 0.18 inches per day that will be increasing over the next few days to 0.20-0.23″ per day as daily high temperatures are predicted to increase to 89-91 degrees F. The most recent rain event in much of the area that brought soils back to Field Capacity or saturation was May 10, 2013.

Accumulated water deficits totaling 1.50″ – 2.00 ” should trigger irrigations depending on soil type and irrigation system. Furrow irrigated fields are: Macon Ridge Silt Loam/w hard pan & Sandy soils – 1.50″, Clay/Clay loams-1.75-2.00″ and Alluvial silt loams- 2.00″.  Center Pivots: Macon Ridge silt loams/sandy soils-1.00-1.25, Clay/Clay loams 1.25″ and Alluvial silt loams; 1.50″.

Current irrigation scheduling I am conducting with local producers will require irrigations starting next week  if no rain events occur. The last  rain event on these farms was May 10 brought soils to Field Capacity or “0” inch deficit.

So far we have missed rains on 5/16/13 and 5/17/13. We will start irrigations on sandy soils/ridge soils Monday and alluvial silt loam soils a couple of days later.  As wet as it has been, it may seem  early to start irrigations but using this water balance approach accounting for all water added and daily ET rates is an effective way to be sure moisture demands are met starting with the first critical stages that help determine final yield starting at V6.

For more information about irrigation scheduling and/or ET rate charts contact:

Keith Collins

County Agent, Richland Parish

318-355-0703

kcollins@agcenter.lsu.edu

Wireworm Injury

Wireworms Prevalent This Year

Wireworms Prevalent This Year published on No Comments on Wireworms Prevalent This Year

With the unusually wet, cold weather Louisiana has been experiencing this spring , soil borne insect issues are becoming increasingly evident as the field season progresses. One such issue that I looked at this week was a corn field with severe wireworm damage.

Wireworm Injury
Wireworm Injury

 

Wireworms are slender, hard bodied, wire like insects that are the immature stage of click beetles. They are shiny brown

Wireworm Injury
Wireworm Injury

in color and typically ½ inch to 1 ½ inches in length. Wireworms can injure cotton, corn and soybeans during the early stages of seedling growth. Adverse conditions such as cool temperatures and excessive moisture resulting in stalled seedling growth leaves plants more susceptible to injury.  Insecticide seed treatments will typically provide adequate protection against wireworms; however, excessive moisture may cause the insecticide to move out of the root zone leaving seedlings susceptible.  Of the three neonicotinoid insecticides available for use on agronomic seed, imidacloprid is the most water soluble at 0.61 g/l of water, followed by thiamethoxam and clothianidin at 0.41 and 0.33 g/l, respectively.  These values represent the degree of leachability but are highly dependent on soil type.

Wireworms will typically build large populations in reduced tillage, sandy fields that have not been have not been rotated (ie. corn behind corn).  Wireworm damage will often result in stunted plants, dead hearts in corn, and irregularly shaped holes that become more pronounced as the crop grows. There are no rescue treatments for wireworms and crops become less susceptible as the season progress.  Warm temperatures cause these insects to move deeper into the soil where they are no longer a threat to growing crops.

Wireworm Injury at Growing Point
Wireworm Injury at Growing Point

For more information or if you have any questions or concerns please contact Sebe Brown, or Drs. David Kerns or Julien Beuzelin.

Sebe Brown   Cell: 318-498-1283   Office: 318-435-2903

Dr. David Kerns   Cell: 318-439-4844    Office: 318-435-2157

Dr. Julien Beuzelin   Cell: 337-501-7087  Office: 318-473-6523

 

Effect of Cold Weather on Weed Management Decisions in Corn

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BY:  Dr. Daniel Stephenson, Weed Scientist, LSU AgCenter

The recent cool, wet weather can influence herbicide application decisions for weed management in corn.  Numerous acres of corn in Louisiana were damaged by frost this past weekend and a majority of that corn ranges V3 to V5 (3 to 5 visible collars).  The damage is seen as leaves that are necrotic.  Add this to the corn that has been sand-blasted, wind-blown, and/or had its growth hampered by cool temperatures and wet soils, corn in Louisiana does not look as normally expected for late April.  The current condition of the Louisiana corn crop has to be considered when appling a postemergence herbicide application.

One issue is plants that were damaged by a frost often appear less developed than they really are.  Many herbicide labels contain application restrictions based upon corn development stages (growth stages) or plant height.  In a normal year, Louisiana corn producers apply their herbicides well before any restriction specified by a label.  Imagine you want to apply a herbicide whose label specifies application prior to V5 (five visible collars).  However, two leaves were lost due to frost damage earlier in the season, so the corn is actually at V7.  If applied, the application would be off-label.  Care should be taken to count corn collars to ensure the herbicide application follows the label.

Another issue to consider is the potential for herbicide injury to the frost-damaged corn.  In many of the phone calls I have had, the leaf in the whorl is relatively healthy (green and intact).  Therefore, proper growth can be expected if the environment cooperates.  However, I suggested that producers delay their herbicide application until new growth is observed (i.e. the new leaf has unfurled out of the whorl).  Secondly, the addition of adjuvants that contain oil-based additives to the tank should be avoided to minimize phytotoxicity.  With the past environmental conditions already hampering the growth of the crop, avoid further injure the corn crop with a herbicide application.

The cool environmental conditions that are affecting the corn crop may also have an effect on the weeds.  Frost does not play favorites, so it may injure a weed as well.  Frost damaged leaf tissue will not absorb and translocate a herbicide properly, which may lead to less than expected control.  Like corn, ensure the weeds are actively growing prior to a herbicide application.  Please understand that I am not advocating waiting until the weeds are bigger to make the application.  It is always easier to kill a small weed versus a large weed.

Adult Sugarcane Beetle

Sugarcane Beetle Numbers Increasing

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Over the past three nights Dr. David Kerns has collected 2000+ sugarcane beetles in a black trap on the Macon Ridge Research Station. These large flights of beetles are most likely brought on by the warm temperatures Louisiana has been experiencing the past week.

Adult beetles are the damaging stage of this pest and are dull black and about an inch in length. The sugarcane beetle has strong forelegs and spines adapted for digging allowing for rapid penetration of the soil surface once they have reached a suitable host. Adult feeding occurs below the soil surface and seedling corn suffers the most

Sugarcane Beetle Damage
Sugarcane Beetle Damage to Corn(Photo by A. Catchot)

damage, but corn is susceptible up to 24-inches. This insect is primarily a pest of corn but damage to rice, sweet potatoes and sugarcane can occur throughout the growing season. The immature stage or grubs feed on the roots of grasses in fields often surrounding production corn fields. Therefore, crops adjoining sod fields are most often at greater risk for injury from adult beetles.

Adult Sugarcane Beetle
Adult Sugarcane Beetle (Photo by N. Hummel)

The developmental cycle of sugarcane beetles takes about 80 days in Louisiana. Constant flights of adults typically occur in March or April with diapause occurring in October.

Seedling corn with stagnant growth due to cold weather or other factors is most susceptible to sugarcane beetle injury. High rates of neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments will usually provide adequate protection from sugarcane beetles for 14 – 21 days after planting. Research trials have shown that Poncho appears to be more active than Cruiser. However, with the large amount of rainfall and the time elapsed since planting, even higher rates of neonicotinoid seed treatments may not provide adequate protection from these insects. Rescue treatments with pyrethroids can be unreliable due the short residual control they offer and the fact that sugarcane beetle flights are sporadic and unpredictable. Additionally, getting insecticide to the insect is difficult since they tunnel into the soil and feed below ground.

For more information or if you have any questions or concerns please contact Sebe Brown, or Drs. David Kerns or Julien Beuzelin.

Sebe Brown   Cell: 318-498-1283   Office: 318-435-2903

Dr. David Kerns   Cell: 318-439-4844    Office: 318-435-2157

Dr. Julien Beuzelin  Cell: 337-501-7087  Office: 318-473-6523

Bird Damage in Early Corn

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Dr. David Kerns and I have been receiving telephone calls regarding bird damage in early emerged corn.

Bird damage in Louisiana is typically caused by either the red winged black bird or common grackle. Corn planting coincides with nesting season for both species and adult birds are foraging for food to feed their young. Grackles typically nest in wind breaks and tree lines often running down the exterior of fields and red winged black birds will nest closet to the ground along ditch banks and large weeds.  Fields bordered by trees and large ditches will typically have bird damage issues in early corn.

Shallow planting (less than 2in) and cool weather can also have significant impacts on bird damage. Shallow planted corn makes the seed easier for the birds to excavate and cool weather stalls seedling growth leaving corn more susceptible to damage. If bird damage is an issue and replanting is necessary, there are a few options producers have to mitigate damage.

Use of the humane bird repellent seed treatment Avipel is an option many producers have used in the past to deter bird damage. By focusing on the learning ability of birds, Avipel teaches birds to avoid treated seed through repetition. Planting or replanting an early growth hybrid can also help the corn crop outrun bird damage. If bird damage is a seasonal issue an alternative may be planting a crop such as soybeans along tree lines or nesting sites where birds typically congregate. Producers may also want to wait for increased soil temperatures which helps decrease germination time and allows corn grow through the susceptible stage faster (4 inch corn). Ensuring uniform emergence in fields adjacent to one another may help diffuse damage and avoid localizing damage to one field.

For more information or if you have any questions or concerns please contact Sebe Brown, or Drs. David Kerns or Julien Beuzelin.

Sebe Brown   Cell: 318-498-1283   Office: 318-435-2903

Dr. David Kerns   Cell: 318-439-4844    Office: 318-435-2157

Dr. Julien Beuzelin  Cell: 337-501-7087  Office: 318-473-6523

 

Corn Seed Treatments

Corn Insecticide Seed Treatment Wash Off

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With many parts of Louisiana experiencing significant rainfall events in the past week and corn planting in full swing, some insecticide seed treatments may have been adversely affected by the excess moisture.  Insecticide seed treatments (ISTs) are neonicotinoid based insecticides that coat the outer layer of the seed offering protection from below and above ground early season insect pests. The systemic nature of ISTs make these compounds water soluble and facilitate the vascular movement of the insecticide into the plant tissue.  Adequate moisture is required to move the insecticide into the root zone and available for plant uptake.

Corn Seed Treatments
Corn Seed Treatments

However, excess moisture may move the insecticide out of the root zone. Of the three neonicotinoid insecticides available for use on corn seed, thiamethoxam is the most water soluble at 4.1 g/l of water, followed by imidacloprid and clothianidin at 0.5 and 0.33 g/l, respectively.  These values represent the degree of leachability but are highly dependent on soil type.  Movement below and around the root zone may increase  below ground control of insects such as wireworms, rootworms, and sugarcane beetles ; however, the dilution may limit root uptake and the amount of above ground protection offered.  This can leave plants more susceptible to injury from chinch bugs, false chinch bugs, stink bugs and bill bugs.

Under ideal conditions, corn ISTs will give 14 to 18 days of protection from above ground pests.  Fields under excess moisture, for extended periods of time, should be scouted routinely for damage after emergence.  If immature and adult insects, such as chinch bugs, are found to be feeding on early corn it is often a sign that the IST may have lost its efficacy.

For more information or if you have any questions or concerns please contact Sebe Brown, or Drs. David Kerns or Julien Beuzelin.

Sebe Brown   Cell: 318-498-1283   Office: 318-435-2903

Dr. David Kerns   Cell: 318-439-4844    Office: 318-435-2157

Dr. Julien Beuzelin  Cell: 337-501-7087  Office: 318-473-6523