Crops are progressing at a good pace in south central Minnesota.
Ryan Miller is a Crop Educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Service in Rochester. Miller covers south central Minnesota, and said things are looking good, but there are some questions, especially when it comes to the soybean crop.
“Yes, things are looking good,” said Miller. “The one strange thing is the fields that were planted in early May typically aren’t showing rows anymore, and we can still see them. There are some places where you can still see down to the soil surface, which is extremely odd at this point, unless it was a really late planted field. That peaked my interest.”
He added, “They could still potentially close, and we’ll be following up in the next week or two to see what happens.”
The other challenge in soybeans is disease pressure in certain fields.“It appears sudden death syndrome is starting to poke its head up,” said Miller. “We’re starting to see the symptomology. We should start to see more of it in the next couple of weeks. Right now, unless you’re out in the fields, it’s hard to see the foliar symptoms. If you’re on the road, you probably won’t pick it up.
“Unfortunately, there is a history of SDS in the area, basically from Waseca to Owatonna, and Austin to Albert Lea,” said Miller.
Farmers may want to begin scouting their soybean fields for aphid activity.
“We’re starting to see aphid activity, and to this point it hasn’t been too big of a problem,” said Miller. “Up until a few days ago, the activity was really light and hard to even spot. Now, it’s really variable from field to field. Some are at our threshold of 250 aphids per plant, with 80 percent of the plants infested, and they need to be sprayed. But there are other fields even a few miles away that don’t need spraying.”Miller wants farmers to avoid the temptation to spray without checking fields to see if it’s necessary.
“Given the current economic situation, people could benefit from waiting to spray (if a field isn’t at threshold),” said Miller. “We’re not out of the woods. These products won’t necessarily end the infestation. There are fields that may see recolonization later on. There are a lot of aphids flying around.”
A story developing out of southwest Minnesota involves non-performance of aphid killing products.
“There’s a narrow band of area in southwest Minnesota where there’s been some non-performance of insecticides,” said Miller. “How we stay away from that is waiting to spray until we need to, and that also can limit the need for a second application. But you still need to stay on top of it. Things can change quickly, and it won’t always be evident from the road.”
He said the overall condition of the corn looks good.
“We’re in the R2 to R3 stage,” said Miller. “I was looking at doing some early harvest estimates, and it’s a little tough because we have a long way to go. However, assuming we continue with good conditions, we might be looking at anywhere from 187 to 260 bushels per acre. If we can continue with good conditions, the harvest could be a little above normal.”
So far, the corn crop doesn’t seem to be feeling a lot of pressure.
“The corn really looks good,” Miller said. “I know there was some concern in northern Iowa with corn on corn leaf blight, but the corn here looks good.
“The bottom leaves haven’t even fired up yet, which they do when they hit the R3 stage. At that stage, the plant begins to recirculate some of its nitrogen and nutrients to use things up, and that hasn’t happened yet. The soil and the environment are still providing adequate fertility.”
The small grain harvest is progressing well in south central Minnesota.“I’m hearing tremendous yields on oats,” he said, “somewhere in the area of 150 bushels. That’s a phenomenal yield for small grains. Haven’t heard a lot on wheat yields yet, but I think that will be good too.”
He added, “Reports out of northwest Minnesota are that they have had good yields, but the protein content was a little low.”
Here’s the complete interview with Ryan: