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ISSUE 1  May 3, 2001



Corn date of planting can make or break your hybrid yields. Weather which nixes any opportunity for mechanical cultivation or pre-emerge herbicide applications can also mean a delay in corn planting. Also, increased acreage to cover can mean opportunities to control early weeds are lessened.

As summer gets hot and dry, pollination and grain fill for late-planted hybrids may be compromised. Later, these same late hybrids may be targets for late-season diseases. Considering the low prices for corn last season and into this season, any grain quality discounts or grain losses can be devastating. Match your hybrid maturity to an optimistic date of planting to insure seed performance. If time is running late before planting, consider the use of a quick burndown of early weeds prior to planting. If time permits, however, good planning on a pre-emerge plan of weed attack gains benefits. Corn needs to grow without weed competition during the

first few weeks to yield to its full potential. Corn is very susceptible to early season competition from weeds, especially from grasses. Foxtails, for instance, can seriously impair corn growth as it has a similar growth pattern. Use pre-emerge programs to provide more flexibility and protection so that post applications can be more timely applied. This provides a built in risk management plan as even ideally timed post-emerge applications can unfortunately lead to weed escapes that end up costing the grower. Carefully planned weed control and crop planting can save time and money.



Using precision ag tools with GPS/GIS you can now ensure crop identity is in the record keeping. Using GPS (global positioning systems), you can identify where different crops are located each year by keeping a record of GIS (geographic information systems) locations in a database. With the recent Starlink controversy, many growers are looking to track their crops. Systematic tracking can be as simple as field maps and information penciled in on paper or as complex as the use of some of the new software that tracks crop identity using GIS/GPS. The use of such complex mapping can be a bonus at the time of crop sell if you can confirm what production inputs were placed on the crop, what seed was planted and any elevator testing results you received on the crop, especially if you are selling a value-added crop. One type of the GPS/GIS software being used has been Farm Works Software out of Hamilton, IN ( http://www.farmworks.com/main/indexm.cgi or http://www.aimgps.com/software/farmworks.html ). The Farm Site Mate Scouting and Sampling software also record field checking information within the database. Another new crop identity tracking software is CropTracer by John Deere & Co, out of Moline
( http://customer.johndeere.com/ag/homepage/features/croptracer.html ). This software allows information to be tied to the GPS/GIS systems on the tractor and combine through the Field Doc software as well as has the option of working with their VantagePoint Network's data warehousing services and Crop Verifeye's third-party certification and field auditing services.



Soil temperatures should be 50-55 F before planting soybeans. Optimize soybean yields by choosing varieties that are within the maturity range for your location. Planting a number of varieties that vary slightly in relative maturity not only allows harvest to be spread out, but often helps reduce pest and harvest losses. Keep an eye open for early pests which affect soybeans. Scout for root rots (pythium, rhizoctonia, fusarium and phytophthora), any early bacterial blight, brown spot or downy mildew (depending on the season's environment) as well as looking for any signs of iron chlorosis. Very early insects which affect soybeans may include: seed maggots, wireworms and slugs. Early weeds can also rapidly decrease yields if not kept in check. Consider the estimated yield reductions from some of the major weeds in soybeans shown on the following table when determining and evaluating your proposed weed control program:

% Soybean Yield Loss








(# of weeds or clumps/100 foot squared)





























vol corn







Dr. Denise McWilliams
NDSU/UM Extension Crop Production Specialist   



It is important to plant canola early because it is more sensitive to heat stress during flowering and seed fill than small grains, flax, and other cool season broadleaf crops. Once weather conditions are favorable to preparing a good seedbed, canola should be planted prior to small grains to avoid the potential of decreased yields due to late planting. A combination of low moisture and high temperatures during flowering and pod set can substantially reduce yields.

Research has shown that yields drop quickly with delayed planting. Results in North Dakota and NW Minnesota have shown that about 1% decrease in yield per day will occur when canola planting is delayed after the first possible planting dates of late April or early May.

For canola planted acreage south of U.S. Highway 2, its suggested canola always be planted before small grains and, if possible, before May 10. For the NE and areas and growing areas north of Highway 2, canola should be planted no later than May 25.

The optimum planting date for canola is late April-early May. Canola yields have decreased sharply across most of the state (except the northeast) when canola is planted beyond mid-May.

Duane R. Berglund
Extension Agronomist 



Stand loss has been an issue in winter wheat this spring. A careful evaluation of the crop, focusing on critical factors, will indicate if it should be left to produce a crop or tilled and replanted.

The first point to determine is, "Is the variety winter hardy?" This is important for two reasons. The obvious one is, the less winter hardy varieties will be less likely to have survived the winter and timely evaluation is critical. The second less obvious one, the more winter hardy varieties take a much longer time to break dormancy. For a variety like Roughrider breaking dormancy may take a week to ten days of warm weather. In Cass county this means this variety will be breaking dormancy late this week at the earliest. Patience is important. A crop planted on bare soil is also more prone to winter kill than one planted in to standing stubble.

Like most crop scouting tasks an evaluation from the road will tell very little about the condition of winter wheat following the winter. Coming out of a long winter dead leaf blade tissue is very common on winter wheat. The leaf blades of a winter wheat plant can be lost with out sever injury to the plant crown. Close inspection of plant crowns with dead leaf tissue often reveals that the crown is fine.

The easiest way to evaluate if a winter wheat plant is dead is by pulling individual plants. Since plant death probably occurred months ago, dead plants will pull out of the ground very easily. Live plants with a living root mass will be much more difficult to pull and when pulled will generally have a mass of soil attached.

Snow mold is not typically a problem on winter wheat in North Dakota. It was, however, a problem on my lawn and potentially a problem on winter wheat. The fungi that cause snow mold grow at the surface of unfrozen soil beneath snow. Snow mold is typically a problem with extended periods of continuous snow cover, like this past winter. Snow mold, and crop injury, typically will occur in patches where the snow remained on the ground the longest.

When evaluating a winter wheat crop here are a few suggestions.

  1. Be patient. Just because the crop is not growing rapidly does not mean it is lost, it may not have broken dormancy.
  2. Get out in the field, not just the head land, and evaluate plants. Examine the crown for living tissue, a white appearance indicates healthy tissue.
  3. Evaluate the stand. Winter wheat has a tremendous ability to compensate for reduced stands. A uniform stand of 7 plants per square foot will produce a very acceptable yield.
  4. Winter kill usually results in erratic stands. Only portions of a field where the stand is severely reduced need replanting.

Michael D. Peel
Small Grains Extension Agronomist



Below is a listing of NDSU Field Day Tours and other crop-related special events. Exact starting times will be given at a later date via this newsletter or other media releases.

June 13 at the Central Grasslands Research Extension Center, Streeter (701) 424-3606.

June 28 at the ARS-USDA Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, Mandan, ND (701) 663-6445.

June 28 at the Agronomy Seed Farm, Casselton (701) 347-4743.

July 10 at the Hettinger Research Extension Center, Hettinger (701) 567-4323.

July 11 at the Dickinson Research Extension Center, Dickinson (701) 227-2348.

July 12 at the Williston Research Extension Center, Williston (701) 774-4315.

July 17 at the Langdon Research Extension Center, Langdon (701) 256-2582.

July 18 at the North Central Research Extension Center, Minot (701) 857-7677.

July 19 at the Carrington Research Extension Center, Carrington (701) 652-2951.

July 22-27, Fifth International Safflower Conference - Williston, ND/Sidney, MT 701-774-4315.

August 15, an early vegetable crops field day at the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District site, Oakes  (701)  652-2951.

August 23, NSA Sunflower Tour - Hazelton, ND 328-5100.

August 28, NSA Sunflower Tour - Valley City, ND 328-5100.

Sept. 18, NSA Sunflower Tour - Minot, ND 328-5100.

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