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The 2018 Weather Summary (09/13/18)

The 2018 Weather Summary

As this is the last Crop and Pest Report for the year, I thought I would use it as a summary as to what happened weather-wise during the 2018 growing season. After a cold April, May turned out to be a very warm month. If we take the average from May 15 through September 11, temperatures across the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network were mostly in the 1 to 3 degrees above normal (Figure 1).

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Yet, if we start on June 1, 2018, you will notice that the exception is northeastern North Dakota, much of the region was closer to average for temperatures, meaning, a high percentage of the growing season was pretty much normal for temperatures after the heat of late May faded (Figure 2 on next page).

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Rain was a wide spread in the amount that fell across the region since May 15, which is typical in our climate where one or two thunderstorms hitting or missing a given spot will make a huge difference in the seasonal rainfall. Total rain at the NDAWN weather stations is given below in Figure 3.

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Using the percent of normal at each station, as a general rule much of northern North Dakota into northwestern Minnesota recorded below average rainfall this past growing season, whereas, much of the southern portion of North Dakota into west central Minnesota recorded near or above average rain. Of course, with much of our rain coming from thunderstorms, there are numerous exceptions to that rule in localized areas across the region.

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Using May 15 as a planting date, the accumulated wheat growing degree days (Based 32°) was noticably higher than what we recorded last year (because 2018 was warmer than 2017).

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Using May 15 as a planting date, the increase in accumulated corn growing degree days (Based 50°) was also higher than what we recorded in 2017 (Figure 6).

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Daryl Ritchison

Meteorologist

Interim Director of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network

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Southwest ND (09/13/18)

Information from the Southwest region of North Dakota.

There are still a few wrapping up small grain harvest. Small grain yields across the region continue to be good. Soil moisture in the region continues to be highly variable, with some catching hail storms along with the rain. Row crops continue to mature, the recent scattered rains have come too late to help with yields. Last year most of the region was in severe drought, we now range from abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions. According to NDAWN Dickinson received 11.75 inches of rain from April 1st to September 10th this year, compared to 5.51 inches over the same time period in 2017.  Over the same time periods, Mott received 8.22 inches this year and had 5.86 inches last year. Hettinger has 10.32 inches this year and had 5.58 inches in 2017. While the moisture this year has not been ideal for all of the many crop species grown in southwestern ND, the forage situation in this part of the state is much better than last year, but some are still in need of hay.

In mid to late August, we planted cover crop species demonstration plots at both the Hettinger and the Dickinson Research Extension Centers. These plots show a wide range of cover crop species including warm and cool season crops, grasses, brassicas, legumes, and more. On October 19th, we will be having Cover Crop Workshops at both locations with Hettinger in the morning from 9-11am and Dickinson from 2:30-4:30 in the afternoon. If you have any questions about late season cover crops or you’d like to see what kind of growth is possible call or visit me at the Dickinson REC. For more information be sure to check the Dickinson REC website at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/DickinsonREC

Ryan Buetow

Extension Cropping Systems Specialist

NDSU Dickinson Research Extension Center

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South Central (09/13/18)

Information from the South Central region of North Dakota.

Based on NDAWN data, the following are rainfall ranges (and locations) within the region: August – 0.1 (McHenry) to 4.3 inches (Jamestown); past 60 days – 0.5 (Carrington) to 8.5 inches (Marion); April 1 through September 10 – 8.9 (Carrington and Harvey) to 16.6 inches (Marion). In the dry region (Eddy, Foster, Wells and Sheridan counties), soybean likely suffered yield loss of at least 50 percent while soybean in high rainfall areas have reduced yield due to white mold.

Harvest is essentially complete with small grain and cool-season broadleaf crops. The Carrington REC has variety trial data for most of these crops: www.ag.ndsu.edu/varietytrials/carrington-rec/2018-trial-results. Dry bean harvest is at least 75 percent complete and soybean harvest has begun.

Before harvesting soybean, consider scouting fields for Palmer amaranth before seed is dropped or spread during harvest operations. Ask NDSU Extension agents or agronomists for assistance with identifying pigweed species.

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Greg Endres

Extension Cropping Systems Specialist

NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center

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Northeast ND (09/13/18)

Information from the Northeast region of North Dakota.

Dry bean harvest is in full swing.  Soybean, potato and the last remnants of canola harvest is also occurring.  The region picked up 0.5 to 2 inches of rainfall in the last 2 weeks. Much of the crop has been accelerating to maturity, so these rainfalls come too late to impact this year’s yield goals. In terms of corn growing degree units, much of the region is finishing with 250 more GDD units than the previous 2017 year. Langdon REC variety trial data will be up on the web as it becomes available.

Lesley Lubenow

Area Extension Specialist/Agronomy

NDSU Langdon Research Extension Center

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Northwest ND (09/13/18)

Information from the Northwest region of North Dakota.

September is off to a dry start across most of Northwest ND with still warm daytime temperatures and overnight lows starting to dip down into the 40’s and 50’s F. Most small grain and pulse crop acres across the region have been harvested and some of the later season crops are ready to come off or nearly so. Without meaningful rain the past two weeks, soybean and sunflowers are starting to dry down.

As farmers wrap-up harvest, I encourage them to start thinking about fall weed control. If warm weather continues into October, scout for emerging weeds throughout September and start planning a late fall application now. If narrow leaf hawksbeard is a problem, waiting until late fall for a glyphosate application and/ or using a residual product will be necessary. For an update on weed control, attend the Fall Weed Control meeting in Crosby at the Divide County Courthouse on Thursday, September 13 at 10:00 am. Farmers and crop advisors are encouraged to come and learn about horseweed (aka marestail) and narrow leaf hawksbeard control.

 

Clair Keene

Extension Cropping Systems Specialist

NDSU Williston Research Extension Center

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North Central ND (09/13/18)

Information from the North Central region of North Dakota

The North Central Research Extension Center received about 0.14” of rain over the last week.  The Ross NDAWN station received 0.21”, Bottineau 0.13”, Garrison 0.11”, and Rugby 0.23”.  Some smaller chances of rain are present in the 7-day forecast. 

Harvest continues to roll along in many parts of the North Central region with many of the early maturing crops nearing completion, if not already completed.  Many of the later maturing crops, such as soybean, are continuing to mature. 

TJ Prochaska

Extension Cropping Systems Specialist

NDSU North Central Research Extension Center

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Fall Needle Drop in Conifers (09/13/18)

During autumn, deciduous trees like green ash and linden change color and lose their leaves. This is normal and expected. It happens every year and people are used to it. When needles of evergreen trees turn brown and die, it’s definitely unexpected, but not necessarily abnormal.

Fall Needle Drop in Conifers

During autumn, deciduous trees like green ash and linden change color and lose their leaves. This is normal and expected. It happens every year and people are used to it. When needles of evergreen trees turn brown and die, it’s definitely unexpected, but not necessarily abnormal. 

There are several species of evergreens or conifers that are frequently grown in North Dakota. Pines and spruces are most common. These needles live for 2 to 7 years, and then die and drop during the fall. These are the older needles towards the center of the tree. Spruce needles usually live longer than those of pines, and may persist for up to 10 years. Just like pines, though, the needles which are older and more shaded may turn brown and drop during autumn. Even arborvitae trees and shrubs will sometimes shed older needles in the fall.

So, some needle drop by conifers during the fall is normal. The exception to this rule occurs with larch trees (also called tamarack). Larch trees lose all of their needles, every year. They are deciduous “evergreens”. Larch needles are 1 to 2 inches long and borne in clusters on short shoots, and individually on long shoots. They are very soft. Larch needles often turn a bright yellow color. 

Evergreen needles don’t last forever. Some needle loss towards the center of the tree, during the autumn, is normal. Needle loss at other times of the year is not normal and may be due to an insect or fungal pest or is the result of severe environmental stress. And larch trees, the exception to the rule, lose all of their needles every year.  Enjoy the colors this fall.

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Joe Zeleznik

Extension Forester

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Fall Invading Insect Pests in the Home (09/13/18)

This time of year, as night temperatures drop and days get shorter, several insects, such as boxelder bugs, multicolored Asian lady beetles, strawberry root weevils and cluster flies, may invade the home.

Fall Invading Insect Pests in the Home

This time of year, as night temperatures drop and days get shorter, several insects, such as boxelder bugs, multicolored Asian lady beetles, strawberry root weevils and cluster flies, may invade the home. These insects like to overwinter inside the home for warmth, often in the wall voids where temperatures are 40-50F. Unfortunately, they often end up inside the home walking around on floors, walls and ceilings where they become a major nuisance if they occur in large numbers. However, they are not harmful to people, pets or the house.

The best way to get rid of them inside the home is just vacuuming or physically removing them. On the outside of a home, figure out where they are getting inside the house, and caulk and seal or screen any entry points to prevent them from coming inside. Many insects only need a small crack like the ‘thickness of a credit card’ to get inside the home.

Fall invaders often congregate on the sunniest sides of the house - south and west sides. If populations are high, then a perimeter ‘barrier’ insecticide spray may be useful. Spray 3-5 feet out from the base of the house and up the siding of the house. Examples of insecticides labeled for outdoor use around home are: permethrin, synergized pyrethrins (Spectracide Bug Stop and other brands), pyrethroid insecticides (such as, esfenvalerate - Ortho Bug-B-Gon Garden & Landscape Insect Killer; lambda cyhalothrin – Spectracide; beta-cyfluthrin – Tempo), or carbaryl (Sevin). Please read, understand and follow the label - it’s the law.

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Janet J. Knodel

Extension Entomologist

 

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New Pollination Publication (09/13/18)

This new extension publication titled Pollination in Vegetable Gardens and Backyard Fruits H1898 was written in cooperation with Michigan State University Extension.

New Pollination Publication

This new extension publication titled Pollination in Vegetable Gardens and Backyard Fruits H1898 was written in cooperation with Michigan State University Extension. It describes what pollination is and the role of pollinators in the home vegetable gardens and backyard fruits. It is sponsored by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27144/accession 1013592] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

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Esther McGinnis    

Extension Horticulturist 

 

Janet J. Knodel

Extension Entomologist

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Storage Options for Grains (09/13/18)

All storage options should keep the grain dry and provide adequate aeration to control the grain temperature.

Storage Options for Grains

All storage options should keep the grain dry and provide adequate aeration to control the grain temperature. Grain can be stored in many types of facilities. The important point is that all storage options should keep the grain dry and provide adequate aeration to control grain temperature. Grain must be dry and cool (near the average outdoor temperature) when placed in alternative storage facilities because providing adequate, uniform airflow to dry grain or cool grain coming from a dryer is not feasible.

 

Structural Issues:  Grain pushing against walls can damage buildings not built for grain storage. The wall must be anchored securely, and its structural members must be strong enough to transfer the force to the building poles or support structure without breaking or excessive bending.

Typically, you’ll need additional poles and a grain wall to support the grain force in a pole building. Hire an engineer to complete a structural analysis, or have a contractor follow exactly the building company recommendations to prevent a structural failure.

Before placing grain in a building previously used for grain storage, look for anything out of alignment, such as wall bowing and distortions in the roofline. Bowing or bending indicates the load on the building exceeded the load for which it was designed and built. This weakens the structure. Also examine connections for separation or movement and add a gusset or splice to reinforce the connection if necessary.

 

Storing in Bags:  Storing grain in poly bags is a good option, but it does not prevent mold growth in damp grain or insect infestations. Place grain in the bag at recommended storage moisture contents based on grain and outdoor temperatures during the potential storage period. Heating will occur if the grain exceeds a safe storage moisture content and it cannot be aerated to control heating. The average temperature of dry grain will follow the average outdoor temperature.

Guidelines for storing grain in bags include:

  • Select an elevated, well-drained site for the storage bags. Run the bags north and south so solar heating is similar on both sides. Sunshine on just one side heats that side, which can lead to moisture accumulation in the grain and spoilage on the cool side.
  • Monitor the bags for damage. Wildlife can puncture the bags, allowing moisture in, which can lead to spoilage and the grain smell being released, which attracts more wildlife.
  • Monitor the grain temperature at several places in the bags.
  • Never enter a grain bag because it is a suffocation hazard. If unloading the bag with a pneumatic grain conveyor, the suction can “shrink wrap” a person.

 

Grain Piles:  Grain frequently is stored short term in outdoor piles. However, precipitation is a severe problem for uncovered grain because grain is very porous. A 1-inch rain will increase the moisture content of a 1-foot layer of corn by 9 percentage points. This typically leads to the loss of at least a couple of feet of grain on the pile surface, which is a huge loss. For example, a cone-shaped pile 25 feet high contains approximately 59,000 bushels of grain. Losing just 1 foot of grain on the surface is a loss of about 13 percent of the grain, which is $39,000 if the grain value is $4 per bushel and $78,000 at $8 per bushel. Aeration and wind blowing on the pile will not dry wet grain adequately to prevent spoilage.

Use a cover to prevent water infiltration. Drainage is critically important to the success of any grain storage. About 25,000 gallons of water will run off an area about 100 by 400 feet during a 1-inch rain. This water must flow away from the grain and the area next to it. When determining a location for a pile, examine the entire area to assure that flooding will not occur during major rain events. The outdoor ground surface where grain will be piled should be prepared to limit soil moisture from reaching the grain. The storage floor also should be higher than the surrounding ground to minimize moisture transfer from the soil into the grain. Make sure the ground surface is crowned so moisture drains out and away rather than creating a wet pocket that leads to grain deterioration.

Also, look for these issues:

  • Anything out of alignment in a bunker or bulkhead wall - Any twisting, flexing or bending of a structural member may lead to a failure.
  • Separation or movement in connections
  • Material deterioration

 

Grain Covers:  A combination of restraining straps and suction from the aeration system holds grain covers in place, and provides adequate airflow through the grain to control grain temperature. Place perforated ducts on the grain under the cover to provide a controlled air intake for the aeration system and airflow near the cover to minimize condensation problems under the cover.

Place properly sized and spaced ducts under the pile on the ground to pull air through the grain. Some storage options use a perforated wall for the air inlet. Minimize the amount of open area so the air does not “short-circuit” to the fan. Wind velocity determines the amount of suction you need to hold the cover down. Some control systems measure wind velocity and start fans based on the wind speed. Backup power can hold the cover down during power outages. Make sure the backup power starts when needed.

 

Cooling Stored Grain:  Cool grain with aeration to extend the allowable storage time and reduce the potential for insect infestation. Temperatures below about 60 F reduce insect reproduction. Insects are dormant below about 50 F, and extended exposure to temperatures below about 30 F can kill insects.

Cooling grain as outdoor temperatures cool will reduce moisture migration and the condensation potential near the top of the grain pile. Also, the grain should be cooled because grain moisture content and temperature affect the rate of mold growth and grain deterioration. The allowable storage time approximately doubles with each 10-degree reduction in grain temperature.

For example, the allowable storage time for 17 percent moisture corn is about 130 days at 50 F and about 280 days at 40 F. The grain should be cooled whenever the average outdoor temperature is 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the grain. It should be cooled to near or below 30 degrees for winter storage in northern states and near or below 40 degrees in southern states.

Aeration ducts need to have perforations sized and spaced correctly for air to enter and exit the ducts uniformly and obtain the desired airflow through the grain. The maximum spacing for aeration ducts is equal to the grain depth to achieve acceptable airflow uniformity.

 

Long-term Grain Storage:  Grain has an acceptable storage life before the quality is reduced enough to impact its value. Allowable storage time is cumulative, so consider the amount of storage life remaining when deciding if you can store the grain longer. For example, if corn is stored at 14 percent moisture and 60 degrees for two months (November-December), then cooled to 40 degrees for four months (January-April), then stored through the summer months (May-August) at 70 degrees, approximately 90 percent of the storage life has been used. That means very little expected allowable storage life is remaining if the grain is going to be stored for another year. Grain going into storage for a second year needs to have been kept cool and dry during the first year and have few broken or cracked kernels.

 

Remember, airflow through the grain permits grain temperature to be maintained, but it does not extend the allowable storage time.


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For more information, visit NDSU grain drying and storage website (or https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/graindrying)

 

Kenneth Hellevang

NDSU Extension Agricultural Engineer & Professor

 

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This site is supported in part by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27144/accession 1013592] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the website author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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