NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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May 21, 2012 Agriculture Column


A little rain over the weekend sure brightened the days of many.  I have heard reports of around .40 of rain generally across the county.  Our growing degree days are at 188 GDD’S using May 1 as the start date which means we are now 40 units ahead of schedule.

NDSU Small Grain Disease Forecasting Site Activated

The NDSU small grain disease forecasting site has been activated for the season.  The web address is:  http://www.agndsu.nodak.edu/cropdisease/ .  Information about the risk of wheat tan spot, Septoria blotch, and wheat leaf rust are available, based on weather data provided by each of the NDAWN weather sites.  A user of this site choses which growth stage their crop is in or approaching.  Information about the risk of Fusarium head blight infection also is available, when the flowering growth stage is chosen.  Currently, as winter wheat is approaching flag leaf stage in some areas, risk of any of the fungal diseases above is low, based on the dry weather that has occurred in recent days.  According to NDAWN data, the average dew point over the past week has been below 40 degrees across the state.  We usually see fungal disease infections when dew points are in the 50+ degree range.

Watch for sulfur deficiency in small grains and other crops

Sulfur deficiencies have been reported in increasing numbers in the last few years. The above-normal rainfall in 2010-2011 seasons leached sulfur out of many sandier soils. The effects of depletion of sulfur in these soils will linger into this season. Soils that are particularly affected are loams, sandy loams and loamy sands on hilltops/ridges and slopes. Sulfur deficiency can affect any crop. The symptoms are a general leaf yellowing of newer leaves (not interveinal chlorosis), with older leaves greener.

To correct a deficiency, ammonium sulfate can be used very early in the season broadcast. An 80 lb/acre product rate should give adequate granule distribution. In solid-seeded crops, a stream-bar of ammonium thiosulfate or ammonium sulfate solution at a 10 lb S/acre rate would be adequate, but the ammonium sulfate granules may also be used. Pelletized gypsum could also be applied, but the availability in the region is low and the cost is high.  Dave Franzen NDSU Extension Soil Specialist

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