NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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May 19, 2014 Agriculture Column


This weather is the pits.  Just when we could start the tractors rolling good another hiccup.  I had someone ask me a week ago if this is the new norm and my response was “I hope not”.  I did get out to help on Saturday.  My work was not that strenuous but at the end of the day I can tell that I am getting older or just out of shape ad when I got home and laid down to sleep, I was ready.  As I said my work was not hard but helping move trucks, pulling anhydrous tanks, delivering service unit for fuel, moving seed tenders and helping fill seeder managed to keep me busy, for all afternoon.  I did enjoy that process. 


If the rain continues and planting becomes more delayed, we anticipate that growers may consider switching crops. If this happens, crop rotations, which can be very important for disease management will change, and it is possible that some crops will not be rotated. In this situation, it becomes very important to consider the plant diseases you have. Back to back cropping sequences can increase pathogen populations and lead to yield loss in the present and future years.

First, consider resistance if you have known pathogens. For example, a grower who may consider switching corn to soybeans may be facing a soybean on soybean situation. If that field has a history of Soybean Cyst Nematode or Phytophthora Root Rot, it is very important to plant a resistant variety.

Secondly, you may want to factor in the cost of a fungicide application to manage diseases. In a field where foliar/stem diseases are a known problem, planting a crop into residue from last year will increase the chance of an epidemic. For example, the white mold pathogen (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum) can cause infection on virtually all broadleaf crops, so if you are switching crops in a way where you will grow broadleaf crops on the same ground, your chances of white mold increase. In some crops, fungicides can help manage white mold (dry edible beans, canola, etc.). This also holds true if you consider planting wheat into wheat stubble. The pathogens responsible for leaf diseases and scab will overwinter on small grain residue and increases the risk of disease development. Therefore, regular scouting and observing environmental conditions will help determine if a fungicide application is needed.

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