Posts Tagged ‘17:26’

WCU Volume 17, Issue 26 – September 11, 2009

Friday, September 11th, 2009

PDF Version of WCU 17:26 – September 11, 2009

In this issue:

Vegetables
Vegetable Crop Insects
Vegetable Crop Diseases
Poor Fruit Set in Pumpkin
Low Oxygen Blackheart in Potatoes
USDA FSA Farm Storage Facility Loan Program Now Includes Cold Storage for Fruits and Vegetables

Agronomic Crops
Agronomic Crop Insects
Soybean Disease Update
Grain Marketing Highlights September 10, 2009
Grain Marketing Highlights September 11, 2009

General
Cleaning Equipment to Prevent Spreading Weed Problems Around

Announcements
Beekeeping Meeting @ Wye REC – September 12
Friends of Agriculture Breakfast – September 18
FDA Fact Finding Visit for Produce Food Safety GAPs – Wholesale Growers Invited to Town Hall Forum – September 18
WREC Pumpkin and Sweet Corn Twilight Meeting – September 22
Pole Lima Breeding Line Evaluation @ Georgetown – September 24
Equine Pasture Walk – September 29
Grass Finished Livestock Conference – October 23 & 24

Weather

FDA Fact Finding Visit for Produce Food Safety GAPs – Wholesale Growers Invited to Town Hall Forum

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009     12:45 – 2:30 p.m.
Pizzadili Winery, 1683 Peach Basket Rd.
Felton, DE 19943

The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has arranged a tour and listening session in Delaware for officials of the US Food and Drug Administration regarding produce food safety for wholesale produce growers on Friday, September 18, 2009. This is a fact finding mission for the agency to understand the issues involved in implementing Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices for produce food safety on farms. Dr. Margaret Hamburg, head of the FDA, will be leading this mission. The delegation will be visiting three Delaware produce farms and will have a lunchtime “town hall” style forum to hear from Delmarva produce growers on the issue. Wholesale vegetable and fruit growers are invited to attend this lunch session and meet with the FDA officials. This is an excellent opportunity to have input into the agency that issues guidelines and regulates in the area of produce food safety.

Please contact Gordon Johnson (302) 545-2397 or gcjohn@udel.edu to register and for additional information (we need a head count for lunch).

Grain Marketing Highlights – September 11, 2009

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Carl German, Extension Crops Marketing Specialist; clgerman@udel.edu

USDA Hikes U.S. Corn, Soybean Crop Production Estimate

U.S. CROP PRODUCTION (Million Bushels) 2009-10

 

Sept

Aug

Avg

High

Low

2008-09

Corn

12,955

12,761

12,901

13,127

12,628

12,101

Soybeans

3,245

3,199

3,249

3,356

3,150

2,959

Grain Sorghum

390

381

385

405

365

472

 U.S. AVERAGE YIELD (Bushels Per Acre) 2009-10

 

Sept

Aug

Avg

High

Low

2008-09

Corn

161.9

159.5

161.4

164.1

158.7

153.9

Soybeans

42.3

41.7

42.4

43.7

41.0

39.6

 U.S. ENDING STOCKS (Million Bushels) 2009-10

 

Sept

Aug

Avg

High

Low

Corn

1,635

1,621

1,769

1,989

1,557

Soybeans

220

210

226

367

174

Grain Sorghum

50

51

56

62

50

Wheat

743

743

773

871

743

 U.S. ENDING STOCKS (Million Bushels) 2008-09

 

Sept

Aug

Avg

High

Low

2007-08

Corn

1,695

1,720

1,699

1,720

1,500

1,624

Soybeans

110

110

104

110

80

205

 WORLD ENDING STOCKS (Million Metric Tons)

 

2009-10

2008-09

 

Sept

Aug

Sept

Aug

Wheat

186.61

183.56

168.99

169.50

Corn

139.12

141.49

144.69

144.08

Soybeans

50.53

50.32

40.22

41.00

 WORLD PRODUCTION (Million Metric Tons)

 

2009-10

2008-09

 

Sept

Aug

Sept

Aug

Brazil soybeans

62.0

60.0

57.0

57.0

Arg. soybeans

51.0

51.0

32.0

32.0

Brazil corn

52.0

54.0

50.0

50.0

Argentine corn

14.0

15.0

12.6

13.0

Australia wheat

23.0

23.0

21.5

21.5

Canada wheat

22.5

22.5

28.6

28.6

Summary
As expected, USDA raised its estimates of corn and soybean production in the September report released this morning. Corn production is now estimated at 12.955 billion bushels, up from 12.761 billion bushels last month, slightly above the average pre-report estimate. Soybean production is now projected at 3.245 billion bushels, up from 3.199 billion bushels in August and near the average pre-report guess.

USDA raised the average corn yield to 161.9 bushels per acre, from 159.5 bushels per acre in August. If realized, this will be the highest corn yield on record, and production will be the second largest, behind 2007. USDA said yield forecasts increased across the Western Corn Belt and the northern half of the Great Plains as mild temperatures and adequate soil moisture supplies provided favorable growing conditions. Yields were unchanged in the Eastern Corn Belt where dry conditions in August depleted soil moisture supplies.

For soybeans, USDA raised its average yield to 42.3 bushels per acre, from 41.7 bushels per acre estimated a month ago. This would be the third highest yield on record for soybeans. Yields are forecast higher or unchanged in all states except Indiana, where the yield is expected to be down 2 bushels. Record-high yields are forecasted in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, while yields in Nebraska, North Carolina and Ohio tie previous record highs.

Ending Stocks
USDA hiked estimates for 2009/10 ending corn stocks to 1.635 billion bushels (up 14 million bushels from the 1.621 billion bushels in August) as the 194 million bushel increase in production was partly offset by a 100 million bushel increase in feed; a 100 million bushel increase in corn for ethanol; and a small decrease in projected imports from Canada. USDA also cut old-crop ending stocks 25 million bushels, reflecting higher expected corn use for ethanol.

Corn season average prices are projected between $3.05 and $3.65, down 5 cents on the low side and 25 cents on the upper end.

For soybeans, USDA took 2009/10 ending stocks up 10 million bushel to 220 million bushels, with the 46 million bushel increase in production partly offset by a 20 million bushel increase in crush; a 15 million bushel increase in exports; and a 1 million bushel increase in residual use.

USDA now projects season average prices for soybeans to range between $8.10 and $10.10, down 30 cents from August.

World Estimates
In the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, USDA hiked world wheat 2009/10 ending stocks to 186.61 million metric tons (up 3 MMT from last month). World corn ending stocks were reduced 2.4 MMT, to 139.12 MMT; soybean stocks were raised slightly, to 50.53 MMT.

The increase in wheat stocks reflects hikes in production for the EU-27 and Russia. Corn production is lowered for China, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Kenya and EU-27. Increases in U.S. soybean and Brazilian output (Brazil was hiked 2 MMT) were partly offset by cuts in China, India and Canada.

Market Strategy
The report is likely to be viewed as somewhat bearish. Trader attention will now turn to the impact that the weather has on finishing ‘09 U.S. corn and soybean production. The estimates given above were based upon crop conditions as of September 1. Corn and soybean futures are currently being supported by being oversold, crude oil price increases, and the declining value of the dollar. Farmer attention will now turn to which crop to favor storing, corn or soybeans, and which sales methods to employ. One suggestion, consider selling July $4.00 corn options. Before employing said strategy, it is imperative to understand how it works?

For technical assistance on making grain marketing decisions contact Carl L. German, Extension Crops Marketing Specialist.

Grain Marketing Highlights – September 10, 2009

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Carl German, Extension Crops Marketing Specialist; clgerman@udel.edu

Pre-Report Production Estimates Are Mixed
Trading in the corn and soybean pits has followed the path of least resistance this week, trading sideways to lower, as weather throughout the Corn Belt has remained favorable for the late maturing crop ahead of USDA’s September supply and demand estimates to be released tomorrow morning. The average pre-report production estimate for U.S. corn is calling for 12.932 billion bushels, up from the August estimate of 12.761 billion bushels. Ending stocks for the 2009-2010 marketing year are estimated to increase to 1.769 billion bushels from the August estimate at 1.621 billion bushels.

The average production estimate for U.S. soybeans calls for a crop size of 3.256 billion bushels with a yield of 42.4 bushels per acre. The estimates ranged from 3.186 billion to 3.309 billion bushels for production and 41.5 to 43.1 for yields. In August, USDA projected a crop size of 3.199 billion bushels using a yield of 41.7 bushels an acre.

Of interest in the pre-report crop forecasting business was the Lanworth production estimates released to their clients on September 4. They are calling for U.S. corn production at 12.237 billion bushels on an average yield of 153.8 bushels per acre and 79.57 million harvested acres. Soybean production is expected to total 3.021 billion bushels, on an average 39.9 bushels per acre and 75.77 million harvested acres. Spring wheat production is expected to total 495 million bushels, with yields of 37.4 bushels per acre and 13.22 million harvested acres. Lanworth’s corn estimate is up 1 percent from the company’s August forecast but remains 4 percent below USDA’s August 12 estimate. Lanworth’s soybean estimate is also up 1 percent from August, but is 6 percent below USDA’s August estimate.

Market Strategy
Please note, the crop production estimates given above do not reflect the impact that an early frost would have on crop yields — the reason being that an early killing frost wouldn’t reduce production estimates unless one occurs. So, what is most likely to happen in tomorrow’s report? Likely, USDA will increase their corn and soybean production estimates based upon the favorable weather conditions experienced thus far. With most of the weather premium bid out of corn and soybean prices the primary pricing activity this week can be attributed to position squaring ahead of tomorrow’s report. Today’s opening would strongly indicate that, although the air mass felt chilly in Delaware this morning, no significant killing frost occurred overnight in the Corn Belt.

December corn and November soybean prices are trading in the lower one-third of their life-of-contract trading range with a distinct possibility of moving lower. Outside forces such as the declining value of the dollar, increasing crude oil prices, and the Dow could provide some support over time to commodity prices. An early occurring frost, if materializing, would rally corn and soybean prices to some degree during harvest. The magnitude of a possible frost event would dictate whether another opportunity for making additional pre-harvest sales arises. Currently, Dec ‘09 corn futures are trading at $3.12; and Nov ‘09 soybean futures are $9.33 per bushel.

Cleaning Equipment to Prevent Spreading Weed Problems Around

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Mark VanGessel, Extension Weed Specialist; mjv@udel.edu

This summer has been very challenging for weed control so I want to remind you to not spread the problems around the farm. I have seen a number of fields with heavy weed pressure due to escapes. Some of these are suspected to be resistant biotypes, others just hard to control weeds. If a particular weed is giving you headaches, wouldn’t you rather deal with it in only one field rather than all of your fields? Ask yourself, what would you do if you could no longer use the best herbicide for a problem weed. In vegetables, where we only have one or two broadleaf herbicides, what are your options when they are no longer effective?

Granted, weeds that get blown around (like marestail or thistle) or spread by birds (like pokeweed) are difficult to prevent. Nevertheless, many of our problems are due to moving seeds from field to field on equipment; pigweed and lambsquarters are two that come to mind. Take the time to clean the equipment in the field before it gets moved and isolate where those infestations are located. This is true for all fields. A new weed or a resistant biotype does not just take over a field in one year. A few plants get started and they produce seeds which next year leads to more plants and more seeds (see where this is going?). Prevent the problems from developing and spreading. Clean the equipment and leave the seed where you found it.

Agronomic Crop Insects – September 11, 2009

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Joanne Whalen, Extension IPM Specialist; jwhalen@udel.edu

Soybeans
We continue to hear reports of newly hatched corn earworm larvae in fields that were not treated in some areas of Sussex County and on the lower eastern shore of Maryland. If you have not checked your fields, be sure to check them for corn earworm.

With the continued cool temperatures, soybean aphids are still a problem in a number of double crop fields, especially in the western areas of the state and in a number of counties in Maryland. With the continued cool weather, populations are increasing in some fields and populations are well above the threshold of 250 aphids per plant. After talking to a few entomologists in the Midwest about soybean aphids, they still emphasize that treatment is needed through the R-5 stage (seed is 1/8 inch long in the pod of one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem) of soybean development if economic levels are present. As far as spraying through R-6 stage (pods containing a green seed that fills the pod cavity at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem) – their recent data continues to vary as to the benefit of spraying once plants reach the R-6 but in some years and some situations there has been an economic return. Spraying after R-6 stage has not been documented to increase yield in the Midwest. The suggested treatment threshold from the Midwest is still 250 aphids per plant with an increasing population. The following link from Wisconsin provides additional information on aphid management (http://www.plantpath.wisc.edu/soyhealth/aphids/aphid_management.htm). Information from the Midwest indicates that if the majority of aphids are winged or developing wings, it is an indication that the aphids will soon leave the field.

There are also a number of other insects still present in double crop fields including stinkbugs, bean leaf beetles, grasshoppers, and green cloverworms. The threshold of all may need to be reduced if a mixed population is present. As a reminder, both bean leaf beetles and grasshoppers will also feed on pods.

Small Grains
As you make plans to plant small grains, you need to remember that Hessian fly can still be a problem. Although we have not seen major infestations for the last few years, we did see fields with isolated infestations this spring. Since the fly survives as puparia (“flax seeds”) in wheat stubble through the summer, you should still consider this pest as you make plans to plant small grains. In our area, damage has been the result of spring infestations. Plants attacked in the spring have shortened and weakened stems that may eventually break just above the first or second node, causing plants to lodge near harvest. Warm fall weather conditions can extend fly emergence and egg-laying beyond the fly-free dates, but these dates should still be used as a guideline for planting. Since we rarely see plants stunted in the fall, we still feel that most of the damage we see is occurring from spring infestations. Plants attacked in the fall at the one-leaf stage may be killed outright. Wheat attacked later in the fall will be severely stunted, with the first tillers killed and plant growth delayed. Plants infested in the fall can easily be recognized by their darker than normal bluish coloration and leaves with unusually broad blades. Combinations of strategies are needed to reduce problems from Hessian fly:

● Be sure to completely plow under infested wheat stubble to prevent flies from emerging.

● Avoid planting wheat into last season’s wheat stubble, especially if it was infested with Hessian fly.

● Avoid planting wheat next to last season’s wheat fields – the most serious infestations can occur when wheat is early planted into wheat stubble or into fields next to wheat stubble.

● Eliminate volunteer wheat before planting to prevent early egg-laying.

● Do not use wheat as a fall cover crop near fields with infestations.

● When possible, plant after the fly-free date. (Oct 3 – New Castle County; Oct 8 – Kent County; Oct 10 – Sussex County).

● Plant resistant varieties. You should look for varieties that have resistance to Biotype L. You will need to check with your seed dealers to identify varieties that are adapted our area.

USDA FSA Farm Storage Facility Loan Program Now Includes Cold Storage for Fruits and Vegetables

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Gordon Johnson, Extension Ag Agent, Kent Co.; gcjohn@udel.edu

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has expanded the Farm Storage Facility loan program to include cold storage for fruits and vegetables.  These are low interest loans that are used for financing the construction of new storage and handling facilities on farms.  The following are excerpts from the FSA factsheet on the loan program:

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Storage Facility Loan Program (FSFL) provides low-interest financing for producers to build or upgrade farm storage and handling facilities.”

Eligible commodities now include “Fruits (includes nuts) and vegetables – cold storage facilities”.

Eligible facilities now include “New cold storage buildings, including prefabricated buildings, suitable for storing fruits and vegetables having a useful life of at least 15 years. Also may include permanently affixed cooling, circulating, and monitoring equipment and electrical equipment including labor and materials for installation of lights, motors and wiring integral to the proper operation of a cold storage facility.”

For the full fact sheet go to http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/fsfl09.pdf.

An FSA farm storage facility loan must be approved by your local FSA county committee before any site preparation and/or construction can be started.  Contact your county FSA office for more information and/or to apply.

Low Oxygen Blackheart in Potatoes

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Gordon Johnson, Extension Ag Agent, Kent Co.; gcjohn@udel.edu

We have had a considerable amount of blackheart in Delaware potatoes this year. This is a disorder related to low oxygen conditions. Heavy rainfall in August, especially on our heavier silt loam soils, set up conditions for blackheart to develop. In soils that are flooded or that stay saturated for long periods of time, oxygen diffusion into potato tubers is restricted (oxygen diffusion is much slower through water than soil air spaces). Lack of oxygen to the tuber interior causes interior tissue to die and ultimately turn brown, purple, or black. When dug, tubers may appear normal on the outside, but when cut reveal the dead areas. This makes grading very difficult. With each truckload coming into the packing shed, a sample of tubers must be cut open and if a significant percentage show blackheart, the load is rejected.

Blackheart can also occur when soils are compacted, restricting air movement; when soils are hot and tubers are respiring heavily, using up more oxygen that can diffuse through the soil; and in storage or shipping when piled too high or stacked too closely for long time periods, again restricting oxygen. Managing low oxygen blackheart in the field requires attention to drainage, forming high loose ridges around tubers (avoid cultivating and ridging when soils are wet), managing field traffic to limit compaction, and harvesting in a timely manner, targeting fields with higher potential for blackheart to be dug first. Low areas in fields may have to be examined (samples cut open to see the percent of blackheart) and passed over during harvest.

Poor Fruit Set in Pumpkin

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Gordon Johnson, Extension Ag Agent, Kent Co.; gcjohn@udel.edu

Each year we come across pumpkin fields with poor fruit set and this year is no exception. Poor fruit set can be a major problem in pumpkin production, especially with large jack-o-lantern types, and may have a number of causes. Pumpkins produce both male and female flowers and require insect pollinators, primarily bees (honey bees, bumble bees, squash bees, and other native bee pollinators). The first nodes will produce all male flowers and then female flowers will be produced some time later on (commonly after the eighth node). This early male flower production attracts bees, initiates bee flights to the field prior to female flowers opening, and insures that an adequate supply of pollen will be available for pollination to occur. Jack-o-lantern types will carry only 1-2 pumpkin per plant so anything that affects fruit set will reduce the total crop yield dramatically. Poor crops occur when 1) female flowers or small fruits are aborted or 2) when production of female flowers is delayed and late sets do not have time to develop before shorter days and colder weather set in.

In the first case, female flowers can be aborted due to stresses before pollination occurs, can abort due to lack of pollination or incomplete pollination, or small fruits can abort after pollination due to stress or injury. High temperature is the most common problem causing these abortions. Day temperatures in the 90s and night temperatures in the mid to high 70s (F) can lead to loss of these female flowers or small fruits. High respiratory demand will limit photosynthates so the plant cannot support the production of both fruits and new growth (leaves and stems) – fruit set is sacrificed until growing conditions improve. This can be very variety dependent; however, recommended varieties for this region have proven to be well adapted even at relatively high temperatures. High temperatures also have an effect on the seed set due to reduced pollen viability and poor pollen germination leading to early fruit abortions or deformed and unmarketable pumpkins. In 2009, we had only a few days with temperatures that high in the last week of July and again in the second week of August so only late planted pumpkins would have been affected by high temperature losses.

Drought stress can also cause problems with fruit set and cause abortions. Dry weather during early growth will cause plants to develop a high male to female flower ratio. Severe drought and wilt will reduce photosynthesis and limit the number of fruits that are carried. Some areas of Delaware had 3-4 weeks of dry weather in late June through late July that may have caused some reduced set; however most pumpkins are irrigated and much of the state had adequate moisture. In fact, some areas had excessive water at times. Flooded soils or soils that stay saturated for long periods will cause pumpkin roots to shut down and can lead to temporary wilting that will also cause some flower or fruit abortion.

Planting at too high of a density (closer spacings), especially with high nitrogen, can cause excessive foliage and increased shading that will limit early fruit sets. This can also occur when fields are seeded heavily (more than one seed per hole) and then are not properly thinned. As a guideline for jack-o-lantern sizes (15-25 lbs), semi-vining varieties need 15-30 square feet per plant, full vining types 20-35 square feet per plant. Some varieties will handle higher densities better than others (check with your seed company for recommendations). Excessive foliage and high densities can also limit the ability of bees to effectively move between flowers and complete pollination.

As stated, pollination depends on bees. Even though native pollinators are present, we have reduced numbers due to loss of habitat and use of insecticides. We therefore recommend 1-2 strong colonies (hives) of honeybees per acre of pumpkin field, the higher the planting density, the higher the number. Inadequate number of hives or weak hives can limit fruit set. Colonies should be placed as first male flowers are produced. Delays in hive placement can delay fruit set. Pumpkin flowers are open for about 6 hours starting at daybreak and pollination must be completed during that 6 hour period for fruit to set. Bees must move pollen from male to female flowers and multiple visits to the female flower are needed to complete pollination (one visit every 15 minutes). Bee flights are reduced in cold conditions (below 60°F) and are most active above 70°F. Windy weather (more than 12 mph) will also reduce bee flights. Windy, stormy, weather will reduce fruits set during those periods. Hive placement and management, length of rows, alternative flower sources, and improper insecticide use can also impact bee pollination effectiveness. We had a cool July in 2009 and some significant stormy periods during flowering this year that could have affected fruit set by reducing bee activity.

Insect feeding on flowers or very young fruit can cause abortions directly. Certain insects can cause stress by feeding on plants or can stunt plants so much that flowers are aborted. We had heavy squash bug and cucumber beetle infestations in pumpkin fields at times this year that might have reduced fruit set (squash bug in particular).

Poor crops can also be a result of delayed female flower production. This occurs in two opposite conditions. As previously stated, drought during early growth will favor male flower production and delay female flower production (not usually an issue for DE growers). In contrast, heavy nitrogen application and ample water will often lead to vines remaining vegetative for longer periods of time, producing female flowers only later in the season (too late to mature in time). This is likely to occur on heavier ground, high organic matter soils, fields with heavy manure application (more than 3 tons of poultry manure for example) and where more than 100 lbs of nitrogen are applied with fertilizers.

Due to the many factors mentioned above, planting date can also be important in achieving good pumpkin crops. As planting is delayed into early June, the risks associated with poor early fruit sets become greater. If first sets are lost, later sets may not have enough time to make a crop or may mature out of the main marketing window. To reduce these risks, plant at least a portion of the crop before mid June. In addition, consider using multiple varieties in case one is more sensitive to a particular stress. Consider spitting N applications and assess whether or not the second N application is needed according to vine growth and tissue tests.

Vegetable Crop Diseases – September 11, 2009

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Bob Mulrooney, Extension Plant Pathologist; bobmul@udel.edu

Lima Beans
Continue to scout for downy mildew. The recent weather is very favorable for downy mildew. If downy is found apply RidomilGold/Copper, Phostrol or other labeled phosphorus acid (phosphonate) fungicide. If disease has not appeared in the field Headline, Forum or fixed copper fungicide can be applied preventatively in addition to Ridomil Gold/Copper and phosphorus acid fungicides.

Sweet Corn
Field corn is not the only host for the fungus that caused Northern corn leaf blight. I have seen several fields of sweet corn recently with very high levels of infection clear to the top of the plant. Ears from badly infected plants were not filled out and will not be worth harvesting. Northern has been favored by the cooler and wetter season.

Northern corn leafblightTypical large lesion (3-4 inches long) caused by Northern corn leaf blight

Tomatoes
Late blight
is resurging on backyard tomato plantings at the present time. There is nothing besides chlorothalonil and mancozeb for homeowners but late season commercial planting should be protected from late blight with any of the late blight specific fungicides.

Cole Crops
Downy mildew and Alternaria
can be a problem in fall cole crops (cabbage, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale). When the disease first appears apply a fungicide every 7 to 10 days. Quadris, chlorothalonil, Cabrio, Endura (Alternaria only) Maneb, Ridomil Gold Bravo, Switch (Alternaria only), Actigard (downy mildew only) and Aliette (downy mildew only) are labeled for control. For more information on control please see the 2009 Delaware Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations.