Recent Updates

String-out, fall out, and estimating yield loss in cotton

While the finish line is either within sight or has been reached by most, Tennessee still has several acres of cotton in the field.  Several have reported fall out, or seed cotton on the ground, on some of these acres.  There are several methods to estimate yield loss from fall out.  This article explains string-out, fall out, the method for estimating harvest loss from lock counts and covers potential sources of error in the estimate.  Continue reading

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2019 County Standardized Trials Corn Data

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The 2019 County Standardized Trials data are now available. This year, 58 hybrids were evaluated with 49 test locations being harvested.  A great corn year brings the overall average across all locations and hybrids to 206 bu/ac.  The tables are separated into 3 maturity groups, early <114 day, medium 114-116 day, and full >116 day corn.  Hybrids are listed in descending order within each maturity across locations.  UT recommends selecting hybrids that are in the A group statistically. Hybrids with *’s next to their name, have been in the A group for consecutive years.  Two (**)  indicate this hybrid has been in the A group for 3 consecutive years.

A special thanks to those companies involved in these trials for sending a great lineup.  Thank you to all the county agents involved in getting these trials in and out.  Thank you especially to the producers who allow these trials to be placed in their fields to provide all of Tennessee with a non-bias look at head to head yield comparisons across the state.

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Free soil testing for pathogenic nematodes in 2019 & results from 2018 samples

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Taking soil samples this fall? Why not send them for nematode screening? Take the test and beat the pest! Read on to learn how to take soil samples, the importance of soybean cyst nematode (SCN), and what 2018 soil samples revealed with regard to SCN. Continue reading

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Picking cotton in below freezing temperatures

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With the arctic blast in the forecast and the substantial number of cotton acres left in the field, several have recently asked about how to keep water in their cotton pickers moisture system from freezing. Some operators occasionally mix a small percentage of methanol with water to lower the freezing point of water, but extreme caution must be used with this liquid since it is highly flammable. This post includes a brief demonstration concerning methanol/water mixtures and freeze points of different mixtures. Please note prior to using methanol or any other liquid in your moisture system you should consult the manufacturer.   Continue reading

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Opening bolls immediately before a freeze

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The forecast lows for Thursday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights have bounced around over the past few days, but this morning they included a 26, 28, 28 and 31.  I’ve passed many fields with a large percentage of large bolls in the upper canopy still closed.  Today (10/29) is the day to make any last-ditch effort at opening those bolls; it is likely all bolls remaining closed after this weekend will freeze shut. Continue reading

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Tennessee Corn Grain REC Data Now Available

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Our county corn trial numbers are still rolling in, but results are up for the small plot trials performed at the University of Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center locations. Results can be found at as both web tables or as a downloadable excel file. These tables will be updated with county data as soon as that is available.

AgResearch and Education Center (REC) plots are 5 ft (2, 30 in rows) by 30 ft and are replicated three times per location. Total number of entries was on par with most years, totaling 89 corn hybrids, representing 14 company/brands. Continue reading

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Tennessee Weekly Crop Weather Update

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Rains across much of the state provided much needed moisture to most farmers. These rains also brought with them cooler temperatures with many areas reporting frost. Corn, soybean, and cotton harvests continued with most farmers continuing to post favorable yields. The added soil moisture from the recent rains have helped in the emergence of early planted winter wheat. Pasture conditions improved slightly after the rains, but frost kept pastures from making any big improvement and effectively put a stop to the grazing season in many areas. There were 5.2 days suitable for field work. Topsoil moisture was rated 20 percent very short, 24 percent short, 53 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated 22 percent very short, 34 percent short, 43 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. You can read the entire report here: TN Crop Weather 10_21_2019.

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Soil sampling and testing

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Planning to get the most out of your crop next spring? Soil testing after post-harvest is a valuable step in accomplishing this goal. While soil testing is the only practical means to adequately evaluate the nutritional needs in a field to prescribe appropriate lime and fertilizer recommendations, the reliability of soil test results depends on the quality of the sample submitted to the soil testing laboratory. Poor sampling can result in inaccurate soil test results and produce unreliable lime and fertilizer recommendations. Some helpful soil sampling information:

  •  Soil samples can be collected at any time, but some soil properties (soil pH, phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), for example) can vary depending on the time of sampling.
  • While soil test results from University of Tennessee Soil, Plant, & Pest Center come back within 3 to 5 days, it is best to sample months ahead of planting to allow for planning and getting prices on lime or fertilizer.
  • A good rule of thumb for soil sampling is to collect samples in a way that adequately represents the soil in that field. A well represented sample will consist of 10 – 20 core samples taken at the appropriate depth within a 5/10-acre grid.
  • University of Tennessee Soil, Plant, & Pest Center as well as commercial soil testing laboratories in Tennessee recommend taking soil samples to a depth of 6 inches.
  • The frequency of soil testing depends on cropping intensities, soil types, fertilization rate, tillage methods, and weather conditions; however, fields should be tested every two to three year to estimate the residual nutrient levels. For high-value cash crops (tobacco, vegetables, etc.) soils should be tested annually.
  • Soil testing is also recommended any time a nutrient deficiency problem is suspected or at the beginning of different crop rotation system.
  • Soil samples and a completed soil information sheet can be taken to your county Extension office or directly sent to University of Tennessee Soil, Plant, & Pest Center, Nashville.•
  • Addition information about UT Soil, Plant & Pest Center can be obtained from your County UT Extension Offices or at



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