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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 https://ag.tennessee.edu/spp

 

 

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Tennessee Crop Weather Update

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WIDELY SCATTERED SHOWERS BRING LITTLE RELIEF

Widely scattered showers occurred across the state last week, but these did little to relieve extremely dry conditions. Corn and soybean harvest continued with producers continuing to report favorable yields for both corn and early crop beans. In some areas, deteriorating pasture conditions forced livestock producers to start feeding hay, leading to concerns that they may run short of hay during the winter months. Availability of water for livestock was also a concern, with some farmers having to haul in water for their herds. There were 6.1 days suitable for field work. Topsoil moisture was rated 35 percent very short, 43 percent short, and 22 percent adequate. Subsoil moisture was rated 28 percent very short, 53 percent short, and 19 percent adequate. Hay & Roughage Supplies rated 1percent very short, 13 percent short, 72 percent adequate, and 14 percent surplus. You can read the entire report here: TN Crop Weather 09_30_2019. You can also read the latest U.S. Crop Condition report here: US Crop Progress 09_30_2019.

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Ryegrass Management in Wheat

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With all the issues with ryegrass in wheat last year many are asking if there are any better options for control. The main issue is resistance. About 10 years ago resistance to ALS-inhibiting herbicides (Broadstrike, Finesse, Osprey) started showing up and now a decade later is a very common biotype in many fields.  As a result, many moved to Axial to control ryegrass and it did a very good job for some time but in recent years ryegrass control has slipped as well.  So what are some good options now?

One of the best options to use is a pyroxasulfone-based herbicide this fall. There are three herbicides with the active ingredient pyroxasulfone in them that now have labels for wheat in Tennessee.  The three herbicides are Anthem Flex (pyroxasulfone + Aim), Fierce (pyroxasulfone + Valor) and Zidua (pyroxasulfone). In our research, all have provided very effective control of ryegrass.

Of course it would be too easy if they all had the same label directions in wheat but they differ a good bit.  Many of those differences go to best management practices to avoid wheat injury. Here are some particulars:

Anthem Flex can be applied from PRE-emergence to early POST (3 tillers).  The going rate would be 2.8 to 3 oz/A.  The 2.8 oz/A rate provides 1.5 ozs of pyroxasulfone. Do not apply to coarse textured soils as the probability for loss of wheat stand is increased greatly. Do not apply on broadcast wheat due to increased potential for crop response. Plant in to good moisture and avoid spraying prior to a rainfall event during germination. In other words, if wheat is to be planted and there is a good chance of rain in the next two days, then go to ”Plan B” and apply it POST to avoid potential injury.  The POST application should be applied up to 3 tillers of growth  with 3 oz/A of metribuzin to clean up any emerged weeds.

Fierce can be applied up to 14 days before planting.  A glance at the label would suggest it can be applied to wheat at a rate up to 3.0 oz/A. The 3 oz/A rate is not recommended in Tennessee. Research conducted in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee would suggest that a rate of 1.5 oz/A of Fierce has provided good weed control and greatly tamped down potential wheat injury. Other recommendations to avoid loss of wheat stand with Fierce is to plant wheat no-till at least 1” deep.

Zidua is labeled as a “delayed” PRE application for control of ryegrass. The definition of delayed PRE historically has varied but in Zidua’s case if the wheat has a ½” shoot it is good to go.  In practical terms it would be 3 to 7 days after planting depending upon soil temperature and moisture. The rate of Zidua to use is 1 to 2 oz/A depending upon soil type. The trick is to apply Zidua after that ½” shoot but before most of the ryegrass or poa has emerged.  If you can hit that timing, Zidua will do a great job of controlling those weeds.

 

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2019 Tennessee Corn Silage Hybrid Trial

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Our 2019 Tennessee corn silage hybrid trial report is now available on search.utcrops.com/corn-silage. We had fewer hybrids than usual this year and all produced similar yields, averaging 8.4 tons/ac dry weight. Differences did show in terms of quality, however, with some hybrids producing significantly higher milk/ton. Mean separation (MS) values help us identify statistical differences between hybrids. Look for the “A” group to identify hybrids that were top performers within each trait. If looking at the online tables, be sure to scroll right to see all of the quality and agronomic traits evaluated.  Online tables can be found here or download the pdf and/or excel tables.

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