Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fall Corn Planting

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, Director: Grain and Forage Center of Excellence, University of Kentucky

Volunteer corn after harvest in 2016.
Drive just about anywhere in the state and you can find old corn fields that have a tremendous amount of young corn plants in them. The amount of plants in fields and the number of fields with volunteer corn plants seems much higher than normal. The extent of ground cover by the young plants makes the fields look as if someone intentionally planted them to corn this fall. There may be a few reasons for this.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Corn Hybrid Trials Online

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky corn for grain hybrid trials and corn for silage hybrid trials are online.

The corn for grain trials were planted at seven locations around the state, two of which are irrigated. Hybrids were divided into early, medium, late and white corn tests. The early hybrids were rated to mature by 111 days or earlier. The medium hybrids were rated to mature in 112 to 115 days and the late hybrids were rated to mature at 116 days or later. The report includes yields, test weight, moisture, final stand and lodging. All of these parameters help assess hybrid quality. When possible, yields are averaged across two and three years. The three-year averages across all locations provide the best predictor for hybrid performance next season.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Late Dry Weather is Hurting Corn and Soybean Yields

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The USDA NASS lowered their estimates for Kentucky corn yields by 10 bushels per acre and soybean yields by 2 percent in their latest report. The negative numbers reflect calls and comments we are receiving from producers across the state.

In August, most of our corn and soybean fields looked great. The foliage was lush, canopies were closed and the crop looked to be in excellent condition. Now, farmers are getting surprised about low yields in some fields. Just to clarify, these reports do not reflect all fields. There are some really good yields being reported. But, there are some really bad yields as well and these fields were the surprise. I think the biggest contributor to these bad surprises is the weather. Most of Kentucky was wet early and dry late. The wet weather encouraged shallow root systems. The dry weather late penalized crops with shallow roots.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

2016 Early Bird Meetings

Colette Laurent, Grain Crops Coordinator, University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky Grain Crops Team and Cooperative Extension Service are happy to offer the Early Bird meetings for 2016. The primary goal of these meetings is to bring  research and information to help producers discuss options for next season. The three meetings are scheduled for December 6th, 7th and 8th and will occur in Sedalia, Henderson and Hopkinsville, respectively,  The session will begin at 8:00 am (CST) and end with lunch.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Decision Tools for Hauling Grain to Market

Jordan Shockley, Farm Management Specialist, University of Kentucky

Harvest season is upon us and while transporting grain to the market may be the last input cost in the production of grain it is a critical decision a producer has to make, especially when margins are thin. Determining which market to sell your grain (if you have options) can be a complex decision. Most producers, especially in Western Kentucky, have multiple potential markets to deliver their grain. This leads to the question of, “Should I sell my grain to the closest elevator or should I transport it a further distance to an elevator offering a higher price?” What market you choose not only will determine the price you receive but will also determine the cost associated with transportation. The market that provides the highest price is not always the most profitable price. The trade-off between maximizing price per bushel received from the buyer and minimizing transportation costs could be the difference between making a profit that year or being in the red. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Preparing for the Winter Wheat Planting Season

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky
The optimal planting window for winter wheat in Kentucky is quickly approaching: October 10-30. Prior to the physical planting of wheat, farmers must make several critical decisions to maximize wheat grain yield and profitability the following June.  

Friday, August 19, 2016

Pay Close Attention to Moisture of Corn for Silage

Chad Lee, Donna Amaral-Phillips and Nick Roy
Extension Agronomist, Extension Dairy Nutritionist and County Extension Agent, University of Kentucky

Milkine is a poor indicator of
whole plant moisture.
The wet August and healthy corn crop are great for tonnage, but will present challenges for determining when to harvest the corn crop for silage. Whole plant moisture is the most important factor for deciding when to harvest corn. Ideal whole plant moistures are 65 to 70% for bunker silos, 62 to 65% for uprights and 62 to 68% for silo bags. Moisture at harvest determines how well the chopped crop will pack which directly impacts the quality of silage when fed-out. Silage harvested too wet will undergo an unwanted fermentation and could limit feed intake and hurt the health of dairy cattle. Plant growth stage is another consideration, but it secondary to whole plant moisture.