Monday, December 15, 2014

Hands On Digital Data Managment Demonstration at Winter Wheat Workshop

Doug Johnson. Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

Grain Production Colleagues:

You are probably aware that the UK Wheat Science working group will be holding its annual Winter Wheat Workshop on January 6, 2015 at the Christian County Cooperative Extension Office.

(Note: this is a change of location from the original announcement.)

This year a part of the program will include two out-of-state guests, Dr. Brian McCornack and Dr. Wendy Johnson, from Kansas State University. They will be presenting a true workshop, with hands-on activities of interest to not only small grain growers but also corn and soybean growers. After all, many of Kentucky's grain farmers produce two and some, all three of these crops. In any case, at this Wheat workshop, the techniques Brian and Wendy will discuss have application to all our grain crops.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fall armyworm Resistant to B.t. Corn found in North Carolina: is your field next?

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky.

  Mr. Cam Kenimer, who runs our corn variety trials, sent me a link to an interesting article “Armyworms develop resistance to Bt corn.” The article which is actually about fall armyworm (FAW) reports that this pest carries a gene that makes it resistant to the B.t. trait Cry1F. This trait

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Early Bird Meetings for 2014

Chad Lee, Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

The Early Bird meetings for 2014 are scheduled for:
December 8, 2014: Henderson County Extension Office, Henderson
December 9, 2014: Sedalia Restaurant, Sedalia
December 10, 2014: Hardin County Extension Office, Elizabethtown.

The meetings will begin at 8:00 am local time and end with lunch.

Topics for the day include:

Corn Silage Trials Available

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The 2014 Corn Silage Trials are available online. Twenty-two hybrids were submitted for testing and those hybrids were planted in Boyle County, Casey County and Mason County. University of Kentucky personnel harvested, chopped, weighed,  packaged corn forage samples, analyzed the data and generated the report. Corn forage analysis was conducted by Dairy One.

The first table in the test is the data averaged across all three locations. This is the best data to use for selecting hybrids next season. A combination of corn tonnage and forage quality should be considered when selecting hybrids. Compare the results from this report with other relevant, unbiased silage trials to learn more about hybrid performance. Since half the total forage weight generally comes from the ear, grain trials can also be viewed to gain a better idea about tonnage. Grain trials will not help with forage quality values. County Extension Agents and producers were essential to conducting this test. If you have questions about the test or hybrids, contact your county extension office.

Corn Hybrid Trials Online

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The 2014 University of Kentucky Hybrid Corn Performance Test is available online. Hybrids are submitted by seed companies and grouped into one of four classes: Early (less than 112 days); Medium (112 to 115 days); Late (greater than 115 days); or White Corn tests. Tests were established at six locations and the summary of hybrid performance across all locations is still the best indicator of hybrid performance for next year. Until we can accurately predict weather for 12 months (including how much it will rain each day and maximum daily temperature) grouping hybrid performance across several environments is our best method to predict future performance.We know everyone enjoys looking at data from each site, so tables are included for that as well.

Visit the Corn Hybrid Testing Website for more information about the tests. Printed copies should be in your county extension offices.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Guidelines for Harvesting and Storing Ear Corn in Kentucky

Sam McNeill, Extension Agricultural Engineer
Corn that will be harvested and stored on the ear should be allowed to dry in the field as long as weather is favorable and stalk strength is adequate. During field dry-down, be aware that moisture in the cob is much higher than the kernel for corn above 15%, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Moisture content of corn kernels and cobs during field dry-down.
Kernel moisture, %
Cob moisture, %
Source: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Early Bird Meetings Scheduled for Three Locations

Chad Lee, Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

Every year, farmers are encouraged to make some orders and purchases this fall and winter for the next growing season. Farmers are feeling the pinch of declining commodity prices and need to look carefully at each purchase decision. To help producers with these decisions, the University of Kentucky Grain Crops Team and Cooperative Extension Service are happy to offer the Early Bird meetings for 2014. The three meetings are scheduled for December 8, 9 and 10, 2014 and will occur in Henderson, Sedalia, and Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The meetings will begin at 8:00 am local time and end with lunch.

The primary goal of these meetings is to bring in the latest research to discuss your options for next season. Some of the topics will include tackling herbicide resistance, sudden death syndrome in soybean, irrigation options, maximizing nitrogen from manure, grain crop budgets for 2015, and understanding the farm bill. While these are the planned topics, your questions are vital to the meetings.  

Your commodity associations, the Kentucky Corn Growers, the Kentucky Soybean Board and the Kentucky Small Grain Growers, are sponsoring the meetings and the meal. We have been approved for 4 CCA continuing education credits and have requested Pesticide credits as well.

For more information about the meetings please click here or contact your county extension agent.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall Armyworm Moth Captures Rebounding

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

 Capture of fall armyworm moths (FAW) in the UK- IPM traps at the UK-REC in Princeton, KY have increased for the last two weeks. These captures are not as great as those from the known outbreaks of 2007 and 2012. Nevertheless, the current capture level is greater than the rolling five year average,

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Some Resources for Grain Storage Bags

Sam McNeill, PE and Extension Agricultural Engineer, University of Kentucky

With the expected high yields, low prices, weak basis and clogged traffic at elevators, many producers are looking for temporary storage options. Grain storage bags or "silage bags" are one possible options. Below is a list of resources on grain storage bags. It is not intended to include all available resources, but contains information from a mix in public and private sectors to provide a balanced view. Field studies on these systems are not available for all locations but has been conducted in Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas, as noted. Numerous other items of interest were found by searching for “grain storage bags”, including popular press articles and You tube videos, but these were not included to keep the list manageable. Exclusion of companies who manufacturer, service and/or market similar handling equipment or systems was not intended.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fall 2014 Wheat Planting Decision

Greg Halich, Extension Ag Economist, University of Kentucky

Kentucky grain farmers have just started harvesting corn and are getting to the point where they will decide how much wheat they will plant this fall. In Kentucky, wheat is almost always planted in the fall following the harvest on corn ground, and then double-cropped with soybeans in early summer after the wheat harvest. This allows for two crops in one year. However, soybeans planted after the wheat harvest are more susceptible to summer drought, which means on average yields are lower for these double-cropped soybeans. In Kentucky, this yield reduction typically averages around 20%. As a consequence, the majority of soybeans planted in KY are full-season plantings rather then double-cropped.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Getting a lot of questions about these bugs.

Doug Johnson, Extension Plant Pathologist, University of Kentucky

Figure 1. Immature green stink bugs on soybean.
I have been getting lots of questions about the bugs shown in this photo. Can you identify them? Folks are seeing lots of them in soybean fields. This photo by Patty Lucas shows a nice assortment
of the nymph stage (immature) green stink bugs. It is quite common to see aggregates of these near the end of the season. They are generally noticed because they are near the tops of plants, and leaves are beginning to drop.

New Soil Extension Specialist Excited to be in Kentucky

Figure 1. Dr. McGrath demonstrating variable rate
nitrogen application in corn using
GreenSeeker Sensors to Lynne Hoot, executive director
of the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board.
On July 1, 2014 Dr. Josh McGrath started with the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food, and the Environment, University of Kentucky as an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in soil management. Prior to joining the faculty at University of Kentucky, Dr. McGrath was an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist at University of Maryland and was heavily involved in Chesapeake Bay water quality issues.

Dr. McGrath’s research and Extension program in Maryland focused on agricultural productivity and environmental quality as they relate to soil fertility, nutrient management, and water quality. He has conducted research and Extension programming on enhanced efficiency fertilizers, phosphorus management to protect water quality, sulfur fertility, in-situ treatment of agricultural drainage to remove phosphorus and nitrogen; precision agriculture and variable rate nutrient management; and manure management in no-till.

Wheat Disease Management for 2015 Starts Now

Don Hershman, Extension Plant Pathologist, University of Kentucky

Wheat diseases reduce grain yield and/or quality in most years. Many wheat producers rely on foliar fungicides as their primary disease management weapon. Foliar fungicides are certainly an important disease management tool. However, pre-plant decisions made – that is, decisions being made right now for the 2015 wheat crop - have the greatest impact on which diseases develop during the season and to what extent. Thus, it is critical to make as many of the “right” decisions as possible to reduce the potential for diseases to reduce both grain yield and quality next spring.

For more on how pre-plant decisions impact disease potential, go to this link:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome Update

Don Hershman, Extension Plant Pathologist

Symptoms of sudden death syndrome.
There have been numerous reports across the state of soybean sudden death syndrome (SDS) showing up in certain fields since August. SDS, which can be a devastating disease, is caused by the soil fungus Fusarium virguliforme (Fv).  Fv is actually a soilborne fungus that attacks roots early in the season and later causes a root rot. Infection is favored by cool soils with good moisture; thus, this spring was perfect for infection in most full-season fields. As plants go into the reproductive stages, the causal fungus produces a plant toxin that causes above ground foliar symptoms of yellowing and tissue death between the veins (see below picture), and later defoliation. If the disease comes into the field during the early pod development stages, and enough of the field is impacted, SDS can result in almost total yield loss. This is, however, an extremely rare event in KY. More typically, the disease causes significant yield losses in spots in a field - usually the lowest portions where soil moisture is greatest - but the majority of the field has little to know yield impact.  That is, most plants either escape disease altogether or symptoms come in after mid to late -pod fill. Plants showing late symptoms will generally yield very well. Thus, the appearance of symptoms is not necessarily a good indicator of yield loss potential. Timing of symptoms is everything when it comes to SDS.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Got Fall Armyworm? Want Some More!!!

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky
Patty Lucas, Extension IPM Specialist, University of Kentucky

Fig.1 FAW moth capture in UK-IPM trap in Princeton, KY
For the past week or so we have been dealing with large populations of fall armyworm (FAW) caterpillars. These hungry little pests have devoured alfalfa, forage and lawn grasses while munching around the edges of soybean fields. I am sorry to inform you that while this problem is decreasing it may also reoccur.

The caterpillars that have thus far caused our damage are probably the result of an increase in FAW moths during the last week of July. You must remember that FAW has been trickling into KY for several months and is a normal part of the pest pressure in August and September, particularly in the western 1/3 of the state. You can see this “pulse” in Figure 1. Also note that this graph is updated every week and can be viewed on the IPM web pages at:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

2014 Wheat Contest Winners are Available

The 2014 Wheat Contest Winners are available online. The highest yield submitted was 120.26 bushels per acre by Jeff Coke in Daviess County. Jeff's field was disced twice. The highest no-tillage yield reported in 2014 was 115.98 bushels per acre by Duncan Gillum in Todd County. Both Jeff and Duncan are repeat winners from 2013. Area winners for 2014 included Merle Coblentz, SBJ Fischer, Gary Summers and Homestead Family Farms.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Something is Definitely Up with Fall Armyworm!!

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

Something is most definitely up with armyworm (Mythimna unipuncta), fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) or both. I have received information from six counties in less than a week indicating the

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Poor or No Soybean Nodules in Many Fields

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

A field with soybeans with nodules
and soybeans without nodules. 
Several soybeans have turned yellow in the past few weeks and further examination revealed little to no nodules. The problem has occurred with seed inoculated in the bag and seed inoculated at the farm. It has even occurred in cases where a 2x rate was applied at the farm. Several brands of inoculant have been indicated. It has occurred in fields all across the state. The problem has occurred in full season soybeans and in double-crop soybeans.

May Not Be A Problem, But Trapping Large Numbers of Stink bugs!

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

Certainly this is the time to be checking your soybeans for the presence of stink bugs. I have not noticed economically important problems in the beans I have sampled, but stink bugs are certainly common and our light traps have been capturing very large numbers compared to previous years.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Shelling Corn Early? Watch That Moisture!

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky.

Lack of rainfall has put many corn producers in a bind, forcing them to begin harvest before the normal time. Early storage results in more days of warm, moist air before we reach the relative secure air temperatures of 50o F or below. This early harvest is compounded because the kernels are often still at very high moisture levels. Early binning corn with 15% moisture or greater is a real gamble.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Watch for Mites in this Dry Weather!

Doug Johnson Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

At least one soybean field in the Jackson Purchase area has suffered from mite damage. The weather that we are now experiencing is what I would expect for mites to become a problem. There is no guarantee that mites will be a problem in any particular field, but dry (low humidity) weather and drought stressed plants increase the probability of a problem occurring.If you are in an area that has had sufficient rainfall you can probably ignore this warning.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Field Day and Workshop for Herbicide Resistant Weeds in Kentucky

University of Kentucky Extension Weed Specialists are hosting a a Herbicide Resistant Weeds Workshop and Field Day on August 6, 2014 from 8:30 am to noon (eastern) at the University of Kentucky Research Farm in Woodford County. The plots and field is located at the corner of US 60 and US 62.

Participants will view field research plots on Marestail (Horseweed) control. The workshop will include discussions on Palmer Amaranth as well as other herbicide resistant weed species.

Pesticide Education Credits: 2 General & 1 Specific
CCA Credits: 3 Pest Management

For more details contact:

J.D. Green or James R. Martin

CCA Credits: 3 Pest Management

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Big Jump in Fall Armyworm Moth Capture

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

The trap week of July 17-24 showed a large increase in fall armyworm (FAW) moths captured in the western UK-IPM traps. The capture increasing from virtually none to 155/trap-week, is a pretty major change and worth noting.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Check for Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs in your soybeans.

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

I have received reports that appear to indicate an increase in brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) activity in central Kentucky. This invasive bug which has a wide host range has been in Kentucky for about five years, but as yet has not become of economic importance in grain crops. This is likely to change at some time, and it is best to not get caught unawares! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014



The UK 2014 Corn, Soybean & Tobacco Field Day will be held Thursday, July 31st at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton, KY. Registraion will begin at 7:30 am (CDT) and the tours will begin at 8am. (CDT). 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

2014 Wheat Variety Trials Available Online

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The 2014 University of Kentucky Small Grains Variety Performance Test is available online. The test was conducted in six locations across the commonwealth and compared about 90 commercial varieties plus some experimental numbers. The overall state average was 95.8 bushels per acre for the test and the highest-yielding varieties averaged over 100 bushels per acre.
The report includes tests for wheat forages, wheat straw production, wheat grain yields, barley, hulless barley, cereal rye, triticale and oats. More details about this test are available at the Kentucky Small Grain Variety Testing Program site and links can also be found at the Grain Crops Extension website, under the "Current Topics" page. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Canola Processor Announced to Locate in Trenton, KY

Carrie Knott, Grain Crops Extension Agronomist

In April of this year Governor Steve Beshear announced that Hart AgStrong LLC will construct a canola processing plant in Trenton, KY, located in Todd County. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

More Is Not Better: Nitrogen, Corn and Dry Weather

John Grove, Professor of Agronomic Soil Science, University of Kentucky

The 2014 season has been dry in many places in Kentucky – corn in these areas not growing as well, or looking as good as desired. Many fields are showing less than optimal color and there have been several calls regarding possible need for more N to ‘green things up a bit’. Without evidence of substantial loss of fertilizer N applied earlier, additional N is not a good idea. Extra N (N above and beyond the recommendation) can do more harm than good – especially if the season stays dry.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Kentucky's No. 1 Nutrient Deficiency in Soybeans: Potassium

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

K deficient soybean.
Every year we see soybeans somewhere in Kentucky with deficiency to potassium (K). Causes for the deficiency can be dry weather, soil compaction and/or low soil test levels for K. For the fields that I visit or receive calls, the reasons tend to be 1) soil compaction, 2) dry weather and 3) low soil test K. The symptoms in this image seem to generate to most phone calls, text messages and emails, which is why I've labeled it number one for soybean.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wheat Harvest and DON Concerns

Carrie Knott, Grain Crops Extension Agronomist

Apparently the recurring theme of the 2014 wheat crop is unusual weather patterns and problems. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Drying the 2014 Wheat Crop

Sam McNeill, Extension Agricultural Engineer, University of Kentucky
The delay in wheat maturity and concern for late planting of double crop soybeans provides motivation to consider drying wheat this spring.  When to start harvest will depend on the drying system, with typical ranges shown in Table 1. Operators with little experience should start at low moisture levels and ramp up as they gain experience. Use a moisture meter to check grain conditions in the field and during drying, and dry to 13.5 if holding for a few weeks or 12.5% when holding through the summer. Drying air temperatures should be limited to 140 o F for food grade wheat and 110o F if used for seed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Kudzu Bug Collected in Christian County, KY

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

A single adult Kudzu bug was collected on June 16, 2014 from Kudzu at a patch located at ca. KY MM1 on the north bound right-of-way of I-24. No nymphs or eggs were collected. This represents the 1st confirmed occurrence of this invasive pest in the western KY grain crops production area.

Adult Kudzu Bug. Photo: Univ. GA.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Prepare Bins for Wheat Storage.

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

In just a few weeks a major portion of our 2013-14 winter wheat crop will go into storage of some type.  In fact, if this message is prompting you to prepare your bins, you are probably behind the curve. Nevertheless, there is perhaps no more important pest control strategy in successful storage of wheat than bin preparation.  Certainly there is no less dangerous and expensive alternative. The following is a suggested check list to insure you have done all you can do to prevent an insect problem in your bins.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Corn Leaf Striping: Weather Most Likely the Problem Here

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

Corn with striped leaves
in shaded light.
As discussed in an earlier post, we are seeing a lot of striping on corn leaves this season. Some striping is due to the weather and some due to compaction or a lack of nutrients. Here is a case where the corn has striped leaves and weather is the most likely culprit.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Could Fall Armyworm Be A Threat Now??

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

It seems completely ridiculous to me to be talking about fall armyworm (FAW) at this time of year in Kentucky.  So far we have not detected this insect in our UK-IPM pheromone baited traps at Princeton or Lexington and I have not heard of any detections in TN. Unfortunately, Arkansas is reporting an “outbreak” of this insect, and that gives me a little pause. In most years I would not expect to detect this insect until mid or late July and with the exception of very late planted corn in the purchase region, I would not expect it as a problem until August.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Palmer Amaranth on the Move in Kentucky

JD Green and Jim Martin, Extension Weed Scientists, University of Kentucky

Fig. 1 Young Palmer amaranth plant
Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) continues to march across Kentucky. Initially this weed was thought to be present primarily in the west end of the state (Purchase region), but sightings have been reported within several Kentucky counties that border Tennessee and the lower Ohio River in the past few years. Last year Palmer amaranth was found on a farm in Hardin County and two additional fields in Mercer and Garrard counties. Last week a population of this weed was discovered in a corn field in Shelby County. These sightings would indicate that Palmer amaranth is a growing threat to grain crop production within the state.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Corn Problems from Weather and other Factors

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

All spring we have been discussing deficiencies on corn plants and trying to determine if they are to blame on the weather or something else. Below are few fields with some images as examples.

Field 1: Healthy Corn, Adequate Nutrients, No Compaction

Field 1. Striping, but no compaction.
This corn in Field 1 is at V7 and has striping that might indicate a deficiency in manganese or sulfur.  There is no compaction and all nutrients should be in adequate supply, based on a recent soil test and fertilizers applied. A sidedress application of nitrogen occurred about about a week before these photos. So, a gentle rain and some sun will make this corn "jump" and the striping disappear. I refer to this kind of symptom as a "transient deficiency" meaning that the symptoms are related more to weather than anything else.

Friday, June 6, 2014

European Corn Borer and Armyworm Active in Central Kentucky

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

Fig. 1 Armyworm Damge
I have reports of scattered, mixed infestations of European corn borer (ECB) and armyworm (AW) in central Kentucky. Thus far, all infestations are in corn that does not carry insect foliar and/or stalk GMO traits (rootworm traits would not apply). This falls pretty much in line with the timing after increase (but not a dramatic increase) in moth flights in mid-to late May. I doubt that this insect pressure is large enough to be of importance to corn products carrying the appropriate insect GMO traits. Nevertheless, for those folks producing non- (insect) GMO corn, scouting is certainly in order. I have not heard any reports from western Kentucky, but west Tennessee has reported sprays for AW control on some wheat fields.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Wheat Yield Contest Form Online

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The 2014 Kentucky Extension Wheat Production Contest Rules are available online at the Grain Crops Extension Yield Contest home page. Completed entry forms must be postmarked by July 25, 2014 to be accepted.

The Kentucky Extension Wheat Contest began in 1987 and the highest yield that year was 89.10 bushels per acre submitted by Johnny Dawson. In 1997 the contest began providing awards for tillage and no-tillage divisions. In 2013, Jeff Coke of Daviess County produced the highest overall yield of 121.80 bushels per acre. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, a no-tillage entry one the highest overall yield. For the last three years, a tillage entry has won the highest overall yield.

If you have questions about the wheat yield contest, please contact your county agent

Friday, May 16, 2014

Cool and Wet Can Only Help Cutworms

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist


Fig. 1. Black cutworm moth.
Capture of black cutworm moths in the IPM traps has been above the rolling five year average for the last several weeks. The activity of this insect has been notoriously difficult to predict over the years, even with years of data on its’ flight activity. Nevertheless given that the moth capture is above “normal” and we are experiencing unusually cool and damp weather, it may be that we should keep a closer check on our young corn plants.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Armyworm Moth Flight Takes a Down Turn!

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist
The most recent capture number for armyworm moths in the UK-REC trap shows a decided decrease, down to 87 moths/trap-week. This is an overall good sign that no large population is in the offing. This does NOT mean that any specific field will not have a problem population, only that there is unlikely to be a widespread large problem. Fields should still be scouted.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Armyworm Moth Trap Captures Continue to Increase

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist

Figure. 1. Armyworm moth
Though delayed by several weeks, capture of armyworm moths in the UK-IPM pheromone baited traps is starting to show a definite increase. The delay is not unexpected given the very cold winter and cool wet spring we have had so far; but the size of the population is still in question for the same reasons.

FHB Risk Low, But Will This Last?

Don Hershman, Extension Plant Pathologist, University of Kentucky

Early wheat varieties are now headed out and some are flowering in southern Kentucky. In many other fields, wheat is in or entering the head emergence stages. FHB fungicides will begin to be applied about the middle of next week and will continue for about 2 weeks. Presently the risk is low across Kentucky, but rains being forecast for this weekend and mid next week suggest to me that the FHB risk could change rapidly. Recent warm conditions with adequate soil moisture have likely encouraged the FHB fungus to become active in residue and I sense that any significant rainy period over a 2-3 day period could prompt spores to be released. If this occurs in the vicinity of or downwind to a fully headed wheat crop, the FHB risk could be considerable. If I had a decent wheat crop and it would be fully headed by this weekend to mid next week, I would seriously consider spraying an FHB fungicide, such as Caramba or Prosaro just before, at or up to five days after the target 10.51, early flowering timing. The risk map is green for now across KY, but I do not think that status will hold. I hope I am wrong.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Delayed Corn Planting Doesn't Mean Lower Yields

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

Corn planting is slower across the majority of Kentucky this year. Again, we are faced with the temptation to get into fields as soon as possible. Simply having some corn in the fields will help us sleep better at night. But if we get into the fields too early we may have nightmares later in the season. Getting into a field one day too early often leads to sidewall compaction, which can severely hurt yields.

Friday, April 25, 2014

2014 UK Wheat Field Day

The annual UK Wheat Field Day is slated for Tuesday May 13, 2014 at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton, KY.  Registration will begin at 8:30

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wheat Injury Unlikely Despite Unusually Cold Temperatures

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky

Most of the wheat crop in Kentucky is either still tillering (Feekes 4-5) or just beginning to joint (Feekes 6). Although this has presented management challenges this year, it also may have protected the crop against freeze injury from the unusually cold temperatures the past two nights.

Friday, April 11, 2014

On-Farm Grain Storage Fumigation Workshop

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist
The University of Kentucky Grain Science Working group will be offering a Grain Storage Fumigation Workshop on Tuesday May 13, 2014 from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM CDT, at the UK-REC in Princeton, KY. This workshop follows the Annual Wheat Field Day that will be held at the center from 8:00 AM to noon the same day. These two programs are complementary, developed by the same working group, but are separate events. Additionally, the Fumigation Workshop will cover all grain crops. Each event will have its own registration and have requested separate pesticide continuing education units (CEU’s).

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wheat Development Delayed about 2 Weeks this Year

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky

We all know that this year has been an unusually cold year.  I am sure many if not all of you have visited your wheat fields to determine the effect this year has had on wheat growth and development.  At the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center at Princeton, KY, visually the wheat crop is about 2 or 3 weeks delayed. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Significant Nitrogen losses suspected in Kentucky Wheat Crop

Edwin Ritchey, Extension Soil Scientist-Princeton, University of Kentucky
Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky
Lloyd Murdock, emeritus, University of Kentucky

Unseasonably cold temperatures and frequent precipitation events this winter have presented very unique wheat management problems for Kentucky producers. The soil throughout much of Kentucky remained frozen until the end of February, which resulted in delayed wheat development. As of today, much of the state has only reached Feekes 2 or 3. This is the recommended growth stage to make the first application of nitrogen (N) for producers that utilize a split N application program for winter wheat production. Compared to most years, this represents about a 2-3 week delay in growth. Some producers began applying N on frozen ground in late January to reduce potential soil compaction issues later in the season and to provide flexibility for later management operations. Unfortunately, several rain events occurred after N application while the soil was still frozen and which increased the potential for N loss with surface runoff water.

Friday, February 28, 2014

University of Kentucky Student Learns about US Ag in China

Please see this excellent article written by Katie Pratt. John is a graduate student working on high yield soybeans funded by the United Soybean Board. He had a great opportunity to see how our ag products are marketed and used in China. Click here for the article.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Soybean High Yield Checklist

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky
These soybeans went 90 bu/A
and hit every point on the checklist.
Based on the responses to the Corn High Yield Checklist we decided to define the key parameters to getting high soybean yields. You will see a lot of similar points between this checklist and the one for corn. Both of these checklists are intended to be a framework for where high yields start.

Soybean High Yield Checklist

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Checking for Soil Compaction

Edwin Ritchey, Extension Soils Specialist, University of Kentucky
Lloyd Murdock, emeritus, University of Kentucky

Soil compaction stunted this corn.
Crop yields may be limited by soil compaction. Subsoiling is the most common method used to alleviate soil compaction, but is a time consuming and costly operation. If soil compaction is suspected, it is best to identify the areas in the field where it exists, what depth the compaction begins, and what depth the compaction ceases. The best method to document this information is with a soil penetrometer. Most county Extension offices have penetrometers that may be borrowed to make these measurements.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Timing of Wheat Cover Crop Burndown

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky, Lexington
Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky, Princeton

Cover crops can be excellent systems to capture excess nutrients and reduce the risk of erosion over the winter months. The most common cover crop used is wheat but other species are gaining popularity. The timing of cover crop removal is important to the success of the primary crop. When possible, cover crops should be killed a minimum of two to three weeks before planting the primary crop. While killing the cover crop before planting the primary crop is preferred, there are some positive reasons for waiting to kill the cover crop after planting. Both options will be discussed.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Corn High Yield Checklist

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The margin for corn profits are projected lower in 2014 and producers are more interested in what programs and products will increase yield and profit. Before we discuss specific programs and products, let us take a moment to define some of the key parameters for getting high yields. There are several things that when done correctly will result in excellent corn yields. Here is the checklist.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Warm Up and Winter Wheat Status

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky, Lexington
Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky, Princeton
Edwin Ritchey, Extension Soil Scientis, University of Kentucky, Princeton

Wheat tillers damaged from the
freezing temperatures.
At least 7 to 10 days
of good growing conditions
are needed to assess damage.
The warming weather forecast this week will encourage many people to take a look at their wheat. We need about 7 to 10 days of good growing conditions before we will fully know the status of the wheat. That means, even though we will walk fields this week, we need to be careful about making too many decisions just yet. We can do tiller counts, we just won't know if they are viable tillers for a while.

While we won't know the status of the wheat crop for at least 10 more days, now is the normal time for the early shot of nitrogen. We can do tiller counts and make the assumption that most will survive. We can adjust the nitrogen (N) rate for total tiller count (which includes the main shoot).

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Dangers of Applying Fertilizers and Manures to Frozen Ground

Edwin Ritchey, Extension Soils Specialist, University of Kentucky

Some producers are taking advantage of frozen ground conditions to apply nitrogen to wheat fields or manure to corn fields. While this practice reduces the risk of compaction or rutting of fields, there are other factors to consider. Applications to frozen ground are at higher risk for runoff and loss of those nutrients.  When the soil is frozen or saturated, water is not able to infiltrate into the soil profile and the water and nutrients can runoff to adjoining properties or waterways. NRCS Code 590 prohibits the application of manure to frozen ground for this reason.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Yield Contest Photos Online

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The Kentucky Yield Contest photos have been posted online.  Images were taken by Steve Patton in Ag Communications. Feel free to click on the pictures you want and download them for your use. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Grain Crops Coordinator

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky

Please join me in welcoming our new Grain Crops Coordinator, Colette Laurent.

Colette is originally from Louisiana where she earned a B.S. in Animal Science from Louisiana State University before relocating to Kentucky. Colette worked as the Laboratory technician in the Soybean Cyst Nematode Lab and as research support at the Research and Education Center in Princeton, KY for several years prior to becoming the Grain Crops Coordinator. Colette’s new focus will be to coordinate the UK’s Corn, Soybean and Wheat groups’ extension effort to provide timely research-based educational programs for KY producers.

Recommended Wheat Fertilization Plan in Kentucky

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky
Edwin Ritchey, Extension Soil Scientist-Princeton, University of Kentucky

Record low temperatures with periodic warm days continue to wreak havoc on this year’s wheat cropSome fields are beginning to show more pronounced damage while other fields have moderate to little damage.

Producers wanting to make a nitrogen application now should consider utilizing a controlled release product. Other forms of nitrogen should be applied once the wheat crop breaks dormancy and begins ‘greening up’.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Results from 2013 On-Farm Fungicide Trials in Corn

Paul Vincelli, Extension Plant Pathologist, University of Kentucky

In 2011, we set up three commercial-scale, on-farm fungicide tests in fields of yellow and white corn in West Kentucky. It was challenging to balance scientific standards of experimental design with the need to keep it doable for the aerial applicator and the producer. Nevertheless, we did it and, to my surprise, a single fungicide application resulted in 20+ bushel yield increases in two of the three tests. We also observed improved stalk strength in one of the trials. Surprisingly, all of this occurred in the absence of significant disease pressure. (For more information, see the January 18, 2012 issue of this newsletter, at Please note that, in one of those two trials, the fungicide application included an insecticide, so we can’t be sure how much of the yield increase was due to the fungicide. In any case, the results were impressive, and we wanted to repeat those experiments to see how robust our results were.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wheat Freeze Damage

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky
Record low temperatures with little to no snow cover last week may have caused some damage on the wheat crop in Kentucky.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter Wheat Meeting in Hopkinsville

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The 2014 Winter Wheat Meeting is slated for Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at the James R. Bruce Center in Hopkinsville, KY. The meeting begins at 9:00 am and ends at 3:00 pm. Lunch is sponsored by the Kentucky Small Grains Growers Association.

Topics on wheat include nitrogen management and fungicide use. Other small grains will be discussed as well, including rye, oats, triticale, and chia. Speakers are researchers from the University of Kentucky, producers and industry representatives.

For more information about the wheat meeting, click here

Friday, January 3, 2014

Corn Yield Contest Winners

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

We all knew that 2013 was a good year for corn in Kentucky. That good year resulted in some great yields in the corn contest. The 2013 Kentucky Yield Contest experienced the highest yield for a non-irrigated entry and the highest yield for an irrigated entry.

Greenwell Acres of Union County had the highest non-irrigated yield at 297.22 bushels per acre. The Schwenke Brothers of Boone County recorded 365.11 bushels per acre, which the highest yield measured in Kentucky for irrigated corn.  The Waller Brothers of Union County had the highest white corn yield, which was 294.22 bushels per acre. This also was the second-highest yield for any non-irrigated corn category.

The state winners are as follows.