Monday, December 21, 2015

2016 UK Winter Wheat Meeting

Colette Laurent, Grain Crops Coordinator, University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky Winter Wheat Meeting is slated for Tuesday, January 5, 2016 at the James R. Bruce Convention Center in Hopkinsville, KY. Registration begins at 8:30 am (CST).  The meeting will run from 9am - 3pm.

Lunch is sponsored by the Kentucky Small Grains Growers Association.

Topics on wheat include:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Early Bird Meeting for 2015

Chad Lee, Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

The Early Bird meetings for 2015 are scheduled for:
November 23rd - SEDALIA RESTAURANT, Sedalia, KY
November 24th - THE FEED MILL RESTAURANT, Mornganfield, KY
December 7th - HARDIN COUNTY EXTENSION OFFICE, Elizabethtown, KY

Each of the three meetings begins at 8:15 am local time and ends with lunch.

Topics to be covered include:

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

2015 Corn Hybrid Performance Test Online

Cam Kenimer, Corn Hybrid Trial Coordinator, University of Kentucky
Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The 2015 University of Kentucky Corn Hybrid Performance Trials are now online. Seed companies submitted 151 hybrids to be tested. The hybrids were divided into Early, Medium, Late, and White groupings.

The range from best to worst hybrid was 35.6 bushels per acre for the Early hybrids. The range for the Medium hybrids was even greater at 45.4 bushels per acre. The range in yields was 33.3 bushels per acre for the Late hybrids. Based solely on yield performance and the current market price for corn, those ranges equate to about $125 to $175 per acre difference between the highest and lowest yielding hybrid.

Monday, November 2, 2015

2015 Corn Silage Hybrid Report Available

Nick Roy, ANR Extension Agent, Adair County, University of Kentucky
Chad Lee, Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

The 2015 Corn Silage Hybrid Trial is available online. and is linked to the variety testing page.  The test evaluated 20 hybrids submitted by 10 seed companies. A test was conducted in three locations in Kentucky: Green County, Boyle County and Bracken County. All yields were corrected to 35% dry matter. There was a yield difference of 5.9 tons/acre between the highest and lowest yielding hybrid for this. Forage quality tests combined with yield allowed us to estimate milk production for each hybrid. There potential milk production difference from the best and worst performing hybrid was 11,652 pounds per acre. Based on current milk prices, that is worth $2,323 of milk per acre.

Simply choosing the correct hybrids could greatly impact the bottom line. Hybrid selection should always be based off of performance across multiple locations. We encourage you to compare the results from this trial to results from other non-biased trials. If you have questions about this test, contact your local county extension agent.

2015 Silage Performance Test:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fall Nitrogen Considerations for Wheat in 2015

Edwin Ritchey, Lloyd Murdock, and Josh McGrath – Extension Soil Specialists, University of Kentucky

Many producers have completed or almost completed corn harvest and getting ready to start drilling wheat. One question that keeps coming up is the need for a fall nitrogen (N) application. In most years there is adequate residual N following corn. However most areas in Kentucky in 2015 had very good corn yields and a considerable amount of rainfall earlier in the season. Good corn yields coupled with high rainfall probably means that there is very little residual N remaining in the soil profile. Numerous studies at UK have not shown a consistent yield advantage to fall N applications for wheat. However, fall N does stimulate growth and establishment of the stand. Too much fall N could reduce yields by causing excessive growth and more winterkill.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Wheat Product Test Reveals Little Help for Yields

John H. Grove and William P. Bruening
Plant and Soil Sciences Department, University of Kentucky
The following is a progress report to the Kentucky Small Grains Growers Association.

The primary goal of this research is to provide new product information to wheat producers. New product releases, which occur every year, are often accompanied by weak performance evaluation information – often testimonials based on invalid comparisons. Chemical soil compaction treatments, liquid carbon and foliar nutrition products are already in the marketplace, and a new group of ‘biological/microbiological’ products is now emerging. Are any of these new materials going to be the “next big thing” in wheat production? The objective was to evaluate nine products intended to raise Kentucky wheat yield. Six products were specified by the Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

New Corn Disease Found in Bordering States

Carl A. Bradley, University of Kentucky Extension Plant Pathologist
Originally posted in KPN

Tar spot of corn, a foliar disease caused by the fungus Phyllachora maydis, recently was found in the United States for the first time. The disease was confirmed in Indiana and Illinois. Pictures of the disease and more information about the locations where its presence was confirmed are available online in the Pest & Crop Newsletter (Purdue Cooperative Extension Service) and the Bulletin (University of Illinois Extension).

It is important to document if this disease is present in Kentucky. If symptoms similar to those shown in the articles referenced above are found in Kentucky, samples should be submitted to one of the University of Kentucky Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratories (located in Princeton and Lexington) via a county Extension agent.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Winter Decline Syndrome of Canola (PPFS-AG-R-01)

Carl Bradley, Extension Plant Pathologist, University of Kentucky

Interest in producing canola in Kentucky has greatly increased in recent years. During the last canola “boom” in Kentucky during the late 1980s, a serious concern was the rapid decline of stands during late winter and early spring. Referred to as winter decline syndrome, the problem was so severe in some fields that near complete crop failure occurred. At present, it is unknown if newer canola cultivars — with reported improved winter hardiness and survival — will be less subject to winter decline syndrome or not. This publication is intended to help canola producers become familiar with winter decline syndrome, its symptoms, its possible cause, and management options. 

Winter Decline Syndrome of Canola (PPFS-AG-R-01) is available online. For additional publications on crop diseases, visit the UK Plant Pathology Extension Publications webpage

Seeing Orange in Your Corn?

Carl A. Bradley, Extension Plant Pathologist,University of Kentucky
(Originally published in KPN)

Figure 1. Orange pustules for the southern
rust pathogen covering a corn leaf
(photo: Carl Bradley, UK)
The pathogen of southern rust of corn (Puccinia polysora) has infected a lot of corn fields in Kentucky within the last month. Orange pustules (Figure 1) covering affected leaves are common, and can make your shirt turn orange when walking through a field (which might be good for any Tennessee Volunteer or Illinois Fighting Illini college football fans, but a little disconcerting for corn farmers).

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fall 2015 Wheat Planting Decision

Greg Halich, Extension 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 harvested crops in one calendar 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 Kentucky are full-season plantings rather then double-cropped.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dry Weather Likely Shaved Soybean Bushels

Chad Lee, Extension Professor and Agronomist, University of Kentucky

Seed fill may have been hurt by the hot, dry weather.

The wet weather early combined with cooler temperatures set us up for what should be an excellent corn crop. The drier weather recently likely hurt soybean yields. July 2015 was the wettest July on record for Kentucky with almost 9 inches of rain: link. July temperatures were essentially average.
The last week of August and first week of September had warmer weather (14 days with average temperatures of 78 to 80 F) and inadequate rainfall to keep up with the temperatures and crop demand link.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Who will be the first to document 100 bu/A soybeans in KY?

Carrie KnottExtension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky

Beginning this year there are two new awards for the Kentucky Soybean Production Contest: Kentucky 100-Bushel Club and Kentucky Double-Crop 80-Bushel Club.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Armyworm Moth Captures are Abnormally Large.

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

Armyworm moth.
Recent moth flight of armyworm (AW), in western Kentucky has been much larger than is normal for this time of year. It is not terribly unusual to see problems with this insect on pasture and forage grasses in late June and July, especially in central Kentucky This year’s much larger AW flight during late July and August in western Kentucky is truly unusual. It is difficult to know what to make of this because it has no precedence in our data set. Nevertheless, the fact is they are here.

Generally, I would expect to be looking for fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera fugiperda,at this time of year, but our moth captures for this insect in both central and western KY have been quite low, perhaps because the cold winter and spring pushed their overwintering locations farther south, and/or they were later beginning their annual northward migration. Even so we have seen some localized but significant populations in south-central KY.

  The data we see on the armyworm moth flight of course, describes the movement of adults, which are not the damaging stages. It is the juvenile, caterpillar stage that will appear in September that might pose the threat. Moth flights in the earlier portion of the season followed a relatively normal pattern. Our most common problem with AW comes in May on small grains and that is what we saw this year. Also, there is often a small bump in flight in June and July that usually doesn’t amount to much. Those events were relatively normal this year. What is different this year is that following that relatively normal flight in June and July we have another and much larger flight in July and August that will produce caterpillars in September.

Armyworm Caterpillar
AW has a very broad host range; it eats on many plants but really prefers grasses. On the whole, corn and grain sorghum should be too close to maturity for much damage. However, late planted soybeans and forage crops, most especially newly seeded forage crops could be in some danger.

Producers are advised to keep an eye on very late planted / late developing soybeans, along with forage crops, particularly grasses and most especially newly planted grasses, and grass-alfalfa mixes. There is no established threshold for this pest in these circumstances, but populations around 4-6 worms per sq.ft. probably require treatment.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Palmer Amaranth and Waterhemp Continues to Expand Across Kentucky

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

Glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) and waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus) continue to spread across Kentucky. Initially these pigweed species were thought to be present primarily in the west end of the state (Purchase area and along the lower Ohio River region), but have now been found in over 50 counties throughout Kentucky. These sightings would indicate that Palmer amaranth and waterhemp continues to be a growing threat to grain crop production within the state.

It appears that the introduction of these weeds on farms have come from a variety of sources. The seed size is extremely small which allow seed to be easily spread. It is known that some Palmer amaranth seed was introduced when cotton seed hulls were fed to livestock and the subsequent manure spread on crop fields. Other possible routes for introduction can be from purchasing used combines, headers and farm equipment from other states; trucks hauling supplies from the southern regions of the US where Palmer amaranth is widespread or the Midwest where waterhemp is more prevalent; or transport of farm equipment from farm to farm. Another source appears to be through planting cover crop seed that is not inspected or cleaned of unwanted weed seed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

US-EPA Grants Section 18 Emergency Exemption Label for Use of Transform™ WG for Control of Sugarcane Aphid on Grain Sorghum in Kentucky.

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) has granted the use of Transform™ WG for control of the sugarcane aphid, (Melanaphis saccahri) on sorghum.

Update & Correction Concerning Collection of Sugarcane Aphid in Kentucky Grain Sorghum

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky.

This note is provided for clarification of where in Kentucky Sugarcane aphid has been collected and identified. The first two collections were reported as Fulton and Graves counties. This was incorrect

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Farmer Workshop for Precision Ag Data Collection & Management

A Precision Ag Data Collection Workshop is scheduled for August 24 and August 25, 2015 at the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board Office in Princeton, Kentucky. The endeavour is part 5 in a series. Dr. Joe Luck at Nebraska (and a UK grad) is coordinating the workshop. Other speakers include Dr. Mike Sama and Dr. Josh McGrath (both at the University of Kentucky). Dr. John Fulton at Ohio State and Dr. Brian Luck at Wisconsin (both UK grads) will also be presenting. The session is $25 and space is limited. Please register your spot.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sugarcane Aphid Collected in Kentucky

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

Sugarcane aphid (SCA) has been collected in two western Kentucky (KY) Counties. County Extension Agents Ben Rudy in Fulton Co. and Trent Murdock in Graves Co. have collected SCA from grain and sweet sorghum respectively. Identity was confirmed by Dr. Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist, with the University of Kentucky (UK) in Lexington. Thus far, only the two infestations have been reported. The infestation in Fulton Co. is below treatment threshold, but the infestation in Graves Co. is much larger. Regardless of size, this does confirm that this new sorghum pest which likely migrates in from the Deep South can reach Kentucky during, if late, in the production season. Sugarcane aphid is a threat to all forms of sorghum (grain, forage, sweet) and will infest many other grasses including Johnson grass, which can act as a host for reproduction and a source of infestation.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What to Expect with August Soybean Plantings

Canoeing a soybean field. Photo: Adam Barnes,
Livingston County ANR Agent
Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky
Chad Lee, Extension Professor and Agronomist, University of Kentucky, Lexington

Many river and creek bottoms in Kentucky have flooded existing crops due to significant rainfall the past 2 months.  As a result many producers are asking: 

How late can I re-plant soybeans?  

What maturity group should I plant?

Both questions will come with the "It depends....." qualifier.

Way Too Early Prediction: Weak Corn Stalks this Fall

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

The 2015 growing season has been wetter than normal with reasonable temperatures. Over 80% of the corn crop and over 70% of the soybean crop are rated good to excellent in the most recent USDA crop progress report. This should be a time to celebrate and enjoy the good fortunes to this point.

We could see weak corn stalks this fall. It's still too early to predict, but several factors make me think it could be an issue. Below are reasons why we could have weak stalks

Friday, July 24, 2015

New Grain Crops Extension Pathologist, Dr. Carl Bradley, Hits Ground Running

Earlier this month, Dr. Carl Bradley officially joined the University of Kentucky as the Corn, Soybean, and Wheat plant pathologist.
Many of you probably already know Carl.  He is a nationally recognized and well-respected extension plant pathologist.  He recently spoke about wheat diseases at the Wheat Field day this past May and he will be presenting information about soybean diseases next week at the Corn, Soybean, & Tobacco Field Day on July 30.

Carl will be stationed at the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton, where he already has corn and soybean research plots established.  Be sure and welcome Carl when you see him travelling around the state this year!!

For more information about Carl please read his first article in the latest issue of KY Pest News.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


2014 UK Corn, Soybean & Tobacco Field Day
The 2015 UK Corn, Soybean & Tobacco Field Day will be held Thursday, July 30th at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton, KY. Registration will begin at 7:30 am (CDT) and the tours will begin at 8:00 am (CDT).

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Big Season for Green Stink Bugs?

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky.

If you’re not checking for stink bugs in your soybeans you should be. 2015 appears to be producing an extra large population of green stink bugs, at least in western Kentucky.  For example, as of July 10, 2015, a total of 2,184 stink bugs have been captured in a black light trap on the UK-REC in Princeton, Kentucky. That is more stink bugs than were captured in all of last year (2014) in TWO black light traps on the UK-REC (e.g. 121 + 695 = 816). In fact, more stink bugs were captured in the 2015 single trap week ending on June 26th than in all of 2014). However one looks at it, that is a lot of stink bugs. In addition, you will notice a great deal of difference between the captures at the North Farm in Lexington –vs– The UK-REC in Princeton. This occurs almost every year, but is particularly apparent this year.

We have seen a decrease in capture since that high, but don’t let that fool you as the numbers will likely rise again. Black light traps only capture adult stink bugs. Because the bugs must be able to fly to the trap to be captured, and juveniles do not have wings, only adults are captured. Normally, we would expect to see three generations in each summer season. Sometimes this produces very distinct populations (See Figure 1.) but often the generations tend to show overlap with one another.

Stinkbug populatoins at UK-REC in 2013
Sampling for stink bugs may be done by sweep net or shake cloth. In Kentucky, most of our beans are in narrow rows so the sweep net is the tool most often used. For sweeping, use a 15” sweep net and make 25 sweeps. Then count the number of stink bugs present. Most of the stink bugs will be green but there may also be brown stink bugs. In addition, juvenile stink bugs may be multi-colored. You can tell them from the adults because they do not have wings. Additionally, you will likely see some brown stink bugs whose shoulders come to a very definite sharp point. These are spined-shoulder bugs and are predators. They will not harm the plants. With the exception of spined-shoulder bugs, count all stink bugs as the same.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Field Tour to View Weed Control Programs for Herbicide Resistant Marestail (July 28)

J.D. Green,  Extension Weed Scientist, University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky Extension Weed Scientists are hosting a Marestail Control Field Tour on July 28, 2015 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 [enter farm gate off US 60]. Participants will be able to come and go as they wish from 9:00 am to noon (EST).

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Crops Damaged in Heavy Storms

Chad Lee, Extension Professor and Agronomist, University of Kentucky

Hail damage to corn in blister stage.
Credit: Tyler Reynolds, Farmer.
(More images added July 17, 2015) 

Heavy rains and winds occurred the July 13 and 14, 2015. Farmers, county agents and students submitted images of the damage that resulted. Each image contains a short caption to identify the issue. Several days are needed before we can fully determine crop recovery and the extent of the damage. More images will be added to this post as they are submitted.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Yellow Soybeans Need Sun

Chad Lee, Extension Professor and Agronomist, University of Kentucky

Numerous fields of soybeans appear yellow or bright green right now. The symptoms mimic nitrogen deficiency, but the plants are really starving for air to the roots and sun on the leaves. Everyone is thinking about applying some nitrogen to help make the plants greener. But what these plants really need is for sunshine to help partially dry the soils.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sugarcane Aphid Reported in Tennessee

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky @DrDougStinkBugs

Dr.Scott Stewart (@BugStewart) has tweeted the first discovery of sugarcane aphid (SCA) in Tennessee (07/07/15) at the AgriCenter in Memphis. The aphids were found and photographed by Drew Ellis. Numbers are low, but this does indicate that the pest is moving up the Mississippi River valley.

Several of our colleagues to the mid-south have commented on the large number of  lady beetles  & larvae that are feeding on these aphids, helping to keep the pest in check. A single insecticide application will stop all that help. Do not apply until absolutely necessary!

Kentucky producers in counties along the Mississippi River and / or counties contiguous with western Tennessee counties are most likely to see this pest.

SCA was not reported in Kentucky in 2014 but was collected in western Tennessee counties and in counties in the Missouri boot-heel. It is not a foregone conclusion that SCA will reach Kentucky, but it is an important enough pest to keep on your watch list.

Grain Sorghum producers / consultants / scouts, that are Twitter followers are encouraged to follow Dr. Scott Stewart, Univ TN, (@BugStewart) along with Dr. Gus Lorenz, Univ. AR , (@guslor77) and Dr. Angus Catchot, MS. St. Univ. (@acatchot). They will be working to manage this problem in their states before the pest gets to Kentucky; if it gets to Kentucky.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Considerations for Soybean (Re)Planting in July

Carrie KnottExtension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky

Considerable rainfall has accumulated throughout most of Kentucky.  Since June 1 the average rainfall for the Commonwealth is more than 3 inches above normal, with almost 2 inches of that falling in the last 7 days.  There are areas of KY that have received 10 or more inches in the last 3 weeks. Given these conditions many producers must decide whether to plant and in some cases re-plant soybeans once fields dry. 

When considering whether to plant late or re-plant two things come to mind. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Weed Science Training on Resistant Weeds & New Herbicide Traits

The UK Extension Weed Science Group is conducting a Weed Science Training from 9 am – 3 pm. Two locations will be offered - June 23, 2015 - UK Research and Education Center (Princeton, KY) and June 25, 2015 - UK Spindletop Farm (Lexington, KY).
Please RSVP for lunch count at one of the following locations. UKREC Princeton - (270) 365-7541 ext 264 or email 
UK Spindletop Farm – (859) 257-4898 or email  

The Weed Training will cover the following topics: Herbicide Resistant Weeds, New Herbicide Tolerant Crop Traits, Application Stewardship, Herbicide Symptomology, Weed Identification and Cover Crops in Weed Management.
This program will be offered to UK Agriculture and Natural Resource Agents, other UK Agronomists, pesticide applicators, crop consultants, crop producers and agribusiness personnel. Commercial Pesticide Applicator Credits offered 2 general hrs and 2 specific (1A,10 and 12). CCA credits  have also been requested.
For more information, email J.D. Green or James Martin or call (270) 365-7541 ext. 203

Sugarcane Aphid Active in Mississippi…..Not close to Kentucky Yet

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist

Several locations in Mississippi (MS) have been identified as having grain sorghum infested with sugarcane aphid. Though it is important to keep up with what is happening, it is also quite important

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Kentucky Extension Wheat Contest Forms

Chad Lee, Extension Professor and Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The 2015 Kentucky Extension Wheat Contest forms are available. Entries must be postmarked by July 24, 2015 for eligible entries.

In both 2013 and 2014, Jeff Coke of Daviess County won the tilled division with yields over 120 bushels per acre. In both 2013 and 2014, Duncan Gillum of  Todd County won the no-till division with yields over 115 bushels per acre. The contest also has four area winners:

Friday, June 5, 2015

Corn Nutrient Deficiency from Sidewall Compaction

Chad Lee, Extension Professor and Agronomist, University of Kentucky

This corn field had numerous plants that were stunted with striped leaves. This field was adequate to high in soil test values and had proper pH. When we dug up some plants, we found that the majority of stunted plants suffered from sidewall compaction. Images of the field, the leaf symptoms and the compacted roots follow.

Field where most of the corn appeared yellow with striped leaves.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cloudy Skies and Striped Corn

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

Cloudy skies and cool weather can make corn appear deficient.
Leaf striping on corn is being reported across the state. The recent cooler, cloudy weather is probably a big factor in many fields. In these cases, the symptoms are temporary or transient. They are cured by ample sunshine and warmer weather.
Other fields have a legitimate deficiency. Soil testing will identify those deficiencies. A tissue test will likely show a deficiency, but won't explain why it is occurring. A soil test will explain why. If the soil is deficient, then apply the appropriate fertilizer if at all possible. If the soil is test is adequate or above, then wait for the sunshine.
While pulling the soil test, dig up a few roots. Sidewall compaction can lead to these symptoms as well. I'm sure no one reading this post "mudded-in" corn. But your neighbors may have! Feel free to pass this along to them to check for sidewall compaction. If they have sidewall compaction, there is not much they can do. Sidewall compaction is a field where they should cut their losses and move on.
Here are some previous articles on corn leaf striping.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Head Scab Minimal Thus Far, But Stripe Rust is Widespread

Wheat that flowered May10 or earlier has mostly escaped Fusarium head blight (A.K.A head scab). Infections take about 21 days to be fully expressed following infection, so it is still a tad early to know the fate of later flowering wheat fields. I am optimistic, however, that this will not be a big head scab year.

On another front, I am seeing a considerable amount of stripe rust in fields that have not been treated with a fungicide. Neighboring states are seeing the same. Symptoms are very striking and are evident as long, thin lesions filled with masses of very bright yellow-orange spores (see photo). Modern fungicides like Caramba, Headline, Prosaro and the like are highly effective against all rust diseases. As a result, I would not anticipate seeing significant damage from stripe rust in fields treated for head scab (at early flowering, for example). In any event, you might want to go out to your fields at this time and take a peek.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New Aphid Pest on Grain Sorghum – Sugarcane Aphid

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

Figure 1. Sugarcane aphid on
sweet sorghum; Shelby Co. TN
2014. Univ. TN.
Over the past two growing seasons a difficult new insect pest of grain sorghum has been found across the mid-south. This new pest is an aphid called the sugarcane aphid, Melanaphis sacchari. Be sure not to confuse this with the yellow sugarcane aphid, Sipha flava, which has been around the lower Mississippi river valley for several years. These are two completely different insects. Before we go any further, it is important that you understand that at present, NEITHER of these aphids have been found in Kentucky. My concern is one of preparation, as both of these aphids are found in western Tennessee and southeastern Missouri.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Weed Science Training on Resistant Weeds & New Herbicide Traits

The UK Extension Weed Science Group is conducting a Weed Science Training from 9 am – 3 pm. Two locations will be offered - June 23, 2015 at the UK Research and Education Center (Princeton, KY) and June 25, 2015 at the UK Spindletop Farm (Lexington, KY).  Please RSVP your location with a lunch count.  
UKREC Princeton - email or call (270) 365-7541 ext 264
UK Spindletop Farm – email  or call (859) 257-4898

The Weed Training will cover the following topics:
  • Herbicide Resistant Weeds 
  • New Herbicide Tolerant Crop Traits 
  • Application Stewardship
  • Herbicide Symptomology 
  • Weed Identification 
  • Cover Crops in Weed Management 
This program is being offered to UK Agriculture and Natural Resource Agents, other UK Agronomists, pesticide applicators, crop consultants, crop producers and agribusiness personnel. CCA & Commercial Pesticide Applicator Credits have been applied for. 

For more information email: J.D. Green or Jim Martin or call (270) 365-7541 ext. 203

Monday, May 18, 2015

Update on Price Risk Management Alternatives for Corn and Soybeans

Todd Davis, Extension Economist, University of Kentucky

The potential for farmers to lock-in corn profits with a cash-forward contract has been limited since March. The cash corn price for October delivery has been working steadily lower since the March 31st Prospective Plantings report (Table 1). The average corn price is $0.30/bushel lower from the March 27 price and about $0.16 lower from last month (April 18). Unlike soybeans, cash corn bids were not rocked by the May WASDE and have increased $0.07/bushel above the May 12th cash bid price (Table 1).

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

2015 UK Wheat Field Day

The annual UK Wheat Field Day is slated for Tuesday May 12, 2015 at the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton, KY. Registration will begin at 8:30 and the tours will end at noon (CDT). The field day will conclude with a

Black Cutworm and Armyworm Caterpillars Should be Evident

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

Our insect development estimator, using the insect trap captures as our Biofix and current temperatures from the Princeton weather station indicate that egg hatch has begun and small

Friday, May 1, 2015

Signing Up for Customized FHB (Head Scab) Alerts is Easy

To receive region-specific updates in an email or text message, subscribe to
the FHB Alerts at

For the most current FHB Risk assessment and state risk commentaries, go to:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Looking Ahead: Expect to See Sidewall Compaction

Chad Lee and Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomists, University of Kentucky

Figure 1. Open seed furrow is a good indicator
of sidewall compaction.
The calendar says we are getting late on planting corn. While the soil conditions are probably more important than planting date, there will be intense pressure on producers to plant corn this week. That means that some fields will likely get planted too wet. Getting into a field too soon is completely understandable given the logistics of planting multiple fields and trying to "sneak in" a field between rains.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cutworm and Armyworm Moth Captures Drop…. But this is just the beginning.

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky.

Capture of Armyworm (AW) and Black cutworm (BCW) moths at the UK-REC in Princeton have dropped back to near normal levels. This is to be expected and indicates the end of the migrator flight into Kentucky from further south. For both species we now wait and monitor for the appearance of the caterpillars.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

FHB Prediction Tool Upgrade

Don Hershman, Extension Plant Pathologist, University of Kentucky

Heads up! The new FHB (Head Scab) forecasting tool has a new feature.You can select the FHB susceptibility level of the variety you have planted.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Armyworm and Black cutworm Flights Continue

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

Capture of armyworm (AW) and black cutworm (BCW) moths continue at a considerable, if slightly lower capture, compared to last week. The AW trap captured 449 moths while the BCW trap

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Price Risk Management for Corn, Soybeans and Wheat

 Todd Davis, Extension Economist, University of Kentucky

The potential for farmers to lock-in substantial corn profits with a cash-forward contract has been limited so far this spring. Assuming the per bushel total variable cash costs plus per bushel cash rent for corn in Western Kentucky is $3.85/bushel, a cash-forward contract would not provide any cushion to cover fixed costs, service debt, provide for family living, and to fund future business growth.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Black Cutworm & Armyworm Moth Captures Show a Big Increase

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

Fig. 1 Black cutworm moth.
Black cutworm (BCW) and armyworm (AW) moths captured in the IPM traps at the UK-REC in Princeton, KY show a substantial increase for the trap week ending Friday, April 10th. In the case of BCW, 37 moths were captured when about 8 would be expected. For armyworm, 541 moths were captured when 119 would be average at this time. Captures for both of these pests are significantly greater than their rolling five- year averages. In addition, if the armyworm counts continue to increase at this rate, the population will approach the outbreak levels seen in 2006 & 2008. These are years when known pest problems either caused loss or required extra insecticidal control. See the Insect Trap Graphs on the UK-IPM webpages.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Buyer beware when it comes to “alternatives” to ag lime

Josh McGrath and Edwin Ritchey, Extension Soil Specialists, University of Kentucky

Over the past few months we’ve had farmers at each county agronomy meeting ask about liquid lime. After a little investigation we found out that what was being marketed as a liquid lime with neutralizing value was in fact calcium chloride (CaCl2). This was bad news because CaCl2 provides NO liming value and is in fact not “liquid lime.” Calcium chloride is used for many purposes including road salt or tractor tire ballast, it however cannot be used to neutralize soil acidity. This post is intended to provide some information on liming materials, the lime reaction, and explain why CaCl2 is not a lime source.

Corn Planting Date not as Important as Other Factors

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky
For many producers, spring planting is late. While everyone is anxious to get a crop planted, corn yield may not be as tied to planting date as we think. In fact, planting into good soil conditions may be just as important as planting date.

Fig. 1 Corn planting
Over the past few years, farmers have sent me planting dates and yields from their fields. We found that planting date has little effect on corn yield. We had 625 fields from Central Kentucky where we compared yield to planting date. The resulting curve had an r-square of 0.0823, which basically means that there is no relationship between planting date and yield in Central Kentucky (Fig. 1). When comparing planting date to yield from 59 fields in the Green River area, the r-square was only 0.1512. Again, there is very little relationship between planting date and corn yield.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Potential N loss from Heavy Rains

Edwin Ritchey, Extension Soils Specialist

With the heavy rains in the past few days and the rain forecasted for next week, producers are wondering how much of the applied N has been lost.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Consumption of GMO Crops: Examples of Quotes from Position Papers of Scientific Organizations

Paul Vincelli, Extension Plant Pathologist, University of Kentucky
Janet Mullins, Extension Specialist in Food & Nutrition, University of Kentucky
Ric Bessin, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

GMO[1] traits are sometimes used for the purposes of control of weeds, insects, and diseases in crop production.  Questions sometimes arise as to the safety of consuming GMO crops.  Hundreds of studies have been published to address these questions.  The public is certainly welcome to read all of those studies; many of them are listed in an Excel file available online. However, a much quicker way to gauge the present state of scientific findings is to read position papers published by well-recognized scientific societies.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Current Price Risk Management Alternatives for Corn and Soybeans.

Todd Davis, Extension Economist, University of Kentucky

Current Price Risk Management Alternatives for Corn and Soybeans It is not too early to use price risk management tools to protect some of the projected corn and soybean revenue for this year. Risk management alternatives include locking in a cash price using cash-forward contracts (CFC) on a conservative percentage of expected production. A CFC removes price risk but you may feel regret if cash prices at harvest are higher than the CFC price. Another alternative is to buy put options to place a price floor but still benefit from any potential increase in futures price from now until harvest.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

2015 IPM Training Rescheduled for March 24

The IPM Training canceled on March 3 has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 24. Program will be held from 9 am till 3 pm CDST at the University of Kentucky Research & Education Center at 1205 Hopkinsville Street in Princeton Kentucky. Program topics include update on weed resistance and new herbicide technology, invasive insect pests, using biosolids, 2015 state apiarist report and UAVs for scouting and monitoring crops.

Program is approved for 5.0 CEUs for CCAs (3.0 Integrated Pest Management, 1.0 Nutrient Management and 1.0 Professional Development) and 3 pesticide education hours (2 general and 1 specific) for pesticide applicators in categories 1A, 4, 10 and 12. For more information email or call (270) 365-7541 ext 218.

RP Crop Insurance Projected Price and Safety-Net for 2015

Todd Davis, Extension Economist, University of Kentucky

The 2014 Farm Bill has made crop insurance the foundation of a crop farm’s safety-net. This safety-net’s projected price, which sets the minimum revenue guarantee for Revenue Protection (RP) insurance, is based on the closing prices for the November soybeans and December corn futures contract during the entire month of February. The 2015 projected price for corn and soybeans are $4.15 and $9.73 per bushel, respectively. The revenue guarantee provided by crop insurance continues to decline from the record price levels of 2011 when the projected prices for corn and soybeans were $6.01 and $13.49 per bushel, respectively.

Focus on These Two Things, Cut Costs Elsewhere

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

Farmers are looking where to cut production budgets for 2015. Three of my colleagues and I were honored to speak at the National Commodity Classic this year. During our presentation, one of my colleagues closed out our session by saying that the two things farmers need to do is: 1) use appropriate soil-applied fertilizers based on soil tests; and 2) use highly effective weed control, which probably includes a soil residual herbicide. All of us in the room agreed that these are probably the two things many farmers will cut in 2015.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

2015 IPM Training Scheduled for Wed. March 4th at the UK-REC is canceled!


The 2015 IPM Training Scheduled for Wed. March 4th at the UK-REC is canceled!

Due to expected dangerous weather conditions the 2015 IPM training program scheduled for Wednesday March 4, 2015 at the UK-REC in Princeton, KY has been canceled. A rescheduling date is being considered for later in March. Please check back for further information. We are sorry for any inconvenience, but we cannot take chances with people’s safety.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Inevitable Questions About Insects Surviving the Winter.

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

The onset of colder than normal weather always brings up the question of how the cold will affect insect populations in the upcoming growing season. Though the answer to this question seems simple it is actually very complex.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Assessing Wheat Freeze Damage

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky
Most of Kentucky is dealing with some sort of record: record low temperature, record snowfall amounts, record windchills.  We hope our wheat crop is safe because the snowfall has provided much needed insulation.  However many fields in western Kentucky had begun to ‘green-up’ prior to these chilly conditions.  Once we begin to thaw out and get consistent warm weather we will need to assess the damage. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Yield Goals Could Cost You This Year

Chad Lee, Extension Professor, Grain Crops, University of Kentucky

Recently, I worked with a small group of farmers who were interested in trimming costs, but not yield, in 2015. They provided their soil test values, historical yields, crop history, and intended production practices for 2015. Those producers reported that were applying $124 per acre more for fertilizer than what was recommended by the University of Kentucky. Even if we factored in enough fertilizer for the following soybean crop, they were spending about $100 per acre more. They were using yield goals to make their fertilizer decisions.

Producers enjoy farming based on yield goals. Yield goals are positive thinking. They are a challenge to the producer to try to reach higher yields. Annual budgets have yield goals. Loans require an estimate of income which requires a projected yield. Yield goals are easy to market and easy to understand. Yield goals also could cost you a lot of money in 2015.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Corn Seeding Rates in Kentucky

Chad Lee, Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

Corn yields have steadily increased over time in part to increasing the seeding rates. Identifying the proper seeding rate is a balance between having enough plants to maximize yields with having too many plants to hurt yield in stressful conditions.

The following is the University of Kentucky guidelines for corn populations on various soils in Kentucky.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Kentucky Intensive Soybean Management Workshops Approaching

Chad Lee, Extension Professor and Agronomist, University of Kentucky

Anyone looking at the 2015 growing season knows that the budgets will be tight. But, anyone who enjoys growing a crop still wants to maximize yield. How do we maximize yields and make a profit in 2015? We have two workshops scheduled to help you answer that question ... and others.

The Kentucky Intensive Soybean Management Workshops are scheduled for February 4, 2015 in Hopkinsville and February 5, 2015 in Elizabethtown. Contact the Kentucky Soybean Board at (800) BEAN-SOY or (800) 232-6769 to reserve your spot.

Your Kentucky Soybean Board is bringing in two national experts, and adding one more from home.

Shawn Conley is a Soybean Agronomist and he will identify what we absolutely need for yield in 2015 and an agronomic approach to making a profit.  He has been working with a group of scientists across the United States on high yield soybeans. In addition, he was one of the leaders on soybean seed treatment and inoculant research.

Kentucky Yield Contest Winners to be Honored

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The 2014 Kentucky Extension Yield Contest Winners will receive their plaques and trophies at the 2015 Kentucky Commodity Conference on Friday, January 16, 2015 in Bowling Green, KY.

Farmers, supervisors and fans of the yield contest will attend the banquet starting at 6:30 pm. But, most farmers will arrive much earlier in the day to attend the full agenda.The Commodity Conference is organized by your commodity organizations: Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Kentucky Soybean Association and the Kentucky Small Grains Growers' Association. Numerous agricultural businesses help fund the conference. The Kentucky Extension Yield Contests are sponsored by these groups and businesses as well as the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2014 Soybean Yield Contest Winners

Carrie Knott, Grain Crops Extension Agronomist

The 2014 University of Kentucky Extension Soybean Yield Contest winners are in (Table 1)!  There are 13 awards: State Champion (highest yield entry regardless of production practices), 1st and 2nd place for Full-Season soybeans (Division I), 1st and 2nd place for Double-Crop soybeans (Division II), highest yield for 4 Areas, 1st and 2nd place for highest Oil content and 1st and 2nd place for highest Protein content.