What’s going on in Ag? As harvest wraps up, some producers are already looking towards next year's planting season with fall Nitrogen fertilizer application and fall weed control. The soil water level is higher than normal for much of the state, this will lead to a higher than normal denitrification and leaching potential for next spring. When planning a fall Nitrogen fertilizer application consider the following, apply Nitrogen fertilizer including manure when the soil temperature at the 4-inch depth is below 50°F and shifting cooler because soil microbial activity and the rate of conversation of ammonium to nitrate is very low at this temperature (https://cropwatch.unl.edu/soiltemperature). Limit fall application of Nitrogen to silt loam, silty clay loam and finer soils, and avoid application when soils are wet. Use anhydrous ammonia rather than other N fertilizers during fall application, along with nitrification inhibitors to slow the conversion of ammonium to nitrate. One last consideration is to apply a lower base rate of nitrogen in the fall and apply the rest at planting or as a side-dress application.
Fall can be an important time to control winter annuals in fields with a history of winter annual weeds or marestail. Some winter annuals can serve as hosts for pathogens like Soybean Cyst Nematode, which is present within our county. The following winter annuals purple deadnettle, henbit, field pennycress, shepherd’s purse, small-flowered bittercress, and common chickweed are hosts for Soybean Cyst Nematodes. Application of a fall herbicide can also help with control of marestail, recent Nebraska research shows that up to 95 percent of marestail germinates in the fall. Using a residual herbicide with a burndown product can help control the emerging marestail. Always check the labels for any grazing restriction if livestock will graze the cornstalks.
The absorption of glyphosate and 2,4-D by weeds is lower when applied at temperatures below 60°F, causing the herbicides to act slowly. Adding labeled adjuvants can help improve herbicide efficacy at lower temperatures during late-fall herbicide application. Frost can also affect the efficiency of your late fall herbicide application, as actively growing weeds are crucial to achieve good control. Winter annual weeds may be able to tolerate a frost of 20°F with little tissue damage and continue growing when conditions improve. But, leaves that have been damaged from frost appear water-soaked and are a poor target for herbicide application. It is recommended to wait until new leaf tissue emerges on those plants damaged by frost before applying herbicides.
Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Farm Service Agency are collaborating to bring Farm Bill educational meetings to producer across the state from late November to mid-December. These meetings are free and open to the public to assist producer as they begin to make farm-bill related program decisions. Meetings in our area include Mead – ENREC, Dec. 3rd, 9 a.m. – noon; Columbus – Ag Park Dec. 4th, 9 a.m. – noon, York – York Fairgrounds Cornerstone Building, Dec. 6th, 9 a.m. – noon, Lincoln – Lancaster Extension Office Dec. 16th, 9 a.m. – noon. A full list of meetings can be found at farmbill.unl.edu, along with online registrations, or by calling the local FSA or Extension office.
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How about herbicide application in lawns? Fall is the best time to control weeds such as bindweed, white clover, wild violet and dandelions in your lawns. Lawn herbicides applied in the fall is useful because perennial broadleaf weeds are moving stored energy to the roots. When applying an herbicide to your lawn make sure, the soil moisture is not limited and as always, herbicides work best when the weeds are actively growing. Another misconception is to prune trees and shrubs in the fall. However, because shrubs like mock orange, forsythia, lilac, and some Spireas develop their flower buds the previous year, pruning in the fall will actually remove the blooms for the next season. Instead, you should wait until just after shrubs have finished blooming to complete maintenance pruning such as thinning and height reduction.
For updated information on crops in Nebraska, please visit UNL CropWatch at https://cropwatch.unl.edu/. #NebraskaStrong
· Nebraska Farm Hotline/Rural Response Hotline: 800-464-0258
If you have any questions, please contact me at 1-402-367-7410 or by email at Melissa.Bartels@unl.edu.