Back to wet … wet … wet … again

My apologies for missing the publishing deadline last week. I was on vacation, spending some time with our almost-nine-year-old granddaughter Genevieve. There wasn’t much time for rest (or “work”): It was go-go-go! We got most of the things on *her* to-do list done (swimming, shopping, picnic, going to a movie, etc.), but mine kinda got laid by the wayside. James then brought the middle two up for the weekend and we had a great “4th of July time”!

Well, the weather has not cooperated much this past week. Again! Quite a bit of wheat was harvested a week ago and some corn received some much-needed nitrogen. However, we’re back into that wet-wet-wet stage … In addition to mud, more delayed harvest, and the potential for compacted soils, our Crop Pathologist Pierce Paul tells us that there are some corn foliar diseases that are showing up a bit early: Gray Leaf Spot (GLS) and Northern Corn Leaf Blight (NCLB).

Both GLS and NCLB are favored by wet conditions, particularly if temperatures are within the favorable range like they have been (70 to 90 F for GLS and 66 to 80 F for NCLB). This early development is a concern because they can progress up the plant before grain fill is completed, causing a reduction in yield. Be sure to check your fields – and continue to scout – for these and other foliar diseases, especially if you have susceptible hybrids planted in an area with a history of disease. These fields are the ones most likely to benefit from a fungicide application.

Use hybrid susceptibility, weather conditions, field history, and current disease level as a guide when making a decision to apply a fungicide. For susceptible hybrids, you should strongly consider a fungicide application if disease symptoms are present on the third leaf below the ear or higher on 50% of the plants examined. There’s a bit more to consider in that decision if you’ve got an “intermediate” hybrid: An application is warranted if disease symptoms are present on the third leaf below the ear or higher on 50 percent of the plants examined, AND the field is in an area with a history of foliar disease problems, the previous crop was corn, and there is 35 percent or more surface residue, and the weather is warm and humid through July and August. Fungicide applications generally are not recommended for resistant hybrids.

Just a reminder that the Agronomy Field Day will be held this Wednesday, July 15, at the Western Research Station on Ohio 41 south of Springfield. In-field sessions with researchers will be held from 9 a.m. until noon. Following lunch there will be a wagon tour of other projects on the station. Pre-registration is requested to get a count for lunch. The cost is $20 per person, payable at the door. Contact Harold Watters at 937-599-4227, [email protected] to register.

Considering Hops as a crop? Hops are high-maintenance plants, but can be managed with the right practices. There is a Field Night being held from 6-9 pm on Thursday, July 23, for new and experienced growers. This Field Night will be held at the OARDC campus in Wooster and will provide information regarding hops management practices.

Topics to be addressed include soil management, the problems facing hop farming such as disease and pests, proper chemical and pesticide use, and the different varieties of hops. An important aspect that will also be addressed is developing a marketing strategy for success. Registration is $20. For more information or to register, contact Chelsea Smith at 330-202-3555, or [email protected]

The writer can be reached at the OSU Extension office (937-498-7239) or by email at [email protected]