Hot ag topics for 2014 from Iowa On-Farm Network
Farmers working with the On-Farm Network have conducted a number of cover crops trials, beginning in 2007. Tristan Mueller, On-Farm Network operations manager, and Heath Ellison, resource management specialist with ISA Environmental Programs and Services, will discuss results of ISA studies. In addition, Steve Groff, Cover Crop Solutions, and a panel of Iowa grower will discuss cover crop use.
Another place to go for cover crop information this winter is the Cover Crop Workshops at the Iowa Power Farming Show, January 28-30, being held in Hy-Vee Hall, downtown Des Moines.
Herbicide Resistant Weed Management
“It’s essential that we rotate the chemical mode-of-action and not just switch herbicides,” said Mueller. This has worked in controlling glyphosate resistant weeds like waterhemp. It becomes even more important with the confirmed finding of multi-herbicide resistant Palmer Amaranth in Iowa last fall.
Mike Owen, Iowa State University Extension weed scientist, has been preaching the benefits of rotating herbicides for more years than he might want to admit. Owen will lead a session on herbicide resistant weed management at the 2014 On-Farm Network Conference.
Additionally, Jason Norsworthy, University of Arkansas Extension weed scientist, will give Iowa growers an update on the fight against herbicide resistant weeds in southern states.
Corn Rootworm Control
“Corn rootworm has little impact on yield in a two-year corn-soybean rotation,” said Mueller. “If we add a year of corn to make a three-year corn-corn-bean rotation, we see rootworm becoming an issue in that second year of corn. Our On-Farm Network studies and other observations suggest that the more you stretch the number of corn years in the rotation, the more you benefit you’ll see from a soil applied insecticide at planting, even if you’re planting the latest Bt-Rootworm hybrids.”
Aaron Gassman, Iowa State University extension entomologist, will talk about the western corn rootworm situation in Iowa at the On-Farm Network conference. Mueller will lead a conference session updating the continuing On-Farm Network corn rootworm/soil applied insecticide trials.
Adaptive management and its use in risk analysis
“Crop production is exposed to many factors,” said Peter Kyveryga, Ph.D., ISA On-Farm Network. “The effects some of these factors could have on crop yield and profitability are not well known, or are difficult to quantify. Lower commodity prices, higher input costs, adverse weather conditions, spatial variability in soil and crop yields are only a few factors that add to the uncertainty and risks in crop production on your farm.”
Kyveryga says one way to deal with this uncertainty is being a part of a grower network that uses modern technologies, specific methodologies and adaptive management principles to evaluate various production practices, inputs and quantify various risks in crop management and environmental conservation.
“Experiences in other industries have shown that combined efforts by many participants and stakeholders can lead to collection of research data that can be used to substantially reduce risk, regulatory and environmental pressures and significantly increase profitability by making more reliable management decisions at the farm level,” he said. “By participating in organized On-Farm Network trials, you’re helping add to the data on subjects that are important to crop production in Iowa.”
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