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2/9/2009 - 2/15/2009

February 9 Crops and Weather Update

Iowa State University Extension climatologist Elwynn Taylor, integrated pest management specialist Rich Pope and soybean agronomist Palle Pedersen discuss the upcoming 2009 growing season during their weekly interview Feb. 9 with Doug Cooper, Extension communications specialist.

Extension climatologist Elwynn Taylor tells us the dry weather in Argentina and Australia are causing some crop losses. His early prediction for corn yields in Iowa is in two parts--with La Niña and without La Niña.

Rich Pope says farmers have made most of the spring planting decisions, but need to keep their options open heading to spring planting -- depending on the weather.

Palle Pedersen talks about his recent trip to Michigan and how producers there are trying to re-introduce soybean production in their state. He also discusses the economic decisions that soybean producers must make as they head into the 2009 growing season.

Yellow Corn, Wet Soils, and N Loss – Part 4

By John Sawyer, Department of Agronomy

Last summer I provided observations in three ICM News articles (June 19, June 26, and July 8, 2008) on corn growth and response to nitrogen (N) applied in an anhydrous ammonia study conducted at the Iowa State University research farm between Ames and Boone. This series of articles was written in response to the record wet conditions encountered in 2008. Following is a summary of the grain yield response to N timing and rate.

Response to Anhydrous Ammonia Application – Corn Grain Yields
In that study anhydrous ammonia was applied in late fall (Oct. 31, 2007), spring preplant (April 30, 2008) and sidedressed (June 18, 2008) at five rates with corn following soybean. Corn was planted May 15. The study was located “low” on the landscape, and like many fields in Iowa in 2008 part of the study area was wetter than the rest, with a portion where the corn was killed due to standing water.

The corn was quite resilient, for the majority of the study area it grew well once soils dried, and produced decent grain yield. Generally the corn located on the “higher” ground grew “better” than plants on the “lower” ground and areas where water had ponded. Yields were good, but more variable than normal. As I stated in the last article, growing conditions during the entire growing season would be the final determinate of maximum N need.

Grain yields showed that the site was very N responsive due to the extremely wet conditions, and responsive to N rates higher than typical for corn following soybean. Maximal N rate response was larger with fall than spring preplant or sidedress timing, and the response was the same for spring preplant and sidedress application. Mean yields for the different timings were respectively (for N rates of 0, 80, 120, 160, and 200 lb N/acre) 116, 150, 145, 161, and 180 bu/acre for the fall application; and 113, 156, 170, 184, and 181 for the spring and sidedress average.

Fitting a regression model to the N responses separately for the fall and spring/sidedress applications indicated that the fall timing resulted in a yield increase to the highest applied N rate (200 lb N/acre), but the spring/sidedress response had an economic optimum rate at 173 lb N/acre. With the wet spring/early summer conditions, the fall application was apparently more at risk of loss than the spring application. However, due to loss of soil derived nitrate with the wet conditions, the overall N fertilization requirement was also increased.

Hopefully the wet conditions will not repeat in 2009. These and results of other N rate trials conducted across Iowa indicate that in 2008 it would have been yield and economically viable to have applied in-season N in addition to that applied in the fall or spring (assuming a normal application rate had originally been applied), and when sidedressing, a higher rate than normal would have been profitable.


John Sawyer is a professor of agronomy with research and extension responsibilities in soil fertility and nutrient management.

Marlin Rice Resigns as Extension Entomologist

Marlin Rice, extension and research entomologist, resigned from Iowa State University on Feb. 1 after 20 years of service to the agricultural community. Marlin began his career at ISU as an assistant professor on Nov. 1, 1988. He quickly gained promotion and tenure to associate professor in 1992 and then professor in 1996.

Rice was a frequent and highly requested speaker in the area of insect pest management. He annually spoke at the Field Extension Education Laboratory, the Crop Advantage Series, and the Integrated Crop Management Conference. He often gave two, and sometimes four, different presentations at the ICM Conference, presenting every year except one.

For 19 years, Marlin was the executive editor of the Crops, Soils and Pests Newsletter, which later became Integrated Crop Management—the first full-color weekly crops newsletter published by a land-grant university. He was a consistent and prolific contributor to the newsletter, and he was widely recognized for his macro-photography skills with insects.

                          marlin rice

Iowa State University recognized Marlin’s work with the University Extension New Professional Award (1991), Excellence in Applied Research and Extension Award (1993), and Outstanding Achievement in Extension (2001). In 1998 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in the Crop Sciences Department at the University of Zimbabwe. His entomology peers recently elected him as President of the Entomological Society of America and he is presently serving in that office.

Marlin has accepted a position as Senior Research Scientist with Pioneer Hi-Bred International in Johnston, Iowa working on Trait Characterization and Development.

ISU Extension Offers Information about New Farm Bill Programs

By William Edwards, Department of Economics
The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 contains a wide variety of legislation affecting everything from school lunches to milk checks. Some of the most immediate provisions that farmers must address are:
• New limitations on commodity payments,
• Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE),
• Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) program.

New payment rules basically attribute USDA commodity payments to individual taxpayers, regardless of the number and nature of farm business entities they are involved in. Operators and owners will be asked to provide information about their roles in their farming operations in order to establish eligibility for program payments.  ACRE provides intermediate term protection against the risk of falling revenues from crop production, in exchange for reduced direct program crop payments.  SURE is a permanent disaster program that extends the level of coverage that producers can purchase through conventional crop insurance policies.

Additional titles in the bill address such issues as dairy price supports, organic production, horticultural crops, and programs for beginning farmers.  Additional information about each of these topics can be found on the ISU Ag Decision Maker Web site . Also on the site is a schedule of county level informational meetings that will be held during the next several months. These county level meetings will feature presenters from ISU Extension and the Farm Service Agency. 

For those who cannot attend a meeting, archived video of the presentations can be viewed on personal computers. View some or all of the presentations for additional information about the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. Link here to the archived videos.
• Payment Regulations Limitations – Kevin McClure, USDA Farm Service Agency
• SURE Disaster Program – William Edwards, Iowa State University
• Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) – Chad Hart, Iowa State University
• ACRE Example with Crop Risk Model – Sterling Liddell, Iowa Farm Bureau


William Edwards is a professor of economics with extension responsibilities in farm business management.

This article was published originally on 2/16/2009 The information contained within the article may or may not be up to date depending on when you are accessing the information.

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