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Northwest Iowa Crop Update Newsletter
by Todd Vagts
ISU Extension Crops Specialist
Counties Served:  Carroll, Calhoun, Crawford, Ida, Monona, Pocahontas and Sac.

[Home][Special Topics][Weather Data][Subsoil H20][PDF Info] [ISU Extension][IA State University]

Volume 5, Number 02

Northwest IA Crop Update, March 14, 2005
Print or view this newsletter in  PDF or Microsoft Word format.

In this issue

bullet New Web Address
bullet Weather information and data links
bullet Soil temperature
bullet Extending the life of alfalfa fields
bullet Archived soybean rust web cast
bullet Overview of soybean fungicide seed treatments
bullet Don’t forget about the soybean aphid

While traveling to Ames on Saturday evening, I encountered the distinctive smell of freshly tilled soil;  I guess that means the spring tillage season has begun.  Frost is most likely out in most areas, and soil temperatures have been running slightly above normal (see table in the newsletter).   Weather greatly impacts tillage and planting progress, use the weather data links to help manage your time.  Dr. Bruce Anderson provides some useful comments on extending the life of tired alfalfa fields by converting them to pasture, follow the link provided to read his article.  Soybean Rust may be the most thought about pest issue on soybeans for the upcoming season, but don’t forget about soybean aphids.  Soybean Aphid expert Dr. Voegtlin estimates aphid numbers could be high this year.  Dr. Laura Sweets (University of MO) wrote a good commentary on soybean fungicide seed treatments; follow the link provided to read her comments. 

New Web Address
Please note the new web address when you visit this newsletter online or browse the Crops web page.  This newsletter is posted at: and the homepage to the Crops Web page is:  Old links will be forwarded to the new URL for a limited time, so please update the links in your Favorites folder.

This newsletter is available via fax (in selected counties) or e-mail and can always be found on the web at   If you would like to receive this newsletter in a format (different than what you currently receive), please let me know by phone (712-792-2364) or email (

Weather information and data tools

·         Average 4 inch soil temperature:

·         Average 4-inch soil temperature – 3-day forecast:

·         U.S. Soil Moisture Status :

·         Current Climate Summary Maps (excellent tool):

·         Drought Monitor:

·         Climate Prediction Center

·         Intellicast (for current precipitation radar and historical precip. events):

·         Weather Channel:

·         Spaceweather:

Soil Temperature Area soil temperatures appear to be running slightly above normal.  Frost should be out on most exposed and southern facing slopes.


Forage/Pasture Management
Dr. Bruce Anderson (Extension Forage Specialist, University of NE) provides some good comments on extending the productivity of old alfalfa stands by inter-seeding grasses to convert the alfalfa field to pasture.  Dr. Andersons article can be found in the March 11 issue of the Nebraska Crop Watch, read his article at this URL:  Useful ISU publications on forage selection and pasture management can be found at these URL’s

Interseeding and no-till pasture renovation:

Selecting forage species:

Soybean Rust
Asian Soybean Rust Broadcast The Iowa Soybean Rust Team offered a video program on Asian Soybean Rust last week.  If you missed it, a web archive of the program is available at

ICM Newsletter Special Issue:  The ISU Integrated Crop Management Newsletter released a special issue all about Soybean Rust.  You can read this issue from this web address:  Note that the files size is 6 mb, so only those with high speed internet should attempt the download.

Pest Management
Soybean Aphid:  Data collected by Dr. David Voegtlin (Illinois Natural History Survey) indicate that the probability of soybean aphid infestations may be higher this year.  Fall suction trap catches and aphid egg counts on buckthorn in Illinois indicate a high number of aphids over-wintering, similar to numbers found the fall and winter of 2002/03.  The linked article (written before all the fall data was collected) provides information on the cyclical nature of soybean aphids and provides information on how the data was collected.

Are you considering an insecticide seed treatment for soybean aphid?  Current research indicates that the seed treatment most likely will not protect against the heaviest populations of aphids usually observed in late July and August.  Insecticide seed treatments will protect against early aphid infestations if a local aphid population over-winters but an over-the-top insecticide treatment may be necessary to protect against late season aphid migrations.  More information here:  Ohio State University:

Soybean Fungicide Seed Treatment  A good review of soybean (fungicide) seed treatment was written in the Missour ICPM newsletter by Laura Sweets, see the article at this URL: 

Key comments by Dr. Sweets include:  Soybean seed treatment fungicides are recommended if there is a concern about seed-borne diseases, if the field has a history of a specific early-season soybean disease, or conditions at planting are not favorable for rapid germination and emergence thus favoring early-season soybean diseases.  Soybean seed treatment fungicides will not improve the germination of seed that has a poor germination rate because of physical cracks in the seed coat, weathering during the seed production year and other physiological factors

Upcoming meetings…
Environmental stewardship meetings for crop and livestock producers will explain how the Phosphorus Index water quality and air quality issues will affect local producers.  The meetings will be March 17 in Spencer, March 24 in Sheldon, April 5 in Whittemore and April 6 in Carroll from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  For more information and to register, contact your local extension office.  


Print or view this newsletter in  PDF or Microsoft Word format.

Todd Vagts
Iowa State University Extension
Field Crops Specialist
1240 D. Heires Avenue 
Carroll, IA 51401 
Office: 712-792-2364; Cell: 712-249-6025;  Fax: 712-792-2366

For questions or comments please respond to

The information given in this publication is for educational purposes only.
Reference to commercial products is made with the understanding that no
discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Iowa State University with
any specific product(s) used in this is implied

This page last updated on 03/14/05

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