Crops, Programming

Weed Management/Cover Crops Field Day

During the summer, our crops extension team has some great field days to share research and management strategies to farmers. One of those opportunities to learn more about weed management and cover crops will be on June 28 at the South Central Agricultural Laboratory near Clay Center.  There is no charge for the field day with registration beginning at 8 a.m. and field day from 8:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.  Lunch will be served which will then be followed by a cover crop field day from 1-3 p.m.  marestailThe weed management field day will include on-site demonstrations of herbicides for weed control in corn, popcorn, and soybean as well as a view of ongoing cover crop research. An early morning demonstration will focus on weed control in soybeans followed by a demonstration of projects for weed control in corn, popcorn and sorghum. Onsite demonstration of cover crop research will highlight the afternoon session.soybeans

Soybean demonstrations will include an unbiased comparison of herbicide programs of different companies for weed control in Roundup Ready, Liberty Link, and Xtend soybeans.  Weed control and crop safety in Roundup Ready 2Xtend Soybean, Balance Bean, Bolt Soybean, and Conventional Soybean will also be discussed.

Corn demonstrations include an unbiased comparison of several herbicide programs by different companies for weed control in glyphosate- plus glufosinate-resistant corn. Effect of row spacing and herbicide on weed control in popcorn, DiFlexx DUO for weed control in corn, INZEN sorghum, and injury symptoms of dicamba or 2,4-D on a number of crops will also be discussed.

Afternoon demonstrations of cover crop research will include cover crops in corn and soybean systems including planting dates, plant populations, and maturities. Participants will walk cover crop experiments planted in corn and/or soybean.  Cover crop pluses and minuses: Bio-mass, nitrogen for the following crop, nitrates, erosion, water use, and crop yields will also be discussed.

Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) continuing education units will be available.  There is no cost to attend the field day, but participants are asked to register at  The South Central Agricultural Laboratory is 4.5 miles west of the intersection of Highways 14 and 6, or 12.4 miles east of Hastings on Highway 6. GPS coordinates of the field day site are 40.57539, -98.13776.

Other programs relatively close to our area include:
June 22:  Cover Crop Conference, 2 p.m., Holthus Convention Center York.
July 18:  Crop Management Diagnostic Clinic:  Soil Health, ARDC (now ENREC) near Mead


Cover Crops during Drought

Recently I’ve been asked by several producers about the feasibility of planting cover crops during drought so I researched several different articles. Kris Nichols a soil microbiologist with USDA ARS in North Dakota says that when in a drought, farmers should consider planting a cover crop as they play a vital role in soil and plant health. Nichols said in a Farm Industry News article, “Many times during a drought, plants are not as much water stressed as they are nutrient stressed. The way plants get nutrients from the soil to their roots is through water. In times of drought, plants will sometimes give off their own water supply to create a water fill around the roots so nutrients can travel.”

Will there be enough moisture for the cover crops to germinate? According to Justin Fruechte, cover crop and forage specialist for Millborn Seeds in South Dakota, even in drought stricken areas, cover crops can still grow. Fruechte says that, “Most species have very fine seeds and require little moisture to germinate. When planting into dry soil, be sure to close the furrow tightly and that seed will wait for moisture.”

UNL Extension Educator, Paul Hay pointed out that for those needing grazing, turnips can be seeded in the later part of August until early September. Fall rains will dictate the amount of growth. For those with experience, there is lots of feed long after the tops are gone, as the cattle root out the tubers. Oats can also be a late fall opportunity for haying or grazing. Oats will do better in fall production. Wheat, rye or triticale would be better choices for spring pastures which could be grazed off before killing them and planting summer crops.