Updates From the Field

Pioneer silage plot data is starting to come in. Unfortunately, our drought conditions here in Central New York have impacted silage yields. In other parts of the state, where moisture was adequate, yields are looking more typical. You can find Pioneer plot data on our website at https://www.ochsconsultingllc.com/trials. More data for corn grain and soybeans will be coming soon.

*Image courtesy of Pioneer

This season even within the same field we are finding radically different moistures. The greener corn in the image below is at 67% moisture and the drier plant is at 54%. Under our current drought stress conditions, there can easily be 10% differences in whole plant moisture within the same field. These variations can make staging the silage harvest even more complex than usual. Fields with a great deal of variation must be tested in multiple spots to get the full picture of the moisture status of the corn in that field.

Optimal moisture content for silage fermentation is 62-65%. While harvesting too wet or too dry are both problematic, starting the harvest early enough to avoid harvesting too dry is a good strategy. We are now able to generate reports through Pioneer/Corteva software tools that can predict the stage of growth of your corn and project likely harvest dates. If you are not already working with us to get your planting data into these tools, we’d be happy to work with you.

For more information on timing your corn silage harvest, check out this helpful article in Field Crop News out of Ontario, Canada.

It could be spider mites!

Colonies of spider mites feed on the undersides of corn leaves starting from the bottom of the plant. You’ll first notice them on the edges of your fields. Spider mite feeding can result in yellow leaves, with a scorched or burned appearance, as in the photo below. This past month’s hot, dry weather created the perfect environment for spider mites. They are a particular problem in drought-stressed corn. In a typical year here in Upstate NY, we get enough moisture to prevent outbreaks – wet leaves and a naturally occurring fungus keep populations in check. But this year they are out there!

Should you do anything about spider mites? Well, it depends…

Scouting strategies and treatment options are described in this article, Two-spotted spider mite management in soybean and corn, from University of Wisconsin Extension. Call us if you are concerned about spider mites in your corn or soybeans and would like guidance on whether to treat for them.

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