Category Archives: Crops

Virtual Wheat Field Day

To view the video, click here.

In this time of social distancing and much uncertainty, University of Kentucky scientists are using innovative ways to get producers the information they need to grow high quality crops. As a result, members of the UK Wheat Science Group have turned their annual Wheat Field Day into a virtual experience this year. It is scheduled for 9 a.m. until noon CDT May 12 on the video conferencing app Zoom.

“We wanted to provide the results from our unbiased wheat research that our producers are accustomed to, and we also wanted to make sure the program was safe for all participants and speakers amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carrie Knott, grain crops specialist with the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “A virtual field day seemed like the perfect solution.”

UK specialists and industry representatives will make presentations much as they would during a normal field day. Participants can expect to hear information on wheat management, small grain economics, sustainability, UK variety trials, rye, and management of diseases, insects and weeds in winter wheat. As in the past, producers will have an opportunity to ask specialists questions and interact with each other during the online event.

Pesticide applicators can receive one specific continuing education unit for categories 1A, 4 and 10 for attending the virtual field day.

Producers can view the field day through Zoom using any type of computer or mobile device.  The direct link to the meeting, other ways to participate and additional information about the field day are available at https://wheatscience.ca.uky.edu. Once they click the field day link, participants will receive a prompt to install Zoom, if they have not already done so. Contact: 

Carrie Knott, carrie.knott@uky.edu

USDA Announces $19 Billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

We have received many questions about who will receive Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), what are the determinations, etc.  I talked with Sherri Brown, Warren-Edmonson County Farm Service Agency Executive Director and they are still waiting on guidance from the state and national level on how sign-ups are going to occur and the specifics on how the payments will be made.  Please continue to watch our social media sites for additional information as it comes down about the CFAP program.  Below is the information from a press release from the USDA about the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

At the bottom of this article is information about our USDA Service centers from their newsletter and a USDA website to check about updates.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. President Trump directed USDA to craft this $19 billion immediate relief program to provide critical support to our farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of our food supply chain, and ensure every American continues to receive and have access to the food they need.

CFAP will use the funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other USDA existing authorities. The program includes two major elements to achieve these goals.

  1. Direct Support to Farmers and Ranchers: The program will provide $16 billion in direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted and will assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.  

USDA will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers including:    

  • $9.6 billion for the livestock industry
    • $5.1 billion for cattle
    • $2.9 billion for dairy
    • $1.6 billion for hogs
  • $3.9 billion for row crop producers
  • $2.1 billion for specialty crops producers
  • $500 million for other crops

 
Producers will receive a single payment determined using two calculations:

  • Price losses that occurred January 1-April 15, 2020. Producers will be compensated for 85% of price loss during that period.
  • Second part of the payment will be expected losses from April 15 through the next two quarters and will cover 30% of expected losses.

 
The payment limit is $125,000 per commodity with an overall limit of $250,000 per individual or entity. Qualified commodities must have experienced a 5% price decrease between January and April.
 

USDA is expediting the rule making process for the direct payment program and expects to begin sign-up for the new program in early May and to get payments out to producers by the end of May or early June.

  • USDA Purchase and Distribution: USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat. We will begin with the procurement of an estimated $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in a variety of dairy products, and $100 million per month in meat products. The distributors and wholesalers will then provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.

Our USDA Service Centers in Kentucky will continue to be open for business by phone appointment only and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While our program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with our producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the Farm Service Agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment.

I also encourage you to visit farmers.gov/coronavirus to keep up-to-date on temporary program flexibilities available as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Freeze Damage???

On April 15, temperatures in Warren County dropped below freezing. Since that time I have had some questions about damage and some inquiries about how to estimate damage. I have compiled some information put together by our UK Extension Specialists. As you can see in the tables below provided by Matt Dixon with the UK Weather Center, temperatures did get below 31 degrees for around 5 hours. 

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Scouting for Wheat Damage

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky

Published on Kygrains.info

Tuesday night temperatures dipped to or below 24°F for several hours at many locations throughout Kentucky. For winter wheat that has reached the jointing (Feekes 6) growth stage, or beyond, damage can occur to the developing wheat head at these temperatures.

In general, we think that injury can occur if temperatures are at or below those listed in the table below for 2 or more hours.

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Some areas across the state already had wheat that was beginning to head. This will make scouting field for freeze damage very important.

To assess wheat freeze damage:

1. Wait until high temperatures are at least 40°F for 5 to 7 days. According to the projected weather forecast, we will have high temperatures greater than 40°F all week, therefore assessing freeze damage Monday or Tuesday will likely provide an good estimate of freeze damage.

2. Scout fields

A. For fields that have not yet headed and look for yellow, chlorotic growing points and    limp leaves. There will likely be yellow leaf tips, but as long as the growing point is not affected, there will likely be minimal to no damage.

B. For fields that are in the ‘Boot’ (Feekes 10) growth stage, dissect out the heads and look for damage.

C. For field that have headed or beyond, inspect heads and florets for damage.

3. An additional concern for wheat stands and yield potential is heaving.  If extreme temperature changes occur the freezing and thawing cycle may push wheat plants out of the soil.  This will result in reduced stands and could ultimately affect yield if heaving occurs on a large percentage of the field.

Accessing Corn & Soybeans Freeze Damage

By: Dr. Chad Lee, University of Kentucky Grains Crop Specialist

We need about 5 days of warm weather before freeze damage symptoms are evident. You may see hints of damage earlier than 5 days, but you won’t be able to identify the extent of damage in most fields.  

Soybeans:

We need about 5 days of warm weather before the freeze damage is evident on the crop. Any freeze damage below the cotyledons will kill the plant. If the cotyledons survive, then the soybean plant has full to nearly full yield potential. 

Soybeans in the crook stage, where the plant is just emerging and the stem looks like a shepherd’s crook, are extremely sensitive to freezing weather. We can almost assume that soybeans at this stage are killed from the freeze. If the majority of the field was at this stage, then the farmer should plan to replant. Scouting the field about 5 days after the freeze is warranted, but one should expect to need to replant in these fields. 

For soybeans that had not emerged or soybeans with at least unifoliate leaves, the soybeans have a better chance of surviving. Sometimes, the upper leaves will insulate and protect the lower leaves. As long as the node at the cotyledon survives, the plant should survive. 

Corn: 

We need about 5 days of warm weather before the freeze damage is evident on the crop. I expect minimal yield loss on corn. I do expect nearly all aboveground growth to be frozen and dead, but I expect corn plants to survive. For corn planted at the proper depth, the growing point is at least a half-inch below the surface. As long as that growing point survives, corn has 100% yield potential, even if all aboveground growth dies. The soil often buffers the freezing temperatures and insulates the growing point. Look for areas in the fields where: 

  1. seeds are shallow – shallow seeds put the growing point closer to the soil surface
  2. furrows are not fully closed – open furrows allowing freezing to get to the seed quickly. 
  3. areas of the field that are saturated: the higher water content will often freeze deeper in the soil than fields as field capacity
  4. expect there to be more damage in tilled fields, including “vertical tilled” fields. The reside from no-till provides a temperature buffer. I expect fields with cover crop residue to be buffered as well. 

Other Thoughts on Scouting and Assessing Damage

When scouting either crop about 5 days after the freeze event, look for plants or plant structures that have turned brown or black. Look for signs of loss of turgor pressure. I think most aboveground damage will be easy to see in a few days. 

For corn, take a shovel and dig up a few plants to evaluate the growth above the seed. If there are no signs of brown/black areas on the plants, and if turgor pressure is good, then the seedlings are very likely to survive. 

As you scout, please send us some images. 

Forages:  Alfalfa & Red Clover

Dr. Jimmy Henning, UK Forage Extension Specialist

In Scouting Alfalfa stands in Lexington, Dr. Henning noticed some variable damage in Alfalfa stands but thinks that most will grow out of it.  Red clover is much less affected in the instances he has witnessed.  However, if you have seen damage or have more questions.  AGR-236 Managing Frost Damaged Alfalfa Stands

Fruit and Vegetables

We will not know damage to fruit trees until they have had a chance to grow and develop more.  Blooms were damaged but will not know the full extent of the damage for a bit. Small fruit crops like strawberries if they were not covered suffered damage.  Crops like asparagus that were not able to be covered or harvested experienced a loss.

Freeze damaged asparagus

If you have any questions or photos to share, please contact us at the extension office.