Thursday, July 8, 2010

Today We Were Rain Fed

So remember yesterday I showed pictures of rolled corn and planting cucumbers in dry soil? I commented that some rain would sure be nice. Well look here, we did get some rain! And it was...nice that is. It started around 11:40 am and rained pretty steady for 3 hours, and then started up again around 5. When I left there was 0.7 inchees in the gauge. With the rain came relief from the heat. So needless to say we did not run any wheat today, maybe tomorrow when it is supposed to be sunny and lower humidity too. Some of our soybean experiments still have some late foliar applications due before it gets too late. So Holy Cow, I hope I can spray again tomorrow!Before it rained, Stephanie and I did some more crop tissue testing for nutrients. This particular experiment is evaluating several different existing and experimental N fertilizers applied at a range of rates. So knowing differences in crop uptake may be useful, along with yield of course. Personally I am still at odds over the effectiveness of tissue testing due to often conflicting results that don't follow through to yield. But testing often does eliminate wondering. As stated in an earlier blog on tissue testing, correct sampling and staging procedures will influence results. So here is Stephanie standing next to a corn plant with lots of leaves, but not yet tasseling or silking. So we know it is still in the vegetative stage of growth. So what is the correct stage? You know that you need to count leaves with a collar, but where do you start???

The first leaves have mostly fallen off by now. But the leaf that extends down to the brace roots should be the V5 leaf, as shown in the picture below with the hand attached.

Then it's a matter of counting up to the last leaf with a collar. That is, it is a totally separate leaf and not still rolled up inside a complete leaf. This corn is in the V14 growth stage. So that is the leaf to sample as it is still in the vegetative stage. After tassel emergence it is in the Reproductive stage, and there are different leaf guidelines then. (But I'm not covering that today.) Below, Stephanie is sampling the uppermost vegetative leaf. Inside the rolled up leaf in her left hand is the tassel which will soon be emerging, indicating it is then in the reproductive stage. You may be surprised to learn that Stephanie is already in the reproductive stage, as she and husband (farmer and Liquid fertilizer user) Ryan are expecting child number 3 in late December. We couldn't be happier for her and Ryan. Stephanie has worked with me for over 10 years, and she is not only an invaluable research agronomist and friend, but also a great mother. Only now I am going to have to find someone else to make the parathion applications.

Once the samples are collected they need to be placed in the sample bag provided by the test lab, and then mailed promptly. Since today is Thursday, it is likely that normal shipment would arrive at the lab on the weekend, and then sit till the following week. This is not a good idea for bags of leaves in an enclosed box. So we paid the extra cost of overnight shipment so that they will be processed tomorrow.

The picture below is near where we were sampling on the new Farm 7. It looks back to the West in the alley between replications of the North-South planted corn rows. You are looking at several different corn experiments. Do you know how far it is to the last row in the picture? Well it's probably pretty far.

Well that's it for today at the NCRS. Thanks for reading. Tell your friends! Tomorrow I hope to give reports of wheat harvest and more foliar applications. And I haven't checked in on Brian and Tim lately, so there might be something from the veg guys.