2015 Crop Diagnostic School

(Jim) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host. And we’re in luck because we’re on the Agronomy Farm on the K-State campus here in Manhattan. And every year, about this time of year the department puts on a Crop Diagnostic School for crop consultants around the state. And we’re gonna be talking to some of the participants and some of the presenters about what they’re talking about and what’s important. So, get your cup of coffee, come on back and we’ll start the show.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

(Jim) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host and we’re in luck because we’re on the Agronomy Farm here at the K-State campus and we’re at the 2015 Crop Diagnostic School. And with us we have Dr. Dorivar Ruiz Diaz. He is the manager, chairperson for the field day. And Dorivar, thanks for joining us and kind of tell us the history, who participates and what the topics are. (Dorivar) Yes, Jim, thank you very much for visiting us today. The Crop Diagnostic School has been going on for many years actually before I got here, probably about… (Jim) I think it was in the mid-80s actually. (Dorivar) The mid-80s, something like that. So, it’s really a tradition already in the Department of Agronomy and its primarily focused on certified crop advisors to provide training opportunities for them on different topics related to agronomy, pathology, insects and kind of…the idea is to really do a little bit more in the field, more practical, look at… (Jim) Hands on. (Dorivar) Hands on, in a way that keeps the small groups and try to maximize interaction between specialists and the participants. We also have a very good group of extension agents and students sometimes that join, which I think is very useful because you have that relation between our crop advisors, as well as extension personnel also working together. (Jim) So, you have crop consultants from across the state and sometimes Nebraska, and you have county agents, to get…and these are basically for continuing ed units, educational units, right? (Dorivar) Yes, it is basically for continuing education and again, they work very closely obviously with producers providing advice and working with the producers. But again, every year they come back here to the Department of Agronomy and kind of work through, some of the topics are a little bit of a review of some of the things they’ve probably already seen before. For some of the new advisors, maybe some new topics. And but we always try to also include some current topics, issues that we are seeing currently in the state in terms of crop production, new technologies try to expose a little bit of that as well and discuss… (Jim) I see that Lucas Hague is gonna be talking about precision ag technologies later today and tomorrow. (Dorivar) Yes, yes and we do have, again we usually invite faculty, not just from agronomy but also from ag engineering, plant pathology, entomology and again they bring a little bit different perspective as well to the agronomy topics in general. (Jim) OK, good deal. Dorivar, thank you for taking time and giving us the overview. We’re gonna spend just a little time talking to the various participants and see what they’re gonna be talking about today and tomorrow, so thanks again Dorivar. (Dorivar) Thank you very much. (Jim) Folks, stay with us. We’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Dave) And the higher exchange capacity of the soil, the less it moves. (Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. As you know, we’re at the Agronomy Farm today at the 2015 Crop Diagnostic School and one of our participants is Dr. David Mengel. Dr. Dave here has been a former department head in the department a number of years ago, and he came from the dark side back over to the light side to become a… (Dave) You betcha. (Jim) …regular old faculty member. He’s our soil fertility specialist. And he’s gonna be talking today at the Crop Diagnostic School about soybean nutrition, soybean fertility. So, Dave kind of give us an overview of what you’re gonna be talking about today. (Dave) OK, well we’re gonna talk about two or three basic concepts and one of the key things will be soil testing and a little bit, particularly focusing on pH because as legumes, soybeans really do respond to good soil pH’s and they really get hurt by acid soils, which are a major problem here in Kansas surprisingly. So, that will be one of the big emphasis. (Jim) Right, right. (Dave) We’ll also talk a little bit about phosphorus and some of the newer research we’ve got that will modify perhaps some of the thinking in the past. (Jim) Give us a little flavor for that. (Dave) Well, for example we’ve been doing some soil test correlation and calibration, trying to figure the appropriate soil test level for soybeans and how well do they respond to fertilizer. And the bottom line is they don’t respond to fertilizer very well, they respond to fertility. (Jim) OK. (Dave) And so it takes a little different thought process to manage that, so we’ll talk a little bit about that. (Jim) OK. (Dave) But then the good news is they don’t need as much fertility as some of our other crops. (Jim) Right. I interrupted you, go ahead and continue. (Dave) But that’s OK. And we’re gonna talk also about some of the nitrogen aspects, the nodulation issues, particularly as we expand soybean acres under new ground that has not had soybeans in the past. (Jim) And of course that’s…pH goes into that as well. (Dave) Yes, pH fits right along with that. Those are two important, really important aspects of this. And then also for the guys that are irrigators that have very high yield potentials, we’ll talk a little bit about potentially tweaking the nitrogen with a little late application. And then the last thing we’ll talk about is quality control. How do we know if we’re doing it right? And we’ll talk about, particularly about plant analysis and some of the ways that we can utilize plant analysis in soybean production. (Jim) But isn’t plant analysis, isn’t that kind of late to the game? I mean by the time you’ve figured out what the problem is, boom, it’s too late. (Dave) Yes, well I like to think of it, but it’s very early, it’s for the next crop… (Jim) Oh OK, OK. (Dave) …is the way I like to think about it, but you’re absolutely right. You can’t do a lot for that particular crop with most plant analysis results, but you can figure out where I’m at, is there something else I should be taking a hard look at? And I think that’s one of the tools we need to do in terms of management. (Jim) What about potassium? We gonna be talking about potassium? (Dave) We will talk about potassium cause that’s also a really key point, particularly for the eastern third of the state. (Jim) Right, so especially, yea, east, southeast. (Dave) East and southeast, south central. (Jim) And then are you going to talk about some unusual things like iron chlorosis or…? (Dave) We’re gonna talk a little bit about iron chlorosis, but we won’t talk a great deal about it. (Jim) Course that goes back to pH. (Dave) Again pH, and it’s not something we can do a lot with other than variety selection and perhaps we can do some minor spraying with some foliar applications or some seed treatments, but it’s one where we really need to understand our soils with soil testing, with pH and organic matter and then look at variety selection. (Jim) Dave, I appreciate it. I hope you have a good field day today and thanks again. And thanks for coming over from the dark side. (Dave) You’re welcome. (Jim) Folks, we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer and with us on this section we have Dr. Lucas Hague. Lucas is our northwest area agronomist. And he’s big into precision ag and of course, early in his career that was his love. But now he’s an agronomist, but he still kind of goes toward the precision ag stuff. So Lucas, we’re here at the field day, the Crop Diagnostic School. Kind of tell us what you’re going to be talking to the participants about regarding precision ag. (Lucas) Yea, so Jim we’ve got really two things we’re focusing on and again, it comes back to looking at this interface between the technology and the machinery piece of it and what does it mean to us from an agronomic stand? (Jim) Right. (Lucas) So, some of the equipment we’ve got here on display, Ajay Sharda’s group over in Ag Engineering is looking at electric drive planters. They’ve got turn compensation, individual row down-pressure control. And so then that goes into the discussion of what’s that mean to us from an agronomic standpoint? Does it help us get more consistent depth placement, better seed to soil contact and then again and still driving down to getting that plant to plant spacing correct on every row. (Jim) With inter-row spacing. (Lucas) With inter-row spacing. (Jim) OK. (Lucas) So, we’re going to start with that. Then we’re gonna talk about broader use of data, small data. There’s all this talk about big data, but how do we use small data? How do we use our yield monitor data, our soil test data on our farm to make some better decisions? (Jim) That’s always been an interesting concept because you have these monitors in the combine and so what? You get all this information, how do you use it? (Lucas) Yea, that’s been the big challenge. And today we’ve got lots of producers that have ten years of yield data sitting on a computer somewhere, but how do we put it to work? So, we talked a little bit about implementing variable-rate corn seeding, is what we use as the example to talk about how we can use multiple years of yield data, use what we know about the seeding rate, yield response for a given hybrid and a real simple approach producers could use that to develop a recommendation. (Jim) OK. So, let’s talk a little bit more about the variable-rate thing. How would you use it in a field like we have behind us here. On a wymore soil like we have behind us. (Lucas) Sure, so even in places where we’ve got uniform soil types, if we look at yield maps, we still have yield variability right? (Jim) Sure. (Lucas) So if we layer multiple years of that together and we normalize it, OK, so a value of one is field average and say 1.4 is 140 percent of field average. (Jim) Right, OK. Gotcha. (Lucas) We’re looking at long term average, then it’s just as simple as sitting down with the producer and saying, OK with this hybrid that you’re going to use on this area, say the field averages 204 bushel, OK? (Jim) OK. (Lucas) And the clear upper end is 260 and the producer says, well I think for this hybrid I really need you to be planting 36,000 to hit that 260. (Jim) Right. (Lucas) And maybe it’s got a sand blends or something in it so the low yield potential might only be 100, producer says well, I only need 15,000 really to hit that. (Jim) In that area of the field. (Lucas) In that area. (Jim) Low yielding area. (Lucas) Yep. And then it’s just a matter of fitting a straight line to that and we’ve got our normalized multi-year yield map and we just fit that to and there’s our variable rate seeding prescription. (Jim) So some areas of the field has the 34-36,000, some has the 15- or 16,000. (Lucas) Exactly. All about trying to match that seeding rate to the yield potential of that particular spot in the field. Using our past yield monitor data to tell us what its potential is. (Jim) So, what else do you got for us today? (Lucas) You know the other piece of that is, everything that phosphorus removal is good for is… or yield data is good for is phosphorus removal, those are good numbers. If we’ve got yield data, if you’ve got a wheat yield map, we know that we remove about a half pound of “P” per bushel of wheat. Wheat yield map times .5 gives you a phosphorus removal map, makes it real easy to variable rate apply some phos back on the field. (Jim) OK. Well Lucas I really appreciate you taking time with us here and on…regarding this field day. And folks, stay with us. We’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer. We’re at the Crop Diagnostic School here at the Agronomy Farm on the campus of K-State. And with us we have Dr. Peter Tomlinson, he’s our Environmental Quality Specialist. And he’s obviously a presenter here at the field day. And so Peter, tell us what you’re talking to the participants about. I kinda got an idea, but I wanna hear it from you. (Peter) So Jim today, we’re talking about soil biology. Who lives in our soil, what do they do? And this is an opportunity for the participants to hit some basics of soil microbiology and understanding of the different bacteria and fungi that live in our soil, but also our larger organisms, our earth worms… (Jim) We’re not talking about gophers here are we? (Peter) Well, no we’re not talking about gophers, we’re talking about earth worms, mites, nematodes, all of the creatures, small creatures from the visible to the… (Jim) Microscopic. (Peter) …the microscopic. And so the participants in this program have a chance to spend some time looking in the microscope. I’ve got stained corn and soybean roots and they can look at those roots and we’ve been finding mycorrhizal infection of those roots. (Jim) Now when you use the word infection, I think bad things. But mycorrhizal infection, that’s a good thing. (Peter) It is a good thing. Mycorrhizal are a fungi. They’re important in bringing both nutrients and water to the plant in exchange for that benefit, the plant is providing carbon rich compounds to the fungi, so that they can… (Jim) Somewhat of a symbiotic relationship here. (Peter) It really is, it’s a symbiotic, mutual relationship where both are benefitting and certainly in soils that have low phosphorus fertility, mycorrhizal play a very important role in the plant getting adequate phosphorus. And then we’re also looking at soybean nodules. Participants have a chance to dissect a nodule and look at the inside of the nodule, we’re seeing that red color, the light hemoglobin, in those nodules. And then… (Jim) Which indicates effectively producing nitrogen for the plant. (Peter) Right. That it’s actively producing nitrogen and then the other thing that we’ve done today is I’ve taken some soil and just a simple water gravity extraction… (Jim) OK. (Peter)… that set for about 24 hours and so we’re collecting in a petri dish, we collect that water and we’re looking at the…participants have a chance to scan that water and look for mites, nematodes, spring tails… (Jim) All the little critters. (Peter) All the little critters in the soil. (Jim) That make the soil, soil. (Peter) That make the soil, soil. That process our organic matter, break it down, and convert those nutrients into plant available nutrients for the future crop. (Jim) Peter, I appreciate it. I’m sure the participants are kind of scratching their heads, said I didn’t know these things were here. So, Peter appreciate you taking time and telling us what you’re talking about today. (Peter) Thank you very much. (Jim) Folks, stay with us. We’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host and in this last segment we’ve got with us Greg Hudack. And Greg you being a Nebraska native, I’ll talk to you anyway. But you’ve been in the state as as long as you’ve been out of state. (Greg) Yea. (Jim) So, Greg works with Bayer Chemicals and has been attending this particular Crop Diagnostic School for years. Years and years. And so tell us Greg, how do you find this school, how are you… do you use it in your work? (Greg) Well for me personally, you can see I’ve got some grey hair like you Jim. (Jim) OK. Thanks for pointing out the obvious! (Greg) Yes! But for me it’s really a good refresher course on continuing to update me with some knowledge concerning crops and production practices and fungicides and disease diagnosis and insect refreshing courses, and herbicide traits and performance of herbicides. It’s really a great refresher course as you know as you age, you kind of forget some things, so it’s a nice place to go back and get refreshed. And we use this course to bring our new reps in, our new employees and get them schooled up if you will. And educate them on the facts that we talk about-weed ID, insect ID… (Jim) Things that they’re going to be seeing in their everyday work. (Greg) Yep. Right. And so it’s just a great course whether you are young to the business or fairly old to the business, there’s always something new that you can always learn, you can never stop learning and of course, it’s a great refresher course in many cases. (Jim) Right, and… (Greg) New innovations. Like last year we had the drones that were here. And so that was nice to see that technology coming forward. (Jim) And as a professional you have to have these. (Greg) Yes, some of us, many of us that attend this class are certified crop advisors and so we have to have our credits, continuing education classes to keep that credentials established and… (Jim) And up to date. (Greg) And up to date. So, we use this to gain those education classes and those points if you will. So, it’s a multi-faceted type event for points if you will, for me in different ways, yes. (Jim) OK. (Greg) And actually this year we have three people from Texas from Bayer Crop Science attending. So we’ve kind of extended our invitations out to other parts of the states too. (Jim) OK. So, it’s a pretty good program for the region, not just for the state. But we have surrounding states that come to it too. (Greg) Yea, I know people from Missouri have been here. Some Nebraska people have been here, so yes. (Jim) I know you’ve been coming since the mid ’80s. I think when we first started the program. (Greg) Yes, yes. I’ve only missed one year Jim in 20 or some years. So, it’s been a good class. I encourage people to come. (Jim) Greg, I appreciate it. You taking time out of the… (Greg) You’re looking good Jim. (Jim) Well thank you. You too fellow, you too. Thanks a lot Greg. Folks, thanks for being with us on this show today and just remember next week about this time there will be another show of That’s My Farm. See you then.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

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