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Here is this week's AgFax Southern Grain, sponsored by the Southern staff of FMC Corporation.



The last corn planting will mostly wrap up in the Midsouth next week. More rain is in the forecast for Thursday night and into the weekend, plus another temperature drop is expected in the upper Midsouth. The agony drags on.


Soybean planting is underway on a wider basis in the Midsouth in areas where fields are dry enough. A little early soybean planting also has begun in scattered parts of the Southeast.


Sound familiar? Rain and cold weather have delayed corn planting to the point that some farmers are shifting remaining corn acreage to soybeans. In this case, though, the farmers are in China. Connect to a report in our Links section.


Sesame will be planted on a limited basis in south Alabama and northwest Mississippi this season. Buyers for a large sesame company also floated the idea, we’re told, in several other states, including Louisiana, Missouri and Tennessee. Connect to a brief report in our Links section.


Kudzu bugs and egg masses were showing up this week in Scotland County, North Carolina, according to a Twitter report from Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Entomologist. In South Carolina, Extension Entomologist Jeremy Greene noted Thursday that kudzu bugs "can easily be observed just about anywhere. I think that we will have large numbers to deal with this season."



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Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist: “With this unusually cold and wet weather, we’re beginning to see some insects that aren’t typical. Some bill bug damage has occurred in corn.


“I’m not hearing much about sugarcane beetle damage, but we caught quite a few in light traps at the Macon Ridge center. We were picking up 35 to 50 a night, then hit 2 nights with up to 500 per night. That was about when conditions started warming, so the beetles broke out of diapause all of a sudden. This may have just been a localized event or happened after it would matter. No armyworms in wheat, even though they were a big issue in 2012.”


David Butcher, NC Ag Service, Inc., Pantego, North Carolina: "Most of our corn is planted and is mostly up. It’s been real cool, so corn isn’t growing fast. So far, we don’t have much that would need to be replanted. People are planting early soybeans – really early for us. None are up that I’ve seen. Wheat looks decent but is running a little behind with the cool weather. It probably will be an average crop if nothing freaky happens in the next 3 weeks.”


David Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas: “We’ve had the devil of a time getting anything done in corn and are maybe halfway finished with fertilizer and herbicides. A lot of acres went under water, either low ends or holes where we don’t have a stand of corn now. The weather hasn’t permitted us to replant much and the rest of the plants are too far along now, so we’ll have to live with some holes. This has been a cold, wet, nasty mess. My feet have been cold for weeks. About 10% of our soybeans have been planted.”


Randy Weisz, North Carolina Extension Wheat Specialist: “Head scab risk in wheat is high north of the Albemarle Sound and in Dare and Carteret Counties and remains moderate in parts of the Piedmont. Rain in the forecast suggests that the risk will be high in most of the state. Wheat is likely near or at flowering in much of the northern Tidewater and in the Piedmont. Wheat in southern North Carolinas is likely past the danger point.


“Apply a fungicide for head scab in the next 10 days if your wheat is currently between the start of heading and full flower. If a spray at the best timing of mid-flower isn’t possible, research shows that applications up to 5 to 6 days later can still be beneficial for head scab reduction.”


Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee: “With all the rain, any corn is gone in creek bottoms and on low ends. Upland corn – our red-dirt corn here in the Tennessee Valley – has come along and looks acceptable. It’s the bright spot.


“Most heading fungicide applications have been made on wheat. We’re concerned about how much nitrogen we’ve lost since March. We’ve had 2-plus-inch rains regularly since March and may have caught 2 days a week to be in the field. It’s been a challenge to supplement that lost N. What aerial applicators we have have been booked solid.


“Based on the wheat’s stage right now (5/7), it will be close to June 20 before we have all dry matter in the kernel. So, we could have a short doublecrop situation. Wheat is 3 weeks behind last year in terms of development and about 2 weeks behind normal.”


William Birdsong, Extension Agronomist-Row Crops, Headland, Alabama: “Where farmers planted corn in the latter part of February or into March they’ve mostly applied herbicides and sidedressed nitrogen. But a lot of corn planted in April is just getting fertilizer and an over-the-top herbicide. This has been a challenging season, with the wettest February on record.


“Wheat is starting to dry down. Farmers who really pursued productivity will have one of the better wheat crops we’ve seen in this area, despite all the rain.”


Sam Atwell, Extension Agronomist, New Madrid, Missouri: “We probably have another 25% of the corn to plant. People who had nitrogen out and don’t want to go with soybeans will stay with corn, but others will go to cotton. It’s super wet right now (5/7) and no planting would be possible right now, even on high ground.”


Mace Bauer, Extension Agent, Columbia County, Florida: “Corn ranges from poor to average, mainly due to the weather. Things looked better on day 30 after planting than they did on day 50. We had more rain on Friday (5/3) and all day Saturday and the sun never came out, all of which is uncharacteristic here.


“Some wheat has been chopped or will be and what’s left for grain looks good. We’re thinking in the 60 bu/acre range. A lot of the chopping has to do with guys needing to get wheat out of the way so they can plant cotton and peanuts. Wheat isn’t going to mature soon enough, and in many cases that’s because the wrong varieties were used. Those fields are set to make a 50 bu/acre yield by July 1 but needed to be ready by May 25, if not sooner.”


Joe Townsend, Ind. Consultant, Coahoma, Mississippi: “People didn’t plant all the corn they intended but some will keep planting when they can. If you’ve got a contract at the elevator, you probably have no choice. So, a little more will be planted. A lot of people are concerned about late corn. I’m not. In 2007 when we had that big freeze and plenty of corn was replanted in May. In often did better than corn planted in March. Right now, plant populations in our early-planted corn are 7% lower than the optimum number, which will likely affect yields.


“The weather, so far, has been hard on corn. Most of it has small, poor root systems and leaves have a yellow cast, regardless of how much fertilizer it’s had. I’ve advised my growers to set the knives as close to the root system as they can when sidedressing to get nitrogen into the plant right away. No sign of stink bugs in corn. With all this moisture, herbicides remained active and weed control has been wonderful.


“Just a small percentage of soybeans have been planted, with just a few up. I don’t know what the test weight will be like in the wheat, but it actually looks better than it did last year. All the fungicides have gone out. This morning (5/7) I found a few kernels at hard dough. When you count rows and kernels, the potential looks promising.


“Oddly enough, we found a treatment level of rice stink bugs in some wheat, even though it was 5 to 6 miles from the nearest rice field.”


Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant, Coushatta, Louisiana: “Our corn is mostly recovering from cold weather. The crop ranges from the fourth to ninth leaf. Soybeans are probably 80% planted and most of those are up. We’re still watching a few fields planted a little dry. Our oldest beans may be starting their first trifoliate. Wheat in the south end of my territory is starting to turn. We’ve got heavy ladybug numbers in wheat, probably the hatchout from the ones that took out aphids earlier. I wish they’d migrate someplace nearby with food, then come back later.”


Larry Varnadoe, County Extension Agent, Worth County, Georgia: “All of our corn has been planted and people have either been applying herbicides and sidedressing or they’re in the process. In the end, growers didn’t plant as much corn as planned and I’m told that some seed has gone back, but it’s hard to say how much acreage was affected. That land will probably go into cotton.”


Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana: “In corn, a majority of our growers just got fertilizer out and have either put out layby or are in the process. Some went by ground, others by air. Over the last 2 weeks a fair amount of soybeans have been planted and a majority are up to a stand and look pretty good. Rain is in the forecast before the weekend, so people are really focusing on soybean planting ahead of that.”


Curt Johnson, CRC Ag Consulting, LLC, Lake Village, Arkansas: "We’re just getting started good with soybean planting. What we have planted so far has come up like gangbusters and made perfect stands. Corn is making a turn for the better. Where people could plow, that aired out the roots and allowed a little extra growth. Where it’s been too wet to plow, those plants are fending for themselves. Warmer weather is helping with the growth and giving corn a nice green color. Soils are just getting to the point (5/8) that they’re not sopping wet.


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“Some of my growers probably couldn’t plant the last 10% to 15% of the corn they’d intended. One or two had acres planned but it got too late for them, so they knocked down the beds and planted rice. In one case, 300 to 400 acres shifted to rice.”


Howard Small Jr., Ind. Consultant, Colquitt, Georgia: “Fertilizer on corn wasn’t very uniform. Plants are green behind where the truck ran and 6 inches tall. But as you move further out from where the truck ran, the corn doesn’t look good. Some fields are kind of crappy, in fact. Farmers went with high rates of urea mixed with potash and I think the spinners on the trucks couldn’t handle it, plus differences in particle sizes may have added to the uneven distribution.”


John Stobaugh, Stobaugh Cotton Consulting, Inc., McGehee, Arkansas: “I’m finding stink bugs in corn. They’re not at treatment level and are mainly turning up where I have corn bordering wheat, woods or pecan trees. We’ve had just a little cutworm damage in soybeans. Most of my beans are still pretty young, from cotyledon to the first leaves. We’ve planted 80% of them. What’s left are beans on heavy soils, and all the rain has held us up. So far (5/8), we haven’t gotten the heavy rains reported in other areas. If we miss the one in the forecast for tomorrow and Friday, we could finish up. Otherwise, it will be next week.”


Dewey Lee, Georgia Extension Grain Specialist: “We’re continuing to move through the growth phases on wheat with some ups and downs. A little septoria and bacterial leaf streak have turned up. On the other hand, the crop is maturing kind of nicely with the cool weather and weekly rainfall. That weather isn’t necessarily good for corn, of course.


“In the corn, we’ve been dealing with nutrient imbalances caused by this spring’s conditions, but most of these problems can be corrected rather quickly.


“I’ve been telling growers that when they take stock of their corn crop to look at the forest, not the tree. Individual plants may look shorter and not as pretty as we’d expect, but in many cases we have functional crops with very good potential.


“We’re picking up a little northern corn leaf blight (NCLB). Rome Ethredge (Extension, Seminole County) reported on that in his blog this week. Prime situations for this are strip-till fields where corn followed corn. If you have fields like that, consider a fungicide because we know it’s starting early, although we have no clue what the weather will do and how NCLB might further develop. Watch for it and take a measured action where you do find it.”


Erick Larson, Mississippi Extension Grain Specialist: “Still in a rainy pattern, with very little field activity this week. The only place I know of much activity is an area in the south Delta close to the Mississippi River, and even that’s not totally dry.


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“Most people have made up their minds about late corn planting, one way or the other. A dealer told me they’d seen a lot of corn seed coming back in the last 7 to 10 days. In parts of extreme north Mississippi where only a small amount of corn has been planted, the thinking is that they will plant when they have opportunities between now and May 25. This has been a very frustrating spring, very stressful.


“We’re dealing with more Italian ryegrass in corn than normal, even if folks used a Gramoxone burndown at planting. The application burned it back, but the ryegrass growing point is deep in the plant and conditions weren’t conducive to killing it. It’s a cool-season annual, so it could recover, plus the corn wasn’t competitive.


“I’m getting more questions about bird damage, mainly about crows in various parts of our hill counties where corn is taking longer to come up.”


Ron Levy, Louisiana Extension Soybean Specialist: “Corn has really turned around this week with all the sunshine. It’s picking up fertilizer and has really grown in the last 4 to 5 days. You can hardly find any cold-related injury now.


“We’ve had a really good week for planting soybeans, although it’s still wet in our northeast parishes. Some places got up to 8 inches of rain from that last system. On the positive side, growing conditions are great, with plenty of moisture. More rain is in the forecast, though, for tonight. People who are planting soybeans right now are concerned that we might get another pounding rain just after the seed go in.”


Angela T. McClure, Tennessee Soybean and Feed Grain Specialist: “Statewide, the estimate is that 60% of the corn has been planted, but I think some folks already have decided to cut back. We could see a 25% reduction from last year, which was a big year anyway.


“Some creeks and rivers are high. By the time they come down it will be too late for corn, plus we’re suppose to get more rain tonight (5/9) and Friday. Some folks who are committed to corn will keep going through next week, I think, especially if they can plant in bottom land or have irrigation. But some growers already have started planting cotton.


“More cold weather also is in the forecast, maybe down to the 40s again on Sunday night. We probably will see one more push to plant corn next week and that will be it. Very few folks have planted soybeans. Some were planted early and didn’t come up well. Wheat looks decent for all the rain. I’m not sure where we’ll end of up with head scab but a lot of farmers applied fungicides.”




China: Wet Weather Delays Corn Planting. Sounds Familiar?  5-9


Open Sesame, Ya’ll.  5-9


South Alabama And This Freaky Spring.  5-9


U.S. Grain Transportation: Total Inspections Lowest in 13 Years  5-9


Examining How Eliminating Direct Payments Impacts Different Crops  5-9


AgFax Grain Review: Corn Farmers Itching to Get Into Fields; Syngenta Releases 2 New Soybean Fungicides  5-9


Argentina: Wheat Acreage Expected to Bounce Back  5-9


Diesel Prices: Fall for 10th Straight Week  5-9


Argentina: Early Soybean Harvest And A Substantial Crop  5-8


Argentina: A Solid Corn Crop With A Dry January  5-8


Arkansas: Mississippi River Rising Again, Minor Flooding Inside Levee  5-8


Arkansas Wheat: Stink Bugs Present but at Low Levels 5-9


Georgia: North Corn Leaf Blight 5-9


Don’t Fixate On Single Corn Plants. 5-9 Look At The Forest, Not The Trees.


Georgia: Northern Corn Leaf Blight is Here 5-8


Georgia: Wild Hog Management Meeting Set May 16 in Washington 5-7


North Carolina Wheat: Stripe Rust, Head Scab Decisions 5-8


North Carolina Wheat: Head Scab Risk Running High 5-6


Tennessee: Cover Crop Burndown Applications 5-9


Tennessee: Management Tips for Slugs in Corn 5-8


Tennessee Wheat: All Quiet on Insect Front 5-8


Tennessee: How Much Herbicide Remains in April-Planted Corn? 5-8


Tennessee Wheat: Considering Fungicide Application at Flowering 5-7


Virginia: Mildew, Mold Concerns as Cold Temps Delay Planting 5-6


Kentucky: UK Wheat Field Day, Princeton, May 14


North Carolina: Southeastern Soil Health Field Day, Albemarle, May 14


North Carolina Small Grain Field Day, May 14, Salisbury


North Carolina: Tri-County Small Grain Field Day, Monroe, May 16


Georgia: Wild Hog Management Meeting, Washington, May 16


Mississippi: Pest Management Field Day, May 17



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