All hands were on deck for the Northern Canola Growers Association Annual Field Tours on Thursday, July 19 at the North Dakota State University Langdon Research Extension Center (NDSU LREC).
By Lisa Nowatzki
Randy Mehlhoff, director of the LREC, said, “We had a good Field Day with 175 attendees and no rain.” The day began with the visitors divided into two separate groups to tour the grounds.
Lesley Lubenow, the extension specialist in cropping systems, gave a presentation on the 2018 growing season insects. Specifically, Lubenow talked about the emergence of the striped flea beetles in some parts of the state.
In cases where the striped beetles moved into an area that contained black crucifer flea beetles, striped beetles became the dominant species and completely push out black crucifer flea beetles. This is concerning because striped flea beetles are resistant to the neonicotinoid seed treatments used to treat the black flea beetles.
Soil Health and Extension Specialist Naeem Kalwar presented the tour group with his update on the dry weather pattern effects on saline soils. Kalwar discussed the advantages and disadvantages of tiling an area or field that has problems with saline and sodic soils.
Saline soil has an excessive level of soluble salts in the soil water and is high enough to affect plant growth negatively. In contrast, sodic soils have excessive levels of sodium absorbtion and cause degradation of soil structure. With proper testing and crop selection, highly saline or sodic soil problems can be eliminated over time.
Dr. Venkat Chapara, LREC Research Assistant Professor and Plant Pathologist, presented the 2018 clubroot and canola disease updates to the tour groups. According to Dr. Chapara, the canola disease, clubroot, has become more prevalent in Cavalier County. The disease is caused by a fungus-like protist called plasmodiophora brassicae which attacks the roots and causes the premature death of the canola plant.
“Infection levels are becoming severe in soils with pH levels ranging from 4.7 to 6.2,” said Chapara. The cure and to manage clubroot is to practice longer crop rotations, at least two to three years without canola. Also, farmers must practice good sanitation hygiene with equipment to prevent spreading the disease.
Bryan Hanson, LREC Research Agronomist, demonstrated the LREC soybean planting date study. Hanson treated visitors to a very visual demonstration regarding different planting dates on soybean yields.
NDSU Cavalier County Extension Agent Dr. Anitha Chirumamilla, gave a passionate update on her favorite insect/pest, the soybean aphid. Dr. Chirumamilla explained that soybean aphids or aphis glycine, are the most significant soybean pest in the upper midwest including North Dakota. They have also developed a resistance to certain insecticides.
Dr. Chirumamilla stressed that producers should do weekly examinations for the presence of aphids. Farmers should use insecticides only when the infestation has reached the economic threshold which equals 250 aphids per plant with greater than 80 percent of the plants infested. Treating fields only when needed to reduce insecticide exposure to soybeans aphids will reduce the selection pressure for further development of resistance in the insects.
Dr. Andrew Green, NDSU hard red spring wheat (HRSW) breeder, presented the tour groups with the 2018 NDSU HRSW report. Dr. Green spoke to the group about his research into various varieties of HRSW to develop higher grain yields, ensure agronomic suitability, and improve end-use quality. He highlighted the primary objectives of the program.
“Stable and competitive grain yield and genetic resistance to economically important diseases such as fusarium head blight, leaf/stripe/stem rust, tan spot, and bacterial leaf streak. And good end-use quality- high grain protein content for our end-use customers.”
Lastly, Dr. Green discussed the varieties which performed well in three-year tests in the Langdon area, especially considering yield, resistance to certain diseases, and end-use quality. Most impressive during Dr. Green’s presentation was the incredible variety of wheat being tested and researched at the LREC.
John Nowatzki, NDSU Extension and Agricultural Engineering Specialist, gave an exciting demonstration of the department’s new Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) sprayer drone. According to Director Mehlhoff, the four-gallon capacity drone is one of the first drones to be used to spray crops.
Per the drone manufacturer’s website by the UAS drone maker, Homeland Surveillance & Electronics, the $18,000 drone can cover crops at the rate of 33 acres an hour and can be completely autonomous.
Some of the aerial application and spraying uses of the vehicle include disease detection and mitigation, parasite monitoring, crop growth monitoring, livestock tracking, disease outbreak tracking, fertilizer management, remote aerial monitoring, crop harvesting and yield estimation, to name a few.
Plant Pathologist and NDSU Professor Dr. Luis Del Rio Mendoza gave the tour groups an in-depth report on the fungus that causes blackleg in canola. Blackleg in canola can cause severe and significant yield losses.
Dr. Mendoza stressed that early detection is the key to managing blackleg with fungicides. The problem most producers face is that the fungus that causes blackleg can survive on canola residues for two to three years and can release spores during that time. Spores can be transported several ways including through water residue and wind.
Canola is susceptible to blackleg at any stage of development which is why the protection offered by seed treatments are not very successful. The treatment wears off in about two weeks. Fungicide must be applied at the two to four leaf phase to be effective.
Dr. Brian Jenks, NDSU North Central Research Extension Center (NCREC) Weed Science Specialist, presented the group with the 2018 canola weed update.
Plant Pathologist and NDSU Assistant Professor Dr. Andrew Friskop recounted the cereal disease research for 2018 for the field day tour. Dr. Friskop discussed the most common diseases observed in wheat in the state for the 2018 growing season. Two diseases have been detected from Dickinson up to Langdon are bacterial leaf streak and fusarium head blight.
“Bacterial leaf streak is more apparent when a thunderstorm occurs at or around flag leaf emergence,” Friskop said. The damage caused by this infection causes yellow and brown dead spots on the leaves that interrupt plant production. Dr. Friskop noted that management for this disease includes the use of less susceptible varieties.
Just about all areas of the state have reported various severities of fusarium head blight. The extent of the disease aligns with the weather conditions during heading and flowering. Specifically, in the Langdon area, Dr. Friskop said that a moderate to high scab risk on susceptible varieties occurred at different points during the growing season.
The management of the disease includes the use of less susceptible varieties, crop rotation, and well-timed fungicide application at the beginning of flowering.
Cropping Systems NDSU Extension Specialist Dr. Hans Kandel presented the 2018 soybean production in northeast ND report for the field day tour groups. Dr. Kandel used a new soybean maturity application called soybean growing degree days to predict the harvest date of the 2018 soybean crop. According to Dr. Kandel, heat units push the soybean plant towards maturity.
Kandel also gave several suggestions for higher soybean yields based on a survey of North Dakota soybean production fields over four years and 350 fields per year. The first recommendations are to use crop rotation and to plant as early as possible if the field and weather conditions are right.
Also, soybean producers should select the longest maturity variety suitable for the Langdon growing region and choose a type with iron chlorosis tolerance if IDC is a problem in the field. He also suggests that farmers should aim at 150,000 established plants per acre with an allowance for 10% of the seeds that do not make it to maturity and use a 22-inch row spacer or narrower.
Other suggestions include using inoculant and fungicide seed treatments and follow best management practices to increase the yield.