As producers in the area begin thinking spring, the Cavalier County Crop Improvement Association held a meeting to give those that attended a head start. The presenters gave updates ranging from what the NDSU Langdon Research Extension Center (LREC) would be planting this year to the very real threat that palmer amaranth poses to the area.
By Melissa Anderson
LREC Agronomist Bryan Hanson went over results from a previous study on soybeans regarding how late the crop could be planted. Hanson explained that the reason for the research was that there was very little information regarding yields in a cooler and shorter growing season like that of Cavalier County. Hanson’s results showed that a May planting, of course, had the best results with the first week of June showing a 10 to 15 bushel per acre decrease in yield.
Hanson had good news for canola growers of the county; the Truflex variety of canola has been approved for planting. This variety gives greater flexibility for growers when it comes to spraying of the crop allowing for a wider window up to the first flowering.
“The field tolerance on this variety is amazing,” Hanson said.
Dr. Venkat Chapara, plant pathologist at LREC, briefed those present on the dangers that the clubroot of canola pathogen poses to the county since canola is its premier crop. As of the 2018 growing season, clubroot is believed to be present in at least 33 percent of canola fields in Cavalier County. The pathogen spores have been found in fields with pH of 7.2 and have the ability to survive up to 20 years in the soil. However, if given at least a two year break from a susceptible brassicae crop like canola, the spores pose far less of a threat. Symptoms of the pathogen can be seen in fields within 45 days of planting, with the canola exhibiting wilting symptoms at early flowering.
“Fields infected with clubroot yielded 2000 lb. per acre while the county average was 2500 lbs. per acre,” Dr. Chapara said.
Dr. Chapara is cautioning producers to practice good sanitation in their fields as it cuts transmission of the pathogen by 90 percent. There are nine varieties of clubroot resistant canola available in the state of North Dakota, but Dr. Chapara cautions that these varieties can only be used in two consecutive rotations before their resistance is done.
Cavalier County Extension Agronomy Specialist Lesley Lubenow gave a presentation on soil fertility and how producers can best utilize the health of their soil. Lubenow advised producers that they should not delay their planting as nitrogen fertilizer can be applied later. She also explained that sulfur deficiency is caused by cool springs and in soils with low organic matter. Overall, Lubenow recommends producers have the updated circular for fertilizer recommendations as “fertility has entered a new era.”
Those in attendance heard Northern Crops Marketing & Investment President and CEO Brad Paulson’s expectations for the 2019 market. Paulson did not have good news as he predicts a tough time ahead. Canola, wheat, and soybeans will all have a rough year, and with a difficult spring forecasted, the possibility of over 3 million acres being prevent plant is very real.
“You don’t want to be the last guy with beans on your farm,” Paulson said in regards to soybeans. Paulson does believe there is light at the end of the tunnel for the trade issues currently occurring with China. However, he does think that once President Donald Trump has that handled, he will go after the European Union next.
Cavalier County Extension Agent Anitha Chirumamilla explained just how bad the threat of palmer amaranth is to the county. In fall of 2018 there were a total of five counties with identified palmer. Benson County, just a hop, skip, and a jump away, is the closest confirmed county with the aggressive weed.
Palmer amaranth has the ability to grow 2 to 3 inches in a single day reaching upwards of 6 to 8 feet tall. It can grow from April to September so long as it has moisture and thrives in row crop conditions, making the preferred crop rotations in Cavalier County prime growing area.
“Water hemp is a nuisance; palmer amaranth is a game changer,” Chirumamilla told the crowd. It is resistant to herbicide and forget mowing it as the more it is mowed ,the more it comes back with a vengeance. Chirumamilla was adamant in encouraging producers to be proactive in managing all weed issues they currently face so that when palmer arrives, it can be seen.
“We don’t want it in our county, but it’s out of our hands,” Chirumamilla said.
If a producer sees a weed and thinks it might be palmer, do not pull it. It is advised that either Chirumamilla or Cavalier County Weed Officer Leon Pederson be called to come and identify it.