What's Bugging You?

Peoples Producer Page

 

What’s Bugging You?.........In-season crop scouting is an important task this time of the year. The hot, dry weather does lead into more risk for particular insect pressures.   This weather can favor spider-mites in soybeans. They have been found in some areas of Minnesota and Iowa. They are very, very small and tough to see. You can see leaf reaction in some cases, with lower leaf yellowing or loss. You can tap leaves over a white sheet of paper to detect mites. They will show up as tiny dark specs that can move on the paper. Scout from edge of the field toward the middle of the field to determine infestations and thresholds.

Grasshoppers can be a problem in a dry year as well. They are voracious feeders that leave obvious signs. Again they are more prevalent on field edges and grassy areas. Large populations can cause yield loss quickly.

Soybean Gall Midge is a relatively new pest that has been moving in from the west. Recently the U of MN extension service has identified this pest in nearby Watonwan County (St. James, Madelia area). So we will need to be on the lookout for this one in the near future.

Nematodes don’t necessarily build because of hot weather but nematode pressure can express more dramatically when plant roots are already stressed by lack of sub-soil moisture. You need to be aware of this sneaky yield robber and manage it. Yellow beans aren’t always Iron-Chlorosis, sometimes it is nematode injury. Soil test to determine populations. Also be aware of different nematode control traits in seed varieties, and the need to vary that method of control to fight back against pest resistance.

Soybean Aphids typically do not like the hot weather, so thus far in Minnesota we have not seen very much aphid pressure. But don’t go to sleep on these just yet. If we get more temperate weather, they can build populations very quickly. Pay attention to economic thresholds for treatment. Keep scouting!!

Its been a year with an increase in corn rootworm feeding. Be sure to evaluate standability of your corn stalks leading up to harvest. Work with an agronomist to identify the rootworm (western or northern) so you can make a plan for control in the future. You may want to grab the spade and dig up a few plants and examine the roots to see if any significant feeding has occurred. You need to pay attention to different Bt traits in your seed choices and/or insecticide choices to manage for resistance reduction. There are no rescue treatments for the current crop, rather this a management process for solving this problem next year.

Please enjoy the rest of the summer…….be safe and take care of yourself and your health……we want you around for many crop seasons to come.

 

Take care,

Mark

Producer Page

 

July 1, 2021

 

Thankfully, many of us received some much-needed rain recently (although it was very spotty with some folks not getting all that much). But this is only a down-payment on the required water for this crop. Hopefully, mother nature will continue to provide some just-in-time deliveries of precipitation.

Dry weather does present some agronomic considerations for you to ponder. The recent rain may have caused a weed flush and you should scout to see if the residual herbicide you applied is activating and controlling the emerging weeds. Or if you don’t have the reach-back type product applied, do you need to control the weeds? Also keep in mind that the soybeans are now beginning to flower and you should be discussing with your agronomist as to whether the products you are going to use could have a negative impact on yield.

Hot and dry weather can bring on insect pressure from spider mites and grasshoppers, so check on this if conditions merit. Our annual enemy, the soybean aphid, doesn’t like too much heat. While they are not a problem at this time, be sure to monitor your soybean fields through the season.

Fungicide applications have been increasingly common for many producers, but make sure you have a solid reason for this pass. The prevalence and outlook for disease is important information you should have before you spend the dollars. Talk to an agronomist you trust regarding this decision and remember sometimes that the response can be different among varieties. As always, timing is important with fungicides.

A final note……..you need to certify your acres with the FSA office. The clock is winding down on this task, so try to take care of it ASAP. Also remember to provide a copy of this information to your crop insurance agent, as they also have a reporting obligation on your planted acres.

 

Take Care,

Mark

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Check the Gauges 

 

Do you remember when you were just starting out driving tractor and doing field work? I’m sure your Dad was like mine and said, “don’t just watch the implement and the field, make sure that you are checking the tractor gauges too.” His point being that even when you think things are sailing along, you need to be aware of potential problems and catch them before they become big.

Well, right now you may be thinking (and you would be right) that things have been going along really well in agriculture over the past few months. Prices have rallied and we were blessed with a bountiful harvest in 2020. But even in the good times, don’t forget to check your ‘financial gauges.’ The cost of production is creeping up (especially fertilizer), and by this next year it could be rent and other inputs as well. If you are not tracking closely, your cost of production on corn could rise to nearly $5/bu. It isn’t too soon to plan ahead for tax liabilities on the 2021 return, and begin to think about how you can negotiate a fair land rental agreement. How’s your marketing plan for 2021 and 2022? You will need to know cost of production to determine when and how to sell your crop. Do you have a good soil test program started on your farm?   With the cost of nutrients, it is vital to only apply what you need, where you need it.

This is a good time to pay down on some shorter-term debts to solidify your working capital, and resist the temptation to 'buy' your way out of a tax liability. Invest in equipment when you need it and when it enhances your business, not when you think all the neighbors are upgrading. Use the good times to brace for the bad times. That way when good opportunities and bargains present themselves, you are ready to take advantage of the situation. A longer-term perspective in management can be very stabilizing in business operations.

Take Care,

Mark

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Spring 2021

 

2021 has provided us with one of the most exceptional springs in memory for suitable days for field work. Soils were in great shape and, unusually for us, there were no wet areas to dodge or worries about compaction at planting time!!

But…..we do need some rain, and the dryness does lead to some things for us to watch out for at this time.

Emergence: Many corn fields seem to be coming up in pretty good shape but there could be some spotty stands due to the dryness in the germination zone. A more likely problem will be uneven emergence that puts a corn seedling a few days behind its neighbor. It can be hard for that plant to ever really catch up to its full potential. If you have issues with this it would be good to double check your planter and make sure of your planting depth consistency for the future. Soybeans are more forgiving of populations and stand but also were planted at an even drier time. All in all, we are off to a good start with our crops but it is always good to evaluate and learn.

Herbicide: This could be a problem for pre-emerge applications. In a lot of cases, there has not been enough rainfall to fully activate some of these products. Walk your fields to see if there are any escapes or pressures. If you can catch these early, it is much easier to react and control. And face it, we could all probably use the exercise of a nice morning walk out on our farmland that we have so much pride in!! Get a schedule set up….like a school bus route….where you are checking areas on particular days and frequencies. A good habit that will help you spot crop disease and insects problems on a timely basis as well.

Bins: As long as you are setting schedules, put your grain bins on this also. A lot of bins out in the country are empty by now, but those that are not should be checked every week now with warmer weather. Lots of dollars in those tin cans this year!!

Be Safe,

Mark

About Mark Warmka

Mark has worked at Peoples State Bank since 2003, serving as lead agricultural lending officer and bank Senior Vice President. He is also a member of the Board of Directors. Mark has an extensive background in the financial services industry, possessing both investment and insurance licensing and is fully accredited as a crop insurance agent.

He and his wife, Kate, an elementary teacher in Blue Earth, live on and manage the home farm near Easton. Their daughter, Amanda, is a Physician Assistant at UHD Hospital and daughter, Sara, is teaching and coaching at Fairmont Public Schools. 

You can reach Mark by email or at 507-553-3155.

» More blog posts by Mark here

Producer Page: Check the Gauges

 

Do you remember when you were just starting out driving tractor and doing field work? I’m sure your Dad was like mine and said, “don’t just watch the implement and the field, make sure that you are checking the tractor gauges too.” His point being that even when you think things are sailing along, you need to be aware of potential problems and catch them before they become big.

 

Well, right now you may be thinking (and you would be right) that things have been going along really well in agriculture over the past few months. Prices have rallied and we were blessed with a bountiful harvest in 2020. But even in the good times, don’t forget to check your ‘financial gauges.’ The cost of production is creeping up (especially fertilizer), and by this next year it could be rent and other inputs as well. If you are not tracking closely, your cost of production on corn could rise to nearly $5/bu. It isn’t too soon to plan ahead for tax liabilities on the 2021 return, and begin to think about how you can negotiate a fair land rental agreement. How’s your marketing plan for 2021 and 2022? You will need to know cost of production to determine when and how to sell your crop. Do you have a good soil test program started on your farm?   With the cost of nutrients, it is vital to only apply what you need, where you need it.

 

This is a good time to pay down on some shorter-term debts to solidify your working capital, and resist the temptation to 'buy' your way out of a tax liability. Invest in equipment when you need it and when it enhances your business, not when you think all the neighbors are upgrading. Use the good times to brace for the bad times. That way when good opportunities and bargains present themselves, you are ready to take advantage of the situation. A longer-term perspective in management can be very stabilizing in business operations.

 

Take Care,

Mark

Producer Page: FSA Commodity Loan Reminders

Dear Farm Customer,

I do hope that your harvest is winding down.....it's been a real challenging fall.

Please check out this information from the FSA office.  There is a change regarding CCC loans, please read carefully!

 

FSA Commodity Loan Reminders1024 1

 

Mark

 

Mark Producer Page headshotAbout Mark Warmka

Mark has worked at Peoples State Bank since 2003, serving as lead agricultural lending officer and bank Senior Vice President. He is also a member of the Board of Directors. Mark has an extensive background in the financial services industry, possessing both investment and insurance licensing and is fully accredited as a crop insurance agent.

He and his wife, Kate, an elementary teacher in Blue Earth, live on and manage the home farm near Easton. Their daughter, Amanda, is a Physician Assistant at UHD Hospital and daughter, Sara, is teaching and coaching at Fairmont Public Schools. 

You can reach Mark by email or at 507-553-3155.

» More blog posts by Mark here