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Published May 10, 2011, 10:38 AM

Experts advise on planting plans

FARGO — The first North Dakota Crop and Pest Report came out May 5, courtesy of the North Dakota State University Extension Service.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO — The first North Dakota Crop and Pest Report came out May 5, courtesy of the North Dakota State University Extension Service. Here are some of the first week’s highlights:

“Late Planting Small Grains and Corn.” Cereal crop specialist Joel Ransom says small grains are cool season crops, so late planting can reduce yields. Full insurance coverage is available until June 5 planting in northern tier counties and May 31 in other counties. The National Weather Service is predicting mild and below-average temperatures. Yields shouldn’t be affected if planting is finished in May. If planting is late, Ransom suggests compensating for reduced tillering by increasing seeding rate by 1 percent per day of delay up to a maximum of 1.6 to 1.8 million seeds. Consider early-maturing varieties for planting near June 1: Brick, Briggs, Traverse, Glenn, Kelby, Oklee and RB07.

Keys for corn

Corn is a warm season crop and requires warmer temperatures for germination and growth, Ransom says. The main concern is that it won’t mature before killing frost. Final planting dates for full insurance coverage is May 25 throughout the state, except for Cass, Richland, Sargent and Ransom counties, where it is May 31.

Recent research shows that yield losses are “minimal” if corn is planted before May 20. Big problem: Plantings delayed to the first week of June resulted in yield losses of 1.1 bushel to 3 bushels per day, with the largest impact occurring with a cool summer. Moisture at harvest increased dramatically. Steele-ND and Howard may tolerate “heat” better than other NDSU-released varieties. Producers of malt barley may decide to switch to wheat because of the risk of small kernels.

“Seed treatments for small grains,” Marcia McMullen, extension plant pathologist, says NDSU recommends a broad spectrum fungicide for disease control in small grains, especially with cool, wet soils. NDSU does not have data on whether products enhance “small grain emergence because of non-disease or insect stresses, stress such as cold or dry soils.”

Still, fungicide trials at NDSU in 2010 showed these results: At Fargo, N.D., products Proceed MD, Charter F2, Dividend RTA, and Sativa MR averaged 2.7- bushels-per-acre increase across four spring wheat varieties. At Carrington and Dickinson, N.D., yield responses ranged from 1.6 to 6.1 bushels per acre on tests with multi-spectrum fungicides such as Dividend Extreme, Rancona Apex, Charter, Raxil and Proceed.

The question, “Do we need Bt corn for control of European Corn Borer and Corn Rootworm in North Dakota?” seems to lean toward “it depends.”

Extension Service Entomologist Janet Knodel cites how the borers have declined recently and often are spotty. She advises scouting for egg masses, larvae in late June and early July or splitting stalks to find overwintering larvae in the fall. Rootworms, however, are throughout North Dakota, with economic losses only on corn-on-corn fields and “not on fields with a regular crop rotation.”

Trait stacks

She says ordering the right “stack” of traits for five pests is “difficult and confusing” because of the diversity of traits available. She says “refuge corn” is critical to preventing development. The Bt corn variety should be “economical based on the infestation risk of the insect pests.” Knodel says farmers can download a “calculator” for refuge requirements: She advises selecting the state, county, then the trait (corn borer only traits, corn rootworm only, or stacked traits, and the product trade name of the Bt corn trait that the farmer intends to plant. Then enter field size and seeding rates. The IRM program calculates how many acres and bags of seed needed for the Bt corn field and the refuge of non-Bt corn.

“Plant hard red wheat early to prevent midge damage.” Risk is high this year in north central and northern regions, Knodel says.

The best strategy is planting early, although this isn’t as effective for durum which matures later. The idea is to time heading and flowering before peak emergence (200 degree days). “Planting early-maturing varieties will not help if planting is delayed and occurs during the timeframe of 200 to 600 DD,” she says. Wheat reaches heading at 1,000 DD. Knodel anticipates 200 DD for wheat will be reached in mid-May in northern tier counties.

See wheat midge forecast maps.

“Crop Insects of Kansas” publication is available from Kansas State University. The field guide is important for arthropod pests and beneficial insects in alfalfa, sorghum, sunflower and wheat. The cost is $11.40 plus shipping. Publication ID:S152 from, or 785-532-5830, or online from Tags: