Extension

Conservation Learning Group, a think tank dedicated to addressing conservation and environmental challenges, was established as a part of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in July 2018. The group is a collaboration of researchers, educators and advocates having the goal to better understand issues and come up with creative, sustainable solutions that are repeatable at scale. Our Drs. Mark Licht and Emily Heaton are involved in the project.

Representatives from bioengineering, social science, agronomy, crop science, soil science, wildlife management, water resource management and conservation are on the CLG team. Specialists from other areas of study will be welcomed to contribute to the group’s goals.

The 2018 growing season is well underway. It is now time to start assessing the rewards of the spring planting season. Our first FACTS (Forecasting and Assessment of Cropping sysTemS) is now live for the 2018 growing season. There have been a couple of changes going into our fourth year. A field site at the ISU Northern and McNay Research and Demonstration farms have been added to increase geographic coverage. For each site only the ‘normal’ or treatment nearest ‘normal’ is included on the webpage to reduce complexity. Yield forecasts have been moved to the opening page of the Forecast Tool and relative yield values have been removed. We hope these changes make for a more meaningful user experience.

Several field days are happening across the state throughout the month of June. Hear from our faculty experts along with other faculty and Extension and Outreach specialists about a variety of crop and pest related topics.

June 20 at 9:00 am: Northern Research Farm Summer Field Day - Kanawha, Iowa

A season review from ag specialists Matt Schnabel and Brandon Zwiefel
Sulfur use - Dr. John Sawyer
Weed control - Dr. Bob Hartzler
Cereal rye for seed - Dean Sponheim & Jamie Benning
Crop production issues - Paul Kassel & Angie Rieck-Hinz

June 27 at 1:00 pm: Northeast Iowa Agricultural Experimental Association Annual Spring Field Day - Nashua, Iowa

Crop weather outlook - Dr. Elwynn Taylor
Strip till and no till research - Dr. Mahdi Al-Kaisi
Nitrogen fertility - Dr. John Sawyer
Insect scouting and tips - Brian Lang

Forecast and Assessment of Cropping sysTemS (FACTS; 2015-present)

FACTS is an ongoing project developed to forecast and evaluate real-time soil-crop dynamics in specific ISU fields. Predictions and measurements will be frequently updated as new information becomes available during the growing season. 

What we do:

Row spacing is a management decision that often comes up as a priority for achieving high-yielding soybean. Research across the Midwest over several years has consistently shown that soybean planted in narrow rows (<30 inches) has a yield advantage compared to wide rows (≥ 30 inches). The primary reason for this advantage is light utilization; canopy closure is approximately 15 days earlier in 15-inch rows compared to 30-inch rows. Canopy closure earlier in the growing season results in greater light interception and higher growth rates. 

Plant pathologists at Iowa State University and University of Kentucky have confirmed that isolates of Cercospora sojina, the pathogen that causes frogeye leaf spot of soybean, have shown resistance to quinone outside inhibitor (QoI, strobilurin) fungicides in Iowa.

Frogeye leaf spot (Fig. 1) occurs across the United States, and significant yield loss can occur when this disease is widespread within a soybean field. Plant pathologists estimate that this disease was responsible for more than 17.5 million bushels of lost yield, valued at $158.1 million, across the U.S. in 2015. 

In 2017, we tested several foliar fungicides on corn at six locations in Iowa: ISU Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm (NWRF), Sutherland; Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm (NERF), Nashua; Northern Research and Demonstration Farm (NRF), Kanawha; Southwest Research and Demonstration Farm (SWRF), Lewis; Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm (SERF), Crawfordsville; and the Ag Engineering and Agronomy (AEA) Farm, Boone.

The purpose of these trials was to help farmers determine if foliar fungicides should be incorporated into their production. Our objectives were:

In response to problems with off-target movement and injury associated with dicamba applications on dicamba-resistant (Xtend) soybean, the EPA made significant changes to labels of the new dicamba products.  While much of the discussion has focused on the Restricted Use designation and the requirement for applicators to receive dicamba-specific training, the EPA also clarified how downwind buffers and protections of susceptible crops are to be implemented.

In October 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency reclassified Engenia®, FeXapan™ herbicide Plus VaporGrip® Technology, and Xtendimax® With VaporGrip® Technology as Restricted Use products and added additional restrictions and requirements to their use. One of the additional requirements stated that anyone wishing to apply these products must attend a dicamba or auxin-specific training. Recently, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship issued Sec. 24(c) Special Local Need labels for Engenia®, FeXapan™ herbicide Plus VaporGrip® Technology, and Xtendimax® With VaporGrip® Technology.

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