With harvest almost complete for some producers or in full swing, now is the time to reflect on both the challenges and successes from this dry growing season. As you harvested many fields, did you notice any trouble-some spots where excess weeds were present? Did you notice areas that were pretty variable in yield? Did you evaluate any practices you might have implemented for the first time? Were you surprised by any yields from your fields? While this was a very trying year with the drought, there are many things you can control or work to improve if you didn’t obtain desirable results.
Harvest provides an opportunity for a final evaluation of your weed management program and to a lesser extent, your insect management program. As you travel over all of your fields, take a minute to record observations such as where weeds are present. Be sure to note the exact locations and details so you know how to correct it for next year.
It is also important to take soil samples with this year’s drought. Have you sampled for soybean cyst nematode in soybean fields with less yield than anticipated?
Now is also a good time to think how weather conditions in 2012 might impact performance of crop inputs and management practices in 2013. Locally, we have the Greater Quad County On-Farm Research group who participates in various trials, but last year a collaborative statewide effort was launched, the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network. Two of my colleagues, Gary Zoubek and Keith Glewen are co-coordinators for the project and recently suggested in a CropWatch article that whether one’s corn and soybean production is dryland or irrigated, inputs and certain production practices may respond differently in 2013 as a result of unprecedented drought conditions this past growing season.
The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network provides growers the framework and opportunity to conduct relevant research in their own fields, using their own farm machinery. With the assistance of UNL faculty, farm operators can make valid, field-sized and replicated comparisons which can provide growers valuable economic information.
For more information, see the On-Farm Research section of CropWatch. The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network is sponsored by UNL Extension in partnership with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and the Nebraska Corn Board.