The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hersherger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Field Day Addresses Herbicide Use, Crop Varieties


Forrest Hershberger

Dipak Santra, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Forage and Range Management Specialist, explains the varieties of pea plants researched for the Panhandle area while Cody Creech holds the microphone. The UNL High Plains Ag Lab Field Day was held north of Sidney on June 21.

The warm and breezy day offered the perfect opportunity to display the many wheat varieties being tested in the Panhandle of Nebraska.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln held its High Plains Ag Lab Field Day Thursday north of Sidney. The Field Day included demonstrations of growing peas in the area, including the pros and cons of applying nitrogen to the plants.

Speakers on pea production included UNL Alternative Crops Breeding Specialist Dipak Santra, UNL Soil and Nutrition Management Specialist Bijesh Mahrajan.

Cody Creech, UNL Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist, also spoke on options for pea growers.

Peas are a crop gaining popularity in western Nebraska, according to the tour. Some growers are rotating their fields, growing peas in the summer and wheat in the winter.

The field study included comparing various pea plants and affects of applying nitrogen. The discussions at the pea test plots also included available seeds, yields, durability and availability.

The Field Day also included a wheat tour.

Insect management discussion included addressing the Wheat Stem Sawfly. The Wheat Stem Sawfly deposits an egg into the wheat stems in May. Each egg hatches a single larva which feeds within the stem. The pre-pupa develops and overwinters within the remaining stub. A single female sawfly will lay her eggs in 10 to 30 stems during her lifetime, according to a fact sheet provided by University of Nebraska Entomologist Jeff Bradshaw.

"Typically what we see in Nebraska, we don't see a lot of wheat soft fry infestitation east of Chappell, Jeff Bradshaw said. "We don't know why that is."

Bradshaw's fact sheet goes on to say the range and intensity of the wheat stem sawfly has grown since 2011. As of 2016, the sawfly's range in Nebraska is limited to the panhandle area. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. In a 2015 report, yield losses can range from 30 to 50 percent. The report says lodging is heaviest in field borders, sometimes up to 100 percent.

The tour also included a discussion and demonstration on the dispersal of the Wheat Curl Mite and the spread of viruses into wheat by Gary Hein, UNL PhD Plant Health Program.

Hein said the wheat mite continually moves. He said a cycle of hail, mites and sustained heat resulted in a perfect disease cycle. He referenced the "green bridge" when asked how mites move from one field to another. He added he is often asked by farmers how far mites can move.

"We do know mites move by wind," Hein said.

He demonstrated the movement of mites with a small smoke bomb. He explained that the highest concentration is at the middle and decreases in an oval pattern.

"There are some indicators that mites move a great deal," he said.

The tour included representatives from seed and herbicide companies who explained how their products work, and changes in availability of varied seeds and herbicides.


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