In The Field - March 2020

D2 IN THE FIELD University identifies, researches soy bean gall midge THE NORTH PLATTE TELEGRAPH SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2020

By GEORGE HAWS For the North Platte Telegraph Soybean growers in our area should be on the lookout this year for a new damaging pest. The soybean gall midge was positively identified in Nebraska about a year and a half ago and was found in 34 counties in east and central parts of the state last year. Dr. Justin McMechan, crop protection specialist for the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, based in Ithaca, said the pest was never identified anywhere in the world previ- ously. Last year it caused yield losses of 17% to 31% in some Nebraska fields. The pest has also spread Researchers say be on lookout for new insect

into Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota and Missouri. McMechan said insecti- cide treatments and other options are being researched. However, the most effective control measure so far is un- popular with growers: Delay planting until the end of May. That reduces damage from the gall midge substantially, but shortens the growing season, resulting in lower yield poten- tial. With that sort of trade-off, you consider the risks careful- ly, he said. Mowing field edges can help; green vegetation seems to at- tract flying adult midges and the heaviest soybean losses oc- cur near field margins. The adults are about ¼-inch long and look somewhat like mosquitoes with black band- ing and reddish abdomens, McMechan said. They lay their eggs in the tiny cracks that naturally form along stems near the base of soy-

bean plants. You rarely see the adults, but scouting for the lar- vae is not difficult, he said. Push plants over and they will snap off due to feeding. The larvae turn from white to or- ange while they are still very young, making them easy to identify. McMechan said growers should inspect alfalfa and yel- low sweet clover fields, too. Although substantial yields losses have not been shown in those crops, they are alter- nate hosts that can help track movement of the pests. If soybean gall midge is iden- tified, contact University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension to help them keep track of its spread. Specialists will continue their own surveys and pest control research. Farmers are patient but they want answers, said McMechan, and finding those answers is a top priority for the University.

Photo courtesy of University of Nebraska-Lincoln The soybean gall midge was first identified in Nebraska about a year and a half ago, and it caused 17% to 31% yield loss in some fields.

New trait and herbicides helping farmers control tough broadleaf weeds

NextGen: A helpful tool for beginning farmers, ranchers Telegraph staff reports Beginning farmers may dream of farmers and ranchers begin careers in production agriculture.

NextGen provides an incentive for beginners to use when seeking po- tential landlords. The incentive is a Nebraska income tax credit for the owner of agricultural assets who will lease to an eligible beginning farm- er for a minimum of three years. The owner receives a refundable tax cred- it equal to 10% of the cash rent, or 15% of the value of the share crop rent each year for three years. The beginner re- ceives a three-year lease, a personal property tax exemption for farm equip- ment and machinery, and a tax credit reimbursement for the cost of a fi- nancial management course. Equally important is the opportunity to build a positive long-term relationship with a landlord. For more information on NextGen, visit or call 402- 471-4876.

owning their own farm or ranch some- day with acres and acres of row crop land or ranch land for grazing. While we hope for those dreams to come true, high land prices, property taxes and access to capital to buy land make the purchase option overwhelming. Leasing ground is often a more via- ble option when starting out; however, competing for rental acres in today’s competitive market is also challenging. NextGen, administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, utilizes the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act to help new producers get a head start in farming and ranch- ing while giving back to farmers and ranchers who own agricultural as- sets. Created nearly 20 years ago by the Nebraska Legislature, the program has helped more than 450 beginning

Enlist crops and herbicide provide options

Enlist “should be safer,” said Mark Nelson, agronomist for Simplot Grower Solutions in Hershey, as long as every- thing is done according to labeling instructions. Simplot applicators sprayed Enlist on some corn with the Enlist trait last year and it worked well, he said. The combination should help farm- ers deal with tough weeds like Palmer amaranth, waterhemp and giant rag- weed.”It gives them another choice. We’ve been using the same old things” over the years and in some cases weeds are developing resistance to the herbi- cides, said Nelson. Enlist and Enlist Duo herbicides contain 2,4-D choline. Enlist Duo also contains glyphosate (Roundup) and re- quires that the crops also have the glyphosate-resistant trait in their genes. “We don’t know for sure” how well it will work out for farmers, said Nelson, but “I think it will grow” in popular- ity.

By GEORGE HAWS For The North Platte Telegraph

A new genetic trait, combined with a new formulation of 2,4-D herbicide, is giving corn and soybean growers an- other tool to control broadleaf weeds. The genetic trait makes crops resistant to the herbicide. The new for- mulation makes 2,4-D less volatile than older forms of 2,4-D, so it is less likely to drift to sensitive areas. Both the trait and the herbicides are marketed under the name Enlist. Growers have reason to be leery. In 2016, soybeans tolerant to dicamba, an- other broadleaf plant killer, became available. However, there were many incidents across the country where it drifted onto non-tolerant soybeans, oth- er crops or ornamental plants, resulting in financial losses and legal action.

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