Ag PhD Show #1116 (Air Date 8-25-19)


B: Thanks for tuning in to
Ag PhD. I’m Brian Hefty. D: And I’m Darren Hefty, we
really appreciate you joining us today, because
we’re going to talk about one of the problems that
plagues soils across America – it’s low pH soils. We’re
going to talk about how we got to a low pH soil, and
what we can do to fix it. B: We’re also going to talk a
little about fall pasture spraying. A lot of people
will say this is the best time of year to spray, but
there are a few things you have to know going into this
fall season. D: Well, one thing you really want to pay
attention to as well is our Weed of the Week – we’ll
show you how to stop this tough weed. But first,
here’s our Farm Basics. B: During our Farm Basics
time today, we’re going to talk a little about corn
reproduction. This actually started – I was just telling
Darren – my daughter, my 15 year old daughter was asking
a little about corn, and I was more than happy to
explain to her, what’s going on with that corn plant. This reproduction stage – it
starts with tassel. You’ll see the tassels coming out
above –that’s what got her curiosity, “Hey, what are
those things on top of the corn plant?” D: Well, you
kinda see the tassels first, but you also see the silks. So sometimes, you may see
those silks emerging just a little bit ahead of the
tassels. So there’s two things that work together. With the tassel, that’s
gonna have the pollen, and that’s thought of as the
male portion of the plant. The silks are coming out the
end of the ear – that’s thought of as the female
portion of the plant. And as that tassel sheds pollen,
the pollen’s going to land anywhere on those silks. And, that’s going to
fertilize each one of those silks. B: The interesting
thing here with these silks is – every silk is connected
to where a kernel will be on that ear. So there are going
to be lots of silks that are hanging out the end. Now,
once the kernel gets pollinated, then that silk
will detach itself. So, eventually, what we get to
is what we call the “brown silk” stage, because all
those silks have detached themselves, ‘cause all the
kernels are pollinated. Once they’re detached, well
they’re not hooked up to the plant; they’re going to die. And that’s why they turn
brown. D: Once we’ve got – that process has happened,
we’ve got blister, so we’ve got those little kernels
will just start to bubble up just a little bit, and start
to fill up with moisture and with nutrients –that’s gonna
be the first stage that we’ll see happen after the
brown silk. B: Yeah, and honestly, I don’t even pay
all that much attention after that point to – “Ok,
what’s the name of this stage or that stage-” D: Why
not, Brian!?” B: – but what ends up happening is that
kernel gets a lot bigger, fills itself with nutrients,
and then you get to stages like, for example, the “milk
stage”, or “dough stage”- D: Yeah, so the milk stage, and
the dough stage – and what’s happening is we’re
accumulating a lot more moisture in there, then as
the dry matter accumulation starts, farmers will see –
we’re getting closer to harvest – and then we’ll see
what’s called “dent” stage, which I find very
interesting – that the kernel that was full of
moisture and nutrients, now a lot of that moisture’s
going away, and the end of the kernel will dent in a
little bit. Now, if you can pack enough nutrients in the
kernel, it doesn’t have to necessarily dent, but that
kernel’s basically getting drier and drier – it’s more
dry matter in there, and less moisture. B: Yep, and
so, at that point, if you look closely on the kernel,
you can actually see where what we call the “milk line”
is – what part of that kernel is hard, and what
part of that kernel needs to mature yet. And ultimately,
we get to what’s called “black layer”. What happens
there is – if we can peel that kernel back off the
ear, you can see there’s black there right at the
end. D: Basically, the little umbilical cord from
the cob to that kernel is now severed, because it’s
not needed anymore, so that turns black. And that’s what
black layer is. And at that point, we’re still, what, 35
percent moisture in the kernel? B: Yep, roughly. D:
So, for farmers to harvest that grain, they want to see
that moisture down even a little bit lower, so farmers
will leave it in the field until it’s down to 20 or 25
percent, in some cases, a little drier, depending on
where you’re at – then at that point, they can harvest
that kernel. B: So, once again, with corn
reproduction, it all starts with tassel, it’s going to
end with black layer, and then eventually what we say
is “dry down” after it’s fully mature, but the reason
why we wanted to talk about this is today is – if you’re
a non-farmer, you may have wondered, “Well, how does
this process all happen?” and “Why are those tassels
there?” and “What’s going on with the silks?” We just
thought we would explain that today. D: Well one
other thing we will explain later in the show is how to
stop our Weed of the Week. Can you identify this week’s
weed? B: I mentioned earlier
in the show that a lot of people think fall is the
best time for pasture spraying. But here’s the
number one thing that I worry about – frost. Now,
obviously, it depends on where you’re at in the
United States, but for us, we farm in South Dakota, and
very often we will get frost sometime in September, and
it could even happen in early September. The reason
why I worry about this is what frost does, is it kills
off a lot of the top growth, or maybe even all the top
growth on a plant. So, if you spray and the very next
day or two, you get this frost, well your herbicide
may not have moved down into the growing points that
could be below ground on a perennial weed, or even a
biennial weed. So, the number one thing that I
wanted to stress today to you is – make sure you get
your fall spraying done preferably one to two weeks
before your first hard-killing frost. D: Well,
timing is really important, Brian, but then you’ve gotta
think about what you’ve got out there for weeds, and
choosing the right product. I hear a lot of issues that
farmers and ranchers have – “Well, I sprayed my pasture,
but I missed this weed” or “I missed that weed”, and
there are quite a few choices now. I remember when
we were growing up, Brian, it was, “Well, do I use
2,4-D, or do I use dicamba?” Then, Tordon, and it’s like,
“Oh, ok, we’ve got a few choices, but I know I can’t
use Tordon right close to water or something like that
– so I’m back to 2,4-D and dicamba.” Well, now we’ve
got lots of things, with Milestone, with Ally or
Cimarron – B: Well, wait, wait wait, let’s start with
one at a time. So, Darren mentioned Milestone. Milestone is the very best
product there is for thistles. So, if you say,
“Hey, my problem is thistle – I want Milestone. D: But
some people say “Ahh, I used Milestone, it didn’t kill
the thistles” guess what – what rate did you use on the
Milestone? B: With Milestone, the rate we want
you using, if you’ve got thistle patches out there,
or lots of thistles – 7 ounces. Use the full rate. Yes, it’s gonna cost some
money, but it’s gonna leave a tremendous amount of
residual. It’s not gonna leave as much residual as
Tordon, but it is going to leave lots of residual –
you’ll see that residual for years on your thistles. With
Tordon, that actually can have residual for maybe 5 to
10 years. It’s crazy how much residual Tordon can
have. Tordon was always the product we recommended for
thistle, in pasture. Now it’s a little step below
Milestone, but it’s still a really good product, and
Tordon has good activity on a number of other weeds like
leafy spurge and volunteer trees. D: Well, one, if you
don’t want any residual, that farmers and ranchers
will choose is Remedy. It’s a good product, especially
if you’ve got a little brush out in the field as well –
or the pasture – ‘cause Remedy can kill some of
those types of plants, those woody species, but it
doesn’t leave a soil residual, so if you say,
“You know, this is a pasture that may go to crop ground
in a year or two”, that would be a good option you
may consider. B: Speaking of woody species – a lot of
people will pick Chaparral – that’s a combination of
Milestone and Ally. Now Ally is one of those old SU, or
sulfonylurea herbicides, so it’s in that same chemical
family as the ALS products, so if you have ALS resistant
weeds, it’s not gonna control those. But Ally does
have a lot of residual, so together with Milestone in
Chaparral, you’ve got a product that’s got lots of
residual, really good on thistles, and real good on
brush. D: Now, what we’ll see many times is, to
cheapen up some of those more expensive, longer
lasting products, like a Milestone or a Tordon,
there’ll be premixes available with a certain
type of 2,4-D. Now there’s some differences in the
2,4-D’s that you can get, between amines and esters,
and the new 2,4-D choline. B: So Darren’s talking about
Freelexx. And, one of my saddest days of this year
was when Corteva pulled Freelexx from the market. And the reason why they did
that – and I can’t say they pulled it entirely from the
market – but they pulled it from much of where we farm –
and we can’t use it now in our pastures. And they did
this entirely because some people were using that
product off-label on Enlist crops. So, anyway, we are
certainly hoping and begging Corteva to bring Freelexx
back – it is 2,4-D like you’ve never seen before,
without all the volatility and drift. Now one other
product that I did want to mention today – if you’ve
liked 2,4-D in the past, you will really like Distinct. Distinct also doesn’t have
lots of residual – it’s got a little bit – but Distinct
is the same thing as Status, only it doesn’t have the
corn safener. And it’s about one third the price. You can
go with 6 ounces of Distinct – that’s the same – or
equivalent – as 7.5 ounces of Status. It’s a tremendous
product. One of the best herbicides we’ve ever seen. Yes, it’s not as good on
perennials as what Milestone or Tordon will be, but on
everything else, it is lights out. D: Well there
are lots of choices for spraying weeds in the fall
in your pasture. We just encourage you – get out at
least a couple of weeks ahead of your first frost to
get the best activity. B: One of the weeds you may see
out in your pasture is our Weed of the Week. Can you
identify this week’s weed? B: Last week on the show, we
talked about how to fix high pH soil, this week, we’re
gonna talk about low pH soil. So, first of all, to
identify this issue, you need a soil test. You’re
going to look at 2 things. You’re gonna look at the
soil pH, but we also want you to take a look at – what
is your base saturation hydrogen number? The reason
why you look at that is – the only reason a soil has
hydrogen is the pH is below 7. The higher that base
saturation hydrogen number, the lower your pH, and that
should correlate together with that soil pH number
being low on your soil test. D: Now, in some parts of the
world, soils are naturally low in pH. Before they’ve
ever been farmed, the first soil test you ever pulled
out on virgin ground said, “Well, hey, our pH is really
really low”. I was in an area in Brazil where the pH
was often in the 4’s before they were even farming that
ground, so it’s not like farming practices caused pH
to be low in all cases. However, in some soils,
farming practices ARE causing soils to be low in
pH, because I talk to farmers that say, “Well,
every few years, I’ve gotta put a solution out there for
low pH soil again. Even if I fix it, I don’t have
anything long term”, so we want to address that issue
as well. B: One of the things that can cause soil
pH to go down is when you have excess nitrogen out
there. So, let’s just say that your crop can’t use all
the nitrogen you’ve applied, or, for that matter, your
soil has so much organic matter and it produces a lot
of its own nitrogen, and then that nitrogen is in
excess, too. This can happen even in a year where you
raise zero crop. If you have nothing out there, and your
soil’s producing a bunch of nitrogen, well, where’s that
nitrogen going? When you have rainfall, and
especially excess rainfall, what will happen is a lot of
that nitrogen will convert over to nitrate. Then a lot
of that will convert to nitric acid, and it will
strip out calcium out of your soil. When it does
that, obviously, pH is going down. D: So, what is the
solution to that? Well, of course, you would add more
calcium to the soil, and the most common way to do that
is by putting out lime, which is calcium carbonate. Now with lime – as you’re
putting that out on soil – that calcium carbonate is
going to combine with your excess hydrogen in the soil
to produce water, carbon dioxide, and free calcium. B: With the calcium
carbonate you get for your soil, you basically have two
choices. Calcitic lime, which is high in calcium,
and dolomitic lime, which is high in magnesium – still
got a lot of calcium – but it’s much higher in
magnesium. In our soils, we naturally have lots of
magnesium, so I don’t want any more, I don’t want the
dolomitic lime. What I want is calcitic lime. But if
you’re also short on magnesium, then get that
dolomitic product. D: Now the big thing with any of
these limes, is you want a very small particle size –
if you’ve got a small particle size – I equate it
to just like ice – if you’re gonna cool a drink down, do
you put one ice cube in? Or would you expect more
cooling if you used crushed ice? Well the crushed ice
cools faster, because you have more surface area to
make change. It’s the same thing with lime. So, there’s
gonna be a big difference in lime sources, so you want to
make sure you have them tested to see what the
particle size is to know how quickly you’re gonna make a
change in your soil. B: And then, you need to take a
look at – what’s the cost? So what we usually suggest
is, let’s say you’ve got two different sources of lime –
send them both in to a lab. Tell the lab, “Hey, this one
costs X, this one costs Y, which one would be a better
value for me?” And they should be able to tell you. D: Alright, Brian, the other
question we get a lot is about tillage. “Do I till in
the lime, and if so, how deeply do I till”, and “What
if I’m in a no-till situation, can I still make
the change?” B: Absolutely, it will work in no-till,
it’s just going to take more time. When you till it in,
the change is going to occur more quickly, so don’t get
too worried about it if you’re in no-till. But, I
would say this – if you are in no-till, maybe you want
to put on less, and do it over a longer period of
time. With tillage, you can stir a lot of that lime in,
and get that all worked in, so you could run with a
little bit higher rate. The problem with going with too
high a rate – let’s say I’m in no-till, or even
conventional till – if you go too high a rate, you can
tie up some nutrients in the short term, so you gotta be
a little bit careful with what you do. Our standard
recommendation is 2400 pounds of actual calcium. Not lime, but actual
calcium. So look at your percentage on your lime
test. And, oh, speaking of tests, I would also test
your lime for other nutrients, because you might
get some other things out of your lime. For example, our
lime that we get is water treatment lime, so we’ll get
some free sulfur, we’ll get some free phosphorus, maybe
even some free zinc and other micronutrients. So,
it’s important to understand what all is in your lime. The other question, Brian,
is “What time of year should we get lime out?” Typically,
we’re seeing a lot of lime applied right after harvest,
so you’ve got more time for it to be out on the soil to
impact that change. You could do lime applications
in the spring, that would be ok, too, it’s just that to
impact that year’s crop, well, it’s probably not
going to happen. It’s probably going to start
kicking in later in the season once you get some
moisture to move it down through the soil profile. B:
One last question that I commonly get is, “How about
on rented ground? What do I do for rented ground?” Well
first of all, I would talk to the landlord and say,
“Look, we’ve got this pH. Lime is a long-term
investment, so will you help me? Will you give me a
long-term lease, or will you pay for part of the lime?”
Otherwise, what we do have some people doing is banding
small rates of very available lime and just
going that way. Now, I don’t love that, because lime, to
me, is a soil amendment – I want to fix all the soil so
I have better microbial activity, I have better
overall root growth in the soil, but if you have to
band it because you’re on a cash rent, and this is your
last year having that ground, well, I can
understand that. D: One last thing is, where do you want
your soil pH to be? For me, if I could pick one soil pH
across my farm, raising corn and soybeans, I like 6.3. But, if you’re at a high pH,
and you say, “Wow, I’m at an 8 now, I have to get all the
way down to 6.3, we’d at least like to get down to a
6.8. And if you’re coming up from the bottom, and you
say, “Man, I got pH’s in the low 5’s, I’d like to at
least get up to that 6.2 or 6.3 range, if you’re
somewhere in that 6.3 to 6.8, it seems to be where
the best nutrient availability is. B: Alright,
but that all depends on the crop you’re raising. We
talked about this last week, too. There are certain crops
that like low pH, certain crops that like high pH. The
reason why we are talking about lime today is, IF you
want to raise the pH of your soil, you absolutely can do
it with lime. D: Well, I wish that lime would control
our Weed of the Week, Brian, ‘cause that would make life
so much easier! We’ll show you what will stop our Weed
of the Week coming up next. B: Our Weed of the Week is
tansy mustard. D: This is one of those weeds that you
will see in the fall – a lot of times, it germinates late
in the fall or very early in the spring, so it’s a
difficult weed to control in wheat. We don’t have as much
issue with it in corn, or even in soybeans, but in
wheat, Brian, this one can really be a pain. B: Yeah,
it can, but we have such good products on this
anymore. For example, Sharpen. You can use Sharpen
in front of winter wheat or in front of spring wheat- D:
For a burndown, or a pre-emerge. B: Yes,
absolutely. And, so, you could go out there with a
couple ounces, it’s going to cost you 8 to 10 dollars an
acre, something like that, and I realize, if you’re a
wheat producer, you might say, “Well I only want to
spend two dollars on herbicide.” Well, then
you’re not probably going to get tansy mustard under
control. It’s going to require at least a little
bit of investment. But we like the pre-emerge option,
so then you can get it stopped, and burned down
potentially. You could also go with Pre-Pare, because a
lot of the tansy mustard is not ALS resistant. D: But
look at it this way, Brian – when you have a weed that’s
going to germinate in the fall or very early spring –
once we get crop canopy, we’re good. We’ve just got
to get a good start. So these pre-emerge products
are so so important for tansy mustard and kochia and
some of the most difficult to control broadleaf weeds
that we’ve got in wheat, and in other crops that we’re
going to seed very early in the season. B: Alright,
let’s talk about post-emerge – my favorite product would
be Huskie. Some of the ALS, or sulfonylurea products
will have a little bit of activity, too, but I like
Huskie best. D: Alright, there are lots of great
choices in corn. Verdict down is probably my
favorite; Status over the top is my favorite there. B:
If you go to soybeans, I’m still going to recommend the
three pre program. You’ve got to get it burned down;
usually once you have this weed burned down or
controlled in the beginning, it’s not a problem later on,
but certainly Roundup will control it, 2,4-D, Liberty,
dicamba, all depending on the trait you’re using in
your crop. D: Well that’s all the time we have for
this week’s weed, but Iron Talk is coming up next. D: What type of hydraulic
fluid do you use in your equipment? In today’s Iron
Talk, we’ll discuss how upwards of 50% of the
hydraulic oil being used in tractors today may be
leading to poor performance and more breakdowns. I hope
I caught your attention because there is a big
difference in hydraulic oils you can buy for your
tractors. Also, your attention to cleanliness can
have an impact as well. Let’s start at the cap and
work our way through the system. Removing the dirt
and contamination from the cap and cleaning the filter
inside will keep your hydraulic oil clean. If the
seal on the cap is not perfect, replace that seal. It’s very cheap, and super
important. Then, let’s talk about that cheap yellow
bucket of hydraulic oil sitting in your shop. Does
it contain the right additives for your tractor’s
specs? The reason why is that the gears, wet brakes,
and transmissions you must protect are not like those
on your car. For example, the transmission fluid for
your car provides insufficient gear wear
protection for your tractor. Cheap tractor hydraulic
fluid may not be made of good stock and certainly
doesn’t contain the right additives as you’ll often
hear brake chatter with squealing and squawking. I
know, it may cost 30 dollars more for a bucket of good
quality hydraulic fluid that meets or exceeds multiple
OEM standards and meets the specs for your tractor’s
fluid requirements, but it’s a very small insurance
policy to pay. Getting the right fluid helps extend the
life of your tractor and results in far fewer
breakdowns and overall better performance. Avoid
sticking valves and clutch plates. Get the right
hydraulic fluid for your high performance tractors
and equipment. That’s all for today’s Iron Talk, and
now, back to the show. B: That’s our time for today,
but if you’re looking for more agronomic information,
we’ve got it! Check out the Ag PhD Insider magazine. You
can to to agphdinsider.com. D: And don’t miss the next
Ag PhD TV Show. We’ll have another Weed of the Week,
Farm Basics, Iron Talk, and a whole lot more. I’m Darren
Hefty. B: And I’m Brian Hefty. Thanks for watching
Ag PhD. Copyright 2019
IFA Productions All rights reserved.

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