Rather than talking to a specific researcher this episode, we thought it would be neat to see what parts of their research happens in the spring through June. Come join Emily as she talks to Jeff, Nevin and Bob about what’s been happening in their plots already.
This transcript has been minorly edited for clarity.
00:18 Hi everyone, welcome back to Farm Sci-Ed, the show where we go into the science and education behind farming. I’m Emily Stine and today we’ll be taking a little different approach, talking to Jeff, Nevin, and Bob about their current research projects and where they’re at in the month of June.
00:34 So Jeff, how has the relay study progressed over the course of June?
Jeff: Well, the month of June has been unusually hot and dry. So, we were able to get some timely applications in the study done, so we were able to in early June – well actually early May I should say – we got the herbicide banding done for the relay plots. So our strategy this year was to use an herbicide banding technique to spray out the wheat in the relay to create small beds for the for the dry beans that we’d plant in the relay treatments. Basically, in 30 inch centers we have basically a five inch band of wheat – three to five inch band of wheat – that’s dead that creates a – basically after the wheat dies in a month’s time, when it’s it’s very dead, there’s just a band left behind of, of no wheat, nothing growing. So then that creates a seed bed for our beans.
1:28 So we planted the beans then on June 1st, so about a month later. We used a GPS tractor for both of those so they could be locked in exactly where we wanted to plant the beans, which was not outside the banded seed bed but actually into the seed bed. So it was a little bit of trickiness with the equipment to get that lined up just right, but using the same planter and having some high precision equipment helped out that process greatly. So we got the dry beans planted on June 1st and again, it’s been pretty hot, so those beans came up really quickly. So we had emergence on June 8th; so about a week later they started popping up through the ground and we began our sampling process around then. I should mention we also fertilized the beans right after planting. So, in any plot that had dry beans planted in it, we applied a fertilizer to help the beans out. So right at that time, we – we sampled.
2:38 So our sampling plan continues on a number of different techniques. So we took wheat head sample – or we took wheat heads, collected them in the vials and shook them in alcohol and we’ll use the alcohol extract to look for thrips, both good thrips and bad thrips, to see what – what’s – what’s going on in the wheat heads since they can be a source, particularly for thrips. And as we’ve talked about before, since thrips can both be a pest for dry beans or beneficial, it’s important to account for those. We also, in all of the plots in each treatment, we set up pitfalls – pitfall traps. So basically holes with a cylinder in the ground and a cup that we use to collect ground roaming, ground beetles, or rove beetles, or other beneficial insects that are commonly found at the soil level that are collected in pitfall samples. And then we also took vacuum samples; so if you can imagine a leaf blower on reverse, that’s basically how we took the – we take vacuum samples. So we basically put a nylon stocking on the end of a leaf blower and uh – put it on the suck end of the uh – the sucky end (very technical term there) of a leaf blower, the intake of a leaf blower and then use that for a controlled period of time to take a standard sample. And we pulled those vacuum samples out of bean rows and the wheat rows – obviously if it was wheat only, there were no beans to sample, if it was beans only, there was no wheat to sample. But even in the relay plots where we obviously have both beans growing now and wheat, we made a concerted effort to just try to sample just the bean rows and just the wheat in those, to see if there might happen to be a difference between what we are vacuum sampling within the bean rows themselves and the wheat even within that in that relay treatment overall. And then of course, we’ll compare those samples across the different treatments to see what we’ve got. Other sampling techniques that are going on right now are sticky card sampling – so we have little three by five yellow sticky cards that have a tangle trap on both sides that we suspend in the canopy, which is pretty low to the ground right now, so we keep little – kind of wide – mesh cages around the sticky cards to keep debris from blowing into the sticky cards, leaves and residue that might be on the ground since the canopy’s so low, particularly right now. That’s our approach to keeping large debris out. But then those yellow sticky cards, the yellow color is really attractive to aphids and thrips, as well as some beneficial insects like minute pirate bugs and such. So we use those yellow cards as again yet another sampling technique. Many times when we’re sampling, we’re capturing the same insect with different techniques, but sometimes there are insects that are very specific to certain types of sampling techniques that you may or may not be aware of. So it’s good to use different tools – different sampling tools and strategies to just see if one of them works better than another to try to capture as much of the community as you can.
6:02 So basically right now, the past week, we’ve had um more than a couple days that have been in the high 90s to over 100 degrees with – um except for last night we had some cool weather and some rain that came through and that was that was pretty pleasant. But over the past week, we had some pretty high temperatures, very unusually high temperatures for June which isn’t unlike what a lot of the Midwest has experienced over this past month really is unusually high temperatures. So as a result, the wheat is finishing very aggressively, maturing along, and the beans are growing pretty aggressively as well. And also over the past month, we established soil sample soil sensors to establish soil moisture levels so we can try to keep on top of irrigation scheduling and so far that seems to be working, even though we don’t have really highly accurate soil sensors. They work well enough to just keep us out of the red. Last year we had some challenges, particularly in the relay plots not keeping up on enough soil moisture and so the beans would occasionally wilt. And you don’t want to get a crop to the point of wilting because that – sometimes you can wilt a little too much, and you actually lose plants as a result. So pleasantly, this June we’ve not seen any competition uh visually between the beans and the wheat. The wheat haven’t – the bean plants haven’t wilted due to the wheat competition.
7:42 E: Thanks so much for that update, it sounds like things are going really well out there. And Nevin, how has the first part of dry edible bean growing season gone?
Nevin: Well, dry beans are a pretty late planted crop in um well, everywhere, but the panhandle included. And the dry beans were planted last week in May, which is pretty typical. They’re usually planted towards the end of May, first part of – part of June and we we got all those in the ground by the – I think before June this year, which is pretty good for us. And there’s not actually too much going on at the moment as far as evaluating weed control. We have our pre-emergent herbicides we put on at the time of planting, or slightly before planting, or slightly after planting, and those usually give us between four to six weeks weeks of control and they’re still providing control now. Then, the date that we’re recording this is June 25th, so we’re still looking pretty good as far as weed control goes. So we haven’t done a whole lot as far as assessment and we’re not really seeing a lot of weed problems yet because those pre-emergent herbicides are still holding on.
8:52 E: Are there any specific tasks that you’ve been doing?
N: With the palmer density study, we have the palmer amaranth up and uh what we do is we went in – when I say “we”, it’s the royal “we”. It’s actually my graduate student Joshua Miranda. But he went into the study and what we have is we have six different levels of palmer density and we just kind of wait for that palmer amaranth to naturally come up and they came up right after dry bean planting this year. There’s no herbicides applied in that trial, and then we took different colored zip ties for each different population level – so we’d have yellow for a certain population, level in red, or you know so forth – and put zip ties around all these little tiny palmer amaranth plants and they’re going to stay there all year and then Joshua goes in two to three times a week and hoes out every single other plant that emerges. So it’s a pretty time intensive trial and we have to wait until those, those palmer plants emerge before we can do anything. But luckily, they came up early so we already have the populations established in the palmer interference study. We’re just going to keep hand weeding it all summer long and that’s really all we have left to do with that one until harvest time.
10:00 E: Have you had any abnormal challenges that you’ve had to deal with this last month?
N: The only challenge we’ve had, we have one study looking at different populations and row spacings of dry edible beans. So we have – it’s a very large trial; four populations dry edible beans and four populations – uh four row spacings and all those different combinations and that study was last we had planted. It was about a week later than the others and right as the beans were emerging, we got I think three – about a third of a – third of an inch – which isn’t too much, but that came down in about less than 10 minutes and so that that really washed out a lot of soil and we’re still the process of assessing the stand from that study, but it looks like certain parts of certain plots may have experienced some stand wash.
10:53 E: I know Jeff previously mentioned that he’d been facing some challenges with the heat. Have you been seeing the same problems in your crops?
N: The beans do fine with the heat. the beans are very – as long as they have enough irrigation water, they tend to do very well with warm temperatures and that actually helps speed things along for us so uh weed development crop development um how fast we sort of get through the season a lot of times depends on how warm it is and so when we have plenty of irrigation water available and this, this year, it’s been a good year for that. And we have a lot of heat units, the season just kind of comes along a lot faster so this has been a pretty fast season because we’ve had some pretty warm temperatures in early June but nothing that’s got in the way of doing research yet.
E: Well, I hope everything comes up just fine and things keep going the way they need to be going.
11:43 How about you, Bob, what’s been happening for you the first part of the season?
Bob: Okay well, the project began uh in the latter part of April, where we put down the pre-emergence herbicide and then it was planted on the third of May and then it emerged roughly two weeks after that. Then just last week, the post-emergence herbicide was then incorporated and then we’ve again continued to irrigate every week at least once a week and then put down about a half an inch each time. The next step with this is we will be inoculating the plots in about two weeks. We got this inoculum last year from infected plants just all over, dried them and then we’ll crush them up, mix them with talcum powder and then just sprinkle that onto the heads or on into the foliage of these plants. And then we will begin hopefully to use the forecasting tools that we’ve had to begin the study to begin the monitoring or accessing the information that we need for for both the presence of the pathogen and the environment, which is what we’ll be predicting.
13:00 E: Have the abnormal June temperatures been a problem for you?
B: It – well, it hasn’t really affected it to to date. I mean we were able to get up a nice stand at this point, uh because it was also the post-emergence about a week after that, it was cultivated. So that has taken away a lot of the weeds and I
imagine we’ll – we’ll have – we’ll end up putting another application of uh herbicide down sometime in August, I’m guessing. But, but the, this – the heat lately has not really affected I don’t think the the sugar beets because this is a last, uh an older, a disease that occurs at the end of the season. So we’re not really concerned about it right now.
13:42 E: Okay. What are you doing in the upcoming months?
B: Hopefully, we’re just going to inoculate and and hope that will enhance the chance for disease to occur. And then we’ll keep irrigating, keep trying to keep it wet and and see if that won’t uh establish disease a lot quicker.
E: Great! I hope that goes smoothly for you.
14:04 Thanks everyone. Today we checked in with Jeff, Nevin, and Bob to see how they were doing in their research projects. All three of them have their crops in the ground, we’re waiting for things to come up, and we’re kind of in a holding pattern. We’ve experienced an abnormally warm June and so things are happening faster than we expect them to and for us right now, that’s alright. Tune in next time to find out more specifics about the research projects. Be sure to like this video, subscribe to our channel, and leave a comment down below. Visit our website at farmsci-ed.com for transcripts and for other episodes you may have missed.
See you next time, have a good one.