To Be Aware Of Help Available To PA Dairy Farmers

On July 17, 2020

To Be Aware Of Help Available To PA Dairy Farmers

Dairy farmers adversely impacted by COVID-19 mitigation efforts can now apply for assistance funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Any dairy farm that experienced financial losses due to discarded or displaced milk during the COVID-19 emergency disaster may apply for assistance. Each farm with a documented loss will receive a minimum of $1,500 and an additional prorated share of the remaining funds, not to exceed the actual amount assessed by the handler. The deadline to apply for the Dairy Indemnity Program is Sept. 30. If you have any questions, or need additional information, please contact Morgan Sheffield at 717-787-3568 or by email at 

Additional funding of $5 million will be used to reimburse dairy farmers who participate in the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) program by donating excess dairy product to the Commonwealth’s charitable food system. Also, $15 million will go to the State Food Purchase Program, which provides cash grants to counties for the purchase and distribution of food to low-income individuals, and $5 million will go to the PASS program to reimburse the agricultural industry for the costs involved in harvesting, processing, packaging and transporting food that they donate to the charitable food system.

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To Evaluate Your Need For Additional Nitrogen For Your Corn

Many farmers have learned from the last two years of heavy rainfall during the growing season that keeping the majority of nitrogen (N) for corn in the bag, bin, or tank until sidedressing is one of the best ways to prevent N losses from occurring early in the season.  If you decided to split your N applications this spring, now is the time to determine an appropriate sidedress N rate.  There are several in-season N availability assessments that can be used in the coming weeks to help make this decision.  The pre-sidedress soil nitrate test (PSNT)  was discussed in this column last week. 

Extension Fertility Specialist Charlie White explains another option for assessing N mineralization in the soil and determining how much N to sidedress is the chlorophyll meter test.  With this test, a hand-held sensor clips onto the leaf blade of a corn plant and measures the chlorophyll content of the leaf.  Chlorophyll is the nitrogen-rich molecule in a plant leaf that is essential for photosynthesis and gives the leaf it’s green color.  This test is only reliable when less than 15 lbs/ac N has been applied at planting, otherwise the greenness of the leaf doesn’t accurately reflect N mineralization from the soil.  When soil N mineralization rates are high, as detected by greater chlorophyll content of the corn leaf, the sidedress N recommendation is reduced.  More details about this test, along with the formulas for calculating a sidedress N recommendation, are available in the chlorophyll meter factsheet:

As described earlier, these tests are designed to be used when a minimal amount of N is applied at planting.  If you applied more than 50 to 60 lbs N/ac at planting when using the PSNT or more than 15 lbs N/ac when using the chlorophyll meter, the tests may say you have sufficient N available when you really don’t.  In cases where large quantities of N were applied at planting, and there is a desire to determine whether additional N needs to be sidedressed to achieve the desired yield goal, computer models are the only additional diagnostic tool that may be available.

Computer models of the N cycle take into account real-time, high resolution rainfall and temperature data for a location.  Models such as Adapt-N and the Granular Agronomy Nitrogen Model (previously branded as Encirca) are now widely available and being increasingly used for N management decision making.  These computer models are a compilation of the best available science of how the N cycle operates and the expert judgement of model developers on how to represent these N cycling processes as algorithms in the computer code.  Ultimately, the success of these models also depends on having accurate inputs, including soil profile characteristics and previous N management practices, and being able to interpret the outputs correctly.  Because of this, N modeling services in some cases may only be available through trained professionals that can help assure the integrity of the inputs and interpretation of the outputs.  While there is much promise in the computer N models tools, there is still much to be learned and improved upon.  

If you are planning to use computer N models in your decision making this year, White suggests setting up a simple on-farm experiment to compare the model suggested sidedress rate with your typical practice or another one of the tools such as the PSNT or chlorophyll meter test.  Experimenting with these and other N management tools is an important part of an adaptive management process, through which we can collectively improve upon and build greater confidence in our N management decision making.

To Control Horseweed/marestail In Soybeans

There are populations of Horseweed/marestail in PA that are both ALS- and glyphosate-resistant. In these cases, here are some suggestions from Extension Weed Specialist Dwight Ligenfelter. In Xtend soybean, Xtendimax, Engenia, FeXapan, and Tavium can be used to control marestail. If LibertyLink or LLGT27 beans are planted, glufosinate (Liberty, others) at higher rates (32-36 fl oz) is a viable option and more so if tankmixed with 2,4-D choline (Enlist One/Duo) in an Enlist E3 system. In a standard Roundup Ready system, a 2x rate (1.5 lb ae) of glyphosate or a couple of in-crop applications of glyphosate usually stunts marestail. It is always best to treat them soon after they start regrowing from the burndown application. This will not control them but might suppress them somewhat if they are sprayed early enough. Keep in mind, marestail plants are generally not very tolerant of shade and most soybeans will begin to canopy over the marestail and outcompete them. In general, the post PPOs (Reflex, Cadet, Cobra, Ultra Blazer, etc.) are not effective on marestail, but the pre’s (Valor, Authority, etc.) are. 

Quote Of The Week: ““But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.