KANAWHA -- A wide range of farmers, ag business leaders and students listened to speakers and toured plots, during the annual field day.

The annual Iowa State University (ISU) Northern Research Farm Summer Field Day is held on the research farm located near Kanawha.

“The crops show some stress due to recent pea-size hail and a down pour of over two-and-a-half inches of rain,” said Matt Schnabel, Iowa State University (ISU) Northern Research Farm Superintendent. “Though we have had lots of rain this year we are still four inches behind last year’s record setting rains.”

Dr. Dan Robison, Dean of ISU’s College of Ag and Life Sciences, briefly addressed the crowd, pointing out the great impact Iowa farmers have on the world’s food supply. “What happens in Iowa matters to the world,” he said.

After initial remarks, the attendees boarded three tractor-pulled carriers, viewing the farm’s research plots. During the tour, groups stopped at three field sites, where ISU Extension personnel addressed various aspects of current research on the site.

Associate Professor and Weed Specialist Dr. Prashant Jha, spoke on ways to manage weed control so herbicide resistance can be minimized and on overlapping herbicides to achieve cleaner fields.

Entomologist Dr. Erin Hodgson, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist with ISU, discussed insects which could attack North Iowa crops this summer. She said the thistle caterpillar seems to be more prevalent this year. Though the insect eats lots of foliage off young soybean plants, it causes little economic damage.

She discussed cutworms, armyworms and common stalk borers, which can cause damage to younger crops. Hodgson told farmers most insect infestations are first detected along the edges of fields, where other vegetation is found. She recommended farmers scout the edges of their fields early in the season.

She warned Japanese beetles infestations can create some damage to pollinating corn and Soybean aphids can still be a problem. They were both detected on most ISU research farms last year. Though populations for Soybean aphids are low in northern Iowa, extension personnel would still like to be notified of any discovered infestation.

Hodgson warned of the impending threat of Soybean Gall Midges that have appeared in Nebraska, South Dakota and western Iowa fields in past years. The insect, which was first discovered in Nebraska, seems to be migrating eastward toward central Iowa. The adult insect looks like a mosquito and lays eggs. The orange larva hatch near the base of soybean plants and bore into soybean stems, causing plants to become brittle and die. Most crop damage is found at the outer edges of fields, where large section of soybeans die off. “If you see a spot is dying in the field, check the soybean stalks for the orange colored larva,” Hodgson said. She asked farmers, who detect the insect, to quickly notify ISU Area Agronomist.

At the final station of the field tour, ISU Extension Soil Fertility Specialist Dr. John Sawyer, Camilla Martins, graduate research assistant and ISU Extension Program Specialist, John Lundvall, discussed the recent Rye trails being conducted.

They stated research is designed to discover if integrating a small grain like rye into a crop rotation could be beneficial for farmers. Research also centered on how rye production would respond to added Nitrogen. Sawyer pointed out an excessive amount of nitrogen can cause lodging problems in the tall rye.

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