Some ag producers seeing late-season hail damage on their crops may wonder what to do next.

Depending on the extent of damage, some farmers still may harvest the crop for grain. Others might use it for earlage, cut it for silage or plant a cover crop.

Before planting a cover crop, it’s important to check with your crop insurance agent, determine goals for that cover crop and review the current herbicide program for any restrictions.

Depending on the type of cover crop and goals for it, now can be a critical time to consider planting in hailed-out fields.

Cover crops like oats, rye or brassicas — turnips, collards or rapeseed — can be mixed. Some can be flown-on planted, while others are best seeded using a drill.

Rates may vary depending on the mix and if the cover crop will be used for weed management, forage, ground cover, nitrogen uptake or all of the above.

For good fall growth, the usual cutoff time is Sept. 1 if producers want to plant small grains like oats or brassicas. These crops don’t overwinter well in Nebraska, so planting time is important to ensure good germination and establishment. Other cover crops such as rye can be plant later for good fall and spring growth.

Determine your goals before planting a cover crop this fall. Information about selection, seeding rates and uses is at https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2019/cover-crop-considerations-following-late-season-hail-storms.

Soybean diseases

I’ve seen several soybean fields this past week with Cercospora leaf blight.

The leaf blight stage typically is seen in the upper canopy. Lesions will be irregular, red to purple in color and range from small specks to larger spots on the upper and lower leaf surface.

Cercospora tends to be a problem in fields with a disease history and in years with weather featuring high humidity, cloud cover and moderate to high temperatures.

In the leaf blight stage, yield loss usually is less than 10 percent.

This disease also can lead to purple seed stain, which is seen at harvest. As the name indicates, infected plants tend to have seeds with stained seed coats.

This purple discoloration may result in grain dockage at the elevator, denied seed certification or reduced germination if the discoloration covers more than half of the seed coat.

Crop rotation, residue management, genetic resistance and foliar fungicides applied during early pod stages (R3-R5) help manage this disease.

I also have heard a few reports about white mold. Moderate temperatures and high moisture favor infection, which occurs during flowering, so management should have occurred at that time.

Symptoms include small pockets of dead or dying plants in the field with white mold growing on stems, usually at a node. Stems will be bleached yellow and there are black spore structures on the stem (inside or outside) or in the pod.

All that can be done now is to plan for future growing seasons. Some management measures to keep in mind are:

- Avoid narrow row spacing.

- Allow for good air flow.

- Apply a foliar fungicide treatment during flowering in fields with a history of white mold.

If you’re uncertain about having Cercospora leaf blight or white mold in your soybeans, submit samples to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic in Lincoln for confirmation.

Sarah Sivits is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator specializing in cropping systems whose focus region is Dawson, Buffalo and Hall counties.

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