Cost Share signups begin July 1

Published 9:57 am Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I had high hopes that by the time I put together my June newsletter I would have better news regarding the weather and crop conditions, but this seems to be the spring that just keeps giving … rain, that is! As a daughter of a farmer, I certainly understand your concerns and frustration right now. I wish I had some magical advice to make it better, but unfortunately we all just have to wait and see what the rest of the season holds. I found the following quote on the web today and it couldn’t be more true:

“Farming is a profession of hope” – Brian Brett

So, I hope conditions improve, I hope crop prices increase, and I hope you all have a safe and profitable growing year.

As always, please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions or if I can be of assistance.

Janet Spencer

Peanut SWCD Update

BMP Cost Share signup with the Peanut Soil & Water Conservation District will take place July 1 thru Aug. 31 for the PY2017. This is for all BMP’s, including cover crop, nutrient management plans, no-till, cropland conversion to pasture/hayland and fencing cattle out of streams. Watch your mail box in mid-June for a more detailed cost share sign up notice. If you have any questions, please call the Peanut SWCD office at 357-7004. Thank you in advance!

Yellow Corn

In late May, many of our corn fields experienced spotty to widespread yellowing and stunted growth. Isle of Wight was not alone in this; most southeast counties experienced poor growth early on in corn. I know many of you were asking “what is causing this” and “what can I do to fix it.’’ After working with VCE specialists and analyzing several samples, the answer is still not easy.

There were multiple reasons for the stunted and yellow corn. These include: cold temperatures, wet soils, lack of sunshine, nitrogen deficiency, sulfur deficiency, potassium deficiency, low soil pH and corn hybrid.

While each of these factors alone can cause problems, having two or more of these occur simultaneously can seriously affect the growth of a crop. To further complicate matters, care should be taken when diagnosing nutrient deficiencies.

The only way to know for sure if your crop is deficient in a particular nutrient is to take a tissue test. Misdiagnosing a deficiency can be very costly for a producer in terms of fertilizer cost, crop yield loss, and time/labor. For about $25 per sample, a tissue test can provide exact nutrient concentrations and can help identify what the crop may need.

Likewise, sometimes an overabundance of some nutrients, such as aluminum, can indicate an issue with low pH. Low pH can affect the way plants take up nutrients from the soil, so it’s important to look at the entire picture. Tissue tests from “good” and “bad” crop areas in conjunction with soil samples can provide a much better understanding of what’s occurring and allow for better recommendations.

Overall, corn conditions improved once we received several days of sunlight and warmer weather, but only time will tell how all this will affect yield. Included with this newsletter is an article below that provides more details on the issues we experienced, as well as tips for correcting nutrient deficiencies, which I hope you find useful.

JANET SPENCER is the Extension agent, ANR, for Isle of Wight County. Contact her at 365-6262 or