Irrigation Webinar Series - Session 5, September 1
September 1, 2021
This six session series focuses on irrigation topics such as irrigation management, irrigation efficiency, new and expanding irrigation projects and a weather and crop update.
Topics that will be covered each week:
- Past and forecasted crop water usage compared to rainfall for the last week and next week. (5 minutes)
- Ways to improve irrigation management and efficiency – Irrigation Specialist from MSU and Purdue (15 minutes)
- New and expanding irrigation considerations – Lyndon Kelley, MSU/Purdue Extension - Irrigation Educator (15 minutes)
- Updates on irrigation topics related to field crops, vegetable, fruit and ornamental crops by MSU and Purdue specialists and extension educators (15 minutes)
- Open Irrigation question and answer period (from chat or pre-submitted e-mail questions). Please feel free to email irrigation related questions to Betsy Braid at firstname.lastname@example.org before the programs.
Sessions will be held every other week on Wednesdays at Noon. They began on July 7 and conclude on September 15.
- Timing the last irrigation– Dr. Younsuk Dong , MSU BAE Irrigation Specialist
- Timing and designing your project for minimized cost – Lyndon Kelley, MSU/Purdue Extension Irrigation Educator
- Considering growing cereals under irrigation: opportunity to provide change in rotation, produce second crop soybeans or snaps, annual forage and better manage fertility and weeds - Dennis Pennington, MSU Wheat Production Specialist
Everybody a couple minutes to get signed in here. You're in the waiting room. We're going through, we're getting ready to talk about irrigation. So this is the irrigation webinar series we're in the, I think it's the fifth one of six that we laid out. The first and third Wednesday of each month. So far, it looks like it's all speakers. We have at least one attendee so far. That's Eric. He has to come to everything we know. There's there's a couple others in our Ronnie. Ronnie, I apologize for butchering names. there's a couple. Okay. So we put together this irrigation series, hoping back when it looked like we may not be able to do as much stuff in-person. And we were hoping to just cover some of the basics for producers. So each week we've talked a little bit about irrigation management, sort of how much rain we had, what we would think that would be for producers as far as to needing to use irrigation system. We've paired that up with a speaker from the industry today, we're having Dennis Pennington, MSU's Wheat Specialist talk about options in irrigated wheat. But we've had people from the fruit and vegetable, areas and field crops people talking to. We've talked a little bit about management things each week. We're going to talk a little bit about economics. I'm gonna come on a second time and talk a little bit about economics. And then I think Dr. Younsuk Dong our new irrigation specialist at MSU Biosystems Ag Engineering. He's going to be talking to us about irrigation scheduling at the end of the year. So those last, how, is it worth watering it one more time? Those kind of questions. So looks like we're right at 12 o'clock. Let's get started. This is brought to you by Michigan State University. We are an equal opportunity employer and an equal opportunity educator. That statement's on our, there on our opening slide. These slides sets from all of the presentations are available to view the recordings at the Ag Engineering website listed on the first slide there. So if you look at last week, if you were average or above, you got an inch of water or more. And most of our crops were using about that inch or so. Depending on where you are at, whether you are lucky or unlucky, you may have ample water and that would be most of the state most of the irrigation region has enough water. But a few spots, if you were unlucky, you were in those dark blue spots. You didn't get the rainfall that you needed about an inch of water this last week. So that's sort of typical for that last week of August, we tend to get more rain falls in our crops and our crops are starting to use less water. So the need for irrigation goes down. And fewer and fewer of our systems are being used. Just a quick calculation to show you where we got those numbers here we're using the National Weather Service's weekly reference ET reference evapotranspiration numbers. That's for six inch grass, that's what that hose and grass is there for is to remind me to say that that's a number for six inch brass and that's available at this federal site or you can get it off the MAWN stations for Michigan has a like number. If we're going to convert that number to actual crop water use for corn, we're on the downside. We used to be using a 120% of that grass number. And now we're down to about one. And many of our fields are going to be approaching 80 percent or eight tenths of that reference ET number. So we're actually using less than grass in our crops. And we see that here, St. Joe county, number of fields have already been defoliated and harvest of seed corn is going on. And even our commercial crops or corn is showing some firing and, and is naturally senescence. So we're using less moisture as the the days go on and that will continue until we get to black layer. And Younsuk's going to tell us more about the importance of black layer in irrigation management for corn. Soybeans. Little bit the same story, but soybeans have their uses later in the season. So there's still stay in a little bit higher, a little more chance that people are going to still be watering soybeans this time of year, especially if they were long season beans, or planted towards the last May. Few of our early season beans planted in April and first week in May and short season beans planted there in May are starting to yellow and we're going to see reduced amounts of water and we're going to talk about that also when Younsuk gets on. And so that's what we have today for an opener. Next up is Dr. Younsuk Dong from Michigan State University Biosystems and Ag Engineering. Thank you Lyndon. And let me share my screen. Okay, So yeah. So you start with the where, where you can where you can see the all the recorded webinars. So we share the link where you can find previous videos, previous talks about this webinar series but once you get, to this irrigation website, there's the menu there is irrigation webinar series. And also in the quick link there is irrigation webinar series. You can click either one. It will direct you to the irrigation webinar's page. And this is where you can see all the previous talks from this webinar series. So just some information for you. So around the early September, we get a question about when should I stop irrigating. So this presentation will discuss about your timing of their last irrigation. So reader and speed, there's not a lot of irrigation needed in the fall because the water use by crop drops significantly in late stages. On the bottom graph shows the crop coefficient changes for soybean. Crop coefficient is the multiplier value that how much crop used the water compared to your four-inch grass cover surface days? Well water and unshaded. So for soybeans. So after our seventh stage, our seventh stage is the pod begins to mature. The crop coefficient decreased significantly. So this means the crop don't need a lot of water. In Michigan where we have a greater chance rainfall from last week of August and September. So, so, you know, we don't really consider there is lot of irrigation happening in the fall. And although many studies shows there is no great advantage to having the soil moisture level greater than 50 percent water So in the, especially in the late season. So that's why we really don't a see lot of people irrigating the fall. But what about we, we, if we stop irrigating too early in the season? Because some producers maybe want to save the water, or reduce pumping costs, but but this could result in much greater reduction in the yield, which is less return, right? So consider to water until the crop is mature, which I'm going to talk about next couple slides. But so so if we stop irrigating too soon, which cause the lack of water in the late season. This can result in low test weight for corn, undersized soybeans in uppermost pods for soybean. And it can decrease the grain quality and yield for wheat. And the typical cost for irrigation for half-inch application is around $2 per acre. So it's worth it to apply irrigation in the late season to minimize the risk of losing the quality and the yield of the crop. So when do we stop irrigating? So the timing is very important because irrigation beyond the crops water needs, which means we're just wasting time, energy, and money. So, so the timing is very important. For corn. From early dent stage two black layer stage. The weekly water use is decreased from one inch to half inch. So there is definitely less water need for the corn in the late season. So we like to see the soil or water maintained at least 50 percent at dent stage. And, and the others studies shows that there is no benefit from additional irrigation. When the corn is at black layer stages. So you can stop irrigating when the corn is at the black layer. For soybean from full seed stage to mature pod stage, the weekly water use is decreased from 1 inch to .4 inch. So. Again, there's less water needs for soybean in the late season. So we'd like to see maintaining the soil moisture above 50 percent until the field is 50 percent yellow. So this is somewhat tricky, but go out to the field and take a look at it, see what, what's what's the percentage of your soybean are green or yellow? When you see the pod with the mature color color at one of them are mature, then that's the time that you can stop irrigation. So we're going to talk about wheat later. I'm not sure. I think maybe. But for wheat, we like to keep water soil moisture level at least 40 to 50 percent at soft dough stage, then you can stop irrigation. The one study from, I doubt, shows that there was no benefit having extra water after soft dough. So that's the timing for wheat. So okay. So we went over the timing. What about the the water-holding capacity? So, how do we check the soil water holding capacity? The one old method is taking soil sample using auger or a shovel from 12 inches below the surface in the root joint. Then squeeze a soil sample in your hands several times to form a shape as a ball. I mean, the photo here, it shows how you can do by building an appearance to determine what the moisture level of your soil. And once you form that you can carefully balance the ball and compare it. Compare with the photo with this chart from this USDA guidelines. But this is one method that can help you estimate what is available water capacity from your field. This, I jwant to mention, you can you can search for USDA NRCS estimating soil moisture by feel and appearance. But or you can just go to MSU BAE irrigation website. And under the quick link section, I put a link directly where you can download this file. It's just for for your information. Another method to, to check what's the available water at your field now is using MSU irrigation scheduling program. This scheduler program can help you estimate, you know, what's the available water percentage each day. So so what you need to do, you have to input your some of your further information such as Nick, sorry, tie the crop time, the length of growing season, and emergence date. And you can pick the closest in by weather station to the feel. What it does is it can, this program can automatically download the evapotranspiration data and the precipitation, precipitation data from, from the state weather station. So that's really helpful. And why you need to do you can you obtain when you apply, how much, what you apply to this, apply the irrigation to this field. So in the calculation tab or here you can put irrigation information when and how much you applied to the fill. You can also correct the rain per amount if necessary. So in soil which has tab in this scheduler program, there is a graph that shows status of available water in the root zone. Or this is actually a scheduler that we ran, we've been running this year for one of a corn field in Constantine, Michigan. The corn right now at this field, is at the fully dent stage and showing a milk line about halfway down with this. So this means about, there's about a couple of weeks to, until it reaches the black layer stage. So but having this information is really helpful. So, and, and this graph shows right now it's about what, 63 percent, 65 percent of the water. So he's in pretty good shape. But but we can continue monitor next couple of days weather and make sure he maintain above 50%. The last, another method, I guess one of the other method is using the soil moisture sensors so you can install the sensor at your field to measure how much moisture in your soil right. There's some portable soil moisture monitor units out there, you can purchase and use it. Which basically you take the probe and go to the field and you stick it in soil, and it will give you what the percentage of moisture level of your soil. We have an Extension bulletin there that describes how to use the soil moisture sensor data to determine what the moisture level and, and also irrigation amount that you could apply to the field. So just check on the Extension bulletin. It has more detail information. With that. If you have any question regarding irrigation, please contact me or Lyndon Kelley, we'll be happy to take any questions regarding irrigation. So with that, I think next speaker is Lyndon Kelley will talk about the timing and designing your project for minimized cost. And I bet I got to flip the screen again and right. Yeah, I think so Lyndon. There you go. Oop, who you still got it? Okay. Let's try. Nope. What do you got now? It's duplicated so you want to put it in presentation mode. Yup. There we go. Okay. So I said we'd talk a few minutes real quick about exploring irrigation investments. My goal today is more about thinking about a system for looking at how to put together whether this irrigation investment is going to be able to pay off on your farm. So this information is available at the MSU Ag Engineering website or the MSU irrigation website that Extension has up there's sections in there about cost of irrigation and analyzers and other tools to help put together. But basically most people deal with what we call the back of the envelope. They sit down and they say, well, I my total investment is going to be for this hundred acre center center pivot field is going to be a $160 thousand. And they divide that by a 100 acres that it's going to cover. And they say, Well, that's so at $16 thousand an acre. And I expect that to have a 10 year life span. And they'll say so I need a $160 an acre. And that's, that's better than doing no figuring at all. But that kind of back of the envelope figuring leaves a lot of things out. A lot of the extra expenses that are in there that tend to sneak up on you, and make your investments not as profitable as you thought they would. If you had a drip irrigation, the same type of scenario and I'll give you an example later on. If you had a less, a little less than a half an acre, 2100 feet. And they do the math on that. And it looks like I got at least one math error there. You end up having about $1100 an acre, almost $1200. in that irrigation investment. But it doesn't tell you anything about the energy and the labor, the repairs, those types of things that are there. That little orange thing at the bottom it tells me that I needed to say something about the timeliness of this. Irrigation equipment has its lowest price. There's a cycle in irrigation equipment, especially bigger center pivot equipment, but all of it has a low point in the year and a high point in the year. And the high point in the year is when it's almost too late to get it up in time to use it. That would be in the spring and the low point in the year is right now, the last half of August and September is when traditionally irrigation companies have had program's that rebate portions of the money or discounts or freebies, free computer systems, free shipping, any, any of those types of things that bring the cost down. Those incentive programs tend to disappear by the first of the year. And then any price increases usually come on January first. I because most of my area is center pivot irrigated, I tend to keep track of that. And we've already had one price increase due to the price of steel is what they're telling us. Once this year, the incentive programs were pretty small, few and far between. And we expect another set of increases, coming January 1. So it will be more costly. That means most of my figures are going to be too low. But it also stresses the importance of getting right into your irrigation investments now early in the fall and get them planned to figure out what it's going to actually cost and whether you're going to pull the trigger on those things and move forward. So Ag engineer or I'm sorry, ag economists over the years have had a system that we've used called the DIRTI system. And that's DIRTI stands for depreciation, interests, repairs, taxes, and insurance. These are the things that are looked at as an investment. As far as that investment, what is the actual ownership cost of that, owning that piece of equipment? Whether you use it or not, we don't have any of the annual costs in there at this point. But when we're looking at that is what's that actually cost to use those. We have these sheets up on the website, for six or seven of the most common irrigation types of systems. But each of them has an average cost for the actual piece of equipment minus any salvage value. Depreciated over the, or spread over the years that we think the life will be. Here we use 10, ten years for center pivot equipment and 20 years for wells. And then we added in the interest over that time period and the average repair costs, taxes. Now, in Michigan, we don't have a personal property tax on that equipment. In Indiana, there's actually a personal property tax. But any tax implications, and then insurance, don't forget the insurance. So we tend to have a lot of storms and the insurance is important, really important, somebody carries the insurance. Then we do the same thing for the operating costs. These are the things that if you use the system in that year, you're going to incur these costs. And the major operating costs are going to be the energy cost. Here we're using the state average 350 an acre inch of water. And the labor cost in here being a center pivot irrigation, It's only, they're only asking for a dollar, an acre for labor costs because of the high equipment investment that takes care of, cuts out a lot of that labor out. When we get all done, we find out that we got about a $123 an acre in running that system this year. If we put seven inches on and that's kind of a number that you can use to try to make a decision based on that. We did that same scenario over and over again for each of these types of systems, 160 acre system, 160 acre machine with a cornering arm on it. A soft hose traveler, a 40 acre machine that's towable, doing two circles, 160 acres of drag pods. These are the like the K line pods that we see at KBS and some of the other MSU facilities. A single tower towable, that's those are very popular in the dairy industry. They're a single tower pivot that can be towed in five different locations, hard hose travelers, an 80 acre center pivot, which is actually a 160 acre center pivot only doing half of a circle. And then a 40 acre system. If you look at all of those, there's a lot of scale in irrigation economics. The bigger ones they're going to be the lower total cost for the equipment and the operation than the smaller ones. And there's almost a doubling in price. There is a doubling in price from going to that from that low cost 160 acre pivot to the 40 acres center pivot, the smallest one that's on there. So there's a lot of, a lot of that's economics. But the important thing is that you do your homework to know what your actual costs are going to be. One of the major differences in that number that we talked about for operating costs would be the actual type of energy that you're using or fuel that you're using. There's, this can be a very simple thing. Electricity is the cheapest source. But then you may not be able to get electricity or three-phase power in your area. And so it may not be the best source for you, but we'd have to, we tend to use electricity at about 10 point, just about $0.11 a kilowatt hour. So we'd have to be able to buy diesel fuel for half of that number that's up there, that 2.62 would have to be a $1.30 to buy diesel fuel at the same prices are electric. So and then if you add to that, the equipment costs and the annual maintenance and repair is highest on diesel and lowest on electricity. So electricity by far is the winner. So most of the time when I'm talking about energy sources with producers, it's more about how much can we subsidize the expansion of three-phase power into your community so you can get electricity. And we'll figure out how much you can pay per pole or for the investment. And it's surprising that over a 10 year investment, how much can be brought forward to help subsidize the expansion of electricity in your area. Next thing we're going to, we know what our costs are, then we've got a way to look at our costs and find your costs. The next thing is try to figure out a per acre basis, way you can pay for that. That comes to this nagging question of what can I get for an increase in yield? And I'm not going to tell you a solid number because it depends on whether the actual lack of moisture or drought conditions are the major yield robber in your area or is the major yield robber in your area, delayed planting or too wet of soils. Or or harvest issues, those types of things. So it's probably better to take a look at a few things. First, be realistic. There are very few growers that over a five-year average are above 265. I, we are creeping up 2 bushel a year, 2% a year depending on who you believe. But we are getting more and more producers that are at that 265, five-year average. But don't expect to be there your first first time out of the gate. Take a look at what your highest yields were in the last five years and what year's those came in, and try to determine why those were high years and then do the same thing for the low yields on that commercial corn. If they're, if water is not the major factor in reducing your yield, then you're probably better off spending money in drainage or something else. If, if the lack of irrigation water is not the major effect, cure the other problems first. Soybeans do not have near as high a real response to irrigation. In a rotated, every other year, we see somewhere around ten to 15 bushel increase on your soybean yields. Because of that, a lot of people making irrigation investments tend to bring in more and more corn into the rotation. And we see continuous corn or every third year soybeans being very common in these irrigated fields raising commercial crops. You really want to get a good handle on this. Dr. Roger Betz, Michigan State University's southwest region Economics agent has put together a tool for analyzing irrigation investments. It lets you look at your dry land crops and what your costs were in raising those. And then three irrigated crops that you'd use in rotation. Takes a little while to build this tool up. It takes, in a course, it's only good if you put good solid numbers into it. The producer's that have went through the work of doing this. Once they have it, they tend to just nudge it one way or the other dependent on fertilizer prices and those things and tend to use this tool quite a bit in helping make decisions on irrigation investments. That's available at the website also. If I took that tool that Roger Betz had, and we're looking at some older numbers here. But, if you see from the, the corn price and my average was at 3.50 and the beans were at 8.82. So last two years we've done well above that. But we only paid for irrigation. Notice it's a loss in the red when the irrigation costs, those are in the yellow on the far side. We're low and all of these are low. They're there the best-case scenarios as far as being able to get irrigation in and where we're in the black is where corn was above $4 and soy beans above $10 on a continuous basis. And the costs were low. So those are going to be the places that make the most sense to irrigate. And it's going to be the places that we can raise these crops. Keep the costs very low on our input, on our irrigation equipment. And then hopefully be able to keep our corn prices up in that $4 range to make the payments. A few of you out there are doing trickle irrigation and you're gonna feel bad if I don't say something about it. But for most trickle irrigators, you're going to put together a plan. Here. I've used Indiana Irrigation they're in central Indiana, done a lot of educational work with us. He has on his website an input form to allow a producer to put in some information and then he can put together a recommended irrigation plan. So here's one that, that he's put together for us. He's got just shy of a half-acre. It's a 100, 100 by 200 in size. Their spacing that 48 inches on the drip tape that's there, that ends up being 25 rows at about 90 feet of length. So what happens is you, you turn that into them and they come out with a bid sheet. I'm not going to pass along any of his bedsheets, so I made one up here that gives you the rough idea. First, you have to have a water supply and that's going to be the killer as far as the economics. If you're putting in a new well, you're going to want to make that well big enough to supply all the water that you need in the future. Then you're probably going to be looking at a $10-15 thousand investment. Beyond that, the rest of the costs tend to be fairly small. We end up only having another $1600 in investment in headers. The connectors for the pipe, the filter, those types of things on a typical irrigation system. Let me see. So we need to add to that some of the annual cost. And of course we've got 2400 feet of drip tape that's going to be used annually. And we're going to use low-cost drip tape and replace it each year. But that cost of that drip tape is actually pretty small, less than $75 a year for this site. So the really the big cost is in that well, and the infrastructure that we have to put in. Our energy cost is pretty low on drip tape and on drip irrigation systems. So what I've got in here, a $100, actually, I look back at some figures and a lot of people are irrigating in one acre in a multi-crop, truck crop farm for about a $100 of energy per year. We have the right systems put together. So when we total that all out, it ends up being about $87 per 1000 square feet. So per 1000 square feet, we need to come up with an additional $87. Now most of the producers that I deal with in irrigation, drip irrigation will tell me that they can't grow the vegetable crops, that there's no use in a dry crop to an irrigated crop. So then I think it's more of an investment in in whether that's worth doing that crop with just like seed. I've got to have seed for that crop to build a plant the crop, then we had the irrigation in also, if you have more questions about irrigation investments, please give us a call either Younsuk or I. Catch the winter meeting series that are coming up. We're doing some programming for both center pivot and large-scale field irrigation and for small-scale drip and trickle irrigation also. And from there, I think I get the honor of introducing Dennis Pennington. Dennis Pennington is a longtime educator, came up out of the counties, and moved to campus to be our wheat educator. Wheat specialist for the State of Michigan. Dennis. Alrighty, Well, good morning. Or I guess it's afternoon now, isn't it? But I'm going to go ahead and share my screen here. Get this running. All right, Which one are you seeing? Are you seeing the presenter or are you seeing the actual presentation? It looks good, Dennis. It does, okay. All right. Thanks. All right. Yeah. So, you know, irrigating wheat really isn't a whole lot different than irrigating any other crop. There's a few things that you want to look out for, I guess as far as diseases, make sure we don't have lodging problems, but certainly there's some benefits to adding some water to wheat. So I guess I'd like to just touch base on a few of these items. in a little bit more detail. So why irrigate wheat, this is just an example. We have the Great Lakes Yield Enhancement Network where we have participants from Michigan, Ontario, and Ohio participating. And this is just one of the farms that has two entries with a dry land and irrigated. And you can see that the, the irrigation can really add some yield potential to the crop. So and this is up in Mason County up north, up toward Ludington. So they've got some pretty good yields up there to their irrigated ground. And the difference between the irrigated and the dry land was what, about 32 bushels. So that's a significant increase in yield. So you know, wheat will respond to irrigation, particularly in a year like this where we had really dry weather during grain fill. So that, that's, that's pretty important. And wheat is an important rotation crop. I think wheat could be a good rotation crop where we have center pivot irrigation systems. It improves crop rotation, it provides opportunity for double crop, like soybean, snap beans and forages. It increases your fertility. It gives you an opportunity in the summer to control problem weeds that maybe you don't have a good opportunities to control otherwise. It provides an opportunity to install tile for guys that need tile, a place to spread manure. There's a lot of reasons why having wheat in the rotation is a benefit. So I was trying to find some more information about wheat in some of the literature. And so I'll share with you a little bit of what I found. There. Honestly isn't a lot of research on irrigated wheat compared to dry land wheat to go off of. So that is an area that we've been approaching the Michigan Wheat Program, which is our farmer check off and we're looking to try to partner with them and perhaps down the road get some projects funded to collect some more data about irrigated versus un-irrigated or dry land wheat. But to start out with, in that first slide I showed you some yield benefits. This is some data that actually comes out of Argentina. Their treatments are D is dry land, CDI is controlled deficit irrigation and then TI is total irrigation. So the control deficit is just a reduced amount of irrigation trying to limit the deficit, I think they said in there to like 10 percent water deficit where, you know, in case somebody doesn't have availability of all the water they need to supply. You know, what is the difference between these three systems here? And you can see the 1000 grain weight, which is one of the yield components, certainly goes up 30.8 compared to 33, almost 34. And these were statistically different. So in both irrigation systems, the control deficit was not better or any worse than the total irrigation for 1000 grain weight. But it does increase 1000 grain weight, which is one of your yield components, which makes sense. In terms of grain yield and this is in kilograms per hector, which is just a metric unit. But the idea is that yields more than the dry land does, and then harvest index goes up as well. And harvest index is the, if you take all of your above-ground biomass and say how much of that or what percent of that is grain. You want that percent to be just as high as possible. So that number goes up here considerably with the total irrigation compared to the dry land. So there are some important management practices that we want to pay attention to for irrigated wheat. First off is fungicides to control diseases. There are a number of diseases that rely on water. And I'll just put them up on the, put some of them up here on the screen. Fusarium head blight really is the primary one. If you're going to be irrigating wheat, you want to be paying attention scouting on a regular basis. Feekes 9 is flag leaf. It might warrant putting a fungicide out there on the flag leaf timing. If the scouting tells you to, if you're finding some of these diseases out in the field under irrigated conditions, you may want to put a fungicide on at that time. And then the one that is the most common as far as fungicide application for Fusarium head blade. That is the number one economic damaging disease to the wheat crop in Michigan that causes more dollars worth of damage than any of these other diseases in the crop. So that is by far the most important one to pay attention to. And in a year like 21 here where we had dry conditions during the early part of grain fill. Adding and run right after flowering. Irrigation was important. And if you had the ability to irrigate the guys that I know that had it. They had their irrigators running. So that time right after flowering, which is the very beginning of the grain fill period, is very critical. And so I think everybody that I talk to any way applied a fungicide at Feekes 10.5.1, which is that anthesis or, beginning of flowering for, for head scab control because that is such an important disease. The other thing to consider is lodging. If you're producing a, a larger crop, that means those heads are heavier. That means those stems have to support more weight at the top. And when you get a rainstorm and windstorm come through, that increases the potential for lodging. So we want to make sure that we're paying attention to this. There's some management things that you can do. Split nitrogen applications. If you've got some high yield potential. And you may want to consider doing this if you're irrigating wheat, perhaps apply a plant growth regulator. If you have a variety that is susceptible to lodging, make sure you're protecting that especially if you can get those higher yields out of it. And then apply lower seeding rates when you plant earlier. A lot of times on this ground, we can get the soybeans come out earlier and we can get wheat planted early in the fall. We need to lower the seeding rate and not plant such high rates. Because if you plant a high rate early, that just is setting the plant up for a higher number of tillers and that that root system has to support more stems, which makes it easier for it to lodge so and then select lodging resistant varieties. In terms of diseases, there are a number of really good fungicide products out there, effective for control of all these diseases. This is the NCERA-184 publication out of the crop protection network. This is a basically a group of plant pathologists from the North Central Region of the United States that they get together, share their fungicide efficacy trials and they do ratings for all these different fungicides for each of the different products. So, you know, this is a good resource to have for, for management of diseases. So lodging I just wanted to touch base on that just a little bit more. There's really two kinds of lodging. There's stem lodging, where the stem fails and the stem breaks off, but the roots hold up. And then there's root lodging where the stem remains in track but intact but the roots fail. So in, I think in irrigated wheat, you can have either of these two situations occurring. So we just want to make sure that that you're selecting and managing it properly. By splitting your nitrogen application that reduces the risk of stem lodging and making sure you get your seed planted deep enough. If you're planting your seed shallow at a half inch. Wheat has crown roots just like corn does. And those crown roots provide anchorage for that plant to stay standing. You want those crown roots at about an inch deep. If you're planting shallower than that, those crown roots aren't going to be as strong to help hold that plant up. So there's just a number of different management things that you can do to help reduce the risk cause nobody wants to go out and try to harvest a field that looks like this. And that can happen. if your crop rotation and you know what the previous crop was if it had application of manure or a cover crop that will impact this lodging potential because you can get anything that can increase the residual nitrate available in the fall for uptake by the crop can increase your chances of lodging. In fact, Dr. Kurt Steinke, our soil fertility specialist, said that if you can get, anytime you have up to 60 parts per million of nitrate in the soil in the fall, that can really cause lodging risk in the spring. So make sure you're paying attention to that. So related to diseases, there's not a lot of information out there. So I went back to this study that was done in Argentina because they did do disease ratings on their trial. So here again, we've got the dry land, the control deficit irrigation, and the total irrigation on top. And these are just different growth stages of time. So Zadoks 31, this is like the first joint is visible, which would be feet six. 3.9 is head starting to emerge. Five is the beginning of anthesis, and seven is somewhere in the middle of, I think it's, so dough, soft dough stage. So it's kind of in the middle of, of the, the grain fill period. But what's interesting is look at the percent incidence of foliar disease. Where do we have the most disease? We have it down here on the dry land. Why do you think that is? The reason that we have the dry land actually had higher incidence of disease is because the plants were so small and the canopies were not closed. And these diseases were able to in fact, not only from the base of the stem and then the lower leaves, but they infected that all the way up to flag leaf on these plants. So, and to justify that I guess. Or to verify that, here's the leaf area index and you can see that the leaf area index was much smaller. I mean, you got half the leaf area index. And this is on September 16th prepared to October 13th. So just a little bit different timing, but almost by half the amount of biomass here, it did start to catch up a little bit later on, closer toward grain fill. But so in this case, we had the dry land actually did worse. I was expecting to see the irrigated have higher disease incidence, but, um, I, I found four studies that rated dry land versus irrigated and they rated the diseases. And I found the same thing true in all three, on all four of them. So I'm not sure that I would believe this. I mean, in Michigan, I, I don't think we're going to have Leaf Area Index this low. I think our dry land may not yield quite as well as the irrigated. But our crops are not going to be stunted because we have enough rainfall for that to happen. So I would suspect that, that our disease pressure or potential in Michigan is going to be higher as we go to the higher levels of irrigation. So how much water does wheat actually use? This is the weekly water use chart over the crop cycle, beginning from planting through tillering, dormancy over the winter and then in the spring joining budding, heading and then at harvest. And you can see the largest amount that peak is during the grain fill period, which generally occurs between the end of May and the first part of July. And that water deficits during that period will significantly reduce yield potential. And that I think did happen in Michigan here this year. Because the first part of this grain fill period here was a very dry. Now, once we got out and about the 15th or the 20th of June. the faucets opened up and we got more rainfall. In fact, you look at our average rainfall for the month of June, it's normal. But the first half got little to none depending on where you were in the state. So we had very dry periods early on so that the front half of this this peak of the curve was a very dry in most of the state, most of the wheat growing regions in our state. And during that peak, we will use one to two inches of water per week during this period. So it uses a fair amount of water during this grain fill period. So this is looking at water use per day. This can be used for irrigation scheduling. And it has, this chart has different temperature, so depending on what the outside temperature is and then the different growth stages. So from flowering here, it's during, you know, 90 degree weather it's using three-tenths of an inch a day. In the eighties, it's using a quarter of an inch of rain per day or of water per day. And then that holds steady through most of the grain fill period. Once you get to the dough stage, it does start to drop off a little bit as far as water consumption. So that that heavy water use is that this really from almost from the heading stage all the way up through the early dough stage. So if you look at this 80 to 90 degree temperatures, and this is some data from the last year's State yield trial report in 2020 at Mason, we had 30 days with temperatures during the grain fill period above 85 degrees. And of those 30 days, 10 of them were above 90. So the amount of rainfall that we use during these days, so we had 20 of them above 85 and 10 of those were above 90. So we can estimate what the amount of water used. So those 10 days that were above 90, use three inches of water using this 0.3 inches of water per day. And then the the 20 days that were above 85 used that, that 25 or 0.25, or quarter of an inch. these total up to about eight inches of water. We, a lot of parts of the state got eight inches or even more in the month of June, but it came in the second half of June. So the first part of the grain fill period was dry. So those had irrigation, were able to increase their yield this year. So there's a number of different resources out there to help with irrigation scheduling for wheat. There's an article that Lyndon, Bruce and I and, and others put together. It's on the webpage here. I'd be happy to share these links. And Lyndon probably has shared some of these links as well with you before in these irrigation sessions, but there's some good information here that you can access. And if you want me to send you these, just put your e-mail in the chat box and I'd be happy to send you these via email. So other than that, that was about all I had to cover. I'd be more than happy to take any questions that you have. Dennis, I want to encourage anybody out there that has questions to put them in the chat. I think Bruce is looking at the chat right now to get those questions to us. I am. And then, but Dennis, I have one question a lot of people that are interested in wheat are interested in getting it off early. So I hear two things, variety selection and drying, mechanical drying. What can you tell us about those? So to get it off early, mean what what what strategy should you follow? And how about how early can I get it? Yeah. So another problem that we had this year was pre-harvest sprout. And what happened was, is after the grain reaches physiological maturity and it starts to dry down that physiological maturity, the grain moisture somewhere around that 35 or 40 percent moisture content. And then it takes 10 days or so depending on the temperature and weather that we have for it to dry down to harvest. For harvest moistures. What happens as you move from physiological maturity closer to that harvest moisture of 15 percent or 14%. The likelihood or the chance of having pre-harvest sprout increases significantly. So the rainfall or irrigation closer to that timeframe, you would want to shut your irrigation off once you reach physiological maturity because that's the point at which grain fill is over. And that date was somewhere around the 20th to the 25th of June depending on the crop and where you were in the state this year. So harvesting early is something that you want to do, not just because you want to get a second crop in there, but for grain quality reasons, there are some elevators around the state that are taking green 18 percent moisture, even up to 20 percent moisture. And you pay shrink but not any drying cost. And that is encouragement to get the grain out of the field earlier. So I don't know that you'd want to try to harvest with grain moisture much wetter than that. You get up to 22 or 24 and you're going to have little trouble running it through to combine but, but get it you get it down below 20. And I'd say if the weather conditions are favorable, I'd be start harvest and you're gonna have to pay some drying charges depending unless you have a local elevator that'll has a program like that, but get it out of the field because you're reducing your risk. Those that were able to get it out quicker this year did not have the falling number problem and the pre-harvest sprout and the sprouted kernels. And then it's down here. We're really trying to rush in to see whether we can put a usually under irrigation either crop of snaps or crop soybeans behind it, if we don't make the soy beans, at least we've got a pretty valuable cover going, right? I mean, you've got some fields that are in that are in that boat this year. But I do think we have some beans that probably will have 35 bushel potential too, depending on what the weather does here, the next couple of weeks. I mean, those beans are young, so, Right, If we can color up and size up. It takes a little bit of something to do that. Yeah. And we've had some pretty good heat unit accumulation to, which is probably helping to move things along. Yeah, things look pretty good right now. I mean, either later planted beans here that were planted June 15th are actually looking pretty good too. So I mean, it's I think we're good. We're always going to be in the mix as long as it stays warm. Yeah. in southern Michigan to be able to do that. Yeah. What do we have for cost per acre roughly in wheat. For production cost, you mean? Yeah, just, just production cost. That's going to vary on your farm depending on if you're following kind of a high management strategy or not. Yeah. But you're probably in that $300 an acre range. I mean, I'd have to dig out my budgets. Okay. To to know for sure and I could do that if you want me to know. No, I just was curious as to how it kind of shakeout in there too. So you know we see a lot of corn going in under irrigation because we know we have higher yield potentials. And even when you look at how beans usually shake out there, we're, we're seeing not quite doubling or maybe right around double that yield or the profit potential basically based on corn production versus beans, unless beans really get a bump. Yeah, I haven't. I mean, it would be really interesting to do a comparison of irrigated versus non-irrigated. I, I got a good sample that I can use, just calculate the costs and income. And yeah, I think you might be about right, we might be able about double our income potential on wheat if, if we have it under irrigation. So, but that's in a year where we need water. Some years we get adequate rainfall during that grain fill period. I mean, eight inches of water during a two month period is not impossible to get. So if it's distributed nicely, which we can't always get we'd like to have it that way. But. No, I understand. And Lyndon I know that we always talk about, you know, if you're going to put snaps, snaps, you definitely need to water, but you're going to put beans in behind there. You need the water too because you're going to have depletion for the most part, wheat's water use curve really ramps up as we as we fill grain there too. Yeah, and so I had some wheat growers tell me that they they planted double crop soybeans this year. Quite a few in the southern tier colleagues of Michigan. And they said they had adequate moisture in the soil. In course warm temperatures in the soil in like three or four days and they had soybeans up out of the ground. It was just, their crop really looks good right now. Headed toward this fall? Yeah. It's pretty good. Yeah. So you've bypassed my question about short season varieties. Oh, I'm sorry. So, you know, you're you're good. Just so what do you mean like short season wheat varieties. Yes, within wheat and and, and in small grains. Are there things that will get us out a week earlier, two weeks earlier? There is some variety differences. And if you look at the, the marketing literature from seed companies, they'll say an early or late or a mid season wheat. But really that season is about a seven day window. So an early one is only going to gain you compared to a late is only going to gain. You maybe five or seven days of time. So the other thing is the use of fungicides. There's a stay green effect from that as well. So while they provide you some protection from diseases, it'll also help keep that thing, keep the stalks green a little bit. And so if you're trying to get early, harvested early, you know that, that could delay harvest a little bit or you have to harvest at a little bit higher moisture. To stay on the same date. So, you know why you're getting the benefit of the fungicide and the disease control. It does also stay green a little bit longer. Miravis Ace in particular has a pretty significant stay green effect to it. and that one I've had growers say that man, everybody else is combining and I used that new product and I can't combine yet. I'm never going to do that again. I'm thinking, yeah, but you're still filling grain and they're not. So that's not a bad thing. Yeah. I think I think it's only benefactor really, Dennis, if we think about the suicide squeeze, and it's putting in second grade beans down here. Right. Because that's really the issue. We're really trying to hustle every day. Everyday in July is really, really important I think, to get just to the better sizing on those beans and get those color to, to go yellow. So, so in our state yield trials for wheat, we do have all the varieties listed there with the flowering date. And so what you, if you want to select an early variety, you know look at that column that has the flowering date in it and select the one. It's a Julian date. So it's like the, the number day of the year. Pick the smallest number and that will be your earliest wheat. So there are resources there to help you pick a variety that, that might mature a little bit earlier than others. The dryingness has better options as far as getting in early then and the variety alone. Okay. Yeah. Planting date will impact yield in tillering more than it will impact, you know, having it, saying that it will mature earlier. Getting wheat planted earlier in the fall isn't necessarily going to help you that much. As far as having it be ready to harvest earlier the following July? Are there any options as far as a defoliant? Yeah. We had a discussion with the US Wheat Board yesterday about that. And there, there are defoliants listed for wheat. So it is legal to do that. However, there are a lot of food companies that buy flour that do not want, the wheat that they source, they do not want it if they know that it has been sprayed with glyphosate in particular, they, if they know it, they will not buy it. So while it may be legal to do it, I would definitely check with your local elevator before you just, you know, and then you gotta follow the label. Yeah, it's gotta be, I think it's a seven day pre-harvest interval and the grain has to be at a certain moisture or down to a certain moisture content before you can use it, you'd have to follow the label guidance on there. Hey Dennis, we have a couple of questions in the question and answer. So one question from Larry was, how long did the fungicide delay harvest in general? I mean, the ones that are really keeping the stay green there. Yes. So that's a good question. So part of it is the stem will stay green longer even though the grain is starting to dry down. But I would say it's probably going to delay. It can delay up to 5-7 days even the dry down. And that's probably the one that has the most stay green effect that I've noticed is the Miravis Ace. So the other ones are less. So maybe maybe 2-3 days on them compared to untreated control. But yeah. Yeah, we're good now that same, same problem with the tar spot stuff. Sometimes it stays green on some of those, even though, you know, they, they really kinda keep that were already having. Combines chugging through pretty good, pretty good width now for header, header width. So it really can add some energy to that. And Elder asked again. You mentioned that a healthy crown root is necessary for good nutrient uptake and reduction of lodging. Is there any management practice to improve to really manage for a strong crown root. And what can be done before planting in the crop to enable strong, crown root formation. So, yeah, so one thing that's important is starter fertilizer. Make sure you get your phosphorous out there and worked into the soil. Our neighbors in Ontario are strong promoters of putting phosphorous in the furrow with the seed. We've done some studies here that show that you don't necessarily have to do it as long as you're getting the phosphorus out there. That's important. The other thing is seed treatment. If there are some diseases like Rizok and Septoria out there, there are some crown diseases in wheat and we had some of that show up here and there. Usually that occurs in a wet fall. So make sure you have good seed treatment on the seed. If it's been run seed that you're saved and then you have somebody coming to treat it. The coverage on every seed is important. So make sure that when they treat that seed that you grab a handful of seed look at all the seeds, make sure that you get a good uniform treatment on all the seeds. So between seed treatment, starter fertilizer and then making sure you get your seed planted at the right depth, probably inch and a quarter, inch and a half as your target planting depth for wheat to get that crown in the soil so that you get the best anchorage for it and then just make sure you manage diseases. So Dennis, I know another practice you guys been using down here is instead of putting wheat through a dryer, necessarily is if we get especially a hot summer, they just run air through it. Yeah. Is that, has that worked in most cases or I mean, what would be some considerations for air drying wheat, just with bin air? Yeah. So you can do that. The humidity and temperature outside has a pretty good sized impact on how much you can dry it. And you're still gotta get your grain down probably in that 16 or 17 percent range in order to just run air on it and not add any heat to get it dry. But the warmer the temperature and the lower the humidity, you can get it dried down even to 14% with just running air on it. There's some charts out there. And I could look up and send out to if anybody wanted it. That shows how much you can dry grain what the starting moisture would be at a given moisture or a humidity and temperature, how far you can get it dried down just by running air on it. And it has different humidities, temperatures in there, how much you can dry it down. So yeah, there's quite a few people that do that. Just blow some air on it. It seems to improve test wait a little bit, as well and they tend to get a little bit less dockage at the elevator, less shrink at the elevator when they take it, if they blow air on it at home. Yeah. I think that's good comments. I think we've seen a bunch that too. We are. The other thing that was going to ask you this year, since we had some pretty high sprout levels is does blowing either air through that or running that through the dryer, does that help with any of the marketability on that? and I know it's you got sprouts, you got sprouts, but it makes you wonder a little bit if that wouldn't clean some of the green material up? Yes. So if you have visible sprouts, if you can see the little hairs coming off from the kernels, then there's really nothing you can do. And it's just too far gone. If you can't see any visible sprout, but you got docked for high falling or for a poor falling number, I'm sorry. Falling number. The higher the number, the better. The lower the number, the worse it is. And what that is is it's a measure of fall or Alpha amylase activity in the seed. So what can happen over time? And there's a USDA report out from Dr. Byung-Kee Baik at the Wooster quality lab down in Ohio. He had some rrain under storage and he tested falling number going in. and he added just ambient air, added some heat to it at different temperatures and then checked it over time to see what happened to the falling number. And the Alpha amylase activity did stabilize and reduce and he was able to see a slight improvement in falling numbers. But if you've got falling numbers below 200, 150, or even lower than that, you're not going to get it up to a quality high enough if you've got falling numbers around say, 200 or so, I think storing it, you might be able to over three or four months or even six months. If you can leave it in there that long, you might get it up to 240. Were there that that's the point at which a lot of elevators start discounting the grain. But I had a lot of people tell me that, well, my wheat bins gotta be empty before corn harvest, so I can't store it that long. No, I can understand too. So it's been one of those one of those things. I know it was a disappointing year for folks and they just got into that just got caught in the vice basically with a weather just getting worse and worse. Yeah. And I had one guy tell me said there were seven days of combining and if you couldn't get it done, you waited two weeks after that and you couldn't get in the field again? Yeah. So that's when the quality and the sprouting occurred is during that period. It was just miserable to try to get it out. Well, are there any other questions for Dennis or Lyndon for that, I don't see anything in the chat. I think we're past one o'clock. Unless if people have questions, please send them to us. We, if you get them to me or Younsuk and they're for Dennis we'll send them his way. Bruce and Eric are out there. They'd be glad to talk to people. Let us know what we can do to help. Thank you to all the speakers today. The third Wednesday in September, our speaker is going to be DEQ. I'm sorry, I should say EGLE and it will be Bruce helped me out. Andy LeBaron. Andy LeBaron from EGLE talking about the site-specific review process. And then we'll have a few other items also. So hope to see you. And we can talk about irrigation, irrigation expansion investments at that time too. Thank you Dennis I appreciate your work. Yeah Dennis we really appreciate you coming to talk a little bit about this its certainly is one of those areas. I guess. One last question as I was as I ramble on here. We talked a little bit about using wheat as a way and rye cover as a way to reduce competition from marestail, which is our worst herbicide resistant weeds at least our worse, acres of that. Have you seen that in the stuff that you've done two? Is there much marestail that comes through in through those wheat. I know know the the the the plants that come up in the fall are really usually the toughest ones to control. So. Yeah, so when you have a crop canopy there, the wheat really will hold back marestail. And then after harvest, what happens is those little rosettes that you see down in the canopy that really aren't growing and doing very much while you take that wheat off and open that canopy and those things just blossom and boom. And within two weeks, you know, you got a 15 inch tall marestail problem. And Christy just did some work on controlling those post-harvest after wheat and she's got some really good data on some options and not everything will control it. Some of them get spare control. And but she just presented that research to the Wheat Board yesterday. So I suspect she'll have some of that information coming out and in a news article or a bulletin here before long. It's not published yet. I'm sure she would share the information if we asked her to, but yeah, she has some products that will take out that marestail. Fantastic. Yeah. All right, guys. Thanks so much again for for everything. I appreciate it. All right. Yeah. If you if you have any questions come up here, you know, and you need me to answer, just let me know. I'd be happy to do that. Thanks, everybody. Have a great day.