Weather: Although March may have started out like a lamb, several agricultural forecasts predict that the majority of the month will be cooler and wetter than average. If accurate, this will have an impact on any last-minute crop planning choices and whether or not to keep winter wheat.
Farm trucks needed for pesticide class: For a class on March 17 at Monroe County Community College, two farm trucks, one with a trailer of spray and/or fuel tanks or with pesticide spraying equipment, are required. Farmers who volunteer to bring a semi-tractor and trailer or a straight truck with a tank in the bed will not be charged the $35 registration fee. The class starts at nine in the morning. to 3:30 p.m. and has been granted six re-certification credits. Two officers from the Michigan State Police’s Motor Carrier Division will lead the class on a morning truck discussion and tour.
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A demonstration of sprayer and tractor calibration will take place in the afternoon. The groundwater flow model demonstration will be given at Founders Hall on the MCCC campus by Emma Campbell, a Monroe/Wayne County MAEAP technician. Dial 734-384-4229 to pay and register at MCCC. Call Ned Birkey at 734-260-3442 if you want to learn more about the trucks or the class.
Why do drones spray? This was among the hot topics of discussion at the Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo and again at the Ohio State Corn and Soybean Day. For more valuable crops, like small fruits, drones might be the best option for spot spraying. However, if planes or high boy sprayers are already booked, people are also inquiring about spraying, including for tar spot in corn.
There are several things to take into account. Spray drones are first and foremost expensive and have a very small tank capacity. The second step is obtaining the required FAA license and approvals to fly a drone. Obtaining the required pesticide certification comes in third. The fourth is to let airports know about drone spraying in the area, such as Toledo Express, Monroe, Detroit Metro, Willow Run, or other airports. Fifth, report any drones near Fermi 2 to DTE.
Years ago, I was contacted by the FBI inquiring if any farmers had made aerial spray applications near either power plant the day before the call. Next, the Michigan Department o Agriculture and Rural Development requires that all pesticide application equipment be calibrated at least once a year. Spray droplet penetration into the crop canopy may be hampered by the turbulence created by the drones’ propellers. The C.O.R.N. features a fantastic article by Ohio State’s Erdal Ozkan. Newsletter: 2023-05 and has a publication: FABE-540 titled “Drones for Pesticide Spraying: Opportunities and Challenges.” Visit ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/fabe-540 to download a free PDF copy of this publication.
Early season lawn care tips: People start thinking more about the outdoors and lawns now that we are in the meteorological spring. Scotts Co. from Ohio has some top spring lawn care tips. The mower should first be tuned up and the blade(s) sharpened. Rake the dead grass into the garden or compost pile after clearing the yard of debris. The main early season weed is crabgrass, a perennial that needs to be controlled before the topsoil reaches 60 degrees, or just before forsythia blooms. To prevent damaging newly seeded grass, wait until the seedlings are at least 3 inches tall before mowing over bare or thin areas. A great suggestion in any case is to mow high, which, according to Michigan State University turf specialists, will help crowd out weeds without the use of pesticides. Dandelions are typically a spring weed that can be controlled with a broadleaf product combination or by including them in a weed and feed granular application.