Grain Plant Hours for September 28 & 29

The Adams grain plant will be open on Saturday, September 28, from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. and by appointment. The Mauston, West Salem, and Tomah grain plants will be open by appointment only. Please call the following numbers for service this weekend.

Adams grain plant: (608) 339-0357

Mauston grain plant: (608)547-8302

Tomah grain plant: (608)547-6149

West Salem grain plant: (608)799-3622

– David Rappa, Director of Grain

Soybean harvest under way

The soybean harvest has taken off in the area. I just talked with a grower west of Galesville and they are opening up some fields as we speak. He said they are definitely dry enough and to plan on soil sampling everything early next week. Fall is a great time to get all of your soil sampling completed. A few key things to remember about sampling this fall: sample the fields prior to any tillage, and before any manure, fertilizer, or lime is applied. This way you get an accurate sample. A corn field was also recently harvested up this way, the moisture ranged from 16% to 31% and test weights from 49 to 52.

– Rob Shields, Agronomist

More rain last night & taking a crop of alfalfa in mid-September

I got 1.5 inches in my gauge when I checked it this morning, from yesterday & last night. Well we could have really used this rain 6 weeks ago for our soybean crop. But this rain will definitely help the wheat that has been planted recently and any fall seeded alfalfa. Someone asked me yesterday if they can take a crop of alfalfa now. The quick answer is I prefer that you don’t. If you need the feed then you will need to take a cutting, but if there is not a strong need or another crop at your operation it is a lot easier on the stand to leave it alone after September 1st. When you take a late cutting now, you are forcing that plant to use more energy above ground instead of storing up reserves for winter. If you do take a cutting please be sure that your potassium levels are adequate to help build up energy for the upcoming 6 months. I ran into a grower that was still seeding alfalfa yesterday. In my opinion it is getting a little late, but he said the seed he planted a few weeks ago is just coming up so this new batch will not be far behind.

– Rob Shields, Agronomist

A new soybean disease enters Wisconsin: Soybean Vein Necrosis Disease (SVND)

Soybean Vein Necrosis Disease

Soybean Vein Necrosis Disease (source:

Soybean diseases are always hard to diagnose. I use the color picture guides as a reference but if I cannot positively identify them I usually send down a sample to the UW Plant Disease Diagnostic clinic for a positive identification. Remember a virus, like the soybean vein necrosis virus, cannot be controlled with a fungicide. The best way to prevent a soybean virus is to keep the thrips away from your crop. Thrips infect the soybean plants when they feed upon them, similar to how mosquitoes transmit the west Nile virus. No matter what disease you suspect you may encounter out in your soybean fields, the best defense is a having a strong, well-fed plant with as few stressors acting upon it as possible.

I found the following article by Damon Smith (Extension Field Crops Pathologist, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison) in the recent edition of the Wisconsin Crop Manager to be very insightful.

In 2012 soybean vein necrosis disease (SVND) was described for the first time in Wisconsin. This is a relatively new disease of soybean, which is caused by Soybean vein necrosis virus (SVNV). SVNV was first described in 2008 in the Mid-south soybean production region. Since then, SVND has been found in much of the major soybean production region of the U.S. including the North Central region.

SVNV is a Tospovirus similar to Tomato spotted wilt virus. It is the first Tospovirus known to infect soybean. Tospoviruses are known to be very destructive on other plant crops, therefore, there is a lot of interest in determining the importance of SVNV in soybean production systems. Very little is actually understood about the epidemiology and also the management of SVND. Researchers around the country are working on various aspects of the system and several state and regional soybean commodity boards have funded research on SVND.

Recently Zhou and Tzanetakis (2013) described some of the first studies on the epidemiology of SVNV. Their findings suggest that SVNV is like other Tospoviruses in that it is primarily transmitted by thrips vectors. Soybean thrips are a commonly occurring insect in the Mid-south and were used in their studies to demonstrate that the virus can be transmitted via thrips vectors. In Wisconsin, soybean thrips are not as common. However, other species of thrips can be found in soybean fields depending on the time of the season. Through funding granted by the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing board, our laboratory is currently monitoring thrips populations in soybean fields around the state. We are evaluating thrips species and populations over time through trapping methods. We are also surveying these fields for SVND severity and documenting any variety resistance in soybean cultivars commonly grown in Wisconsin. Finally, we have separate trials were we are evaluating yield loss due to SVNV. Our research will complement research in other states and the results will be used to develop and disseminate management recommendations for SVND in the North Central Region over the next several years.


– Rob Shields, Agronomist

Agronomy Update

Well I finally got some rain at my place after 6 weeks. I had just under an inch from Saturday night into Sunday morning. It’s not a surprise that August 2013 was the 40th driest month out of the last 119 years in Wisconsin. We were, however, near normal for temperature. See charts below. (Charts & photos received from our regional agronomist Michael J Weiss, Ph.D. of Monsanto.)


Shawn Conley at the University of Wisconsin developed the following map to help show the median dates of the first frost in Wisconsin. As you can see, 50% of the time over the last 29 years or 15 years out of 29, we had 32 degrees by these date windows. So in my home county of Juneau, half the time we would have gotten a frost of 32 degrees by the 21st  to 30th of September. To see the progress of crops across the country, download this PDF:


Dr. Weiss took this picture in Central part of the state, at a field day, classic anthracnose stalk rot symptoms on the stalk. We need to continue to watch our fields and prioritize that harvest schedule not based on grain moisture as much as stalk condition this year. To read more about corn stalk rot identification and scouting, download this PDF from Monsanto:


Have a safe and productive harvest!

– Rob Shields, Agronomist

For more

Corn silage moisture dropping fast!

One of our sales agronomists at Mauston checked some corn silage fields today and dried down 4 different samples today in our microwave. The samples ranged from 62 to 67% moisture, so it is time to harvest these fields and many others. Please check your fields now or ask one of our feed or agronomy specialists for assistance. Please have a safe corn silage harvest season.

– Rob Shields, Agronomist

Pockets of soybean aphids found…

Soybean aphids found north of Galesville today.

Soybean aphids found north of Galesville today.

We were out scouting some soybean fields north of Galesville today and found some pockets of aphid pressure. Please remember to be checking your fields on a regular basis.

On a related note, here is a pop quiz for the day: Is the insect pictured below a friend or foe?

Lady beetle Larvae

Click to enlarge photo.

The answer? Friend! This little guy is actually the larval stage of the lady beetle. The lady beetle eats soybean aphids. Remember with the insects the stages are egg, larvae, pupa, and adult.

– Rob Shields, Agronomist

Mauston Grain Plant Fully Operational

The Mauston Grain Plant is up and running and ready to meet all of your needs during the upcoming fall harvest.  While we did close the plant recently to make repairs, the site is once again fully operational.  Customers shouldn’t notice any changes or delays.

We look forward to working with you during the busy harvest season ahead.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Mauston Grain Plant, please call Ray Demaskie at (608) 847-5212 or David Rappa at (608) 372-2090.

Insect activity found today…

Near Galesville today I found my first Western Bean Cutworm Egg Mass. The moth counts are very low this year. We put out 5 pheromone traps and have found very few this season. I also found a fair number of Corn Rootworm beetles feeding on the fresh silks today. Please keep a watchful eye on your corn fields during the critical pollination phase. The published threshold is “when silk clipping is occurring on 25% or more of the plants during pollen shed.” Also, if this field will be corn next year, it is best to plan your management strategy to combat this pest now due to the fact that they will be laying eggs now to attack next year’s corn crop. Please let us know if you have questions on any of these issues. Thank you.

– Rob Shields, Agronomist

Western bean cutworm egg masses.

Western bean cutworm egg masses.

Corn rootworm beetle feeding.

Corn rootworm beetle feeding.

Corn rootworm beetle feeding.

Corn rootworm beetle feeding.