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Information about AG1303

Published on March 10, 2008

Author: Hillary


AG 1303: Principles of Agronomy:  AG 1303: Principles of Agronomy Production principles of field crops and horticulture crops with emphasis on harvesting, economics, varieties, disease and pest control, planting and harvesting methods, cultural practices, irrigation and weed control. Agronomy:  Agronomy A branch of agriculture dealing with field crop production and soil management. Introduction to Plants :  Introduction to Plants The kingdom Plantae encompasses water-dwelling red and green algae as well as terrestrial plants, which have evolved to support themselves outside of the aquatic environment of their ancestors. The terrestrial plants, which include bryophytes (mosses) as well as the more highly evolved vascular plants, called tracheophytes. Introduction to Plants :  Introduction to Plants As a consequence of their move onto land, terrestrial plants require structures that support their weight, prevent desiccation (drying out), aid in reproduction, and transport water, nutrients, and the products of photosynthesis throughout the parts of the plant. Bryophytes have not yet made the complete transition to land, and are thus still dependent upon a moist environment to assist in reproduction and nutrient transport. The more highly evolved tracheophytes, on the other hand, have developed internal systems of transport and support called vascular systems, which have allowed them to become fully terrestrial. Common Plant Characteristics:  Common Plant Characteristics As explored in Common Plant Characteristics , most terrestrial plants (both bryophytes and tracheophytes) share some general structural and functional features. Plant bodies are divided into two regions, the underground root portion and the aerial shoot portion (including stem, leaves, flowers, and fruits). These different regions of the plant are dependent on each other, as each performs different essential functions. Common Plant Characteristics:  Common Plant Characteristics Land plants also share certain more specific adaptations that are essential to survival out of water. These include an impermeable waxy cuticle on the outer aerial surfaces, jacket cells around the reproductive organs, and stomata that allow gas exchange without risking excessive water loss. All Plants are also autotrophic, meaning that they produce their own food and do not use other organisms to supply organic nutrients the way animals do. Finally, the life cycle of plants follows a pattern called the alternation of generations, in which they fluctuate between haploid and diploid generations and sexual and asexual modes of reproduction. Plant Classification:  Plant Classification Terrestrial plants, as noted above, are classified as bryophytes and tracheophytes. Bryophytes, such as mosses and liverworts, are still dependent on a moist environment for reproductive and nutritive functions even though they are technically "terrestrial." Bryophytes also have very little internal support, limiting the heights to which they can grow. Plant Classification:  Plant Classification As a phylum, Bryophytes, are lower on the evolutionary scale than tracheophytes, which have adapted completely to life on land. Tracheophytes (also known as vascular plants) possess well-developed vascular systems, which are comprised of tissues that form internal passageways through which water and dissolved nutrients can traverse the entire plant. Plant Classification:  Plant Classification Vascular plants are thus far less reliant on moist environments for survival. At the same time, Vascular systems also provide a strong system of support to the plant, allowing some tracheophytes to grow to immense heights. The tracheophytes can be further broken down into two kinds of seed-producing plants, gymnosperms (conifers) and angiosperms (flowering plants). Plant Classification:  Plant Classification The male gametes of gymnosperms and angiosperms are carried by pollen; each of these types of plants also produce seeds, which protect the embryos inside from drying out in a terrestrial environment. Angiosperms, with their flowers and fruits, have adapted even further to the terrestrial environment: flowers, by attracting insects and other pollen-bearing animals, aid in the transfer of pollen to female reproductive organs. Angiosperm fruits, developed from ovaries, protect the seeds and help in their dispersal. Finally, angiosperms themselves are divided into two classes--monocots and dicots--based on differences in embryonic development, root structure, flower petal arrangement, and other factors. Structures and Functions:  Structures and Functions The seed, which develops from an ovule after fertilization has occurred, surrounds the plant embryo and protects it from desiccation. Each seed consists of an embryo, food source, and protective outer coat, and can lie dormant for some time before germinating. The roots of a plant function in the storage of nutrients, the acquisition of water and minerals (from the soil), and the anchoring of the plant to the substrate. Structures and Functions:  Structures and Functions Tiny root hairs, which extend from the root surface, provide the plant with a huge total absorptive surface and are responsible for most of the plant's water and mineral intake. Plant stems (or trunks, as they are called in trees) function primarily in nutrient transport and physical support. The leaves contain chlorophyll and are the major sites of photosynthesis and gas exchange. Flowers contain the reproductive organs of angiosperms. Essential Processes:  Essential Processes Plants carry out a number of processes that are essential to their survival. Internal water and sugar transport are largely carried out within the vascular system, ensuring that the entire plant receives water and food even though these materials are brought in or produced only in certain parts of the plant. Essential Processes:  Essential Processes Plant hormones determine the timing and occurrence of many of the processes of the plant, from germination to tissue growth to reproduction. Plants can also respond to light, touch, and gravity in various ways. Life Cycle:  Life Cycle The life cycle of plants depends upon the alternation of generations, the fluctuation between the diploid (sporophyte) and haploid (gametophyte) life stages. Reproduction in most plants can occur both sexually and asexually. In sexual reproduction, fertilization occurs when a male gamete (sperm cell) joins with an egg cell to produce a zygote. Life Cycle:  Life Cycle In gymnosperms and angiosperms (the seed plants), the ovule containing the egg cell becomes a seed after fertilization has occurred. In angiosperms (flowering plants), the embryo is given added protection by an ovary, which develops into a fruit. Plants can also reproduce asexually through vegetative propagation, a process in which plants produce genetically identical offshoots (clones) of themselves, which then develop into independent plants. This asexual means of reproduction can occur naturally through specialized structures such as tubers, runners, and bulbs or artificially through grafting. Classification Based on Life Span :  Classification Based on Life Span From a horticultural perspective, life span is a function of climate and usage. Many garden plants (including tomatoes and geraniums) grown as annuals in Colorado would be perennials in climates without freezing winter temperatures. Annuals:  Annuals Complete their life cycle (from seedling to setting seed) within a SINGLE growing season. However, the growing season may be from fall to summer, not just spring to fall. These plants come back from seeds only. Summer annuals:  Summer annuals Germinate from seed in the spring and complete flowering and seed production by fall, followed by plant death, usually due to cold temperatures. Their growing season is from spring to fall. Examples: marigolds, squash, and crabgrass. These are also called warm season annuals. Winter annuals:  Winter annuals Germinate from seed in the fall, with flowering and seed development the following spring, followed by plant death. Their growing season is from fall to summer. Examples: winter wheat and annual bluegrass. These are also referred to as cool season annuals. Many weeds in the lawn (such as chickweed and annual bluegrass) are winter annuals. Biennials:  Biennials Germinate from seed during the growing season and often produce an over-wintering storage root or bulb the first summer. Quite often they maintain a rosette growth habit the first season, meaning that all the leaves are basal. They flower and develop seeds the second summer, followed by death. Biennials:  Biennials In the garden setting, we grow many biennials as annuals (e.g., carrots, onions, and beets) because we are more interested in the root than the bloom. Some biennial flowers may be grown as short-lived perennials (e.g., hollyhocks). Perennials:  Perennials Live through several growing seasons, and can survive a period of dormancy between growing seasons. These plants regenerate from root systems or protected buds, in addition to seeds. Perennials:  Perennials Herbaceous perennials develop over-wintering woody tissue only at the base of shoots (e.g. peony and hosta) or have underground storage structures from which new stems are produced. (Please note: Golden Vicary Privet can be either herbaceous or woody as grown in Colorado.) Perennials:  Perennials Spring ephemerals have a relatively short growing season but return next season from underground storage organs (e.g. bleeding heart, daffodils). Woody perennials develop over-wintering tissue along woody stems and in buds, (e.g. most trees and shrubs grown in Colorado). Combination plants are usually classified as annual, biennial or perennial on the basis of the plant part that lives the longest. For example, raspberries have biennial canes and perennial roots Classification by Climatic Requirements: Temperature Requirements:  Classification by Climatic Requirements: Temperature Requirements Tropical plants originate in tropical climates with a year-round summer like growing season without freezing temperatures. Examples include cocoa, cashew and macadamia nuts, bananas, mango, papaya, and pineapple. Classification by Climatic Requirements: Temperature Requirements:  Classification by Climatic Requirements: Temperature Requirements Sub-tropical plants cannot tolerate severe winter temperatures but need some winter chilling. Examples include citrus, dates, figs, and olives. Temperate-zone plants require a cold winter season as well as summer growing season and are adapted to survive temperatures considerably below freezing point. Examples include apples, cherries, peaches, maples, cottonwoods, and aspen. In temperate zones, tropical and sub-tropical plants are grown as annuals and houseplants. Classification by Climatic Requirements: Temperature Requirements:  Classification by Climatic Requirements: Temperature Requirements Cool season plants thrive in cool temperatures (40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit daytime temperatures) and are somewhat tolerant of light frosts. Examples include Kentucky bluegrass, peas, lettuce, and pansies. Warm season plants thrive in warm temperatures (65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit daytime temperatures) and are intolerant of cool temperatures. Examples include corn, tomatoes and squash. Classification by Climatic Requirements: Temperature Requirements:  Classification by Climatic Requirements: Temperature Requirements Tender plants are intolerant of cool temperatures, frost and cold winds. Examples include most summer annuals, including impatiens, squash, and tomatoes. Hardy plants are tolerant of cool temperatures, light frost and cold winds (e.g., spring flowering bulbs, spring-flowering perennials, peas, lettuce). Classification by Climatic Requirements: Temperature Requirements:  Classification by Climatic Requirements: Temperature Requirements Hardiness refers to a plant’s tolerance to winter climatic conditions. Factors that influence hardiness include minimum temperature, recent temperature patterns, water supply, wind and sun exposure, genetic makeup, and carbohydrate reserves. Cold hardiness zone refers to the average annual minimum temperature for a geographic area. Temperature is only one factor that influences a plant’s winter hardiness. The USDA Hardiness zone map: Classification by Climatic Requirements: Temperature Requirements:  Classification by Climatic Requirements: Temperature Requirements Heat zone refers to the accumulation of heat, a primary factor on how fast crops grow and what crops are suitable for any given area. This is only one factor that influences a plant’s heat tolerance. On a heat zone map, the Colorado Front Range falls into zones 5 to 7. Soil Functions:  Soil Functions The soil FURNISHES nutrients, minerals, water, and support for plants. No plants, no us! The soil FILTERS water removing toxins and pollutants. The soil RECYCLES materials, organisms Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Nitrogen compounds. Soil Functions (continued)::  Soil Functions (continued): The soil is used for the ENGINEERING of roads, ponds, buildings, and basically the foundation of all production. The soil provides an ECOSYSTEM or home for decomposers, bacteria, fungi, and animals. Soil Texture:  Soil Texture Soil Texture is the physical make-up of the soil. The particles of soil themselves. When we talk texture, we mean: SAND: particles of soil from 2mm-.05mm SILT: particles of soil from .05mm- .002mm CLAY: particles of soil from .002mm-.001mm Particles are rarely found smaller than .001mm; however, if found they are called Golloids. Soil Texture: (Repetition is the Mother of Learning)::  Soil Texture: (Repetition is the Mother of Learning): Sand: the largest particles of soil (2mm-.05mm) Silt: .05mm- .002mm Clay: the smallest particles of soil (.002mm-smaller than .001mm) Golloids are the smallest particles of clay Soil Texture (continued)::  Soil Texture (continued): Particles of soil larger than 2mm are considered rock. Can anyone tell what three types/kind of rock are found? Igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic Rock:  Rock Igneous: is produced from silicon Sedimentary: is produced from Calcium Carbon Metamorphic: produced by limestone, granite, and shell. Soil Factors:  Soil Factors Soil texture can be determined easiest when it is moist. Sand is gritty when rubbed between the thumb and index finger. Silt feels floury and velvety. Clay usually forms lumps or clods when dry, and is usually like plastic and sticky when wet. Soil Factors:  Soil Factors Coarse- Textured Soil: soil is loose, very friable, and individual sand grains can be seen or felt. This is sand-box sand. Moderately Coarse- Textured Soil: soil is gritty but contains enough silt and clay to make moist soil form a mold. Soil Factors:  Soil Factors Medium- Textured: soil may feel slightly gritty, smooth or velvety when moist. The soil can form a mold that will retain shape but will not ribbon. Moderately- Textured: soil usually breaks into clods or lumps when dry. This soil will ribbon when moist; however, the ribbon will tend to break and flex downward. Soil Factors:  Soil Factors Fine- Textured: soil will form very hard lumps or clods when dry, but will be plastic and sticky when wet. The soil will ribbon and it will support itself. Soil Structure:  Soil Structure Soil Structure refers to the layers found in soil. The combinations of particles or arrangement of them. Levels of the soil are expressed as horizons. These horizons are the structure, and when they are viewed they are Soil Profiles. Soil Structure (continued):  Soil Structure (continued) O Horizon - The top, organic layer of soil, made up mostly of leaf litter and humus (decomposed organic matter). A Horizon - The layer called topsoil; it is found below the O horizon and above the E horizon. Seeds germinate and plant roots grow in this dark-colored layer. It is made up of humus (decomposed organic matter) mixed with mineral particles. E Horizon - This eluviation (leaching) layer is light in color; this layer is beneath the A Horizon and above the B Horizon. It is made up mostly of sand and silt, having lost most of its minerals and clay as water drips through the soil (in the process of eluviation). . Soil Structure (continued):  Soil Structure (continued) B Horizon - Also called the subsoil - this layer is beneath the E Horizon and above the C Horizon. It contains clay and mineral deposits (like iron, aluminum oxides, and calcium carbonate) that it receives from layers above it when mineralized water drips from the soil above. C Horizon - Also called regolith: the layer beneath the B Horizon and above the R Horizon. It consists of slightly broken-up bedrock. Plant roots do not penetrate into this layer; very little organic material is found in this layer. R Horizon - The unweathered rock (bedrock) layer that is beneath all the other layers Science and Agriculture:  Science and Agriculture Science is the study of or the explanation of natural phenomena. Agriculture is the most important of all sciences because we depend on agriculture for basic survival needs. With out soil there would be no plants, with out plants there would be no animals, and you are an animal. Growing plants:  Growing plants Plants provide our food with food, us with food, and clothing. But what else do plants provide us with? Medicines, vaccines, antibodies… LIFE! The Importance of Plants in Our Daily Lives:  The Importance of Plants in Our Daily Lives Plants provide us with the basis of survival. Wheat and Barley are among the oldest known cultivated crops. Plants can thrive without people and animals; however, people and animals can NOT survive without plants. Plants provide us with food, oxygen, fossil fuels, and prevent the erosion of soil. Importance of Plants (continued):  Importance of Plants (continued) Herbivores consume approximately 10% of the plant biomass produced in a typical food chain. Carnivores capture and consume about 10% of the energy stored by the herbivores. The Significance of the Binomial System of Naming Plants:  The Significance of the Binomial System of Naming Plants There are over 500,000 different recognized plants in the world. The Binomial System was developed by Carolus Linnaeus. The Significance of the Binomial System of Naming Plants (continued):  The Significance of the Binomial System of Naming Plants (continued) First word is the genus Second word is the species Third word is the authority of abbreviation The Four Major Plant Parts:  The Four Major Plant Parts Roots Stems Leaves Flowers Plant Root:  Plant Root Underground parts of most plants Absorb water and minerals Store starch as food reserve Anchor the plant Root Systems:  Root Systems Taproots have a dominant main segment and are a characteristic of many dicot plants Fibrous roots have no dominant segment The Function of Root Hairs:  The Function of Root Hairs Root hairs are found behind the root cap They absorb moisture and minerals which are conducted to the larger roots and stem of the plant Root Hairs:  Root Hairs Root Hairs:  Root Hairs Stems:  Stems Act as channels through which water and photosynthetic food products pass. Stems may be above or below ground Above Ground Stems:  Above Ground Stems Small Stems: carrots and dandelion Climbing Stems: ivy and pod beans Creeping Stems (Stolons): bentgrass Below Ground Stems:  Below Ground Stems Tubers: potatoes Bulbs: tulip and crocus Rhizomes: zoysiagrass Leaves:  Leaves Make Food for the Plant The Function of the Phloem:  The Function of the Phloem Phloem is active in conducting photosynthetic sugars from the leaves to the root The Function of the Xylem:  The Function of the Xylem The xylem conducts water and minerals from the soil to above ground plant parts Monocots and Dicots:  Monocots and Dicots Plants having a single cotyledon (seed leaf) are monocots Plants having more than one cotyledon Student Assignment: Compare and contrast the difference in seed leafs between corn and green beans. Types of Leaf Arrangements:  Types of Leaf Arrangements The Function of the Stoma:  The Function of the Stoma Stomas are openings within the epidermis They allow air to enter the leaf and water vapor and oxygen to move out The Function of the Guard Cell:  The Function of the Guard Cell One of the two epidermal cells in a plant leaf Guard Cells enclose a stome The Function of the Chloroplasts:  The Function of the Chloroplasts Chloroplasts are plastids containing chlorophyll Absorb energy of light Separate H (hydrogen) from 02 (oxygen) in a molecule of H2 O (water) Respiration:  Respiration Opposite of Photosynthesis Respiration is the release of energy from a plant that was captured and stored by photosynthesis Equation of Respiration: C6H1206 + 6H2O + 6O2 = 6CO2 + 12H2O + energy Transpiration:  Transpiration Transpiration is the upward pull of water started by the evaporation of molecules Photosynthesis:  Photosynthesis Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants manufacture food Light Energy (solar) is converted to chemical energy Photosynthesis Equation 6CO2 + 6H2O =sunlight= C6H12O6 + 6O2 Flowers:  Flowers Protection (sepals are the outer most part of the flower that protect its internal parts). Pollination (petals attract insects with nectar) Fertilization (stamens = male, pistil = female) Parts of Flowers:  Parts of Flowers Flowers are important in making seeds. Flowers can be made up of different parts, but there are some parts that are basic equipment. The main flower parts are the male part called the stamen and the female part called the pistil Parts of Flowers:  Parts of Flowers Other parts of the flower that are important are the petals and sepals. Petals attract pollinators and are usually the reason why we buy and enjoy flowers. The sepals are the green petal-like parts at the base of the flower. Sepals help protect the developing bud. Parts of Flowers:  Parts of Flowers Flowers can have either all male parts, all female parts, or a combination. Flowers with all male or all female parts are called imperfect (cucumbers, pumpkin and melons). Flowers that have both male and female parts are called perfect (roses, lilies, dandelion). Parts of Flowers:  Parts of Flowers A complete flower has a stamen, a pistil, petals, and sepals. An incomplete flower is missing one of the four major parts of the flower, the stamen, pistil, petals, or sepals. Parts of Flowers:  Parts of Flowers The stamen has two parts: anthers and filaments. The anthers carry the pollen. These are generally yellow in color. Anthers are held up by a thread-like part called a filament. Parts of Flowers:  Parts of Flowers The pistil has three parts: stigma, style, and ovary. The stigma is the sticky surface at the top of the pistil; it traps and holds the pollen. The style is the tube-like structure that holds up the stigma. The style leads down to the ovary that contains the ovules. Field Crops:  Field Crops Cotton:  Cotton “Fabric of History” The History of Cotton:  The History of Cotton Scientists and historians have found shreds of cloth or written reference to cotton dating back at least seven-thousand years.  The oldest discovery was made in a Mexican cave, where scientists unearthed bits and pieces of cotton bolls and cloth. The History of Cotton:  The History of Cotton English colonists first cultivated cotton to make homespun clothing. Production significantly increased when the American Revolution cut off supplies of European cloth, but the real expansion of production came with the rising demand for raw cotton from the British textile industry. This led to the development of an efficient cotton gin as a tool for removing seeds from cotton fibers in 1793. The breeding of superior strains from Mexican cotton and the opening of western lands further expanded production. Revolutionizing the Cotton Industry:  Revolutionizing the Cotton Industry Eli Whitney saw the need for a faster means of removing the lint (cotton fibers) from the seed.  In 1793, he patented a machine known as the cotton gin.  This invention revolutionized the way lint was separated from the seed.  Up to that time, for centuries, the separation process had all been done by hand.  With Whitney's gin, short for the word engine, lint volume was increased for each worker from 1 lb. To 50 lbs. per day. The Cotton Belt:  The Cotton Belt The Cotton Belt spans the southern half of the Unites States, from Virginia to California. Cotton is grown in 17 states and is a major crop in 14. Economic Impact:  Economic Impact Cotton was, above all, a crucial factor in the nation's economic development. Production rose from 2 million pounds in 1791 to a billion pounds in 1860; by 1840, the United States was producing over 60 percent of the world's cotton. The economic boom in the cotton South attracted migrants, built up wealth among the free inhabitants, encouraged capitalization of investments like railroads, and facilitated territorial expansion. Economic Impact:  Economic Impact The crop comprised more than half the total value of domestic exports in the period 1815-1860, and in 1860, earnings from cotton paid for 60 percent of all imports. Cotton also built up domestic capital, attracted foreign investment, and contributed to the industrial growth of the North. Economical Impact:  Economical Impact Slavery contributed, but was not essential in the success of cotton production. Economical Impact:  Economical Impact By the 1830s, the South's political economy—resting on cotton and slaves—was a key factor in sectional tension between North and South. Although slavery was not necessary for growing cotton (three-quarters of southern whites held no slaves, and much of the South's cotton was produced by free workers), southern whites assumed that slavery was an efficient method of increasing production, and they wanted to take slaves wherever cotton might be grown. Economical Impact:  Economical Impact Out of the disarray that followed emancipation, southern landowners constructed new forms of servitude—tenantry and sharecropping. These coercive institutions (involving the extension of goods or credit to rural inhabitants in exchange for their labor) controlled poor whites as well as newly freed blacks. Rural poverty, overproduction, and the resulting low prices for cotton all contributed to the South's postwar stagnation. The region's woes increased after 1894 with the arrival of the boll weevil, which savaged cotton crops. Pesticides:  Pesticides The cotton crop is a major consumer of pesticides, with generally around 10% of the end-user market value, which in 1994 amounted to US$2,550 million The most important insecticides, those with a minimum 5% share of the market, were deltamethrin, (12%), lambda-cyhalothrin (9%), monocrotophos (9%), alpha-cypermethrin (8%), chlorpyriphos-ethyl (7%), esfenvalerate (7%), methamidophos (6%) and dimethoate (5%). The other 46% of the market is dispersed between insecticides such as azinphos-methyl, diazinon, dimethoate, EPN, malathion, parathion, phosphamidon, quinalphos, bifenthrin, beta-cyfluthrin, esfenvalerate, tralomethrin, aldicarb, carbaryl, carbofuran, fenobucarb, methomyl and thiodicarb Fertilization Requirements:  Fertilization Requirements More than any other nutrient, N can increase or decrease yields of cotton. Apply too little N, and yields drop sharply. The recommended rate of N ranges from 50 to 70 pounds N per acre. The best rate for a particular field depends on soil texture, the previous crop, expected rainfall patterns or irrigation, and grower experience in that field. Fertilization Requirements:  Fertilization Requirements Potassium (K) and phosphorus (P) are two macronutrients required for cotton production. Cotton yield or quality can be impacted if sufficient amounts of either nutrient are not available for plant uptake. Potassium plays a pivotal role in lint development and P is essential for energy transfer within the cotton plant. Harvesting Cotton:  Harvesting Cotton White or Yellow Bloom Pink Bloom Boll Beginning to Open Fully Open Boll Harvesting Cotton:  Harvesting Cotton Approximately 45-60 days after planting, depending on temperature, the cotton begins to bloom. Cotton first produces a small square, which produces a white bloom. The white bloom turns pink after one day and then falls off as the bolls develop. Approximately 30 days (again depending on temperature) after bloom, the boll is mature but not open. Under normal weather patterns, an open boll ready for harvest is produced approximately 65 days after bloom. Crop Rotation:  Crop Rotation A rotation crop that is profitable in one area may be economically unsuitable in another, so rotation recommendations must be evaluated with due consideration of local experience. Producers estimated their cotton lint yields increased from 150-400 pounds per acre the first year following corn crop rotation. Nitrogen fertilizer applications were reduced by 25 pounds nitrogen per acre for cotton following soybeans and 20 pounds per acre following corn. Soybeans:  Soybeans History:  History The soybean is one of the oldest cultivated crops. Soybeans originated and were first grown in northeastern China. The first record dates back to 2838 BC. Soybeans first appeared in Europe in the 17th century, and in the United States in 1804. History:  History Little attention was given to soybean as a crop until 1898 when the USDA imported a large number of varieties for research. Since that time, there has been rapid expansion in soybean production, particularly since 1920. Most soybeans were grown in the South prior to 1924, then it began to assume importance in the Corn Belt. Uses of Soybeans:  Uses of Soybeans Soybean meal is used as a high-protein supplement in mixed feed rations for livestock. It is also used in plastics, glue, and water paints. Soybean oil is used in the production of candles, biodiesel, disinfectants, electric insulation, enamels, insecticides, linoleum, ink, varnish, and soap. For consumption purposes, soybean is used in vegetable oil, soy milk and curd, various soy sauces, fermented products, and bean sprouts. Economic Importance:  Economic Importance Soybean is the fourth largest crop in the world grown on an average of 194 million acres in 2000-2003. World production averaged about 6.5 billion bushels or 34 bushels per acre. The United States is the world leader in soybeans, producing over 1/3 of the global supply. Other major soybean-producing countries are Brazil, Argentina, China, and India. World Production 2001:  World Production 2001 Economic Importance in the US:  Economic Importance in the US In 2000-2003, soybean ranked 1st in area among US crops with about 73 million acres. Production averaged about 2.7 billion bushels with an average yield of about 37 bushels per acre. Soybean is growing in popularity faster than any other crop. US production has rose from less than 5 million bushels in 1924, to 1.5 billion bushels in 1973, to 2.4 billion bushels in 2003. The leading states in soybean production are Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, and Nebraska. Production in Arkansas:  Production in Arkansas Arkansas ranks 8th in US production. Grown in over 50 of the states 75 counties, but most is concentrated in the eastern part. Varieties:  Varieties Over 10,000 varieties worldwide. The most common early maturing varieties are: Hutheson, DynaGrow 3796, Brim, and Bryan. They produce high yields on productive soil. The most common late maturing varieties are: Haskell, DP 3733, NKS 83-30, and Cook. They produce high yields and are widely accepted. Other new varieties such as Sencor, Lexone, Canopy, Roundup Ready, STS, Synchrony, and Pinnacle express tolerance to herbicides. Adaptations:  Adaptations The climatic requirements for soybean are about the same as those for corn. Soybean will withstand short periods or drought after the plants are well established. In general, combinations of high temperature and low precipitation are unfavorable. Soybean seed produced under high-temperature conditions tend to be low in oil and oil quality. Soybean is sensitive to over irrigation, poor soil drainage can reduce yields. A average midsummer temperature of 75 to 77 degrees F is optimum for all varieties. Lower temperatures tend to delay flowering. Adaptations:  Adaptations Soybean is less susceptible to frost injury than corn. Light frosts have little effect on the plants when they are young or nearly mature. The minimum temperature for growth is about 50 degrees F. At least 90 frost-free days are needed to adequately mature the crop. Soybean grows on nearly all types of soil, but it is especially productive on fertile loams. It is better adapted to low fertility soils than corn, provided the proper nitrogen-fixing bacteria are present. It will also grow on soils that are too acidic for alfalfa and red clover. Fertilizer Recommendations:  Fertilizer Recommendations A soil test should be done to determine the needs of soybeans and other crops in the rotation. The optimum pH level is 6.0 to 6.5, but may tolerate soil pH as low as 5.2. A nitrogen deficiency requires about 20 lb/acre. Soil very low in phosphorus requires P2O5 at a rate of 20 to 40 lb/acre. Potassium application is recommended where soil tests indicate less than 200 to 250 lb/acre of K2O. Sulfur or certain micronutrients are not applied to soybean fields except on strongly weathered, coarse-textured alkaline or organic soils. Rotation:  Rotation Soybean is often grown in short rotations with corn, cotton, and small grains. As a full-season crop, it can occupy any place in a rotation where corn is used. Soybean usually performs best when following a grass crop such as corn or grain sorghum. Yields of soybean are 5 to 15% higher following corn due primarily to less disease. Rotation should not follow wheat, as yields will be about 15 to 39% lower because of the shorter growing season. Pest Management:  Pest Management The three types of insect pests found in soybeans are: 1. Foliage feeders, which comprise the biggest group of insect pests, 2. Pod feeders, which are probably the most detrimental to yield, and 3. Stem, root and seedling feeders, which are often the hardest to sample and are not detected until after they have caused damage. The best controlled with cultural and biological practices. Insecticides should be used as a last resort only. Disease Management:  Disease Management Most common diseases in soybeans are: -Soybean Rust -Stem Canker -Sudden Death Syndrome -Charcoal Rot -Phytophthora Root Rot -Pod and Stem Blight -Southern Blight Disease Management:  Disease Management Correct disease identification is by far the single most important disease management strategy. Good crop management promotes plant health and vigorous growth which enable the soybean plant to be more tolerant to most disease- causing organisms and often escape yield-limiting damage. Planting resistant soybean varieties is the most efficient and least expensive disease management practice. Foliar fungicides do not increase soybean yields, but they may protect your crop against yield loss and may improve seed quality. Harvest:  Harvest Optimum planting dates for soybeans are May 5 through July 5, although early maturing varieties can be planted prior to those dates in southern states. Soybeans are usually harvested between Oct. 15 and Nov. 20. Soybean for seed is harvested most efficiently when the moisture content of the seeds drops to 12%. Later harvesting increases shattering losses, as well as splitting of the overly dry beans in threshing. The minimized split beans, the cylinder speed of the combine should be operated at 300 to 450 revolutions per minute. Soybean at 13% moisture can be combined directly without windrowing and stored without drying. Harvest:  Harvest Soybean can be cut for hay anytime from pod formation until the leaves begin to fall. The best quality of hay is obtained when the seeds are about half developed. Soybean is difficult to cure because the thick stems dry out slowly. Very few soybean fields are cut for hay except after a disaster that prevents the crop from maturity. Storage:  Storage Seeds should be stored at no more than 13% moisture. If the crop will be stored for more than one year, moisture should be 11% or less. When artificially dried in storage, air temperatures should be 130 to 140 degrees F. Seeds should not be stirred during drying to avoid cracking the seed coat. Aeration is necessary to maintain seed temperature at 35 to 40 degrees F in winter and 40 to 60 degrees F in summer. Soybean that will be planted should not be stored more than one year because of germination loss during storage. Mustard:  Mustard The oldest Condiment HISTORY OF MUSTARD:  HISTORY OF MUSTARD One of the first domesticated crops Economic value resulted in its wide dispersal Grown as a herb in Asia, North Africa, & Europe for thousands of years In about 1300, the name “mustard” was given to the condiment made by mixing mustum, which is fermented grape juice, with ground mustard. HISTORY OF MUSTARD:  HISTORY OF MUSTARD The French people are the largest consumers of mustard. World-wide people consume about 1.5 lbs per year. Today, French law regulates the ingredients in mustard. Example: Dijon mustard may only be made of brown seed Economic Importance:  Economic Importance Mustard has been a major specialty crop in North America since supplies from Western Europe were interrupted by WWII. California and Montana were major production areas until early 1950’s. Production of mustard in the Upper Midwest began in the 1960’s. Economic Importance:  Economic Importance Mustard is currently grown on approximately 250,000 acres annually in U.S. North Dakota has the largest share of production in the U.S. Canadian production increased for 20 years until it peaked in mid 1980’s. The French buy approx. 70% of the annual Canadian production. Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan currently grow a large scale of the world’s mustard. Mustard Varieties:  Mustard Varieties Most common mustards grown in U.S. are; Yellow, Brown, and Oriental. Yellow mustard comprises about 90% of the crop grown in the Upper Midwest. Brown and Oriental mustards are grown on limited acres and produced in rotation with small grains. Varieties of Mustard:  Varieties of Mustard Adaptations:  Adaptations Mustard is a cool season crop that can be grown in a short season. Yellow mustard usually matures in 80-85 days and Brown and Oriental in 90-95 days. Seedlings are somewhat tolerant to frost after emergence, but severe frost can destroy entire crop. Brown and Oriental mustards have partial drought tolerance between that of wheat and rapeseed. Moisture stress caused by hot, dry conditions during flowering frequently causes lower yields. Adaptations:  Adaptations Mustard can be raised on variable soil types with good drainage, but is best adapted to fertile, well-drained, loamy soils. Soils prone to crusting prior to seedling emergence can cause problems. This crop will not tolerate waterlogged soils since growth will be stunted. Dry sand and dry, sandy loam soils should be avoided. Mustard Growth Habit:  Mustard Growth Habit Seedlings emerge rapidly, but then usually grow slowly. Plants cover the ground in 4 to 5 days with favorable moisture and temperature conditions. Flower buds are visible about 5 weeks after emergence. Yellow flowers begin to appear 7 to 10 days later and continue blooming for a longer period with adequate water supply. A longer flowering period increases yield potential Mustard Plant:  Mustard Plant Crop Rotations:  Crop Rotations A small grain crop following mustard in the rotation will usually yield more than when following continuous small grain. Mustard has several of the same diseases and insect pests as flax, canola, sweet clover, soybeans, field peas, and sunflowers and should be avoided in the same rotation as mustard. Mustard should be in rotation with cereal grains since they do not have common pest and diseases. Fertilizer Recommendations:  Fertilizer Recommendations Soil test should be used to determine nutrient need. Optimal soil test levels are about 15 to 20 ppm Bray P, and 80 to 100 ppm K. At these levels a rate of about 45 lbs/acre P2O5 and 80 lb/acre K2O. When fertilizer is banded, the bands should be placed below and to the side of the seed furrow. Mustard responds well to nitrogen additions with optimum yields occurring at about 100 to 120 lbs/acre N. Weed Control:  Weed Control Weeds can greatly reduce mustard yields. Good weed control is based on preparation of a clean field and shallow seeding to encourage quick emergence. Control of perennial weeds such as Canadian thistle, field bindweed, and quick grass should be started in the fall or prior to planting in the spring. You may control these weeds by applying Roundup before the last killing frost in the fall. Mustard is sensitive to broadleaf herbicides like 2,4-D and MCPA and should be avoided if possible. Pest Control:  Pest Control Growers should monitor fields closely to detect insect problems that can cause high yield losses. Flea Beetles and caterpillars of the diamondback moth are the most serious pest. Malathion EC and Sevin are the most effective in killing Flea Beetles and caterpillars if used correctly. Consult local Extension bulletins for further information on the control of other pest. Harvesting:  Harvesting When harvesting mustard the pod should not be open. This causes shattering and great yield losses. Yellow mustard is a harder seed and may be combined if the crop has matured uniformly and is free from green weeds. If crop is weedy or uneven it should be swathed. When crop is being swathed the seed has turned yellow-green and should be cut just beneath the head of the lowest seed pod. Harvesting:  Harvesting Brown and Oriental varieties shatter more readily and therefore, need to be swathed. Swathing should begin when leaves drop and crop has turned from green to yellow or brown. About 75% have reached maturity when turned yellow or brown. The green seed usually will turn yellow or brown in the swath before combining. Harvesting:  Harvesting Swathing should be done under conditions of high humidity and dew on the pods. This keeps seeds from shattering. The combine should be adjusted so seeds are threshed at lowest cylinder speed, which 600 RPMs. Cylinder speed may need to be adjusted during the day as crop moisture content may vary. Storage:  Storage Make sure bin is free of holes and cracks! When mustard seed reaches a moisture content of 10% or less it can be safely stored. Air temperatures for seed drying should not exceed 150°F, and seed temperature should be below 120°F. Seed must be handled carefully to prevent cracking. If this happens it can be a costly dockage to the farmer. Sugarbeet:  Sugarbeet History:  History Sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris) growing for sucrose production became successful in the United States starting about 1870. Earlier attempts at sugarbeet production were not totally successful. Once a viable industry was established, sugarbeets were grown in 26 states. History:  History About 1,400,000 acres were produced in 14 states in 1990. Russia leads worldwide production of sugarbeets with nearly 8,500,000 acres. Uses:  Uses Sugarbeets are used primarily for production of sucrose, a high energy pure food. Sugarbeet pulp and molasses are processing by-products widely used as feed supplements for livestock. These products provide required fiber in rations and increase the palatability of feeds. Growth Habits:  Growth Habits Sugarbeet is a biennial plant which was developed in Europe in the 18th century from white fodder beets. Sugar reserves are stored in the sugarbeet root during the first growing season for an energy source during overwintering. The roots are harvested for sugar at the end of the first growing season. Growth Habits:  Growth Habits The plant has a taproot system that utilizes water and soil nutrients to depths of 5 to 8 ft. Economic Importance:  Economic Importance Total direct impacts from sugarbeet production in Minnesota and North Dakota were estimated to be $676 per acre or $374.6 million. In 1998, sugarbeets generated a gross farm income of approximately $200 million, or slightly more than 6% of gross farm receipts in Idaho. Varieties:  Varieties American Crystal Sugar Company, Moorhead, Minnesota conducts the most comprehensive variety trials in the United States. These evaluations are used to establish a list of approved varieties which insures the use of the most productive varieties to maximize returns to the growers and sugar companies. Crop Rotation:  Crop Rotation Yields and quality usually are highest when sugarbeets follow barley or wheat in the crop rotation. Three years research in Minnesota indicated sugarbeet yielded significantly less when following soybeans versus barley in rotation. Harvesting:  Harvesting Sugarbeets are harvested in late September and October. A mechanical defoliator is used to remove all the foliage from the beet root prior to lifting. The harvesters remove most of the soil from the beets prior to loading them on trucks. Harvesting:  Harvesting Sweet Clover:  Sweet Clover History:  History White and yellow sweet clover are native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and Asia. They were brought to the United States in the 1600’s as a forage crop for livestock and for honey production. They are now found in all 50 states and are used as a soil builder because of their nitrogen fixing capability. They are also planted as a wildlife cover. Varieties:  Varieties Generally, the cultivated forms of sweet clover are biennial; however, there are both annual and biennial types. In the central United States, the biennial types are most important. The two principal types are white sweet clover and yellow sweet clover Varieties:  Varieties White blossom sweet clover includes the varieties Denta and Polara The most common yellow blossoms of sweet clover include Madrid, Goldtop, and Yukon. Yellow sweet clover is earlier, fine stemmed, usually less productive for forage and more dependable for seed that white sweet clover. White and yellow sweet clover:  White and yellow sweet clover Uses and Management:  Uses and Management Sweet clover may be used for hay or pasture or as a plow-down crop. By far it’s greatest use and adaptation is as a pasture- and soil-improving crop No other legume will provide as much grazing as sweet clover during the spring and summer of it’s second year Uses and Management:  Uses and Management The amount of grazing it will furnish in its seeding year depends upon it’s companion crop If seeded with a small grain that is harvested for grain, little forage production can be expected. If the grain is pastured or otherwise seeded with less competition, some first year pasturage can be expected. In general, it can be pastured once it reaches a height of 12 to 14 inches if close grazing is avoided Uses and Management:  Uses and Management Sweet clover should not be grazed during September and early October when it is producing winter root reserves. Sweet clover is not as palatable as most other legumes because of it’s high coumerin content. Livestock soon get used to it’s taste and consume it readily. There is less danger from bloat with sweet clover than with alfalfa, red clover, or alsike, but some possibility does ecist Uses and Management:  Uses and Management As a soil-improving crop, sweet clover probably has no equal. It has a deep taproot system that penetrates the subsoil, produces a large amount of growth that can be quickly broken down and converted to organic matter and fixes high levels of nitrogen on heavy clay soils. Sweet clover is also attractive to pollinating insects such as honeybees and assists in the production of honey and honey by-products. The  honey is white or nearly white.   Nectar is secreted freely and if in the vicinity of a sweet clover field, the aroma of the plant will surely get your attention.   In the 1940's and 50's, Northwest Ohio, sweet clover was grown for seed and fields of it could be seen for miles.  It was not unusual for a hive of honey bees to produce 200 pounds of honey from clover alone. :  The  honey is white or nearly white.   Nectar is secreted freely and if in the vicinity of a sweet clover field, the aroma of the plant will surely get your attention.   In the 1940's and 50's, Northwest Ohio, sweet clover was grown for seed and fields of it could be seen for miles.  It was not unusual for a hive of honey bees to produce 200 pounds of honey from clover alone. Pest Management:  Pest Management Sweet clover may be attacked by a number of diseases including damping-off, root rot and crown rot, stem rots and leaf diseases. The incidences of these diseases are usually light on forage stands and slightly heavier on seed stands. While these diseases damage the plant and negatively influence productivity, they are not normally considered a serious problem Pest Management:  Pest Management The sweet clover weevil is this crop’s main pest. The weevil chews the leaves of seedlings or second-year stands in the spring and, to a lesser extent, in late summer. Damage is likely to be most severe in years when growth is slow. The Weevil can be controlled through the use of insecticides, by tilling of second-year fields as soon as harvested, and by locating new stands as far as possible from established fields of sweet clover. Adaptations:  Adaptations Sweet clover has an extreme range of adaptation About the only consistent requirement is one of high pH. Sweet clover needs a high pH of about 6.0 or higher for proper nodulation to occur. It has a higher calcium requirement as well. Sweet clover is able to obtain phosphorus from relatively unavailable soil phosphates and will grow on soils where alfalfa, red clover, or ladino will fail. Except for it’s high lime requirements, it is similar to lespedeza, which tolerates very low fertility conditions. Harvesting:  Harvesting Sweet clover normally sets and abundance of seed. However, the somewhat indeterminate habitat of growth and the lose attachment of the mature pods on the rachis (stem), result in heavy loss of ripe pods before and during harvest. Highest yields of good quality seed are obtained by windrowing the crop when 50 to 60 percent of the pods have turned brown, black or white. Cutting should be done when the plants are tough damp from dew or rain. After a brief period of curing (several days to a week), the windrow is picked up and threshed. Use a low cylinder speed and wide clearance of concaves to avoid shelled or broken seed Buckwheat:  Buckwheat History:  History Buckwheat is a grain that has been eaten for hundreds of years in the Far East. China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries have long enjoyed noodles made from buckwheat flour. Buckwheat can also be used for a variety of baked products, including pancakes, breads, muffins, crackers, bagels, cookies, and tortillas among others . Slide172:  Buckwheat (Fagopyrum sagittatum Gilib) has been grown in America since colonial days, and the crop once was common on farms in the northeastern and north central United States. Production reached a peak in 1866 at which time the grain was a common livestock-feed and was in demand for making flour. By the mid 1960's the acreage had declined to about 50,000 acres. Varieties:  Varieties Because little breeding work has been done on buckwheat, there are only a handful of varieties that are grown in the United States. Dr. Harold Penn State University did much of the variety improvement work in the 1960's to 1980's Slide174:  Mancan: Large-seeded diploid variety. Has low test weight but good market acceptability. Released by Agriculture Canada and licensed in 1974. Manor: Large-seeded diploid variety. Has low test weight but good market acceptability. Released by Agriculture Canada and licensed in 1980. Production of certified seed is limited to Canada. Adaptations:  Adaptations Buckwheat grows best where the climate is moist and cool. It can be grown rather far north and at high altitudes, because its growing period is short (10 to 12 weeks) and its heat requirements for development are low. The crop is extremely sensitive to unfavorable weather conditions and is killed quickly by freezing temperatures both in the spring and fall. High temperatures and dry weather at blooming time may cause blasting of flowers and prevent seed formation. Slide176:  Generally, buckwheat seeding is timed so that the plants will bloom and set seed when hot, dry weather is over. Often seeding is delayed until three months prior to the first killing frost in the fall. Buckwheat grows on a wide range of soil types and fertility levels. It produces a better crop than other grains on infertile, poorly drained soils if the climate is moist and cool. Buckwheat has higher tolerance to soil acidity than any other grain crop. It is best suited to light to medium textured, well-drained soils such as sandy loams, loams and silt loams. It does not grow well in heavy, wet soils or in soils that contain high levels of limestone. Fertilizer:  Fertilizer Buckwheat has a modest feeding capacity compared to most other grains, and if fertilizer is not applied, the removal of nutrients by a buckwheat crop may have a depressing effect on the yield of the following crop. Typical nutrient removals by the grain for a 1200 lb/a crop are 9 lb/a N, 3 lb/a P2O5 and 12 lb/a K2O. Rotation:  Rotation Serious diseases affecting other dicot field crops have not been important in buckwheat; therefore the volunteer plant problem is the main problem in crop sequences. Volunteer sunflower, rapeseed, mustard, and corn can be serious weeds in buckwheat planted before June 15. Volunteer buckwheat can be a problem in crops following buckwheat, but herbicides will control these in most crops. Prepartion:  Prepartion A firm seedbed is best for successful buckwheat production because of its relatively small seed size and its shallow root system. A firm seedbed facilitates absorption of nutrients essential for rapid growth, and tends to reduce losses from drought. If soil has been plowed for a previous crop which has failed, only disking or harrowing may be required.. Harvesting:  Harvesting The best practice is to direct combine when the maximum number of seeds have matured (75% of seed brown or black) and the plants have lost most of their leaves. When immature plants are harvested, green seeds and moist fragments of the plants may cause difficulties in storing the grain. However, considerable grain loss from shattering may occur if the crop is left standing, especially after a killing frost. Slide181:  Cylinder speed (about 650 RPM) and cylinder concave clearance (1/8-1/2 in.) of the combine should be set to prevent excessive cracking and breaking of the grain. Losses and broken kernels should be checked to refine combine adjustments. Proper selection of the sieves and adjustment of the chaffer and air settings are also important to insure minimal losses. Sieve openings of 1/4 to 3/8 in. are suggested. POTATO:  POTATO Bobby Hamon History:  History The history of the potato has its roots in the windswept Andes Mountains of South America. The tough and durable potato evolved in its thin air. The tough pre-Columbian farmers first discovered and cultivated the potato some 7,000 years ago. They were impressed by its ruggedness, storage quality and its nutritional value. Western man did not come in contact with the potato until as late as 1537 when the Conquistadors tramped through Peru. And it was even later, about 1570, that the first potato made its way across the Atlantic to make a start on the continent of Europe. Though the tuber was productive and hardy, the Spanish put it to very limited use. In the Spanish Colonies potatoes were considered food for the underclass's; when brought to the Old World they would be used primarily to feed hospital inmates. It would take three decades for the potato to spread to the rest of Europe. Even so the potato was cultivated primarily as a curiosity by amateur botanists. Resistance was due to ingrained eating habits, the tuber's reputation as a food for the underprivileged and perhaps most importantly its relationship to poisonous plants. History:  History About 1780 the people of Ireland adopted the rugged food crop. The primary reason for its acceptance in Ireland was its ability to produce abundant, nutritious food. Perhaps more importantly, potatoes can provide this sustenance to nearly 10 people on an acre of land. This would be one of the prime factors causing a population explosion in the early 1800s. While in Ireland the potato gained acceptance from the bottom up, in France the potato was imposed upon society by an intellectual. Antoine Augustine Parmentier saw that the nutritional benefits of the crop combined with its productive capacity could be a boon to the French farmer. He was so enamored by the potato that he determined that it should become a staple of the French diet. Soon the potato would gain wide acceptance across Europe and eventually make its way back over the Atlantic to North America. As time passed, the potato would become one of the major food stuffs of the world. The 1840's saw disastrous potato blight. With the devastation of potato crops throughout Europe came the destruction and dislocation of many of the populations that had become dependent upon it. An effective fungicide was not found until 1883 by the French botanist, Alexandre Millardet. Today, the potato is so common, plentiful and pervasive in the Western diet that it is taken for granted. Disease’s and Insects:  Disease’s and Insects Flea beetles, Colorado potato beetles, leafhoppers, and wireworms are the most common insect pests of potatoes. Potato scab is a disease common to some cultivars which are grown in alkaline soil Plant certified, disease-free tubers of cultivars with good scab resistance. Lowering pH to a range of 5.0-5.5 will decrease the incidence of scab infection. Early blight and late blight are also common diseases of potatoes. Crop Rotation:  Crop Rotation Rotation with small grains, corn, or alfalfa appears to reduce disease in subsequent potato crops. Red clover, however, stimulates problems with common scab and should not be used in fields where scab has been a problem. Fertilizing Potato:  Fertilizing Potato Since there are differences in the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in each field, there is no such thing as an ideal fertilizer grade for potato or other crops. If a field is very high in phosphorus, a fertilizer grade with a 1-0-1 ratio may be ideal. If a field is very high in nitrogen, a grade with a 0-2-1 ratio may be ideal, etc. The use of a fertilizer grade high in a nutrient for which the soil already tests high can result in nutrient imbalances that can reduce yield and/or quality. There is little evidence of response to micronutrients. However, zinc (Zn) and/or iron (Fe) deficiencies may occur in isolated areas. Zinc deficiency in potato results in rosetting or "little leaf" formation.. With severe deficiency the entire leaflet may become yellow and dead tissue may develop around the margins and tips. Iron deficiencies may develop on soils containing free lime. The youngest top growth will appear distinctly yellow. The interveinal areas will be bright yellow with the veins slightly green. Fertilizing Potato:  Fertilizing Potato Fertilizer applied at the time of planting should not be in direct contact with seed pieces. The recommended placement on very low testing soils is in two bands, each band 2 inches to the side and 2 inches below the seed pieces. There is some experimental evidence that potassium sulfate gives a slight increase in specific gravity of potato over other sources of potash. Color of potato chips may also be slightly darker with the sulfate source. If a color difference occurs, it is generally too small to be commercially important. Harvesting:  Harvesting If "new" potatoes are desired potatoes can be dug before maturity throughout the summer and early fall. Do not leave the tubers in the ground after the plants die back, because they may rot or resprout new stems if weather is warm and moist. Lift the tubers with a potato fork or garden spade, taking care to avoid injuring the tubers. Conducting harvest in a timely manner is critical in the production of high quality potatoes that are in demand by the market. The majority of the cost of producing a potato crop has accrued by the time of  harvest and growers should not risk that expenditure and effort by an untimely harvest. Harvesting:  Harvesting Ideally, harvest would not begin until the crop has attained the producer’s target yield goals, but that is not always achievable for late maturing varieties.. Delaying harvest will allow for additional growth and yield, but any gains in yield may be offset by losses. The grower should  harvest the most mature fields first leaving the immature fields to the end of harvest, allowing for more growth. Harvest temperatures have the greatest influence on  harvest timing. The ideal harvest temperature is between 45 and 60°F (7°and 15°C). To bring a good quality crop into storage, the harvest must take place when soil and tuber temperatures are ideal. The number of days that these  temperatures exist in September and early October are limited. The grower must have the capacity to complete harvest before chilling temperatures or frost damage will render the crop unmarketable. In early October, the risk of crop damage is very high and producers should plan to complete harvest before then. Harvesting:  Harvesting There are two types of potato bruising that occur at  harvest. Blackspot bruising occurs under warm dry soil  conditions. These bruises are not immediately visible. After two days the damaged tissue will turn dark grey or black and can be seen only after the skin is peeled. Shatter bruises are thin cracks or splits in the tuber flesh. Thumbnail cracks are a form of shatter bruise, which can occur when cold tubers are roughly handled out of storage or on packing lines. Other forms of mechanical damage include skinning,  cutting and scraping. All types of bruises and mechanical damage adversely affect the appearance of potatoes and can result in rot in storage. The amount of bruising and mechanical damage at harvest is influenced by soil conditions, cultivar, tuber maturity, tuber temperature, and equipment condition and operation at  harvest. Castorbeans:  Castorbeans Are they trying to kill us with their poison, or save us with a laxative? Who knows? I could only found out how to grow them. History:  History The castorbean plant (Ricinus communis) has been cultivated for centuries for the oil produced by its seeds. The Egyptians burned castor oil in their lamps more than 4,000 years ago. Thought to be native to tropical Africa, the plant is a member of the spurge family. The seeds with hulls removed contai

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