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Contact Information

The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers.
Visit your local county extension office.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Soybean Seeding Rates for 2012

With the high price of soybeans (and seed), it is important to choose the proper planting rate this spring.

Thanks to the NJ Soybean Board (Checkoff program), a seeding rate recommendation sticker - appropriate for attaching under your planter box cover - is available for your use. You can pick up these stickers at some County Cooperative Extension offices or by contacting the NJ Soybean Board (
To see the sticker full view, click below - then right click on the image to download or print.
When reviewing the recommendation rates be sure to look at the footnotes for adjustments for such things as planting early or late. The rates provided are basic rates and can be adjusted upward for some "insurance" particularly if planting at higher speeds on somewhat rough seedbeds where planter bounce can result in varying depths and coverage.
-Zane Helsel

Focus on soybeans

Educational information including webcasts are available on various soybean topics relevant to the upcoming growing season. The Plant Management Network offers "Focus on Soybeans" which is sponsored by your national United Soybean Board (checkoff program) and various agribusinesses. Go to the following site and take a look at the menu of items available 

Zane R. Helsel

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cereal Rust Mite

Over the past day or so I have begun receiving reports of cereal rust mite in timothy hay fields in the southern portion of the state. Keep in mind that cereal rust mite can reduce yields from 30 to 70 percent. Also, it can result in discolored brown hay which reduces the visual quality of the hay, which in turn can make buyers reluctant to purchase your hay. Growers should be scouting timothy fields now for juvenile mites and eggs. Information about cereal rust mite and its control is available in a Rutgers Fact Sheet.

Bill Bamka

Friday, March 16, 2012

March 16 - Deadline Date for AWMP/BMP Compliance

Deadline is Here:  Are you in compliance?
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture adopted regulations in March 2009 that require all livestock farm owners to responsibly manage the manure generated on their operations--including those with horses, dairy cows, cattle, swine, goats, sheep, poultry and all other domesticated species defined as livestock. All New Jersey farmers with livestock are required to be in compliance with these regulations by March 16, 2012.
The Animal Waste Management regulations require all farms with any livestock to comply with the following General Requirements of the rule:

  1. Agricultural animal operations shall not allow animals in confined areas to have uncontrolled access to waters of the state.
  2. Manure storage areas shall be located at least 100 linear feet from waters of the state.
  3. Land application of animal waste shall be performed in accordance with the principles of the NJDA Best Management Practices (BMP) Manual.
  4. Dead animals and related animal waste resulting from a reportable contagious disease or an act of bio-terrorism shall not be disposed of without first contacting the State Veterinarian.
  5. Any person entering a farm to conduct official business related to these rules shall follow bio-security protocols.
In addition to the General Requirements listed above, all livestock operations with 8 to 299 "Animal Units" (one Animal Unit = 1,000 pounds) are required to implement an Animal Waste Management Plan by March 16, 2012. This plan must be in accordance with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture manual (On Farm Strategies to Protect Water Quality). Exact requirements will vary with size and density of operation. Check with one of the Extension offices listed below for details.

 The Department of Agriculture will investigate alleged violations of the rules and take appropriate action, which may include fines of up to $ 1,000 per day for each violation as determined. The Department may allow the owner or operator up to 60 days to address or correct the non-compliance before imposing penalties.

According to New Jersey Statute (N.J.S.A. 4:1C) farmers must comply with all relevant federal and state statutes and regulations in order to maintain "Right to Farm Protection." New Jersey's Right to Farm Act protects responsible commercial farmers from public and private nuisance actions and unduly restrictive municipal regulations. Failure to comply with the Animal Waste Management Rule may result in loss of these protections.

It is not too late to complete your AWMP plans or begin work on any needed BMP's.  Rutgers Cooperative Extension has provided training for livestock farmers since the initiation of the rule back in March of 2009. Extension offices will be available for assistance with compliance questions and will schedule individual meetings as needed.  Please follow this link for more information Rutgers Animal Waste Management Resources.

You may also contact the following Extension offices for additional information.

Burlington County Extension Office 609-265-5050
Hunterdon County Extension Office 908-788-1338
Salem County Extension Office 856-769-0090
Sussex County Extension Office 973-948-3040
A list of Extension offices and contact information may be found at:


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Small Grain Weed Control: Osprey and Nitrogen

With the mild weather we have had, weed growth is active in small grain fields. Keep in mind that herbicide applications should be made before the weeds get too large. When using a herbicide read the label concerning tank mixing with nitrogen. Remember some products have limitations on the percentage of nitrogen in the spray solution. Also, I just received a call from a grower who was interested in spraying Osprey on his wheat. Remember that Osprey can not be applied within 14 days of nitrogen application. Remember to read the label to avoid a potential costly mistake.

Bill Bamka

Stain/Molded Seed last fall? Tillage/Rotation may be the remedy

Following all the late summer rains last year many soybean growers experienced problems with moldy and purple stained seed at harvest.This disease complex is weather related and we may not see such conditions again this fall. However, because the pathogens can carryover in the residue, farmers should consider rotating to corn or another crop in the problem fields. If soybeans will be grown again this year, tilling under the residue can be helpful in reducing the incidence of the disease. While varietal development has improved tolerance to this disease over the years, there doesnt seem to be clear and specific ratings such that we could recommend certain varieties over others. If you saw varieties that appeared to have less problems than others last year you could consider those if yield and other characteristics were favorable.

Zane R. Helsel

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Saving Energy Around the Farm

With rapidly rising energy prices, conserving energy around the farm could go along way to help keep your fuel bills in check. In field operations, reducing the number of tillages and the depth can save significant amounts of fuel. The following publication has lots of other useful tips on reducing fuel costs in the field.
Overall, there are other opportunities around the farmstead to conserve energy. The following website addresses both conservation and use of renewable energy sources that may fit your operation.

Zane R. Helsel

Farmer's Grain Marketing Primer

I came across a great resource if you are interested in learning about grain marketing or want to sharpen your grain marketing skills. The Farmer's Grain Marketing Primer developed by Carl German (University of Delaware Extension Crop Marketing Specialist) in collaboration with the Delaware Department of Agriculture and USDA RMA is an online tool that is comparable to an introductory grain marketing course. The information is both useful and easily understandable. It covers a wide range of topics including: basis, options, futures markets, crop insurance, profitability, market planning and many more useful topics. There is a wealth of information and resources on the site that is worth checking out.

Bill Bamka

Wheat growth stages

I have been out in the last few days scouting some wheat fields in the southern portion of the state. With the mild winter we have had there is no shortage of winter annual weeds in the fields. In conversations with my extension colleagues in the surrounding states it appears that this year's wheat crop is probably at least 10 -12 days ahead of schedule from a "normal" year. Therefore it won't be long before we are making herbicide and possibly fungicide applications to wheat. Many of the fungicide and herbicides have maximum growth stage restrictions. With that in mind, the table below from the University of Illinois has both the Zadoks' and Feekes' wheat growth stages. This should help in determing the stage of your wheat crop when making spray decisions.

Bill Bamka