February WASDE

Dale Johnson, Farm Management Specialist
University of Maryland

Information from USDA WASDE report

Attached is a summary for the February WASDE published Tuesday. There was a 50 million bushel increase in the estimate of corn use for ethanol but this increase was offset by a 50 million decrease in the estimate of corn exports and so there was no change in supply, demand or ending stocks.

There was a significant 50 million bushel increase in the estimate for soybean exports. With all other supply and demand factors unchanged this decreased the stocks to use ratio from 11.9% to 10.5%. However, this was anticipated so there was no significant increase in Soybean futures on Tuesday.

There was a 25 million bushel increase in the estimates for wheat exports with all other supply and demand factors unchanged. However with the large ending stocks of wheat, this change was relatively insignificant.

2020 February WASDE


Call for Farmer participants in organic grain transitions project

Researchers at the University of Maryland are looking for farmers interested in partnering with them on a project to help develop strategies for transitioning to organic grain production. Please see the attached flier for details. Contact Dr. Ray Weil for additional information (rweil@umd.edu).

Organic Transitions1page announcement Jan2019

Interseeding Cover Crops into Double-Crop Soybeans – Initial Findings

1,2Cara Peterson, 2Steven Mirsky, 1Kate Tully, 1,2Victoria Ackroyd
1Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland
2United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville

The mid-Atlantic region has the highest percentage of arable acreage in cover crops in the United States, with some reports placing Maryland and Delaware as the two states with the highest percentage of total cropland planted with cover crops (Wade et al., 2015; Hamilton et al., 2017). However, the majority of producers in the region are only using grass cover crops, since legumes require earlier planting dates in order to over-winter (Mirsky et al., 2011; Clark, 2012). Farmers in this region have success with legume cover crops when planting them after wheat harvest or frost-seeding in the spring. However, most mid-Atlantic crop rotations include double-crop soybeans planted after wheat, which limits opportunities for establishing a legume cover crop. Low legume adoption is particularly problematic as farmers could use this cover crop before corn to maximize the opportunity for nitrogen fixation benefits.

cover crop rotation schematic
Figure 1. (Top) A typical mid-Atlantic crop rotation, with double-crop soybeans in the field at the pivotal points for establishing a successful legume cover crop. (Bottom) Proposed crop rotation scheme for interseeding a cover crop between 30-inch soybeans. The cover crop over-winters and is terminated before corn planting in the spring.

Some farmers interseed cover crops into growing cash crops to overcome this timing challenge. Current options for planting cover crops into standing corn and soybean include both aerial broadcasting via airplane and adapted high-boy sprayers. However, these two techniques often result in poor establishment due to low seed-to-soil contact and seed predation by rodents and birds (Hively et al., 2001; Baker and Griffis, 2009; Wilson et al., 2013).

Figure 2. Interseeding cover crops with three planting units between 30-inch soybean rows.

To address the issue of planting cover crops into standing cash crops, our mid-Atlantic team ran numerous trials of an InterSeeder grain drill (InterSeeder Technologies, LLC; Fig. 2). Engineered by the Pennsylvania State University, this drill plants three rows of cover crops between 30-inch rows of standing cash crops. Field trials of this InterSeeder have been conducted in corn, as well as full-season soybeans, at various sites in the region with mixed results (Curran et al., 2018; Wallace et al. 2017). In Maryland, interseeding into full-season corn was moderately successful, whereas cover crops did not perform well in full season beans. However, exploratory research in Maryland identified wide-row double crop soybeans as a viable option for interseeding. The success of seeding grass-legume mixtures into 30-inch double-crop soybeans has led to an expanded on-station research program.

New Field Trials. Field trials with five different interseeded cover crop treatments were conducted to determine the optimal legume cover crop species to interseed in mixture with cereal rye and if interseeding a cover crop mixture affected wide-row double crop soybean yields. The five different cover crop treatments included: cereal rye alone, cereal rye independently mixed with four different legumes (hairy vetch, crimson clover, red clover, and winter pea), and a no cover crop control (Table 1).

Cover Crop Seeding Rates
Table 1. Interseeding Trial Cover Crop Seeding Rates

Double-crop soybeans planted in June were then interseeded with the cover crop treatments in early September 2017 and late August 2018. The double-crop soybeans were harvested in November for 2017 and later in 2018 (December) due to wet field conditions. The interseeded cover crop treatments grew throughout the winter and were terminated with herbicides in April 2017 and 2018 before planting corn.

In an ideal interseeding scenario, the cover crop is planted as the double-crop soybeans are beginning to reach full canopy in early September. That way, the cover crops only have to survive a few weeks under the low light conditions of a soybean canopy until leaf drop. Once the soybean canopy is gone, the cover crops continue to grow but do not interfere with soybean harvest.

Insights from Interseeding Trials

  • Cereal rye + crimson clover produced the highest average cover crop biomass. The cereal rye + crimson clover fall 2017 seeding produced an average of 4,980 lbs per acre of biomass while the 2018 seeding produced 3,950 lbs per acre by the spring of 2019. Cereal rye + hairy vetch and cereal rye + winter pea reached similar levels of biomass in two out of the three field sites where the cover crops survived under the soybean canopy.
  • Interseeding did not decrease yield. There was no pattern of soybean yield differences between the 30-inch wide row double-crop soybeans that had or hadn’t been interseeded. Likewise, there were very minimal differences in soybean yields between the cover crop treatments.
  • Interseeding did not affect soybean grain quality. Green cover crop plant material was not found in any soybean grain subsampling. Moisture levels remained consistent, with very slight variance across the field as expected in a normal cropping system.
  • Row orientation matters. Out of the five trial sites, two of the cover crop plantings did not survive under the soybean canopy. Interestingly, the three field sites with strong cover crop survival rates had rows oriented in roughly the same direction: East-West or Southeast-Northwest. The two field sites where the cover crops sprouted but did not survive under the soybean canopy in the fall were on a perpendicular row orientation of Northeast-Southwest. 

Row Spacing Considerations. The InterSeeder requires a 30-inch row spacing, while most double-crop soybean fields are planted in narrower rows of 15 inches or less. To account for the differing production practices, these field trials also included simple yield comparisons of 30- and 15-inch row double-crop soybeans. In the row spacing (15- vs 30-inches) trial, results were mixed. There was a yield penalty for wide row spacing in 2017, but not in 2018.

While the benefits of narrow row spacing have been well documented in full season beans, less is known about the potential advantages in double crop soybeans. We speculate that optimal production years enhance the effect of row spacing. For example, 2017 was a better soybean year compared to 2018 across the mid-Atlantic region. Higher levels of precipitation in 2018 than 2017 could have damaged yields. Previous research indicates that in lower yield years or for late-planted soybeans, the benefit of planting in 15 inch rows over 30 inch rows is lost (Alessi and Power, 1982; Hodges et al., 1983; Boquet, 1990; Weaver et al., 1990, Oplinger et al., 1992; Pederson and Lauer, 2003, Whaley et al., 2015).

Future Research. Nitrogen content analysis of the interseeded cover crop biomass is currently underway. Next, the research team will analyze how the following year’s corn crop responded to the interseeded cover crop mixtures.


Alessi, J., and J.F.  Power. 1982. Effects of plant and row spacing on dryland soybean yield and water-use efficiency. Agronomy Journal 74:851–854. D.o.i.:10.2134/agronj1982.00021962007400050019x

Baker, J. M., and T. J. Griffis. 2009. Evaluating the potential use of winter cover crops in corn-soybean systems for sustainable co-production of food and  fuel. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 149(12), 2120–2132. D.o.i.:10.1016 j.agrformet.2009.05.017

Boquet, D. J. 1990. Plant population density and row spacing effects on soybean at post-optimal planting dates. Agronomy. J.: 59–64. D.o.i:10.2134/agronj2009.0219.

Clark, A. (Ed.). 2012. Managing cover crops profitably (Third ed.). College Park, MD: Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

Curran, W.S., R.J. Hoover, S.B. Mirsky, G.W. Roth, M.R. Ryan, V.J. Ackroyd, J.M. Wallace, M.A. Dempsey and C.J. Pelzer. 2018. Evaluation of cover crops drill interseeded into corn across the mid-Atlantic region. Agronomy Journal 110, 435–443. D.o.i.:10.2134/agronj2017.07.0395

Fisher, K. A., B. Momen,, and R.J. Kratochvil. 2011. Is broadcasting seed an effective winter cover crop planting method? Agronomy Journal, 103(2), 472–478. D.o.i.:10.2134/agronj2010.0318

Hively, W.D. and W.J. Cox. 2001. Interseeding cover crops into soybean and subsequent corn yields. Agronomy. J. 93:308-313. D.o.i.:10.2134/agronj2001.932308x

Hodges, H.F., F.D. Whisler, N.W. Buehrig, R.E. Coast, J. Mcmillian, N.C. Edwards, and C. Hovermale. 1984. The Effect of Planting Date Row Spacing and Variety on Soybean Yield in Mississippi (Bulletin 912). Report prepared for the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

Hamilton, A. V., D.A. Mortensen and M.K. Allen. 2017. The state of the cover crop nation and how to set realistic future goals for the popular conservation practice. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 72(5), 111-115A. DOI: 10.2489/jswc.72.5.111A

Mirsky, S.B., W.S. Curran, D.A. Mortensen, D.L. Shumway, and M.R. Ryan. 2011. Timing of cover crop management effects on weed suppression in no-till planted soybean using a roller-crimper. Weed Science 59:380–389

Oplinger, E.S. and B.D. Philbrook. 1992. Soybean planting date, row width, and seeding rate response in three tillage systems. Journal of Production Agriculture. 5: 94-99. DOI:10.2134/jpa1992.0094

Pedersen, P. and J.G. Lauer. 2004. Soybean growth and development response to rotation sequence and tillage system. Agronomy Journal 96(4), 1005–1012. D.o.i.:10.2134/agronj2004.1005

Wade, T., R. Claassen and S. Wallander. 2015. Conservation-Practice Adoption Rates Vary Widely by Crop and Region, EIB-147, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Available at https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/44027/56332_eib147.pdf?v=42403

Wallace, J.M., W. S. Curran, S. B. Mirsky, M.R. Ryan. 2017. Tolerance of interseeded annual ryegrass and red clover cover crops to residual herbicides in mid-Atlantic corn cropping systems,” Weed Technology, 31(5), 641-650.

Weaver, D.B., R.L. Akridge, and C.A. Thomas, C.A. 1991. Growth habit, planting date, and row-spacing effects on late-planted soybean. Crop Science (31) 805-810

Whaley, C., J. Adkins and P. Sylvester. 2015. Final report to Delaware soybean board: Evaluating the response of full season and double-cropped soybeans in narrow and wide rows to various soil moisture levels.

Wilson, M. L., J.M. Baker, and D.L. Allan. 2013. Factors affecting successful establishment of aerially seeded winter rye. Agronomy Journal, 105(6), 1868–1877.


Forage Performance of Cereal Cover Crops in Maryland: 2018-2019 Results

Nicole Fiorellino, Extension Agronomist
University of Maryland

Dairy farmers are constantly looking for sources of forage to meet their feed needs. One source that many of this region’s dairy farmers utilize is the fall planting of cereal grains that are green-chop harvested the following spring. Among the cereal species used for this purpose are rye, triticale, barley, and wheat. Per the Maryland Cover Crop Program guidelines, cereal grains planted as a cover crop prior to November 5 and suppressed via green-chop in the spring are eligible for the grant payment for participation in the Cover Crop Program. In addition, per the Nutrient  Management Regulations, a fall application of dairy manure is allowed to a field planted to a cereal cover crop.

Planting a cereal cover crop that will be green chop harvested fits well into the crop rotation used by many dairy farmers. The scenario that many follow is to plant the cereal cover crop following harvest of corn silage. Prior to planting the cover crop, an application of manure is made to the field. The subsequent planting of the cover crop provides incorporation of the manure into the soil. The fall and spring growth of the cover crop is supplied nutrients from the manure. At the same time, the cover crop provides protection to the soil from loss of nutrients via leaching and/or erosion. The objective of this study was to evaluate select varieties of cereal species for cover crop performance and forage production and quality.

Cereal varieties (17) representing two species (rye and triticale) were evaluated at Central Maryland Research and Education Center – Clarksville Facility. Three replications for each entry were planted using a randomized complete block experimental design. Planting date was October 10, 2018. The 3’ X 18’ plots were planted with a small plot planter with 6-inch spacing between each of the 7 rows. The germination percentage for each entry was used to calculate the seeding rate needed to establish 1.5 million seedlings. Good stands were established by late fall.

In order to compare forage quality among the entries that headed over a period of two weeks, the timing of the spring biomass harvest was when the entries had reached late boot to early heading stage of development. The two rye varieties were harvested on April 23, while the triticale varieties were harvest on either May 1 or May 6, basing on heading date (Table 1). Each harvest sample was collected by cutting the plants just above ground-level from three center rows of each plot from an area 2.5 feet in length and from two areas within the plot. The samples were placed into cloth bags and dried using a forced air dryer set at 60 C where they remained until sample water content was zero. Each sample was weighed and is reported as pounds of dry matter production per acre (Table 1). Each of the dried samples was ground through a 20-mesh screen using a large plant grinder. For each location, the ground biomass samples were sent to Cumberland Valley Analytical Laboratory for standard forage quality analysis.

Cover crop performance is measured by amount of biomass produced and the concentration of nitrogen in the biomass. These two factors were used to estimate nitrogen uptake (Table 1). There was no significant difference in nitrogen uptake among the varieties tested. A number of forage quality characteristics for these cereals was measured (Table 1). The descriptions of the various quality characteristic are described here and in the footnotes at the bottom of Table 1. Crude protein (CP) is the nitrogen content of the forage, with higher protein representing better feed quality. This value was used to calculate nitrogen uptake of each variety (Nitrogen content = % CP/6.25). Both rye varieties had significantly greater CP than the overall mean, with one triticale variety having significantly less CP content than the overall mean. Both rye varieties also had rumen degradable protein (RDP) content significantly greater than the overall mean.

Neutral and acid detergent fiber (NDF. ADF) are measures of feed value and represent the less digestible components of the plant, with NDF representing total fiber and ADF representing the least digestible plant components. Low NDF and ADF values representing increased digestibility; ideally NDF values should be <50% and ADF values should be <35%. One triticale variety had significantly lower NDF and ADF values than the overall mean, representing a digestible triticale variety. This same variety also had significantly higher total digestible nutrients (TD), net energy for lactation (NEL), relative feed value (RFV), and nonfiber carbohydrates (NFC).

The characteristic that best captures the overall forage quality performance is Relative Feed Value (RFV). A RFV of 100 is defined as the forage value that full bloom alfalfa would have. Two triticale varieties had significantly higher RFV than the overall average but both rye varieties also had high RFV values, though not significantly different than the overall mean. Though, none of these green-chop cereal forages are considered to be adequate as a stand-alone feed for a dairy operation, they can supply a source of forage used in a total mixed ration at the time of year when feed supply may be running short. When this forage benefit is added to the environmental benefit that is gained, planting winter cereal cover crops on a dairy farm can be a win-win decision.

Download this publication here.

2019 Small Grain Fusarium Head Blight & DON Data

The 2019 UMD small grain variety trial data concerning Fusarium head blight (head scab) and DON vomitoxin information is now available. Click the link below to view the report:

2019 Wheat and Barley FHB ratings

To view the 2019 small grain variety trial data, follow this link: 2019 Small Grain Variety Trial Report


2019 Small Grain Variety Trial Data Available

The UMD small grain variety trial data are now available. Click here to view the report, or contact your local ag agent the Extension Office for a hard copy. Information is intended to help growers select the best wheat and barley varieties for the 2020 crop. Additional variety data on DON vomitoxin will be posted to this page soon.

2019 Small Grain Variety Trial Report

FHB Update: May 10, 2019

72-hour risk for Fusarium Head Blight development on moderately resistant wheat varieties for May 10, 2019.

Wheat in the Eastern Shore of Maryland is finishing up flowering. The risk
for FHB is high. If you haven’t sprayed and you are still within 4-6 days
of flowering, you can still do so. Wheat in the Northern parts is heading
now and will soon start flowering. The FHB risk for this part of the state
is also predicted to be high, and the farmers should be prepared to spray
fungicides on their wheat when it flowers (50% of the main tillers showing
yellow anthers). The fungicides effective for FHB are Prosaro/ Caramba/
Miravis-Ace. The best stage recommended for spraying fungicides is early
flowering or within 4-5 days of that. These fungicides do not need to be
tank mixed with another product for spraying. The fungicide products should
be applied at the full rate recommended by the manufacturers. Strobilurin
containing fungicides should not be sprayed at this stage. Aerial
application at a rate of 5 gallons per acre or ground application at 15
gallons per acre with 300-350 um droplet size is recommended. Spray nozzles
should be angled at 30°-45° down from horizontal, toward the grain heads,
using forward- and backward mounted nozzles or nozzles with a two
directional spray, such as Twinjet nozzles. There has been no other major
disease being seen anywhere across the state in wheat so far.

–Nidhi Rawat, Small grains Pathologist, University of Maryland

For more details, go to the FHB Risk assessment tool at

For the latest news and updates from the U.S. Wheat & Barley Scab
Initiative, go to https://www.scabusa.org

FHB Update: May 3, 2019

Current risk for Fusarium Head Blight development on susceptible wheat varieties (eg Shirley) for May 3, 2019.

Wheat in the Eastern Shore of Maryland is beginning to flower or will do so
in a couple of days. With yesterday’s rains, and more showers coming our
way, the risk of Fusarium Head has increased significantly in this part of
the state. Growers with wheat flowering (50% of the main tillers showing
yellow anthers) are advised to spray head scab fungicides (Prosaro/ Caramba/
Miravis-Ace) at early flowering or within 4-5 days of this stage. These
fungicides do not need to be tank mixed with another product for spraying.
The fungicide products should be applied at the full rate recommended by the
manufacturers. Strobilurin containing fungicides should not be sprayed at
this stage. Aerial application at a rate of 5 gallons per acre or ground
application at 15 gallons per acre with 300-350 um droplet size is
recommended. Spray nozzles should be angled at 30°-45° down from
horizontal, toward the grain heads, using forward- and backward mounted
nozzles or nozzles with a two directional spray, such as Twinjet nozzles. Up
in the North wheat is booting, and still roughly around 2 weeks away from

–Nidhi Rawat, Small grains Pathologist, University of Maryland

For more details, go to the FHB Risk assessment tool at

For the latest news and updates from the U.S. Wheat & Barley Scab
Initiative, go to https://www.scabusa.org

Checklist For Head Scab Fungicide Applications

Andrew Kness, Agriculture Agent
University of Maryland Extension, Harford County

wheat infected with head scab
Wheat infected with Fusarium head blight. Image: A. Kness, University of Maryland.

Wheat in the southern parts of Maryland will soon be flowering and the rest of the Maryland wheat crop will follow suit over the next few weeks. As wheat approaches flowering, here are a final list of reminders/tips to make the most of your fungicide applications that are targeted to manage Fusarium head blight (scab):

  • Use an effective fungicide. These include: metconazole (Caramba®), prothioconazole + tebuconazole (Prosaro®), prothioconazole (Proline®), and adepidyn (Miravis Ace®).
  • Apply an effective fungicide at the correct time. The most effective application window is from flowering (anthesis; Feeks 10.5.1) + 6 days after. Late applications (5-7 days after anthesis) are better than early heading/head emergence applications at reducing DON content in the grain.
  • Apply fungicides using the correct equipment. Ground applications should be made with 80-degree flat fan nozzles angled down from horizontal. For ground applications made at speeds over 6 mph, use a single nozzle angled forward (towards the grain heads), 30 degrees down from horizontal. For ground applications less than 6 mph, better coverage is achieved with dual forward and rearward facing nozzles, angled 30-45 degrees down from horizontal.
  • Sprayer should be operated to achieve droplet sizes of 300-350 microns.
  • Use 10-20 gallons of water per acre and keep the spray boom 8-10 inches above the crop.
  • For aerial applications: Use 4-5 gallons of water per acre. Fine to medium sized droplets (300-350 microns). Small aircraft should operate 8-10 feet above the crop; large aircraft 10-12 feet. Nozzles should be mounted to cover 65% of the aircraft’s wingspan and mounted as low as possible.

2019 Corn, Soybean, and Small Grain Fungicide Recommendations

Andrew Kness, Agriculture Agent
University of Maryland Extension, Harford County

As we get into the swing of the 2019 growing season, it can be helpful to have access to a quick reference for fungicide recommendations for if/when diseases become a problem on your farm. As you are aware, there are several products available for disease management and it can be difficult and confusing to select the appropriate product. Also remember that just because a pesticide is labeled for use on a particular crop to manage a specific pest, does not necessarily mean or guarantee that the pesticide will work to manage it. Pest populations are constantly evolving and therefore develop resistance to products over time. A good example of this is the fungicide, propiconazole; once very for managing head scab of wheat, is now ineffective against the pathogen.

To help aid your fungicide selections, the Crop Protection Network has some great resources on fungicide efficacy that they update each year (and soon to come, insecticides and herbicides). The Crop Protection Network is a multi-state and international partnership of university and provincial Extension specialists, and public and private professionals that provides unbiased, research-based information.

These publications list the relative fungicide efficacy for the major diseases of corn, soybeans, and small grains and are linked below. If you have trouble accessing or interpreting the information, contact your local agriculture agent.