Soil temps, planting numbers and insect info

May 18, 2019 GMT

Welcome to Crop Talk, this is Dr. Megan Taylor, your local friendly agronomist with Nebraska Extension serving Platte, Boone and Nance Counties. Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the great ladies! Really missing my mom and grandmas in Indiana this week, so get out there and spend some time with loved ones.

It was a cool and wet last week across Northeast Nebraska and unfortunately this has affected our soil temps. Soil temperatures around the counties had been holding steady and a few weeks ago were in the upper 40s and low 50s consistently. Last week, however, we dipped and for most of the week were in the mid-40s and had semi wet conditions in some areas. The USDA reported that 35 percent of corn and 14 percent of Nebraska’s beans were planted. In Platte, Boone and Nance counties, about 20 to 26 percent of corn has gone in and 6 percent beans.


Winter wheat is currently at the 5-10 feekes stage throughout the three counties, as well. Many are beginning to enter the boot stage. We are not far off last year’s planting averages, with 38 percent corn planted and 15 percent beans planted at this time in 2018. Remember to check soil temperatures in the morning before attempting to plant.

Using a meat thermometer is a great way to double-check soil temperatures for each field, remember some low areas, no-till or wet soils will warm more slowly than soybean stubble, flat plains or fields not affected by heavy precipitation. If there are areas that you can get in and have a solid 48-hour window, then consider prioritizing those farms that are ready now!

Not only are the wet conditions not ideal for planting, but this year we will see an increase in ticks and mosquitoes. We need to be cautious when we are baling hay, scouting fields and working with livestock. Mosquitoes will be heavy this year with the additional moisture. There are four active ingredients we need to look for in our products: DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Also look for the EPA label indicating the product is tested and proven to repel mosquitoes. Remember to check out the label to see how long products will stay active - usually between 2 and 12 hours. Insect-repelling clothing can also be effective.

Ticks are a little tricky to keep off of us compared to mosquitoes. The best method is to treat clothing, shoes, hats and backpacks with Permethin 0.5 percent spray. This spray is applied on the fabric and then allowed to dry. These treatments can typically last several washes, or you can purchase pre-treated clothing that will last upward of 70 washes. Doing periodic tick checks while outdoors is key and running your clothing in the dryer on high for 20-30 minutes can also kill ticks that may have hitched a ride.


Calling all female farmers, farm wives, daughters, agronomists, ranchers, and farm hands! There will be Annie’s Project Training in Columbus and Fullerton starting in June. This program will cover bookkeeping, marketing, beef 101, crop and pesticide safety, healthy field meals and much more. Registrations are being taken now, please call the office to get registered! For questions please call 402-563-4901, email me at mtaylor42@unl.edu or check out the Crop Talk Megan website for up to date information. Join me next week for more Crop Talk!

Megan Taylor is an agronomist with Nebraska Extension-Platte County serving Platte, Boone and Nance counties.