My name is Jared Sullivan, and I am a 2nd year agronomy intern at the Grant, Nebraska location. Most days I find myself out in fields scouting for weeds and pests or doing location maintenance. The fields I have been spending the most time in are all part of our Yield Advantage program. So far this summer I have only done flag testing for emergence, but within the next two weeks, I will start to pull leaf samples and take a couple soil samples from each field.
When you compare my experience from this year to last year, the growing conditions are completely different. This year has allowed for better growing conditions and emergence due to the consistent warm temperatures we have had this spring. The only problem I have noticed is that in the western part of the state we have been missing the rains that the eastern part has been getting. This has created some crusting in portions of several fields. The good news is this has had little affect on emergence of different crops.
It seems like every year there is always a challenge that we face in agriculture. Last year it was cold and wet weather conditions and then thistle caterpillars in soybeans, which has not been common in past years. Starting out this year, the main issue has been seedcorn maggots in soybeans. This has been a unique challenge to deal with because this has never been seen in soybeans before and has caused havoc across the whole state. Seedcorn maggots have wiped out fields of soybeans causing farmers to have to replant. It looks like this problem has resolved itself, but it is hard telling what other challenges this year will also throw at us.
When I am not scouting fields, you can find me doing jobs around the location such as mowing, weed eating, sweeping the shops, or delivering chemicals. These are all important to maintaining the location and keeping up the reputation that Aurora Cooperative has. Some days I get to help load out dry fertilizer as we get a dry truck in from Loomis or Aurora.
As wheat starts to head out, we have started to spray for rust, which has allowed me to have the opportunity to help load spray planes. With how many fungicide and insecticide applications are left this year, I can bet that there will be a lot more planes that I can help load. Outside of scouting, loading spray planes has been one of my favorite things to do. One unique thing I got to do this summer was to help put in a test plot across the highway from the Grant location. I have been assigned the task of watching the plot and recording data to give to producers when we have our field day.
Overall, this summer has been a great way to improve my skills as a future agronomist. I have learned a lot of techniques on how to identify and look for pests within a field. I have enjoyed my time in Grant and look forward to the rest of the summer I have left there.