2021 SUMMER INTERNS: Noah Stone

Aurora Cooperative 1 year ago

My name is NOAH STONE, and I am interning at the Clarks, NE Agronomy location. This fall, I will return to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for my third and final year. I am graduating in the spring with a degree in Agronomy with a focus on Integrated Crop Management. I have interned with another Nebraska cooperative in the past, but I’m enjoying the opportunity to work with a new coop in a different part of the state than my hometown.

In the two months I’ve been working for Aurora Cooperative, I’ve learned a lot about crop health, deficiencies, weeds, and more. I spent the first few weeks of my internship walking our producers’ fields looking mainly at crop emergence and weed pressure. During this time, I had to learn how to identify a wide variety of weeds in various stages of growth, and I worked with my mentor to determine a plan for controlling these weeds. I’ve learned about herbicide modes of action, and the main active ingredients for our more commonly used herbicides. I also spent time working with fertilizer requirements and recommendations, and blended, loaded, and delivered fertilizer during side-dress season.

At this point in the growing season, I’m focused on looking at crop health as well as looking for disease and insects. Currently, I’m getting my first opportunity to see insects such as Japanese Beetles and the damage they cause in the field instead of a classroom. I also expect a few other insect species to show themselves in the coming weeks, which will be a good opportunity to practice identification, determining thresholds, and looking at control practices. This is something I have very little prior experience in, so I’m really enjoying all the time I can spend learning about them in real-world, hands-on situations.

Another focus of my scouting recently is hail damage. We had a span of three nights where severe weather moved through the area I work in, and it brought in plenty of hail and high winds. Thanks to this weather, I spent a couple days with my mentor, Adam Beck, looking at affected fields, how severe the damage was, and talking through different response plans to deal with the damage. We had to consider whether yield was affected, how much it was affected, and then make recommendations on what steps to take to reduce the stress on the crop as much as possible.

This summer has allowed me to learn a lot about agronomics, and I’ve greatly enjoyed all the experiences I’ve had so far. I’ve gotten plenty of interaction with producers and gotten to know many of them and their specific practices well. I appreciate all the experiences Aurora has provided me, and I look forward to what the rest of the summer brings.