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Special Features Section, Superior Express

Lincoln reporter writes story about Superior's vultures

Jenny's REESources


Lincoln reporter writes story about Superior's vultures
You never know what will catch the fancy of the out-of-town reporters.
The Local Section of Saturday's Lincoln Journal-Star included a picture of vultures roosting on an Aurora Cooperative's grain leg near the old First Street mill. According to the story 40 to 50 birds are roosting there every day and keeping the elevator crew busy cleaning up.
Darren Willett, manager of the cooperative's Superior West site told the reporter, "It's filthy."
So the workers sweep and routinely bring out the power-washer.
The turkey vultures calling the elevator home weigh about 4 pounds and a six-foot wing span.
The birds are here in spring and summer. They take flight about 8:30 every morning and return in the evening from a day of scavenging.
A spokesman for the state game and parks commission said the vultures are a problem in many Nebraska communities.
Though no formal count has been taken, it appears the number of the federally protected birds is increasing.
Joel Jorgensen, a game commission spokesman, said the birds' bad reputation is undeserved. He told the daily reporter, "They're not the most attractive birds and obviously the word vulture conjures up ideas about death. But they're harmless. They're not predators. And they're clean. In fact they are doing a service by eating the carrion which has diseases. They're an important part of the ecosystem."

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Jenny's REESources, by Jenny Rees, UNL Extension

Last week's drier weather helped with crop growth and allowed for the completion of some much-needed spraying and other field work.
I have received several questions about installing watermark sensors and disease concerns in crops.
Now is a great time to get your watermark sensors installed if you haven't already.
Some refreshers: We would recommend soaking and drying the sensors once before installing. After soaking for 24 hours, sensors should read 10 or under to know they are working properly. You can continue to soak sensors reading above 10 after 24 hours but consider replacing any sensors still reading above 10 after 48 hours of soaking.
If you are using a hand-held meter, the only button you need to push is the "read" button. Push this button once to view two lines; then press again to receive your reading. Once the hand-held meter is on, you only have to push the "read" button once as you attach the sensor leads to it. It will turn off automatically. It doesn't matter which sensor leads are connected to the hand-held clips.
For the ET gage, if you need new white wafers with the green canvas cover, please contact your local natural resources districtd or extension office as we have spares for you. Make sure to fill the ceramic top of the ET gage with distilled water in addition to the main tube as the top will hold about 2 inches.
Please contact your local natural resources district office or extension office with any additional questions.
It will be important to allow our crops to root down before irrigating. We've seen stress on hot days because of shallow roots.
We have a full soil profile and we also have nitrogen that continues to move down based on soil tests I've seen. So it will be important to monitor sensors and crop rooting depth for irrigation scheduling this year.
Hail, flooding and humid weather have all contributed to the disease pressure we're seeing in the corn crop right now. We've been seeing a bacterial stalk rot reducing plant stands in some fields where the whorl would die while lower leaves looked ok. Goss's wilt has also been confirmed in Nebraska but I am unsure of any confirmations in our area yet this year. We do have a bacterial leaf streak disease that is making the lower leaves of plants (in some cases further up on the plant) look really bad. We saw this last year as well and plants were able to grow out of it; unsure what will happen this year. In some cases last year, we weren't seeing it till later in the season. Rain and water splash can help continue spreading the bacterial on the plants. There wasn't anything we would recommend to do for it.
Some have asked about applying some of the products labeled for bacterial diseases. UNL research hasn't shown a benefit to applying most of these products so we would recommend if you are interested in applying them, to consider an on-farm research trial. It would be really easy as you would only need a commericial applicator or yourself to spray a pass, skip a pass and alternate that pattern across the field. The key is allowing for two combine-widths for every treated pass and every non-treated pass. That would allow for randomization and replication and allow for good data that we could use to help you determine if there was a scientific difference in applying the product or not. Please let me know if you're interested in doing this or any on-farm research experiment right now (including fungicide trials).
Northern corn leaf blight has been confirmed east of us, but I haven't seen any in our area and haven't been told of any samples confirmed in our area yet. We do have common rust and anthracnose in our area fields but we don't typically recommend fungicides for those diseases.
The bagworm photos and video are now up on my blog at if you would like to view them.