Monday, June 28, 2010

Soybeans and Hot Weather

Don't be surprised if soybeans just aren't growing like they should. Hot weather may well be to blame. When temperatures get up to 95 degrees or more, soybeans tend to:
  • Close their stomates to conserve moisture within the leaf. They can't move enough water through the plant to keep up with that high an evapotranspiration demand. Soil moisture levels, therefore, have little to do with it.
  • Stop producing photosynthate, since carbon dioxide can't get in through those closed stomates either.
  • Stop growing vegetatively. No photosynthate, no growth. If the plants make it to 36-inches tall and lapped row middles anyway, losing those days of growth were of little consequence. If they don't get that big by flowering (in determinate varieties), the lost growing days will have been more serious.
  • Abort flowers. Not a big deal, since soybeans can replace those flowers, and they don't seem to care much which flowers become pods.
  • Abort small pods. This is a little more serious, but the plants may well have enough pods left anyway. If a pod was about half full size or bigger, it probably did not abort.
  • Abort seeds within larger pods if the seeds were still pretty small.
  • Produce smaller seeds if the seeds were too big to abort.
Remember that soybeans typically produce way more flowers than the combine will ever find as pods, and will start more pods than will make it to harvest. That's one of the major ways they survive adversity like this. The net result will probably be not much worse than losing a few days of potential production. I wouldn't expect any lasting effect of this response to high temperatures.
Content supplied by:
Dr. Jim Dunphy
NCSU Extension Soybean Specialist

Monday, June 21, 2010

Signup For Cost Share Programs Now

The Caldwell Soil and Water Conservation District will be accepting applications for the Agriculture Cost Share Program (ACSP) and the Community Conservation Assistance Program (CCAP) now through June 30, 2010. The district board will award contracts to the highest qualified applicants at the August 2010 district board meeting. ACSP is a voluntary, incentive-based program to install best management practices on agricultural lands. CCAP is a voluntary, incentive-based program to install best management practices on urban, suburban and rural lands. Both programs focus on installing measures to reduce non-point source pollution and improve water quality in streams. For more information, please contact the Caldwell Soil and Water Conservation District Office at 828-758-1111.

Tomato Tasting at NC A&T

WHAT: Great Tomato Tasting
WHERE: NC A&T University Farm
WHEN: Saturday, July 17, 2010
TIME: 8-12 noon (Rain or Shine)

North Carolina Cooperative Extension and The Cooperative Extension program NC A&T State
University Farm announce the first-ever Great Tomato Tasting, to be held on July 17, 2010, from 8-12, rain or shine. The event will include the tasting of both heirloom and hybrid tomatoes and tours of the farm’s research plots.

Wagon tours, led by faculty and farm staff, will be available throughout the event, highlighting NC A&T University’s agricultural research. You will get a chance to see the high tunnel production, tomato grafting, and tomato production on plastic mulch. As part of the day’s events, we will also showcase tomato cookery and canning. NC Cooperative Extension staff and Master Gardener Volunteers will be available throughout the event to answer your gardening questions, and to make your visit to the research farm a pleasurable and memorable one. More fun activities are planned, so bring your camera.

Pre-Registration - $5.00 per person submitted by July 2ndRegistration at door $7.00(cash, check or money order) Children under 10 are free.

To help us adequately prepare for visitors, please RSPV by calling 336-375-5876 We look forward to seeing you at this delicious event!

Friday, June 11, 2010


There have been several calls this week about spittlebugs on Leyland cypress trees. Callers describe the problem as small foamy masses dotting their trees. However, some callers just call it spit or spittle, thus the common name of the bug.

Long story short, don't worry about them. They will not harm Leylands or most other plants. There is no need to treat Leyland cypress for spittlebugs. Sometimes these bugs will feed on grapevines. Again there is no need to treat. If you do not like the spittle masses, just use a water hose to wash the spittle away.

The foamy spittle is produced by the nymphal stage of the two-lined spittlebug. The insect makes the foamy mass by excreting honey dew and mixing it with air. This provides the developing nymph with an almost aquatic environment in which to develop. The spittle also offers some protection from predators. This nymphal stage lasts about a month.
In July, the nymphs will transform into adults. The adults look similar to leaf hoppers, about 1/3 of an inch long. They are black in color with two small red lines and red eyes. After the adults mate, the females will lay eggs. These will hatch next spring, starting the cycle over again.

Again, it is very unlikely we will ever need to treat spittlebugs in Caldwell County with pesticides, but in eastern North Carolina treatment is sometimes necessary. These bugs can be a problem on warm season grasses and ornamental hollies. If you read on the Internet about spittlebugs, and they suggest treatment, it is appropriate in some locations.

If you have lawn and garden questions, please contact me at the Caldwell County Extension Center, 757 1290, send me an email (, or stop by the office.

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