Some producers experienced hail damage late this season and may be wondering what to do next?

Depending on the extent of the damage, some producers may harvest the crop for grain, use the crop for earlage, cut it for silage or plant a cover crop. Before planting a cover crop, producers need to check with their crop insurance agent, determine goals for that cover crop, and check their current herbicide program for any restrictions.

If you’re considering planting a cover crop into fields that were hailed out, now is a critical time depending on the cover crop you want to plant and the goals you have in mind. Cover crops like oats, rye or brassicas (turnips, collards or rapeseed) can be mixed. Some of these cover crops can be flown on while others are best seeded using a drill.

Rates may vary depending on the mix and if the cover crop is used for weed management, forage, ground cover, nitrogen uptake or all of the above. Sept 1 is usually considered the cutoff time if producers want to plant small grains like oats or brassicas for good fall growth. These crops don’t overwinter well in Nebraska, so planting time is important to ensure good germination and establishment.

Other cover crops — like rye — can be planted after Sept. for good fall and spring growth. Determine what your goals are before planting a cover crop this fall.

More information on cover crop selection, seeding rates and uses can be found on UNL’s CropWatch website:

Soybean diseases

This past week I have seen several soybean fields experiencing Cercospora leaf blight.

The leaf blight stage is typically seen in the upper canopy. Lesions will be irregular, red to purple in color, and range from small specks to larger spots. Lesions will be present on the upper and lower leaf surface.

Cercospora tends to be a problem in fields with a disease history and in years where there is high humidity and moderate to high temperatures with cloud coverage. In the leaf blight stage, yield loss is usually less than 10%. This disease can also lead to purple seed stain, which is seen at harvest.

As the name indicates, plants infected with this disease tend to have seeds with stained seed coats. This purple discoloration may result in grain dockage at the elevator, denied seed certification, or reduced germination if discoloration covers more than 50% of the seed coat.

Crop rotation, residue management, genetic resistance and foliar fungicides applied during early pod stages (R3-R5) help manage this disease. I have also heard a few reports of white mold in soybeans this year. Moderate temperatures and high moisture favor infection. Infection occurs during flowering and management should have occurred at that time.

Symptoms include small pockets of dead or dying plants in the field with white mold growing on the stems, usually at a node. Stems will be bleached yellow and you can find black spore structures on the stem (inside or outside) or in the pod. T

his late in the season, all that we can do is plan for future growing seasons. Some things to keep in mind to manage white mold is to avoid narrow row spacing, allow for good air flow, and apply a foliar fungicide treatment during flowering to fields with a history of white mold.

If you’re at all uncertain if you have Cercospora leaf blight or white mold this year, submit a sample to UNL’s Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic in Lincoln for confirmation.

Sarah Sivits is the Dawson County Extension educator in crops and water, and serves Dawson, Buffalo and Hall counties. Contact her at (308) 324-5501 or by email at

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