ASK THE AGRONOMIST BLOG

Stine’s Ask the Agronomist blog is your source to the latest information from our expert team, including advice and insight on field practices, product recommendations, planting and harvest updates, new technologies, crop management, innovative research and information about how to keep your farm operation running smoothly year round. 

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    Planting Prep Underway

    March 28, 2017

    Posted by Stine Seed in Planting

    In most areas of the Corn Belt, preparations for planting season are well underway. Farmers are busy monitoring soil conditions and temperatures and prepping their equipment before they get in the field.

    Planter Maintenance

    Making sure planters are properly maintained and safely prepped for planting season is an important topic in the industry right now. As Michael Gustafson of Iowa Farmer Today recently wrote, “the planter really sets the stage for a successful crop.” Planters need to be properly maintained to ensure the correct spacing and seed depth are set and that all systems run smoothly so that there aren’t any equipment problems that could cause delays in planting. To ensure proper seed placement, growers need to make sure that the row units are in good shape and the seed tubes aren’t showing any signs of wear. Disc blades need to be inspected to make sure there aren’t any chips and cracks, and gauge wheels need to be in good shape to make sure the row units are in proper contact with the ground. Having a fully functional planter really does set the stage for the entire season, and Michael Gustafson provides some excellent tips to prep your planter this season.

    Stine Regional Sales Agronomist Nick Schwarze provides additional planter maintenance tips for growers to get started on a successful 2017 planting season in the video above. 

    Field Monitoring

    Weather is also a big-ticket item for growers right now. If temperatures remain above average for many parts of the corn-growing areas, soil temperatures will increase, which may mean an earlier start for corn planting. Of course, above average rainfall in April can cause growers to switch some of their planned corn acres to soybeans. It is recommended that growers wait until the soil temperature reaches at least 50 degrees for three or more consecutive days before they begin planting to help ensure good germination and emergence. Growers should also try to avoid planting in cool, wet and water-logged soil, which can lead to long-term problems such as sidewall compaction, poor seed/soil contact, poor germination and inconsistent stands. Monitor field conditions on an individual basis and plant when the field is fit. To help your planting prep, check out Ag Professional’s recent article that highlights the Midwest weather outlook.

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    Stine Elite Soybeans

    March 21, 2017

    Posted by Stine Seed in Products

    For growers who prefer conventional options for their soybean acres, Stine has a great selection of high-yielding soybeans in an array of maturities.

    Our Elite soybean lineup consists of 28 unique, high-yielding varieties that excel in a number of different soil types and maturity zones. This includes 10 new options in 2017, offering growers more choices for their soybean fields.

    Whether your situation calls for SCN resistance, Rps1k Phytophthora tolerance or just the highest-yielding genetics available today, Stine Elite soybeans should be your top choice for maximum yields from a conventional lineup.

    With an unmatched breeding program and a reputation for the finest genetics in the industry, it’s easy to see why growers choose Stine Elite soybeans. To see our full lineup of Elite soybeans, visit our website.

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    Don’t Forget A Planting Plan

    March 10, 2017

    Posted by Aaron Stockton in Planting

    This time of year, I encourage growers to have a planting plan in place. Getting as much information gathered and work done ahead of time will allow for a more pleasant planting season this spring. Here are a few recommendations to get started:

    1. Have a conversation with your seed reps about placing the appropriate corn hybrid or soybean variety on each acre. Coupling the right genetics with each field a grower farms has shown to promote very positive movement in yield.
    2. Consider the order you plan to plant. I typically encourage growers to start out with a corn hybrid that has a good cold emergence score. This will give them a better shot at getting a consistent stand on the first acres planted, as these acres will typically have the coolest soil temps at planting.   
    3. At this point, hopefully you’ve already taken care of soil testing and have a good idea of where your starting point is. You should have a fertility plan in place that will allow you to achieve your yield goals for the year. If you have not already done so, I recommend doing it now. There is still time to get this addressed before planting time. Even if it can’t be taken care of before planting, there are ways to address fertility needs throughout the season. You can’t, however, address a need if you don’t know what the need is to begin with. 
    4. As it gets closer to the actual day you head out to the field, soil temperatures and moisture levels are two incredibly important things to watch. A cool, wet soil will lead to issues such as side wall compaction, poor seed/soil contact, poor germination and inconsistent stands, just to name a few. Wait until the ground is consistently reaching 50 degrees. I like to see soil temps at 50 degrees for three days or so before I really begin planting, all hands on deck.
    5. Lastly, make sure the planter is in good shape and ready to hit the field. Run through your planter check list. Check bearings, seals, openers, row cleaners, closing wheels, vacuum/air lines. If you run any type of precision planting or field-mapping software, make sure it is updated and ready to go. 

    For more information on developing a full planting plan, feel free to reach out to your local Stine sales rep.