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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    What to Know: Sudden Death Syndrome and Brown Stem Rot

    July 05, 2017

    Posted by Todd Schomburg in Crop Management

    What to Know: Sudden Death Syndrome and Brown Stem Rot
    Because sudden death syndrome (SDS) and brown stem rot (BSR) continue to spread throughout the Midwest each year, now is a critical time to scout for signs of these diseases in your soybean fields. In Region 4, which covers northwestern Iowa and parts of Nebraska, SDS in particular was a big issue the last couple years, which means growers need to look for it again this year. Here’s what you need to know about SDS and BSR.

    Plants typically become infected with SDS in the spring, a few weeks after planting; however, symptoms of the disease may not be detectible until late July or early August. Some of the symptoms can include discolored patches (often times yellow) on the leaves between the veins, leaves dropping prematurely, root rot, blue mold-like spots on the taproot, late-developing pods and smaller-than-normal seeds, which ultimately lead to reduced yield.

    If you think you’ve detected SDS, contact your Stine regional sales agronomist to help confirm the disease. If SDS is confirmed, there really isn’t anything you can do for it this year, but in future years, there are preventive measures you can take to lessen the risk for SDS returning. Choosing soybean varieties that are SDS tolerant and seed treatments that are effective against the disease are options to discuss with your RSA. You’ll also want to take note of the problem areas so you can track those spots again next year. Typically, if SDS returns, it shows up in the same place each year.

    BSR has a lot of similar symptoms to SDS, including leaf discoloration, decreased pods and smaller seeds. However, to determine if your fields have BSR or SDS, you need to split open the root and see if the pith and stem are brown or white. If it’s brown, then it’s likely BSR, if it’s white, then it’s probably SDS.  

    In addition to selecting varieties that are BSR tolerant and using seed treatments, growers can find some relief from the disease through crop rotation, including multiple years of corn on corn, and tillage.

    For more information on how to detect and prevent SDS and BSR from occurring in your fields, talk to your regional sales agronomist.

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    Six Tips for 2017 Seed Selection

    December 02, 2016

    Posted by Todd Schomburg in Products

    If you haven’t browsed through our 2017 Seed Catalog, now is the time to check it out. We have more than 60 corn numbers and 100 soybean numbers slated for next planting season, and that doesn’t include our Elite Soybean (conventional) lines.  

    To help you get started on your 2017 seed selection, here are few tips to set you on the right track to higher yields.

    1. Consider reaching out to your local fertility expert to determine the soil fertility of your fields and what nutrient management options may be required to ensure a healthy crop next year. If you don’t have someone you are currently working with, local university extension offices may be able to provide experts and soil sampling services to help you determine what’s in your fields now, and how to make adjustments before planting season arrives.
    2. Remember that almost every hybrid/variety has an off year. Unexpected inclement weather can throw any good corn hybrid or soybean variety off its usual course, so don’t let one off year keep you away from products that have a normal history of performing well on your acres. Always make room for tried and true genetics in your portfolio.
    3. That being said, it’s also important to diversify genetics. Yes, you do want to reserve a number of acres for the products that have repeatedly performed, but as the old saying goes, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” just in case your favorite hybrid or variety does have that off year.
    4. Talk to your local Stine sales rep and/or dealer to discuss what has worked well in your area in the past, especially in 2016. Ask him/her which traits stood out and which hybrids and varieties were the top performers for other Stine growers in your region.
    5. Get your seed orders in early. Now is the best time of year to start because you get first dibs on the hybrids and varieties that are in high demand so that you’re already locked in and prepaid come planting season.
    6. And last but not least, take advantage of the winter farm show season. Stop by the Stine booth at a farm show near you to chat one-on-one with a Stine sales rep to discuss your plans for 2017.


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    Considering Fungicides?

    July 11, 2016

    Posted by Todd Schomburg in Crop Management

    As corn continues to tassel, it’s time to determine if you should spray fungicide on your corn acres. In Region 4, we’re starting to see some diseases, such as northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot, out in the field. These areas would greatly benefit from fungicide applications to help protect yield. While growers may be concerned with the initial costs of fungicide, the benefits of the applications will outweigh the costs come harvest.

    Another factor to consider when deciding whether or not to apply fungicide is the weather. Many corn diseases can thrive in areas that have received too much or too little rain. Applying a fungicide around tassel time helps keep weather-related diseases at bay. And while the weather may be cooperating for your fields so far this year, there’s no guarantee the tides won’t turn in the coming weeks. Hail and high-wind events can tear leaves and increase the chances of diseases getting into those leaves.

    As a Stine agronomist, I know it’s better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to corn diseases. Applying fungicide will help protect your yield through harvest and maximize your profits.