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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    Prepare Today, Harvest Tomorrow

    August 14, 2017

    Posted by Jason Green in Harvest

    As we move through the month of August, now is the time to get the combines out and prepare our equipment for harvest. One of the most overlooked maintenance tasks is properly adjusting the combine and head. Sixty percent of corn yield loss happens at the corn head. Typically, this happens because of worn or unadjusted deck plates, wrong head angle, speed of snap rolls and ears going over the side of the header. It only takes two kernels of corn per square foot to equal a one bushel lost. It’s also important to properly adjust your threshing system and fan speed. 

    Not only are there mechanical parts to check, but it is also important to calibrate yield monitors. Yield monitors collect valuable information that can help us decide how certain hybrids handle different soil types and weather. By using this information, we can better determine future use of the hybrid. Your RSA should be able to help with these calibrations. 

    As harvest season approaches, it is important to walk your corn fields to check stalk strength. To determine the strength of the stalk, push against the plants firmly to about a 45-degree angle. You can also pinch the plants on the lower stalk at the first internodes. You should check a minimum of 20 plants per row to determine stalk strength. Fields with 10­–15 percent or more of stalk lodging need to be considered for early harvest. Also, while you’re out there you can do yield estimates to help determine expectations for harvest.

    This is also the time when I recommend growers start thinking about next year. By gaining information from the field, we can help determine what hybrids we should think about for next year. Stine’s early order program can help guarantee you the top hybrids within our genetic program. Please contact your Stine RSA to get your order in today. 

    As always, remember that accidents happen when we become rushed, and by preparing today, we can have a safe and healthy harvest.  

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    The Stine FieldMax Seed Corn Harvesting System

    August 10, 2017

    Posted by Stine Seed in Technology

    Stine has developed a unique way to improve seed corn production. Stine’s one-of-a-kind, internally designed and custom-built FieldMax Seed Corn Harvesting System was designed to minimize handling, reduce waste and increase harvest efficiency on the Stine Seed Farm in Adel, Iowa. This innovative system allows Stine to perform in the field many of the tasks that would typically be done in a seed corn production facility. Stine currently possesses four of these corn pickers based on the John Deere 9800-series platform, along with one that is a slightly smaller harvester built on the John Deere 9600-series platform.

    So, how does it work? As the seed corn is picked, the ears travel their way up the main belt and come across the splitter belt and then on to one of two husking beds to get the husks removed. From there, the corn then travels to the upper deck to be sorted for purity; anything unhusked will then be sent through a return. Good ears get off-loaded into the white storage boxes pulled alongside. This ultimately reduces grain handling and preserves the grain quality, but the efficiency doesn’t stop there.

    After the seed comes off the FieldMax Seed Corn Harvester, it is directly loaded into drying boxes where it will be hauled into drying stations. Each drying station holds four boxes, and all boxes hold 125 bushels of wet ear corn. Every station is anchored by a large fan, which pushes air through the four boxes of corn, taking about two to three days to get a box of corn dry enough to be processed. Stine’s system dries small batches, which allows us to use a relatively high volume of air and low amount of heat. This preserves the grain and yield quality of Stine seed corn after harvest.

    Agriculture technology is constantly evolving, and Stine prides itself on leading the industry with innovation such as the Stine FieldMax Seed Corn Harvesting System. Learn more about the system in this video:

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    Crop Progress Report

    August 02, 2017

    Posted by Stine Seed in Crop Management

    USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released an updated crop progress report earlier this week. The report covers 18 states across the United States, 92 percent of which planted the nation’s corn acreage in 2016 and 95 percent planted the nation’s soybean acreage. Here are the latest crop progress updates and conditions from USDA-NASS.

    As of July 30, 2017, 85 percent of corn has started silking and only 23 percent has reached the dough stage. Corn silking is right on average for this time of year. As far as corn conditions across the 18-state region, 13 percent is listed in excellent condition, 48 percent as good, 26 percent as fair, nine percent as poor and four percent very poor. Last year at this time, 20 percent was listed in excellent condition, 56 percent in good, 18 percent in fair, five percent in poor and one percent very poor.

    For soybeans, 82 percent have bloomed, which is slightly ahead of the 2012–2016 average of 80 percent. Forty-eight percent of soybeans have set pods, which is also slightly ahead of schedule this year. Soybean conditions across the 18-state region are listed as 10 percent excellent, 49 percent good, 28 percent fair, 9 percent poor and four percent very poor. Last year at this time, 16 percent were listed in excellent condition, 56 percent good, 21 percent fair, five percent poor and two percent very poor.

    For more crop progress updates from USDA-NASS, visit their website.