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. 

  • Chad Kuehl Image

    Southern Corn Rust Popping Up in Stine Region 5

    July 25, 2018

    Posted by Chad Kuehl in Crop Management

    Southern corn rust recently started making its way into areas of southern Nebraska. While symptoms are minimal at this time, the disease could spread rapidly in a matter of days. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources also reports confirmed cases in western Missouri and southern Kansas. Because southern rust is a wind-borne fungus and has the potential to keep spreading, growers should get in their fields to start scouting for symptoms now.

    Southern corn rust can be detected on the leaves of corn plants. The fungus leaves behind tan and/or orange discoloration on the leaves, which is actually the southern rust pustules clustered closely together on the leaf surface or leaf sheaths. According to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s report, the disease favors warm temperatures and moisture, so once the disease has been detected, you must continue to monitor your corn acres for spread of the disease and follow the weather reports. Watch for warm temperatures, high humidity and forecasted rain. These conditions could greatly exacerbate the situation. While southern rust can be devastating to yields, timely fungicide applications can help control the disease.

    If symptoms have reached a level that warrants action, I recommend growers invest in a foliar fungicide that is applicable to the disease, such as fungicides that also help treat common rust and grey leaf spot. I also advise growers to watch their fields after residual control of that particular fungicide has worn off to ensure the disease does not come back.

    If you are in area that has reports of southern corn rust or if you have confirmed the disease in your field, you should continue monitoring your fields now through harvest. Enlist the assistance of your local Stine representative to learn more about southern corn rust and how to prevent yield loss.

  • Mike Smith Image

    Soybean Diseases and Management Issues Throughout the Corn Belt

    July 18, 2018

    Posted by Mike Smith in Crop Management

    The last several weeks we’ve seen soybean fields throughout the Midwest under assault. Indiana and Illinois are dealing with historic levels of phytophthora and fusarium (sudden death syndrome). The southern Corn Belt has been dealing with soybean cyst nematodes and dry weather. The central Corn Belt is experiencing extremely wet, saturated conditions that have created difficult growing conditions.

    With all of these issues, how should growers approach the challenges that this year brings to produce a viable, healthy crop?

    The first step is to spend time in fields observing exactly what is happening with the crop. One mistake growers make is when they see their neighbors spraying and automatically think that they should jump in the sprayer as well. Not all issues can be addressed through chemical means, and knowing the condition of one’s own crop is paramount in designing a course of action.

    The second step is to rely on research and not marketing. It is tempting to see a problem and want to apply the newest, greatest product to promote pod fill and retention; however, those products are not always warranted and certainly not always financially feasible. Understanding thresholds for insects and diseases can provide just as much return on investment as spraying the right insecticide or fungicide in a timely manner.

    The third step should always be experimentation. I think it is always a good idea to leave an untreated check, or a treated check, in a field and mark the check and then harvest separately. This will provide you with on-farm knowledge about the rescue treatment and how the practice actually worked on your farm. Having this information can prove to be invaluable in subsequent years when the decision needs to be made on a larger scale.

    The final thing I encourage is to remember these issues to help make decisions for next year’s crop. For example, a field that had SDS in 2018 should become a candidate for rotation in 2019 and late planting in 2020. Recognize that some issues are dependent on weather. However, water mold type issues and SCN are field-level problems that do not go away with the passing of time. Learn how to better manage these soils to mitigate the annual problems of these types of pests.

    If you need help in this process, contact your Stine regional sales agronomist for strategies that can help you maximize this year’s crop and plan for a bigger harvest in the future.

  • Stefanie Ray Image

    Phytophthora Root Rot Affecting Illinois Soybeans

    July 04, 2018

    Posted by Stefanie Ray in Crop Management

    Recent heavy rains have caused problems for farmers in south central Illinois; we’re seeing phytopthora root rot affecting soybean fields. Phytophthora is a soil-borne water mold common in fields that are saturated and not well drained. Phytophthora can affect the plant at two different stages; one specifically targeting the stem. This happens before the root system is developed and during the VE/emergence stage. We call this the seedling blight phase, which can cause damping off. The second affects the roots of larger, more developed plants. The fungus infects the roots and grows into and along the root cells of the plants, which is what we are seeing right now.

    Phytophthora root rot can be fairly easy to detect when dealing with the root rot stage. The roots will be a discolored brown and root nodulation will be minimal, causing a chlorotic nitrogen deficient plant. The disease will move up the stem from the soil line and dark to reddish brown lesions will continue up the stem. The dead tissue quickly becomes soft and water soaked. The plant will soon look wilted and chlorotic (yellowing) leading to death of the plant. Sometimes a few plants will be affected and other times large areas of the field will be affected. This disease generally affects individual plants within a row (one out of seven to 10 plants may be affected.) Infected plants will eventually wilt and die, with the leaves still intact but delivering devastating yield loss. 

    If your fields are affected by phytohphora root rot this year, there’s really nothing you can do about it this growing season. However, growers can plant varieties with phytophora resistance along with seed treatments to protect seedlings from the disease in future years. Stine has an outstanding lineup of Rps 1a/1c/3a phytophthora root rot-resistant varieties in its lineup for 2019. Additionally, our Stine XP seed treatments contain fungicides to protect your seed investment from unwanted soil-borne pathogens. Stine XP Complete, Stine XP-F&I and Stine XP-F all boast resistance to phytophthora spp.

    To learn more about phytophthora root rot detection and prevention, contact your local Stine sales agronomist.