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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    Early HP Corn Options

    March 03, 2016

    Posted by Justin Oden in High-Population Corn

    What makes Stine HP Corn stand out among competitor hybrids when it comes to dairy silage? It all lies in HP Corn's ability to thrive in narrow-row configurations, like 15-inch rows or Stine HP Twin 20s, allowing growers to make gains in both TDNs and tonnage as more plants can be produced per acre. RSA Justin Oden shares his insight into early HP Corn options for silage in this week’s Ask the Agronomist blog post.

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    Stine Celebrates National FFA Week

    February 25, 2016

    Posted by Stine Seed in Stine News

    “Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of man.” — President George Washington

    As we celebrate National FFA Week, we remember perhaps one of our strongest advocates in history — President George Washington, a man who would rather spend time on his farm than be emperor of the world, and a man whose legacy and support of agriculture are celebrated annually for an entire week during the month of February. In 1947, the National FFA Board of Directors designated the week of George Washington’s birthday (Feb. 22) as National FFA Week to celebrate his contributions to agriculture and advocacy on behalf of farmers.

    Agvocacy is a strong component of our culture here at Stine, and that’s why we proudly support the FFA. Many of our employees actually started off as members of the FFA, and their experience as future farmers helped strengthen their bond with agriculture and served as a steppingstone to their careers in the ag industry. 

    In honor of National FFA Week, we asked a few of our regional sales agronomists about their time in the FFA and how the organization helped pave their future to Stine.

    RSA Jaye Sanstrom, Region12 — I met my husband for the first time at an FFA leadership conference as a sophomore in high school. We were married eight years later and now have two future FFA members of our own. We keep a photo of the day we first met so that one day our kids will ask us about our blue and gold jackets. FFA was a huge part of my high school years, as well as the first few years of college. I was the first member from my high school in 76 years to be awarded the American FFA Degree, which is given to members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA and made significant accomplishments in their Supervised Agricultural Experiences. After retiring my blue and gold jacket, I founded our local FFA alumni chapter to support the high school FFA chapter. Over the past 10 plus years, the Chrisman-Scottland FFA Alumni chapter has provided funds for students to attend various leadership-building conferences and conventions, purchased new agricultural training materials for the classroom and contests, and awarded multiple scholarships in addition to spending countless hours volunteering to help students prepare for life. My husband and I continue to live by the first 17 words of the FFA creed, “I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds.” Support your local FFA!

    RSA Justin Oden, Region1 — I started in 4-H when I was nine years old and then transitioned into FFA my freshman year of high school. I showed livestock at the county fair as well as at the Iowa State Fair until I was 21. I was also active in soil and livestock judging. I really enjoyed going to the National FFA Convention every year, which at the time was held in Kansas City, Missouri. And I will never forget my FFA advisor and vocational ag teacher Dianne Strickler. She was like an old mother hen and took care of, watched over and supported her students with all their endeavors.

    RSA Todd Schomburg, Region 4 — I started FFA when I was a freshman in high school. We did a lot of activities, including livestock judging, meat judging and showing pigs and sheep. FFA teaches members about responsibility and knowing what you need to learn in agriculture. I was fortunate to have a tremendous ag instructor that was with me from the very beginning until the end of my FFA career — David Flint. He was with me through county fairs and state fairs, and any type of judging contest I was a part of. My senior year, in 1981, I was the president of the Hampton Tall Corn chapter. At that point in time, I was hoping to become a farmer and help out on our family farm. Although I’m an agronomist and not a grower on my family farm, my experience with the FFA better prepared me for going into the ag industry than what I even realized at the time it took place. To current members of the FFA, remember to participate, participate, participate. Do everything you can; the more you do, the more you learn. It’s a tremendous experience, and no matter if you intend to stay with agriculture or not, it’s still a great way to learn and become a better person.

    For more information on National FFA Week, visit https://www.ffa.org/ffaweek.

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    Five Ways to Cut Costs, Not Profits

    January 29, 2016

    Posted by John Furlong in Crop Management

    While grain prices remain volatile because of increased inventories, you may be considering cutting input costs going into the planting season. It’s important for growers to remain cautious about cutting corners but know that there are ways to save without sacrificing yield. Crop management is key. Here are five valuable tips to consider:

    Grid sampling: Grid sampling helps you target areas in your fields that are nutrient deprived and areas where fertilizer applications aren’t necessary. You’re able to reduce fertilizer costs with sampling by only applying nutrients where necessary versus over the entire field. When a troubled area is identified, you can target those areas to help them become more productive, whether with fertilizer or other applications.

    Variable rate fertilizing: Split application of nitrogen can help cut fertilizer costs. Applying nitrogen before the corn is planted, at planting time and then at the V5 stage meets the timeframe for when the plants really need nitrogen. It is especially important with extreme weather events and the genetics we have today that nitrogen be applied later in the season, around the V5 stage. Splitting these applications helps prevent over treating a field.

    Matching populations: Appropriately matching populations to hybrids and varieties can help stretch your dollar. Work with your trusted seed advisor and consider weather variables and field conditions that have impacted yield in the past to find the right product and spacing for your field.

    Weed control: Weed control is important in every aspect of crop management. You need to pair the right hybrid or variety with the right genetics to fight weeds that have been problematic in your fields. However, not every area of your field may require herbicide applications. Before you get in the field, do some pre-crop scouting to determine problematic areas and spray those areas only. Survey your fields throughout the growing season for troubled areas to determine where a post spray is necessary. Only spraying the problem areas will cut herbicide costs while maximizing profits.

    Reduce tillage: Save energy and fuel costs by reducing tillage. While tillage can be an option when you need to level a field or flush out weeds before you spray, seriously consider the costs associated with an extra pass around the field.