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. 

  • John Furlong Image

    Why Choose Stine

    July 22, 2016

    Posted by John Furlong in Stine News

    At Stine, we’re large enough to provide growers with a wide range of high-yielding corn and soybean lines, but we’re also small enough to be nimble and flexible. This is one of the many reasons why growers choose Stine and one of the many reasons why I enjoy working with the company. 

  • Todd Schomburg Image

    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.    

  • John Furlong Image

    City and Farmers Find Middle Ground with Middle Cedar Partnership Project

    June 24, 2016

    Posted by John Furlong in Crop Management

    At Stine, environmental stewardship is something we take seriously, and we understand that conservation as a general practice is good business. That’s why when word came out about the Middle Cedar Partnership Project, I was happy to join the effort not only as a Stine RSA, but as a landowner and grower.  

    The project, led by the city of Cedar Rapids, is designed to assist conservation partners, farmers and landowners to install best management practices in land and waterways surrounding the Cedar River Watershed. Some of the conservation recommendations made by the program include planting cover crops, creating wetland and wetland easements, installing saturated buffers or bioreactors and implementing best management practices for applying nutrients.

    For my operation, and as a practice we use at Stine, nutrient management, including split fertilizer applications, not only benefits crop production, but it’s also a win for the environment. With split applications, growers lessen the risk of nutrient loss as the nutrients are applied in two to three different treatments versus a single application, making it possible to synchronize applications with a more exact timing when the plant needs the nutrient. This decreases the chances of nitrogen leaching or denitrification.

    For my fields, I spread treatments into three applications. This year, I put anhydrous down in March, some liquid nitrogen during planting and urea just about one week before V5. During this time, I worked closely with the Middle Cedar Partnership Project representatives on nitrate testing. For the testing, they looked at what nutrients I used and when they were applied. They then took samples, including one sample just before planting, one just after planting and then one when my corn was at V5. They’ll also come back later in the season for another test. This helps the city and other public/private partners involved in the program gather the necessary information to continue their research and strengthen the path to improved water quality.

    As a grower and agronomist, my first and foremost concern is the water quality for everyone in Iowa. I want to make sure I apply my nutrients responsibly and where there won’t be an excess of nitrogen. And by spreading out fertilizer applications, I can not only maximize my yields and profitability, but I can also play my part in improving the water quality in Iowa.