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

    Three Ways to Check for Stalk Rot

    September 24, 2013

    Posted by John Furlong in Crop Management

    Many fields in eastern Iowa and northern Missouri are experiencing premature drying of corn, which sets the stage for stalk rot. To know if your fields suffer from the disease, check by picking several plants from different parts of each field to analyze. You probably have stalk rot if you get these results with the following methods:

    1. Push the top of the plant 30 degrees from its upright position and it doesn't snap back.

    2. Squeeze the plant near the base and it crushes.

    3. Cut off a couple of suspected stalks, and the pith looks discolored and empty inside.

    Scout and identify the fields at the greatest risk and then harvest those fields first. Though early moisture caused late planting in many areas, the rest of the season's hot, dry weather has made corn drier than producers may realize, making plants ready for a closer-to-normal harvest time. For questions about stalk rot and scouting, feel free to contact meor a regional sales agronomist in your area.

  • High Population Corn: Where Higher Yields Take Root
    Brian Hartman Image

    High Population Corn: Where Higher Yields Take Root

    August 05, 2013

    Posted by Brian Hartman in High-Population Corn

    Over the last eight decades, corn yields have increased as rows have gradually narrowed. Stine is now positioned to dramatically speed up that trend through our HP corn research. The days of consistently averaging 300 – or even 400 – bushels per acre in your corn fields may not be far off, as we develop new genetics specifically for high population environments.

    For years, Stine has been breeding hybrids designed for planting at higher populations. They’re shorter and narrower than traditional hybrids, with leaves that grow upright to catch more sunlight. Most importantly, these plants have the stalk strength and disease package suited for high populations.

    Last year, our HP corn planted in 12-inch rows reached 300-plus bu/acre in areas with the best growing conditions. This year, we took our HP corn research to the next level, planting thousands of acres in 12-inch rows at the Stine Farm. The narrower rows allow us to push populations up around the 51,000 mark. Only hybrids bred specifically for this purpose will thrive at these populations.

    We also planted dozens of demonstration plots across the Corn Belt to give growers a firsthand look at how some hybrids are well suited for higher populations and some are not. 

    We recently introduced a new resource for growers interested in HP corn. The website www.stineseed.com/hp includes a video describing our research, the characteristics of HP corn hybrids, the locations of our HP corn demo plots, the equipment we customized to plant in narrower rows and much more. We encourage you to visit the site to learn more about the philosophy behind HP corn and why it makes so much sense.

    With aggressive breeding programs and an eye on the future, Stine is the seed company that’s creating the hybrids that will shape tomorrow’s corn yields. 

  • Tony Pleggenkuhle Image

    When Scouting Fields, Take Notes for Next Year

    July 02, 2013

    Posted by Tony Pleggenkuhle in Crop Management

    The warm, wet conditions found in Region 10 give way to an unfortunately ideal environment for certain pest and disease pressures, including wireworm, seedcorn maggot, rhizoctonia and phytophthora. Keep good record of where these pests are found so that you can prevent yield loss to them in subsequent years. Selecting a variety with good disease tolerance is the best control for phytophthora and rhizoctonia, while a seed-applied insecticide is an ideal way to prevent damage from wireworm and seed corn maggot.

    Another area of concern is herbicide carryover, particularly in soybeans. Last year's dry summer and fall has caused a delay in the breakdown of many of the herbicides we use. The wet spring has resulted in stunted, less vigorous plants with a reduced ability to metabolize carryover herbicides. When coupled with the fact that many soybean plants are switching to their nodal root system for their primary source of nutrients, I'm beginning to see quite a few fields with herbicide carryover concerns. Whether it's the heart-shaped soybean leaf caused by acetachlor or the bleached look of a photosynthesis inhibitor, these symptoms are beginning to show up in quite a few soybean fields, especially in the overlaps. I don't expect to see much yield loss due to these carryover situations, but it does add another stressor to the plant at a critical time.

    White mold also thrives in seasons of high moisture levels, coupled with high temperatures. Keep an eye out for it later in the season, particularly in soybeans. You can recognize white mold by dead leaves on top of bushy plants, and as it progresses, a white mold appears on the stems. The good news is, many still have time to lessen the damage from this pressure with fungicide. The best time to spray is during R2-R3 stage, when pods first develop.

    To learn more about how you can treat and prevent pest and disease pressures in your field, contact me or a Regional Sales Agronomist in your area.