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. 

  • Todd Schomburg Image

    World Soil Day: There’s More to Soil Than Dirt

    December 05, 2014

    Posted by Todd Schomburg in Crop Management

    In honor of World Soil Day, we want to remind growers the importance that soil plays in plant growth and health. As Charles Kellogg once put it, “Essentially, all life depends upon the soil ... There can be no life without soil and no soil without life; they have evolved together.”

    The soil in your fields is home to many nutrients and living organisms and requires just as much TLC as the crops that it bears. Nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium all are vital to the success of any crop and most often reach the plant through the soil. Just how important are these nutrients? They could mean the difference between life or death of the plant.

    For example, nitrogen (N) plays a major factor in chlorophyll synthesis and plant growth. It also plays a role in supporting the plant’s ability to absorb water and sunlight. Phosphorus (P) takes the sunlight captured on the leaves of the plant and turns it into compounds and also helps support the root system of the plant and enhances seed output. And last but not least, potassium (K) — an element key to the photosynthesis process — allows the plant to convert sunlight into energy, essentially feeding the plant and supporting its infrastructure and internal activities.

    My advice to growers? Take care of your soil. Make sure low levels of N, P and K will not be a limiting factor for your fields next year. Do soil sampling, or grid sampling, and chat with a local agronomist to analyze the levels of nutrients your fields need to support plant life for maximum yields. While fertilizer applications are better to apply in the fall, there’s still time. Dry fertilizer like P and K can be applied so they can start breaking down next spring. And if your ground hasn’t frozen yet, you still can apply nitrogen. Make sure you check each field individually as sometime fields with lighter stubble might freeze faster and harder than fields with heavier residue leftover from harvest.

    So take care of your soil, and let it take care of your yields.

  • HP Corn: Early Canopy Offers Added Benefits
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    HP Corn: Early Canopy Offers Added Benefits

    October 31, 2014

    Posted by Stine Seed in High-Population Corn

    High performance, sustainability, strong yields. With harvest season wrapping up, it’s time to start thinking about what you want out of next year’s corn crop. Stine offers the latest in hybrid technology through our high-population (HP) corn. And what lesser-known benefit makes HP corn one of the best products on the market? HP corn’s early canopy.

    Every grower wants a crop that effectively utilizes Earth’s most desired natural ingredients — sunlight and rainfall. HP corn does just that by harvesting the benefits of both. When sunlight hits bare ground, its potential to promote plant growth is lost. The ability to plant in narrower row spacings, such as Stine’s HP Twin 20 rows, and at increased populations creates an earlier canopy than with 30-inch rows. This means more sunlight lands where it matters the most — on the plant’s leaves.

    High-density planting also provides more erosion control. When a raindrop hits soil directly, the soil particles can be swept away, carrying valuable nutrients with them. With a dense canopy of corn, rain hits the leaves first and then drips down to the ground. Narrower rows also create less of a channel between the rows for water to run down, allowing solid particles to stay put.

    If that’s not enough, higher density rows also provide better weed suppression, affording weeds a much narrower window to germinate and grow. And, contrary to popular belief that more plants make for hotter conditions in the field, the transpiration of the plants actually helps maintain, or in some cases even slightly reduce, air temperatures.

    Learn more about the benefits of Stine HP corn by contacting your regional sales agronomist or district sales manager.

  • 2014 Harvest Roundup
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    2014 Harvest Roundup

    October 15, 2014

    Posted by Stine Seed in Harvest

    Harvest is shaping up nicely for much of the Corn Belt, bringing in outstanding yields, despite less-than-ideal conditions in many areas. Here are a few snapshots of harvest activities from Stine’s regional sales agronomists.  

    Kevin Ryan, Region 14

    “Corn harvest in the South is 90 percent complete with outstanding yields throughout the region. Excellent growing conditions maximized yields, especially with Stine HP hybrids. 9739VT3Pro and 9808EVT3Pro had very good yields in all soil types, and 9806EVT3Pro has proven itself once again on lighter soils and even on no-till and drying!

    Soybean harvest ranges from complete to maybe 30 percent harvested, depending on where you are. Rain has slowed or delayed harvest in some areas; yields vary by variety and location. Estimated soybean yields will be higher than expected in most areas with LibertyLink® varieties definitely proving to yield at least as high or higher than Roundup® Ready varieties in same maturity on same soil types. Growers can find varieties in either trait with very high yields. It's becoming more important to match soybean varieties by soil type and population.

    Overall, I’ve seen outstanding yields across the board!”

    Todd Schomburg, Region 4

    “Harvest is well underway in northern and western Iowa. More acres of corn are harvested than beans at this time mainly because of the wet weather. With the excessive rain, corn and soybean harvest has basically stopped Highway 30 and south. North of Highway 30, however, harvest has been moving forward. If we could get four or five dry days in a row, most all of the soybeans will be harvested. 

    Yields on both corn and soybeans are all over the board so far with really no trends with the small amount harvested. In general, bean yields seem to be a bit higher than expected and corn less than expected because of the cool season evenings. Even though the corn is less than expected, it will still be one of the better corn production years in most areas.”

    John Furlong, Region 7

    “Progress is slow in eastern Iowa, but more soybeans are coming out in northeast Missouri. Yields on soybeans seem to be very good, except in those areas where sudden death syndrome hit. Really early corn yields look tremendous, but very little has been taken out as moisture is higher than what producers like to harvest. More info will be available as soon as harvest gets going full bore.”

    Tony Lenz, Region 3

    “In my area of southwest Minnesota, southeast South Dakota and northeast Nebraska, most producers started soybean harvest the first week of October and have seen very good yields. Frost in the middle of September did not seem to affect yields very much with all the high yields that are being reported. Most cornfields have hit black layer and are mostly in the high teens to low 20 percent moisture range, which is depending greatly on maturity or planting dates.”

    How's harvest shaping up in your area? For questions or help in your fields this fall, contact your Stine regional sales agronomist.