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. 

  • 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 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.

  • The Next Era of Soybean Performance is Coming
    Brian Hartman Image

    The Next Era of Soybean Performance is Coming

    March 12, 2013

    Posted by Brian Hartman in Products

    Giving growers options to choose the right seed for their unique operations is part of Stine’s rich tradition, which is why we’re so excited about a new soybean system that’s anticipated to be available to growers for the 2015 growing season, pending regulatory approvals.

    The Balance GT™ Soybean Performance System was officially unveiled at the Commodity Classic convention and trade show in Kissimmee, Fla. Stine is among the first seed companies to commit to offering U.S. soybean growers Balance GT soybeans, which feature a dual herbicide tolerant trait stack with tolerance to both glyphosate and isoxaflutole, the active chemistry in Balance® Bean herbicide.

    The foundation for Balance GT soybeans is elite, high-performing germplasm with performance equal to or better than many other soybean varieties that are currently available. Tens of thousands of hand pollinations were made and thousands of lines tested to come up with the 56 high-yielding elite soybean lines that have been selected for commercial release. Two hundred twenty-five lines will be further evaluated and are anticipated for release after 2015, pending regulatory approval.

    The beauty of the Balance GT system is that growers will have the flexibility to use both glyphosate and isoxaflutole during burndown, pre- or post-emergence for broad spectrum control of both grasses and broadleaf weeds.

    The Balance GT system is the brainchild of MS Technologies and Bayer CropScience LLC, the same group that developed the LibertyLink® system. In fact, genetics containing the Balance GT trait will be the foundation for a future triple-stacked trait with tolerance to glyphosate, isoxaflutole (Balance Bean) and glufosinate, the active chemistry in LibertyLink. Stine intends to license that soybean as well.

    We know that growers want options to achieve strong yields with effective weed control. Balance GT soybeans will be one more available tool to help combat weeds and maximize per acre profits. We’ll be sharing more information about Balance GT soybeans as it’s available. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more, you can visit