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. 

  • Understanding Stine’s Elite Yield Trials
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    Understanding Stine’s Elite Yield Trials

    December 23, 2014

    Posted by Stine Seed in Research

    At Stine, we have several different methods of testing our lines to ensure we are providing growers the best possible seed for their soil type. One of those tests includes our Elite Yield Trials for soybeans. You may have seen us reference these trials in our 2015 product catalog, and we’re happy to explain just what goes into these trials to achieve measurable results.

    Stine’s Elite Yield Trials help determine which soybean varieties will be commercialized for the market. When products enter this phase, they are grouped by relative maturity and tested for two years in up to 15 to 20 different locations. The maturities typically range +/- 0.5, in sets of about 50, and are tested two to four times at each location to be sure we’re able to determine which lines outperform others. Once the results have been measured, we use that data to determine an average trendline for the sets. As an example, when a variety performs 102 percent of trial average, it actually yielded two percent better than the average trendline, or the overall average for all products in the set.

    While the Elite Yield Trials can be used to compare products of a similar maturity, it’s important to remember the data cannot be used to measure other products that were not included in the set. Contact your Stine RSA or DSM with any questions you may have on Stine’s Elite Yield Trials. 

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    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.