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. 

  • Kevin Ryan Image

    Update from the Mid-South and Delta Region

    June 28, 2017

    Posted by Kevin Ryan in Crop Management

    If there is one thing I have learned from being involved with corn and soybean planting over the past 39 years, it’s the fact that every year is different. Every year brings new challenges and opportunities, but the one constant is change. Learning from each year helps to accept what each new crop brings and helps our decision-making based on past experience. Certainly, 2017 is no exception.

    Region 14 (mid-South and Delta) experienced some of everything this spring. From flooding and heavy rains to areas with little rain until recently. Fortunately, all is not lost because we had some corn planting opportunity at the end of March and beginning of April. Much of that corn is starting to tassel, and some of the early hybrids (92–100 day) have actually started pollinating and beginning grain fill. Much of the normal maturity corn (110–118 day) is near tasseling and should be receiving final shots of nitrogen. Many growers are again commenting on Stine® HP Corn® and the fact that these Stine hybrids look very good this year. Flowering seems to be earlier than competitive hybrids, which should help us with cooler nights during grain fill. There continues to be more and more interest in high-population, narrow-row corn. Mississippi State University even has some narrow-row plots this year. Stine’s unique HP Corn hybrids appear to be doing extremely well compared to our many competitors. The key to corn yields now will be to get the last application of nitrogen on at pre-tassel and continue to monitor for foliar disease. One of the drawbacks of a wet spring can be poor root development. Growers also need to monitor those roots and remember that the shorter stature and lower ear placement of HP Corn could have a huge payoff at harvest time.

    Soybean planting is widely varied throughout Region 14. Most of central and southern Arkansas and the state of Mississippi are finished with soybean planting. West Tennessee and northeast Arkansas still have a way to go before finishing up due to heavy and consistent rains and some severe flooding. The wheat crop is ready for harvest if it would just dry up so we can get in the field. We are expecting quite a few more LibertyLink® soybeans to be planted behind wheat acres this year. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans increased in market share this year, but demand may be down on wheat acres because of some weed control issues that dicamba has not been able to control and then there is the increased awareness of drift concerns. We are looking forward to new soybean varieties, including Balance GT and Enlist E3. Every year we see more and more concern with glyphosate-resistant pigweeds.

    As always, growers should look for yield first to choose varieties for planting. Stine has unique access to all soybean trait technologies and continues to be a leader in creating unique, new soybean genetics right here in the mid-South.

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    Stine Seasonal Employees Ready for a Busy Summer

    June 20, 2017

    Posted by Stine Seed in Stine News

    Summer is officially here, which means it’s time for Stine’s seasonal employees to come on board. Each year, Stine hires seasonal employees to help work on the Stine seed corn nursery in Adel, Iowa. Stine anticipates hiring around 400 seasonal employees this summer, many of which will work as seed corn detasselers. Most of these hires are recruited from local communities.

    Seed corn detasseling typically begins in late June or early July and lasts between three to six weeks, depending on multiple factors, including the weather. Seed corn detasselers will detassel more than 4,300 acres of seed corn. That’s a lot of ground to cover in six weeks, but their hard work will not go unnoticed. Stine’s seasonal employees can make a couple thousand dollars for approximately a month’s worth of work. Not a bad way to save money for college. Parents — take note for next year!

    Please join us in welcoming this year’s seasonal employees!

  • Tony Pleggenkuhle Image

    White Mold: Detection and Prevention

    June 14, 2017

    Posted by Tony Pleggenkuhle in Crop Management

    It’s the time of year when we need to start scouting for soybean white mold. Here are some of the signs I look for when scouting for white mold along with some suggestions on how to prevent the disease from becoming a problem in your fields.

    Detection
    First, as you're walking your fields throughout June and July, look for trumpet-like structures called apothecia on the soil surface just before the soybean plants are starting to flower. Initial infection typically takes place at this time as the apothecia produce spores that enter the soybean through the flowers of the plant.

    To confirm a white mold infection, look for the fungal bodies early and then scout for cotton-like growth on the stems of the plant called fungal mycelium. Another way to determine if a plant may be infected is to look at the top of the plant for leaves that have started to wilt and or fall off prematurely. 

    The fungal bodies that cause white mold are very similar to other mushrooms in that they thrive in dark, damp and cool environments. So, any time you have a soybean field that quickly canopies creating this type of microclimate within its canopy, the field is at a greater risk for developing the disease. For this reason, white mold usually appears in the most productive areas of the field where the soybeans put on a lot of vegetative growth and canopy the row earlier in the growing season. 

    Prevention
    If white mold affects your fields this summer, there are a number of fungicide (applied around R1) and herbicide options on the market that can be utilized to destroy the fungal bodies and help impede the white mold spores from entering the plant.

    In my opinion, the best management strategy is prevention. First, select a variety that has a good white mold rating such as Stine 20RD20s or Stine 21LH02s.  Second, since white mold thrives in cool, damp and dark conditions, plant your soybeans in 30-inch rows to allow air movement up and down the rows and sunlight to penetrate the ground. This will help burn up the fungal bodies longer into the season can help delay or even prevent early infection. Third, the higher the planting population, the sooner a field canopies. So, lowering planting population may be a viable option to help delay infection.  Fourth, rotate to a no-host crop such as corn or small grains. Lastly, harvest infected fields last to help prevent spread of the disease via equipment.