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. 

  • Aaron Stockton Image

    Planting Prep and Safety Tips

    February 28, 2018

    Posted by Aaron Stockton in Planting

    We’re 20 days out from the first day of spring. That means it’s time to dust off your planting plan. One of the big-ticket items on your checklist as spring rolls around should be to prepare your equipment for what lies ahead. Here are some recommendations to ensure your field and equipment are ready to go come spring planting season.  

    1. Make sure the software is up to date. If you are using a variable rate or precision planter, make sure everything is properly programmed and in working order. If you don’t have this technology for your planter, look at your field maps and make adjustments manually. Calibrate all meters and field-mapping software. Make sure that all adjustments are made prior to planting to ensure proper seed placement and desired population.
    2. If you’re a no-till grower, make sure you’ve prepped your planter so that it will achieve proper soil penetration and seed placement. Make sure you’ve cleaned the wheels, cut the blades and tested the equipment to make proper seed furrows.  
    3. Check equipment for signs of wear and tear. Check bearings, seals, openers, row cleaners, closing wheels, vacuum/air lines, tires and seed tubes for signs of rust, cracks and loose ends. Fix and/or replace parts as necessary to ensure the equipment runs smoothly and won’t result in uneven spacing or improper seed-to-soil contact.
    4. Check the field and weather conditions before you plant. If the soil is too wet, you risk side wall compaction which can affect plant stand and emergence. I recommend waiting until the ground temperature holds steady at 50 degrees for at least three days before planting. Ensuring your equipment is operating properly before hitting the field will also help prevent compaction.
    5. Inclement weather can delay planting, so it’s important to be in contact with your Stine seed representative to discuss corn hybrid and soybean variety placement on each acre. If planting is delayed, you may need to consider a different maturity. If soils are cool, it is important to make sure you are planting a hybrid with a good cold emergence rating. This will help give that field some added vigor when trying to emerge in cooler than desired soil temps. Your Stine sales representative can assist you with any last-minute seed placement decisions.

    For more tips for planting season, contact your local Stine sales rep.

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    Introducing My Stine Stories

    February 21, 2018

    Posted by Stine Seed in Stine News

    You’re likely familiar with our I Choose Stine grower testimonial stories, where we interview growers across the Corn Belt about their farming operations and experience with Stine. While we continue to collect testimonials from growers to showcase the value of Stine’s high-yielding genetics, we also began to spend time with another valuable audience — our employees.

    In 2017, we spent time talking with Stine leadership and regional sales agronomists about their path to Stine, what Stine means to them and what keeps customers coming back year after year, along with a few fun facts about their life. Throughout the next few months, Stine will introduce their stories in a series of videos, where the employees share their real-world experience — no actors, scripts or elaborate sets. Introducing — My Stine Stories.

    We encourage you to follow us on Facebook to watch for the videos as we release them over the coming months. These videos will give you the opportunity to get to know our employees and better understand our culture at Stine and the importance we place on family, traditional farm values and delivering the highest yielding genetics to growers faster than the competition.

    First up — Myron Stine. As president of Stine, Myron proudly supports the family business by providing direction in marketing strategies and sales force infrastructure. Myron understands the importance of working hard and developing relationships and has worked his way up in the organization, where he first started as a district sales manager. Enjoy Myron’s My Stine Story.  

  • Bethany Oland Image

    Best Management Practices for Your Soil in 2018

    February 14, 2018

    Posted by Bethany Oland in Crop Management

    Soil can make or break a crop’s success. Growers need to consider the best management practices for their soil year-round. Here are some general practices I recommend growers implement this year based on the season.

    Spring
    Consider no-till. Soil erosion is a big concern, especially for a newly planted field. Heavy rains can wash away nutrients, fertilizers and other elements vital to the health of the seedling. No-till can be used as an erosion control tactic, as the leftover residue from the previous year’s crop prevents runoff. The leftover residue also encourages nutrients from the previous year’s crop to cycle back into the soil. Basically, no-till helps the water and nutrients stay put. I practice no-till on my farm and have witnessed firsthand the benefits of no-till when used in combination with the right genetics. Some of my favorite varieties and hybrids from Stine’s lineup for no-till situations are Stine® 31LE32 and 36LE32 brand soybeans and Stine 9734-20 brand corn.

    Avoid working wet ground. Spring showers bring wet soil. It’s important to not work the ground when it’s wet. Tilling or planting into wet ground may result in compaction, sidewall compaction and poor seed-to-soil contact. Seed corn and soybeans need to be planted in firm, dry soil at the recommended planting depths (1–1.5 inches for soybeans and 1.5–2 inches for corn). Planting into wet soil can make it difficult for the seed to establish the root system the plant needs for standability and can also make the plant more prone to seedling diseases and early-season insect issues.

    Summer
    Split fertilizer applications. Growers can decrease the chances of nitrogen leaching or denitrification by splitting fertilizer applications. With split applications, growers lessen the risk of nutrient loss because the nutrients are applied in two to three different treatments versus a single application. This makes it possible to synchronize applications with a more exact timing when the plant needs the nutrients.  

    Fall
    Soil sampling. Test the soil fertility levels of your fields after harvest. Work with a local fertility expert or your local university extension office to help test your soil samples. These tests are inexpensive and can help detect pH and nutrient loss in your soil. The results will help you determine the appropriate, and environmentally responsible, adjustments to make before planting season arrives.  

    Cover crops. Fall is the ideal time to plant cover crops. Cover crops help prevent nutrient runoff from soil erosion caused by wind, rain and melting snow during the off season. Cover crops can typically be planted after harvest, around October. In my region in southeastern Iowa, growers typically turn to cereal rye. By using a cover crop to protect soil during the off season, growers also create new organic matter that can increase nutrient levels in the soil.

    Winter
    Plan for crop rotation. When considering seed options for the next planting season, consider the benefits of crop rotation. By diversifying crops each year, growers can preserve the value of the soil while minimizing insect and disease pressure by interrupting the cycle of herbicide-resistant weeds and Bt-resistant insects.  

    For more information on best soil management practices for 2018, contact your local Stine sales agronomist.