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. 

  • Wild Growth, Tightly Whorled Soybean Leaves Indicate Rapid Growth Syndrome
    Mike Smith Image

    Wild Growth, Tightly Whorled Soybean Leaves Indicate Rapid Growth Syndrome

    July 01, 2020

    Posted by Mike Smith in Crop Management

    In the last few weeks, we’ve heard reports from many Midwestern soybean growers who have noticed tightly whorled leaves on the top of their crops. Some have also noticed stippling or blistering and even some minor burn on the edge or tip of soybean leaves. Growers may also notice that the tops of the soybean plants have wildly roping branches. 

    Growers, don’t panic. These symptoms are likely indicative of rapid growth syndrome (RGS), an environmental response to quickly changing growing conditions.

    Growers in the Midwest may see this condition if wet weather persisted after planting, if areas had hot and dry conditions before the first application of herbicides or if significant rain fell after the first application of post-applied herbicides. Favorable growing conditions after these events cause crops to grow so quickly that branches and leaves do not unfurl as they typically would.

    Causes of RGS

    Like all plants, soybeans are regulated by hormones, which can become unbalanced when the plant encounters stressors. This is what causes abnormalities to the soybean leaves. Hormones tend to accumulate in certain parts of plants during stress periods when growth is not occurring. When good growing conditions follow poor growing conditions, the hormones will be translocated to the rapidly growing sections of the plants, often the leaf tips. The hormones can’t be metabolized fast enough, sometimes causing leaf blistering or stippling, minor cupping and edge burn.

    Applying herbicide to plants during unfavorable growing conditions can add additional stress. The plant has to metabolize the herbicide, making the recovery phase much more drastic than normal. Though herbicides can impact RGS, they do not necessarily cause the issue.

    Identifying RGS

    In many cases, growers assume soybean plants are suffering from dicamba drift, which causes extreme leaf cupping and some blistering. However, RGS is the likely culprit if you spot leaf blistering without cupping or with only minor cupping and blistering on some leaves.

    To determine if your fields are experiencing RGS:

    1. Review the weather patterns for the past four weeks.
    2. Make multiple field visits to see if the problem is improving or worsening.
    3. See if the newest leaves are the only effected part of the plant.
    4. Determine if flowering is occurring at all nodes, indicating that visible damage is only cosmetic.

    If you do identify RGS in fields, don’t worry. Impact to your overall yield will be minimal. 

    Contact your local Stine representative with questions or assistance in diagnosing RGS.

  • Stine Seeks Additional Independent Sales Reps

    Stine Seeks Additional Independent Sales Reps

    June 25, 2020

    Posted by Stine Seed in Stine News

    Stine is experiencing rapid growth and expansion throughout the country. To meet this demand, we’re opening new opportunities in our sales territories for independent sales representatives (ISRs).

    Stine has hundreds of dependable sales team members across the country, from regional sales managers to technical agronomy experts and ISRs. Now, we’re seeking to add to our roster to better serve our grower customers. More than 25 opportunities are available in a number of states, including Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Ohio, Tennessee, Kansas and Missouri. ISRs serve as our brand ambassadors in their respective territories and represent our brand promise — STINE HAS YIELD. These individuals support our network of dealers and grower customers to ensure they have access to the industry’s top-performing corn and soybean seed.

    What We Offer
    Stine ISRs not only have access to the industry’s top-performing corn and soybean seed, they also have a number of other advantages in the market, including:

    • Unlimited earning potential
    • Flexibility to work your territory and accounts your way
    • A 50-year reputation in researching and delivering top-tier genetics with outstanding traits
    • Agronomic and sales support from Stine’s reputable team of agronomists and sales experts
    • Freedom to operate through an independent, family-owned company, backed by support from the industry’s most influential breeding companies.

    Roles and responsibilities may vary by season, but primary duties for our ISRs include:

    • Serve as primary ambassador of the Stine brand within an assigned territory
    • Manage existing dealer accounts and recruit new dealerships
    • Develop and enhance direct relationships with growers and potential customers
    • Work in conjunction with a Stine regional sales agronomist and our agronomy team to provide a high level of sales support within an assigned territory.

    Candidates should have a passion for agriculture, the desire to represent a growing national brand and the opportunity to deliver top-tier solutions to growers. If you know of someone who might fit this profile — a family member, friend, former colleague or someone with whom you would want to do business, please direct them to learn more at  or at

  • Scout for Southern Rust on Corn Plants

    Scout for Southern Rust on Corn Plants

    June 18, 2020

    Posted by Stine Seed in Crop Management

    As of June 14, 95 percent of the country’s corn crop has emerged. Before corn begins to tassel, it’s important to scout for common corn diseases that occur this time of year, including southern rust. Southern rust can be found from the Mid-South to the northern Corn Belt, and can be exacerbated by high temperatures, humidity and strong winds.

    According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, southern rust pustules can result from both urediniospores and teliospores. The institute notes, “The asexually produced urediniospores are dispersed long distances and are responsible for the spread of rust from the deep south to the Northern Great Plains in years where epidemics occur.” Because southern rust is a wind-borne fungus, it has potential to be a wide-spread problem for growers. Southern rust also favors high temperatures, ranging from 80 to 90-plus degrees Fahrenheit, in addition to areas with high humidity and moisture stress.

    Scout for southern rust on the leaves of corn plants. Walk your fields, and look for areas of discoloration on the upper leaves. The fungus produces tan and/or orange lesions on the leaves, which are the southern rust pustules clustered closely together on the leaf surface or leaf sheaths. The fungus can also affect the stalk and husk of the plant. The lesions start small, producing a circular-type shape with a halo-like appearance. Once the fungus matures, the lesions spread and turn a brighter orangish-red.

    Differentiating Between Other Corn Diseases
    Tar spot: One way you can detect if it’s southern rust versus another corn disease called tar spot is if the spores rub off with your fingers. While both diseases can first appear as small black, pepper-like spots on leaves, southern rust spores can be wiped off upon touch; tar spot cannot. Learn more in this Ask the Agronomist video.

    Common rust: It’s also easy to confuse southern rust with common rust. According to Purdue Extension, identifying the type of rust depends on the color, shape and location of the pustules. They note that common rust pustules typically appear on both the upper and lower leaf surfaces and are more elongated in shape and scattered across the leaf surface. Southern rust pustules can be primarily found on the upper leaf surface and are more round in shape and clustered together on the leaf surface. Southern rust lesions are also known to be smaller than common rust lesions. Learn more.

    Your local university extension office can also help you determine exactly what fungus you’re dealing with. It’s best to extract and send whole plant samples as soon as you detect the disease. The lab can then examine the whole plant from roots to foliage to determine what disease is present and the best action to mitigate it.

    Southern rust can be devastating to yields, so you need to determine the level of infection before taking next steps. If symptoms have reached a certain threshold, your situation may warrant a foliar fungicide. Purdue Extension notes, “In high-value corn production, a few pustules on 50 percent of observed plants could trigger a fungicide application.”

    When considering a fungicide for management of southern rust, pay close attention to the timing and application guidelines of that fungicide in addition to the upcoming forecast. Ohio State University Extension notes that fungicide applications need to be made as soon as the first pustules are observed for best results. Spraying when the disease is first detected and confirmed as southern rust can help reduce the spread of the disease as the spores move from plant to plant with the wind. They also note it’s important to start applications with the latest planted fields first because they are higher risk for yield damage. When fungicides are applied, growers need to watch their fields after residual control of that particular fungicide has worn off to ensure the disease does not return.

    If you suspect southern corn rust in your fields, enlist the assistance of your local Stine agronomist to help confirm the disease and discuss your mitigation options. You can also consult the Corn ipmPIPE tool to see if there’s a report of southern corn rust in your county to help you prepare for the  potential risk of the disease reaching your fields.