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. 

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    Yield+ Performance: Stine® 34EA12 Brand Soybeans Shine in 2020

    November 19, 2020

    Posted by Stine Seed in Technology

    Stine® Enlist E3® soybeans have yield, and that certainly rings true for Stine 34EA12 brand soybeans. A 3.4-maturity soybean, Stine 34EA12 has been a consistently high-yielding variety in our lineup throughout Stine’s territory over the past few years, and one we’ve had success with in our own operations. In fact, Stine 34EA12 yielded 103.4 percent of trial average in Stine’s Elite Yield trials. 

    As an Enlist E3 soybean, Stine 34EA12 combines the high-yielding genetics growers expect from Stine with an advanced herbicide-tolerant trait technology and the ability to use three unique modes of action for exceptional weed control. Specifically, Stine 34EA12 soybeans feature tolerance to glyphosate, glufosinate and a new a new 2,4-D choline — an excellent combination to combat common, prolific weeds. This tolerance allows growers to use Enlist Duo® or Enlist One® herbicides for outstanding weed control against tough weeds such as palmer amaranth, waterhemp, giant ragweed, lambsquarter, marestail, morning glory, velvet leaf and common ragweed. Additionally, growers can have peace of mind when using this herbicide combination as applications are designed to land and stay on target.

    Stine 34EA12 grow to medium height and have very good emergence and standability, leading to great early vigor for outstanding physical performance. They also feature an excellent disease package, with very good phytophthora root rot resistance and above average iron deficiency chlorosis tolerance. Additionally, this variety is SCN, brown stem rot and stem canker resistant.

    When it comes to Enlist E3 soybeans, nobody does it better than Stine. In fact, results from more than 12,000 trials indicate that Stine’s newest, highest-yielding Enlist E3 lines provide, on average, a $22.00+/acre advantage when compared with other Enlist E3 products in the industry.* Growers interested in Stine 34EA12 brand soybeans or another Enlist E3 variety can contact their local Stine sales rep for more information.

    *$22 per acre profit advantage is based on analysis of Stine’s newest select Enlist E3 lines relative to 218 industry lines in 12,000 replicated trials conducted in 2019.

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    Part 4: Prepping Harvested and Fallow Ground for Next Year

    November 12, 2020

    Posted by Mike Smith in Crop Management

    In our final installment on prepping harvested and fallow ground for next year, we’re discussing fall herbicide applications. Growers who experienced heavy weed pressure this year should consider a fall herbicide pass before a hard winter freeze sets in. Fall herbicide applications can help control weeds that emerge in fall in addition to winter annuals that can grow during the winter months.

    Key Weeds Controlled
    Weeds such as Palmer amaranth and waterhemp are highly prolific and aggressive, and some weeds like marestail can overwinter in the soil as massive seedbanks. Weed control is a must year-round, and growers can benefit from fall herbicide applications to help control the seedbanks before they become problematic for next year. This is especially important in fallow fields where weeds didn’t have competition from crops. Weeds thrive when there aren’t other plants competing for nutrients, water and sun. The more they’re allowed to thrive, the more they’re going to reproduce.

    Fall herbicide passes are crucial in helping tackle winter annuals such as marestail, field pennycress, tansy mustard, henbit, downy brome, prickly lettuce and shepherd’s purse. Winter annuals typically emerge later summer or early fall and can survive through winter. They’re often hard to spot in the fall when there’s crop residue left behind from harvest, so growers should always scout their fields post-harvest to look for small rosettes close to the ground.

    Marestail — one of the more troublesome winter annual weeds for growers — germinates in the fall and can produce up to 200,000 seeds per plant. University of Nebraska Extension experts note that “fall emerging marestail seedlings tend to experience higher mortality while established plants produce more seeds and are more competitive to crops when compared to spring emerged plants.” Tackling them in the fall with a burndown herbicide can help keep them at bay come spring. Growers should also consider a herbicide with residual activity so that the chemistries can stay active in the soil for a time after application. It’s also important to remember that marestail throughout the Corn Belt has shown some resistance to glyphosate.

    Another burdensome weed that growers can help control with a fall herbicide pass is kochia, a summer annual weed. Growers in the upper Midwest have recently struggled to control kochia in row crops. South Dakota State University Extension experts note that a fall-applied residual herbicide can be more effective than a pre-herbicide applied in the spring because wet and cool spring weather in the region may not allow a pre-herbicide to fully activate before planting. A residual herbicide applied in fall, on the other hand, has more time to activate in the soil and can help block emerging summer annual weeds.

    Applications
    Ohio State University agronomy experts recommend growers use two methods of action to achieve full effectiveness of your herbicide pass. Specifically, they note, “Our philosophy has generally been to start with 2,4-D, and then add another herbicide that results in more comprehensive control.” They suggest herbicides like glyphosate, metribuzin and simazine as viable secondary options.

    Other experts recommend using a herbicide with a residual to control winter annual weeds. The University of Missouri Extension suggests growers “choose a program with enough residual activity to control winter annual weeds that may come up later this fall as well as any that may emerge next spring.” They also note that fall burndown passes lessen your workload come spring because they should replace the need for a spring burndown.

    Timing and Application Recommendations
    A fall herbicide application should be part of a larger weed control strategy. It should be considered in tandem with a pre-emerge application for spring, post-emerge applications and foliar applications during the growing season. Fall applications are typically for burndown only.   

    Ohio State University agronomic experts recommend anytime up to Thanksgiving is a good time for a fall herbicide application, and even into December so long as a hard freeze hasn’t occurred. They note, “Once hard freezes start to occur, there is usually a substantial change in the condition of certain weeds, such as dandelion and thistle, that renders them less sensitive to herbicides.” Rainfall can also impact the efficacy of a herbicide, so pay close attention to the weather forecast. And, as always, growers need to read and follow label directions before making any applications.

    Fall herbicide applications may not completely eliminate the seedbanks, but they can control some of the population so it’s more manageable next year. Follow your fall application(s) with a pre-emerge application in the spring for maximum effectiveness. And, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Stine agronomist.

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    Part 3: Prepping Harvested and Fallow Ground for Next Year

    November 05, 2020

    Posted by Tony Lenz in Crop Management

    For part three in our series on prepping harvested and fallow ground for next year, we look at fall fertility applications. For this topic, we’ll discuss what nutrients can be applied in the fall and application timing. We’ll also explore the value each nutrient provides in plant health and growth processes.  

    Where to Start
    It’s important to wait until your soil sample results arrive before you apply fall fertilizer to recoup nutrient losses from this year’s crop. As we discussed last week, look at the results as a whole to understand how each nutrient, your soil type and pH levels work for the plant and how these elements can affect yield. First and foremost, look at the cation exchange capacity (CEC) and pH levels of your soil.

    CEC
    CEC directly affects the required amount and frequency of fertilizer applications, especially when it comes to nitrogen — a common fall-applied nutrient in the northern Corn Belt. The higher the CEC level, the less nitrogen will leach because the soil has a higher percentage of clay particles and organic matter content. CEC and organic matter also naturally carry nitrogen. Consider that roughly every one percent of CEC gives you 10 pounds per acre of nitrogen. Soil organic matter provides between 20 to 80 percent of the CEC in the mineralized soil, and the rest comes from sand, silt and clay in the soil. Organic matter can release 20 to 30 pounds of nitrogen per acre each year for every one percent of CEC. Knowing these levels is important before you apply nitrogen.  

    pH
    Soil pH directly affects the nutrients available to your crops. Without a neutral soil pH, any fall fertilizers you apply may not be absorbed by soil particles. The ideal pH range in your soil falls between 6.5 and 7.5. If results are above or below this range, the nutrient uptake process may be compromised come spring as key nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium will form less soluble compounds. 

    The Top Seven for Fall
    While a number of nutrients aid in the growth of corn and soybeans, not all should be applied in fall. Some require more time to be broken down by bacteria in the soil to transition into a plant-usable form come spring, so fall applications are timely. Here are the top seven fertilizer applications that could benefit your fields this fall. 

    Lime
    If you have lower pH levels, you likely have acidic soil. For highly acidic soils, liming — the practice of adding calcitic or dolomitic limestone to the soil — can elevate pH levels. Liming applies high amounts of calcium and magnesium back into the soil, allowing it to lower acidity and improve fertility for your future crop. Liming is often recommended a month or two before fall fertility applications to allow time for the lime to dissolve and increase the pH level. The most cost-effective and common formulation is the dry (granular) form.

    Gypsum
    If growers are considering a lime application, they may benefit from adding gypsum to the mix. Gypsum can be added to lime to help elevate calcium and magnesium levels in the soil.

    Manure
    Spreading manure is a great source for many key nutrients, including potassium and phosphorus.  Applying manure via knife injection helps get the appropriate nutrients into the ground so that they don’t leach. It also ensures less volatization of ammonia.

    Phosphorus
    Phosphorus is important for the storage and distribution of energy throughout the plant and is necessary for seed production and overall plant strength and vitality. About 0.4 pounds per bushel for corn to 0.8 pounds per bushel for soybeans of phosphorus is removed every year with crops. For example, a 240 bushel per acre cornfield may take out 96 pounds of phosphorus per acre.

    Potassium
    Potassium helps with the movement of nutrients, proteins and water in the plant and, according to Penn State Extension, helps improve the crop’s resistance to diseases and insects. Roughly 0.30 pounds per bushel for corn to 1.50 pounds per bushel for soybeans of potassium is removed every year with crops. For a 65 bushel/acre soybean field, this would equate to 97.5 pounds of potassium per acre removed from your field.

    Nitrogen
    Nitrogen will play an important role in next year’s crop because it’s critical for photosynthesis, providing energy to the plant, enhancing the nutrient uptake process and, ultimately, helping the plant grow and produce top-end yields. While it may be too warm to apply nitrogen in the southern regions this fall (the nutrient needs soil temperatures 50 degrees Fahrenheit or slightly lower to avoid denitrification or leaching), northern regions can benefit from a fall application. University extension services may have soil temperature history charts that can help you determine the approximate date range that soil temperatures in your area may fall below the 50 degrees mark.

    It’s important to remember that some farmers may not need nitrogen on their soybean fields every year because nitrogen occurs naturally in the soil or can be added through inoculants to their seed. For corn, however, annual nitrogen applications are necessary and should range anywhere from .7 to 1.2 pounds per bushel. Soybeans need approximately 3.8 pounds per bushel of nitrogen.

    Elemental Sulfur
    Next year’s crop will also benefit from a fall sulfur application, as it helps regulate photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation. Our experts recommend using ammonium sulfate or ammonium thiosulfate at one pound for every five to 10 pounds of nitrogen. If you’re experiencing high-pH soils, ranging above a pH of 8, these are considered very alkaline soils and could be brought down with an application of elemental sulfur. We recommend adding this to your lighter soils and in smaller amounts.

    For more guidance on how to prep your fields for next season (before winter arrives), contact your local Stine agronomist.