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. 

  • Harvest Roundup: Part 1
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    Harvest Roundup: Part 1

    October 07, 2022

    Posted by Stine Seed in Harvest

    It’s time for our annual harvest roundup report. The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service notes that the 18 states that harvested 93% of the 2021 corn acreage are reporting that 20% of corn is harvested. The 18 states that harvested 96% of the 2021 soybean acreage are reporting that 22% of the soybean harvest is complete. Here are local updates from our regional sales agronomists across the country.

    Aaron Stockton, Region 9 (Oklahoma, northern Texas, southeast Kansas, southwest Missouri)
    “Most of Region 9 has been caught in the grips of drought for the majority of the growing season. However, there are some areas in the northern portions of the region, closer to Kansas City, that have had some decent corn yields. Stine® 9817-30, 9816-20 and 9752-32 have been very competitive in these areas. We are also seeing the new 9818-32 do very well in the few plots we had it in.  We’re excited to see what this new hybrid will do for our customers moving forward. We had a tremendous amount of corn get chopped for silage this year due to the dry weather and are now seeing a few soybean fields being baled for hay. I would say we are in the short rows of corn harvest, and bean harvest is just barely getting started.”

    Kevin Ryan, Region 14 (Arkansas and Louisiana)
    “Corn and rice harvest is nearly complete at 95% harvested. We’re getting a good jump now on soybeans with cotton to follow. Some areas farther south are almost done with harvest.

    “Corn yields may be down 10% to 20% in many areas due to heat and moisture stress. Also, different hybrids are showing some significant differences this year, including 9808E-20, 9808E-G and 9814-20, and some new hybrids look very good. Key this year was correct placement by soil type and irrigation. Make sure you talk to your Stine (independent sales representative (ISR) or agronomist on placement for 2023. 

    “Stine has an outstanding lineup of Enlist® E3® soybeans for the Mid-South and South, ranging from a 4.0 to 5.8 maturity. Yields have been outstanding from early to full season so far. Many growers experienced dicamba drift on their soybeans multiple times. Although dicamba drift symptoms were evident across the South and are a serious concern, our Enlist yields are very, very good. In most cases, they are out-yielding competitive trait packages in all maturities. Explore the yield advantages of Stine Enlist E3 soybeans — they’re there!”

    Darin Petty, Region 20 (southwest Iowa, northwest Missouri, northeast Kansas)
    “Corn silage and high moisture corn are wrapped up for the most part. Corn yields are all over the board depending on rainfall this year. Beans are starting to come out now and doing OK for the areas that were in drought most of the growing season. We’ll hopefully get better updates soon.”

    Derek Dreier, Region 24 (Wisconsin)
    “Soybean harvest kicked off in parts of Wisconsin. Early yield results have been excellent! Stine 15EE32, 17EE32 and 19EC12 are three Enlist E3 varieties that have stuck out so far. Corn silage harvest is wrapping up for 2022. We’ve worked on gathering samples for analysis, and a number of hybrids have tested very well. A few of these would include 9436-11, 9752-32, 9814-20 and our new 92-day 9320-20. All of these have shown both high quality and tonnage scores.”

    Michelle Nelson, Region 36 (North Dakota)
    “Combining is in full swing in North Dakota! Out west, they were able to start soybeans last week. The eastern part of the state is just getting going. Despite the late planting season, everything is looking better than expected so far. Corn harvest will follow in the upcoming weeks.”

    For information on harvest results in your region or to discuss next year’s product lineup, reach out to your local Stine sales rep or regional sales agronomist.

  • Plan ahead for post-harvest soil sampling
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    Plan ahead for post-harvest soil sampling

    September 29, 2022

    Posted by Stine Seed in Harvest

    Corn and soybean harvest has kicked off in many areas of the United States. With 12% of the nation’s corn crop and 8% of soybeans harvested, it will be some time before we see the majority of yield results. Until then, growers can look for areas where crops are underperforming. This can indicate a more significant issue within the soil, and fall soil sampling can provide valuable feedback to help ready that ground for the next planting season.

    “We always recommend fall soil sampling,” says Tony Lenz, Stine® corn technical agronomist. “While we might not think about soil sampling until after harvest, what growers should be doing now is scouting for areas where crops are struggling and marking those areas, so you know exactly where to go back and conduct a soil sample after harvest. This should also include areas where you detect insect and soybean diseases.”

    What areas should be marked?
    Scout areas of your field where you suspect yield loss or stunted or damaged plants. If your plants are still green, you may be able to detect nutrient deficiencies. If you have heavy disease or insect pressure, you may notice stalk rot or lodging. Taking note of these areas for post-harvest soil sampling is a good best practice. 

    “Observe areas where you’re estimating poor yields versus good yields,” says Lenz. “This could include scouting for circular or large areas of down corn or poor stalk quality. In soybeans, check areas where leaves are still attached or where green stems or no pods are an issue. Also, mark areas where insect and disease symptoms are present.”

    Lenz also provides tips for how to mark these spots in your field.

    “Take pictures from the combine or get out of the combine to take closeup pics of areas of concern in the field,” says Lenz. “You can even pin areas on your combine monitors. It’s also worth calling in an agronomy expert to look at these spots in your field to confirm your findings. If you don’t mark these areas in advance to harvest, it will be a challenge to find them after the crop is out.”

    Tips for sampling
    The soil sampling process takes time and careful handling. Growers need to consider sample depth, core size, tools used for collecting samples, where to collect samples and even when to collect samples to achieve accurate results. Midwest Laboratories provides some great guidance for soil sampling, but it’s important to keep in mind that best practices can vary from region to region.

    “First and foremost, growers need to consult with a local certified soil testing lab or soil testing expert to obtain their recommendations for conducting proper soil sampling,” says Lenz. “Each growing environment has different soil and topography, so the sampling recommendations vary from region to region. You want to ensure you’re doing things correctly to get the most accurate results.”  

    In addition to consulting a local certified soil testing lab, Tony says growers can also connect with their local extension office, coop or fertilizer supplier for assistance with soil sampling.

    Interpreting results
    “Once you get the results, it’s important to know what you’re looking for,” says Lenz. “Macronutrients, micronutrients, soil pH, CEC levels and more are calculated by soil sampling labs. It’s important to look at all of these levels together as a whole and understand how these elements work together in your soil. This will paint the best picture of what you need for nutrients in your field next year.”

    Some things to consider: If you had a high-yielding crop come out of your ground, it may have removed a lot of key nutrients necessary to help next year’s crop thrive. On the flip side, if you were in a drought area and had lower-than-anticipated yield results, you may not have removed as many nutrients as expected. In either scenario, you need to know where your levels are at to determine if inputs are needed. It may be that you do not need to add nutrients, and with the high price of inputs, that could save you money. You also want to make sure your soil pH is balanced. This article from 2021 highlights what nutrients are tested and ideal ranges for pH and CEC levels.

    “Soil experts can help you interpret the results of your soil sample,” says Lenz. “They can also help you establish a fertility management plan for the next growing season.”

    Why sample this fall vs. next spring?
    Experts at Ohio State University Extension’s Agronomic Crops Network say, “Many producers find that fall is an ideal time to sample soil for several reasons: 1) soils often have an ideal moisture range that makes sampling easy, 2) it gives producers ample time to apply fertilizer or lime before the next crop and 3) it helps ensure spring planting will not be delayed.”

    We agree. Growers tend to have more availability after harvest versus in the busy spring planting season. Getting ahead of your fertility management plans will free up time come spring and allow those nutrients to settle in before a deep winter freeze.

    For more information on soil sampling and what to look for, reach out to your local Stine sales rep or regional sales agronomist.

     

  • Stine® Seed … the original short-stature corn company
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    Stine® Seed … the original short-stature corn company

    September 22, 2022

    Posted by Stine Seed in Technology

    The ag industry is abuzz with conversations of a revolution. Short-stature corn is changing the game, and more seed companies than ever before are starting to play. At Stine®, we’re elated the rest of the industry is leaping forward with this way of thinking — a mindset that short-stature corn is the way of the future. We are proud to have been at the forefront of this revolution for the past three decades. Now, we are well positioned to offer growers short-stature corn products that have been time-tested, generation after generation, for ultimate yield performance.

    The origins of Stine short-stature corn
    “We stumbled upon short-stature corn by accident,” says Stine President Myron Stine. “We began breeding corn in the 1970s, but what we didn’t realize then is that with each passing year, our hybrids were getting shorter and shorter. Essentially, we were selecting the highest-yielding genetics in our program to move on to the next generation, and our highest-yielding germplasm just so happened to be from shorter plants. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that this became apparent after we started looking at plant height in our plots.”

    Since our corn breeding program’s inception, the main criteria we’ve used to select the genetic material that advances to future generations are standability and yield. As history tells us, the highest yield is produced in high-population environments. Simply put, the more plants per acre, the more yield. This knowledge has always steered us to select products that handle the stress of being in higher populations and advance those through our breeding program. 

    “We didn’t purposefully get into short-stature corn; our breeding process brought that to us,” says Stine. “Now, we know it’s the way of the future.”

    Our position in the industry
    Our winter nursery work has allowed us to produce more generations of short-stature corn each year — faster than other seed companies in the industry. Our shorter material has evolved to produce plants that have better standability, more upright leaves for better utilization of sunlight, ideal ear placement, less biomass and the ability to thrive in higher population environments.

    “Our advantage in the industry is that we’ve been working with short-stature corn a lot longer than our competitors,” says Stine. “We’re probably about 50 to 60 generations ahead of the rest of the industry because we recognized its value early on. Now, Stine has some of the most refined short-stature germplasm in the industry.”

    However, while our hybrids have always been shorter in stature compared to competitors, they’re likely not going to get any shorter.

    “We feel we’ve hit the sweet spot for short-stature corn,” says Stine. “We once tested very, very short corn, and it failed. I don’t believe it will continue to get shorter at this point. Our focus is to continue to produce the most efficient plants that can thrive in higher populations.”

    Features and benefits
    Short-stature corn is more efficient. The shorter architecture of the plants not only allows for better standability but also makes more efficient use of nature’s resources. With our corn, in particular, the hybrids are designed to have a more upright leaf structure so the plants can harvest more sunlight; shorter tassels that are closer to the ear for pollination, and better ear placement ideal for harvestability. Our short-stature corn also produces less biomass, leaving less residue after harvest. And most importantly, our short-stature corn thrives in high-population environments — the key to getting higher yields.

    “As we move to high-population environments, shorter plants tend to fare better than taller plants because they make better use of the space they’re allowed in,” says Stine. “With our hybrids, we’ve figured out the secret to putting grain on the plant — a much shorter plant — and in higher populations. It’s truly a revolution in corn production.”

    To learn more about our short-stature corn, contact your local Stine sales rep or regional sales agronomist.