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. 

  • Grow Stine Short-Stature Corn, Increase Yield
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    Grow Stine Short-Stature Corn, Increase Yield

    October 17, 2019

    Posted by Stine Seed in High-Population Corn

    Short-stature corn has been making headlines as of late. Recently, Bayer-Monsanto executives told ag media that they believe short stature corn will be the future of corn production. Among the benefits are better standability, adaptation to narrow rows and, ultimately, increasing populations. An October 3, 2019, article in Farm Journal’s AgWeb states that the company says its first short-stature corn will be introduced in Mexico next year, with hopes to introduce it in the United States in the coming years.

    The good news is, the future of corn production is already here. Stine was the first seed company in the industry to introduce the ag world to commercially available narrow-row, HP Corn® in 2012, and we’ve been expanding our lineup ever since. In August 2016, Successful Farming magazine ran a cover story on company founder Harry H. Stine and his quest to revolutionize farming with the development of a new breed of short-stature, high-density corn hybrids.

    Stine has spent decades researching planting populations and row widths through our one-of-a-kind corn breeding program. That research has lead us to develop genetics that produce shorter, more efficient and higher yielding plants that thrive in higher populations. In fact, if you’ve visited any of our corn plots lately, you’ve likely noticed that Stine hybrids tend to be shorter than our competitors’ hybrids.

    Here’s why.  

    A more compact structure tends to produce strong roots and stalks, creating a sturdier plant that can often thrive in higher populations and in varying growing and environmental conditions. With shorter corn, you can benefit from more efficient nutrient uptake which leads to a stronger, healthier plant. Our research also indicates that this can lead to more efficient pollination, with the tassel and ear being closer together than in taller plants. And, with shorter corn and narrower rows, there’s more flexibility to operate equipment in and around fields for easier in-season applications.

    Many of our industry competitors have recently recognized this trend and are beginning to produce their own shorter-stature hybrids, but Stine is already well ahead of the curve. If you look at our data, the average height of our hybrids was roughly 105 to 110 inches in 1996. Today, we’re trending around 90 inches for 105- to 115-day relative maturity hybrids. In fact, even Stine’s tallest hybrids are still shorter than most of our competitors’ hybrids. 

    We at Stine commend our competitors as they begin down the path toward shorter, high-density corn production. We’re proud of our leadership position in this, which has positioned us to provide growers the hybrids of the future, faster.   

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    Management Strategies for Difficult-to-Control Weeds (Driver Weeds)

    October 10, 2019

    Posted by Mike Smith in Crop Management

    There is a tremendous push in the agricultural industry to find solutions to problems such as herbicide-resistant weeds and other hard-to-control weeds — driver weeds — by utilizing a simple, one-pass system. However, if you listen to weed scientists from leading agricultural universities, you quickly learn that a simple, one-pass system is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve without further exacerbating the problem. 

    So, what is a “driver weed”? A driver weed is a troublesome weed in your operation that you find difficult or impossible to control with traditional chemical means. Therefore, driver weeds drive your buying decisions as well as your willingness to try new practices to control them. In this new, biweekly blog series, we will discuss several driver weeds and consider options ranging from chemical control to management practices and trait systems to control them. Key driver weeds include Waterhemp, Palmer Amaranth, Marestail, Giant Ragweed and Kochia.

    Background
    The prevalence of herbicide-resistant weeds and the spread of these weeds steal headlines, but there are some weeds that are simply harder to control because of their biology and evolutionary resistance to certain control measures. Our pattern has been to find new chemical control measures that work and continue to use them year after year, season after season, and in all rotational crops. This strategy is a formula for disaster as it exponentially increases the rate at which selection for herbicide resistance can occur. For years, we have said “if” herbicide resistance occurs when we should say “when” herbicide resistance occurs because of our cultural and management practices. In this series, we will look at the biology, strengths and weaknesses of these driver weeds and examine alternative cultural and management practices that can be utilized in conjunction with trait systems to manage these weeds. We’ll discuss questions such as:

    • What are the biology considerations of driver weeds?
      • When does it emerge?
      • What are its strengths?
      • What are its weaknesses?
      • What system type strategies can I use to eradicate this species from my farm?
    • What herbicide technologies and trait systems will fit best for my strategy to control these driver weeds?

    Stay tuned in the coming weeks for the next conversation in our series on driver weeds. And remember, if you have problems with hard-to-control weeds on your farm, you can always reach out to your local Stine agronomist for assistance.

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    Comparing Data from Strip Trial Plots

    October 03, 2019

    Posted by Mike Smith in Crop Management

    This is the time of year when seed dealers begin showing up with plot results from local strip trials. When the seed dealers show up, these are two questions to consider:

    1. What information can be gleaned from strip trials?
    2. Are there any issues from a delayed planting year with above average rainfall that should be considered?

    General information

    • Replicated trial data is more reliable than individual strip plot locations.
      • Single location strip trial plots give us an indication of what various hybrids have done at specific locations, with that location’s specific weather and management style. That does not mean we cannot learn something from these plots. Making hybrid purchasing decisions based on single location plots only works if the weather, management style and soils are similar to the location. Rely on your local Stine representatives to help you pick the products that are suited for your area and management system.
    • Replicated trial data that accounts for photosynthetic competition is better than replicated trial data that does not account for “shading.”
      • A corn hybrid is a factory that converts sunlight, water and nutrients to a finished product (grain) that can then be harvested. If replicated trial data, which is generally gleaned from small plots, does not account for some hybrids being able to collect more available sunlight due to “shading,” other competitive products will return false data points that will not match field level trials of those same products. Remember Elite Trials, Stine’s unique testing system, is uniquely adapted to pick the best material over broad acres and testing sites, offering you confidence in the purchasing process.
    • Compare local strip trial data to your farm and county averages to get a good idea of product performance.
      • To find products that will work in your area, pick from strip trial data that consistently performs year after year rather than local yields. Remember, the plot winner isn’t always the best product. Choose products that consistently perform year to year and farm to farm.

    Issues to consider in delayed planting with above average moisture

    • All hybrids will probably be taller than usual due to late planting and adequate moisture.
      • When corn is planted later than optimum it has a tendency to grow taller than usual. Corn grows based on growing degree units and the presence, or lack of stress inducing issues. Late planted corn accumulates growing degree units faster. With above average moisture, corn does not stress during critical phases, causing the nodes to shorten or stack on top of one another. This allows those hybrids to be taller than usual, which can lead to additional photosynthetic competition or “shading.” In an unusual year like this, be cautious when choosing a hybrid based on its height or other agronomic considerations.
    • Above average moisture can cause a higher incidence and severity of disease.
      • A hybrid may be good in the presence of a disease, such as Grey Leaf Spot or Northern Corn Blight; however, with increased moisture, the disease can weaken the inherent abilities of the hybrid to overcome those diseases. This can lead to a specific hybrid underperforming in strip trials where fungicides are often not applied. So again, utilize your local Stine representatives to choose the right products for your farm.