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. 

  • Stine® Harvest Roundup Part 2

    Stine® Harvest Roundup Part 2

    November 09, 2023

    Posted by Stine Seed in Harvest

    Harvest is wrapping up across the country. The Nov. 6, 2023, Crop Progress Report notes 81% of corn and 91% of soybean acres are harvested. In last week’s Harvest Roundup article, Stine® regional sales agronomists (RSAs) covering Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and North Dakota provided updates on harvest progress and product performance. This week, hear from RSAs and some of our field and technical agronomists.

    Ian Matzenbacher, Field Agronomist (Illinois)

    Harvest wrapped up in my area, with 99% of all corn and soybeans harvested. Feedback on yield from most farmers is good, considering the drought conditions we had in the summer. Many say they thought their corn would make 30 to 50 bushels less than they did going into harvest — a testament that Stine’s genetics can withstand even the toughest conditions.

    Mark Johnson, Technical Agronomist (south-central U.S.)

    Corn harvest has wrapped up, with soybeans close behind. For most of this area, growing conditions were dry, and we experienced a few rounds of extreme heat. Stine 9817-30, 9818-32 and 9808E-20 had a strong year in different areas. Stine 9817-30 performed very well in our product development plots in Arkansas and Missouri. Stine 9818-32 also had outstanding results. Stine 9808E-20 keeps doing its thing and is a strong agronomic plant throughout the south-central U.S., even down into Louisiana.

    Bill Kessinger, Technical Agronomist (Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and northeast U.S.)

    The southern division is pretty much wrapped up. We still have a few double crop soybeans to finish up, but growers are mostly finished. Corn yields were tremendous in most places, and soybeans were very good as well.

    In the eastern division, as you move across the eastern Corn Belt, we were behind but have made a big comeback over the past 10 days thanks to good weather. Soybeans are 90%+ finished, and yields are very good, even with the dry June and smoke. Corn is wet but has come down 4–5 points in the past three weeks. Elevators have been full, but farmers are pushing hard. Yields have been solidly above average. I would say corn harvest is around 65% complete.

    Michigan, northern Ohio and the northeast U.S. have been exceptionally wet. Soybeans are good but only about 75% harvested. Corn moisture is high with lots of reports of 22%+. Growers are finishing sugar beets and concentrating on getting soybeans out. Corn in this region is probably only 40% harvested.

    Jake Anderson, Region 12 RSA (western and central Illinois)

    With abundant favorable weather this fall, things are wrapping up quickly in western Illinois. Soybeans are all but done, and 85% of the corn is out. Coming out of a drier than usual, we have been very pleased overall with crop performance. Some areas lost some off the top-end, but most experienced normal to exceptional yields. In the late two maturity range, Stine 28EC32 soybeans stood out for the third year in a row. Stine 29EF02 had an excellent year as well.  In the early three maturity range, Stine 31EF02 and 31EF23 were consistently among the highest-yielding varieties in the field and in plots. Stine 34EA12 continues to be one of the most consistent, versatile soybeans in our lineup.  

    NH3 application started this past week, and a lot of tillage is getting done. All the creeks and ponds are low, and we could use a few good drinks of rain before things freeze up for the winter. 

    Daniel Greblunas, Field Agronomist (Nebraska and Kansas)

    Right now, I am sitting with two plots that are waiting to be finished up but should be done by the end of the week. Both plots are in Nebraska. I would say that 95% of farmers in my area have wrapped up their harvest and are now moving on to field work before the ground freezes.

    Kevin Krabel, Region 13 RSA (central Illinois)

    Harvest is almost completed in Region 13.  With the exception of some stubborn corn that won’t seem to dry down and double crop soybean acres, everyone is pretty much done and in the process of wrapping up field work and putting down gas. Yields in Region 13 seem to be better than everyone expected on corn and soybean acres this year. There were a few areas that missed more rain than others, and when you combine that with some of the rougher ground they had in those areas, it seems to have caused about a 15–20-bushel difference on soybean yields from one farm to another. Overall, I think everyone was pleasantly surprised with how the crops managed the stress this year. Stine’s Enlist E3® soybeans continue to lead the way. Stine 28EC32, 29EF02, 31EF23, 34EA12, 35EG29, 36EE12, 36EB32 and 39EC22 all did very well. Stine 9808E-20 and MX709-20 corn have also performed well overall throughout the region. 

    Tony Lenz, Technical Agronomist (northern Corn Belt)

    Harvest is mostly wrapped up except for growers mainly with larger acres. It’s been a challenge to dry corn on farm site, and there are a few soybean acres that haven't dried down enough. They need a windy, sunny day.  

    Dealers and growers are now mostly in full swing with applying fertilizer, hauling manure and baling stalks for livestock. 

    The 10-day outlook is above normal and dry, and soil temps are low enough to get everything hopefully wrapped up before freezing.

    Faith Hedrick, Field Agronomist (Illinois)

    Harvest within the northern region is coming to a close, and this season was one for the books. The drastically dry conditions throughout the season and the wet conditions come harvest time made for a difficult year, but overall yields held up. Within our product development plots this year, we saw some of the new experimental hybrids shine. It’s exciting to see these Stine genetics continue to grow, evolve and compete. There’s also been exciting buzz about the new G-series soybeans that have really packed a punch this year. Having only stepped into this position June 1, this was quite the season to lead off with, but it brought plenty of learning opportunities. It will be exciting to see what next year brings.

    Adam Sills, Technical Agronomist (Minnesota, Wisconsin, eastern Iowa)

    Harvest is wrapping up throughout the region. Minnesota and Wisconsin both experienced a drought this year, missing timely rains. Southern Minnesota was hit hard by the drought, so they started harvesting in early October. A few new experimental corn lines stuck out for growers and performed well this year, including Stine 9214-20 and 9215-20. For soybeans, Stine 17EE32 was prevalent and performed well in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Growers need to start thinking about how the drought played a factor this year to prepare for the potential of another drought in 2024. It will be crucial to replace some of those water tables that didn’t get rain this year. Growers also need to start planning for corn diseases next season.

    Todd Oliver, Region 27 RSA (Texas and Oklahoma)

    The second crop corn is off to a good start in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. In one plot, we worked with Mid Valley Ag to plant Stine 9814-20 and 9818-32 in twin 40” rows. The crop is furrow irrigated and should be ready for harvest in mid-January. Growers will then plant their spring crop around the second week of February. There’s no downtime for these Southern farmers! They also grow cotton, grain sorghum, onions, butternut squash and various leafy greens.

    For more harvest updates and to learn how Stine’s corn and soybean products performed in your region this year, reach out to your local Stine sales rep or regional sales agronomist.

  • Stine® Harvest Roundup Part 1

    Stine® Harvest Roundup Part 1

    November 02, 2023

    Posted by Stine Seed in Harvest

    According to the Oct. 30, 2023, Crop Progress Report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, of the 18 states that harvested 94% of the 2022 corn acreage, 71% have completed corn harvest. Of the 18 states that harvested 96% of the 2022 soybean acreage, 85% are finished with soybean harvest. As harvest nears completion for many regions within our sales territories, Stine® regional sales agronomists (RSAs) report outstanding yields and product performance across the board. Here’s what they have to say about harvest progress in their region.

    Dustin Ellis, Region 4 RSA (central Iowa)

    Soybean harvest has wrapped up in most of my area, and corn harvest is 80–90% complete. With the tough drought conditions most of my area experienced this year, yields were better than expected. I believe our growers started the season off right and planted into dry but good soil conditions. The dry weather allowed corn and soybeans to root down. This allowed the plants to capture the water and nutrients needed to get a good start. Through the season, we had little to no rain. However, with very timely rains combined with excellent Stine genetics, we saw some very good field averages for the year. Some of our key corn lines were Stine 9808E-G, MX710-G, MX709-20 and 9752-32. Key soybean lines in my area were Stine 19EE62, 21EE62, 23EE06, 25EG02 and 28EC32. 

    My grandfather was a wise man and always had a saying for when planting and growing seasons were dry, like this year. He’d say, “Plant in the dust, and the bins will bust!” I could not agree more but have one caveat … make sure it’s Stine seed!           

    Aaron Stockton, Region 9 RSA (southeast Kansas, southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas)

    Corn harvest in Region 9 is pretty well behind us at this point. Portions of Kansas and Missouri were hit by some very tough hot and dry conditions which led to most of the marginal acres being chopped for silage. The acres that were left or were in areas that received more timely rains ranged widely in yield but were, all in all, pretty good for the year. Stine 9818-32 and 9817-30 were standouts in our area this year. 

    We are currently in the middle of soybean harvest, and yields are better than expected. The hot and dry weather did not do our beans any favors either. Where the weather was most extreme, we saw entire fields dying. Where the soil is deep or in fields that were able to hold moisture, we are seeing some fantastic yields. Stine 48EE20 and 49EE21 are both doing very well in the region currently. We are also very excited about the new G-series Enlist E3Ò lineup, as customer experiences with those products have been great this season. 

    Katie Lorenz, Region 21 RSA (North Dakota)

    North Dakota had a nice harvest run, and it’s fortunate because, presently, the entire state is covered in a blanket of snow. Without any precipitation forecasted in the next week, growers will have to bundle up to finish the remaining acres. Soybean harvest is at 90% complete, and corn is at 57% complete, behind 70% last year but ahead of the 52% average for this time of year. Soybeans were a mixed bag this year, depending on location and timely rains. The northern area was in a drought, but the new G-series still out-punched all the competition in yield and defensive strength. Stine 01EG23 stood out as top tier and even showed a record-breaking yield of 79 bushels/acre in the state's center. Other soybean standouts were the new Stine 06EG29 and 08EG62, both producing ceiling-shattering yields. The corn crop surprised growers most this year as yields were well received. The new Stine 9320-20 knocked it out of the park in northern and central North Dakota, while Stine MX302-G shined in the southern areas. New experimental hybrids are taking over the top plot slots and have the Stine sales squad more excited than ever to show off recent data to our elite customers for the 2024 season! Stine has yield!

    Michelle Nelson, Region 36 RSA (western and southern North Dakota)

    Most of the region was able to finish up soybean harvest just in time before the first snow hit us. The reports and feedback from growers have been very positive! Yields are coming in at average to above average. There is a lot of excitement for the new EG lines. Corn harvest is well underway across North Dakota. The western part of the state received more snow, so that has slowed things down a bit out there. We hope everyone will be able to wrap up in the next couple of weeks. 

    To learn how Stine’s corn and soybean products performed in your region this year, reach out to your local Stine sales rep or regional sales agronomist.

  • Why is soil sampling important?

    Why is soil sampling important?

    October 26, 2023

    Posted by Stine Seed in Harvest

    The Oct. 23, 2023, Crop Progress Report states 59% of the nation’s corn crop and 76% of soybeans are harvested. This is the perfect time to begin planning for fall soil sampling.

    “The farming season doesn’t stop after harvest,” says Tony Lenz, StineÒ technical agronomist. “As soon as you’re done in the field this fall, it’s time to start planning for the next season. Fall soil sampling is critical in determining what your crop took out of the ground this year so you can replace it in 2024.”

    What will a soil test tell me?

    A comprehensive soil analysis will calculate your levels of macronutrients, micronutrients, pH and CEC in the soil. Specifically, these elements work together to form a complete nutrition program for your crops. For example, macronutrients are the most common nutrients. Crops use more of these nutrients than any other. Primary macronutrients include nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Secondary macronutrients include calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Micronutrients, while important to plant health, do not need to be applied as frequently and in as high quantities as macronutrients. Micronutrients include boron, copper, chloride, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. 

    Soil pH is the acidity or alkalinity makeup of the soil. Ideal pH levels should fall between 6.5 to 7.5, and 7 is considered the neutral range where nutrient uptake is ideal. Anything under 7 is more acidic and above 7 is alkaline. CEC levels determine the type, capacity and organic makeup of the soil and are critical to determining the soil’s ability to retain nutrients. CEC levels should always be considered when determining amount and frequency of nutrient applications. The higher the CEC level of your soil, the less likely nutrient leaching will occur in your field.

    When growers get their results, it’s important to look at all the levels holistically as many of the nutrients work together. For example, sulfur plays a supporting role with nitrogen by helping plants metabolize nitrogen. Both nitrogen and sulfur need to be applied early in the season, so knowing where you’re at for the two nutrients is important to figure out before the planting season.

    What time of year is best for soil sampling?

    The importance of soil sampling in agriculture has no limits. You can take samples at any point throughout the year if conditions are right, but most experts suggest sampling after harvest in the fall or before planting starts in the spring.

    “Soil sampling is most often either done in the fall after harvest or in the spring prior to field work but should always be done prior to applying fertilizer,” recommends Meaghan Anderson and Rebecca Vittetoe, field agronomists for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “It is important to be consistent in the timing of soil sampling (i.e., always in the fall or always in the spring). Samples should be taken every 2 to 4 years or once in a crop rotation,” they add.

    What is the proper way to take a soil sample?

    Soil sampling can be tedious; it takes time and careful handling. The first step we recommend to our grower customers is to consult with a certified soil testing lab or soil testing expert to obtain their local recommendations for conducting proper soil sampling. These experts will also help you determine factors such as sample depth (typically six to eight inches), the best tools for collecting samples (soil probes, buckets, sample bags, etc.), ideal core size and amount of cores for accurate results (10 to 15 cores for a composite sample), and where and when to collect samples to ensure accurate results. Some soil testing experts even have soil testing kits available.

    There are a few different methods of soil sampling. Some may take whole field samples, but most samples taken from crop fields are done by grid sampling. No matter the soil sampling method, preplanning is critical.

    “Growers should have a good idea of the fields they want to take samples from before they start the process,” notes Lenz. “For example, if you’re out combining and find areas where your crops are underperforming, take note of that field and map out a plan for soil sampling so you can see where your nutrient levels are for that particular spot."

    Another consideration when conducting soil sampling is the moisture level of the soil. Iowa State Extension field agronomists Meaghan Anderson and Rebecca Vittetoe note that taking samples after prolonged periods of drought can affect the soil analysis by making test results appear lower than they are. They recommend delaying taking a sampling for a week after a rainfall that soaks through the typical sampling depth of about six inches.

    Midwest Laboratories also provides some great guidance for soil sampling, but  growers must remember that best practices can vary from region to region.

    Don’t forget about soybean cyst nematodes.

    Soil sampling is also valuable in detecting potential pests lurking underground, including soybean cyst nematodes (SCN). This is especially important as many areas of the U.S. experienced dry conditions this year. Experts from South Dakota State University Extension say  SCN become more prolific in low-moisture conditions.

    “SCN is incredibly damaging to soybean yields and should not be overlooked when conducting soil sampling,” says Lenz. “Growers who experienced dry conditions this year need to be prepared for an increase of SCN in 2024.”

    Experts from the University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources note  SCN can cause up to 40% yield loss in soybeans and 30% loss before symptoms are even noticeable, making SCN an “invisible yield threat.”

    “Growers can ask their certified laboratory to conduct a test for SCN with their regular soil sample but need to ensure they have taken samples appropriately,” adds Lenz.

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