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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    Breeding Stine’s Conventional Corn

    March 06, 2020

    Posted by Stine Seed in Research

    In many ways, Stine has a unique position in the corn industry. When it comes to conventional corn hybrids, while many seed companies rely on dated genetic material, Stine produces newer, higher-yielding conventional corn genetics each and every year.

    Breeding Program
    At Stine, we operate one of the most prolific corn breeding programs in the world, and we’re one of the only corn companies in the industry that develops new conventional genetics.

    The entire breeding process takes about six years and begins when two Stine Elite corn lines are crossed to make a new population, which will serve as a source for new inbred lines. After the first U.S. growing season, this seed is sent to Stine’s breeding facility in South America, where researchers can turn a generation of corn every 90 days; this allows us to produce four generations of corn each calendar year in a field environment. We call this process our fast generation breeding program, which accelerates the timeline so that we’re able to begin testing new lines within two years — faster than most other companies.

    The next step in the process is our Pre-Elite Yield Trials, where we take seed that’s at the end of its fourth-generation growing cycle, select the top lines from that seed and send it to several testing locations throughout the United States. Like all our trials, our Pre-Elite Yield Trials are tested in six-row plots, unlike most competitors who test in only two- or four-row plots. We plant more rows to collect more data, which gives us more authentic results.

    A small percentage of Pre-Elite Yield Trial lines then pass through the next and final phase of our breeding program —Elite Yield Trials. Through our Elite Yield Trials, seed undergoes at least three more years of testing before heading into production, where only the best and highest-performing seed advances to market.

    Why Conventional?
    At Stine, we understand that delivering high-quality, high-performing genetics is the foundation for good seed. As an independent seed company, we need a base of elite conventional germplasm to use with any traits that we choose to work with. This reason is why we keep our base breeding program conventional. After you have a solid foundation, the rest will fall in place, including traits.

    Second, we understand that not every situation warrants traited corn. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to corn traits may be good for the trait providers, but isn’t always in the best interest of the grower.

    We’re pleased to offer growers a number of conventional corn lines for the 2020 season. With our line of conventional seed that has passed the rigors of our breeding program, growers don’t have to lose yield potential when they forgo the traited-package. Our conventional corn lines are economical and deliver high-quality, high-performing genetics.

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    The Big Freeze

    February 27, 2020

    Posted by Stine Seed in Planting

    Winter is a waiting game for growers. Will there be record-breaking snowfall and multiple days registering subzero temperatures? Will it be a milder winter where we’re unsure whether or not a winter freeze will come around? For many growers in the Midwest, we’re waiting on the latter. Surprisingly, not having consistent colder temperatures that bring a hard winter freeze can affect spring planting for a few reasons.   

    Soil Compaction
    Most growers rely on a hard winter freeze to help draw excess moisture from the soil. No hard freeze combined with the wet weather we received last year and the moisture we’re receiving this winter will leave the fields wet and vulnerable to soil compaction. Even a light freeze at this point would affect only the top layer of soil for a day or so. Growers really want multiple days of deep freeze so that when the freeze and thaw cycle takes place, their soils begin to soften. This cycle lessens the probability of soil compaction when field traffic is at its peak during the spring planting season.

    “Assuming a normal freeze to thaw cycle doesn’t take place, growers need to be cautious about getting in the field,” notes Stine Director of Agronomy Todd Schomburg. “There’s a tendency to want to get in the field earlier and earlier. If you get your heavy equipment in a field with saturated soils, you’re only going to exacerbate the problem.”

    According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, “maximum soil compaction occurs when soil moisture is at or near field capacity because soil moisture works as a lubricant between soil particles under heavy pressure from field equipment.” If soil compaction occurs, growers are risking yield. Compaction leads to larger issues such as ponding, nutrient runoff and slow water infiltration, which leads to plants dying or stunted growth.

    “We recommend that growers have a future-looking mindset when getting into the field,” notes Schomburg. “Check your soil fertility. Check your moisture level. But then look at the 30-day forecast. If it looks like it’s going to be a few weeks of wet weather, avoid getting in the field.”

    If the clock starts ticking and wet fields persist, consult with your local Stine agronomist or university extension expert to determine if switching maturities or even crops is the right decision for a wet year.

    The Killing Freeze
    Another benefit to a solid winter freeze — kill off. Extreme cold and freezing conditions lead to low soil temperatures, which can kill off potentially damaging insects and plant pathogens as they overwinter in the soil. Ultimately, a deep freeze has been known to kill off populations of insects such as bean leaf beetles, which can cause significant plant damage or even bean pod mottle virus. That said, many insects and disease pathogens are able to survive cold winter temperatures and frost, so it’s always important to do your research and look at the history of your fields to determine if these issues have presented themselves in the past and, if they have, if it’s likely they might appear this year. Don’t rely solely on a good killing freeze to do the job for you.

    For more information on how winter may affect your planting plans for 2020, contact your local Stine agronomist or local university extension expert.

  • The Lesser Known Advantages of LibertyLink® GT27™ Soybeans
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    The Lesser Known Advantages of LibertyLink® GT27™ Soybeans

    February 20, 2020

    Posted by Stine Seed in Planting

    LibertyLink® GT27™ was the first commercially available soybean trait package with built-in tolerance to three unique sites of action: glyphosate, glufosinate and a new HPPD inhibitor/Group 27 herbicide for soybeans (pending approval). It’s well known throughout the industry that growers who plant this trait package will benefit from outstanding weed control and unparalleled flexibility in weed management options. But there are lesser-known advantages to planting LibertyLink GT27 soybeans. 

    Tank Mixing
    LibertyLink GT27 soybeans provided growers with the first opportunity to spray both glyphosate  and glufosinate in season. Following are some considerations:

    • Follow timing and spraying recommendations closely. Glyphosate is a Group 9 herbicide and tends to work more slowly than glufosinate, with results after approximately 7–14 days. It is recommended to spray glyphosate with coarse to large-sized droplets in 5–10 gallons of water per acre. Glyphosate is a systemic, translocating herbicide that inhibits the EPSP synthase pathway and blocks essential amino acids that are necessary for the photosynthetic processes of the plant. Glufosinate, on the other hand, is a Group 10 herbicide that tends to work very quickly, with visible results usually within 24–72 hours. It is recommended to spray glufosinate with medium to coarse-sized droplets in 15–20 gallons of water per acre. It is a contact, semi-translocating herbicide that inhibits glutamine synthetase. Glufosinate inhibits a plant’s ability to utilize nitrogen and causes ammonia within the plant to become toxic to the plant.
    • Use these products in a sequential-combined application. Glyphosate can be used in burndown combinations with other effective modes of action and residual herbicides. For post-emergent applications, combine glyphosate and glufosinate with additional effective modes of action and residual herbicides. This provides the best chance of overcoming nature’s ability to adapt and combat herbicide resistance.
    • For optimum weed control and long-term effectiveness of the trait system, it is recommended to utilize three effective site-of-action herbicides per application with one of those being a soil-applied residual herbicide.

    *Note: Growers should always read and follow all herbicide label directions and adhere to both federal and state regulations for applications. For other recommendations and questions about usage, please contact your local Stine sales agronomist or consult your local university extension office.

    Potential HPPDi/Group 27 Carryover Protection
    HPPDi/Group 27 chemistries are known for their outstanding residual control, which is why HPPDi herbicides have become a staple for U.S. corn growers. In fact, it’s estimated that as many as half of U.S. corn acres each year have some sort of HPPDi-based chemistries applied to them.*

    While the active ingredients in HPPDi herbicides provide outstanding residual control, how long they remain active into the next growing season depends on several variables. And when crop rotation comes into play, this carryover can be concerning to soybean growers because regular soybeans are very susceptible to even a trace amount of residual HPPDi/Group 27 chemistries.

    Luckily, Stine’s lineup of GT27 and LibertyLink GT27 soybeans include built-in tolerance to HPPDi/Group 27-based herbicides, meaning that soybean growers have an additional measure of protection against potential HPPDi-Group 27 carryover when they plant these varieties.

    Stine is offering a full lineup of LibertyLink GT27 soybeans that feature the high-yielding, elite genetics growers expect from the Stine brand. We have 69 LibertyLink GT27 soybeans in our 2020 lineup, ranging from an 03 to a 47 maturity.

    *Source: UPI Market data

    LibertyLink GT27 is not tolerant to all HPPDi herbicides. HPPDi herbicides currently on the market are prohibited for use with LibertyLink GT27 soybeans and may result in significant crop injury. Components of the technology described here have not yet received regulatory approvals; approvals are pending.