This year will go down as one that many growers want to put behind them and hope never to repeat. It’s been a tough year, to say the least, and growers are ready to forge ahead to 2020, with hopes for better weather and more favorable planting and growing conditions across the board. Though it’s been a rough year, there were a lot of teachable moments that can help guide us through future seasons. From planting dates to leaching to weed control, we’ve gathered some of the lessons we learned throughout 2019.
Planting date matters. Persistent wet and cool conditions this spring led to delayed planting and even some preventative planting. As a result, we’ve witnessed several areas with significant differences in yield and standability. We’ve found that early-planted corn in promising conditions has consistently out-yielded and tended to stand better when all other issues were in check, including insect and disease control.
When early planting isn’t an option, growers need to remain patient. We recommend sticking to your planting plan as long as you possibly can. Full-season hybrids and varieties typically outperform early-season options, so growers need to refrain from letting anxiety get the best of them. When the clock is ticking, work with your local Stine sales agronomist to determine the best move for your operation. If preventative planting is your only option, we have recommendations for that, too!
Soil nutrient loss shouldn’t be ignored. Frequent rains lead to leaching and leaching can lead to significant yield loss. This was something we saw a lot of this year — significant yield issues in areas that continued to receive moisture after yield-goal nitrogen was applied. Some growers even experienced kernel fill without ears “tipping back,” in part from nitrogen loss. This is due in part because corn plants utilize nitrogen late in the season, and when late-season nitrogen is not available because of leaching, these areas can experience significant reductions in yield potential and yield actuality from reduced nitrogen availability. This is also true with sulfur. It’s important to test soil frequently throughout the planting and growing seasons to ensure crops have the proper nutrients to thrive.
Late-season diseases affect test weight. Above-average moisture can cause a higher incidence and severity of diseases. This year in particular, we witnessed a lot of late-season foliar diseases. This is the result of a combination of several issues — varying weather elements, late planting and larger thresholds of corn earworm, to name a few. One particular issue of note this year was white mold (a.k.a. sclerotinia stem rot), which is a fungal pathogen that can cause significant yield damage if left untreated. Moderate temperatures, higher humidity and wet soils led to an influx of this mold this year.
There’s also a correlation between uncontrolled leaf diseases and yield reduction, as well as test weight reduction in areas with late-planted corn that was subject to nitrogen loss. There have been significant issues with standability and test weight in areas that experienced late-season foliar diseases. Talk to your local Stine sales rep about our 2020 corn and soybean seed lineup, which combines high-yielding genetics with outstanding disease packages, or learn about our Stine XP Seed Treatments, which help ward off white mold and other diseases throughout the season.
Weed control should always be top-of-mind. The conditions this growing season were prime for late-season weed escapes. Areas where weeds were unable to be managed experienced significant issues with harvest, in addition to insect control and overall yield. Heading into 2020, Stine has an outstanding lineup of corn and soybeans, many featuring herbicide tolerance so that growers have peace of mind when spraying their preferred herbicide program. For soybeans, be sure to talk to your local Stine sales agronomist about our lineup of Enlist E3 soybeans — an advanced herbicide-tolerant trait technology with maximum flexibility and convenience, along with the ability to use three unique modes of action for exceptional weed control.
Year after year, Stine continues to offer high-yielding genetics and the industry’s most sought-after traits to support our grower customers and their yield goals. We look forward to your continued business in the new year.