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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    Stine® HP Corn®— Setting the Industry Standard

    September 12, 2017

    Posted by Stine Seed in High-Population Corn

    The path to consistently reaching 300-plus bushels per acre corn is more a reality now than ever before. Stine’s extensive research in high-population, narrow-row corn has developed hybrids that are setting the industry standard for high-population planting.

    Although Stine® HP Corn® can take many forms, in many cases these hybrids are shorter-than-average with more upright leaf structure, allowing them to catch more sunlight. Hybrids adapted for higher populations also tend to have excellent stalk strength for superior standability, and superior disease resistance even when planted in high-population environments. And the shorter HP Corn hybrids also produce less biomass than taller corn plants, allowing them to use water more efficiently. These features not only make HP Corn more cost effective, but also ensure more efficient use of each acre. The end result — higher yields.

    HP Corn can work well in a variety of row widths, but the hybrids really thrive in Stine’s Twin 20-inch rows. How does it work? The twin rows are based on 20-inch centers, with 12 inches of spacing between rows and 8 inches separating each pair of twin rows. This planting configuration provides two key benefits. First, since this configuration results in an average 10-inch row spacing, growers can make even more efficient use of each and every acre. Second, this system makes the concept of HP Corn even more accessible by allowing growers to harvest their crop with a standard 20-inch row corn head.

    To learn more about HP Corn and the HP Twin 20 Planting System, talk to your local Stine representative or visit our website

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    Combine Maintenance and Preparations

    September 06, 2017

    Posted by Kip Featherston in Harvest

    Upgrading to a newer combine can provide a grower with increased capacity, improved functionality and less downtime. However, current grain prices are forcing growers to find ways to cut costs, including keeping their old equipment a little longer. With any equipment, routine maintenance is key to keeping the equipment operating efficiently. And with the start of harvest season almost upon us, combine maintenance should be at top of mind for growers.

    Here are a few tips for combine maintenance and preparations.

    • A quick walk around, checking fluid levels, tire pressure, etc.
    • Then begin oil changes, in addition to air, fuel and filter changes. It’s good to note the hour and date with a marker on filters.
    • Grease all zerks, and note the machine hour of the service activity in the book (some are every 400 hours).
    • Turn on all lights and strobes to ensure they operate.
    • Prior to startup, make sure all safety guards, fire extinguishers and safety switches are in working order (neutral start switch, thrashing seat switch, etc.).
    • While the combine is running, check all cab monitors to see that they work and respond properly.
    • Engage the threshing system, listen for any unusual sounds and indications of wear or imbalance. You may even notice some rodents scatter! 
    • Prior to shutting down the machine, set your concaves to 0, note all sieve settings (if applicable) and block the head cylinder in the up position.

    For the next few steps, turn off machine and disconnect battery.

    • Check that the feeder house chain is the right tension and the bars are straight and secured.
    • Check the feeder house drum for dents, and ensure that it rolls smoothly.
    • Check the floor of the feeder house to ensure that it is free of holes and cracks, minimizing grain loss.
    • If applicable, double check the reverser’s oil level.
    • Walk around the entire machine, checking for cracked belts and excessively worn chains. Replace if needed, and adjust tensions on chains and belts if they are out of range.
    • Open the concave or rotor compartment. Check that all rasp bars, threshing elements and tines are present and are not chipped or bent.
    • Check around the rotor/cylinder compartment, and the bottom side of the grain tank for excess wear holes where grain can be lost. Welding or inserting liners may be needed in these cases.
    • Whether new or used, this step is most commonly overlooked. The concave was set to zero in the previous steps. Make sure there is no clearance between the concave and rasp/threshing elements. You can do this by rolling the machine by hand. If there is clearance, adjust the concaves to the proper setting. 
    • While on the ground, check that the clean grain elevator/auger, clipping elevator chains and flightings are in good operating condition. Also, while working low, check for holes or excessive wear at the clean grain trough and underbody pans.
    • Moving to the back of the machine, check that all chopper blades and knives are in place and in good working condition.
    • While in the back of the machine, check that the cleaning shoe is free of debris and allows air flow from the fan.
    • Finally, up top, check the load and unload augers for excessive wear and replace, if necessary.
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    Navigating Your Weed Landscape in 2018

    August 30, 2017

    Posted by Stine Seed in Crop Management

    By now, growers are probably opening their new 2018 seed catalogs, browsing product options and thinking about a plan of attack for weed control next year. While your focus shouldn’t drift too far from preserving yield this season, it’s important to start planning for next year to ensure you manage the changing weed landscape with peace of mind. Here’s what you need to ask as you plan your herbicide program for next year. 

    1. What’s my weed profile? To fully understand your weed profile, you need to compile a list of all of the weeds that caused problems this year and what fields they affected, and pull your notes from years past and include a full history of weed pressure. Check with your neighbors, too. Ask them what weeds were problematic for them this year, and if they foresee having those issues again in 2018. Map out the areas of concern for 2018, and the top weeds, such as palmer amaranth or waterhemp, you’ll want to be prepared for next year.
    2. What are my options? Each grower has a wide range of choice — from herbicide programs that include burndown, pre- and post-emergence applications to corn hybrids and soybean varieties that feature herbicide tolerance, exploring your options is essential when finding the best fit for your weed landscape. Stine carries a large selection of high-yielding hybrids and varieties that offer tolerance to glufosinate and glyphosate herbicides. From Stine® Agrisure® corn hybrids to LibertyLink® and Stine GT 27 soybean varieties, Stine is a great one-stop shop for planning your seed program to help manage weed control in 2018. Your Stine regional sales agronomist or independent sales representative can also guide you to effectively plan and manage your herbicide program in addition to selecting the right seed for your operation.
    3. What are the restrictions? When considering a herbicide program to target your weed pressure, you need to know your restrictions. Review the herbicide labels, note the restrictions for that herbicide and determine whether or not those restrictions make sense for how you farm. Review the use rates, rainfall and temperature restrictions, and the likeliness of drift and volatization. Environmental conditions can affect the volatility, so knowing ahead of time the risks associated with each can help reduce the risk of herbicide injury in your fields and in your neighbors’ fields.
    4. What should I communicate? Farmers are good stewards of the land, and they can learn a lot from talking with their neighbors and other area farmers to discuss plans for next year. Sometimes talking to a neighbor can give you an idea about which products worked best on their operation or what worked well for them with their weed control program. We also recommend talking to your neighbors about what soybean trait(s) they’re planting next year and what herbicide program they intend to use with those varieties and how that may affect your operations.

    For assistance with your weed management plan for 2018, talk to your Stine regional sales agronomist or independent sales representatives.