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. 

  • Tony Lenz Image

    Get Ahead of White Mold in 2020

    January 09, 2020

    Posted by Tony Lenz in Crop Management

    Last year presented a number of growing season challenges. One of particular concern was the increase of white mold in soybeans, which affected large portions of Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and the Great Lakes region. We’ve witnessed and heard about a lot of white mold damage throughout this area over the past few years, and for those with a history of white mold issues in their fields, it will likely be a problem again in 2020. Let’s take a look at the make-up of white mold and management strategies growers can implement to help prevent the disease from robbing yields this year.

    What is white mold?
    White mold, or sclerotinia stem rot, is a fungal pathogen that starts on soybean stems. Tissue infected with sclerotinia forms a white fungus called mycelium, which gradually turns into a dark, hardened structure referred to as sclerotia. Sclerotia is known to overwinter and can come back year after year. From sclerotia, apothecium can form, producing small mushroom-like structures on infected plants. This often occurs at the same time that flowers are present on the plant, from the R1 to R3 growth stage, especially when moderate temps and high humidity persist.

    What conditions favor the development of white mold?
    White mold thrives in moderate temperatures that range below 68 degrees within a 30-day window. This encourages the apothecium to grow during bloom to early pod set. Other favorable conditions include higher humidity (greater than 60 percent), wet weather and fields with a past history of white mold. Irrigation has also been known to encourage white mold, as it cools the crop canopy. If warmer temps are in the 30-day forecast (e.g., multiple days measuring 86 degrees Fahrenheit or above), irrigated acres may be susceptible to apothecium.

    Other factors that promote white mold include no-till or minimum tillage fields, narrow-row spacing, higher planting populations, high manure level in soil, high nitrogen level in soil and areas of lodging. Not rotating crops and choosing a susceptible variety for your field can also play a factor in encouraging white mold growth. Also, watch for fields with increased weed pressure. Pigweed and ragweed species are hosts to white mold.

    What are some key management strategies to combat white mold?
    Growers need to consider a systematic approach and keep an open mind to combat white mold. A field-by-field approach may be necessary. 

    First, growers should look for soybean varieties that have good tolerance to white mold and a plant structure suitable for the environment they are planting into (e.g., no-till, narrow rows). In some instances, growers may need to switch to 30-inch rows and push back their final population to around 100,000. While studies in the North have shown around a 3 bu/acre yield advantage with 15-inch rows, narrow rows are more susceptible to white mold because there is less air movement between rows. Growers with heavy white mold pressure need to consider if the advantages of narrow rows outweigh the higher likelihood of white mold.

    A bio fungicide is a parasitic fungal organism that lives and feeds off sclerotia. Bio fungicides should be incorporated into the soil approximately two inches deep for three months prior to soybean blooming. The biggest concern with using bio fungicides is if they’re economical. These products can be costly (around $35/acre) and are sometimes a multi-year commitment.

    Stine XP soybean seed treatments can offer growers extra protection from white mold early in the growing season, when seed is at its most vulnerable. Our Stine XP Complete option combines fungicide with Heads Up® plant protectant. Seed treatments can help kill fungal pathogens like sclerotia that weaken a soybean plant at the very beginning of its lifecycle.

    Growers interested in fungicide options for white mold should consult their local Stine agronomist or university extension office. There are a some really great new foliar fungicides available that feature multiple modes of action to help control diseases like white mold; however, it’s important to know the appropriate timing of application during the reproductive stage of the soybean plant before proceeding. Remember that fungicides need to be applied down into the canopy to be properly effective and to follow specific boom height recommendations before spraying. While fungicides are a great option for white mold in corn, not all products are labeled for use in soybeans.

    When there’s a history of heavy white mold pressure, growers can also consider certain burner herbicides to burn back the canopy of the soybeans. We’ve seen some good response with this method for white mold control. While a bit riskier, if you have favorable growing conditions, this method can reduce the risk of yield loss caused by white mold.

    I also recommend that growers who are concerned about white mold in their soybean fields consult the University of Wisconsin’s Sporecaster. This app was developed to assist growers in making management decisions for white mold. Their research indicates that the appearance of apothecia can be predicted using several variables, such as weather and the amount of row closure in a field. Sporecaster uses GPS coordinates to see if weather has been favorable for apothecia in a specific field, factoring in max temps, relative humidity, max wind speed and risk predictions, to name a few. Learn more here.

    The most important thing you can do to prevent white mold from hitting your fields this growing season is to plan ahead. Evaluate your fields and make the necessary preparations to proactively respond to the potential threat of white mold. For more information on white mold management, contact your local Stine agronomist.

  • Find Stine® at a Winter Trade Show Near You
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    Find Stine® at a Winter Trade Show Near You

    January 02, 2020

    Posted by Stine Seed in Stine News

    Winter trade show season is here! We look forward to visiting with growers across the United States about their planting plans for 2020. We’re exhibiting at a number of trade shows this year, from Pennsylvania to Kansas to Iowa and more. We’ll have sales reps and agronomists on hand to walk you through the features and benefits of Stine’s high-yielding genetics, the industry’s leading corn and soybean traits and lessons learned from 2019.

    Don’t forget to ask about one of the following items while visiting our booth.  

    Stine Enlist E3 soybeans: Interested in learning about Stine Enlist E3 soybeans? Our experts will be available to discuss 2019 yield results, best management practices and maturities that are right for your region. Enlist E3 soybeans offer growers an advanced herbicide-tolerant trait technology with maximum flexibility and convenience, along with three unique modes of action for exceptional weed control — glyphosate, glufosinate and a new 2,4-D choline. Stine is proud to offer growers the broadest lineup of Enlist E3 soybeans in 2020, with 75 different options for growers to choose from.

    Stine Conventional Corn: At Stine, we understand that not every situation calls for traits, which is why we keep our base breeding program conventional. In fact, we’re one of the only corn companies that actively develops NEW conventional genetics to sell to growers. Ask about one of our 19 conventional corn options for 2020.

    Stine XP Seed Treatments: For growers who battled the worst of Mother Nature in 2019, soybean seed treatments may be top of mind for the new year. With Stine XP seed treatments, growers will have extra protection from diseases and pests that are amplified when environmental stressors persist. Stine XP seed treatments help growers protect their seed during its most vulnerable stage, right after planting and through early emergence, and are available in four custom-blend formulations for ultimate seed protection — Stine XP Complete, Stine XP-F&I, Stine XP-F&I with BIOst® Nematicide and Stine XP-F.

    Find Stine at one of the following trade shows in 2020.

    Upcoming Trade Shows

    Pennsylvania Farm Show, Harrisburg, PA, January 4–11

    Keystone Farm Show, York, PA, January 7–9

    Topeka Farm Show, Topeka, KS, January 7–9

    Midwest Farm Show, La Crosse, WI, January 8–9

    Fremont Corn Expo, Fremont, NE, January 9

    Michigan Agri-Business Winter Show, Lansing, MI, January 13–15

    Rice Lake Area Farm Show, Rice Lake, WI, January 14–15

    Fort Wayne Farm Show, Ft. Wayne, IN, January 14–16

    Quad Cities Farm Show, Rock Island, IL, January 19–21

    Sioux Falls Farm Show, Sioux Falls, SD, January 22–24

    Women in Denim, Storm Lake, IA, January 24–25

    Iowa Power Farming Show, Des Moines, IA, January 28–30

    Great Lakes Crop Summit, Mt. Pleasant, MI, January 29–30

    Buffalo Bill Farm & Ranch Expo, North Platte, NE, February 5–6

    Wisconsin Corn & Soy Expo, Wisconsin Dells, WI, February 6–7

    AAI Showcase & Conference, Des Moines, IA, February 11–12

    National Farm Machinery Show, Louisville, KY, February 12–15

    International Crop Expo, Grand Forks, ND, February 19–20

    Farm Show, Marshfield, WI, February 19–20

    Western Farm Show, Kansas City, MO, February 22–24

    Central MN Farm Show, St. Cloud, MN, February 25–26

    New York Farm Show, Syracuse, NY, February 27–29

    Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, Memphis, TN, February 28–29

    Hawkeye Farm Show, Cedar Falls, IA, March 3–5

    Eau Claire Farm Show, Eau Claire, WI, March 3–4

    North American Farm & Power Show, Owatonna, MN, March 19–21

     

  • A Year in Review
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    A Year in Review

    December 26, 2019

    Posted by Stine Seed in Stine News

    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.