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 Crop Progress Update: Round 1

    August 01, 2018

    Posted by Stine Seed in Stine News

    With growing season more than halfway complete, Stine agronomists are busy helping farmers scout fields for insect and disease pressure and determining if fungicides and/or pesticides will help protect yields through harvest. Learn how crops are shaping up throughout the Midwest.

    Region 1 (central Minnesota/west central Wisconsin)
    Stine RSA Justin Oden notes that most all corn has reached silking stage, and flowering for soybeans is right behind. Region 1 is a little ahead of last year by 4–5 days. Early and some really late-planted corn looks really good. Some that was planted mid-season isn’t looking as good as growers experienced very wet conditions in a lot of areas; Region 1 is seeing some emergence issues or yellow-looking corn because of the wet conditions. South central Minnesota has some pockets that look really rough because of all the moisture, but on the edges, they could see some garden spots with some very impressive yields. Region 1’s largest Stine grower in west central Minnesota reports this could be a record year for him!

    Region 4 (northwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska)
    RSA Todd Schomburg reports that things are looking good for the southern part of Region 4, and there’s potential for a great crop. However, if you get north of the Highway 18 corridor, they experienced late snow, late rain and later planting, so crop progress is really from one extreme to the other. There has been some fungicide application on corn, with corn-on-corn acres sprayed first. Beyond that, there has been a small percentage of growers who sprayed additional acres depending on the hybrid and whether it would benefit from the application or not. Todd notes he’s seeing more soybeans being sprayed with fungicides than in the past, mostly to protect yield.

    In the western part of Region 4, corn is starting to dent. In general, in northern Region 4, they are about 10 days ahead of heat units and the southern part is 12–14 points ahead of heat units. The crop is moving along quickly because of the environment and growing conditions.

    Region 8 (north and central Missouri)
    Stine RSA Mike Eckels notes Region 8 is very dry north of I-70, and corn and soybeans are not looking good in that area. South of I-70, things are looking pretty good, especially Stine® 9814-10, 9709 and 9744-20, which look excellent in the plots and the fields. 

    On the soybean side, Stine 36LEO2s and 38LE02s continue to impress. New Stine GT27™ numbers 40BA02 and the 41BA20 look great. Not much replant was done this year, but some fields had to because of dry conditions. The second crop of soybeans are going to have a tough time making it because of the dry conditions.

    Region 13 (south central Illinois)
    In Region 13, Stine RSA Stefanie Ray notes corn is in the dough stage. Aerial applications of fungicide were done 10+ days ago. Disease has been controlled very well by application. Non-treated fields have gone from virtually no leaf disease present 14 days ago to some fields now showing lesions on the upper canopy.

    Soybeans are continuing to bloom and pod. Fungicides were applied before r3 in a lot of fields because of tall plants. Moisture has been very adequate, but cracks in the ground are starting to show up in the dark soils. With the last rain, soybeans are looking to finish strong. We are looking at well above average corn yields (maybe 20 percent) and potentially record soybeans.

    Region 16 (north central Indiana, southwestern Indiana, northwestern Ohio)
    Stine RSA Bill Kessinger notes that in central Indiana, the corn crop is quickly accumulating GDUs, putting it about two to three weeks ahead of normal. However, the crop in northwest Ohio is slightly behind because of excess spring moisture that delayed planting. The rainfall has been spotty, but the corn and soybean crops look better than the region has had in the past couple years. Bill reports they have seen gray leaf spot in corn and frogeye leaf spot in soybeans in small isolated locations, but not enough to be concerned as of yet. The Stine LibertyLink® GT27 seed production fields continue to impress from emergence to canopy to pod set. Everyone is anxiously waiting for combines to run through the new corn numbers and soybean trait platforms.

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    Southern Corn Rust Popping Up in Stine Region 5

    July 25, 2018

    Posted by Chad Kuehl in Crop Management

    Southern corn rust recently started making its way into areas of southern Nebraska. While symptoms are minimal at this time, the disease could spread rapidly in a matter of days. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources also reports confirmed cases in western Missouri and southern Kansas. Because southern rust is a wind-borne fungus and has the potential to keep spreading, growers should get in their fields to start scouting for symptoms now.

    Southern corn rust can be detected on the leaves of corn plants. The fungus leaves behind tan and/or orange discoloration on the leaves, which is actually the southern rust pustules clustered closely together on the leaf surface or leaf sheaths. According to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s report, the disease favors warm temperatures and moisture, so once the disease has been detected, you must continue to monitor your corn acres for spread of the disease and follow the weather reports. Watch for warm temperatures, high humidity and forecasted rain. These conditions could greatly exacerbate the situation. While southern rust can be devastating to yields, timely fungicide applications can help control the disease.

    If symptoms have reached a level that warrants action, I recommend growers invest in a foliar fungicide that is applicable to the disease, such as fungicides that also help treat common rust and grey leaf spot. I also advise growers to watch their fields after residual control of that particular fungicide has worn off to ensure the disease does not come back.

    If you are in area that has reports of southern corn rust or if you have confirmed the disease in your field, you should continue monitoring your fields now through harvest. Enlist the assistance of your local Stine representative to learn more about southern corn rust and how to prevent yield loss.

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    Soybean Diseases and Management Issues Throughout the Corn Belt

    July 18, 2018

    Posted by Mike Smith in Crop Management

    The last several weeks we’ve seen soybean fields throughout the Midwest under assault. Indiana and Illinois are dealing with historic levels of phytophthora and fusarium (sudden death syndrome). The southern Corn Belt has been dealing with soybean cyst nematodes and dry weather. The central Corn Belt is experiencing extremely wet, saturated conditions that have created difficult growing conditions.

    With all of these issues, how should growers approach the challenges that this year brings to produce a viable, healthy crop?

    The first step is to spend time in fields observing exactly what is happening with the crop. One mistake growers make is when they see their neighbors spraying and automatically think that they should jump in the sprayer as well. Not all issues can be addressed through chemical means, and knowing the condition of one’s own crop is paramount in designing a course of action.

    The second step is to rely on research and not marketing. It is tempting to see a problem and want to apply the newest, greatest product to promote pod fill and retention; however, those products are not always warranted and certainly not always financially feasible. Understanding thresholds for insects and diseases can provide just as much return on investment as spraying the right insecticide or fungicide in a timely manner.

    The third step should always be experimentation. I think it is always a good idea to leave an untreated check, or a treated check, in a field and mark the check and then harvest separately. This will provide you with on-farm knowledge about the rescue treatment and how the practice actually worked on your farm. Having this information can prove to be invaluable in subsequent years when the decision needs to be made on a larger scale.

    The final thing I encourage is to remember these issues to help make decisions for next year’s crop. For example, a field that had SDS in 2018 should become a candidate for rotation in 2019 and late planting in 2020. Recognize that some issues are dependent on weather. However, water mold type issues and SCN are field-level problems that do not go away with the passing of time. Learn how to better manage these soils to mitigate the annual problems of these types of pests.

    If you need help in this process, contact your Stine regional sales agronomist for strategies that can help you maximize this year’s crop and plan for a bigger harvest in the future.