The planter is the most important piece of equipment that growers own. It is the tool that sets the trajectory of their profits for the season. If...Read More
The planter is the most important piece of equipment that growers own. It is the tool that sets the trajectory of their profits for the season. If planting is done to perfection, the sky is the limit for profitability. If it’s just a process we do to cover acres, our ceiling has been set and we will be playing catch up the rest of the season. Believe it or not, but 75% of the yield for a field is dictated by the time the planter pulls into the field to the time it pulls out. This fact is why growers should spend most of their time in the offseason making sure their planter operates at peak performance from begging to end. I’m going to highlight a few areas that play a big role in determining yield.
When planting is done take your meters apart, clean them and look for any area that is abnormally worn. If possible have your meters calibrated every two to three years to make sure they are in top condition.
Disk openers is the next place I would inspect. The disk openers prepare the seed bed where the seed will be placed. If they are off the seed is not placed where we want and germination could be reduced.
To ensure that a perfect “V” is made there needs to be 2-3 inches of contact between the disk openers. This can be checked by using two business cards, one started from the top, one from the bottom until they stay by themselves, then measure the distance between them. The diameter of the disk opener is important in determining the true depth where the seed is placed.
Most disk openers when new are 15” and should be replaced when they get below 14.5”. If you have coarse soils or plant over 2,000 acres you will want to replace your disk openers sooner, around 14 5/8”.
After inspecting the disk openers I would check how level the planter runs. To do this, hook up the planter as you would if you were planting, take out to a field, put it in the ground and drive 50-75 feet, then slowly stop the tractor. When this is done go back and check level at four spots on the planter. First check the transport (tongue) toolbar, this can be done best with a 4’ level. You want the planter to be level with the ground to slightly pointed up. If it is not where it should be, go back to the tractor and adjust 2-point or hydraulics to get it where it needs to be. Once the main toolbar is level go back to the row unit toolbar and check level on each side and middle, this can be done with a torpedo level. This toolbar should have the same or similar attitude as the toolbar you already checked.
Chains and Sprockets are the next location to inspect. If your planter has chains, specifically row unit chains, they need to be looked at very closely. If there is a kink or a stuck link that is in the chain, every time that comes around it could cause a double, skip, or spacing issue. The growers that take planter prep to the nth degree actually replace row unit chains every year. It is a small price to pay to ensure planter performance and seed placement. All chains should be inspected and lubed as well as looking for even wear on all sprockets. If sprockets aren’t wearing evenly replace and look at adjustment.
Gauge Wheels are one of the most important parts of planters because they are what is used to set the depth at which the seed is placed. How you set them will vary based on the make of the planter. The true depth will also vary on wear on the gauge wheel arm. If there is over ¼” wear on the arm where it meets the “mustache”, the arm needs to be flipped to the other side. Example, if the gauge wheel arm comes off the right side of row 6, it can be flipped and put on the left side. If this has already been done, the gauge wheel arm needs to be replaced. If a grower wants to get the most out of their planter, they can index their planter. This is somewhat complicated to explain, but I can describe it in person. The gauge wheel also needs to be shimmed or adjusted so that wheel runs tight against the disk opener. This helps to clean the disk opener and once again maintain depth.
The last mechanical part I will talk about is row cleaners. Row cleaners are an important part on a planter because they remove residue from the row. If residue makes it into the seed trench it can greatly reduce germination and or emergence. Residue in the trench acts as a wick, in a dry planting season it removes needed moisture from the seed. In a wet planting season it wicks more moisture to the seed and can also be a starting point for diseases.
My topic of early planted soybeans last week almost seems laughable as we look at yet another week of well below average air and soil temperatures. Ap...Read More
My topic of early planted soybeans last week almost seems laughable as we look at yet another week of well below average air and soil temperatures. April 3rd's 4-inch soil temperatures in Southeast and Northeast Iowa were 38° and 32° F, respectively. That’s a little over 11° cooler than the 20-year averages of 43.25° F for NE Iowa and 49.2° F for SE Iowa.
Click here to view Iowa soil temperature maps.
Be patient, according to a tweet from Dennis Todey, Director USDA Midwest Climate Hub and Ag Climatologist, Wednesday morning; weather models show warmer air moving into the upper Midwest toward mid-April, but not consistently warm. Dennis can be found on twitter at @dennistodey.
Obviously, this cooler weather will delay field activities and planting this spring. While that isn’t a good thing, it does give us additional time to fine tune planting, tillage and spray equipment. Avoiding breakdowns and repairs during this condensed planting window could be crucial.
One thing we certainly don’t want to do is plant into unfit soils. Please don’t jump the gun on this as soil conditions at planting are extremely important to maximize yields. According to Iowa State University Extension’s Corn Planting Guide, 100% of relative corn yield can be expected from April 20th thru May 5th, while 99% of yield can be expected until May 19th.
To put the planting work load in perspective, we can divide the total acres to plant by the average acres planted per day. Then figure about half the days will be fit to plant. Let’s say a farmer can plant 100 acres/day and has 1000 acres to plant; that’s 10 days of planting. If he starts on April 20th and will only be able to plant every other day, he will be done on May 10th, still within nearly 100% of relative yield.
The late start also gives us the opportunity to finalize or adjust any last-minute seed, fertilizer and/or herbicide plans. Shameless plug: We still have plenty of high yielding NuTech Seed available.
Things can get crazy when under pressure to get the crop in the ground and we can let emotion lead us to make bad decisions or, worse yet, jeopardize safety. Let’s make sure we have everything in place, a backup plan or two, and work efficiently, deliberately and most important safely.
To understand if or how much uneven emergence of seedling corn effects overall yield of late emerging plants, a number of Universities and on-farm res...Read More
To understand if or how much uneven emergence of seedling corn effects overall yield of late emerging plants, a number of Universities and on-farm research have studied the effect.
A Crop Science Abstract study of Response of Corn Grain Yield to variability of even emergence and variability in plant spacing found:
“These results indicate that corn is more responsive to emergence variability than plant spacing variability.”
“Variation in plant emergence reduced yield, whereas variation in with-row spacing did not affect yield.”
Lori Abendroth, Iowa State University agronomist, wrote “when smaller corn plants compete with larger ones, they are at a significant disadvantage in the fight for sunlight, moisture and nutrients. Meanwhile, as the smaller plants battle for whatever resources they can grab, they drag down yields of the older plants. The result is the whole field suffers.”
“If one-fourth of the crop emerges just a week late, yields can drop about 6%. A two-week delay for half the plants sets up the crop for a 17% loss.”
Bob Nielsen, Purdue University: Uneven emergence is a problem that will haunt you the whole season.
University researchers from Wisconsin and Illinois have documented as much as a 15% decrease in yield when 25% of corn plants were delayed a week and a half.
Cousins Jason and Adam Watson of Villa Grove, Illinois reported on their own farm replicated research in Corn + Soybean Digest.
In 2013 and 2014 Jason flagged newly emerged seedings each day at noon, according to day of emergence. After hand harvesting the 40 foot row experiment they arranged the ears on the shop floor accordingly.
In 2014 weather conditions were much cooler after planting and the plants took 10 days longer to emerge.
The Watson cousins on farm research is something NuTech DSM’s, Dealers and customers could do on their own to evaluate how well their planters are setup for optimum emergence. Seed costs per acre are the same. But yields are an area for increasing or loosing dollars per acre!
The Progressive Farmer published an article in the April 2018 edition that also discusses this topic. Good read.
Suggestions to avoid uneven emergence
Corn sometimes emerges unevenly because of environmental factors that growers can not control. Nevertheless, do what you can to manage what you can control.
More and more farmers are planting soybeans earlier, some even start planting beans before corn, and some have a dedicated soybean planter and corn pl...Read More
More and more farmers are planting soybeans earlier, some even start planting beans before corn, and some have a dedicated soybean planter and corn planter going at the same time. The University of Nebraska does a great job explaining the benefits of planting soybeans early in the following article (click to read): Why Planting Soybeans Early Improves Yield Potenial.
Phil Pickett, our DSM from Elkhart, IL, planted 4 acres of our 3361L soybean last Friday, March 23rd. The early planting is an experiment and Phil will update progress every Friday on his Facebook page. He no-tilled into a cereal rye cover crop, the soil temperature was 42° F. Phil just informed me that the beans are sprouting today and they’d received 4” of rain. Click here to visit Phil's Facebook page.
We can use some best management practices to minimize risk when planting early. First is to use a quality seed treatment such as NuTech Seed SmartCote® Extra or SmartCote® Supreme. The insecticide component of the seed treatment is systemic and will prevent the spread of soybean mosaic virus and bean pod mottle virus by controlling overwinter bean leaf beetles. Bean leaf beetles are drawn to the first emerging soybean fields and are a vector of the earlier mentioned bean diseases.
(Photo: Bean leaf beetle feeding on newly emerged soybeans in the unifoliate stage. Photo credit: Marlin Rice.)
DuPont™ Lumisena™ is the highly effective fungicide portion of SmartCote® Extra and SmartCote® Supreme, which protects soybeans from damping off diseases which can be a greater risk when planting early into cooler soils.
Other management practices that don’t cost you a penny include:
(Photo: Stunted soybeans from planting into wet soils. Photo credit: Chris AdamsStunted soybeans from planting into wet soils. Photo credit: Chris Adams)
We’ve all heard about the 60+ bushel yields from June planted beans and we know soybeans are very forgiving when it comes to planting date, stand density, leaf defoliation, etc. That said, if conditions are right you might try to squeeze out a little more yield with early planted soybeans.
I’d like to pass along a couple cool things from our friends at the University of Wisconsin. Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) has become the single most damaging pest of soybeans in the U.S. The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board is sponsoring free SCN testing for Wisconsin farmers. The following link contains information on the testing.
Although we’re a little early for replant, I’d like to pass along information on the Bean Cam app from the University of Wisconsin. The app allows you to take photos of a suspect soybean stand or enter actual plant densities and will make recommendations for replant decisions.
Above all, be safe and aware during the most important step of the growing season: planting.
The best way to beat low commodity prices and variable input costs is to out yield them. That strategy seemed laughable going into harvest but we quic...Read More
The best way to beat low commodity prices and variable input costs is to out yield them. That strategy seemed laughable going into harvest but we quickly realized there were more bushels out there than we thought, a lot more. Once again, NuTech Seed’s corn and soybean varieties had phenomenal performance in University and Independent trials, as well as, across the region on many thousands of acres.
The success wasn’t limited to a few top hybrids or varieties. We saw excellent performance throughout the entire line up which allows growers to be confident in planting a package to better manage risk through genetic diversity and a wider harvest window.
NuTech Seed soybeans with the LibertyLink® gene stood out in both yield and clean fields. Growers also appreciated the Peking source of resistance in some of our varieties to better manage soybean cyst nematode.
The cattlemen and dairymen also experienced stellar performance with our alfalfa and silage.
Our diverse portfolio of genetics, herbicide & insecticide traits, and conventional varieties offer farmers the choices they need to capitalize on profitability.
Liberty®, LibertyLink® and the Water Droplet Design are trademarks of Bayer.
In 2017 the performance power of NuTech Seed shined once again, with a wide range of conditions and or environments. Down south in Missouri they had p...Read More
In 2017 the performance power of NuTech Seed shined once again, with a wide range of conditions and or environments.
Down south in Missouri they had pretty good planting conditions, got some hard pounding rains which led to some flooding and crusting, causing some replant acres. From the end of June through the rest of the growing season, most of Missouri got nice timely rains and had almost an optimal growing season.
Moving North, Iowa had a dry year for most of the state, with timely rains coming in August and September. These rains helped the crops along and a combination of rain and cooler temps helped finish both corn and soybeans. In some cases, it seemed to bring the soybeans back to life.
In Minnesota, most of the state had good planting conditions and then in July the rain came in and seamed to almost rain every week. A few of those rain events even had isolated areas that saw amounts approaching 10”. Along with the rain came cooler temps, which made it harder to get heat units, and made for a later harvest.
The Dakotas’ were the tail of two environments. The western portions of the Dakotas’ were dry and seamed to stay dry for most of the growing season. The Red River Valley started off with good planting conditions and got timely rains so that the crops never were stressed too much. They didn’t have the optimum conditions of the past few years, but over all had close to an average growing season.
In all of these conditions, our performance did not waver. In independent third party trials, we ended up with 8 First place district finishes, 23 Top 5 district finishes, and 19 Top 10 district finishes. This shows the performance and choices that NuTech Seed has. Whatever mother nature throws at our growers, NuTech Seed has the ability to step up and perform.
“Things I know and Things I don’t know”! A quote from a writer from the Lincoln Journal Star. 2017 was an interesting year; we had an barrage of...Read More
“Things I know and Things I don’t know”! A quote from a writer from the Lincoln Journal Star.
2017 was an interesting year; we had an barrage of things hit the crop: Moisture early, then dry mid-season, and then a lot prior to harvest. Heat was below normal early and then came on late. Weed pressure was at an all-time high due to mother nature and our past chemical practices. Liberty® herbicide shined, Roundup application continued to show resistance, and the new dicamba tolerant varieties struggled for yield.
Wind, wind and more wind. We had 17 days in a row in September and into October where the wind was measured above 50 mph in Nebraska. Some hybrids and varieties were able to stand and weather the storm while others struggled. Those fields that struggled still were able to yield and came in above the average! Bugs were also an issue in areas, but most came on too late to effect the yields.
All in all we had a phenomenal yield for 2017. The average yield for corn across the country was again an all-time high. NuTech Seed results in the F.I.R.S.T. Trials in the Western Region speak for themselves: 8 wins, 18 Top 5’s, 14 Top 10’s, 15 Top 15’s and 24 Top 25’s. Across the country, across the Midwest, no other seed company has had the four-year track record that NuTech Seed has delivered. Keep this in your mind as you make your decisions and seed purchases for 2018.
Do you have questions for your operation for 2018? If your yields were above your average, have you applied enough fertilizer to recoup what you pulled from your profile? What worked in 2016 may have not worked in 2017. What may not have worked in 2017 may be your best practice for 2018. We cannot control mother nature: rain, heat, frost, wind, etc., but with your best practices, you can make profitable decisions for 2018 and beyond. Talk with your local NuTech Seed representative, NuTech Seed DSM, or your NuTech Seed Regional Agronomist and let us help you in your decision making process.
One other note: If you’re planning to use the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® technology for 2018, make sure you get your certification done prior to season. All states will have additional training required for 2018 and beyond if you intend to spray dicamba-based products.
Have a Happy New Year, and be safe!
DO NOT APPLY DICAMBA HERBICIDE IN-CROP TO SOYBEANS WITH Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® technology unless you use a dicamba herbicide product that is specifically labeled for that use in the location where you intend to make the application. IT IS A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL AND STATE LAW TO MAKE AN IN-CROP APPLICATION OF ANY DICAMBA HERBICIDE PRODUCT ON SOYBEANS WITH Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® technology, OR ANY OTHER PESTICIDE APPLICATION, UNLESS THE PRODUCT LABELING SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZES THE USE. Contact the U.S. EPA and your state pesticide regulatory agency with any questions about the approval status of dicamba herbicide products for in-crop use with soybeans with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® technology.
ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Soybeans with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® technology contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate and dicamba. Glyphosate herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Dicamba will kill crops that are not tolerant to dicamba.
Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC used under license.
Liberty®, LibertyLink® and the Water Droplet Design are trademarks of Bayer.
Harvest is underway in the Central Region and varies greatly from north to south and east to west. Most silage is complete and producers have moved to...Read More
Harvest is underway in the Central Region and varies greatly from north to south and east to west. Most silage is complete and producers have moved to high moisture corn and earlage in the northern parts of the region. Corn grain harvest has been going for at least a week in the central and southern reaches.
I’ve seen and heard of some higher than normal ear rots and molds, so please keep this in mind when making harvest schedules, as well as shipping and storage plans.
Soybean harvest activity is also highly variable. A lot of combines are rolling in most parts of the region. east-central Iowa, southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois are about 7-to-10 days behind because of planting delays and frequent rains. Some fields in southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, northern Illinois and western Wisconsin have white mold. In these area, conditions were ideal in early summer for white mold. Make notes on affected fields and varieties so we can better manage white mold next year and beyond.
Harvest has begun in the Midwest region! Most growers I have talked to are happy with the yields they are seeing so far, with the growing season they ...Read More
Harvest has begun in the Midwest region! Most growers I have talked to are happy with the yields they are seeing so far, with the growing season they have had. From my perspective, the higher yields are coming from the growers that had a plan and executed it all season long! They planted in good conditions, had a great fertility plan, applied a fungicide, and are targeting corn harvest in the mid to lower 20’s.
Soybeans are also getting started and once again, these growers had a plan! They chose a herbicide program that controlled their weeds and in 75% of the whole field yields I have heard of, those growers chose to go with a Liberty system. These soybeans had fungicide applied and a few of the better yields had a foliar spray applied as well.
Agronomically, the corn crop as a whole looks pretty good. I’m not seeing very much lodging in my travels, except a few spots of Anthracnose, and some minor root lodging in some low lying wetter areas. I have also seen some Anthracnose Top Dieback, which led to some premature plant death. This isn’t cause a whole lot of damage, it’s just making setting the combine a little more difficult.
On the Soybean side, the northern region seems to be hit hard by white mold this year. Frequent precipitation and cooler temperatures have let this pathogen thrive. Stands in the central and southern regions seem to be holding up so far.
During harvest, allow yourself 10 minutes per field. Theres more to look at in a corn hybrid or soybean variety than just the yield. Yes, I agree yiel...Read More
During harvest, allow yourself 10 minutes per field. There's more to look at in a corn hybrid or soybean variety than just the yield. Yes, I agree yield is the most important factor, but there are other things to consider.
These are some things to consider as your harvest progresses.
Last but not least, please take an additional 10 minutes to make sure you're working safely and taking the time needed to do your job the right way!
Have a Safe and bountiful harvest!
FUNGICIDES FOR CORN Because of the abnormally hot and wet weather this spring and early summer we may see higher incidences of foliar diseases later...Read More
Because of the abnormally hot and wet weather this spring and early summer we may see higher incidences of foliar diseases later on in the season. Corn typically has pretty good disease tolerance prior to tassel emergence. That tolerance declines once the plant goes into and through the reproductive stage to senescence.
There are two common classes of fungicides:
Quilt and Stratego are a combination of both Triazoles and Strobilurins at a lower active ingredient of each.
Headline® fungicide helps growers control diseases and improve overall Plant HealthPerhaps that's why Headline fungicide is the nation's leading fungicide.
Headline fungicide is a fast-acting, broad-spectrum fungicide that delivers a high level of activity on more than 50 major diseases that can threaten yield and crop quality. Headline fungicide helps prevent diseases and provides protection for more than 90 crops, including corn, soybeans and wheat.
Not only does Headline fungicide provide excellent disease control, it actually promotes improved Plant Health. The unique chemistry of its active ingredient, F500®, enables more efficient nitrogen uptake, more robust plant growth and better stress tolerance to heat, hail, wind and drought. Ultimately, this means healthier plants and higher yield potential.
Growers who use Headline fungicide for disease control report more vigorous plant growth and stress tolerance advantages such as better standability and improved harvest efficiency — helping to reduce losses and improve ROI.
Note the “Headline – Application Guidelines” chart and be aware of applying Headline prior to the VT stage, this is critical to prevent yield loss. VT stage is identified as the last tassel branch fully visible outside of the whorl. No adjuvant is recommended for either ground or aerial application before VT and if the grower chooses to have a fungicide applied by air before VT stage then it must be in at least 5 gallons of water per acre. The optimum window for application extends from VT stage through R2 (early brown silk). Many fields are showing uneven growth this year. Those fields will be coming into the VT stage at various times. Growers will need to work with the individuals that apply the product to their fields for timing of application and the use of adjuvant and carrier rates.
Scouting for this pest isn’t too difficult. Western bean cutworm egg masses are large, initially white and laid on the upper third of pre-tassel plants. With some practice, they are easy to spot, especially if you put the sun behind the corn leaves and look for their shadows.
According to MSU Extension entomology specialist Christina DiFonzo, when scouting for western bean cutworm, count 20 plants at five different locations. Since the eggs hatch in a week or so, they should keep a running total of how many masses they see each week. The treatment threshold is five percent of plants with egg masses.
A common pyrethroid (the “-thrins”) insecticide such as Warrior (lambda-cyhalothrin) will control western bean cutworm larvae and typically provide 10–14 days of residual activity. Once the larvae have “fattened up” on pollen packets in the tassels and made their way back down the plant and into the ear, control is all but impossible.
Fungicide seed treatments can reduce the risk of infection. Spray applications of fungicides after growth stage R1 can reduce disease severity. But applications made at stage R3 are considered most effective.
My advice would be to contact Soybean Product Manager Steve Sick first before treating.
NOTE: Practices such as fall-applied or early-spring applied N or surface-applied urea provide a larger “window of opportunity” for N loss and therefore would require higher N rates to achieve optimum yield.
Providing sufficient but not excessive nitrogen (N) to corn is difficult especially with fall and early spring fertilizer applications where N loss can vary substantially with the timing of the application relative to the occurrence of warm soil and excessive rainfall. Nitrogen deficiency occurs most growing seasons and often leads to an interest in applying N fertilizer beyond the growth stage and height where standard N application equipment can be used.
Nitrogen applied up to 2-3 weeks after silking to N deficient but otherwise healthy corn can result in increased grain yield. The greater the N deficiency and the earlier the N application the larger the yield increase.