It’s that time of year again. It's the time of year for our wheat to start flowering, so fungicide applications should be top of mind. With the kind of spring we are experiencing throughout much of the Midwest, many factors favor Fusarium head blight (head scab) onset.
Categories: Agronomy, Agronomy Talk
Tags: Wheat, Fungicides on Wheat, head scap, wheat diseases
Maximizing soybean yield is a simple concept…grow as many harvestable soybeans per acre as possible. What is not so simple is the complex dance we play with Mother Nature who has great influence over the best management decisions required to obtain maximum yields. For multiple years, Beck’s PFR has promoted increasing returns on investment (ROI) by lowering soybean seeding rates.
Tags: planting, Soybean Seeding Rate, Delayed planting, double crops
Typically, purple corn leaves are automatically diagnosed as a phosphorus deficiency early in the spring. Although purple corn leaves are a symptom of phosphorus deficiency, this does not always mean there is a soil phosphorus deficiency per se. It could be that the plants are unable to access soil phosphorus due to problems with the root system, excess soil moisture, or cool temperatures.
Tags: sidewall compaction, purple corn. phosphorus deficiency, corn root system
Some areas of our marketing footprint have started planting and are slowly progressing while others have not yet started field operations. Here is some information to review as many of you may have questions regarding delayed planting and switching hybrids.
Tags: corn hybrids, corn planting, late planted corn, GDUS, Delayed planting
In the past, plant nutrition management was largely focused on nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium, since these nutrients are needed in the greatest quantity. Reports and field observations of early-season “striped corn” have become more common across the Midwest over the past decade.
Tags: tissue testing, plant nutrition, striped corn, sulfur in corn, nutrient deficiency, manganese in corn
For a crop to become established, the seeds must germinate and emerge uniformly. Seed size and shape (also called grade size) is not correlated to germination, vigor, nor yield. If planting conditions are good, all grades have equal quality and the size and health of the embryo within the seed does not change with grade size.
Tags: seed size, Germination, kernel size, seed shape, grade size, crop establishment
A soybean seed has two distinct parts: the cotyledons and the embryo. The two cotyledons are the main food storage structure, which supply food during emergence and for the seven to ten days after emergence through the V1 growth stage.
Tags: soybeans, soybean growth, cotyledons, embryo, soybean growth stages
Earlier this week I scouted some fields in Southern Illinois following the rains we received last weekend.
With this wheat in this field pushing Feekes 7, I plan on taking some soil and tissue samples in a few different spots to see what's going on in these plants.
Tags: Wheat, fungicide on wheat, tissue sample, soil test, flag leaf, foliar applications on wheat
Often, farmers find themselves pressed for time in the spring and are forced into tight windows of operation. One operation that many farmers need to carefully consider is the spring application of anhydrous ammonia. Although it’s possible to apply anhydrous before planting, there are strategies to reduce the risk of injury. Keep in mind that there are many ways to apply nitrogen to a crop in-season, so planting should always take precedence to nitrogen applications. Even if you have pre-paid for your anhydrous, you can still sidedress anhydrous with great success.
Tags: Nitrogen, Anhydrous Ammonia, Nitrogen Timing, anhydrous injury, nitrogen applications
Cold weather prevents wheat plants from breaking dormancy, so in cold springs, wheat crops may be slow to greenup. Delayed greenup is less concerning than cold damage to the wheat crop.
Chilling injury is only one part of the evaluation of winter wheat in the spring. If the fall was wet and challenging, there could be stand establishment concerns. In some low areas, the seed may have rotted in the fall. If the plant has fewer than three developed leaves going into the winter, it is more prone to injury as the crown is underdeveloped.
Tags: Wheat, wheat injury, chilling injury, wheat damage, spring freeze damage
Weed competition at planting can reduce yields. As temperatures start to increase, weeds will flourish, and you will be faced with a short timeline to complete field operations. While it may be tempting to begin planting as soon as possible, it is important to make sure weeds are managed prior to planting. Attempting to control weeds after planting can interfere with your planting operations and create competition with the emerging crop for sunlight, moisture, and nutrients, reducing yields. As weeds continue to grow, they become more difficult to control.
Tags: Agronomy, Agronomy Talk, Weeds, residual herbicides, Spring Burndown, Weed Prevention
The weather we experienced this winter has caused difficulties for everyone, but for farmers, the winter of 2018-2019 has led to uncertainty when in the hopes of a normal spring planting season.
Across a large swath of the Northern Corn Belt, especially those areas where alfalfa is an integral crop, a late, wet Autumn resulted in saturated soils going into the winter months. Compounding this situation were the late December rains (in some locals approaching 2.0 in.), an extremely cold January, persistent low temperatures throughout February and multiple heavy snow events in early March. As of March 13, 2019, when this article was written, Minnesota has experienced our second inch of cold rain. And though the snow depth has gone from 26 in. to a level of 18 in. in the past 36 hours, the chances of injury to our alfalfa crop is higher than normal this year.
Tags: Agronomy, alfalfa, winterkill, alfalfa damage
So, you’ve planted your crops… now, how long do you need to wait for them to emerge?
A corn crop requires moisture to emerge, about 30 percent soil moisture at minimum. It also needs about 120 Growing Degree Days (GDD) accumulated.
Tags: corn, planting, Emergence, growing degree days, GDD, soybeans. agronomy, stand counts
Early-season frost damage is a stressful physiological event that can slow plant development. The net impact of early-season frost will depend on the health of the plant before the frost, the extent and duration of the freezing temperatures,
and the growing environment following the frost.
Tags: corn, soybeans, FROST DAMAGE, freeze damage, early-season damage
The first step in initiating seed germination is imbibition of water. As the seed takes on water (up to 30 percent of its own weight for corn and 50 percent for soybeans!), enzymes within the seed start converting starch from storage forms into forms that will help feed the newly awakened embryo. Cell membranes in the seed have to rehydrate to re-initiate growth; that process can go awry in cold temperatures.
Tags: planting, Spring Planting, Soil Temperatures, Soil Moisture, cold soils, seed germination
The planter pass is the most important pass of the season. It sets the stage for everything else. Equally important is the time spent doing planter maintenance, prep, and set up. Each planter or row unit manufacturer has specific guidelines as to how to set and adjust specific equipment, so always reference the owner’s manual, but the following holds true for most planting implements.
Tags: planting, planter prep, #plant19, equipment preparation, planter preparation
Winter wheat breaks dormancy if there is a two-week period with an average temperature of at least 41°F. As soon as the plants resume growth, you need to get back out in the field so that you can make critical decisions about nitrogen, insecticide, and fungicide, and most importantly, preserving yield potential.
Categories: Agronomy Talk
Farming at a profit is more challenging when grain prices are low. Producers with owned ground and sound management can likely farm at a profit albeit at a narrower margin than previous years. Producers shelling out high cash rents will find it more difficult to operate at a profit even with sound management. Many paying high cash rent will operate at a loss. This is especially true if looking at profitability in a “site-specific” manner — considering profit/loss variability across a field or operation.
Tags: soil tests, Profit, fertilizer, inputs, crop nutrition, variable rate, fertilizer applications
Soil surface compaction can affect soybean plant height, root growth and development, pod set, and yield
Tags: soybeans, Agronomy, Soil Conditions, compaction, early-season compaction
When a farmer ends up with damaged grain at harvest, the best thing to do is sell it as quickly as possible. However, sometimes due to the obligation to fulfill contracts or the ability to utilize bin space to capture carry in the market, it becomes necessary to store damaged grain.
Tags: Agronomy, Agronomy Talk, grain storage, damaged grain