Harsh winter weather took its toll on the winter wheat crop across northern Illinois and Iowa. As I walked fields last month, many no longer had adequate populations and were flagged for replant. Of the fields retaining enough population to keep, nearly all contained areas of very thin or absent stands.
Often, these thin spots had a high number of seedling winter annual weeds with plenty of sunlight. So farmers should be prepared to apply herbicides to wheat in 2014 to protect crop yield and your profitability. They need to also be familiar with the weed species present in their fields, herbicides labeled for control, and the product application guidelines. Most of those herbicides can be safely applied before wheat reaches jointing (Feekes stage 6).
As wheat growth advances past jointing, herbicide choices become much more limited. Always read and follow all herbicide label recommendations.
Categories: Agronomy Talk
Thus far in 2014, moderate amounts of field activity have taken place compared to normal. In the state of Illinois, according to the USDA weekly crop progress estimates for the week ending April 13, one percent of the corn crop is planted compared to the recent five year average of 10 percent at this point.
For most parts of southern Illinois, spring pre-plant nitrogen applications began around the end of March and were completed in some areas before storms put a halt on progress in the first week of April. A small amount of corn was also planted in that timeframe. From I-70 to the south, wheat fields have moved right along in light of recent warm weather and are looking much better than initially expected coming out of the harsh winter we experienced. To the north of I-70, most wheat is looking better, although advancing slower.
Looking ahead, please keep agronomics in mind with all field activities. Even though the calendar says it is time, the right soil conditions and environment play a huge role in the success of your 2014 crops!
Wheat can become the forgotten crop this time of year. We had a tough winter, but overall, wheat looks good. As you scout your wheat, keep an eye on leaf diseases and any weeds that may have escaped. If you only scout wheat once, make sure to pay close attention at flowering. If we have wet weather, make sure to apply a fungicide for head scab!
As corn and soybeans start to emerge, take time to give your spring practices a report card. Check your pre-emerge weed control. What grade do you give it?
The planter is the most important machine on the farm, how does your stand look? Check for even emergence and spacing, look for diseases or insects, and look for any nutrient deficiencies. Give these all a grade. If you’re not happy, make some notes and plan for changes next season. I like to use the Purdue Corn and Soybean Pocket Field Guide when scouting, it will help you determine what is going on out in your fields!
Plants lacking optimum levels of macronutrients and/or micronutrients usually fail to produce high yields. Micronutrients are just as important to plant nutrition as macronutrients, however micros are needed in lesser amounts.
Tissue sampling is the most reliable method to assess the current nutrition status in a growing crop. A tissue sample report can identify which nutrients are currently deficient, including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, boron, manganese, zinc, sulfur and iron, among others. You may not have thought about it much, but nutrient deficiencies can go unnoticed even in a "healthy looking" field. Often times, it’s only those fields that look “poor” that are sampled. Once a nutrient deficiency has been identified, you must then make a decision whether or not to address the deficiency with one of the many foliar products on the market. I will be conducting tissue sampling for our customers this year to help maximize yields and profitability. Please let me know if you are interested.
One thing I continue to hear, regardless of where I travel, is the growing concern of weed resistance. Marestail, lambsquarter and waterhemp species are really getting troublesome. Two-pass residual herbicide programs that offer as many modes of action (MOA) and sites of action (SOA) as possible are highly recommended. Use of Beck’s LibertyLink® soybeans and Liberty® herbicide is the most desired program to combat ALS and glyphosate resistant weeds in our area.
A second concern is managing our nitrogen (N) applications so to be as environmentally safe as possible, yet meeting our yield goals. This season, we will have several farmers participating in Beck’s PFR Partners testing on their own acres. We will evaluate their current practices and then look at several alternative N programs to see if any benefit can be gained. If you are interested in this type of testing, contact me at 317-694-7298.
Be safe, be patient, think, and enjoy the season!
Soybean Emergence Issues
A large amount of soybeans were planted throughout the area May 7-12. Unfortunately, on May 14 the weather turned unseasonably cool and wet, with daily high temperatures only reaching the 50s for four consecutive days.
Sulfur Deficiency in Corn
Sulfur is an essential nutrient for crop production. Historically, however, sulfur has not been a common component of crop fertility programs. Sulfur has naturally been supplied through atmospheric deposition, manure application, and mineralization of organic matter.
Nitrification Inhibitors for Sidedressing Nitrogen (N)
Many growers are or will be sidedressing corn shortly. One question we often get this time of year is, “Do I use a nitrification inhibitor?” As is often the case, it is not an easy answer.
Categories: Agronomy, NE Illinois, NW Indiana
Tags: Chad Kalaher, Beck's, Agronomy Update, NE Illinois, NW Indiana, Soybean Emergence Issues, Sulfur Deficiency in Corn
Below you will find links to the University of Wisconsin's Herbicide Mode of Action Key for Injury Symptoms. This key is designed to help you determine which herbicides may be responsible for suspected herbicide injury.
Categories: Agronomy, N Indiana, Michigan
Tags: Beck's, Agronomy Update, Denny Cobb, Herbicide, Suspected Herbicide Injury
Do I use a nitrification inhibitor while sidedressing corn?
Many growers are or will be sidedressing corn shortly. One question we often get this time of year is, “Do I use a nitrification inhibitor?”
What is the optimum nitrogen rate in corn?
Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® has been conducting nitrogen (N) rate studies for the past five years. Over this period they have found that the Economic Optimum Nitrogen Rate is about 178 lbs./A. for corn after soybeans and 212 lbs./A. for corn after corn.
Categories: Agronomy, E Indiana, Ohio
Tags: Beck's Practical Farm Research, Nitrogen Rates in Corn, Sidedressing Corn, Nitrification Inhibitor
Why do my soybeans look like they are dying? This week we have had numerous reports throughout Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky regarding soybeans that are not looking as healthy as we like. The majority of soybeans have the outside of the cotyledons that look brown as well as the hypocotyl, especially when in the neck stage. This appears to be happening to all varieties from all companies, so it is not product specific.
Tags: soybeans, Beck's, Agronomy Update, Ohio, E. Indiana, Mark Apelt, Soybean Health, Soybean Population
Corn Stand Establishment
This past week drenched our region with 4 to 6 inches of rain, followed by cool if not cold temperatures. Corn that has germinated and/or emerged (young plants) should be okay.
Soybean Stand Establishment
Some of the same corn comments hold true for soybeans. About 30% of our area got their soybeans planted last week. Very few fields have emerged.
By all means, when conditions and fields become fit and suitable for planting, plant the “unplanted” acres first! This will give any “challenged", earlier planted fields time to hopefully recover so a proper assessment can be made.
--- Black Cutworm, Slugs, and Armyworm
--- Purple Corn
Tags: Beck's, Agronomy Update, Denny Cobb, Corn and Soybean Establishment, Identifying Corn Insects, Stand Evaluations
According to NASS, there were 4.6 and 5.6 days suitable for field work in Ohio and Indiana, respectively. Several areas in both states received greater than 2” of rain this past weekend and water was ponding in several fields.
We need to be on the lookout for black cutworms cutting plants in the next week or so. Black cutworms do not overwinter in Ohio or Indiana but are blown in on storm fronts in April and May.
Crop Observations to Date
--- Emergence, temperatures, rotary hoeing and planting time
Tags: Beck's, Agronomy Update, Ohio, E. Indiana, Mark Apelt, Crop Observation, Water Ponding, Black Cutworm
Protecting the Flag “Leaf”
In the next few weeks we will be approaching the time for fungicide applications on wheat. Applying fungicides at or immediately after flag leaf appearance provides the best protection against foliar diseases.
Do I Adjust Planting Depth?
Some farmers are thinking about shallowing up their planting depth to get the corn out of the ground quicker since it is getting a little later. Is this a good idea?
My Corn Has Emerged But is Yellow in Color
More than likely the corn planted so far is going to be colorful. Unfortunately, the color it is turning is not the healthy dark green we were expecting
Tags: Beck's, Emergence, Protecting the flag "leaf", Plant Depth, Agronomy Update, Eastern Indiana, Ohio, Corn Plant Discoloration
CORN PLANTING PROGRESS – Predicting Emergence
During April 10-12 corn planting was slow in isolated areas primarily near Springfield, IL followed by a cool, wet period. Planting resumed again April 17 in a general triangle that was formed by areas around Springfield, Bloomington and Champaign.
Part of the soybean high-yield equation includes the use of premium seed treatments. While Beck’s Escalate yield enhancement system is an industry-leading seed treatment combination of fungicides, insecticides, and growth promoter, Optimize® liquid inoculant was also offered on many varieties this year with the nematode control products VOTiVO® or Clariva™.
SOYBEAN SEEDING RATE
The proper soybean seeding rate has been a topic of discussion with growers, agronomists and university personnel for decades. Although final, consistent and uniform stands of 100,000-125,000 soybean plants/acre has generally been accepted to maximize economic return, many factors can influence the optimum seeding rate.
Tags: Chad Kalaher, Beck's, Agronomy Update, NE Illinois, NW Indiana, Corn Planting Progress, Predicting Emergence, Soybean Inoculant, Soybean Seeding Rate
How much nitrogen are you losing?
Every year there are questions regarding nitrogen (N) loss from spring storms. This will cause some N loss, but exactly how much is not known. We can take an educated guess by understanding how N reacts in the soil.
According to NASS, approximately 24% of Ohio and 43% of Indiana’s wheat is jointing. The further north you go, the more behind it is and therefore not jointing yet.
Tags: Agronomy, Beck's, Agronomy Update, Ohio, E. Indiana, Nitrogen Loss, Wheat Update
Should I Be Planting Yet?
The calendar says we should be planting, the soil moisture level in many areas says we should be planting, but the forecast calls for cool weather into next week.
How Deep Should I Plant Corn?
As mentioned in the previous article, the weather is predicted to stay below normal for the next week. If you decide to plant, should you plant shallower due to the colder weather?
Tags: Beck's, Agronomy Update, Mark Apelt, Planting Depth, Best Time to Plant
ADD ZINC TO YOUR STARTER FERTILIZER PROGRAM
One of the common questions I have been getting lately is definitely not a new one. “Should I be using liquid starter fertilizer at planting for corn?” While some farmers in the Midwest have been using starter for many years, others are just getting started.
TISSUE SAMPLING FOR HIGHER YIELDS
Have you mastered the “Seven Wonders of the Corn Yield World” and “The Six Secrets of Soybean Success?” Most likely, your answer is “No, but I give it my best shot to control what I can!” Although Dr. Fred Below’s recipes do not include foliar nutrition, plants lacking optimum levels of macro and/or micronutrients usually fail to produce high yields.
WHEAT CROP STATUS UPDATE
The wheat crop in our area has gone through one of the coldest winters on record. Growth stage currently ranges from Feekes 2- Feekes 4. Using October 12 as a planting date, we are 321 wheat growing degree days (GDDs) behind the previous year through April 12. If we have average temperatures in the last half of April, this will correlate to a two week delay. Given that some fields didn’t get planted until the last week of October, we are closer to a delay of 3-4 weeks.
Tags: Beck's Blog, Beck's Hybrids, corn seed, soybean seed, Chad Kalaher, Agronomy, Beck's Agronomists, Beck's Agronomy, Tissue Sampling, Wheat Updates, Adding Zinc to Fertilizer Program, Zinc
How long do I wait between applying anhydrous ammonia and planting?
Based on how the 2014 season is shaping up so far, we will be doing many field activities all at once. One question on many farmers mind is “How long do I need to wait between applying anhydrous (NH3) and planting?”
Uniform Seed Spacing for Maximum Yield-- How important is uniform seed spacing?
According to research from Purdue University-very important! Purdue looked at plant to plant spacing over a 6 year period and measured yield loss. They measured the plant to plant distance over a 30 foot area in 2-3 areas of a field.
Tags: Beck's, Agronomy Update, Ohio, E. Indiana, Mark Apelt, Seed Spacing, Anhydrous Ammonia Application, Terminating Cover Crops