Beck's Blog

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15

May

2017

Agronomy Update

Wheat Update from Southwest Kentucky

Author: Austin Scott

Back in March, a majority of my territory experienced a freeze event. And while our wheat grew out of it and was looking very healthy, we are now seeing some damage.   

 

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Categories: Agronomy, Kentucky, Tennessee

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1

May

2017

Agronomy Update

Too Much Rain? What Now?

Author: Austin Scott

Many parts of Indiana, Missouri, and Kentucky have received over 4 in. of rain in a very short amount of time which has caused severe flooding in some areas. Because of this, I have received a number of questions from farmers wondering how long corn can survive under water and how much of their nitrogen (N) will still be there when the water finally recedes.

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Apr

2017

Agronomy Update

Wheat Head Scab Updates

Author: Austin Scott

Much of the wheat throughout my territory is now between Feekes 10 (head in boot) and Feekes 10.1 (grain head visible). This means that within the next two weeks, it will be time to start making fungicide applications to protect our wheat against Fusarium head blight (head scab).

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3

Apr

2017

Agronomy Update

What are Inoculants and Should I Use Them?

Author: Austin Scott

Do you know what the most abundant element in the air is? It’s not oxygen. It’s not hydrogen. It’s actually nitrogen (N). That’s right, one of the biggest input costs on your farm is actually floating around in the air you’re breathing. But since it’s a diatomic molecule (N2=gas), your corn crop can’t access it. Therefore, you have to buy and apply it to your crop. Soybeans, on the other hand, are legumes which means they can capture that free-floating N gas and, with the help of some soil microbes, convert it to a usable form of N.

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23

Mar

2017

Agronomy Update

Wheat Follow-up with Austin Scott: Assessing Freeze Damage

Author: Austin Scott

Beck’s agronomist, Austin Scott, provides an update to last week’s wheat webinar on freeze damage.

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13

Mar

2017

Agronomy Update

Time to Prep Your Planter

Author: Austin Scott

We are at the start of another challenging year with low commodity prices and shrinking margins. To succeed in a down market, we have to set ourselves up for success from the start. The best way to do that is to utilize all of your tools to their fullest potential. That means making sure your planter is ready for the field before it’s time to plant. Accuracy of plant spacing, seed depth, and seed-to-soil contact are the keys to achieving a picket fence stand and maximizing a crop’s yield potential. Below is a list of things to check before you pull out of the shop.
 

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6

Mar

2017

Agronomy Update

Early Burndown Options

Author: Austin Scott

God willing, planters will be rolling through fields within the next four to five weeks. If you haven’t already, now is the time to start thinking about burndown options. We’ve had a very mild winter (as you can tell by the size of our wheat!) and many winter annuals have grown much larger than usual. This should be taken into consideration when thinking about those hard-to-control winter weeds like Italian ryegrass and marestail. 

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6

Feb

2017

Agronomy Update

Cover Crops: Termination Timing and Weed Suppression

Author: Austin Scott

Cover crop acres have been steadily on the rise for the last few years. According to a recent survey by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Department, farmers in the U.S. increased their cover crop acres by 147 percent from 2014 to 2016. But, this rapid adoption did not come without growing pains. Many farmers have struggled with terminating their cover crops on time and, in many cases, the cover crop persisted into the growing season and actually became detrimental to yield. 

Cover crop acres have been steadily on the rise for the last few years. According to a recent survey by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Department, farmers in the U.S. increased their cover crop acres by 147 percent from 2014 to 2016. But, this rapid adoption did not arise without growing pains. Many farmers have struggled with terminating their cover crops on time and, in many cases, the cover crop persisted into the growing season and actually became detrimental to yield. How and when you should kill your cover crop will be dependent on the cash crop you’re planting as well as the species and growth stage of your cover crop.

Many farmers are using cereal crops (cereal rye, wheat, etc.) as a part of their mixture because of their relatively low cost and ability to produce biomass above and below ground. Soybeans have a greater ability to overcome cereal competition early in the year so termination can be delayed up to 7 to 14 days after planting. Corn lacks the early season “grit” that soybeans have and thus, the cereal cover should be terminated at least 14 days ahead of planting. University of Tennessee Weed Scientists Dr. Garret Montgomery and Dr. Larry Steckel have seen a negative impact on corn stands and early season vigor when a standalone cereal cover crop was used. However, when a legume (vetch) was introduced to the mix, a significant difference in vigor was seen (Figure 1).
 

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2

Jan

2017

Agronomy Update

Soil Tests 101: How to Read Your Results

Author: Austin Scott

One of the staples for growing healthy, high-yielding crops is to maintain good soil fertility. That’s why most agronomists will suggest soil sampling every two to three years to evaluate how your fields are holding up. These tests however are not always the easiest to read and many farmers often need help interpreting the results. Here are some key tips and areas to focus on when evaluating your soil test report. 

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7

Nov

2016

Agronomy Update

Dust It In, Bust the Bin!

Author: Austin Scott

Even though wheat acres are down quite a bit this year, I’ve seen a lot of drills running through fields over the past month. I’ve also heard the old adage, “dust it in, bust the bin” more times than I can count. While it was ok at first, it’s now starting to worry me. 

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4

Oct

2016

Agronomy Update

Cover Crops: When, How, and What About Herbicide Carryover?

Author: Austin Scott

Cover crops offer a variety of benefits from reducing erosion to adding nutrients to your soil. When I start a conversation with a farmer about cover crops, my first question is always, “what are your goals for the cover crop?” Cover crops are used for many different reasons so it’s important to know why you need them before you plant. A pre-determined goal will help you decide which cover crop or cover crop mixture you should plant on your farm. 

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20

Sep

2016

Agronomy Update

Stalk Rot in Corn? Time to Prioritize Harvest!

Author: Austin Scott

Harvest time is finally here and for most of us in the South, this will be the year to forget! Parts of Tennessee encountered the worst drought we’ve seen since 2012. On the other end of the spectrum, parts of Kentucky, southern Indiana, and southern Illinois caught more rain than they could handle for most of the year. The Missouri Bootheel couldn’t make up its mind if it wanted to be too dry or too wet! All of these crazy environmental conditions have led to some serious standability issues in our corn. Just about every corn field I’ve been in recently has shown signs of premature death and stalk rot. This is something we see every year, but some years are worse than others and may require a little more planning before harvest.

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5

Jul

2016

Agronomy Update

How to Get the Most Out of Liberty® Herbicide

Author: Austin Scott

At the moment, Liberty® (glufosinate) is the only post-emergence herbicide available to control glyphosate and PPO-resistant Palmer amaranth and waterhemp. So naturally, we need this herbicide to perform to the best of its ability. There are a few things you can do to enhance the efficacy of your LibertyLink® herbicide program. Below I have outlined the best management practices for post-emergence Liberty applications.



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24

Jun

2016

Agronomy Update

Should You Spray a Fungicide?

Author: Austin Scott

A lot of our early planted corn is already in the reproductive stage, or will be within the next week. A majority of the phone calls I’ve recently received are from farmers asking “should I spray a fungicide?” This is a tricky question. On one hand, you don’t want to throw money at a corn crop when it’s not warranted, but on the other hand you don’t want to lose potential yield by not protecting your crop. So the million-dollar question is, “what should I do?”

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7

Jun

2016

Agronomy Update

Corn Syndromes…Do They Really Cost You Anything?

Author: Austin Scott

As the southernmost agronomist for Beck’s, I’m usually the first one to see which pest(s) will be the worst, and this year is no exception. Although I haven’t seen much disease or insect pressure (up to this point), I have received numerous calls about yellow tops, white spots, or purpling in corn. With that, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to explain some of these “corn syndromes.” 

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6

May

2016

Agronomy Update

To Replant or Not to Replant…

Author: Austin Scott

Deciding when to replant a failed stand of corn can be a difficult decision to make. More often than not, it turns in to an emotional decision rather than a logical one based off of yield potential. Over the last seven years, Beck’s has been conducting studies at our Kentucky Practical Farm Research (PFR)® site to evaluate when exactly it is no longer beneficial for a farmer to replant.

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11

Apr

2016

Agronomy Update

Scout for Rust Today!

Author: Austin Scott

I’ve been out looking at wheat fields and plots this spring I have noticed stripe rust at a couple locations. This disease has already been identified in Kentucky and Tennessee as well as several surrounding states, and it appears to be moving north. 

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4

Apr

2016

Agronomy Update

Burndown Escapes

Author: Austin Scott

The warm weather we’ve been experiencing has given farmers the opportunity to get out and start getting fields ready for planting. I wanted to address some issues I’ve seen this year concerning volunteer wheat and ryegrass escaping burndown applications.

The warm winter we had provided these weeds ample opportunity for growth and as we all know, the bigger the weed the harder it is to control. A common burndown program in the south is Roundup® + dicamba. While this is usually a very good program, it can leave room for survivors to make it through. Dr. Larry Steckel, UT Extension Weed Scientist, wrote an article a few years back describing how dicamba can sometimes antagonize the grass control of glyphosate. This is not always the case, but on bigger, tougher weeds (volunteer wheat and ryegrass) it sometimes shows.

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7

Mar

2016

Agronomy Update

Is Your Planter Ready?

Author: Austin Scott

Low commodity prices have drastically reduced margins this year and the best way to make a profit will be to utilize all of your tools to their fullest potential. That means making sure your planter is ready for the field before its time to plant. I’ve made a list of a few things to check before you pull out of the shop.

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1

Feb

2016

Agronomy Update

Spring Wheat Management

Author: Austin Scott

By now, many farmers are preparing for spring wheat management. In this article, I want to focus primarily on early season insecticide and herbicide applications.

I would first like to point out that all Beck’s wheat comes treated with our Escalate™ yield enhancement system, which has shown a yield increase of 4 to 7 Bu./A. at harvest. This means a lot when managing insects and disease.

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