I scouted corn fields near Hoopeston this week that were planted the end of April. The corn was in the late dough stage, not too far from denting. More corn leaf aphids are showing up, but they shouldn’t be a problem in corn with adequate moisture after pollination.
I have received a few calls about whether corn is firing from lack of nitrogen or is it just going through its normal maturity stages. Some questions I ask are: when was the nitrogen applied, how much rain have you received, what soil type and what stage is the corn in? These are all reasons a plant may start firing prematurely. I believe the future will hold better ways of monitoring N loss and applying before a problem may arise.
In a year with normal rainfall, leaf death should occur when the corn plant reaches black layer or physiological maturity. Bottom leaves should begin to die first and then progress towards the upper portion of the corn plant as maturity is reached. N deficiency is a typical, naturally occurring event late in the season. Corn with a dense canopy blocks the sunlight from the lower leaves and they cannot photosynthesize.
The plant shuts these leaves down and uses the nutrients they would use elsewhere. If firing happens too early though, and reaches above the ear leaf, tip back could occur. Also stalk quality could become an issue because of cannibalization.
Weekly Scouting Report - August 4, 2014
I scouted corn fields in the Streator area this week. Disease pressure has increased slightly in the past two weeks. I could see differences by hybrid at this point. Gray Leaf Spot and Common Rust are the two main diseases that I’ve found, with Northern Leaf Blight spotted occasionally. Corn leaf aphids were the most prevalent pest I found. I did see a few rootworm beetles and Japanese beetles. Below are some pictures I took of corn leaf aphids and an explanation of what this pest can do to corn.
The corn leaf aphid is a blue-green or gray, soft-bodied, spherical insect about the size of a pinhead [1/16 inch (1.6 mm) in length]. It has approximately 9 generations per year. Female corn leaf aphids do not lay eggs, as do most other insects, but give birth to living young. These young, called nymphs, resemble the adults except that they are smaller and are sexually immature. Adults and nymphs can often be found clustered within the whorls or upper parts of corn plants over isolated or wide areas of a field.
Most corn leaf aphids are wingless. However, as populations increase, some develop delicate, filmy wings. These wings enable them to fly to uninfested plants to start new colonies.
Like other insects, aphids shed their skin as they grow. These numerous white to gray discarded skins give the appearance of a white mold or ash on leaf surfaces. Aphids also secrete a sticky, sugary substance, known as honeydew (excrement).
Corn leaf aphids do not generally appear until mid-June or early July. Since they are not cold hardy, they migrate each year into the mid and upper Midwest from southern areas of the USA. It is feasible that some overwinter in the lower Midwest.
Heavily infested corn leaves may wilt, curl, and show yellow patches of discoloration. When tassels and silks are covered with honeydew, the pollination process may be disrupted. Also, excessive aphid feeding within the whorl prior to tassel emergence appears to be directly related to incomplete kernel development and/or barren ears.
I scouted corn in Iroquois and Kankakee County this week and I didn’t see anything that caused concern. Insect numbers and disease pressures are low. Most applications of fungicide have been sprayed. Some fields are showing signs of nitrogen loss.
This week I decided to exhibit the R2 – R5 growth stages. I think this is important because I’ve been asked numerous times about what could go wrong this late in the season. The vulnerability of this crop lowers as it moves through these four stages:
About 10 to 14 days after silking, the developing kernels are whitish "blisters" on the cob and contain abundant clear fluid. The ear silks are mostly brown and drying rapidly. Some starch is beginning to accumulate in the endosperm. Severe stress can easily abort kernels at pre-blister and blister stages. Kernel moisture content is approximately 85 percent.
About 18 to 22 days after silking, the kernels are mostly yellow and contain "milky" white fluid. The milk stage of development is the infamous "roasting ear" stage, that stage where you will find die-hard corn aficionados standing out in their field nibbling on these delectable morsels. Starch continues to accumulate in the endosperm. Endosperm cell division is nearly complete and continued growth is mostly due to cell expansion and starch accumulation. Severe stress can still abort kernels, although not as easily as at the blister stage. Kernel moisture content is approximately 80 percent.
About 24 to 28 days after silking, the kernel's milky inner fluid is changing to a "doughy" consistency as starch accumulation continues in the endosperm. The shelled cob is now light red or pink. The kernels have reached about 50 percent of their mature dry weight. Kernel moisture content is approximately 70 percent by R4. Kernel abortion is much less likely to occur once kernels have reached early dough stage, but severe stress can continue to affect eventual yield by reducing kernel weight.
About 35 to 42 days after silking, all or nearly all of the kernels are denting near their crowns. Kernel moisture content at the beginning of the dent stage is approximately 55 percent.
A distinct horizontal line appears near the dent end of the kernel and slowly progresses to the tip end of the kernel over the next 3 weeks or so. This line is called the "milk line" and marks the boundary between the liquid (milky) and solid (starchy) areas of the maturing kernels.
Severe stress can continue to limit kernel dry weight accumulation between the dent stage and physiological maturity. Estimated yield loss due to total plant death at full dent is about 40%, while total plant death at half-milk line would decrease yield by about 12%
I scouted soybeans this week and found bean leaf beetles. They are a quick little insect and very hard to find. As soon as they sense your presence, they fall to the ground. I entered the fields and immediately noticed leaf feeding. The feeding reminds me of what a shot gun blast would look like, having numerous small holes. I found many of them in the upper most node, feeding on the new growth. They like cooler weather and this cooler weather has them out more during the day. Late morning or early evening are normally the best time to find them. Economic threshold in the reproductive stage of the soybean (R1-R6) is 2-3 bean leaf beetles per plant. Insecticide application should be applied when beetles reach this level.
Adult bean leaf beetles are small insects about 1/5 inch in length. They often have four, large, quadrangular, black markings on the wing covers and a black or brown head. Occasionally these four rectangular marks are reduced to two, or they may be completely absent. The most constant identifying character for this beetle is the presence of a black triangle behind the neck. They come in a wide array of colors.
Direct injury results from bean leaf beetles feeding on soybean pods. This direct injury occurs an average rate of about two tenths of a pod per day. Bean leaf beetles also cause yield loss through injury by the transmission of bean pod mottle virus or by the secondary invasion of fungi.
by: John Woerner
Fungicides prevent infections better than they cure infection. If spores land on a plant that has already been treated, they will be killed as they start to infect. If a plant is treated after infections are about more than 3 days old, these infections will continue to develop into lesions. Effective disease control requires that the plant be treated just as the disease is becoming established.
I base my treatment threshold on proximity to the ear leaf. From the ear leaf up is the area of the plant I want to protect. Yes, the fungicides that are available today do better just preventing versus curing, but these fungicides do have both capabilities. In reality, the corn plant can survive just fine with some lesions on the bottom portion of the plant. Therefore, I can cure that are below the ear leaf and then prevent disease from developing above the ear leaf with the proper timing of a fungicide.
What should you keep in mind. Is the hybrid susceptible to one or more leaf diseases, are leaf diseases currently present, are you following a corn crop, and does the field have a high yield potential. Also, consider the pollination success. If the hybrid has pollinated successfully out to the tip of the ear, your goal should be to protect as much as the leaf area as possible. To reduce the risk of kernel abortion, help the plant retain as much leaf surface area as possible. More leaf area equals more photosynthesis, more photosynthesis equals more sugar generated in the plant, more sugar equals more carbohydrates which equals better kernel fill.
How late can I spray?
Spraying after R2 (blister) reduces the chance for the best economic return. This does not mean that a fungicide cannot be sprayed past R2. Some fungicides are labeled up to within 14 days of harvest. However, the potential for a yield increase reduces dramatically.
Other benefits can include; enhancing crop yields even without the presence of any significant leaf disease. These chemicals have a direct effect on the physiology of the plant, promoting plant health and yield. However, this needs to be further researched. Please treat in regard to the prevention or treatment of disease.
I scouted in the Hoopeston and Streator areas last week. I found light Gray Leaf Spot and a trace amount of Rust. I did not see anything that concerned me at this time. I saw very little insect action. The Streator area had a lot of goose-necked corn from saturated soils and wind, apart from that, crops look very good. Heavy rains hit many areas this weekend and I’ve seen plants affected by the lack of oxygen in the soil. With dry weather, crops should improve quickly. I have seen some nutrient deficiencies showing up in wet areas. The pictures below explain three of the most common deficiencies.
Plants are pale green to yellow with chlorosis beginning on lower leaves and progressing upwards as the deficiency intensifies; plants have spindly stalks and growth is slow.
Phosphorus deficient plants may remain darker green than normal plants and develop purple discoloration first on the underside and later throughout. Plants grow slowly, stalks are thin and shortened, and maturity is delayed.
Potassium deficiency appears first as yellowing on the tips of lower leaves and progresses along the outer leaf margins as yellow, light tan, and then brown discoloration. The inner part of the leaf blade near the midrib usually remains green. Chlorotic areas may develop throughout the leaf. Stalks of deficient plants are weak and tend to lodge. The ears are chaffy and unfilled.
The diseases shown on this page are what I consider the main three major leaf diseases. I have been scouting in the Taylorville, Modesta, Atlanta, and Streator areas and have not seen anything that concerns me at this time, however, circumstances can change quickly. Please keep an eye on your crops.
Gray Leaf Spot
Northern Leaf Blight
This is what I saw most of last week. I also started to see the long term effects of water saturation in corn fields. The results are yellowing corn and stunted plants.
The excessive water in most areas has caused much of the nitrogen to be leached out of the soil.
Nitrogen and fungicide management will be important tools this growing season.
Saturday night’s storm that hit Iroquois County left a path of destruction unlike any I have ever seen.
If you were anywhere near a storm in the last week, you should check your corn fields for green snap or hail damage. Corn is growing very fast and is extremely brittle.
I saw the first signs of leaf disease this week, including holcus leaf spot and rust. I did not see anything that worried me, but it should be something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks when decisions are being made about applying fungicide.
I was down in the Taylorville, Illinois, area this week and I saw a lot of leaf feeding from nymph size grasshoppers.
I also saw areas of what I believe are corn borer feeding on refuge plants. I could not find any of the culprits. The corn crop is progressing very well and as of today most of the areas that I scout are in good condition. The areas of excessive moisture are slowly improving.
St. Anne, Illinois
Weed pressure is gaining momentum. Growing conditions are perfect with the rain and warm weather. While these conditions allow the corn and soybeans to grow, so do the weeds.
I would suggest making a loop through your fields a week or so after spraying. This is a waterhemp weed that was sprayed a week ago with glyphosate and shows no signs of being affected. Also, in past years, I’ve seen extremely heavy weed pressured areas produce escapes because the larger plants provide a protective canopy for the smaller plants beneath them. Don’t be surprised in the combine.
Continue to be vigilant in your surveillance for insect pests. I have not seen anything that caused alarm, but that doesn’t mean it cannot happen. A dead or wilted plant standing in the row is evidence of cut worm.
WEEKLY GROWING DEGREE DAYS & RAIN FALL:
Taylorville: 563 GDD; 1.69” rain in the last 7 days
Atlanta: 413 GDD; 1.33” rain in the last 7 days
Hoopeston: 322 GDD; 1.86” rain in the last 7 days
Streator: 419 GDD; 1.13” rain in the last 7 days
Kankakee: 308 GDD; 1.05” rain in the last 7 days
My first week of scouting was in the Crescent City, Hoopeston, Ashkum and St. Anne areas. I looked at corn that had been planted around the 3rd week of April. I started on Tuesday morning and found plants that were damaged and yellowed. By Wednesday evening, good color had returned and everything was improving quickly.
Many people were questioning whether to replant or how much to replant. However, plant populations were very good. Target populations were being reached, except in areas where there had been excess standing water.
I saw something this week that I have never seen before. The majority of the field I was in was at the two leaf corn stage. There are a lot of sand areas in this field and it first appeared that excess water had snuffed out a lot of corn plants. Investigating further, I discovered viable seeds just starting to sprout. I concluded the sand had stayed cooler than the darker dirt and the seeds just had not germinated yet.
I have not seen any insect issues. Morning glories seem to be a common theme in the fields I’ve looked at. Many of the pre-plant chemicals seem to be working on the Morning glories, but they are a tough weed and we will see. See you soon.
GROWING DEGREE DAYS
Taylorville-Atlanta 356 GDD
Ashkum-Piper City-Hoopeston-Milford-Covington, In 242 GDD
Streator 320 GDD
Kankakee 236 GDD
Pythium; Damping-off is the first seedling disease to occur in a growing season because this fungus prefers cold soil temperatures. Dead seedlings may be visible on the ground with infected plants killed before the first true leaf stage. Plants often have a rotted appearance. Leaves of infected seedlings are initially gray-green and then turn brown. A few days later, the plants die. Diseased plants are easily pulled from the soil because of rotted roots.
Phytopthora; The symptoms of Phytophthora damping-off are very similar to those of Pythium damping-off. However, the Phytophthora fungus prefers warm soil (approximately 80°F). If symptoms similar to those caused by Pythium occur when soil temperatures are warm or in late-planted soybean, the disease is more likely caused by Phytophthora. Another way to determine the causal fungus is to check for stem rot. In June or early July, if weather is favorable, Phytophthora infection may continue to develop on the soybean stem, resulting in chocolate brown discoloration from the soil line up, a unique symptom of this disease.
Rhizoctonia root rot; Similar to Phytophthora damping-off, seedling blight by Rhizoctonia normally appears when the weather becomes warm. However, disease caused by Rhizoctonia exhibits different symptoms from those caused by Pythium and Phytophthora. Stem discoloration by Rhizoctonia is usually limited to the cortical layer of the main root and hypocotyl. Infected stems remain firm and dry without rot appearance typical to Pythium or Phytophthora rot. Typical symptoms are localized brown-to-reddish brown lesions on the hypocotyl at the soil line.
Seed Spacing, Depth, and Planter Speed
|John Woener, Consulting Agronomist|
Location, location, location may be the number one priority when purchasing real estate, but location, location, location could also be a farmers number one priority when the planter rolls. Seed location or depth is at the top of the list in planter performance.
With high population it is imperative to maintain and adjust machinery so seed spacing is even and depth control is consistent. Planter performance is the most fundamental factor in determining what awaits the combine. You have one chance to get it right.
What's the goal? You want a plant spacing variability of less than 25% and all plants emerged within 48 hours of each other. The uniformity of emergence impacts yield in good years and bad, in dry years and wet years. Plant spacing is also important in good and bad years, but tends to play a larger role for farmers who are planting at their optimum population or in stressful growing conditions.
Late emerging plants arrive only in time to sabotage yield. Seeds need to germinate within 48 hours of each other and emerge together. Factors that affect emergence: uniform plant depth, seed to soil contact, uniform moisture around the seed, and soil temperatures. The single biggest factor is uniform planting depth. If you are scouting a field that has uneven emergence, dig several plants that have emerged and several plants that have not or just beginning to. Measure and compare the length of the mesocotyl. The difference in length correlates directly to the difference in planting depth. If the mesocotyls are the same length, then the difference in emergence is likely cold soil temperatures.
When the farmer plants shallow, the nodal roots form close to the soil surface where the environment can be fairly hostile. Dry soil, compacted soil, and soil-applied herbicides can all stress the young developing roots and the corn plant they support. Planters should be set to place seed at 1 3/4 to 2 inches deep.
Several emergence test results were published over the winter, and in each test corn that was planted at least two inches deep emerged more uniformly and yielded more than the shallower planted corn. I have planted corn over 3.5 inches deep and have seen corn planted that deep emerge fine. That's not my goal though. The point is that today's hybrids have the ability and the vigor to emerge from deeper planting depths. If you find yourself going to the field contemplating the depth to plant at, choose deeper.
All planters are designed to operate at a certain speed, usually between 5 and 6 mph. Well, that is, up until this year. Until proven otherwise, 5.5 to 5.8 mph is the ideal planting speed. At that speed, when the seed leaves the seed tube, the seed will not have forward momentum. If the seed has forward momentum, it will have the tendency to tumble in the seed trench causing poor spacing and /or uneven depth. In my experience, slowing the planter down has been the number on factor in improving his stand of corn.
Cover Crops: Investing in your Soil
I was recently asked to speak at the National Conference on Cover Crops & Soil Health in Omaha, Nebraska, on the importance of cover crops and how you can utilize government funding to make smart choices in soil management. Here at ProHarvest, we encourage farmers to use the same approach on cover crops that are used when buying seed for corn, soybean, or other high-value crops. We want to be the dealer that helps you make choices about cover crops and here’s why:
The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and encourage conservation planning. In order to be eligible for these grants, farmers must invest in cover crops that meet a minimum requirement—and ProHarvest offers the quality product needed to not only meet those requirements but also increase germination rates and cash crop yields. We’ve found the lower quality seed does not have the proper amount of pure, live seed and can often times contain multiple lots in one bag and be harder to kill. A proper cover crop seed should suppress weeds, produce nutrients, control erosion, reduce compaction, aerate, manage microbial activity, and improve water infiltration. Our cover crops have the quality that allows you to use less, thus saving you money in the long run. You wouldn’t put lesser quality seeds in your field to grow corn and soybeans, so why would you buy a lesser quality seed to plant cover crops?
ProHarvest wants to be your cover crop expert. We are here to assist you in the education, research, and purchase of cover crop seeds. We can answer your questions and help write a soil management plans to meet the unique needs of your farmland. We take pride in our product, and that’s why we make cover crops an integral part of our business.
Harvest is slowly getting started! Early results of ProHarvest products have been great, with reports of 3066CR2Y soybeans "the best beans I have ever raised", as well as strong reports on 8023StaxRIB corn. Early test plots are confirming the performance of 8330 and 8388 as well.
It appears that harvest speed will increase quickly next week. At ProHarvest, we do ask that you take some time and make sure this is a safe harvest for all!
At ProHarvest, we are extremely excited about our new releases for 2014. We have just completed 3 major field nights in Illinois, showcasing our plots in Ashkum, Hoopeston and Streator. These plots have different growing conditions and soil types. This on-farm research, along with many other research locations, verifies the products that are in our line-up. With data from our own fields, we are making decisions based on hands-on observations. With the release of many new products, we are providing you with a complete package of seed. Our research is verified and statistically assessed to give accurate information.
Using data from many plots and research locations, we can then recommend the correct placement of our varieties on your farm. Our Seed Specialists spend time with you to learn your soil types, your practices and your preferences. This information, along with production decisions including fungicides, insecticides, seed treatments, the previous year’s crop and plant populations, helps you to maximize profit and reduce risk.
Our ongoing research of cover crops is verifying increased yield in both corn and soybeans, due to better soil health. Trials vary but our goal is to help each farmer maximize the potential benefits of cover crops.
The most important personalized service we can give our customer is placing the correct variety on each different soil type and farming practice. With our new Genuity ®SmartStax Complete™ hybrids of 6101, 6444, 6990, 8110, 8220 and 8301, ProHarvest offers a more complete line-up of StaxRIB products than most companies. Our new Genuity® Roundup 2 Yield® soybean varieties of 2271C, 2871C, 2971C, 3666C, 3835C and 3971C, provides our farmers deep product availability.
As we continue to go through this growing season, our promise to you is to provide accurate information about all our products. Our Seed Specialists are committed to your successful harvest.
This week our Seed Specialist, Jay Whalen from Streator, Illinois, sent me a picture from his area. He has been spending a lot of time in his customers’ fields and has noticed a trend. The Genuity StaxRIB hybrids have been showing the least amount of ear feeding and in some fields the difference is significant. Leitz Consulting is evaluating the situation and is helping Jay decide if the fields that are not planted with StaxRIB should be aerial spayed with insecticide. As this picture circulated between our different sales territories, it is becoming obvious that most Seed Specialists are experiencing the same results.
Ryan Bell from Covington, Indiana says "We are selling the best traits available". For the 2014 growing season, ProHarvest will offer 12 Genuity ®SmartStax Complete™ hybrids. We are excited about these many offerings.
At ProHarvest Seeds, we take great pride in selecting many different genetic and trait platforms for your farms. Our promise to our customers is to utilize the best combination of genetics, traits and treatments for your successful harvest. We work diligently to research and test all the seed that we provide to you. This year our customers are telling us that they want more options for refuge in a bag, therefore; in 2014, ProHarvest Seeds will be offering 12 elite hybrids with the 5% refuge in the bag. All StaxRIB hybrids will be treated with Votivo 500. This will give you more convenience at planting time. The 6 new StaxRIB hybrids, ranging in maturity from 101-113 days, will make us an industry leader. So, from NonGMO to StaxRIB hybrids, our 23 different combinations of hybrids will give you a successful harvest.
ProHarvest Seeds 13 varieties of R2Y, 3 Liberty and 4 NonGMO selections of soybeans will give you the greatest choice of soybean seed for your area. These products will be protected with our new proTect Seed Treatment System. In the near future, you will have the opportunity to see all our products at a field day near you. Just remember, Your Harvest IS Our Focus!
Each year we face different challenges during the planting season. I have experienced many different times when farmers just want to change their plans because of some unexpected situation. My advice is to follow your plan. You have spent months developing your plan for each field.
For example, if you have prepared your plan to use fungicide on corn and soybeans, you should not move away from that plan even though you may have planted later than expected. If you have planned an application, don’t cancel using the products, just adjust the timing of the application. Over the years, when challenges arise it is easy to become discouraged, but as my father, Ralph, always told me, "Never give up on a crop". Keep your goals high and don’t let coffee shop talk discourage you. Corn and soybeans have an incredible ability to compensate. Some of my best yields have not had good starts.
Stay confident, execute your cropping plan and expect the best from your fields.
This is shaping up to be one of those planting seasons that we will be talking about for years to come! Hopefully, weather patterns will cooperate throughout the rest of the season and we will be fine. I recall talking to an old-timer last year about this time and the dry weather that was approaching and the planting challenges we were facing. He comment was this – "I remember a year when I started farming that was similar to this in early summer. I don’t remember how it turned out, but I’m still here!"
In the midst of the busy planting and replanting, we have also been working on ways that we can serve you better in the future, selecting new products, improving our communications with you, adding consulting agronomists, and much more.
We look forward to serving you in the future and wish you a safe summer.
The Evergraze white clover is a high yielding, easy to establish ladino white clover. This variety works great in close grazing situations and is very persistant even in dry climates. Click here for Evergraze tech sheet. White clover is seeded at approximately 4 to 6 pounds per acre.
PGI 33 is a high yielding, 3 year red clover. Developed for the Midwest, PGI 33 competes well against most grasses making it an excellent choice for haying and pasture. Click here for the PGI 33 tech sheet. Red clover is seeded at approximately 8 to 10 pounds per acre.
Freedom Red Clover is an excellent companion in all grass pastures as well as hay fields. Freedom Red has reduced stem pubescence and large leaves that make it ideal for hay production. Click here for the Freedom Red Clover tech sheet. Red clover is seeded at approximately 8 to 10 pounds per acre.
To increase diversity, a per acre mix of 2 pounds white clover and 5 pounds of your favorite red clover is a great option for maximizing production.
We have updated our website! Head over and check it out!
If you have questions or would like to place an order, please contact your local dealer by using our dealer locator at the top of the page or call me at our Ashkum, Illinois location using our toll free number.
We look forward to hearing from you!