Soil Health and Cover Crop Field Meetings:

Educational Seminars
Topics covered include:
- Integrating cover crops within conventional farming methods
- Keys to Soil Health
- Cover crop plot and soil pits
- Cover crop species options
Iroquois County SWCD & Leitz Farms
- Dec. 9th from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
- Milford Family Restaurant
    - 107 E Jones Street, Milford, IL 60953
- Weather Permitting, soil pits and a plot tour will be held after the meeting
-Please RSVP by Friday, Dec. 5th to Thad or Donna at the Iroquois SWCD
Read more

Anhydrous Ammonia Effects on Soil Properties

By: John Woerner


Anhydrous ammonia is sometimes portrayed as being "bad for the soil."  A common accusation is that NH3 makes the soil hard or "burns" up the organic matter.  A long-term (10 year) study was conducted in Kansas to determine the effects of various nitrogen sources on several soil properties.  Results from the study showed that there were no significant differences in soil bulk density (a measure of soil compaction) among N sources or between N sources and untreated plots.  This was true whether bulk density

Read more

Field Observations

by: John Woerner

Fungicide makes a difference even in 70 bushel soybeans. Applications of a fungicide plus an insecticide added over 5 bushels to already 70 bushel beans. If you made a fungicide application this year, pay attention to each variety’s response. Some varieties do respond differently.

SDS reared its ugly head in a few fields this year with dramatic affects. Several reports of SDS affecting either entire fields or wide swaths in a field with yields being dragged as low as 35 bpa. Again, pay attention to the varieties being affected and those that weren’t. Also,

Read more

Weekly Scouting Report - September 23, 2014

Hello everyone! For the most part we have finished scouting for 2014. The main issue I’ve seen during this pre-harvest pass is stalk quality. Anthracnose came in late and has done a lot of damage across the region. Nitrogen deficiencies from elevation or nitrogen management are other causes of poor plant health. So again, I must reiterate the importance of keeping an eye on stalk strength and health when making harvest timing decisions.


Another thing I’ve noticed is that moisture from plant to plant can change by 3-4 points. Plants that have

Read more


Thought you were done scouting fields? Generally, as your corn reaches black layer the risks from pests and diseases diminishes dramatically, but not when it comes to stalk rots. I’m sure some of you have noticed fields that have prematurely died. Those are the fields you should take a walk in.

Harvest losses can be avoided by early harvest if stalk rot is detected at a 15-20% level. Fields should be scouted every 7-10 days until harvest or a 20% stalk rot level is observed. Harvest these fields with weakened stalks as soon as it is practical. Yes, it is a difficult

Read more

Weekly Scouting Report - September, 16, 2014


Hello everyone. I hope everyone survived the wet season we witnessed last week. With that said there was not much scouting that went on, but there was a lot of discussion throughout my network about the amount of Anthracnose that is being found in the corn fields. I looked at fields yesterday and saw how it is affecting stalk and general plant health. There may be three out of ten plants that have prematurely died because of the disease. When I pushed plants to check stalk strength, these are the ones that break. With the conditions we are

Read more

Weekly Scouting Report - September 10, 2014

Hello! We are starting our 3rd trip through corn this week. I have noticed two things in the corn I have scouted. One is the presence of ear molds, the other is anthracnose in the upper part of the plant. The yield checks we are very good. Ear consistency is very good with size differences occurring in different soil types. Low areas and low CEC areas are showing nitrogen deficiencies and that’s where I am seeing stalk issues. Below are examples of anthracnose and different ear molds.



Ear Mold


Gibberella ear rot is caused by the

Read more

Let ProHarvest Seeds help you with your 365-day yield strategy.

Read more


Weekly Scouting Report - August 29, 2014

Hello everyone! We scouted corn in the Taylorville, Palmer, and Modesto areas this week. Plant health looked good with or without fungicide. Corn that was sprayed with fungicide had little Gray Leaf Spot above the ear. How will that effect yield is yet to be determined. The average growth stage for the area is ½ to ¾ milk line. According to the charts we have another 1-2 weeks before black layer. Yield estimates are very good.

While scouting soybeans this week, I saw a few insects starting to show, such as Bean Leaf Beetles, Rootworm Beetles,

Read more

Weekly Scouting Report - August 12, 2014


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

Read more

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,

Read more

Weekly Scouting Report - July 31, 2014

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:


Kernel Blister Stage (Growth Stage R2)


Read more

Weekly Scouting Report - July 22, 2014

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.

Read more


Fungicide: Timing is Everything


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

Read more

Weekly Scouting Update - July 15, 2014

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

Read more

Weekly Scouting Update

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


  • Lesions first appear as small, necrotic spots with halos
  • The lesions become rectangular, 2-4 mm to 1-6 mm in size and have a gray appearance
  • Mature lesions have distinct parallel edges and appear opaque when put up to the light



Read more

Weekly Scouting Report - July 1, 2014


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.







Read more

Weekly Scouting Report - June 23, 2014


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.







Read more

Scouting Report - June 19, 2014

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

Read more



Week of June 9 Scouting Report

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

Read more


ProHarvest: Weekly Scouting Report

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

Read more

Seedling Diseases

b2ap3_thumbnail_159.jpg 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.




b2ap3_thumbnail_162.jpgPhytopthora; The symptoms of Phytophthora damping-off are very similar to those of Pythium

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

As we are in full harvest mode in the Midwest, I am amazed at the yields that are coming out of these fields with so little rain late in the season.  I truly believe the reason for the better than expected yields this year is outstanding genetics.  Each year our genetic advancement improves quantitatively.  Better traits and treatments are extremely important but the factor that trumps everything is genetics. 

This thought was verified when I was talking to my good friend, Dave Mowers, consulting agronomist for AIM for the Heartland, Inc.   I asked him what are

Read more
December 03


ProHarvest Seeds’ Announcement


Sign Up to our Newsletter