This weekly Midwest field report from Winfield agronomists highlights several issues for the ongoing harvest, as well as agronomic and input tips to consider for fall and winter:
- Continue to monitor corn fields closely for standability issues, stalk disease and ear mold, harvesting these fields early and dry crops accordingly to avoid issues with moldy grain.
- Grid soil sampling will provide a clearer picture of available nutrients across each field. This helps optimize crop nutrient applications.
- Do soil tests when acquiring new ground or if it has been a few years since current acres have been tested. If you plan to apply fall anhydrous ammonia, protect your investment and the environment with a nitrogen stabilizer.
- Don’t apply nitrogen until the soil temperature has reached 50 degrees and is trending downward.
- With fertilizer prices lower than usual, consider phosphorus and potassium applications. Soybean farmers should spread phosphorus every year because it is extremely important for soybean development. And now is also a good time to apply micronutrients.
- Consider a fall burndown application to manage winter annuals and hard-to-control broadleaves, like glyphosate-resistant waterhemp, kochia, pigweed and marestail. In addition, fall weed control will help provide a clean seedbed that will warm up and dry out quicker next spring, and be less attractive to insect pests.
- Be on the lookout for Palmer amaranth, because this troublesome weed has been found in many Midwest states, and it is spreading rapidly.
- Reflect on your season, identify key challenges and talk to your local agronomist about possible solutions for next year. Develop a data-backed plan for 2017, one that is detailed, but flexible enough to allow for necessary in-season management adjustments.
Check out report details on these eight Midwest states:
October 7, 2016
Grain harvest is getting under way this week in fields across Wisconsin, according to WinField senior regional research manager Jared Archer. Corn plants have died faster than normal over the past few weeks, primarily due to widespread anthracnose, Gibberella, and Fusarium stalk rots, and they are degrading quickly. While there will be exceptional yields to be harvested across the state, Archer is concerned that unusually large ears aren’t supported as well as they should be this time of year.
While recent weather events have been unfavorable for widespread soybean harvest this week, Archer recommends harvesting corn in troubled fields, even if farmers must harvest slightly wetter corn than usual. In this case, getting corn out of pre-scouted troubled fields will help minimize field loss and maximize profits. A predicted weather shift starting this weekend and into next will allow farmers to get back into the field and put a big dent into their grain harvest operations across the state.
Archer also notes overall growers should be very pleased with their yield results where substantial diseases and shortfalls of nitrogen didn’t limit yield. The combines will tell the story on how well we managed the crop this year. But the growers that did in-season applications, like side dressing nitrogen, applying fungicide and micronutrients to keep this high potential crop healthy, will be happy with their results.
October 6, 2016
Corn has reached black layer throughout most of the state, according to WinField agronomist Tyler Steinkamp. In general, soybeans in most fields have dropped leaves and are just about ready for harvest, currently between 9 and 13 percent moisture. Steinkamp notes that stalks may stay green after they become ready to harvest, so farmers should pay attention to other factors when determining harvest order.
Steinkamp has noticed considerable corn standability issues this year, many of which have been caused by excessive heat and humidity after pollination. This heat caused the corn to progress quickly, pulling nutrients from the stalk, which resulted in stalk issues in many fields.
There has been a lot of ear mold in corn across the state, and two specific types have been most common this year: diplodia ear rot and Fusarium. While diplodia can damage grain quality, Fusarium produces micro toxins that can be harmful to livestock, and is therefore most concerning for farmers. Steinkamp recommends scouting for Fusarium when husks are still green and sending any affected grain for testing to make sure it’s safe to feed to animals.
Regarding soybeans, there have been many instance of sudden death syndrome, but not much additional disease pressure.
This fall, Steinkamp encourages farmers to consider plant nutrient applications carefully. Farmers shouldn’t make nitrogen applications until the soil temperature has reached 50 degrees and is trending downward. With fertilizer prices lower than usual, farmers should consider making phosphorus and potassium applications, if they have the opportunity to do so. He advises soybean farmers to spread phosphorus every year because it is extremely important for soybean development. Now is also a good time to apply micronutrients.
October 6, 2016
In central and northern Illinois, 50 to 75 percent of corn has been harvested, while only approximately 40 percent has been harvested in the southern portion of the state, says Sara Smelser, WinField agronomist. When it comes to soybeans, very little has been harvested yet.
Illinois saw a lot of late-season disease, including Fusarium and Gibberella. Wet and hot conditions through August and September in the south resulted in standability issues in heavily diseased fields. Mother Nature was a little kinder in the central and northern parts of the state, where stands were fairly good and the primary concern was diplodia ear disease.
To get off to a good start next year, Smelser recommends that farmers do soil tests when acquiring new ground or if it has been a few years since current acres have been tested. If farmers plan to apply fall anhydrous ammonia (NH3), it’s a good idea to protect investments and the environment with a nitrogen stabilizer, especially in sensitive watershed areas.
Marestail and waterhemp are two of the most problematic weeds in Illinois, with Palmer pigweed also creeping in from the south. These weeds have a wide germination window that extends to late fall. Smelser recommends making a fall burndown application to manage winter annuals and hard-to-control broadleaves, like glyphosate-resistant waterhemp, pigweed and marestail.
October 5, 2016
Across Indiana, more than 80 percent of corn is now mature and more than 80 percent of soybeans have dropped their leaves, says George Watters, WinField agronomist. Both corn and soybeans continue to be rated around 75 percent good to excellent, with southern areas being rated somewhat less at 60 percent. Roughly 20 percent of the corn and 15 percent of the soybeans are now harvested, trailing the five-year average.
Corn is standing fairly well, but wet and humid weather has increased the presence of mold in both stalks and ears. Diplodia ear mold appears to be fairly common in many areas. Watters advises farmers to harvest affected fields early and dry crops appropriately to avoid issues with moldy grain. Though soybean farmers have been relatively pleased with early yields, there have been reports of both lodging and “green stems” in soybean fields.
As crops are harvested this fall, farmers have the opportunity to take several steps to benefit next year’s crop, says Watters. Grid soil sampling will provide a clearer picture of available nutrients across each field. This information is especially crucial in years with low commodity prices and/or high fertilizer costs, helping farmers optimize their crop nutrient applications.
In addition, fall weed control will help provide a clean seedbed that will warm up and dry out quicker next spring, and be less attractive to insect pests. A fall herbicide application also helps reduce selection pressure on herbicide-tolerant weeds and will be critical for the proper management of glyphosate- and ALS-resistant marestail (horseweed) in soybeans.
Outside of some weather-related issues in certain areas, Watters considers poor control of marestail and amaranth species (waterhemp and Palmer) in soybean fields the greatest challenge faced this past growing season. Farmers who were confronted with these weeds will need to plan accordingly and implement appropriate weed management and herbicide programs if they want to successfully control these difficult weeds next year.
October 4, 2016
Harvest is off to a slow start in Ohio due to the variation in planting dates and recent wet weather, reports Joe Rickard, WinField agronomist. According to the USDA, 13 percent of corn and 12 percent of soybean crops in Ohio have been harvested to date.
Some earlier corn hybrids have reached physiological maturity (black layer), with the majority of corn ranging from R5 to R6. Soybeans are between R7 and R8, and farmers have started harvesting some of the earlier maturities of soybeans. As harvest ramps up, Rickard advises farmers to continue monitoring fields closely for standability issues, and prioritize harvest order to prevent yield loss.
Reflecting on the season, Rickard says dry weather, planting issues and weed control were significant challenges for farmers across the state. Plant-to-plant spacing was not ideal in many fields, which concerned farmers all season long. For farmers who faced troublesome weeds like marestail and waterhemp, Rickard advises applying a fall burndown with a layering application next spring to help control weeds in 2017.
To get a jump on the 2017 growing season, Rickard recommends farmers look at past soil tests and consider fall soil sampling to address nutrient issues right away.
October 4, 2016
Harvest has begun in Michigan, with some farmers starting corn harvest while they wait for soybeans to fully mature, reports Allen Pung, WinField master agronomy advisor. Corn ranges from R5 to R6, with many plants at physiological maturity (black layer), while soybeans are between the beginning maturity and full maturity stages, R7 to R8. According to the USDA, 6 percent of corn and 5 percent of soybean crops have been harvested in Michigan to date.
Pung advises farmers to continue checking stalk strength in their corn fields. With excessive heat throughout the summer and drought stress in several areas, stalk strength could become a problem as fall continues, says Pung. In addition, with corn chopping for silage complete, he encourages farmers to harvest corn fields as soon as possible to avoid running into standability issues and weather challenges in late fall.
As harvest continues, Pung encourages farmers to use current practices to help inform plans for 2017. This includes noting what is working well in their operations, asking themselves if they are using all the technology available to make smart decisions, and identifying key challenges. Pung says limited root growth caused by wet and cold weather, weed control, spider mites in soybeans and western bean cutworm in corn were significant challenges for many farmers across the state.
While low commodity prices may prompt farmers to cut costs, Pung reminds farmers to focus on ROI as they make 2017 input decisions. He advises farmers to work closely with their local agronomists to optimize input investments and yield potential.
October 5, 2016
Compared to previous years, harvest got off to a slower start in many areas of South Dakota due to late September rains, reports WinField agronomist Kyle Gustafson. According to the USDA, 39 percent of soybeans and 12 percent of corn have been harvested across the state.
Almost all soybean fields have reached physiological maturity (R8), and farmers have been harvesting soybeans over the past two weeks. Gustafson says some soybeans have green stem syndrome, which means the soybean seeds are physiologically mature but the plant remains green and healthy. This slows harvest because of extra time needed for the combine to process the wetter plant material.
As corn harvest gets underway, Gustafson advises farmers to continue scouting for stalk rot, especially in corn fields with high yield potential, low fertility or a combination of both factors, and prioritize harvest order accordingly. Some corn has been harvested for high moisture, and the majority of corn is at physiological maturity (black layer).
Once harvest winds down, Gustafson encourages farmers to reflect on the season, identify key challenges and talk with their local agronomist about possible solutions for next year. According to Gustafson, controlling weeds, including waterhemp, kochia and marestail, continued to be a top challenge for soybean farmers in 2016. In corn production, wet conditions during planting and dry, hot weather at pollination will have an impact on final yields in South Dakota.
To ensure farmers get a strong start in 2017, Gustafson recommends soil sampling to determine required fertilizer rates and ensure adequate fertility for next year’s crop. Fall herbicide applications should be considered for farmers targeting winter annual weeds such as marestail or dandelions in next year’s soybean crop. Additionally, Gustafson urges farmers to be on the lookout for Palmer amaranth, because this troublesome weed has been found in south-central South Dakota and has the potential to spread across the state.
October 5, 2016
Harvest is underway in Minnesota, with the majority of soybeans and corn coming out over the next couple weeks, reports Matt Mesenbrink, WinField master agronomy advisor. Mesenbrink says 50 to 60 percent of soybeans have been harvested in his area, and soybean yields are better than expected. Corn is currently at 19 to 26 percent moisture.
As harvest continues, Mesenbrink cautions farmers against letting corn stand in the field too long. Farmers should keep scouting for stalk rot and prioritize harvest in fields with standability issues to prevent yield loss, says Mesenbrink. He notes farmers can also use stalk checks to determine how different hybrids perform in certain areas, and then compare their notes to local and national data to help plan for next year. Additionally, fall soil testing can help farmers gain a better understanding of nutrient levels to help define goals for 2017.
Once harvest winds down, Mesenbrink encourages farmers to reflect on key challenges they faced in 2016 and talk with their local agronomist about possible solutions for next year. According to Mesenbrink, weed management, especially related to late-season waterhemp and giant ragweed, was a top challenge for soybean farmers. In corn, nitrogen management was difficult for many farmers, largely due to excessive rain in some areas that either delayed nitrogen and starter fertilizer applications, or caused applied nitrogen to wash away.
Mesenbrink advises farmers to work with their agronomists to develop a data-backed plan for 2017, one that is detailed, but flexible enough to allow for necessary in-season management adjustments.