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The Cropwalker - Volume 1 Issue 11

Always read and follow label directions.


Crop Insurance Has Released Corn for Destruction

Last week Agricorp released corn to be destroyed. Last time this was on a grand scale was fall of 1992, when wet corn and poor prices meant corn was not worth harvesting. The odd load was taken to the elevator where the grower had to pay the elevator. The drying and handling charges were higher than the price of corn. We learnt a bunch that year. We learnt that conservation tillage allowed more corn to grow the following year, than if the ground was mouldboard ploughed. For growers who did not have crop insurance, they just went in and no-tilled soybeans in the spring. There was volunteer corn, but it was controlled with a graminicide. Other than cobs in the beans at harvest, there was no problem doing this. If you do some type of conservation tillage, then count on at least two passes of Assure next year to control volunteer corn.

Coffee Shop Talk on Strobis Making DON Worse

Lots of coffee shop talk that if you used a strobilurin fungicide, DON was worse. This is only coffee shop talk. I have asked researches in Ontario, checked research from the US, and can find lots of research that says that strobilurins do not increase DON. Typically, fungicides reduce DON by about 50%. But if untreated is 20 ppm, a 50% reduction is not much good. That is not to say that it will never happen but currently there is no research to show that using a fungicide on corn increases DON levels.

It is DON, not Vomi

Just had a message from former OMAFRA staff, Peter Johnson. He suggested, and I agree that the term DON should be used, not vomi. Sounds much better.

Tillage for Clay

Spoke with Jeff Barlow, who farms very heavy Haldimand clay. He was trying to plant corn after wheat and red clover, and not use a mouldboard plough. Has not been able to do it. He says that there are some tricks to ploughing. 1) Speak to a ploughing match judge to set up your plough. 2)Go as shallow as possible. He has an adjustable plough set at 14”. This allows him to plough at 6-7”. 3)You need coulters on every furrow. In the spring he uses 2 passes with an s-tine cultivator. The shanks vibrate. There are 5 rows on 20” spacings with 2” feet. For soybeans he no-tills into the corn stalks. He now likes his drill better than his planter since he can put more down pressure on the drill than he can on the wings of his planter.

Value of Compost

Just heard from a reader who is applying city generated waste compost to his field. His average yield increase with compost is 3 bushels for soybeans, 6 for soft red wheat and 4 for corn. Except this year the corn had a 24 bushel per ace increase over the check. Probably this year the compost held moisture at a critical time in July.

How Do I Control Annual Grass Weeds in New Alfalfa Seedlings

One reader asked. The best way is to use a cover crop. Annual grass weeds do not germinate as early as alfalfa. If you plant a cover crop with your new seeding it will it will out compete weeds like foxtail. Putting peas in will help even more. Catch is you have to cut early. Have to cut when oats are in the boot stage. Protein should be 18-20% depending on how you harvest it and then you will get one or two more cuts the same year. Other option is to seed alfalfa direct, spray off the first flush of grassy weeds and then seed your grass. This is not as good an option as a cover crop.

Why not Deep Ripping When Soil is Wet?

I see on Twitter some deep ripping going on now. Not a good idea. Unless you are on sand the deep shanks will smear soil and prevent good root development in the future. Deep ripping should only be done when the soil is dry.

Corn Hybrid Selection – What do Various Terms Mean?

Too much talk on DON and which hybrid is more susceptible. It doesn’t happen every year. What about the rest of the considerations in the seed guide?

Crop Heat Units – Likely the best known, defines the length of growth season available in heat units. Based upon day time and night time, minimum and maximum temperatures. This system, which started in 1964 as Corn Heat Units, has expanded for use in other regions and crops (i.e. soybeans).

Relative Maturity – each seed company has their own definition, used as a guide to compare hybrids within a company’s line up using calendar days. Best to compare black layer, rather than types of relative maturity (i.e. silking).

Flex vs Determinate- refers to how the corn cob is affected by environmental conditions; Flex ears can have a change in kernel number (both rows and length), but typically less influenced by kernel size. Determinate ears have a relatively stable number of kernels but are more influenced by kernel size. One seed agronomist commented he likes to put flex plants on sand/hills, and determinate on the best areas, so that he can push populations on the best ground.

Lodging/stalk strength – should be or is divided into a couple of ratings. Greensnap – essential stalk snap due to high winds. Root strength for root lodging. Typically stalk lodging is due to the big three stalk rots, which have ratings as well.

Herbicide Traits – A large percentage of corn hybrids have the Roundup Ready trait. Those with Herculex (SmartStax) will also have the Liberty Trait. Can I spray Liberty on my Smartstax? In most cases likely not, mainly because the refuge likely has only the RR trait. If you do, you will take out the refuge.

Insect Traits – There are essentially two types of traits on the market, but multiple modes of action. Above ground traits, for stalk rots and ear pests, and below ground traits, for root feeding. There is a difference in above ground traits, as those with Viptera are the only hybrids on the market that provide protection for Western Bean Cutworm. Understand what trait package you are purchasing. Interesting in understanding more? See the link for a summary of the traits and what they control.

Bt Corn Trait Table - Extension Entomology, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Herbicide Sensitivity – Seed suppliers screen hybrids for sensitivity to group 4s (dicamba) and Sulfonylurea (Elim/Ultim) herbicides. This is important to note in areas with glyphosate resistant weeds where they would like to use dicamba in-crop as a rescue treatments. If a hybrid does have sensitivity, make note of it when planning your in-crop herbicide program.

Test weight – In my opinion, growers have not been paying as much attention to TW. A disaster waiting to happen is a long day corn planted with a low test weight. Doing this is a good way of getting sample grade corn in a backwards year.

Stay green – Can be critical for late-season plant health scenarios (i.e. silage, high yield environments or over wintering corn)

Emergence – an agronomy rating for how it comes out of the ground.

Seedling Vigour – an agronomy rating for early season stress tolerance.

There are many more ratings, ask about them, before placing your order for 2019.

Low Yield 2018 Beans – Possible Causes

Not all fields had above average soybean yields. Some growers have reported specific fields that had below expected yields. A few are asking for possible explanations. It’s tough to diagnose the exact cause with the crop in the bin, but here are a few of the most probable ones.

White Mould – Fields with a history of high fertility (especially manure applications), low air movement and full canopy are at the highest risk of white mould. Not every fungicide controls white mould.

Soybean Cyst Nematode/Sudden Death Complex – While they can be found on their own, there is a synergy between the two pests. Lambton County Agronomist, Ryan Benjamins, has reported he has seen a bigger response to variety than seed treatment for 2018. Continue using variety selection first, with seed treatments as part of the package. In severe situations, consider switching to another crop for a few years.

Pod and Stem Blight/Phomopsis – At least one seed supplier has commented this disease should be on the radar for 2019. They reported significant differences in variety tolerance. Not all seed suppliers report this disease, so check with your dealer on tolerance. Yield losses can be up to 30 bu/ac based upon Quebec data.

Compaction – Like any other crop, soybeans are susceptible to compaction. Take the time to use a probe or shovel to check for compaction layers limiting root growth.

Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline. - Jocko Willink