The only way to eliminate yield-robbing pathogens like Phytophthora and white mold from the soil is a 15-year soybean rotation, but it’s obviously not practical. Fortunately, recent soybean-genome sequencing has accelerated finding resistance within the plant itself.
Ken DeSmith is a believer in higher corn plant populations, but that wasn’t always the case. The Atkinson, Ill., grower was skeptical when corn plant populations started steadily creeping upward a decade or more ago.
The search is on for a super line of corn that powers more yield with less nitrogen. It’s been more than 10 years in the making, but researchers have identified nine genes in corn important for nitrogen-use efficiency. These “NitroGenes” have been shown to impact traits such as stover nitrogen content, grain nitrogen concentration and kernel number.
Herbicide-resistant marestail and waterhemp have caused Illinois grower Trent Funk to work the ground during his three-year rotation of soybeans, corn and wheat. Historically, weed control was a key reason for tillage, but that justification hasn’t existed for quite a while due to herbicide effectiveness, says University of Illinois professor of crop sciences Emerson Nafziger. However, it’s coming back, at least in some areas.
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