Fungicide seed treatments protect seedlings from both seed-borne pathogens as well as soil-borne pathogens, says Emmanuel Byamukama, SDSU Extension Plant Pathologist. "Seed-borne pathogens can be those inhabiting the seed surface or those in the interior of the seed. Soil-borne pathogens survive in the soil and when they get in contact with the seed or seedling and the conditions are conducive, the infection process is initiated," he says....More
Mistakes made during crop establishment are usually irreversible, and can put a ceiling on a crop's yield potential before the corn plants have even emerged. The following are some proven practices that will help get a corn crop off to a good start....More
The residue cover in no-till fields is essential when it comes to conserving water. The residue protects the soil surface, reducing crusting and soil moisture evaporation. When it comes to no-till planting, the key is to minimize the soil and residue disturbance....More
There are concerns with possible bee kills from the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments when planting corn. The neonicotinoids, when applied to the seed, get mixed with the talc that is used to allow seeds to flow more easily in the planters, and then the insecticides plus talc enter the environment during planting or when the seed boxes are cleaned. This “dust” can settle on flowering plants and weeds that bees will use for forage, or perhaps contact the bees or nearby hives directly resulting in bee mortality....More
As would be expected with increasing fuel costs, average 2013 custom rates for farm work have a1so increased, compared to 2012 custom rates. Most custom rates for farm work in 2013 are 3-5% above the rates for similar operations in 2012, with an average increase of about 4%....More
Many planters allow seed depth to be adjusted 3-4 in. Actual depth should be checked, however, to ensure penetration of seed openers and accurate seed placement. Row cleaners may be used as an aid for deeper planting, but subsequent rainfall can create soil sealing or erosion. Greater down pressure than normal may aid seed-to-soil contact....More
GM hybrids aren't the only "elite" germplasm. G2 Genetics' 3-H-399 AgrisureRW hybrid, with a full complement of GM (genetically modified) traits, captured headlines with a record 309.5 bu./acre yield in the North Dakota University (NDSU) irrigated corn trials. However, the conventional hybrid runner up may suggest an even bigger story....More
I am cutting straight to the facts today. We have a couple big reports coming up, and I wanted to throw my hat in the ring and call a few shots to help you get in the game and better your operation....More
When it comes to planting corn, how deep is deep enough and how shallow is too shallow? In a planting depth demonstration, DuPont Pioneer agronomy researchers evaluated how corn development is affected when planted at different depths. The results confirmed optimal planting depth in the Midwest is typically 1½-2 in....More
One pass seeds cover crops, sidedresses the corn crop and sprays weeds, at least in State College, Pa. Penn State’s cover crop experimental interseeder potentially increases profits by $100/acre in corn yields, reduced N requirements and glyphosate applications costs.
As a follow-up to my recent column, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments from attorneys for farmer Vernon Bowman, Monsanto and the Department of Justice on Feb. 19. Read the transcript (pdf)....More
A new source of yield worries in 2013: Seed availability and quality. Seed company representatives say the 2012 seed crops turned out better than expected during the growing season and overall supplies should be adequate. However, some agronomists say there could be shortages of some high-demand corn varieties. In addition, the germination standard in some lots could be in the 80% range and flat seed may be in shorter supply while rounds are more plentiful....More
You are paying $4 for 1,000 kernels of seed corn, and with great precision, bury them, kernel by kernel, bag after bag after bag. The late Paul Harvey would define that as optimism. But if you are burying that seed in dry soil, should you plant at a higher or lower population than usual? And what about maturity; should it be earlier or later than normal? Your seed corn bill will have at least five digits, and six digits for many larger farms, and by spending that much money, your decision has to reflect more science than optimism....More
Unless you've been under a rock, you've likely seen - or at the very least, heard about - the Dodge Ram advertisement heralding farmers during Sunday night's Super Bowl.
It featured a powerful and nostalgic reading of the poem, "So God Made a Farmer," as delivered by Paul Harvey to the 1978 FFA Convention....More
Total variable input costs for the 2013 corn and soybean crops are likely to stay about the same as last year, says Alan Miller, a Purdue Extension farm business management specialist. Variable input costs are the costs of production that vary directly with the crop grown, but don't include fixed costs, such as cash rent. While some individual input prices are expected to increase, some will decrease and others will stay about the same. Fluctuations will serve to cancel out one another and to help keep overall variable costs fairly stable compared to last season....More
For Jason Sheehan, cutting input costs was the main impetus for moving to variable-rate fertilizer application and N sidedressing. Reducing the potential for any off-site movement was a close second....More
The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to announce that the enhanced Compliance Assurance Program (CAP), which includes on-farm refuge assessments, an online survey and IRM education and awareness, is seeing strong success and an increase in the number of growers planting their corn refuge....More
Soybean seed size is influenced by both genetics and the environment. Genetic effects on seed size are largely predictable but weather conditions and their effects on seed size are not. Given the atypical growing season in 2012, it is important to understand the impact on soybean seed size and shape....More
A new series of Pioneer brand soybean products, developed through the innovative DuPont Pioneer Accelerated Yield Technology (AYT) process, will bring soybean growers across North America a broad range of high yielding varieties. The new line of soybean products – named the T Series (pdf) – includes 39 new products and will be introduced in this year....More
South Dakota State University researchers are developing and field-testing for continuously variable-rate corn seeding prescriptions. The algorithm is based on five-year yield and rainfall data to map high and low average fields, and high and low yield variability for a field. It also takes into account seed costs, crop value, hybrid and other production factors such as expected rainfall.
Keith Alverson and his family started to variable-rate plant in the 1990s, and now find benefit with the practice on every corn acre. He, his father Ron and uncle grow corn and soybeans on rolling land near Chester, S.D. In the early 1990s, they started reducing seeding rates manually in the dry corners of pivot-irrigated fields, where yield potential is always much lower. The practice cut seed costs by 25% in unwatered sections, and was especially beneficial in dry years, Alverson says....More
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) continues to keep honeybees in the headlines as beekeepers lose on average one-third of their hives annually. But CCD is not the only problem that affects bees. Bee populations in general, including bumblebees and ground-nesting solitary bees, are declining....More
For most growers, $16/bu. soybeans have made seed treatment use a no-brainer. These coatings are early-season crop insurance, protecting seeds and improving emergence. But even before soybean prices hit recent highs, more farmers have recognized the value....More