Blogging by the Bushel
With numerous challenges over the past several years for producers, we at Mercer Landmark understand the need for a comprehensive risk management solution. We seek to provide our customers with unparalleled service to ensure maximum results.

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As hard as it may be to believe, we are nearly halfway through February and about 2 months away from planting season. Before we know it, green grass and the spring rush will be here.

Top-dressing wheat will likely begin in the next few weeks. For 100 bushel wheat we are removing 150lbs/acre of nitrogen and 10 lbs/acre of sulfur. I encourage growers to add a sulfur fertilizer source to help maintain higher yield levels. Plant tissue samples can be taken to assess fertility needs in season as well.

Our Wheat Health Program for 2018 has been released and is available to sign up for. When you sign up for the program there are special deals on Prosaro fungicide and Grizzly Too insecticide. Prosaro is used to protect your wheat from head scab and the flag leaf from diseases. Head Scab will increase DON levels in wheat and reduces yield. The flag leaf is responsible for a large percentage of wheat yield.

Stay safe and talk with your Mercer Landmark Agronomist to get signed up for our Plant Health Program and for all of your other agronomic needs.

Josh Henderson
Mercer Landmark
Agronomy Sales

By~ Brian Mitchem
Crop residue is valuable for maintenance of soil carbon, water infiltration, reducing soil erosion potential and the recycling of nutrients from the residue into the soil.
After grain harvest a typical 200 BPA corn yield leaves about 5 ton of residue per acre. 50 BPA soybeans leaves about 2 ton per acre. It takes about 2.5 ton of residue per year to feed soil microbes and maintain carbon in the soil. One of the consequences of soybeans is that the crop does not leave an adequate amount of residue and thus is a net negative on soil carbon.
Mineral nutrients contained in the residue leach out of the plant residue rather quickly. As soon as corn reaches black layer and there is no longer any way to add nutrients into the kernels the plant starts to leach nutrients from the plant and return to the soil. Even before a mature corn plant is harvested about 50% of the nutrients have leached to the soil.
Corn stover at harvest would contain approximate levels of nutrients per ton as follows: 17# nitrogen, 4# P2O5, 34# K2O and 3# sulfur. Values are approximate as rainfall past black layer influences nutrient leaching from plants.
Soy stover at harvest contains approximately the following levels per ton: 10# N, 4#P2O5, 17# K2O and 2# sulfur.
Soil microbes are the most abundant life form in the soil. One teaspoon of soil contains over 10 billion individual life forms. These are the organisms that help decompose residue and recycle nutrients from organic nutrients contained in the residue to ionorganic forms that are then plant available.
These microbes use the carbon from plant residue for energy and maintenance. Soil humus has a carbon:nitrogen ratio of 10:1. Microbes operate most efficiently with residues at a 24:1 ratio as they need to use the carbon for energy.
The type of plant residue has different C:N ratios, thus impacting the speed at which the residue is decomposed. Materials high in carbon and low in nitrogen take the longest to digest. This process requires N to be added to the residue thus has a net negative impact on N levels in soil. That process is called immobilization of nitrogen. This is why we apply more N per acre in corn following corn as opposed to corn following beans.
Carbon:Nitrogen ratios of common crops

Rye Straw 82:1
Wheat Straw 80:1
Oat Straw 70:1
Corn 57:1
Soy 18:1
Alfalfa 11:1

By~ Ben Stoller
A recent bulletin from weed scientists at Ohio State, Purdue and the University of Illinois outlines the changes made to the Xtend system for 2018. Please visit
Please take the time to read if you plan on using the system: it’s been simplified and is an excellent resource.
Remember to ask your Mercer Landmark sales agronomist for assistance in the Xtend system and your weed management strategies.

By ~ Jeff Prickett
Are you a resistance fighter? Have you identified the weed species on your farm that are resistant to group 9 or group 2 chemistries? Do you know what these site of action groups even mean? If not, now would be a good time to consult with your local Mercer Landmark agronomist to become familiar with the Corn and Soybean Mode of Action Chart and start planning for an effective herbicide plan for 2018 crops.

As a resistance fighter, you will want to layer in chemistries that have effective multiple sites of action that will control resistant weeds. Look at past, current, and future chemistry plans and identity what sites of action have been used in the past and what sites of actions may be used in the future. Always try to change up sites of actions and have at least 3 different effective sites of action for the target resistant weeds in any given crop year. NOTE- GROUP 9 doesn’t count! A great way to change it up is to make sure you are rotating your crops. This will give you more choices in changing up your multi-year sites of action plan.

A great resource to familiarize yourself with chemical sites of actions is the Corn and Soybean Mode of Action chart which can be found at There you will find many useful tools to educate yourself on becoming a resistance fighter. Myself and the rest of the Agronomy Staff here at Mercer Landmark would be glad to share our knowledge and experience with you to help you define what the right multi-site of action plan would be most effective for your farm. We would take into consideration historic weed pressure, past herbicide programs that may have let escapes come through and the current technologies you are considering for 2018. Just know that we stay on top of the resistant weed species that have moved into the area. Whether it’s ALS (group 2) or Glyphosate (group 9) resistant giant ragweed, marestail or waterhemp – we have a plan and solution that will be effective for your farm. As a resistance fighter – we will be a part on your successful team. Together, we will win the resistance battle to achieve weed free fields with high profit potential. As always- We are here to help!

By~ Josh Henderson
As more fields are harvested it is important to get your soil sampled. Soil tests should be pulled every 3-4 years to keep data current. Getting soil tests is a cheap way to ensure you are putting on the correct fertilizer rates and not losing yield from under-applying or not getting your maximum return because of over-applying. Grid-sampling is the best way to ensure you are putting the right amount of fertilizer in the in the correct place. Every acre of your farm is not the same, so why fertilize like it is? Efficiency is the name of the game especially in downturns in the market. Grid-sampling allows for variable rate technology(VRT) to be used. VRT reallocates the fertilizer for the greatest efficiency.
The weather has cooled off and we had our first frost throughout the area. Winter annuals in untreated fields are alive and still growing. Spraying for Marestail, Chickweed, Henbit, and Purple Deadnettle in the fall will help your fields start off clean for the 2018 growing season. After over wintering, Marestail can prove to be near impossible to kill in the spring.
Below is a picture from this Spring of a field with fall burndown applied on the end rows (Right) and not applied in the rest of the field.

Be safe as we work through the rest of this harvest season and contact your Mercer Landmark Yield Specialist to get the solutions to best suit your operation.

By~ Jacob Lewis

Sometimes controlling weeds in wheat/cereal rye can be a challenge. I have spotted winter annual weeds, marestail, and curly dock in cover crop fields and wheat fields so far this year. I would ask a  Mercer Landmark Agronomy Advisor for chemical solutions like 2,4-D, Dicamba pre- mix product like Brash, or even Huskie or Quelex for some of these weed problems. It is important to keep these fields clean of weeds as to maximize yields come harvest in July.

Here is a very good article written by Ohio State Professor Dr. Mark Loux giving some insight to these potential wheat and cereal rye questions.

By~Ryan Edwards

With corn harvest well under way and many of the soybean fields hauled in, the question becomes, what about the rest of the standing corn? Should it stand a few more days or should it be harvested right away? A study by Ohio State showed that there is a 10% yield loss in corn that is harvested after the middle of November which will soon be here. This loss is mainly attributed to standability either from disease such as fusarium or anthracnose and/or stalk quality. While there is some disease in the corn contributing to overall standability the lack of rain in August has been a major factor in the standability for fall 2017. The corn plant has pushed as much nutrition as possible in to the ear leaving the stalk vulnerable to mother nature and the weather events. If the moisture in your grain is farther from 15% or 16% than you would like to see it may be time to go ahead and pull it out of the field. For additional information concerning late season corn harvest timing for this fall contact your local Mercer Landmark representative.

By~ Rick Mollenkopf

Recent XtenidMax label changes

Click on the images below to enlarge.

You can also visit epa-and-states-collective-efforts-lead-regulatory-action-dicamba

for more details.

By~ Alex Fullenkamp

Many growers are considering fall spraying this year more than ever.  Marestail and waterhemp were more of an issue than ever this year.  Chickweed and henbit were also a big problem for some early this past spring.

Fall spraying with a mixture of 2-4D, Dicamba, and Sencor is a great way to help control these weeds.  Glyphosate can also be in the tank if needed.  We have great flexibility with the timing of these applications too.  Some growers have expressed concerns of getting applications made prior to a frost.  This is not a concern and applications can be made into November with excellent results next spring.

Besides the obvious benefit of weed control, there are other benefits too.  Soils will generally be warmer and drier next spring where there is not weeds.   Limiting heavy weed cover can also reduce some insect pressure such as soybean cyst nematode and black cutworm.

Many growers are utilizing the Xtend platform for weed control and it performed very well this year.  The great results have made some growers question the importance of fall spraying and spring residuals.   I would strongly encourage growers to continue to use these tools and have the Xtend tool as an option if needed in crop.

Contact your local Mercer Landmark agronomy person for more information.

By~ Steve Heckler

There is several methods of weed control in wheat that we can do to take care of weed pressure. One is tillage and the other is spraying a herbicide. Since most farmers no-till wheat, spraying a herbicide before emergence or after is beneficial. Spraying a herbicide helps with marestail and other winter annuals that are germinating in the fall that can overwinter. We do have different chemical options to consider to take care of our weed pressure in wheat. We have to be careful and read the label for certain stages that we can spray the wheat. Preemergence burndown plus residual would be glyphosate+ Sharpen at 1.5 to 2 oz/acre + MSO. There are products we can use post on wheat in the fall from different companies. Spring post treatments are also available that are very effective also. Consult with your local Mercer Landmark agronomist for the best recommendations for weed control in wheat.