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.

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

By~ Ben Stoller

Photo courtesy of Monsanto agKnowledge Newsletter, Issue 1704

Now is the time to be scouting corn fields for potential lodging due to stalk rots.

Scouting can be simple and quick:

  1. Check 10 plants in several locations within a field
  2. Pinch or squeeze the stalks at one of the lowest nodes above the brace roots.  Healthy stalks are firm and unable to be compressed.
  3. Push the stalks over at an approximate 45° angle; if the stalks return to the upright position, stalk integrity is maintained.  If the stalk breaks or remains tilted, a stalk rot of some sort is likely.

If more than 10% of the stalks are compromised, strongly consider harvesting early to avoid a potentially slow, arduous and frustrating harvesting experience.

More detailed information is available at the following links:

By~ Brad Miller

With wheat planting a few weeks away and you start to plan, here are a few reminders.

Wheat should be planted 1.5 in deep.

Make sure you treat your seed with a seed treatment containing a fungicide to control seed borne diseases like fusarium, common bunt and glume blotch.  The optimum seeding rate is 1.2 to 1.6 million seeds per acre.  The following chart breaks down the Lbs. needed to obtain that goal.

Row spacing (inches) Feet of row/acre Wheat seeds/lb.
12,000 13,000 14,000 15,000 16,000 17,000 18,000

lb./ac of seed

6 87,120 131 12 112 105 98 92 87
8 65,340 98 90 84 78 76 69 65
10 52,272 78 72 67 63 59 55 52
12 43,560 65 60 56 52 49 46 44
14 37,337 56 52 48 45 42 39 37

You should apply 15 to 30 Lbs. of nitrogen at planting in some form.  For optimum production Your P level should be maintained between 25-40 ppm.  Contact your local Mercer Landmark representative for more recommendations or questions.

By~ Jeff Prickett

As I drive through the countryside I have come to the realization that waterhemp is going to be a real problem weed moving forward into 2018. I see waterhemp at various stages of development in most fields in and around New Weston to Coldwater and beyond.

There will be a tremendous amount of waterhemp seed that will be spread through combining this fall.

What can we do differently to manage waterhemp populations moving into 2018? One word – prevention. Scout and prevent waterhemp escapes in corn crop prior to rotating to soybeans.

Waterhemp typically is easier to control in corn as we have more effective post emerge herbicide choices.  Other key preventive measures for waterhemp control would include overlapping residual products in soybeans such as Valor XLT, Fierce XLT or Boundary herbicide down as a pre-emerge followed by an in-crop application of another residual product such as Warrant Ultra, Prefix or Charger Max.

Waterhemp escapes in soybeans can be somewhat effectively controlled if treated while the plants are small (less than 4”). Often times larger waterhemp plants treated with post emerge products such as Flexstar, Cobra and/or Liberty will re-grow from the lower nodes of the plant.

This may buy the soybean plant some time to outgrow the waterhemp plant, but more than likely the waterhemp plants will re-grow, cause yield reduction and still produce viable seed.

Other preventative measures to control waterhemp seed populations is to keep your wheat stubble fields clean of waterhemp flushes. Here is a picture I took earlier this week. As you can see, the waterhemp plants are short, but thick enough to produce thousands of seeds per acre. In this field, we treated with 40oz/acre of Brash plus 40oz/acre of Roundup PowerMax.

If you have any questions about mananging waterhemp or any other weed problems on your farm, please feel free to reach out to any of our agronomy team here at Mercer Landmark. We are here to help!

Market Report

Monday August 21st, 2017

September corn closed down 3 at $3.49 and December 17 corn closed down 2 ¾ at $3.63. November beans closed down 1 ½ at $9.36 ¼ and January 18 closed down 1 ¼ at $9.44 ½. September wheat closed down 6 ½ at $4.09 ½ and July 18 closed down 4 ¾ at $4.88 ¼. Crude oil closed down $1.13 at $47.53.

“Sinky and stinky” continues to be the trend in corn, as spot futures started off the new week by skidding to new lows for the year. Corn closed lower in an overall “disinterested” trade, as most participants hold out for typical pre-harvest bottom. The funds were net sellers of another 8,000 corn today, as they build back up a short position lost amid summer weather volatility.  Another shot of Midwest rain started the ag markets on their initial defensive trajectory. Beneficial rain fell on the driest parts of western and southern Iowa during the weekend, but outside of a few pockets, most of the rain in SC & SE Iowa was too light to make a lasting impact. The markets (soy in particular) will be watching follow-up rains Tuesday into Wednesday, which could deliver half inch totals to eastern Iowa, northern Illinois, and southern Wisconsin.  Thereafter, a dryer pattern is expected to evolve over the next two weeks. Either way, with pollination in the rear-view mirror, the scope to improve (or further harm) corn yields are quite limited.

Several national crop tours kick off today.  Such tours tend to under-state yield and have a poor correlation to the final USDA number, but will no doubt influence the market with tweets and bleats.  Initial Ohio yields from the Pro Farmer tour suggested yields north of 170 bpa, which compares to last year’s estimate just below 160.  Western scouts in South Dakota offered much more variable results, ranging from 186 bpa to 123 bpa. Crop Progress report after the close played out close to expectations, finding corn conditions holding steady wk/wk.  62% was rated Good-Excellent (vs. 75% last year), while 12% was rated Poor-Very Poor (vs. 7% last year).  The headliner in the stats was no doubt Illinois ratings, which saw an -8% cut in G-E ratings, likely owing to missing out on some of the recent rains. Broad improvement was noted in the Dakotas and Ohio, while most of the rest of the Eastern Belt deteriorated some.  76% of the crop was in the dough stage, while 29% was dented, both slightly behind normal and last year.

The soybean market traded lower on the day. The selling started with a weather influence. Welcomed 1-3 inch rain totals fell over a good stretch of western IA overnight and early today with more in the forecast and should be very beneficial for bean yield potential there. The weather selling was offset somewhat by continued signs of strong demand with the USDA flashing new crop sales of 463 mt to unknown and 198 mt to China and later the weekly inspections data showing another 5 cargoes were shipped to China last week. It was a painfully quiet and low volume trade with Nov futures trading only 78k contracts for its lowest total in two months. Crop conditions this afternoon showed soybean gte rating up 1 to 60% which was about as expected and compared to 72% this time a year ago. The crop is 87% setting pods vs. 79% a week ago. The states that saw the best improvement were where the rains fell with IA +2, KS +3, MI +2, MS +2, ND +3, SD +8 and TN +3 while the states that saw the greatest deterioration were AR -2, IL -3, IN -3, LA -4, and MO -3. The Pro Farmer crop tour began today and they scheduled to release their OH and SD estimates later tonight.  he USDA recently estimate OH corn and bean yields at 171 bpa and 53.0 bpa respectively and SD at 140.0 bpa and 45.0 bpa.  There is some rough weather moving through SD this afternoon so hopefully everybody stays safe out there.

The wheat complex battled both sides of unchanged during the early part of the evening. When the day session began the selling continued, with Mpls falling to double digits lower while Chicago and KC mostly stayed between $.05-$.08 lower. Today’s settle in both the HRW and SRW wheat’s are new contract lows, a theme we heard a few times last week. Both Chicago and Mpls have posted four consecutive lower weekly closes, and KC has posted six consecutive lower weekly closes. The market has plenty of time to recover from today’s poor start to the week, and even though the COT report after the close on Friday showed the large spec (funds) still holding a long position of a little over 40,000 contracts in KC, much of this length could be against Chicago wheat. If that is the case, maybe all we need is Russia to stop its rhetoric on how big their wheat crop is getting so maybe the US markets could get a bounce off very oversold conditions. Last week we mentioned several times that a growing Russian wheat crop and increased export expectations, combined with Black Sea Values continuing to slip lower, have had a very negative impact on Matif wheat. The European contract pushed into new contract lows several times last week, and started this week out picking up where it left off on Friday.

Anna Kaverman

By~ Jacob Lewis

Answer Plot:

If you are like me and are always wanting to learn new agronomy information there is no better place to be than the Mercer Landmark Answer plot days August 22-24th .  Ask your Mercer Landmark agronomy advisor more about these days. There will be speakers covering topics such as herbicide & fertility plans, high management corn and soybean production, dicamba management and weed control. There will be door prizes and seed discounts for those that attend!

Cover Crops:

It is that time of year to think about cover crops. A few questions to think about are:

What cover crops should I plant?

How will I be able to kill this cover crop in the spring if it is not a crop that is winter killed?

What task do I want my cover crop to perform?  Such as: adding nitrogen, breaking up soil, erosion control, increasing water filtration, 4R stewardship, etc.

These are good questions to ask your Mercer Landmark agronomy advisor before choosing a cover crop or a cover crop mix. For a 1st time cover crop planter, starting off with 1-2 fields is wise vs planting the whole farm operation.

Wheat: It is about that time of year to be thinking about planting wheat. The fly free date for Paulding county is September 24th

Van Wert County September 26th

Mercer County September 27th

We offer many wheat varieties that have performed very strongly in the Ohio State Wheat trials, ask your Mercer Landmark agronomy advisor for one of these varieties.

Soybean Aphids: In the most recent Purdue University Pest & Crop Newsletter releases August 17th, they have confirmed soybean aphids above the 250 aphid per leaf sampled threshold in Northern Indiana. We also have been finding them in Northwest Ohio. It would be a good idea to look for aphids in your soybean fields, and I’m sure a Mercer Landmark agronomy adviser would be happy to help in the process.

Link to article:

By~Josh Henderson

August has come upon us rather quickly this year. The sprayers are finally slowing down and making the last few fungicide applications and attempting to take care of some weed escapes in soybeans. If there is Waterhemp in any of your fields this fall, take note. There are several herbicides labeled for harvest aids. Clean your combine out before moving fields. A little bit of time with an air compressor can help save you from weed issues spreading to all of your fields for years to come.

This is an important time to be walking fields. The last thing you want to do is pull into the field with a combine and be disappointed with what the field yields. This also will remind yourself of the reduced populations and replants fields or drowned out areas. Do some yield checks(example below). Make sure that you know what is truly going on in the field. Ask yourself a few questions as you look at each corn field:

  • What is the planting date?
  • How is the disease pressure?
  • Am I running out of nitrogen?
  • What is my standibility rating on each hybrid?
  • Was a fungicide applied?

Scouting in August can help you determine which field to put the combine in first, a better idea on what yields to expect, how much additional labor you may need, and many other farm management decisions.

Example Yield Estimation

(Average Ear count per 1/1000th acre) X (Average Kernel count per ear)= (Kernels per 1/1000th acre)

(Kernels per 1/1000th acre)      *divided by*     90  =  Estimated yield

34 Ears per 1/1000th acre

16 rows around X 36 kernals long = 576 avg. Kernels ear 1/1000th acre

34 X 576 = 19,584 Kernels per 1/1000th acre

19,584 / 90 = 217.6 Bushel per acre

Contact your local Mercer Landmark Agronomist to assist you with any questions or fulfill your agronomy needs.

Market Report

Thursday August 10th, 2017

September corn closed down 15 at $3.57 ¼ and December 17 corn closed down 15 ¼ at $3.71. November beans closed down 33 at $9.40 ¼ and January 18 closed down 32 ½ at $9.49. September wheat closed down 19 at $4.40 ½ and July 18 closed down 16 ½ at $5.14 ¼. Crude oil closed down $.97 at $48.75.

The USDA shocked the market today, making only token changes to the balance sheet. Corn futures were trading slightly higher pre-report, but those gains evaporated quickly once the data was released, and the slide continued slowly but surely over the next two plus hours of trade.  Spot futures closed at their lowest levels in a month-and-a-half, while individual contracts closed roughly a dime above last year’s contract lows. The funds were net sellers of about 30,000 corn today, which would take their net position in corn close to flat.

The focus of this report was on US production, and the USDA did not show the larger yield downgrades many in the trade were expecting. In the end, the USDA lowered 2017 US corn production just 100 million bushels from their July “trend-line yield” style estimate. The resulting 14.153 BB estimate was well above the average trade guess of 13.85 billion, but was still 1 billion shy of last year’s final of 15.148 BB. Harvested acres were left unchanged, while yields were down-ticked to 169.5 bpa from 170.7 bpa in July. The larger supplies maintained US carryout forecasts near 16/17 levels. They left 16/17 unchanged from July at 2.37 BB, while 17/18 was down ticked to 2.273 bil from 2.325 bil in July. The absence of a sharp adjustment was enough to KO many weak “yield bulls” in the market, and no doubt sent farmers scrambling to check how much old crop they had left in the bin.World numbers lacked many fireworks, though much like in the US, traders were disappointed there was not much downward adjustment from July forecasts. World 16/17 carryout up ticked 1 mmt to 228.6 mmt, while new crop 17/18 was left unchanged at 200.9 mmt.

The soybean market was hit with a surprisingly bearish crop report of a left hook and went down for the count like a sack of potatoes. The US soybean crop is projected record large at 4.381 bb compared to last year’s crop of 4.307 bb. This was an increase of 121 mb from the July report while the trade was expecting a reduction 48 mb on avg. This comes on a yield of 49.4 bpa which compares to last month at 48.0 and avg. trade estimate for a small cut to 47.5. This was a major surprise with nobody in the published trade estimates looking for an increase in yield. Harvested acres were left unchanged at 88.7 million.  Old crop bean carryout tightened to 370 mb from 410 previously which was a bigger reduction than the trade estimate for 400 mb and perhaps one of only two bullish elements of an otherwise soundly bearish report. The reduction came on an increase in exports by 50 mb which more than offset a reduction in crush.  The new crop carryout increased by 15 mb to 475 mb which was 50 mb bigger than trade expectations. The increase came on a 121 mb increase in production and a 10 mb decrease in crush that more than offset a 75 mb increase in exports.

The wheat complex battled both sides of unchanged overnight, but during the morning time frame leading up to the crop report, most of the price action was slightly lower. It was an omen for things to come as data from the report was negative to trade, not only in wheat, but across the entire grain complex. Trade in wheat seemed to be a little slow to react to the negative data. Instead the market saw a more gradual decline, but by day’s end Mpls prices had fallen to more than $.30 lower, Chicago was close to $.20 lower and KC was around $.15 lower.

On the production side we saw an adjustment, but by no means did we see a reasonable adjustment. All wheat came in at 1.739 BB, only a 21 mil reduction from July’s 1.760 BB. The avg guess was around 1.710 BB. As expected, much of the reduction came from the Spring wheat crop, which the USDA pegged at 401 MB. Granted, this is 22 MB less than July’s estimate, but it is around 10 MB above the average estimate and 50 MB above what the Spring wheat crop may eventually come in at. We saw almost no change in all winter, but that was expected as well. The USDA pegged the SRW wheat crop at 306 mil vs last month’s 306 mil and pegged the HRW wheat crop at 758 mil vs last month’s 758 mil. The USDA lowered 2017/18 ending stocks from 938 MB in July to 933 MB. Everyone was looking for some sort of reduction, but the average estimate was for around a 30 mil reduction. And even though the USDA is rarely aggressive in its August report, some were even thinking we might get as much as a 100 mil reduction, so this aspect of the report was a little bit of a head scratcher as well, with prices NOT benefitting from the data.

Anna Kaverman

By~Rick Mollenkopf

Let’s check some things off the list to make an easier year down the road.

1. Line up what fields you need to get grid, or soil sampled

2. Do you want to prepay any fertilizer for fall starter on wheat, or plow down.

You have until 9-1-17 to take advantage of our discounted prepay prices.

3. Do you need to order new seed wheat?

4. Do you need your seed wheat cleaned?

5. Book your seed orders now for the best discounts we have to offer.


7. Do you have a side by side for your sales person to collect yield data

These are just a few things on the long checklist.  Be sure to contact your local sales team for any fall work, or questions you have so we can best accommodate your needs.

As a reminder you can also sign up for the Wheat Plant Health Program in 2018 at this time. Wheat acres need to be turned in as soon as possible.

As always we thank you for your support and business at Mercer Landmark.

By~Ryan Edwards

Many corn fields in western Ohio and eastern Indiana have been exposed to large quantities of precipitation, high humidity, or both excess water and humidity. Exposure to warmth and mornings of wet dew, fungus causing rust was allowed to grow and multiply. Since rust does not survive the winter of Ohio and Indiana it has to be blown in from the south. In as little as 7 days a new set of pustules can infect and start to grow once infection has been initiated.

Two main types that occur are common rust and southern rust. The most prevalent being common rust in Ohio and Indiana. For infection to occur 6 – 8 hours of dew or leaf wetness has to occur along with the presence of the rust fungus. The upcoming weather forecast is predicting nights in the low 60’s favoring continued growth of common rust.

While thresholds are not established for this disease its presence with the potential to spread may warrant a fungicide application. Contact your local Mercer Landmark representative for further discussion.

Southern Rust

Common Rust

By~ Steve Heckler

We have the perfect conditions for all kinds of disease in corn and soybeans.  Mercer Agronomy staff has been scouting many fields and has been finding Gray Leaf Spot, Northern Leaf Blight and Common Rust in corn fields. Bean fields we are finding Sceptoria Brown Spot, Sudden Death already, and Frogeye is starting to show up. There are probably more diseases out there that need to be identified with your Mercer Landmark agronomist. They can also help you to make a decision on a treatment and timing of that treatment.

Insects are becoming plentiful in corn and soybeans. Japanese Beetle, Corn Rootworm and Brown Stink Bug are some of the insects we have been seeing in beans. Insects in corn have been Corn Rootworm, Japanese Beetle, and others. It is very important to scout your fields once a week for changes in the field. Some of our fields have the potential for very good yields in corn and soybeans. Let Mercer Landmark help you make those tough decisions on a treatment for your acres.

For help call your Local Branch Agronomist.