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 May, 2016

~By: Ryan Stucke

There aren’t many pests out early on in the season but a big one that you have to scout for early when your corn is emerging, especially if you had a cover crop out,  is cutworm.  Once all of the green tissue is dead out in the field there is only one thing left to feed on and that is your corn crop.  The best defense against black cutworm early in the spring is to plant at least a double stacked Herculex I variety or Smartstax varieties.  By having this trait in the corn if the insect bites the plant and digests it, it will die.  The plant can only handle so much though if there is a heavy infestation.

  • Small black cutworm larvae chew holes in leaves
  • Fourth stage or older larvae exceed the width of a dime in length and can begin cutting V1-V5 stage plants
  • Drilling into V6-V8 stage plants can kill growing point
  • Cutting mostly above ground in wet soil, mostly below ground in dry soil

Management of Black Cutworm

  • Favorable conditions for pest occurrence would be spring storms prior to tillage and planting delivering moths to the area
  • Monitor moth flight reports
  • Kill existing vegetation nine or more days prior to planting to reduce larval survival
  • Natural enemies are generally birds and other predators, though they’re not usually effective

IPM practices

  • Pheromone trapping is used to determine when the pest is present
  • Intensively scout fields that are at risk
  • Reduced tillage or other practices that leave a food source for the young larvae increase risk
  • Insecticide seed treatments at high rates may give some control, but lower rates are not as effective
  • Broadcast pesticide or bait application may be used as a rescue treatment

By~ Jeff Keller

What a difference a few weeks makes as the cover crops really put on the foliage. Most of us thought we would get out there early and spray to kill them off, then get the planter in the ground. So, for those acres you haven’t touched yet, what is the plan and what are the pros and cons of having all that growth out there?

Every situation is different so we always have to treat each field different. I have had some experience with some of the grasses such as cereal rye which can be killed rather easily with Roundup. Another type is annual ryegrass. This one can be a bit tricky as we are getting into the middle of May. This can be difficult when we are seeing 8-10 inches of growth. The good side here with all that growth above ground is there are tons of fibrous roots below ground making channels for the next crop. However, keep in mind for this particular plant we want to see a full rate of glyphosate and avoid putting residuals in the tank mix to antagonize the Roundup.

Some of the broadleaf cover crops that tend to be before corn are clover and hairy vetch. With the extra growth in these legumes we are gaining a lot of nitrogen. With a good stand of hairy vetch by the third week of May it is proven to supply 120 lbs of N to the soil. This can typically be killed with a Roundup and 2,4-D combination. Another route is use of the moldboard plow, which can be very effective for the conventional farmer, and turns the soil over to make very nice seed bed.

Keep in mind 20 gallons of water for spray coverage is very important to burn off these cover crops. It is important that you talk to your Mercer Landmark agronomist to plan for your cover crop destruction and how you will get your crops in the ground.

~By: Rick Mollenkopf

A lot of corn is emerging around here from fields planted a couple weeks ago.  Since then, the weather has been rather ugly keeping the sprayers out of the fields.  Uh oh!  Don’t have your corn residual herbicides sprayed yet?  Not to worry.  Fortunately, several residual herbicides for corn are labeled for applications after crop emergence, with a few exceptions.  See the table below for a listing of popular residual corn herbicides and the corn stage by which the application is to be made.

Some residual corn herbicides will not control emerged weeds.  If the corn is Roundup Ready, check the label for the addition of PowerMAX or WeatherMAX to the spray mix to help control emerged weeds.  Also, once corn has emerged, this eliminates the use of a fertilizer carrier such as UAN (28%N) with the herbicide.  However, Degree Xtra (alone or tank mixed with atrazine) can be applied in water or UAN as the carrier once the corn has emerged.  Leaf burn may occur with this application.

Check the label for use on corn types other than field corn. Follow label guidelines and restrictions before applying any herbicide.

Please contact your local Mercer Landmark agronomist for more details.

Herbicide Corn Stage
Acuron* prior to 12 inches
Acuron Flexi* up to V8
Atrazine up to 12 inches
Anthem ATZ up through V4
Balance Flexx up to V2
Balance PRO DO NOT apply after corn emergence
Bicep II Magnum up to 12 inches
Corvus up to V2
Degree Xtra up to 11 inches
Harness Xtra 5.6L up to 11 inches
Hornet up to 2 inches
Instigate up through V2
Keystone NXT up to 11 inches
Lumax/Lexar up to 12 inches
Prequel DO NOT apply after corn emergence
SureStart II up to 11 inches
TripleFLEX II up to 11 inches
Verdict or Sharpen DO NOT apply after corn emergence
Zidua up to V4

*Do not apply Acuron/Acuron Flexi to emerged sweet corn or yellow popcorn

Please check with local sales team member with any Questions

~By: Amy Hayes, WinField

As planting season progresses it is important to stay diligent scouting wheat fields in the coming weeks. Currently the wheat stage varies throughout the area, with some already at Feekes 8, meaning the flag leaf is emerging. The photo below from MSU illustrates that to identify the flag leaf it will appear as the 4th leaf from the first node above the ground.

Also, last week while scouting in central Van Wert County I found an alarming amount of powdery mildew. Depending on the growth stage, a fungicide such as Stratego YLD® is recommended in these cases. To scout for powdery mildew check areas of the field that have been over seeded/have a thicker stand, and fields with a lush stand that received a high rate of nitrogen this spring. From here progress further into the field to check for severity. Powdery mildew thrives in humid conditions with temperatures ranging from 50°-70°F. Below is a photo of the field I was in last week showing symptoms.

Lastly, as the rain subsides and planting picks back up be sure to continue to monitor wheat fields and weather trends to ensure a timely application of Prosaro® fungicide to prevent fusarium head blight (scab). The fungus that causes fusarium head blight, fusarium graminearium, infects wheat at flowering, Feekes stage 10.5.1, but does not show visible symptoms until later. Which as we witnessed last year, can lead to vomitoxin in the grain resulting in potential high price docking at the local elevator. The photo below was taken last year showing head scab infection later in the growing season on a field that was not treated with Prosaro® at Feekes 10.5.1.
Now is a great time to touch base with your local Mercer Landmark Agronomist to go over field maps and scout for fungicide applications before we are able to resume planting.

~By: Steve Heckler

Wheat development stages this spring are ahead of normal timing, with the flag leaf emerged or already out in some areas. Most growers have all the nitrogen on and the chemical spray on also for weeds. Some areas of our geography we had to put on a fungicide and insecticide for powdery mildew and aphids. With the flag leaf emerged, we have to make sure it stays clean from diseases. Some growers question on how much they should spend on wheat. What it comes down to is protecting yield which pays for all the inputs that you put into the crop. The way the wheat stands look this year, we could see very good yields, weather permitting. The next thing we need to do is spray a fungicide at heading to protect the wheat seeds from head scab. Head scab effects the quality of the wheat seeds and test weight. This treatment reduces the level of toxins in the wheat seeds, so when you deliver your wheat to the elevator the dockage is not so much. Also the fungicide treatment at heading increases yield. Wheat use to be a crop that we planted so we could ditch, haul manure and bale straw.  We found out that if we treat wheat like a cash crop, it does yield very well.

~By: Alex Fullenkamp

Every year I get asked how to manage Soybeans back to Soybeans.  I never have cared for the idea too much but when managed properly it can work pretty well.

I think it is important to spray no-till fields in the fall prior to planting soybeans.  However, I think it is absolutely critical in a soybean back to soybean situation.  I’ve had great results using a mixture of 2-4D, Dicamba, and Sencor.  There are other mixtures that work great too.

Next, we need to make sure the fertility is there to raise a good crop.  PH levels must be in check so nutrients are available.  Then we need to make sure we have enough potassium and phosphorus.  Soybeans use a huge amount of potassium and if levels are low, the yields will follow.

Variety choice is also critical in a situation like this.  Look for varieties with high ratings for SCN and other diseases we deal with.  Also, consider a treatment with a fungicide and insecticide to put on the bean.  Acceleron and Warden both have great options for this.

In the spring time the field should look very clean and weed free.  However, a burndown/residual application is critical.  I like to use glyphosate mixed with 2-4D or Sharpen and whatever residual type product(s) fits your weed spectrum best.  Some of these products don’t work well with high PH soils and some control weeds that others don’t.  Contact your Mercer Landmark agronomist to decide what will be the best product for your acre.

Lastly, once the crop is up and growing, weeds, diseases, and overall plant health should be monitored.   These acres may be more prone to disease than a rotated field but with regular scouting and timely applications most things can be managed effectively.

~By: Brian Mitchem

Comprehensive studies done by extension researchers at Purdue University have shown that modern corn hybrids and soy varieties are using plant nutrition much differently than corn and soy products from previous decades.

Some seed companies maintain era genetics for research purposes. In this research both corn and soy products were grown as far back as products commonly grown in the 1920’s. Each decade from the 1920’s forward were included up to modern genetics.

Dr. Tony Vyn has been analyzing corn genetics for the differences in nutrient uptake.

Dr. Vyn’s research shows that the following nutrients are being taken up in greater quantities post flowering:

Phosphorous – 55%

Zinc – 55%

Sulfur – 40%

Nitrogen – 30%

Potassium – 10%

Of those nutrients listed above, only potassium is similar in older lines.

Nutrients such as nitrogen and sulfur are mobile in the soil and we can make a later application (v10-v14 growth stage) and potentially see a benefit to corn. If considering a late N application the addition of a sulfur source should also be used as the corn plant uses a specific nitrogen:sulfur ratio at the ear shoot and cellular levels.

For phosphorous and zinc, since those nutrients are not mobile in the soil they can be placed deeper into the soil profile for later uptake by plants. Consider a fall deep placed band of P and Zn to accomplish this.

Dr. Shawn Casteel has been doing similar research with decades of soy varieties.

In soybeans we see more late season nitrogen accumulation in leaves, pods and seeds, therefore getting good N fixation started in beans is of high importance.

Also found in the research was that during the rapid growth phase of soy at R2 (full flower) that beans can remove more nutrition from the leaves than can be replaced even with adequate soil nutrition. Of particular importance is that potassium levels in leaves drop at R2 but recover by R4 (full pods).

In addition beans can show a response to sulfur especially under stress and P uptake increases rapidly at R4 growth stage.

Consult your local Mercer Landmark agronomist with questions and further discussion.