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.

By~ Brian Mitchem

Harvest has been heavy across the area with beans and a small bit of corn taken off. Bean yields have been in the 50’s across a very wide area in Ohio and Indiana with lower field averages where more water damage occurred. In early July I would have thought mid 50’s was not possible but as beans recovered into August these yield levels are a bit disappointing vs potential.

Shown above, is a typical area bean plant with pods stripped off the plant. From the left shows 4, 3, 2 and 1 mature beans per pod. The biggest pile has 2 bean pods and way too many pods where only 1 harvestable bean is present. Early season stress from excess water and late season stress from lack of water is the cause of the limited pod fill. In addition, bean size is much smaller than previous years with limited moisture in August for most.

Pest concerns in beans – late season we saw heavy aphids impact the area. We are not in an area that has a lot of plants than can host aphid egg laying. We build a tremendous level of aphid predators along with the aphids.

Bean Leaf Beetle usually shows significant population increases when we experience mild winters. Surprising low numbers of this pest are observed. The adult moves to field edges and overwinters in plant residue and soil. They emerge in the spring along with newly planted beans. They then mate, lay eggs and the next generation emerges.

White Mold has been identified in several bean fields this fall. Typically patchy in fields and you might notice random dead plants starting in July. This expands from plant to plant as the collapsing stem touches others in the canopy.

At harvest you will see reduced yield, down beans typically with leaves remaining on the plants and very dusty. Also you can see small black foreign material in the grain tank that look like rat droppings. These are the fruiting bodies of the disease called sclerotia and results in the next generation. The combine does a great job of spreading the disease.

Rotate to other crops and specific fungicides at specific times are effective in reducing the disease.

Limited corn has been harvested however the crop looks like it has fared much better than beans.

We do have some concerns about PMD or pre mature death in the area and stalk lodging. Be sure to target fields that need early harvest as stalk quality issues can be difficult to manage.

Above shows the Western Bean Cutworm damage to corn ears from the area. This has been an uncommon pest for us but very heavy on light soils in Northern Indiana and Ohio the past few years. These ears were taken from a hybrid plot and are consecutive down the row. The adults tend to lay eggs in concentrated areas within fields. They are very different from other ear feeders as they tolerate company in an ear. Beyond the obvious loss of grain and damaged kernels ear molds can be increased from the damaged kernels.

Corn Rootworm populations remain very low. Almost no adults could be found this season with the exception of some selected continuous corn fields.

Fall applied chem programs – remains critical for improved control of perennial and winter/spring annual weeds like dandelion, dock, thistle and marestail. Regardless of soybean herbicide technology fall applied treatments are needed for weed control and are very profitable for the farmer.

Be sure to contact your local Mercer Agronomy branch for specific products and timing.

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