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BASF’s Varisto Herbicide Receives Registration

BASF’s Varisto Herbicide Receives Registration | Corn Yield |

The EPA recently registered BASF’s Varisto herbicide for use in clover grown for seed, as well as dry beans, dry peas, English peas, lima beans (succulent), snap beans and soybeans. The new herbicide helps maximize yield potential by delivering a wide spectrum of broadleaf and grass weed control.

“Varisto herbicide offers multiple sites of action for excellent weed control and resistance management in a convenient pre-mix formulation with low crop response,” said Christa Ellers-Kirk, Technical Market Manager, BASF. “The introduction of Varisto herbicide to the market gives growers best-in-class weed control.”

A 2013 University of Idaho research trial showed that Varisto herbicide was 98% effective in controlling hairy nightshade, 96% effective in controlling redroot pigweed, 90% effective in controlling common lambs’s quarters and 84% effective in controlling green foxtail. Results were measured 29 days after treatment.

In that same research trial, a post-emergence application of Varisto herbicide preceded by a pre-emergence application of Outlook herbicide was 99% effective in controlling hairy nightshade and redroot pigweed, and 98% effective in controlling green foxtail and common lamb’s quarters.

For the best results, use as part of a comprehensive weed management program that includes Prowl herbicide or Outlook herbicide applied at pre-emergence timing, followed by Varisto herbicide applied at post-emergence timing.

For more information about Varisto herbicide, please visit

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David Hula’s 5 Tips for High-Yielding Corn

David Hula’s 5 Tips for High-Yielding Corn | Corn Yield |

In Charles City, Va., David Hula is proving no-till corn can compete just as well as conventional corn. The previous corn yield world record holder — which he achieved in the National Corn Grower’s Association’s 2013 corn yield contest with 454 bushels per acre — has been steadily hitting corn yields above 300 bushels for years.

At the 2015 National No-Tillage Conference last month, Hula shared some of his high-yielding corn secrets. Here’s a brief overview of what Hula calls his “Farmer’s Hand to Success.”

1. Thumbs Up — Attitude

The first digit on the hand — a thumbs up — serves as a reminder for keeping a positive attitude, a success tip he heard from Iowa corn-yield record holder Francis Childs. While Hula didn’t agree with Childs’ thinking at the time, he’s now taken the message to mean be willing to change or try something new, and keep an open mind.

2. Index Finger — Things You Have Control Over

“This is the finger my mom pointed to me when I was doing something wrong,” Hula says. “It’s also the finger that you use to specifically point to what you either had control over and did correctly, or if you did something incorrectly.”

There are three areas no-tillers have control over, he says: soil, fertility and pest management.

3. Middle Finger — Mechanical

The middle finger represents the mechanical component to an operation, Hula says, adding that after the corn planter has gone through the field, a huge percent of that corn yield has been determined, “because you can’t fix any of those problems.”

“Make sure you get that even emergence, get some nutrients out there, and if you can get that picket-row fence stand, that’s even better,” Hula says.

4. Ring Finger — Relationship with Corn Variety

“Picking the right corn variety is like finding your spouse,” Hula says. “It is emotionally driven, and if done right can be rewarding. If done wrong, it can be very costly.”

He adds that once the planter leaves the field it can’t be fixed, so if a no-tiller picked the wrong hybrid, it’s over.

5. Pinky Finger — Management

It may be little, but it’s vital to success, Hula says.

“I’m task oriented. I develop a plan, I execute it the best I can and I’m going to adjust it — and then, at the end of the year, we evaluate it. We try to analyze the data as well as we can to improve for next year.”

Are you trying anything new with your no-tilled corn this year? Let us know by leaving a comment below or send me an email at  

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Nitrogen calculator now available for sunflowers

Nitrogen calculator now available for sunflowers | Corn Yield |
Sunflower producers this spring will be able to use a new tool to calculate nitrogen rates.
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Improve nitrogen management on corn: How much, when and where

Improve nitrogen management on corn: How much, when and where | Corn Yield |

Although the price of nitrogen fertilizer has fallen in the past year, the lower price of corn means that decisions about nitrogen management need to be made carefully, with an eye towards maximizing the return on investment for this important input.

The first question on nitrogen management is rate: How much nitrogen will the corn crop need, and how much of this will need to come from fertilizer?

“The generally accepted rule of thumb is that the crop will take up a total of about one pound of nitrogen for each bushel of yield. We’ve found a similar number in a few studies we’ve done,” says University of Illinois crop scientist Emerson Nafziger.

Not all of the nitrogen needed for the crop has to come from fertilizer, though; some of it will come from soil organic matter. How much the soil provides is related to soil depth and amount of organic matter, but it also varies by year, depending on weather and crop conditions. That makes the amount difficult to predict.



“In the deeper, higher organic matter soils in Illinois, we might see amounts of up to 200 pounds of nitrogen per acre available to the crop in a good year, while in shallower and lower organic-matter soils or in a year with cool, dry soil conditions this could be as little as 20 or 30 pounds,” Nafziger notes.

At current corn and nitrogen prices, studies over recent years have shown that corn following soybean in southern and central Illinois should be fertilized with about 175 pounds of nitrogen per acre, while in northern Illinois, where more nitrogen is present in the soil, this rate is about 150 pounds of nitrogen. For corn following corn, the rate that provides the maximum return to nitrogen is about 200 pounds of nitrogen per acre everywhere, but perhaps slightly less in southern Illinois.

Form, timing and placement of nitrogen fertilizer can affect nitrogen availability to the crop.

“Knowing the basics of how different fertilizer materials behave can only take us so far,” Nafziger says. “What happens to nitrogen in the soil that affects it availability to the crop is heavily dependent on weather. This means that our predictions regarding nitrogen form and timing are only about as good as our ability to predict the weather before the season starts.”

Still, nitrogen management can be improved with research over a range of sites and years. Nafziger and his research team initiated a large study in 2014 to look at the effect of nitrogen form, timing, and placement on corn yield. There were a total of 15 treatment variables in the study, but the nitrogen application rate was held constant at 150 pounds per acre.

Yield varied somewhat with the form of nitrogen applied. Dry forms of urea with Agrotain® and SuperU® applied at planting produced the highest yields, but yields obtained with urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) injected at planting and of anhydrous ammonia with N-Serve were also high.

The team also experimented with non-traditional application methods and timing, such as surface-banding UAN at planting and holding some of the nitrogen back until tasseling. 

“While we saw some small differences among treatments, commonly used timing and forms of nitrogen all produced similar yields, even under what we would consider high-loss conditions with all the rain in June 2015,” Nafziger says.

Their results showed that both the risk of nitrogen loss and the benefit from delaying nitrogen application or using inhibitors were less substantial than expected.

“That provides some confidence that most of the nitrogen management systems in use today have good potential to provide the crop with adequate nitrogen. Adding costs by changing nitrogen management, for example by making another trip over the field to apply late nitrogen, may not provide a positive return compared to applying all of the nitrogen in one or two earlier trips,” Nafziger says.

Nafziger’s research is sponsored by the Nutrient Research and Education Council.


 More details and data are available.

Originally posted by University of Illinois.

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Les six secrets pour obtenir plus de soya

Les six secrets pour obtenir plus de soya | Corn Yield |
« C’est le phosphore qui est l’élément nutritif le plus limitant pour le soya », a expliqué le spécialiste américain en physiologie des plantes Fred Below, qui donnait une conférence au Rendez-vous végétal, le 10 février, à Brossard. Une fertilisation mieux adaptée au soya est l’un des six secrets dévoilés par l’expert de l’Illinois.

Cette limitation s’explique par la méthode de fertilisation la plus courante pour le maïs l’année précédente. Cette méthode habituelle n’ajoute pas de fertilisant l’année du soya. La dose typique pour le maïs est alors de 200 kg d’azote par hectare, 100 kg de phosphore et 112 kg de potasse. Or, pour obtenir 4 tonnes à l’hectare de soya, considérant les besoins du maïs l’année d’avant, il manque 32 kg de phosphore à l’hectare dans ce scénario. Cette donnée va à l’encontre de plusieurs autres experts qui se concentrent sur les besoins en potasse du soya.

Les autres secrets à considérer sont la météo, la génétique (variétés), la protection foliaire, le traitement de semence et l’espacement entre les rangs.

Pour la météo, le point à retenir est qu’il faut semer tôt et profiter de toute la saison de croissance.

En ce qui concerne les variétés de soya, Fred Below a mené des essais qui montrent des rendements pouvant osciller de 4,7 à 6,0 tonnes à l’hectare en modifiant seulement la variété.

La protection foliaire est capitale pour protéger les feuilles, en particulier celles du centre du plant qui sont directement responsables d’alimenter les gousses de soya. Il est intéressant de noter que 60 % du rendement provient des gousses du milieu du plant.

Le traitement de semence (fongicide, insecticide, nématicide) joue un rôle similaire et permet une meilleure croissance des plants et une meilleure émergence.

Le sixième secret, mais non le moindre, car il ne coûte pas cher, est un espacement des rangs de 51 cm plutôt que 76 cm. Il s’agirait d’un équilibre optimal pour aller chercher plus de lumière tout en permettant une ventilation suffisante entre les plants et ainsi éviter certaines maladies.

Une tonne de plus à l’hectare

En comparant la régie conventionnelle et la régie améliorée en fonction de ces six facteurs, les données du chercheur montrent que l’impact global de la nouvelle méthode est d’environ 1 tonne à l’hectare de plus en moyenne.

Si on doit choisir d’omettre un des facteurs par manque de temps ou d’argent, l’application de 84 kg de phosphore en bande de 10 à 15 cm sous le rang au semis est le facteur qu’il faut conserver à tout prix puisque si on l’enlève, on perd 0,36 tonne de rendement à l’hectare. Le deuxième plus important à conserver est l’espacement des rangs. On observe une diminution de 0,57 tonne si on revient à la méthode conventionnelle d’espacement. Enlever le fongicide et l’insecticide pour les feuilles fait perdre 0,21 tonne, tandis que se passer de traitement de semence fait perdre 0,17 tonne en moyenne. Il y a un certain effet synergique des six changements de méthode ensemble qui est notable, selon le chercheur.

linois. Cette …
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Do High Yielding Soybeans Need To Be Fertilized With Nitrogen?

Do High Yielding Soybeans Need To Be Fertilized With Nitrogen? | Corn Yield |

Are higher yielding soybeans running short on N? Do they need additional N fertilizer to ensure they are properly fed? A group of scientists at University of Nebraska examined 108 published scientific studies on this topic to see if any trends could be discovered,according to IPNI Plant Nutrition Today. Soybean yields in the studies ranged from 9 to 88 bu/A, and averaged 40 bu/A. Here are a few of their findings.

Soybean N requirements. The above-ground portion of a soybean plant takes up, on average, about 4.72 lb N/bu. This means that a 40 bu/A crop takes up about 189 lb N/A, while an 88 bu/A crop takes up about 415 lb N/A. The average concentration of N in the seed was found to be 6.34%. This works out to be 3.3 lb N/bu. So that same 40 bu/A crop will remove 132 lb N/A from the field at harvest, while the 88 bu/A crop will remove 290 lb N/A.

Sources of N for soybean uptake. Soybeans get their N from three sources: 1) N2 fixation by Bradyrhizobium, 2) nitrate and ammonium in the soil, and 3) fertilizer N. The studies showed that on average, 50 to 60% of the N in soybeans comes from N2 fixation. Normally, the remainder comes from the N in the soil. The maximum amount of N2 that can be fixed was considered by the authors of the review to be 300 lb N/A. When fertilizer N is applied, it can reduce the amount of N2 fixation. This reduction is exponential. The first 45 lb N/A can reduce maximum N fixation to about 190 lb N/A. Applying 90 lb N/A can reduce it to 125 lb N/A.

Soybean response to fertilizer N. Information about soybean response to N fertilization was reported in 67 of the 108 studies. Positive responses to N fertilization occurred in about half of them. The average yield response was 8 bu/A. A slightly higher average response of 10 bu/A occurred when low rates of N (less than 45 lb N/A) were applied after growth stage R3 (beginning pod). Typically, seasonal N demand peaks after this stage. When a subset of 12 studies with soybean yields greater than 67 bu/A was examined, 9 of the studies (75%) responded positively to N fertilization. The authors concluded that in high yielding environments, fixed N and soil N supplies may not be great enough to meet the N demands of the plant, increasing the probability that soybean may respond to N fertilization.

Conditions favoring soybean response to N. High yielding environments may have a greater chance of responding to fertilizer N, but at lower yields, there are still several situations the authors listed where responses to N were more likely. These included poor establishment of the nodule system, extremely low soil N supplies at planting, plant water stress, soil pH problems, low soil temperature, or an absence of native Bradyrhizobium resulting from a cropping history with infrequent or no legumes.

So do high yielding soybeans need to be fertilized with N? The answer appears to be that they might, but the yield response may only be marginally profitable. When soybean prices outpace the price of N, profitability is more likely, but such a window is usually not long-lasting. Therefore, N fertilization of soybeans still carries a financial risk even under high yielding environments. Local trials can help determine whether or not the practice makes sense in individual situations.

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How Do Corn Hybrids With and Without Transgenic Traits Perform?

How Do Corn Hybrids With and Without Transgenic Traits Perform? | Corn Yield |
According to the USDA-Economic Research Service in 2015, 85% of the state’s corn acreage was planted to transgenic corn hybrids with 68% of total acreage planted to stacked trait hybrids ( ). However, many corn growers in Ohio are interested in growing non-transgenic (non-GMO) corns. Some want to grow non-GMO corn to reduce seed costs associated with traited corn and/or take advantage of the premiums offered for non-GMO corn. Growers who have not experienced serious problems with rootworm and corn borer and who have controlled . . .
Eric Larson's curator insight, January 11, 5:03 PM

GMO seeds vs. non-GMO?

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How to Produce a 108-Bushel Soybean Yield

How to Produce a 108-Bushel Soybean Yield | Corn Yield |

Jason Lakey and his father Robert set a new state record last week for the highest verified soybean yield in Illinois with a 108.3 bushel per acre yield. This year was the second time they ever tried contest plots. Last year, the Lakeys came in second in a soybean contest with 92 bushels per acre, a high yield for the season. 

“When you’re going for a high-yield contest, you’re not always doing things that you’d do across the whole spectrum of your farm,” Lakey stressed. “The things that I think work the best are things that I do across the board.”

Here's some principles that helped them win this year:

Nothing beats good genetics.
“Plant a bean that has strong emergence, excellent stand, and good health all throughout the season,” Lakey said. He and his father chose a 4.1 maturity group variety of Asgrow’s AG4135 bean after researching its yield results. In his area, a 3.3 to 4.1 full season bean does well.

Get out in the field.
“The biggest thing we did was scout,” said Shelby Kaufman, an agronomist on the team working on the contest plot. “You have to be out in the field and know what’s going on. Be offensive and defensive.” Kaufman is adamant that spending time with the crops is key to monitoring growth and health. 

Early planting is key.
Lakey cites his early planting dates, April 20-May 10, as the one most effective decision made on the field that was used for the contest plot. Lakey planted his entire farming operation during that range, which he believes is a universally smart practice.

Use your resources.
The Lakeys relied on as many as eight people to help manage the contest plot and make informed decisions. Reaching out for advice and assistance is a best management practice. The Lakeys were also able to use Monsanto’s Climate Pro to focus on the most productive areas of their field, which eventually determined where the contest plot would be. 

Consider applying nitrogen. 
If you’re shooting for high soybean yields, think about experimenting with nitrogen applications. The Lakeys’ contest plot received nitrogen twice, once after R3 and again in R5. “We feel that the plant cannot produce enough nitrogen itself to produce the yields that we are shooting for,” said Kaufman. 

Keep the plants stress-free for as long as possible.
The Lakeys used fungicides, insecticides, and growth enhancers (stimulants) rigorously to keep the plants healthy, green, and free of stress. Stoller USA and Rosen’s stimulants were used on the plot, as well as a Fortix fungicide. The growth enhancers contained both sulfur and manganese. “The less stress that plant is under, the more potential there is for yield,” Kaufman said. 

Plan out your field.
The Lakeys plant both corn and soybeans in 20-inch rows. That spacing is optimal compared to 15-inch or 30-inch, especially when paired with good field drainage. The Lakeys conventionally till the field starting with a deep tillage chisel plow across the field in fall and followed by a field cultivator in spring. 

The father-son duo was participating in the 100 Bushel Yield Challenge program that is put on by the Illinois Soybean Association. The program’s top prize is $5,000 and other growers participating in the program have been seeing yields in the upper 80 to 90 bushel per acre range. 

“I’ve never envisioned our farm as any better than anyone else’s,” said Lakey. “Mother Nature smiled upon us. I could never have dreamed we would get anything over 100.”

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Bacterial Stripe of Corn Confirmed in Illinois

Bacterial Stripe of Corn Confirmed in Illinois | Corn Yield |

Symptomatic corn leaf samples from Champaign County in Illinois have been confirmed positive for the bacterium Burkholderia andropogonis (Pseudomonas adropogonis (Smith) Stapp.), the causal agent of Bacterial Stripe disease by the University of Illinois Plant Clinic. This has been reported to the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the USDA. The pathogen was identified by symptomology, bacterial colony characteristics and 16S DNA sequencing.

Bacterial stripe foliar symptoms unfortunately are similar to other endemic bacterial leaf pathogens of corn, such as Goss’s Wilt and Stewart’s Wilt. Lesions appear initially as lime-green to yellow diffuse discoloration running parallel with leaf veins. As the lesion matures, brown necrotic streaking is evident in the center of the lesion. Lesions may be 2-5 inches or more in length.

This is a new disease to corn in Illinois. There is little current or historical information available on impact to corn yields by this pathogen in the U.S. The bacterium is widely prevalent and infects a large number of plants, including Johnson grass, sorghum, rye and clover to name a few. It is reported that the disease becomes more severe during periods of wet humid weather. 

Vidaver and Carlson of the University of Nebraska reported in 1978, that the disease was observed in South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Michigan from 1973-75. Conclusions were that the disease caused no economic impact at the time.

Be on the outlook for this disease in corn next season. Be aware that symptoms of this disease may be confused with other bacterial leaf blights, so lab testing may be necessary to differentiate.

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Tar Spot on Corn Confirmed in the U.S.

Tar Spot on Corn Confirmed in the U.S. | Corn Yield |

Tar spot, a corn disease not previously reported in the U.S., was identified in Indiana this week. Samples submitted from an Indiana field in the Cass/Carroll county area were diagnosed at the Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Lab (PPDL) and the causal fungus of tar spot, Phyllachora maydis, was confirmed by a National Plant Pathologist with the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service in Beltsville, Md. This is the first confirmation of this disease in the U.S. 

Symptoms of tar spot begin as oval to irregular bleached to brown lesions on leaves in which black spore-producing structures called ascomata form. These structures protrude from the leaf surface, giving the symptomatic areas of the leaf a rough or bumpy feel to the touch.  The structures can densely cover the leaf, and may resemble the pustules present on leaves due to infection by rust fungi. 

Lesions with these bumpy ascomata may coalesce to cause large areas of blighted leaf tissue, which can be mistaken for saprophytic growth on dead leaf tissue. Symptoms and signs of tar spot can also be present on leaf sheaths and husks.

Tar spot can be caused by two fungi, Phyllachora maydis and Monographella maydis. To date, only Phyllachora maydis has been found in Indiana. In the areas where this disease is commonly found (Central and South America), infection by Phyllochora maydis is not considered to significantly impact yield, but infections by Monographella maydis can cause economic damage. Infection and disease development occur under cool, humid conditions.

We are still determining the impact (if any) that the disease may have in Indiana. At this point in the year, no in-season management is needed if the disease is present in Indiana fields. However, it is important to alert Extension specialists if you observe the disease to accurately document distribution in the state. If you suspect you have tar spot, please submit samples to the PPDL for diagnosis. More information on sample submission can be found here.

In the coming weeks, we hope to determine how this fungus arrived in Indiana and what, if any, measures need to be taken to prevent future disease outbreaks. The causal fungi of tar spot have not previously been reported to be seedborne, so there are no phytosanitary restrictions to this confirmation.  

For more information on tar spot of corn, please see the USDA-ARS Diagnostic Fact Sheet: Invasive and Emerging Fungal Pathogens – Diagnostic Fact Sheets.

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Soybean Foliar Diseases More Common This Year

Soybean Foliar Diseases More Common This Year | Corn Yield |
Source: University of Nebraska Extension By Loren Giesler, Extension Plant Pathologist With all the rains earlier in the year and continued wet condition, there are more foliar soybean diseases this year. Brown spot is the most common foliar disease of soybean and is prevalent across Nebraska. Frogeye leaf spot is becoming more common but mostly in the southeastern portion of production in the state. If one or both of these diseases are advancing in your fields, this will increase the potential return from a fungicide . . .
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Poisonous weeds found in Alta. canola

Poisonous weeds found in Alta. canola | Corn Yield |

A prohibited, noxious weed, extremely poisonous to livestock and humans was discovered in three Alberta canola fields.

Devil’s Trumpet, also known as Jimsonweed was found in canola fields in Westlock, Barrhead and Leduc Counties Aug. 27 and 28 while farmers were swathing canola.

With a similar seed size as canola, provincial weed specialist Nicole Kimmel said they are concerned about the possibility of canola being contaminated with the weed that induces hallucinations and is extremely poisonous.

“Our concern is most canola is used for canola oil and this is a poisonous plant. We are very concerned about human consumption,” she said.

Kimmel suspects farmers will find more cases of the towering weed in their canola as swathing progresses.

Devil’s Trumpet is about one and a half metres tall and towers over the canola. It has thick red-to-purple stems, trumpet-like flowers that are pinkish, purplish and whitish, and leaves with irregular toothed margins.

The seed pods are like spiked cucumbers and may contain 600 to 700 seeds per capsule. The capsule explodes once it matures, expelling its seeds.

Devil’s Trumpet is a prohibited noxious weed seed under the federal weed seed order and is not allowed into Canada.

Kimmel believes the weed may have come into the field through a contaminated seed lot.

“That would be my suspicion,” she said.


Blaine Woycheshin, manager of oilseed crops with Invigor Seed said they hadn’t heard about the weed in their canola, but will contact the farmers and Kimmel for more information.

“We will be looking into it,” said Woycheshin, of Calgary.

Kimmel is working with Canadian Food Inspection Agency staff to develop a plan to destroy the plant. Open burning of the plant may create poisonous toxins in the air.

Jacolyn Tigert, agricultural fieldman with Westlock County said a farmer found about 10 plants in his canola field while swathing.

“This weed is a serious weed. All parts of the plant are poisonous. It can cause death to livestock and humans at a low percentage,” she said.

Marilyn Flock, agricultural fieldman with the County of Barrhead said a farmer found about two dozen plants in his canola field while swathing.

“It looks like a tree out in the middle of the crop,” said Flock.

With 610,000 acres of farmland, county officials are relying of farmers to be on the lookout for the weed.

In a news release to local farmers, Westlock County staff warned the plant could end up in livestock feed if the canola straw is baled for feed and the plant is not pulled before swathing.


Aaron Van Beers, agricultural foreman with Leduc County said the weed has been found in one field in Leduc County. The farmer noticed two plants growing while swathing his Invigor L135C canola.

“It does stick out fairly well,” he said.

The farmer pulled the two plants and brought it into the Leduc County office for identification.

“It is a fairly distinct plant, especially with canola plants that are shorter this year.”

“If this is not an isolated incident it could be a fairly big concern. It is a fairly toxic plant,” said Van Beers.

Leduc County staff is asking farmers who find the plant to pull it and bag it and take it to the county office until provincial weed specialists and CFIA officials come up with a plan to destroy the weed.

Van Beers believes the weed seeds were likely in one seed lot. The Leduc county farmer will watch for more plants as he swaths.

Dan Orchard, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada said they weren’t aware of the weed, but have since notified other canola staff about the weed.

“We will wait until more information from the counties before getting too excited,” he said.

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Seed treatments prove worth in tough years

Seed treatments prove worth in tough years | Corn Yield |
PRINCETON, Ill. — This year has not been an ideal cropping year for a number of reasons — and for a number of crops — but one crop product has shown its’ value. 

“Whenever we have the most challenging conditions is when we see the most value of the seed treatments,” said Ronald Navarrette, technology development representative for Monsanto. 

Navarrette spoke at the Stone Seed Co. field day, in Princeton, Ill., for company district sales managers and seed dealers.

“It’s on the extremes where you see the most value out of the seed treatments,” he said. 

Navarrette said that seed treatments help guard against diseases that can occur, both in the early spring, when seeds sit in cool, moist soil, and later, when getting started in warmer but still moist soils.

“It depends on the disease. Early in the season we may have cool and moist conditions and there is a given set of diseases that happen in the environment early in the season so the seed treatments help in that situation. They also help later in the season when it’s warm but it’s also moist and that’s a different set of diseases,” he said.

Reducing Replants 

One of the areas where seed treatments can make a difference for farmers in extremely wet years is to cut down on replants.

“By using seed treatments, you are going to have, on average, 75 percent fewer replants. That’s just the protection that the seed treatments offer to corn and soybeans,” Navarrette said. 

Seed treatments also help maximize later-season yield potential. 

“We encourage people to use seed treatments because of the early potential for yield in corn and soybeans. We need to protect that so we can maximize that yield potential later in the season,” he said. 

But even with those benefits, Navarrette said not all farmers are yet on board with planting treated seed. 

“In general, there is a study conducted by Monsanto that shows that of all the farmers in the corn- and soybean-growing areas only 70 percent use seed treatments on corn and soybeans. There are still 30 percent who do not,” he said. 

Navarrette hails from Nicaragua and joked that the warm and humid weather wasn’t unusual for him. 

“It’s always like this down there,” he said.

Concerted Effort 

He talked about the amount of work that, every year and in plots like the Stone Seed Co. plot in Princeton, Ill., goes into making sure dealers and sales managers have the top varieties for their customers.

“I make sure that you get the good stuff,” he said.

“We take a lot of notes, we do a lot of notes early in the season. Plant height, any disease we might see in the fields, that’s the purpose of the seed treatment trials, to see if there’s any disease happening early in the season. Out here, we have untreated seed, naked seed, and then we have some control, then we have it mixed with different things,” he said.

Navarrette said the Acceleron seed treatment, available for corn and soybeans, is tested every year. 

“Acceleron is a working seed treatment trial every year. We try to tweak the formulation to find that sweet spot for proper insect and disease protection for corn and soybeans,” Navarrette said. 

Navarrette said plot trials also may include testing of microbials as part of the Monsanto-Novozymes alliance. 

“The purpose is to use Monsanto’s capabilities in research and development with Novozyme’s pool of microbials. There is a combined effort to do a lot of research to find out what are the microbes that are going to help us increase yield, by any application. It could be a seed treatment or it could be any microbial that’s going to help by making phosphorus or potassium more available,” he said.

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Earthworm Season is Here! (Crops and Soils)

Earthworm Season is Here! (Crops and Soils) | Corn Yield |

This week is a great week to explore your earthworm populations - the soils are moist and are warming up after the winter, and earthworm activity is high.
High moisture drives the earthworms to the soil surface. They don’t like sunlight but will stay near the surface on overcast days. Once the soils dry out in the summer earthworm activity will drop, after which we typically see an uptick in activity in the fall. Many earthworms die or hide at depth when frost season hits our state in December.

Earthworms are very important for maintenance of soil health in our agricultural systems. They consume organic matter and mix it with soil in their intestines. Casts are produced when they deposit their excrement at the soil surface or in their burrows.

There are different types of earthworms. Some of them live in permanent, vertical burrows (subsoil dwellers). The nightcrawler is the most prominent earthworm that has this life style. It is most active between 6pm and 6am. It comes to the surface at night, pulling straws, leaves, and sometimes even pebbles and small stones to the entrance of its burrow. After the crop residues partially rot the nightcrawler can consume them. Because it cannot easily use residues incorporated into the soil it is not common in clean tilled soil.

Other earthworms live in the topsoil. They make horizontal burrows and consume organic matter that is found in the soil. They are less sensitive to tillage, although they don’t become more numerous in tilled soil. They fill their burrows with their casts, so their burrows are not permanent like those of nightcrawlers.

Finally, there are earthworm living in organic matter or manure, like the red worms. These worms don’t thrive in soil. Some live in thatch or in leaf litter in the forest. Examples of these are red worms used to make vermicompost.

Earthworms are hermaphrodites; this means they are both male and female. They will mate by lying next to each other. They will release a large amount of mucus around their bodies while lying in this position. Copulation can last for an hour. Nightcrawlers copulate at the surface of the soil but other earthworms copulate in the soil. After copulation, a hardened surface will form on the clitellum (the thickened part on the body of the earthworm, sometimes called ‘saddle’). A tube will separate from the clitellum and move over the head of the earthworm, picking up ova and sperm as it goes. After leaving the earthworm, the tube closes, forming a cocoon which contains from 1-20 fertilized eggs. Only a few (perhaps 3 or 4) will actually live to form young earthworms. Earthworms produce cocoons throughout the year when conditions are fit.

Here are some common earthworm species that can be found in our soils:

Green worm (Allolobophora chlorotica). A topsoil dwelling species typically 2 inches long, moving mostly in horizontal burrows and coming rarely to the surface. Earthworm that has a clitellum (saddle) with three pairs of ‘sucker like’ disks on its underside. Has a yellow ring towards the head and often curls up in the hand. Greenish yellow form prefers very wet conditions, while the pink form prefers drier conditions. Can produce large amounts of yellow fluid from pores along its body when disturbed.

Pink soil worm (Aporrectodea rosea). Topsoil dwelling earthworm, typically 1-2 inches long. Also called ‘rosy-tipped worm’, it has a rosy pink or pale head up to the male pores. Its clitellum is usually orange. It usually has two or more whitish raised pads before its male pores.

Southern or purple worm (Aporrectodea trapezoides). A fairly large topsoil dwelling species (3-6” long). It is dark greyish brown in color. It has large pale swollen male pores on segment 15.

Grey worm (Aporrectodea caliginosa). A 2-3 inch long, pale earthworm that is easy to identify due to the different shades of color along its body. It is a topsoil dweller, living in horizontal burrows in the topsoil that it fills with its casts.

Red worm (Lumbricus rubellus). Earthworm lives in organic matter, like manure pads. 1-5 inch long, dark red colored earthworm with orange clitellum. Widespread but usually of low abundance in the soil. It may flatten its tale in a paddle shape. This species is used for vermiculture (worm composting).

Nightcrawler (Lumbricus terrestris). A very common earthworm in no-till fields. It lives in 3-4 feet deep, permanent, vertical burrows, coming to the surface at night or during cloudy, rainy days, where it collects crop residue by pulling it into its burrow. It has a bright red head and a large orange clitellum. It has a grey, flat tail. Its length can be 10 inches. It deposits casts on the surface.


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Help Protect Bee Colonies During Corn Planting

Help Protect Bee Colonies During Corn Planting | Corn Yield |
By Ohio State University Extension Beekeepers in Ohio benefitted from the generally mild winter of 2015-16. In Columbus we lost less than 20% of our colonies over winter. Spring is the only reliably good season for bees in Ohio. Colonies that survived the winter and new colonies brought up from the Gulf Coast or California are currently in the process of harvesting nectar and pollen from spring-blooming trees and weeds. Little honey will be made from this spring bounty, as most will be eaten by the bees themselves . . .
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To N or not to N -- that is the question

To N or not to N -- that is the question | Corn Yield |
To apply more nitrogen or to cut nitrogen rates is the question many farmers are likely facing this spring.
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Neonicotinoid seed treatments produce higher soybean yields in the Southern US

Neonicotinoid seed treatments produce higher soybean yields in the Southern US | Corn Yield |

Scientists from Mississippi State University have found that treating soybean seeds with neonicotinoid pesticides (imidacloprid or thiamethoxam) provides higher yields in southern U.S. states. The results of their study, which are published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, contrast with a 2014 report from the U.S. Environmnental Protection Agency, which stated that neonicotinoid seed treatments offered no economic benefits.

Led by Jeff Gore, an extension/research professor at Mississippi State, the researchers evaluated 170 field trials on soybean fields in four southern states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee) over 10 years. Neonicotinoid seed treatments resulted in yields that were 203 kg/hectare higher in Louisiana, 165 kg/hectare higher in Mississippi, 112 kg/hectare higher in Arkansas, and 70 kg/hectare higher in Tennessee.

"We believe that the neonicotinoid seed treatments did provide a benefit to growers in our area and that the EPA document did not represent our region of the U.S.," said Dr. Gore. "The data do contradict the EPA document to some degree."

The article notes that other studies (including the EPA's) were somewhat skewed toward farms in the northeastern or north Midwestern states in the U.S., which have lower pest pressures than farms in the lower Mississippi Valley.

In the southern U.S., farmers have begun planting earlier in the year in order to avoid problems with drought conditions. However, by doing so they face problems involving early-season pests, such as bean leaf beetles, white grubs, wireworms, lesser cornstalk borers, three corner-alfalfa hoppers, grape colaspis, pea leaf weevils, and many species of thrips. Neonicotinoid treatments help to control these early-season pests, and are valued for their ability to protect against insects that suck sap from plant leaves and stems.

In addition to the higher yields, the researchers found that economic returns for neonicotinoid seed treatments were higher in four out of the 10 years studied.

"Our results demonstrate significant yield and economic increases in some situations resulting from the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments in Mid-South soybean production," the authors wrote. "Because these benefits are likely the result of management of a complex of multiple pest species that usually occur at subthreshold levels individually and because those complexes are difficult to predict at the time of planting, at-planting insecticides (including seed treatments) are broadly recommended for soybean integrated pest management in the Mid-South."

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Learn More About the 7 Newest Corn Herbicides

Learn More About the 7 Newest Corn Herbicides | Corn Yield |

Curtis Thompson, weed management specialist, has compiled information about seven corn herbicides newly available for the 2016 growing season. Visit for additional details.

1. Acuron. This herbicide from Syngenta contains atrazine and three other active ingredients. It can be applied from 28 days prior to planting until corn is less than 12” tall to control broadleaf weeds such as Palmer amaranth, waterhemp, kochia and more. For use on grain or silage corn.

2. Armezon PRO. This herbicide from BASF controls postemergence weeds. It is similar to Armezon, but by adding dimethenamide-P, farmers also gain residual activity on pigweeds and annual grasses. This herbicide can be tankmixed with other corn herbicides and is synergistic with atrazine.

3. DiFlexx. This herbicide from Bayer controls a similar weed spectrum as other dicamba products, and has a safener with soil and foliar activity. Tankmix with other products to control kochia, palmer amaranth, marestail, ragweed species and Palmer amaranth.

4. DiFlexx Duo. “This is not registered as of Feb. 1, 2016, but registration is expected prior to corn planting,” Thompson notes. This herbicide adds tembrotrione, the active ingredient in Laudis. The combination of active ingredients can provide excellent of control of most annual broadleaf weeds, Thompson notes.

5. Enlist Duo. This herbicide is a combination of glyphosate plus 2,4-D acid as choline salt. Thompson says the recent history of this herbicide is a bit complex. In November 2014, Enlist Duo received a full federal label. The EPA later motioned to vacate the registration, but Dow AgroSciences reported on Jan. 27 that a court case denied this motion. According to Thompson, some foreign export approvals for Enlist corn hybrids, including to China, are still pending.

6. Resicore. This herbicide from Dow AgroSciences contains three active ingredients. Use pre with atrazine for control of pigweeds and most other broadleaf weeds, and use post with atrizine for control of most broadleaf weeds, Thompson says. It will not provide adequate control of most annual grasses, however, he adds.

7. Revulin Q. This herbicide from DuPont has activity on both grass and broadleaf weed species. “Best control will be attained if tankmixed with glyphosate, which enhances grass control, and/or atrazine, [which] synergizes mesotrione and enhances broadleaf control,” Thompson notes.

AgWeb has an online field guide with information on 74 significant weed species. Learn more

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National corn yield contest sets record at 532 bu./acre

National corn yield contest sets record at 532 bu./acre | Corn Yield |

David Hula of Charles City, Va., set a new record corn yield in the National Corn Growers Association Yield contest at 532.0271 bushels per acre. The previous record was set in 2014 by Randy Dowdy of Valdosta, Ga., with 503.719 bu./acre.

Hula won in the No-Till/Strip Till Irrigated category. There were five yields reported over the 400 bu./acre mark. They were all in an irrigated category.

“The contest does more than just provide farmers an opportunity for friendly competition. It generates information that shapes future production practices across the industry,” Brent Hostetler, chairman of NCGA’s production and stewardship action team, said in a news release.

“The techniques contest winners first develop grow into broad advances that help farmers across the country excel in a variety of situations. Our contest emphasizes how innovation, from growers and technology providers alike, enables us to meet the growing demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber.”

Lance Neff of Marshall, Mo., had the highest yield in the contest in a non-irrigated category of 386.7491 bu./acre.

Mike Kaufman of Dysart had placed third nationally in the AA Non-Irrigated category with a yield of 328.6876 bu./acre.

Tim, Dan and Joe Durick of Council Bluffs placed second in the AA No-Till/Strip-Till Non-Irrigated category with a yield of 317.7469 bu./acre.

The 18 national winners in six production categories had verified yields averaging more than 386.4 bushels per acre, compared to the projected national average of 169.3 bushels per acre in 2015.

The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 51st year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members. Participation in the contest was strong in 2015 with 7,729 entries.

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Tweet from @Tfarmandranch : We can change our soil!!!

Tweet from @Tfarmandranch : We can change our soil!!! | Corn Yield |

Muddy day get a shovel out! No-till with covers, no-till, vertical till. We can change our soil!!!

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#HeadlineAmp ears on the left. UT on the right. That's what a 23bu advantage looks like! #BASFtweets #harvest2015

#HeadlineAmp ears on the left. UT on the right. That's what a 23bu advantage looks like! #BASFtweets #harvest2015 | Corn Yield |

#HeadlineAmp ears on the left. UT on the right. That's what a 23bu advantage looks like! #BASFtweets #harvest2015 

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4 Tips for Avoiding Compaction at Harvest

4 Tips for Avoiding Compaction at Harvest | Corn Yield |

Harvest is underway in some parts of the country, and will soon begin for others. And while some regions are experiencing warm, dry conditions that are ideal for resolving severe compaction, if the opposite is true in your area and conditions are wet, there’s a risk that running heavy harvesting equipment will result in soil compaction.

Considering compaction can cost you 5-10% in yield, according to research from Ohio State University Extension, it’s a good idea to avoid it when possible. Here are some tips for doing so.

1. Use flotation tires or tracks to reduce surface compaction. Penn State Extension soil scientist Sjoerd Duiker says tires inflated to 100 psi, or iron wheels, cause high contact pressures and can result in surface compaction — which is compaction less than 1 foot deep. In no-till, he adds, yield losses from surface compaction can be quite dramatic the following year.

But don’t turn to tillage to remedy surface compaction. Research from University of Kentucky found that long-term no-till soils will recuperate from most surface compaction within a year due to higher levels of biological activity.

2. Reduce your axle load. Compaction that occurs greater than 1 foot deep is considered subsoil compaction, Duiker says, and it’s caused by axle load. If you go over wet soil with an axle load of 10 tons or higher, you’re likely causing subsoil compaction below 20 inches, he says.

This type of compaction is one to avoid, because research has shown that freeze-thaw and wet-dry cycles don’t remove it, and subsoilers don’t usually go that deep. (Even if they could, they wouldn’t be able to completely alleviate it, Duiker says.) He adds that research has shown a 5% yield decrease due to subsoil compaction that lasted longer than 10 years.

3. Check for ruts. If you’re worried your equipment may be causing too much compaction, scout your fields to see if there are ruts. Paul Jasa, ag engineer for University of Nebraska Extension, says if the combine and grain carts aren’t leaving ruts, don’t worry about compaction from the equipment. If a rut wasn’t formed, there was enough soil structure present to support the weight without causing additional compaction, he says.

4. Adopt controlled traffic. The first pass of tires causes 80-85% of soil compaction, Jasa says. So if additional passes are made on the same traffic lines, little additional compaction occurs.

While it will take some planning and maybe some equipment changes to implement a controlled traffic system, no-tillers who adopt the practice are seeing paybacks. Participants in Controlled Traffic Farming Alberta have seen 10% yield increases in some field areas where controlled traffic was used.

In an article from 2009, Iowa no-tiller Clay Mitchell claimed his machinery exerted 40% less effort on controlled traffic lanes. For more information on controlled traffic, check out our recent special report, “Blazing a Path to Profitability with Controlled Traffic Farming.”

What are you doing to ensure compaction doesn’t occur this fall? Tell us what you would add to this list in the comments below.  

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Fertilizer and liming practices for grain crops

Fertilizer and liming practices for grain crops | Corn Yield |

Farmers usually apply phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilizer and lime in the fall when there is more time and equipment available and soil compaction is less of a concern. This simplifies spring operations and streamlining planting. On soils with optimum fertility levels, field research has shown that fall applications of P and K would be equally effective compared to a spring application prior to corn and soybean planting. For winter wheat, all the P and K requirements are best applied at fall planting.

Dry fertilizers can be safely and quickly applied in the fall. Some tillage will help ensure nutrients are placed below the soil surface. This will help reduce stratification and lower the concentration of dissolved P in the runoff water. This practice is particularly important in areas close to rivers, drainage ditches and tile inlets. Runoff events are more frequent in late fall, winter and early spring, so incorporation of fall fertilizer is environmentally desirable. Although K is not an environmental risk, fall K fertilizer application on sandy soils with low cation exchange capacities is not recommended because of potential leaching losses.

The two most commonly available dry P fertilizers, diammonium phosphate (DAP) 18-46-0 and monoammonium phosphate (MAP) 11-52-0, contain some nitrogen (N). This N, although small in quantity, will readily convert to the nitrate form and potentially be lost to the environment before being utilized by corn and soybeans in the following year. Some will debate that this N will help to accelerate the decomposition of surface residues. For wheat, a small amount of N (25 to 40 pounds per acre) at fall planting is beneficial to early development.

Fall P rates should be based on a reliable soil test and realistic yield goal. Michigan State University Extension P and K fertilizer recommendations utilize a build-up, maintenance and drawdown approach. The MSU Extension bulletin E2504, “Nutrient Recommendations for Field Crops in Michigan,” provides additional information on this approach and environmental risks associated with P application.

P and K content of fall-applied manure should be taken into consideration to determine if and when more synthetic fertilizer is required. On average, 80 percent of P and 100 percent of K in manure will be available in the first year of application. On short-term rented land having low to average test levels, it may not always be economically justified to apply P and K fertilizer at the buildup rates. If fertilizer prices are high and resources are tight, a short-term strategy would be to apply only the crop removal rates. This temporary approach will provide adequate nutrients for near optimum production at a lower cost.

The soil test should indicate the soil pH and if lime is needed to rectify the acidity. Fall offers the best opportunity to apply lime as it provides more time to neutralize soil acidity. Long-term experiments in Michigan have shown that liming will improve nutrient availability and generate a good return for investment. Please refer to the MSU Extension bulletin E1566, “Facts About Soil Acidity and Liming,” for additional information.

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Differentiating Between Phytophthora Root Rot and Stem Canker

Differentiating Between Phytophthora Root Rot and Stem Canker | Corn Yield |
Source: South Dakota State University Extension By Connie Strunk and Emmanuel Byamukama, Extension Plant Pathologists Have you noticed some of your soybean plants wilting and dying out in your fields? Two diseases observed making an appearance in South Dakota soybean fields are phytophthora root and stem rot and stem canker. Phytophthora Root and Stem Rot Phytophthora continues to be one of the most damaging Dakota soybeans as this fungal pathogen (Phytophthora sojae) survives in the soil and in infected residue, causing poor stand establishment, as . . .
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RNA Spray Could Make GMOs Obsolete

RNA Spray Could Make GMOs Obsolete | Corn Yield |

As Scotland moves forward to ban genetically modified crops, Monsanto is developing a way to alter crops without touching their genes.

Through RNA interference, or the process of temporarily barring gene expression, Monsanto scientists have been able to stop the Colorado potato beetle from eating crops. Instead of modifying the crop’s genes, they’ve sprayed RNA that shuts down a gene the insects need to survive directly onto the crops. When the beetles eat the plant, the ingested RNA will eventually cause them to die through inhibiting the necessary gene. 

One challenge is confirming that every crop in the field is sprayed.

Antonio Regalado, reporting at MIT Technology Review, explains RNA interference further:

The mechanism is a natural one: it appears to have evolved as a defense system against viruses. It is triggered when a cell encounters double-stranded RNA, or two strands zipped together—the kind viruses create as they try to copy their genetic material. To defend itself, the cell chops the double-stranded RNA molecule into bits and uses the pieces to seek out and destroy any matching RNA messages. What scientists learned was that if they designed a double-stranded RNA corresponding to an animal or plant cell’s own genes, they could get the cells to silence those genes, not only those of a virus.

Other companies, all of which are hoping to avoid the controversy they face when they genetically modify crops directly, are exploring the genetic spray alternative to GMOs. These sprays can be created and applied quickly, providing protection if the plants are infested by a never-before-seen virus or insect. They could even be used to endow plants with advantageous, temporary traits. For example, farmers could spray RNAis that bestow corn plants with drought-resistance, saving a harvest during hot, dry weather.

Such sprays can only turn off genes for a few days or weeks at a time, so all efforts would be temporary. If a new set of insect invaders enters the field of crops weeks after the last RNA spray, the plants would no longer be protected. But the approach has it’s benefits, too, because the plants’ genes that were affected to help them survive in a water shortage would revert back to their original states when the water shortage ends. This means they could thrive in both conditions. In addition to that, if insects evolve to survive the RNA spray, the scientists could switch which gene they’re affecting. Monsanto is hoping to improve the sprays to last for months—some scientists have already been successful in creating these long-lasting sprays.

Since the spray target specifics genes that only that certain targeted insects have, it wouldn’t affect beneficial bugs that currently suffer from pesticide use, such as bees. This differentiates the spray from traditional insecticides, which are indiscriminate killers. 

Despite the lack of evidence of harmful effects of the spray, it will most likely face stiff opposition. Some worry the spray will be hard to control, and wind could blow it to surrounding areas. Others argue that the RNA interference might silence important genes in humans when we eat the crops, but no trustworthy studies so far have shown that to be true.

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