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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 email@example.com.
“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.
« 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.
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 (http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/biotechcrops/ ). 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 . . .
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.
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.
- See more at: http://www.no-tillfarmer.com/articles/5049-tar-spot-on-corn-confirmed-in-the-us#sthash.sgiFIiDL.dpuf
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 . . .
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.
“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.
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 . . .
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."
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.
- See more at: http://www.no-tillfarmer.com/blogs/1-covering-no-till/post/5046-tips-for-avoiding-compaction-at-harvest#sthash.dQRMwDkp.dpuf
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.
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 . . .
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.
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.