Six Secrets of Soybean Success & 7 Wonders of Corn
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Thinking in-furrow for improved performance

Thinking in-furrow for improved performance | Six Secrets of Soybean Success & 7 Wonders of Corn | Scoop.it
In-furrow application of a wider range of crop inputs is gaining ground to get the seed off to a good start. It will change the way you raise a crop in the future.
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U of I's Fred Below on Nitrogen Applications for Soybeans

ISA recently hosted a summit on the use of nitrogen in soybean production. Key soybean researchers and industry partners, as well as ISA directors and local ...
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New Genetics and Narrower Rows Could Lead to 300 Bushels Per Acre

Marion Calmer, of Calmer Corn Heads, talks about the challenges we face as we aim toward 300 bushels per acre corn yields.
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The quest for 300-bu. corn

Increasing corn yields to the elusive 300-bu mark is often fraught with problems. Fred Below, University of Illinois crop scientist, identifies seven factors...
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Could tropical corn silage work in the Upper Midwest? - Dairy Herd Management

Could tropical corn silage work in the Upper Midwest? - Dairy Herd Management | Six Secrets of Soybean Success & 7 Wonders of Corn | Scoop.it
Tropical corn hybrids may work in Upper Midwest climates as forage for dry cows and heifers. But with little research and seed availability, it’s a crop most northern farms may never see.
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Corn Growth Explodes - And You Really Can Hear It - Fred Below

Corn Growth Explodes - And You Really Can Hear It - Fred Below | Six Secrets of Soybean Success & 7 Wonders of Corn | Scoop.it
John Werries has experienced the kind of summer this year that brings to mind the old saying: “You can almost hear the corn growing.” Row after row of towering corn has tasseled and creamy silks wait for the half-million or more grains of pollen that will shower from each plant over the coming weeks. “That’s 16 around,” Werries said, counting the baby blisters on a cob pulled from a field near Chapin, Ill., last week. Slightly more than an inch of rain fell on his field Monday night, and so far, night temperatures have been perfect for the beginning of pollination.

 

University of Illinois crop physiologist Fred Below told DTN there’s more truth than fiction to the old adage. One really can hear corn grow. “On very still nights you can hear a popping or cracking noise,” said Below. “It occurs around the V15 growth stage and what you hear is the cell walls of the stalk expanding. Mostly I believe it is the tracheids (the specialized water-conducting tissues of the xylex), which are expanding.” Below noted that this period of rapid growth also makes the crop susceptible to green snap. “The stalk if rapidly expanding is not yet fully lignified.” Some hybrids are more susceptible to green snap than others, so growers are encouraged to take note of those that might have experienced problems this year. Patches of green snap have been reported throughout the Midwest after strong winds last week. Below said a rare ‘double derecho’ cut a wide swath through the Midwest last week and caused some green snap in his research plots. Ohio State University agronomist Peter Thomison noted in a recent news release that corn has exploded in growth during the past two weeks in that state. He reported that under favorable growing conditions, corn plants can grow nearly 3 inches per day between V8 (the eight-leaf collar stage) and V15. Variation in corn maturity abounds across the Corn Belt this year, depending on planting date and drainage. Hail damage has required replanting in some areas.

 

However, corn tends to mature in predictable growth stages that provide good clues to how the crop is faring. Thomison reminded growers that ear shoot initiation is completed and the tassel is initiated on the top of the growing point as early as the V4/V5 stage. Kernel row numbers per ear may be established as early as V8 (Nielsen, 2007). Kernel row numbers are usually less affected by environmental conditions than by genetic background. Corn hybrids characterized by “girthy” ears exhibit more kernel rows (about 18 or 20 rows) than hybrids with long tapering ears (about 14 or 16 rows). Determination of kernels per row (ear length) is usually complete by V15 stage and maybe as early as V12 (Nielsen, 2007). Unlike kernel rows per ear, kernels per row can be strongly influenced by environmental conditions. Kernels per row (ear length) can be adversely affected by stress (usually drought) in the two weeks prior to pollination. “Many of our late-planted corn fields experiencing excess soil moisture have not yet reached these critical stages,” Thomison wrote. “For most of these fields, loss of kernels per row on developing ears may be minimal and impact on potential yield limited. However, if N losses associated with ponding are substantial, they may result in N deficiencies that can lead to kernel abortion during early grain-fill stages and premature plant senescence.” -

 

 

Juliann R. Seebauer's insight:

http://agfax.com/2014/07/09/corn-growth-explodes-and-you-really-can-hear-it-dtn/

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Choose soybean seed varieties carefully to get greatest yields

Choose soybean seed varieties carefully to get greatest yields | Six Secrets of Soybean Success & 7 Wonders of Corn | Scoop.it

Terry Aukes knows his soybean seed. He evaluates soybean seed both personally as a farmer and professionally as seed department manager at Farmers Elevator Cooperative, in Larchwood, Iowa. “Match your choices to your toughest areas, and extract what you can in yield," he says. There is so much germplasm available to consider, and your choice should help you maximize each field's return on investment. There is so much yield variability, even among similar maturities.”

The challenge, says Fred Below, University of Illinois crop physiology researcher, is that many farmers do not pay enough attention to soybean selection. "They pay huge attention to corn selection, but seem to think they will get the same yield with soybeans regardless of the variety or maturity they choose; that is clearly not true.” You can increase soybean yields both through variety selection and better crop management, he says.

 

 

Below's research confirms farmers can better maximize genetic yield potential by selecting varieties that respond to increased management. Soybean yields can vary by as much as 20 bushels per acre, grown in the same location, depending on variety, according to University of Illinois Variety Testing results.

Just as with corn hybrids, proper soybean variety selection based on success in a management-intensive, high-yield potential production system is critically important, he says.

Below has compared full-season varieties in high-tech systems to more typical maturities in standard systems. He finds using a full-season variety in a high-tech system allows a longer period of vegetative growth for greater responsiveness to fertility and foliar crop protection. Of the 12 traited varieties with similar maturities from five different brands planted in 2012, yields ranged from 54.4 bushels to 66 bushels per acre in the high-tech setting. Longer maturity varieties averaged more than 3 bushels better than normal maturities.

 

Similarly, DuPont Pioneer uses local IMPACT (Intensively Managed Product Advancement Characterization and Training) trials to characterize varieties that will perform consistently on a range of environments in an area. Jan Jackson, IMPACT field testing lead for the northern business unit, says they test close maturity groups together; for example, a plot may contain late Group I, early and mid Group IIs. Generally, 40-50 variety comparisons are made per plot, and are placed in various environments to get a strong sense of performance against challenges.

"Yield differential can be sizeable within maturities," Jackson confirms. "If we compared only SCN-resistant varieties in a susceptible area, we might see a tight range of 5 bushels per acre difference. In areas without that susceptibility, yields from similar maturities might range by up to 10-15 bushels per acre.” Outside forces like cyst steal away yield potential, so select according to your circumstances, he says.

Aukes, the southwest-Minnesota farmer and seed-department manager, plants soybean variety blends. He planted WinField Precision Pak soybeans (PrPak) this season, a 50-50 blend of two soybean varieties of the same maturity. One variety is defensive and one is an offensive variety.

"Planting two varieties blended together addresses the variability in our fields," says Aukes. "In our cooperative's test plots, the blended seed has out-yielded each of the varieties on its own by 1-2 bushels per acre. That is quite a bit to me at current soybean prices."

Iowa State University research several years ago looked at different variety combinations blended at different percentage levels. "The premise is that two same-maturity varieties, given the unknowns of a growing season, can buffer the effects of weather and other stresses," says Eric Bartels, WinField product manager for western Iowa and southwest Minnesota. "Yields show one component is better than the other in any given area. But across the field, the synergies of the two bring up the field average to optimize all the acres."

 

Yield differences vary by field

Bartels says yield differences farmers may see planting PrPaks vary by field, as verified by WinField's Nationwide Answer Plot program, but he notes farmers with the most highly variable conditions will see the biggest bang for the buck. "That's where we see the greatest value, although every year and every field is different," he says. "This unique strategy can help you maintain yields on tough acres and capitalize on the highest potential on better areas."

 Fred Below is testing four PrPak blend varieties this season for yield. His work is part of his "Six Secrets of Soybean Success" multiyear research effort to help farmers get more yield by identifying better management strategies. He places variety selection third in priority order of the six factors, but says he could easily move the factor to No. 2 with closer attention to fertility needs in conjunction with variety selection.

"We know variety selection is most important when combined with fertility and row spacing," he says. "In the nearly 12-bushel-per-acre swing across varieties of similar maturities in six Illinois high-technology plots last year, fertility produced the most yield difference across locations. The high-tech system mitigates other factors, although the drought may have limited the yield swing in 2012."

He encourages farmers to improve soil fertility through balanced crop nutrition andfertilizer placement technologies to get the most out of the full-season varieties chosen.

"Soil fertility is the most overlooked component of soybean management for high yield," says Below. “Phosphorus, in particular, can be immobilized in soil and might not be available in sufficient quantities for modern soybeans. High-yield potential management systems (70 to 80 bushels per acre) remove as much phosphorus from the soil as does 150-bushel corn. Our work with corn has shown that spring placement of phosphorus in a band 4-6 inches beneath the row improves early plant growth and vigor. We anticipate a similar response for soybeans."

Other newer technologies – such as biological seed treatments that establish favorable relationships between the soybean plant and microorganisms – could also be a management strategy for enhancing uptake of critical nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen. Below recommends complete seed treatments, particularly for farmers who plant early in the season. Fungicide, insecticide and nematicide treatments added an average 2.6 bushels per acre to yield in 2012.

 

 Six secrets of soybean success

 

Fred Below, University of Illinois crop physiologist, identifies the following six management strategies as key to soybean success:

 

Use crop management to mitigate the negative impacts of weather-induced variations in soybean yields that you cannot control.

 

Improve soil fertility through balanced crop nutrition and fertilizer placement technologies.

 

Maximize genetic yield potential by selecting varieties that respond to increased management.

 

Protect yield potential and maximize seed fill by using foliar fungicides and insecticides.

 

Enhance seed emergence and vigor through the use of fungicidal, insecticidal and plant growth regulator seed treatments.

 

Use narrow row spacing for maximum light interception and optimized fertilizer placement strategies in corn-soybean rotations.


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Six secrets of soybean success : Fred Below

 Six secrets of soybean success

 

Fred Below, University of Illinois crop physiologist, identifies the following six management strategies as key to soybean success:

 

Use crop management to mitigate the negative impacts of weather-induced variations in soybean yields that you cannot control.

 

Improve soil fertility through balanced crop nutrition and fertilizer placement technologies.

 

Maximize genetic yield potential by selecting varieties that respond to increased management.

 

Protect yield potential and maximize seed fill by using foliar fungicides and insecticides.

 

Enhance seed emergence and vigor through the use of fungicidal, insecticidal and plant growth regulator seed treatments.

 

Use narrow row spacing for maximum light interception and optimized fertilizer placement strategies in corn-soybean rotations.


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Agronomy Journal - Article | American Society of Agronomy

Agronomy Journal - Article | American Society of Agronomy | Six Secrets of Soybean Success & 7 Wonders of Corn | Scoop.it
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https://www.agronomy.org/publications/aj/articles/0/0/agronj14.0435 Nutrient Uptake, Partitioning, and Remobilization in Modern Soybean Varieties

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Six Secrets of Soybean Success Webinar

Which factors have the biggest impact on soybean yield? How did those factors play out in 2014 and how can you prepare for 2015? Dr. Fred Below, professor of...
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6 Secrets of Soybean Success - Corn and Soybean Digest

6 Secrets of Soybean Success - Corn and Soybean Digest | Six Secrets of Soybean Success & 7 Wonders of Corn | Scoop.it
6 Secrets of Soybean Success
Corn and Soybean Digest
Fred Below, professor of crop physiology, University of Illinois, and A.J.
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Dr. Fred Below : Intelligent Intensification to Drive Higher Yields

By: Dr. Fred Below, University of Illinois 


Intelligent intensification of corn-farming practices provides an indispensable tool in the pursuit of 300 bushels per acre. Dr. Fred Below, professor of plant physiology with the University of Illinois, shares some tips on this approach to help farmers reach the mark.

“High yields don’t occur by accident; you have to plan for them,” says Dr. Below. “Looking at all the elements of growing corn will ensure that no steps are missed, and every opportunity to grow yields is taken.”

 

The powerful basics

Before a corn farmer dives into new technology and outside-the-box thinking, he should lock down the basics of production. Step one is simple: Plant more plants. Farmers striving for 300 bushels per acre should be planting upwards of 40,000 plants per acre.

Dr. Below notes that, if yield is a horse race, it’s best to lead from the start because it’s tough to make up ground once the race has begun. Selecting the right hybrid is one of the most important decisions a farmer can make: Should he or she choose a workhorse hybrid or a racehorse hybrid?

Workhorse hybrids offer steady yield across numerous locations and fields, while racehorse hybrids can really respond to additional management. Intensely managing a workhorse will likely yield only disappointing results. To reach full yield potential with high plant populations, supplemental nitrogen and more fertilizer, farmers need a racehorse hybrid that can respond to intensive best management practices.

 

Every nutrient has its place

The higher the plant population, the more good fertility practices play a significant role. Fertility is the foundation — if taken for granted, it will really hurt yield.

“Plants sense their fertility a lot earlier than people realize,” Below says. “Having the proper nutrition right from the start makes a huge impact.”

Providing balanced crop nutrition throughout the growing season is an enormous challenge. Corn farmers should consult with their local retail or extension agronomist to get soil and tissue samples that help them build a custom fertility program to match the needs of each acre.

“Large increases in yield come from the additive effect of combining multiple technologies that individually make a difference,” Below continues. “But,” he warns, “it’s not what you do that raises high yield, it’s what you don’t do that really hurts you.

“Banding and the advanced fertilizer technology offered by products such as MicroEssentials® SZ™ can help to evenly distribute the four key nutrients that are partitioned to grain in the highest amounts: nitrogen [N], phosphorus [P], sulfur [S] and zinc [Zn],” adds Below. “Crops acquire at least half of some key nutrients after flowering, so applying those nutrients to the surface of the soil in the fall or spring alone could potentially be a mistake.”

 

How one nutrient changes the game

Multiple applications of nitrogen, in particular, can minimize large potential losses, and ensure that sufficient nutrient levels will be available when the crop needs them most. The sweet spot for nitrogen uptake is between the V12 growth stage and flowering, roughly a three-week window that typically falls between the third week of June and the second week of July. Over that period, a 230-bushel-per-acre corn crop has to accumulate 150 pounds of N — over 7 pounds per day.

Side-dress nitrogen application, in addition to spring or fall application, is something farmers preparing to push yields need to consider. Nitrification inhibitors can also protect fall-applied N against weather-induced losses, and urease inhibitors can prevent volatilization of surface-applied urea.

Phosphate has been a bit of a surprise in Below’s research. In order to produce 230-bushel corn, a crop has to accumulate a little over 100 pounds P2O5, or roughly 250 pounds of product, over 80 percent of which is removed with the grain. Half of that phosphate needs to be accumulated after flowering.

“If a micronutrient is limiting yield, that’s a macro problem, and these nutrients are going to be of growing importance,” says Below. “Continually producing high yields can bring micronutrient levels in the soil down to dangerously low levels.”

Every great breakthrough takes a little bit of ingenuity, and the next great yield milestone is no different — it’s going to take some radical new thinking. “As researchers, we’re constantly looking five to seven years down the road,” Below concludes. “The potential of things like drought-resistant hybrids and underground drip pipes that can water and fertigate isn’t that far off.”

Intelligent intensification can offer every farmer higher yields, regardless of their maximum potential. Baby steps, and the sharing of new ideas and techniques, implemented and improved upon year after year, will result in higher yields.

 

Via Stéphane Bisaillon
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'Secrets' are out for ramping up soybean yields - Agri News

'Secrets' are out for ramping up soybean yields - Agri News | Six Secrets of Soybean Success & 7 Wonders of Corn | Scoop.it
AgriNews covers topics that affect local farm families and their businesses in Illinois and Indiana.
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Crop Physiology Laboratory at the University of Illinois

Crop Physiology Laboratory at the University of Illinois | Six Secrets of Soybean Success & 7 Wonders of Corn | Scoop.it
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7 Wonders of Corn - Introduction

Meet Dr. Fred Below, Professor of Plant Physiology with the University of of Illinois. Through his innovative research, he has discovered the seven most impo...

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