Growing Knowledge

Read the latest insights from our experts as they cover agronomy issues that matter most to you and your operation.

Besting Beans-on-Beans

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField
On this episode of The Deal With Yield®, hosts Joel and Kyle take a look at continuous soybean management. Tune in to find out which diseases to scout for and learn what it will take to reach 100-bushel beans. Also, listen for their response to an audience question about optimal row spacing and nitrogen application timing for soybeans.
Season 9: Episode 2 – Besting Beans-on-Beans

The Deal With Yield is a podcast series covering the issues that matter most in crop production.

Battling Pests in 2016

Answer Plot®
Research Team
Heavy rainfall during the 2015 growing season minimized insect problems in cornfields across the Midwest. However, in many instances, that rainfall perpetuated diseases such as gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight (NCLB).

Several WinField agronomists discussed the most prevalent insects and diseases for corn from the past year in the Corn + Soybean Digest article “2016 Corn Outlook: Diseases and Insects.”

Insect and disease highlights from each state included:
  • Ohio
    • Agronomist John Smith noted that the wet weather provided an ample environment for diseases like NCLB and gray leaf spot. However, farmers who made a fungicide application at the VT growth stage saw a largely positive response – some as much as 20 bushels an acre, according to Smith.
  • Illinois
    • Illinois growers saw two new corn diseases in 2015: tar spot, a fungal disease that looks like flecked bits of tar on corn leaves; and bacterial stripe, a viral disease that resembles Goss’s wilt and Stewart’s wilt. While fungal diseases can be managed through fungicide use, little is known about the benefit of using fungicide on tar spot, says agronomist Bob Beck.
    • Wet conditions during the season also resulted in crazy top, which impacted late-planted fields. Root and crown rot were also present, particularly in poorly drained fields. “Some corn fields were nearly drowned out,” says Beck.
    • Japanese beetles occasionally appeared around tasseling, causing some damage. Adult corn rootworms appeared late in the season and fed on silks, but that didn’t affect pollination.
  • Iowa
    • Agronomist Ryan Wolf assessed that disease pressure was higher than insect pressure in 2015. Disease pressure primarily came from NCLB, gray leaf spot and Goss’s wilt. According to Wolf, hybrid selection is important in managing Goss’s wilt, while fungicide application at tasseling is more critical for NCLB.
  • Wisconsin
    • Wisconsin experienced higher disease pressure from NCLB and anthracnose, according to Kevin Sloane, eastern regional technical seed manager. “While northern corn leaf blight shows up every year, pressure was higher than normal last year,” Sloane says.
    • Corn borer and corn rootworm beetles were the top insect challenges for 2015. Aboveground, corn borer problems caused stalk lodging and ear drop, while corn rootworm beetles continued to be a problem in Wisconsin, particularly in corn-on-corn fields.
  • Minnesota
    • NCLB presented the biggest threat in 2015. In this case, the disease appeared late after tasseling, and after farmers typically make fungicide applications. According to agronomist Jon Zuk, farmers that didn’t make applications at V5 or VT “likely suffered serious loss.”
    • Corn rootworm was hands down the number one corn insect pest in 2015, although corn leaf aphids were also present.
  • South Dakota
    • Goss’s wilt was the primary disease in this state, according to Wolf. NCLB also appeared in more sensitive hybrids, however, fungicide applications at tasseling provided a good ROI.
    • Farmers are planting more conventional and glyphosate-tolerant hybrids in South Dakota, says Wolf. He says he saw more corn borer pressure than in the last four or five years, which is primarily due to the traits farmers are using.
  • Indiana
    • Indiana experienced pressure from stinkbugs, which feed on seedling corn, and many farmers combatted this challenge with pre-emergence applications of insecticides. Agronomist George Watters expects that stinkbugs will be a growing problem in years to come.
    • “We had several foliar diseases come in: gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight and rust, which then became potential yield threats in many fields. By understanding a hybrid’s response to fungicide, many farmers were able to treat their most responsive hybrids appropriately to gain benefits,” says Watters.
Looking ahead to 2016 From an insect standpoint across the Midwest, Zuk predicts corn rootworm will be the primary corn pest in 2016, since farmers used fewer insecticides and planted less traited corn in 2015.

With regard to diseases, farmers should watch for gray leaf spot and NCLB, as inoculum from 2015 may add pressure in 2016. Farmers that saw foliar diseases last year should select hybrids to help resist those specific diseases.

For more information about corn insects and diseases from 2015, view the complete article on Corn & Soybean Digest.

Catching the Biggest Robber of Soybean Yields

Ryan Moeller
Technical Seed Manager
I get a lot of questions from growers about the yield variability they’re experiencing with soybeans. It can vary greatly from field to field or even within the same field. There can be several causes, such as too much drainage, which leads to dry soils and moisture stress. Or if there’s too little drainage, the result can be wet soils and, therefore, all too often, disease.
 
But it’s soybean cyst nematode (SCN) that continues to be perhaps the biggest problem in soybeans across the United States and Canada. Every year, the area affected by the disease grows larger. According to a recent North Dakota State University study, it’s the most damaging U.S. soybean disease. Check out this diagram to see how SCN is spreading.
 
After harvest is a great time to scout for SCN. Typically, this is a good indication of what the population will be in the spring. The disease is often found in parts of the field such as entrances, shelterbelts, and flood prone or low spots—where soil from other areas is being deposited. The plants are often stunted, possibly a lighter shade of green, and might suffer significant loss at season’s end. 
 
But SCN can also be present throughout the field in pockets that aren’t as easy to spot, and it can lay dormant for years in some cases. Often, the areas within the field where symptoms showed up later in the season, after the last major scouting activities, were where the disease had not been seen or noted during the earlier scouting.
 
Whether you scout by walking or riding through fields or use remote sensing technology, such as satellite imagery from the R7® Tool or UAV imagery, acting now is critical to protecting your yield for the next year.

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