Growing Knowledge

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

When Corn Becomes a Weed

Andrew Schmidt
Regional Agronomist
Volunteer corn plants are a nuisance for soybean growers because they grow quickly and are difficult to manage. Left uncontrolled, volunteer corn can lead to yield loss and can also serve as hosts for corn rootworm larvae. Timely herbicide applications are key to controlling volunteer corn in soybeans. In order to be effective, herbicides must penetrate corn’s waxy cuticle, which requires good spray coverage with the right products.
 
Here are a few tips to rid your soybean fields of volunteer corn plants that can rob yield.
 
  1. Reduce volunteer populations. Limit the number of dropped ears by protecting plants from insects and diseases that can promote weak roots and stalks. That may mean adding a fungicide or insecticide spray to your management program. Avoid ear and kernel loss at harvest by properly maintaining equipment and adjusting combines based on field conditions.
  1. Treat volunteers promptly. Corn can quickly outcompete soybeans if left untreated, leading to yield loss. A study by the University of Nebraska showed 5,000 volunteer corn plants per acre reduced soybean yield by approximately 20 percent.1   
  1. Use the right products. The waxy cuticle of corn plants can make them difficult to control if you don’t use the right products. Section® Three herbicide combined with StrikeLock® adjuvant from WinField United are an excellent option for controlling volunteer corn. Grassy weed herbicides including Section Three generally require the use of a high-surfactant oil concentrate for effective control. The addition of StrikeLock adjuvant helps the grass herbicide penetrate waxy corn cuticles for better coverage and control, while also providing industry-leading drift and deposition performance.
  1. Don’t skimp at application time. Depending on the size of the volunteers you’re trying to manage, you may need to increase herbicide and adjuvant rates to get effective control. Increasing the spray volume can help ensure you get adequate coverage of volunteer plants. Herbicide and adjuvant rates vary according to conditions, so consult with your local agronomist for specific treatment recommendations. 
Volunteer corn can be managed with timely action and the right products. Consult with your agronomist to learn about cost-effective ways to keep your soybean fields clean until harvest.
 
1. J. Alms, M. Moechnig, D. Deneke, D. Vos. “Volunteer corn effect on corn and soybean yield”. North Central Weed Science Society, 2008. Abstracts Volume 63

Don't Skimp on Soybean Seed Treatments

Corey Evans
Technical Seed Manager
Planting time is almost here, and you are probably in the midst of creating a planting strategy for your soybean fields. Decide what seed treatment you will use now to save time and headaches during the season.
 
Do your disease and insect protection due diligence
If you have to plant early into cold, wet soils, you will likely have issues with delayed emergence and disease. Using a quality seed treatment on your soybeans can help address this situation.
 
Warden® CX seed treatment can optimize yield potential and improve root health and plant vigor in soybeans by helping reduce disease and insect damage. In 2015, Answer Plot® Program results reported a positive response to soybean seed treated with Warden® CX seed treatment compared with an untreated control group. The treated seeds garnered a 2.1 bu/A average positive response.1
 
This seed treatment incorporates the active ingredient from Cruiser® insecticide to provide protection against seed- and foliar-feeding insects. It also contains three fungicides that provide multiple modes of action:
  • Sedaxane for Rhizoctonia protection
  • The highest rate of mefenoxam commercially available for Pythium and Phytopthora protection
  • Fludioxonil for Fusarium protection
New WinPak® varieties bring new opportunities
WinPak® varieties are a unique combination of two soybean seed varieties that provide an exceptional level of stability throughout the field, working to increase yield potential and reduce risk from environmental conditions. For 2019, the CROPLAN® seed brand is offering 35 new and upgraded WinPak® varieties in its Elite Class soybean portfolio, as well as 10 new standalone products.
 
Don’t risk loss
We don’t know exactly what spring will bring for soybean planting conditions. And we can’t always rely on the calendar to tell us when a seed treatment will do the most good. Be on the safe side and manage your soybean crop with a proven seed treatment to lessen the risk of stand loss from disease and insect pressure.
 
The temptation to save a few dollars on seed treatment upfront could cost you dearly at harvest in lost ROI and diminished yield. Talk with your trusted advisor today about what soybean seed treatment makes the most sense for your operation, and to find out more about the new CROPLAN® WinPak® varieties.
 
1 Source: 2015 data from 30 Answer Plot® locations.
 
Cruiser is a registered trademark of a Syngenta Group Company.

How Healthy Were Crops in 2017?

WinField United
Agronomy Team
Across the country, farmers experienced another dynamic growing season in 2017. From widespread drought to flooding rains, farmers dealt with environmental conditions that required in-season management adjustments to maintain crop health. Tissue sampling proved to be a valuable tool to help guide plant nutrition decisions. Farmers who conducted tissue sampling and analyses in 2016 may have seen different nutrient deficiencies in 2017, requiring them to adjust their fertilization plans in-season.

Nutrient Trends and Insights
Here are some nationwide nutrient trends revealed by tissue analysis conducted by WinField United in 2017.
  • Corn suffered from more nutrient deficiencies in 2017. Compared to 2016, corn plants saw increased deficiencies in key macro- and micronutrients, including nitrogen, potassium, sulfur, zinc, manganese and boron. The most common deficiency was zinc; nearly 82 percent of sampled plants were short on the nutrient that aids in chlorophyll synthesis and other metabolic functions.
  • Soybeans had a sharp increase in copper deficiency. More than 65 percent of soybeans sampled lacked sufficient copper levels to meet plant health needs. This is up 24 percentage points compared to 2016. Copper is a key nutrient for protein synthesis, cell wall formation and many enzyme systems. A majority of soybean samples were also low in potassium and manganese.
  • Wheat lacked micronutrients. Copper deficiency was widespread across wheat crops last year, with nearly 85 percent of sampled plants lacking adequate concentrations of the nutrient. Limited availability of copper in wheat can lead to aborted heads and yield loss. Two other micronutrients, zinc and magnesium, were more deficient this year compared to last year.
  • Cotton showed boron deficiency. Cotton samples were more deficient in boron this year compared to last year, with more than 65 percent of sampled cotton lacking adequate levels of the nutrient. Boron deficiency can lead to flower abortion and boll shedding, limiting cotton yield. Nearly all of the cotton tested was low in potassium, consistent with last year’s test results.
  • Alfalfa was short on calcium. Nearly 90 percent of the more than 300 alfalfa samples analyzed had low levels of calcium in 2017. Calcium aids in nitrogen uptake, nutrient absorption and it contributes to enzyme activity in plants. The majority of alfalfa samples were also short on magnesium and potassium.
  • Corn silage had deficits in manganese, nitrogen and zinc. Deficiencies were found in a greater percentage of samples for all three nutrients in corn silage this year compared to last year. Potassium, boron and sulfur deficiencies were also common in 2017. Corn silage removes more nutrients from soil than grain corn, so crops often require additional fertilization to meet yield goals.
  • Potatoes needed more zinc. Zinc and copper were lacking most in potato crops last year. More than 80 percent of potatoes sampled were deficient in one or both nutrients. Zinc aids in nitrogen metabolism and affects starch content in potatoes. Sample results also revealed a common shortage of phosphorus and manganese in potatoes.
What Does the Data Tell Us?
Plant tissue sampling throughout the growing season can provide real-time insights into a crop’s nutrient status to allow for in-season adjustments to prevent yield loss. Armed with this data, you may be able to remediate nutrition problems before the crop shows signs of stress.
 
While nationwide trends in crop health were analyzed and reported, individual field testing is the best way to evaluate nutrient deficiencies. Plant health is dynamic, and nutrient availability is based on localized conditions and management practices.

Manage Weeds With the Right Soybean Seed

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField United
Hosts Joel and Kyle discuss the importance of selecting the right soybean variety to manage weed pressures next year on the latest episode of The Deal With Yield. Listen for their review of new soybean technologies, how herbicide mode of action plays a role in variety selection and the importace of water preservation.
Season 10: Episode 7 - Manage Weeds With the Right Soybean Seed

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

Selecting the Right Soybean Varieties

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField United
On this episode of The Deal With Yield, hosts Joel and Kyle tackle soybean seed selection. Learn what variables influence variety selection, the importance of reviewing your field history and how planting WinPak® soybeans can mitigate risk.
Season 10: Episode 6 – Selecting the Right Soybean Varieties

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

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