Growing Knowledge

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

Make Spray While the Sun Shines

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField
On this episode of The Deal With Yield®, host Joel Wipperfurth and agronomist Mark Glady are back to tackle a question from a farmer about the role weather plays in herbicide performance. Listen for their insights on how to adjust management practices based on weather patterns, including which adjuvants to add to the spray tank.
Season 9 Episode 4: Make Spray While the Sun Shines

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

2016 Year in Review: Part 1

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField
Kicking off a new season of The Deal With Yield®, hosts Joel Wipperfurth and Kyle Reiner review some of the greatest challenges and successes of the 2016 growing season. Hear how various weather patterns affected planting conditions and in-season crop progress in different regions, what nutrient deficiencies were most common in fields and the extent new technology played a role in the size and quality of the crop. Joel and Kyle also respond to an audience question asking about the potential for excessive heat to hurt yield.
 
Got a question about your operation? Email hosts@dealwithyield.com for the chance to hear their response on the show.
 
Season 7: Episode 1 –2016 Year in Review: Part 1

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

Assessing Frost Damage

Al Bertelsen
WinField agronomist
The impact frost has on corn and soybean plants depends on the growth stage of the plant and amount of exposure it has to freezing temperatures. In the Midwest, a killing frost, which means corn stalks or soybean stems are compromised, generally occurs between the third week of September and the middle of October.
 
With various levels of frost damage possible throughout the harvest season, it’s important to monitor crops closely and harvest in a timely manner to protect yield and crop quality.
 
Frost Before Physiological Maturity
If corn and soybean plants are exposed to freezing temperatures before they reach physiological maturity (black layer for corn and R8 for soybeans), frost damage can negatively affect yield, storability and salability.
  • Storability: Corn and soybean crops suffering from frost damage tend to dry slower in the field and appear to be one to two percent drier than they actually are, according to many moisture testers. To avoid spoilage in storage, keep a close eye on these crops to ensure they have enough aeration so that condensation does not build up.
  • Salability: For corn, frost can cause softer kernels, more breakage and lower test weights. In addition, frost-damaged corn can have lower digestibility when used in animal feed and isn’t as desirable for milling due to reduced starch, among other factors. Frost-damaged soybeans often have less extractable oil, poor oil quality and may turn rancid faster due to the presence of green soybeans.
 
Frost Following Physiological Maturity
If plants have reached physiological maturity, frost does not directly affect yield. However, it’s important to evaluate corn fields for standability, especially for issues caused by stalk rot. Once frost compromises a stalk, any natural disease protection is gone.
 
In contrast, frost can actually benefit soybean fields if it hits after physiological maturity, because it can cause drydown for weeds in the field that create combine issues.
 
Many factors play into the impact freezing temperatures have on crops this time of year, including field variability, row spacing and length of exposure to temperatures below 32°F. For more information about protecting corn and soybean fields from late-season frost damage, contact your local agronomist or WinField representative.

Steps to Take After Late-Season Hail

Al Bertelsen
WinField agronomist
Any time hail strikes corn or soybeans, the amount of crop damage and yield loss depends on the growth stage of the plants and the severity of the storm. As crops approach maturity, the level of damage often hinges on the amount of leaf tissue that’s been removed from the plants. While leaf damage may look severe, if green tissue is still attached to the plant, it continues to provide photosynthetic benefits.
 
Farmers with hail insurance need to work with adjusters to assess losses; however, everyone affected by hail needs to get out into their fields and examine the extent of the damage.
 
Assessing hail damage in corn
Along with assessing leaf tissue loss, stalk bruising may have occurred which limits the translocation of water and nutrients throughout the plant and reduces standability. After hail damage, in late August to early September the pinch test can be used on the lower portion of the stalk to assess stalk rot. If the stalk collapses in your hand, cut the stalk open and check for stalk rot. If stalk rots are identified in a significant portion of the corn plants, you should consider harvesting these fields early, while the corn is still standing.  Universities report that hail-damaged corn will usually achieve physiological maturity earlier, but will take longer to dry down than non-hailed corn. Corn yield and test weight will likely decrease after hail.
 
Other damage to assess includes husk bruising that extends directly to corn ears. Damaged ears can attract insects like picnic beetles, which may also attract bird feeding, increasing ear damage. Also watch for signs of disease development, such as Goss’s wilt. While there are no immediate treatment recommendations for Goss’s wilt, a bacterial disease, this information will help with cropping decisions for next season, such as rotating away from corn in fields with known Goss’s wilt infections or planting hybrids with a high level of tolerance to the disease.
 
Assessing hail damage in soybeans
In soybeans, the amount of hail damage will depend on the timing of the hail; the amount of leaf, stem and pod damage; and whether you have indeterminate or determinate soybeans, which differ in their ability to recover.  Weed growth should be assessed after a hail event to determine if a herbicide treatment is needed, since soybean leaf loss from hail will open up the crop canopy, stimulating weed growth.
 
For more information about hail damage management, contact your local agronomist or WinField representative.  

Protect Yield in Wet, Windy Conditions

Glenn Longabaugh
WinField Agronomist
At this point in the season, heavy rainfall and high winds can have yield-robbing effects on crops, especially if issues aren’t addressed quickly.
 
In corn, actively scouting and prioritizing harvest order based on the following moisture and wind-related issues can help prevent yield loss from late-season storms.
 
  • Check for ear rot: With excessive rainfall, humidity and water can get into the corn ear and exacerbate several types of ear rot. All ear rots reduce the quality of grain and some are toxigenic. Check your corn by shucking back ears and looking for damaged or discolored kernels. If you see mold, discoloration or other symptoms of the fungal disease, harvest the corn at higher moisture and dry it with heat and forced air immediately. By drying the corn, you can mitigate some of the effects of these toxigenic organisms and protect remaining grain quality.
  • Test standability: Standability is often an issue in wet fields and makes crops highly susceptible to wind damage. There are several ways to test standability in corn.
    • I typically conduct a push test by bumping the plant at ear height and giving it a firm push toward the opposing row. I’ll push 20 plants and if four of those plants either break off or root lodge, then I consider that field in peril of wind damage and recommend farmers start harvesting that field immediately, regardless of what the moisture is.
    • Some farmers do a pull test to check standability. If the corn plant pulls out of the ground easily with one hand, it’s not going to stand very long and should be harvested as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
  • Use caution in the combine: When heavy rains come through followed by high winds, green snap or root lodging can occur. While green snap below the ear is unrecoverable, plants that have suffered root lodging can be harvested but may cause combine issues as the location of the plant and its roots are offset, sometimes by 10 to 30 inches. Keep a close eye on machinery to ensure the combine snouts get underneath these plants and result in the stalks going through the snapping rolls.
 
For soybeans, pay close attention to plants that are excessively tall and have large amounts of vegetative growth. These plants are at risk for lodging, which often results in pod abortion or poor fill. Examine soybean conditions closely and harvest as soon as moisture permits to protect yield potential.
 
Farmers facing severe flooding and storm damage from the Midwest down through southern states like Louisiana and Texas should contact their local WinField retailer to troubleshoot.

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