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Can Insects and Weeds be Managed with Conventional Corn Hybrids?

Some farmers today are finding that they are able to manage insects and weeds with conventional corn hybrids. But that doesn’t mean the practice will work for everyone.

There are several reasons why some farmers are choosing to go this route. These include weed resistance and declining populations of pests. To make it worth their while, however, farmers will need to employ rigorous scouting and pest management methods.

Agronomists will tell you that it is not just genetics that have the greatest impact on yields but rather the management of those genetics. And when corn followed soybeans, trait packages were basically the same.

Of course, not all farmers are ready to make the jump to conventional corn hybrids and demand for Bt corn continues to rise. In fact, two out of every three corn acres in the United States are planted with Bt hybrids. Why? Farmers know that Bt adoption positively impacts both yields and profits.

Finding the right conventional corn hybrid takes time. There are a lot of good choices and there are no clear-cut winners. It may take a lot of trial and error to get just the right mix of corn hybrids.

Crop rotation is an important aspect of a conventional corn hybrid-only approach, as well. In the Corn Belt, for example, rotation is an effective way to control rootworm. Even when there is a heavy infestation of rootworm, taking corn out of the field for a year, can eliminate it. This is not always the case, however. If volunteer corn in soybeans is not controlled or you farm in an area where rootworms have adapted to the rotation, the need for insecticide will remain.

If you are considering making the switch to conventional corn hybrids, you must have the necessary equipment and manpower to make the switch. Conventional corn hybrids are generally more labor-intensive, so it might make more sense to plant some Bt corn, as well. Another thing to keep in mind is that your management strategy is going to have to be more long-term. In other words, if you want to use the same practice year in and year out, conventional corn hybrids is not your best option.

Switching to conventional corn hybrids may not be for everyone but they can be a good choice for some. Do your research before you make the switch to make sure it makes sense for your operation.

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
A Brief History of Hybrid Seed Corn

Hybrid seed corn is so common today we hardly think about it. In fact, more than 95 percent of corn planted today is hybrid corn. Thanks to hybrid seed, today’s farmers are able to produce 20 percent more corn on 25 percent fewer acres than they did a century ago.

It was a geneticist from New York, G.H. Shull, who began experimenting on inheritance in the early 1900s. His experiments were the basis for hybrid corn and included observations on the reduction in vigor on inbreeding and the restoration of vigor on crossing. There were other experiments taking place at the time, as well, and the general consensus was that hybrid corn could not be achieved because of the poor vigor of inbred parents.

Open-pollinated varieties are maintained through mass selection. Windborne pollen impacts fertilization with no control of male parentage. Inbred lines are derived from a mix of inbreeding and selection. Inbreeding transfers pollen from an individual plant to silks of the same plant. When this process is repeated over several generations, the strain becomes stable.

In order to maintain only the superior hybrids, selection is practiced in every generation. Cross-breeding involves the crossing of selected parents. Single crosses are produced by two inbred lines, double crosses by crossing two different single crosses.

In 1918, the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station double crossed hybrids from four inbred parents. This helped to lessen the impact of poor vigor of inbred parents. Released in 1921, this male hybrid corn was the first to be produced commercially.

The early 1920s saw many inbreeding and hybridization programs. Since basic genetic theory was inadequate at the time, new procedures had to be developed. Hundreds of inbred lines were isolated and evaluated in thousands of crosses.

When corn hybrids initially became commercially available, farmers were still reluctant to adopt them. That began to change as demonstrations were held and field observations took place. By the mid-1930s, demand exceeded production and the hybrid seed industry was up and running. Since that time it has showed no signs of slowing.

While it is true that hybrids have allowed for an increase in corn production, they have done much more. Hybrids allow for efficient use of applied fertilizer. They also allow for resistance to a variety of insects and diseases, leading to higher quality corn. Finally, the uniformity in maturity and lodging resistance in hybrid corn have made large-scale mechanization possible.

 

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
A Resurgence in Cross Slot Seeding?

The phrase, everything old is new again, is quite common. And when it comes to agriculture, it often rings true. One of those cases is the concept of cross slot seeding.

Cross slot seeding uses a drill that combines low-disturbance planting with fertilizer banding or knifing closer to the seed. This is not a new concept and has been touted on and off over the years as either a groundbreaking concept in farming or a method too risky to employ. Today, thanks to research at different universities throughout the United States, the method is gaining favor.

This is a departure from a time when many in the Ag industry believed that knifing in fertilizer wasn’t worth the risk. The belief was that if fertilizer was placed too close to seed, germination and emergence would suffer and if it was placed too far away from the seed, it was no more effective than surface broadcasting.

However, the cross-slot drill is actually ingenious in its simplicity. The drill has two side blades that run alongside the coulter on opposite sides. These blades lift the soil to create a shelf on either side of the trench. Seed is placed on one shelf and on the other, fertilizer. Air-seeder technology with a press wheel patting the soil down, leaves surface residue intact. This protects the seed and conserves moisture at the same time. Research shows that as long as the fertilizer is within two inches of the seed, germination and emergence improves.

The design of the cross-slot design also maximizes uniform emergence which improves overall plant stand and health and, ultimately, yield. This seems to confirm what many Ag researchers have come to believe as of late—that emergence is more important than placement.

Using narrower row spacing for corn has other significant advantages. One is an increase in pollination. Since corn plants are self-pollinating, this leads to high yielding corn. And this is not a new concept. Years ago, corn seed often was planted in a checkboard pattern to boost pollination. This labor-intensive method of planting died out, however, when herbicides were introduced. While narrower rows may cause a drop in plant population per acre, studies show that there is little reduction in yields from non-uniform stands if the final population remains within 15 percent of its target.

The beauty of the cross-slot drill is that it can plant narrower rows at a lower price. Farmers can use their existing air drills and don’t have to purchase new equipment. What’s more, research shows that when the distance between seeds increases, the need for strict accuracy of spacing decreases.

While cross slot seeding isn’t spreading like wildfire, its popularity is beginning to heat up. And there is no doubt that farmers across the United States are beginning to take notice.

 

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
Preventing Cross Contamination During Planting and Harvest

If you are a farmer considering planting one or more specialty crops, it is important that you take particular care when planting these crops next to one another or near another farmer’s field. This will help to ensure that each specialty crop reaches its full potential.

One of the dangers of planting specialty crops near one another is that they may cross contaminate, impacting each crop’s ability to achieve its full potential. The first way to prevent cross contamination is to work with your neighbors and find out what they are planting. It’s simply a fact of modern farming—no matter what the crop—cross contamination can occur. However, maintaining the integrity of hybrids depends on lessening the likelihood of cross contamination.

Of course, it isn’t just specialty crops that need to be protected from cross contamination. Any crop, specialty or not, produces a higher yield when cross pollination is minimized. One way to do that is to plant seed corn in isolation, taking into consideration things like the direction of prevailing winds during pollination, roadways, creeks, ditches and waterways. It also is a good idea to plant of strip of a different crop around the specialty or primary crop to achieve proper setbacks. Inside the primary crop, plant a male row so that when pollination is taking place the field is flooded with the desired pollen.

Seed cornfields are planted with male and female rows in a particular pattern so that the pollen from the tassels on the male plants can be used to pollinate the silks on the female plants which creates a hybrid seed. De-tasseling silks on female plants is timed so that it occurs when those silks are ready to accept pollen.

Once pollination is finished, male rows need to be destroyed before the kernels on the ear of the corn are viable. This eliminates the threat of volunteer corn sprouting in the field the next year. Doing so will reduce the need for additional herbicide.

Cleanliness is a critical consideration when it comes to the planting and harvesting of seed corn, as well. While planting, planters should be thoroughly cleaned between fields to prevent seeds from one hybrid making its way into another field. The same goes for harvest time. Pickers should be kernel-cleaned and any kernel not on an ear destroyed.

Farmers need to work on their own and communicate with neighboring farmers so that everyone can maintain the integrity of their fields. Otherwise, the integrity of all crops will suffer.

 

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
Successful Weed Management in Corn Starts Early

Failure to control weeds can spell disaster for your corn crop. However, the timing of weed control is a significant factor in weed control that is often ignored.

The growth of herbicide resistance has led to the need for early weed control. And with farmers planting crops as early as safely possible, this means that weed control needs to occur earlier, as well. Weeds that grow too long in corn are known to hurt yields. In fact, even when all other factors have come together—a well-established stand, proper nutrients, sufficient rainfall—delayed weed control can spell disaster.

Corn plants do things initially that impact yield potential. Early in the season, plants are able to sense from reflected light if there is competition from other plants or weeds. These plants then react accordingly. Since corn grows best with lot of space, early pressure from weeds can lead to potentially high yielding corn to produce lower yields as corn grows taller and spindlier in an effort to beat out other plants and weeds for sunlight. While under-planting corn is a waste of space, overplanting also is discouraged to avoid light reflection from other plants.

The longer you wait to spray weed control, the lower your yields will be as taller weeds encourage smaller corn ear production and fewer kernels because of concern from corn plants over competition. Of course, delayed planting of pre-emergence herbicides isn’t always the fault of the farmer. Excessive rainfall can force farmers to hold back on applying herbicides.

Post-emergence herbicides aren’t always the answer either as rainfall can cause issues for these, as well. For example, rain can delay timely application of post-emergence herbicides which allow weeds to compete for a longer period of time. When an application is finally made, it will likely be less successful. Residual herbicides will then become critical for yield protection.

Controlling weeds at the seedling stage is essential. If these weeds seed, they can produce millions of seeds. Finally, you may want to consider rotating your crops as well as your chemicals in order to control weeds and reduce the chance that herbicide-resistant weeds will evolve. In the end, early weed control is the key to higher yields so you need to devise a strategy to control weeds and have some options should conditions force you to change that strategy.

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
Ten Ways to Enhance Corn Performance

In an effort to increase corn yields, many farmers have turned to boosting inputs. However, with today’s drop in crop net returns it may be best to focus less on inputs and more on ways to enhance corn performance.

Inputs such as fertilizers, row spacing, seeding rates, as well as preventative applications of things like biological stimulants, foliar fungicides and growth regulators are becoming increasingly cost prohibitive since the return on investment cannot be guaranteed. This is not to say these methods should be discarded altogether, but rather used in conjunction with other types enhancement methods.

Of course, there are several management practices that can be put in place to enhance corn performance. The key is to investigate these practices and decide which will work best for your particular operation. What follows are some practices you may want to consider.

  1. Adhere to seeding rate recommendations. If you are unsure of the recommended rate your seed dealer will be able to help you.
  2. Be economical with nitrogen. Consider side-dressing and an application method that minimizes any potential loss of nitrogen.
  3. Choose the correct hybrids. Choose hybrids that continue to produce high yields in a variety of locations. It also is important to choose hybrid seed corn that rates high for foliar and stalk rot diseases. This is especially important when planting no-till or reduced tillage.
  4. Employ pest management practices. The need for effective and timely pest and weed control cannot be underestimated.
  5. Enhance stand establishment. Adjust seeding depth as soil conditions warrant.
  6. Know when to plant. If possible, try to finish planting by early May. Dry soil conditions may allow for earlier planting, but it is better to plant late than to plant on poorly drained soil.
  7. Perform tillage only when necessary. The only time tillage is required is when there is a compacted zone or in the late summer due to dry conditions.
  8. Practice traffic control. The more heavy equipment that drives over fields, the greater soil compaction and lower productivity.
  9. Rotate crops. Corn that is grown after soybeans is likely to bring a higher yield than corn grown after corn.
  10. Soil test to adjust pH. Soil testing prevents unwarranted phosphorus and potassium applications.

Again, there are many ways to enhance corn performance. Employing one or more of the practices listed above will go a long way toward greater performance. It also is important to remain on the lookout for trouble throughout the season to prevent such problems from impacting overall performance.

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
The Importance of Monitoring Freshly Planted Corn When the Weather Turns Cold and Wet

There is nothing better than planting corn knowing that the weather conditions are perfect. And, as any farmer can tell you, there is nothing worse than when the weather takes a turn for the worse shortly after planting.

Imbibitional chilling is a huge concern for corn seeds that have been planted or are in the early stages of germinating. In such cases it is critical to give these seeds extra attention when you scout early planted corn for germination and emergence.

Imbibition occurs when seeds absorb water for the process of germinating. Imbibition of cold water can cause issues since cold water upsets the reorganization of cells during rehydration. The result is a loss of seed vigor, or worse, seed death. The impact of imbibitional chilling is worse when the soil that seeds are planted in is 50 degrees or lower than it is when seeds are planted in warm soil followed by a drop in temperatures.

Corn seed absorbs about a third of its weight in water during the early process of germination. If this water is too cold, trouble can start. Temperatures in the upper 40s to low 50s are considered the danger zone by most agronomists. One of the most troubling occurrences is that the cell walls of the germinating corn seedling becomes brittle and ruptures. Other problems may occur, as well, including:

  • The rupture of coleoptiles
  • Corkscrewed corn seedlings
  • Corn that leafs out underground
  • Seedlings that are more prone to pathogens
  • The death of seedlings
  • Seeds that swell but don’t grow

When corn is planted a day or two before a cold front that includes rain, seeds can imbibe the cold water. However, it isn’t the cold water itself that is the issue when it comes to imbibition. Instead it is the growth of the radicle root which is directly linked to soil temperature. For example, the radicle root of a germinating corn seedling will grow when the soil is as low as 46 degrees but the mesocotyl and coleoptile need temperatures to be about 15 degrees higher than that in order to grow. Without these higher temps, emergence can be negatively impacted, or plants may experience stunted growth. Therefore, if fields are planted ahead of cold weather, it is critical to monitor those fields to determine whether they are growing normally.

It is important to keep in mind that cold soil or imbibitional chilling issues often only impact a small area of soil or particular corn hybrids. If the damage is more widespread, replanting may be necessary.

Thankfully, most of today’s corn hybrids are durable and improved genetics allow them to withstand a great deal of stress. Advanced fungicide and insecticide seed treatments also increase the chances of a healthy stand of corn.

 

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
Are Soybean Seed Treatments Worth the Investment?

Seed treatments are one of the fast-growing segments of crop production and protection today, with most of the seed treatment decisions made on soybean acres. However, deciding what seed treatments—if any—will be the most beneficial for a particular operation can be challenging.

One reason deciding on treatments can be so difficult has to do with the sheer number of available choices. The many choices include everything from biologicals to fungicides to growth promoters to inoculants. Thankfully, a decision can be made very close to planting season since seed dealers are able to customize these treatments on-site. This means that you can use your most up-to-date field agronomic issues, soil condition and weather forecasts to make as informed decision as possible.

Comparing the risk of seed treatments versus the reward of these treatments is probably the most significant consideration when it comes to seed treatments. Choosing whether or not to use seed treatments can be difficult and must be based on factors such as affordability. It is paramount, then, to carefully assess whether you truly need seed treatments to manage risk.

Choosing not to use seed treatments can be risky, as well. After all, you need to decide when you feel comfortable enough that any risk factors are remote enough to forgo seed treatment. For example, do current soil and weather conditions signal rapid emergence and strong growth following planting? If so, then seed treatments are unlikely to be worth the expense. Likewise, delayed planting that carries into warm and well-drained soil also may signal that seed treatments are unnecessary. On the other hand, cold spells or significant rainfall can indicate the need to protect your seed investment with treatments.

Regardless of the amount and type of information you have, when it comes time to decide on whether or not to use seed treatments, or which seed treatments to use, there will never be absolutes. The benefits and risks for your particular operation will need to be carefully weighed and, in the end, only you will be able to make the final decision. The key is to assess all of the factors and then decide if seed treatments are worth the investment.

 

 

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
The Significance of Breeding on Corn Hybrids

When it comes to a dairy operation’s bottom line, the importance of a high-quality forage as the basis of the total mixed ration (TMR) cannot be underestimated. In light of this fact, it is important to always keep in mind the effect breeding has on a corn hybrid.

In general, grain and silage hybrids have opposite characteristics. This should come as no surprise since they are bred for different purposes. Corn silage hybrids are bred for total plant silage characteristics while dual purpose hybrids are bred for total grain characteristics. In other words, if you want to grow corn for grain choose a grain hybrid. For silage, a hybrid specifically bred for silage.

The majority of corn acres are used to grow grain. Therefore, a grain hybrid for this purpose must have durable kernels that do not break apart easily, especially during combining, elevating and shipping. They also must dry quickly, or the cost of mechanical drying will make them cost-prohibitive.

The most successful breeders choose grain hybrids that have stiff stalks that last late into the season and a high ear placement to make combining easier. Since kernel integrity is the name of the game, these characteristics will be the difference between profit and loss.

Since dual purpose hybrids are bred for grain, they do not make great silage. This comes down to two factors: fiber and starch. The ideal grain hybrid is bred to stand up to the elements until late into the harvest season. This means its stalks must be stiff and extremely solid and the position of its ear must be high on the stalk—both of which reduce fiber digestibility.

When it comes to starch, keep in mind that when a grain hybrid reaches silage maturity, its kernels dry fast and become extremely tough. This results in a narrow window for it to be harvested as silage. This is further complicated by the fact that when its kernels reach the appropriate moisture level for silage, the plants are too green and wet for the bunker. If the plant is harvested at that time, the kernels will be hard and dry. And while they may contain high starch levels, they will likely remain intact or break into large pieces when eaten by cows. This makes the starch useless in the rumen for milk production.

Breeding for silage involves a much different process than breeding for grain. The ultimate goal of a corn silage hybrid is to produce a hearty, digestible crop that promotes rumination and produces high quality milk when mixed into a TMR and fed to a lactating cow.

Unlike grain hybrids, the ideal silage will have a high total plant yield of digestible fiber and starch and an extended harvest window that allows it to dry to the correct moisture level and stay there. It also will have adequate sugars to promote fermentation and a relatively short storage period to save space and reduce dry matter loss.

 

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
Popularity of Drought Tolerant Seed Corn Spreading Beyond the Cornbelt

Drought used to be an issue only for the arid western regions, but more and more, drought is impacting the entire Corn Belt and beyond. In light of this fact, many agricultural experts recommend that all farmers plant at least some of their acres to drought tolerant hybrids.

One option is Artesian corn hybrids. The beauty of Artesian hybrids is that they conserve water and sustain yields when there are drought conditions, but also meet or exceed the yields of comparable hybrids when conditions are normal.

Research shows that during seasons when available water is limited, Artesian hybrids demonstrate a nearly 12 percent yield advantage over non-Artesian hybrids. What’s more, farmers across the nation are beginning to see the benefit of these hybrids’ water optimization, regardless of the weather conditions. Other benefits of Artesian hybrids are late-season stay-green that result in better grain quality, better standability and higher test weights.

Of course, drought resistant hybrids were initially designed for the western Corn Belt which is why these hybrids are more popular in this area and many farmers in the other parts of the country are unfamiliar with these types of hybrids. That is likely to change since the latest hybrids are designed for more disease resistance and improved water use, making them attractive to farmers across the United States.

Still, not all farmers are interested in giving drought tolerant seed corn a try. In. such cases, education is the key since these farmers may not be aware of all they these hybrids have to offer. They also may be under the mistaken assumption that they are only for farmers who are concerned specifically with drought. However, water issues come in different forms. For example, farmers in the central and eastern portions of the Cornbelt deal with variable amounts of rainfall which can negatively impact yields. Variable moisture levels in soil also prevent corn crops from using water as effectively as possible.

Such farmers may be surprised to learn that the drought tolerance and water optimization that comes with Artesian hybrids can go a long way toward improving their operations—no matter where they live. For example, Artesian hybrids have been shown to perform well season after season in tough conditions other than just droughts. Artesian hybrids also can help crops optimize the use of available water at all stages of plant growth. Finally, these hybrids can be combined with the best insect control and herbicide-tolerant traits available.

 

 

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
When it Comes to Soybean Variety Selection, Information is the Key to Success

It would be nice if soybean varieties were ranked by how well they would perform in a particular field and farmers could simply choose the varieties that ranked the highest. Instead, the soybean variety selection process is much more complicated, especially when you consider that variety selection is a key component in pest management.

Unfortunately, no pest scouting or management techniques have the power to improve the yield potential of soybeans. Yes, these practices will help varieties to perform better by reducing loss from pathogens, pests and other factors but yield potential is equally, if not more, important to farmers. And rightly so.

Pest resistance is critical to a successful yield. But ask farmers if they would be willing to choose a low-yield soybean variety based on its pest resistance and the answer would be a resounding no.

Soybean variety selection should never be based on how well a line did in the past. Instead it should be based on how it is predicted to do in the future. And those predictions should come from multi-environmental trial averages. Without this type of information, a successful crop is unlikely.

When you choose varieties based on a single location, all you will know is how a particular variety performed in a particular environment. And “environment” is an exceptionally broad term, encompassing everything from soil type to weather to pests to pathogens. Because of this, the same results can never be duplicated.

Your best bet, then, is to select a variety that performs well in multiple environments. This information will be available in reports that show averages over time and in varying locations.

In the end, the best variety selections will come down to two elements: high yield and risk management. Yield is the simple part. Risk management is much more complex as it has to do with everything from how many varieties you select, the maturities of these varieties, defense traits, seed treatments and acres planted.

It is easy to become overwhelmed when it comes to assessing risk. However, if you adhere to the following guidelines, you should feel confident in your final soybean variety selection:

  1. Use multiple-location data to make predictive selection decisions.
  2. Sort your data in terms of yield and make initial selections based on yield and appropriate maturity.
  3. Once you have your initial selections, pare those down by lines with the desired mix of defensive traits.

In the end, it all comes to down to having as much reliable information as you can get your hands on. Once you have done your due diligence you can be confident that you did all that you could to select the best soybean variety possible.

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
The High Cost of Failing to Plant Certified Small Grain Seed

In an effort to save money on small grain seed costs, many farmers will reserve seed from an initial crop and use that reserved seed for the next few years. While there is no arguing that this will save money on annual seed costs, that is where the savings end.

Annual seed costs are just a small part of the equation when it comes to a profitable small grain crop. Further, what is saved in seed costs likely will cost farmers in a variety of other ways, including lower yields and decreased profits. Purity issues also will negatively impact yields down the line.

Planting certified seeds comes with the peace of mind of knowing that your seed has been adequately treated. While it is true that seed treatment can be performed by a farmer, this type of treatment simply cannot compete with professionally treated seed.

There are several other reasons that experts recommend planting certified seed every year. Here are some of the most important:

  1. Return on investments. Perhaps the most compelling argument for planting certified seed year in and year out is the fact that doing so gives you the best chance at a quality, high-yield crop. If you are going to invest time and resources into a small grain crop, why risk all of it on a seed that might not perform the way it should?
  2. Certification. Certified seed means that the seed you purchase meets limitations on the amount of weed and other types of crop seed. In other words, your seed is clean.
  3. Seed purity. Certified seed is pure seed because it must meet high standards for varietal purity. Therefore, the crop you want to plant is the variety you are planting.
  4. Identity and traceability. End-users often require specific varieties. Certified seed provides proof of seed identity. Further, many markets demand that crops are able to be verified. The documentation that accompanies certified seed allows you to prove that you are selling the product you claim to be selling.
  5. Quality assurance. Certified seed must meet quality requirements. When you purchase certified seed, you can rest easier knowing that it has been inspected in the field and the processing plant.

Farmers face tight margins every year. And while cutting corners can be tempting, and sometimes even make good sense, failing to plant certified seeds is never worth the risk.

 

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
Careful Management Key to Reducing Risk of Planting Soybeans after Soybeans

Planting soybeans in fields that were planted to soybeans the previous year is not generally recommended. The best-case scenario for producers who do so is a yield loss of about 5 percent compared to soybeans planted after corn. In many cases, however, the yield loss for soybeans after soybeans can reach 20 percent or more.

Disease, insects and plant stress can all lead to yield loss. Therefore, if a producer is going to plant soybeans after soybeans it is important that the benefits of doing so are likely to exceed the increased risk of high yield loss.

Short-term profitability is a driving force behind many farmers’ decision to plant soybeans in the same field for subsequent years, but it is important to factor in how this decision may impact long-term profitability. Data continues to show that crop rotation for soybeans is highly beneficial. If, after careful consideration, you have decided to plant soybeans after soybeans, it is important that you manage risk as much as possible. The following information will help you to do just that:

  1. Plant different varieties of soybeans. Planting the same variety of soybeans each year will expose the weaknesses within that variety. Planting significantly different varieties will help to shield against disease loss.
  2. Be aware of altered pest complexes. Planting soybeans after soybeans will alter the pest complexes in your fields and these alterations will likely take years to reverse. Cover crops are unable to remedy these alterations.
  3. Get ahead of disease problems. It is critical that you scout your fields thoroughly, so you stay on top of any potential disease issues and incorporate fungicides and insecticides. You will want to use a seed treatment at the max a.i. fungicide rate. You also will want to use a pre-emergence herbicide. Keep in mind that any weed escapes are likely to increase when planting soybeans after soybeans.
  4. Test for soybean cyst nematode (SCN). Always select a SCN-resistant variety as SCN flourishes in long-term soybean cropping systems.
  5. Consider seeding rates. If white mold was a problem, reduce the seeding rates of your fields.
  6. Take soil samples. When soybeans are rotated with well-fertilized corn, carryover fertilizers are often relied upon. When soybeans are not rotated in this manner additional fertilizer may be required, especially one with potassium.

 

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
Seven Tips for a Successful Corn Planting Season

Corn planting season will be here before you know it and even a modest number of extra bushels can make a big difference to a farmer’s bottom line. In light of this fact, farmers take great care to make sure they are doing everything in their power to push their yields as high as possible.

Even the most seasoned farmers, however, can overlook a thing or two. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of the seven most important considerations when it comes to corn planting. So take a look to ensure that you are prepared as possible.

  1. Don’t rush it. If the soil is ready, and mother nature is smiling upon your fields, planting early can pay off. However, don’t rush. Wet soil is always a good reason to put off planting. The last thing you want to do is replant.  The yield potential of earlier maturing hybrids have improved greatly, supporting a delayed planting if conditions are not good.
  2. Finish on time. Barring any significant weather patterns, you should try to finish corn planting by the middle of May. This will allow you to take full advantage of longer days and more sunlight.
  3. Avoid soil compaction. Significant soil compaction can take years to recover from. As much as possible, reduce traffic on fields and limit the number of trips you take across those fields.
  4. Consider plant depth. When planting corn, it is always better to plant too deep than too shallow. It also is important to plant into moist soil. Your seedbed is critical because plants that emerge even a day or two later than others may never catch up.
  5. Mind your speed. There is no need to rush when planting and doing so could lead to replanting, negating the time saved by hurrying in the first place. Your planter needs consistent down force across all field conditions.
  6. Space it out. Keep a close eye on the seed spacing of each row planted. Plants that are too close together are less likely to achieve their full potential.
  7. Choose the right hybrids. When choosing hybrid seed corn, make sure you select hybrids with cold tolerance, exceptional seedling emergence, vigor, as well as genetics suited for the field environment. To hit your target seeding rate you should employ the use of uniformly graded seed.

It is never too early to think about how to make the upcoming planting season your best. By employing all of these tips, you can do just that!

 

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
How to Choose the Right Corn Hybrid

Farmers who select seed corn that best matches the soil in their fields can expect to see up to a 50-bushel-per-acre increase in yield, according to researchers. The best part? This increased yield comes without added input costs.

Of course, choosing the correct hybrid can be a difficult task, especially in light of the fact that there are more than 500 different corn hybrids available. Further, hybrids are cycling through faster than ever before.

Many researchers believe that evaluating soil types is a critical step in the complicated hybrid-selecting process. They say the key is to pay close attention to how particular corn varieties perform on certain acres of a farm by breaking fields into zones.

Once zones have been set, it is easier to see how particular varieties performed in different fields, environments and in light of specific practices such as crop rotation. It also helps to spread risk because there is a balance between hybrids with top-end yields and those that require late-season defensiveness or intactness.

Some farmers are reluctant to use this variable-rate seeding method, citing the difficulty of defining zones and having to choose the correct hybrid seed corn based on those zones. They also say that no two years are alike in terms of weather so what works in one zone one year might not work the same way the next.

These farmers believe it makes more sense to plant an entire field at what they believe will be the optimal rate for that field. At that point they could, for example, make one round down the center of an entire field and increase the population by a certain percentage. Any change detected on a yield map would mean raising the population for the whole field the next year, saving a great deal of time and effort while still getting an optimum yield.

No matter how farmers decide to proceed with seed selection, there are some basic principles that should always be adhered to.

  1. Consider data from multiple locations. Farmers should utilize data from across the country when it comes to seed selection. Unfortunately, many farmers focus only on their individual operation, causing them to miss out on a lot of valuable information.
  2. Continue to evaluate. Just because a hybrid has performed well in the past, it doesn’t mean it is going to continue to do so. Be wary of choosing a hybrid based only on its reputation.
  3. Focus on consistency. If a hybrid underperforms, find out why. Things like disease or soil types can play a part in underperforming hybrids
  4. Keep an eye on the price tag. More expensive hybrids don’t always mean higher yields. Make sure that the extra bushels you expect to see from a much more expensive hybrid will allow you to turn a profit on those extra bushels.

 

 

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By:   TERNING SEEDS
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