2018 Planting Season Weather In Review
2018 was another interesting year for the western corn belt. In most areas we started the planting season with normal to above normal soil moisture which brought along planting delays and acres that were prevented to plant. Then we proceeded into the growing season and the rain continued. We saw areas of flooding and drowned out crops. Rain accumulations during the growing season were 20%+ more than the total annual rain fall. The rain brought other weather concerns besides the saturated soils, the lack of sunlight. We also saw a period of time that added stress to young seedlings, much above normal temperatures in early June added a compounding affect to plants growing in saturated and possibly compacted soils.
The Disease Triangle
Environment – Mother nature created an idea environment for fungi, bacteria and many other pathogens to grow in parts of our footprint. Rain created water and high humidity. Early temperatures were hot and most of the growing season we had warm evenings. The saturated soils caused less mineralization of nutrients and leaching of nitrogen.
Pathogen – Every region has a host of pathogens sitting idle waiting for the perfect environment to have the opportunity to attack a host. Insect pressure and adverse weather help create entry points for the pathogen to enter the host. Some of the pathogens include bacteria, fungi, mycoplasmas, spiroplasmas and virus.
Host – The crop is the host for these pathogens and are stressed from the environment. Each hybrid and variety are susceptible and resistant to many pathogens. With the extreme weather in some regions even host with some degree of resistance contracted the pathogen because of the additional stress the host was put under.
Identifying 5 Most Common Ear Molds
Aspergillus Ear Rot
Most severe in drought conditions (especially during pollination and grain fill), extreme heat or where insects have damaged ears.
Diplodia Ear Rot
Initially appears at the base of the ear and works its way to the tip. Damage from insects such as WBCW and ECB often provides an entry point for infection. Diplodia is favored by wet weather during grain fill and is usually more severe in hybrids with upright ears and tight husks.
Fusarium Ear Rot
Usually infects individual kernels or groups of kernels scattered over the ear. Fusarium is most severe when hot, dry conditions occur during and after flowering. It produces a pinkish-white fungal growth on infected kernels, or sometimes a "starburst" pattern with white streaks radiating from where silks were attached.
Gibberella Ear Rot
Overwinters in corn residue, infecting ears through the silk. Gibberella ear rot is a result of the same fungus that causes stalk rot. It thrives in cool wet weather after silking and is a red- or pink-colored mold that usually starts at the tip of the ear. Gibberella mold is favored by a long, tight husk cover.
Penicillium Ear Rot
Powdery green or blue-green mold that develops, usually at the ear tip, as a result of mechanical or insect damage.
Be sure to scout your fields prior to harvest to determine if ear molds are present and which types. Contact your local Hoegemeyer product agronomist or dealer for questions on how to manage these molds.
- Stuart Carlson, Northern Product Agronmist
First it was wet. Then it seemed like someone had hit the “off switch” for moisture during late July and early August. Now the rains have set in again making harvest look like it may be a long process this fall. Along with this wet weather we are experiencing comes the potential for certain stalk rots to develop. There are a few areas of the western corn belt where stalk rots have already begun to set in.
There are two main culprits I have seen this growing season including Fusarium verticilliodes and Anthracnose stalk rot and top dieback. Fusarium is most commonly seen when we have dry conditions early and normal precipitation later in the growing season. Symptoms are a white color on the stem around the node, decayed pith tissue inside the stem while the vascular bundles stay intact, and a pink to salmon color inside the stem. The second pathogen I have seen above average incidence of is Anthracnose.
The pathogen that causes Anthracnose infects in two ways. The first is anthracnose top dieback, and this form typically doesn’t have a major impact on yield. Anthracnose stalk rot on the other hand can cause significant yield loss. Symptoms of this phase include black discoloration under the leaf sheath on the stems and a brown discoloration at the nodes. This will lead to lodging later in harvest.
So how do I know which fields are affected? First check both the stalk strength and anthracnose ratings in your Hoegemeyer seed guide. Checking all fields would be best, but if time is of concern start with fields that have lower ratings in the seed guide.
To test stalk strength this time of year we can do a simple push test.
Stand next to a corn plant and put your arm from your hand to your elbow parallel to the plant.
Simple extend your arm out and see if the plant breaks off below the ear or is the plant able to continue standing.
This should be done in five different areas of the field, 20 plants at a time. If you have 10 to 15 plants that break you may want to harvest that field first.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact your local Hoegemeyer agronomist or dealer. We will be happy to answer any questions.
-Craig Langemeier, Western Product Agronomist
While first crop insurance dates are coming up quickly, late cold weather has pushed soil temperatures down to where we need to start reevaluating our planting schedule this Spring. Current soil temperature readings are hovering in the 30’s & 40’s in most of our region. With the possibility of future inclement weather in most cases it will not be worth the risk pulling the planter out into the field as early as you had probably planned.
Wait to plant until the soil temperature is right
As you make early-season planting decisions, always remember that soil temperatures closely follow air temperatures. In general, corn should be planted when soil temperature near 50 degrees. The condition of the seedbed is always an important consideration for corn to germinate. But it takes two things in the right amounts to properly start the corn seed germination process. One is the right temperature and secondly, the seed needs to absorb around 30% of the seeds weight in water to begin the process in cooperation with soil temperature. (Note: soybeans need to absorb about 50% of the seed weight.)
Yields are much more stable early in the planting season than late. Planting 10 days before the optimum window is generally a much safer practice than planting 10 days after the window. This is because yields will begin to drop off dramatically in mid-May. We recommend planting corn prior to May 15 if possible. Of course, embedded within this planting date recommendation is the assumption that soil conditions are favorable and that good hybrids have been selected. Planting date is simply one criterion among many that will allow high yields to be reached.
Check out your local soil tempatures here.
Planting season has started in the Southern Hoegemeyer footprint and planters will be rolling across the Midwest soon. Let’s review proper plant seeding depth for corn. There are a few inputs such as foliar fungicides and insecticides which we still have at our disposal if the situation warrants. But for the most part we are at the mercy of Mother Nature in terms of temperature, rainfall and sunlight intensity which are key factors for yield. Prior to that however, there are several things that are very much in our control. Rapid establishment of a uniform crop is of utmost importance if you want to even have a shot at approaching full yield potential at the end of the year.
How deep should I plant corn?
Corn seed to be planted between 1.75 and 3 inches.
Does planting date influence how deep I should plant?
Although some people believe that early planting should be planted shallower so the seed gets in warmer soil this is not true. Even your earliest planted fields should be dropped at the same 1.75 to 3 inch planting depth. The only time we would plant deeper would be if we needed to find moisture to get the seed to germinate, but never shallower.
What are some of the detrimental effects of shallow planting?
As simple as it may sound, shallow planting depth with corn can lead to many significant problems. When seed is planted too shallow, fewer root nodes are able to establish beneath the soil which leads to a restricted and overall lesser root mass. Plants may emerge uneven; lodge later in the year; be more prone to nutrient deficiency symptoms early in the year; have reduced water uptake under drought; and be more prone to rootless corn syndrome if soils are dry early in the year. Anything less than 1.75 inches is typically not ideal for most soils.
How can I make sure I’m getting proper planting depth?
Make sure you get your planter out in the field a few days ahead of when you want to start planting. You will have time to make some last-minute tweaks to ensure the planter in properly set before getting into the field for the season. Also make sure to check the planter every few hours and especially when changing fields with varying soil types.
Any portion of yield potential lost early in the season is gone for good with little chance of recovery in full no matter how favorable the growing season is later in the year. Getting planting right is one of the most important things we can manage.
If you have questions, contact your local Hoegemeyer agronomist, district sales manager or dealer.
A successful 2018 harvest begins with proper hybrid selection and planting in the spring. Several factors impact how hybrids will live up to high-yield expectations and no two fields are the same. Your experience coupled with Hoegemeyer’s product placement recommendations will help you place the right seed in the right field.
How to ensure optimum hybrid placement:
Soil-type dynamics: Your soil tells a story and selecting the right hybrid for your soil profile is critical. Whether you are farming sandy soils with less than 1% organic matter or soils with high pH issues we can help you decide what products will not just survive, but produce above trend line yields on those acres.
The past five years we have ramped up our high pH and sand testing program, and gathered replicated trial test results to help you make more informed decisions about what hybrid to select for these challenging environments. We have found Hoegemeyer 7088 AM™ Family, 7606 AM™ Family, 7946 Family, 8326 AM™ Family, and 8414 AM™ Family products have been out yielding the competition on these challenging (both sand and high pH) acres.
Trait mix: Hoegemeyer is committed to offering a complete line-up of corn hybrids that have both options across several different trait platforms as well as genetically unrelated products to help you diversify your product portfolio. We provide you with traits you need whether that be a conventional product for the specialty market; Roundup only refuge products; a double stack product for those rotated acres; or a triple stack for corn on corn.
Having different trait packages and genetic diversity on a farm are a great way to help mitigate risk depending on the weather, insect pressure and differences from one growing season to the next.
Planting population: Every hybrid handles planting populations differently. Hoegemeyer conducts extensive research on hybrid response to various planting populations. Some hybrids will excel at low planting populations, while others will need high planting populations to maximize yield. We publish population recommendation sheets that base plant populations on yield goals. Based on the hybrids you plant, you can use this guide to advise you on how many seeds need to be planted per acre to maximize yield.
Environmental stress: Hoegemeyer has several products with excellent drought tolerance. Over the past several growing seasons I would be willing to bet many of you have used an Optimum® AQUAmax® product. We have been fortunate in the Western Corn Belt with rain the past few growing seasons but as they say “we are only a week away from the next drought.” These products will yield in times of drought and when moisture in plentiful.
Goss’s wilt tolerance is another key factor for product selection. Just because we haven’t seen it widely the past few years doesn’t mean with the right weather pattern it isn’t there ready to attack. If Goss’s wilt has been an issue in the past make sure to plant a tolerant product to reduce yield loss from this bacterial pathogen again.
Harvest timing and maturity mix: If you’re farming several quarters and you plant all 112 day corn hybrids, all hybrids may pollinate, need a fungicide and be ready for harvest on the same day. By planting a mix of genetics and maturities we can help mitigate these risks. We have products that flower at different times, different levels of disease tolerance and products that will stand long into the fall. Make sure you are planting a good mix of genetics, maturities and traits to mitigate risk on your farm.
End use: Another important part of hybrid selection should be based on what is the end use of the product being planted. Hoegemeyer has data that will showcase which hybrids work best for either beef or dairy silage. We have several good options across a range of maturities that will work for both grain as well as silage.
These key placement tips are good reminders as you develop and finalize your 2018 planting plan.For more information about product placement, contact your Hoegemeyer seed representative or refer to your seed guide for optimum ratings and recommendations.