Management for Winter Injury and Winter Kill in Alfalfa

April 13, 2020

Every year established alfalfa stands have the potential for winter injury and winter kill. We have had a mild winter with some cold temperatures and some above freezing temperatures. However, the lack of snow cover is one of the main issues producers are worried about as the assess their alfalfa stands this spring. 

What could have caused my alfalfa plants to winter kill?

  • Stand age: Older stands are more likely to winter kill than younger plants.
  • Snow cover: Snow provides insulation to the plants and the crown. The crucial temperature region is two to four inches below the soil surface where a large part of the root structure is located. Stands that have at lease six inches of stubble left will be able to retain more snow cover and be less likely to winter injury.
  • Soil pH: Soils with a pH above 6.6 are less likely to experience winter injury.
  • Cutting management: Aggressive harvest schedules and shorter intervals between cuttings leave the alfalfa less time to accumulate carbohydrate levels in the root system before winter. This leaves the alfalfa plants more likely to winter injury.
  • Soil fertility: Stands planted in higher fertility soils are less likely to experience winter injury than those with low fertility.

When you are scouting your alfalfa stands look for these symptoms to assess if your field winter killed:

  • Compare you stand to other fields in the area. If you have spots that are greening up nicely and spots that are brown, it is time to check those brown stands for injury or death. 
  • Winter killed roots will have a gray appearance. Check if the roots are soft and brown in color, these are signs that your stand has winter injury.
  • Compare the shoots on the same plant, and if you notice that one set of shoots seems to be drastically out-growing others in terms of growth, the bud could be damaged from winter injury.

Evaluation of your alfalfa stand in the spring can be tricky. I have learned that “patience is a virtue” is a phrase that applies well when scouting and making decisions on your field. Deciding to rotate out of alfalfa or inter-seeding into an established alfalfa fields can be a hard decision. If you have any questions while you are evaluating your alfalfa stand this spring, give your product agronomist a call.

-Eric Solberg, Eastern Region Product Agronomist

Categories: alfalfa     Comments: 0    

Plant For Success: Pre-Season Checklist

March 24, 2020

At the beginning of every growing season, we have hopes and goals in maximizing our yields.  We spend countless hours conducting soil tests, working on fertilizer application maps, talking to our seed dealers to place “THE RIGHT SEED” on the correct field and creating Variable Rate Seeding maps. Even though all these things are very important, we still seem to forget about the most important piece of equipment we have in the shed; the planter. In many instances, we only have one chance of planting a field correctly and if we don’t have the planter in tip-top condition we will miss out on achieving our goal.

There are many other things that we need to consider in achieving our yield goals.

  1. Proper fertility will support that plant all year long. 
  2. Planting timing is essential for proper emergence.  You want your corn plants to all emerge within 24-48 hours of each other to achieve a consistent ear size throughout the field. 
  3. You need to have a good seedbed to create a favorable zone for the seed to flourish. A good seed environment will also help create a root zone conducive to good development, giving the roots the ability to take up nutrients.

All these field conditions work together in achieving that yield goal, but it’s important to inspect your planters prior to pulling them in the field, as well as when you are in the field.

You want to give your seed the best start, so we’ve created a handy checklist to guide you while the planting is still in the shed AND when it gets to the field.

Pre-Season Planter Checklist: In the Shed

  1. Seed Transmission
    1. Bearings
    2. Chains, sprockets and idlers
    3. Clutches
    4. Electric/Hydraulic motors
  2. Seed Meters
    1. Calibrate
    2. Air lines
    3. Seals
    4. Brushes
  3. Wheels and Tires
    1. Tire pressure
    2. Drive Wheel centered
  4. Fertilizer
    1. Prefer if not ran off of seed drives
    2. Hoses
    3. Pumps
    4. Calibrate
  5. Down Pressure
    1. Broke springs
    2. Ware points
    3. Air bags/Hydraulic lines
  6. Parallel Arms
    1. Make sure they are square
    2. Bushings
    3. Shape of the hole
  7. Row Unit Drives
    1. Make sure it matches up with meter drives
  8. Drive Chains
    1. Replace annually
    2. Sprockets and Idlers
    3. Drive cables
  1. Row Cleaners
    1. Bearings
  2. No-Till Coulters
    1. Cutting Edge
    2. ¼” higher than the disk openers
  3. Gauge Wheels
    1. Gauge wheel arms
    2. Rubber tire in good condition and touching disk opener
  4. Disc Openers
    1. Disc diameter 14.5”, except Case IH 13.5”
    2. Scrapers
    3. Contact point 2-2.25”, except for Kinze 3000 1-1.25” and Case IH just making contact
  5. Seed Tube
    1. Worn edges
  6. Seed Firmers
    1. Tension
  7. Closing Wheel
    1. Centered
    2. Staggered wheel setup
    3. Worn points

Pre-Season Planter Checklist: In the Field

  1. Planter Levelness
    1. Toolbar is level when in the ground
    2. Parallel linkage
  2. Dig a cross section
    1. Not with the row
    2. Check micro environment
    3. Uniform waterfront
  3. Planting depth
    1. 2-2.25”
    2. Check in EVERY field
  4. Misplaced Seeds
    1. Meter release
    2. Seed tube delivery
    3. Row unit bounce
    4. Physical seed movement
  5. Down Pressure
    1. Footprint must be present
    2. Give it the finger test
    3. Cross section
      1. No seam
      2. No air pockets
    4. Sidewall condition
  6. Row Cleaners
    1. Set to remove residue, clods and rocks
  7. Closing Wheels
    1. Close the trench
    2. Firm around the seed
    3. Drag chain
  8. Planting Speed
    1. 4.5-5.0 mph
    2. NOT 10 mph

Get that proper seed placement and spacing by doing a little work while the planter is still in the shed. Use this checklist as a guideline to help prepare your planter.  Consult your planter manual or dealer for exact tolerances of your equipment.

-Stuart Carlson, Northern Region Product Agronomist

Categories: planting     Comments: 0    

Controlling Volunteer Corn This Planting Season

March 10, 2020

Volunteer corn with herbicide resistance traits can be difficult to control after a strong wind or hail event causes ears to drop on the ground. Some areas can till these fields after fall harvest and irrigate to promote corn germination during the fall. This may not be an option for your management system due to either late harvests or your climate is too cold. There is still corn on the soil surface and the upcoming planting season is rapidly approaching - don’t panic. There are still ways to control volunteer corn in the upcoming planting season. If you still have corn on the soil surface this spring, try to avoid tillage, as this could promote germination of the volunteer corn.

The best chemical control option for volunteer corn in soybeans are grass herbicides. Grass herbicides are the ones with group 1 on the label. This group of herbicides usually need an adjuvant to help increase foliar uptake of the herbicide. Always consult the herbicide label for approved adjuvants. In hot and dry application conditions some speckling can be observed on soybean leaves due to the adjuvant burning the leaf and is not actually due to herbicide injury. A couple examples of commonly used grass herbicides on soybeans include both Select Max (clethodim) and DuPont Assure II (quizalofop). Before deciding which herbicide to spray, double check compatibility with your current soybean herbicide program.

Going forward, farmers will have a new tool to help control volunteer corn in corn. The Enlist Corn trait comes with tolerance to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate, and FOP herbicides (such as DuPont Assure II herbicide). Assure II, normally kills corn, but it can be used in Enlist Corn to control non-Enlist volunteer corn.  In the future Hoegemeyer will offer an increasing selection of Enlist Corn product options, stacked with key insect and herbicide tolerant traits.

  • It is encouraged to apply Enlist One and Assure II separately because of antagonism causing reduced control on grasses
  • If a split application is not possible, apply Enlist One and a higher rate of Assure II with an approved adjuvant (Assure II rate is 5-12 oz/acre and Enlist One application rate is 1.5-2.0 pints/acre)
  • Use an approved adjuvant when tank mixing according to and the Assure II label
  • Assure II has an application timing window of V2-V6 in Enlist corn
  • Enlist One application timing for corn is before V8
  • Always double check Enlist One and Assure II labels for application timings and susceptible crops before application          

*Always consult Enlist One label for proper application timings, instructions and nozzle selection.

If you don’t have Enlist corn and still want to control volunteer corn this upcoming season, you can use Select Max to control any emerged volunteer corn before planting. Select Max has a label for situations like this where it is applied at a rate of 6oz/ac and a minimum of 6 days is required before planting/replanting corn. Do not utilize Assure II in this manner since the plant back restrictions for corn without the Enlist trait is 120 days. For any questions about how to handle volunteer corn for this season corn or soybean crop contact your regional Hoegemeyer agronomist or DSM.

-Teal Mills, Southern Product Agronomist


Categories: corn, Enlist Corn     Comments: 0    

Managing Corn Rootworms

February 19, 2020

The state of Iowa is one of the best corn producing states in the Unites States. With the potential for increased corn acres across the state and increased corn after corn acres managing corn rootworms is a major concern. Three species of rootworm found in Iowa include the northern corn rootworm (NCR), southern corn rootworm (SCR), and western corn rootworm (WCR). 

SCR (left), WCR (middle), NRC (right)

Southern corn rootworms typically don’t cause economic injury to corn in Iowa. Northern and western corn rootworms are the most common rootworm pest that cause economic damage to our corn crop. Over the past 5-10 years northern and western corn rootworms have adapted where they lay their eggs. They have started to lay their eggs in fields adjacent to corn fields where the crop is not corn. Northern corn rootworms have one generation per year, but some NCR populations survive as eggs in the soil for multiple years, this is called extended diapause. Extended diapause is usually found in the Western part of Iowa, however has been found elsewhere as well. Where extended diapause occurs, first year corn can show economic impact where left untreated. When a western corn rootworm lays its eggs in fields containing other crops it is called the “soybean variant”. Typical corn-soybean rotation has been a great tool to control corn rootworms in the past. Rootworms have adapted by extended diapause in northern corn rootworm and the rootworm variant in western corn rootworms. 

Once corn rootworm eggs hatch the larvae feed on corn roots and can potentially cause severe economic loss. For every node of roots pruned by larvae, expect a 15% yield loss on average (Tinsley et al. 2013). Monitoring fields in-season will assist you in identifying the problem and help improve your management strategy.

Management Tips: Bt traits have been the best tool we have to help us control corn rootworms. Using multiple types of Bt proteins in combination to control the same pest has been very successful. Where heavy rootworm populations exist, resistance has been observed to certain Bt proteins. Identifying where these populations are present and implementing a management plan is crucial. 

The use of insecticides in furrow to control corn rootworms is a very successful way to assist in controlling rootworms. When using insecticides, make sure you rotate the mode of action used from year to year to ensure you don’t develop a resistant population to the product being used.

Where resistant populations are present, the best control is to use a combination of stacked Bt traits combined with in-furrow insecticide. This practice gives three or more modes of control to control the corn rootworms and a very low chance of resistance developing.

Scouting corn fields in early July for corn rootworm adults in high pressure fields is recommended.  Where adult corn rootworm beetles are present we can predict where the eggs will be laid, and the larvae will be present next growing season.  If the planned rotation is corn on corn for that field, an insecticide application with the proper timing will dramatically reduce the corn rootworm population that lays eggs and the potential economic impact for next year.

Corn rootworm is the number one economic pest effecting corn production in the Midwest.  In some regions, the northern corn and western corn rootworms have adapted to traditional crop rotation management practices. Adjusting management practices, scouting fields and identifying extended diapause (NCR) and soybean variant (WCR) history can reduce future damage.

Corn rootworms continue to adapt and change their habits.  Having a game plan before the season starts of using multiple control methods to control this pest is key to be good stewards and protecting the methods we must use to control this pest across the corn belt is paramount. 

Product Options: Hoegemeyer has a full line-up of Qrome traited corn products. Hoegemeyer brand Qrome products are the most optimized balance of insect protection and agronomic performance in our corn product portfolio. These products are fully equipped with a triple stack of defensive traits and dual modes of action to defend against above and below ground pests, and offer an integrated refuge solution. Qrome products include a unique moleculat stack of the proven Bt proteins from Hercules I and Herculex RW traits. This new technology is the key to unlocking higher yield potential on your acres.

-Eric Solberg, Eastern Product Agronomist


  • Erin Hodgson, ISU associate professor, Adult corn rootworm identification 2015
  • Eric Hodgson, ISU associate professor, Corn Rootworm Management update Aug. 2015
  • Managing corn rootworm diapause, Corteva 2019

Categories: corn, rootworm     Comments: 0     Tags: rootworm    

Four Reasons To Plant Enlist™ Soybeans in 2020

February 4, 2020

Enlist E3™ soybeans received Chinese export approval early spring 2019, and interest for this soybean technology is high for the 2020 planting season. At Hoegemeyer, we were fortunate to have a good supply of Enlist E3™ soybeans to put on farm. Most growers who trialed the technology during the 2019 growing season experienced great results and have decided to plant their entire farm to the Enlist™ system this growing season. Here were just a few reasons the Enlist system is proven and in demand:

  • Genetics - Hoegemeyer had whole field trials out across our Western Corn Belt footprint. Hoegemeyer brand Enlist E3 soybeans were not just competitive with our other soybean platforms, but outperformed most brands in third-party competitive trials. In Nebraska, Hoegemeyer brand 2540 E, 2820 E, and 3030 E topped the F.I.R.S.T. trials
  • Weed control - Enlist weed control system has a competitive advantage when it comes to controling problem weeds. With the Enlist system, there are three different modes of action to control problem weeds in season. Enlist E3 soybeans are tolerant to Glyphosate™, Glufosinate, and 2,4-D. So, if you are dealing with glyphosate-resistant palmer amaranth or waterhemp, you still have two other products that can kill those weeds, where other traits on the market are relying on a single mode of action.
  • Reduced physical drift - Physical drift has been in the headlines the past few growing seasons. With near-zero volatility and reduced potential for physical drift, Enlist™ herbicides featuring 2,4-D choline with Colex-D® technology are designed to land and stay on target. Enlist E3 soybeans are compatible with nearby non-susceptible crops such as corn and soybeans without the Enlist trait. You can apply Enlist herbicides on Enlist E3 soybeans planted right next to these non-susceptible crops without wind directional restrictions.
  • Good supply - Enlist E3 soybean supply has been excellent going into the 2020 growing season. From a group 1.6 to 5.1, Hoegemeyer has Enlist soybeans available.

I think there are acres for Hoegemeyer Enlist soybeans on every farm. Even if you’re happy with your current herbicide platform, I encourage you to try at least one field of Hoegemeyer Enlist soybeans this growing season. I know will be glad you did during harvest in 2020. If you have any questions on products or the Enlist™ weed control system, feel free to contact your local Hoegemeyer DSM or agronomist.

- Craig Langemeier, Western Product Agronomist

Categories: Enlist     Comments: 0     Tags: soybeans    


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