Driving through the county this fall, you might have seen a lot of fields where crop residue was baled. Baling crop residue can be a way to bring more income to the farm in lean years, but will it pay off in the long run? Let’s look at the pros and cons of baling residue to see if it is a fit for your farm.
Increased income per acre.
In corn-on-corn fields, you may see increased yields as well as decreased foliar disease pressure (most foliar diseases are residue-borne meaning next year inoculum comes from infested corn residue).
And if you have livestock, you can use residue for feed as well as bedding.
These factors making baling seem like a good plan but what could you be losing by baling crop residue?
Baling residue does cost in labor, time and money (raking, baling, and moving bales).
When you haul residue off a field, you are hauling nutrients and organic matter off the field as well. Table 1 shows approximately how many pounds of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and Sulfur you are removing when residue is taken off a field. If you remove 4 ton/acre of corn residues, you are removing 68 lbs./acre Nitrogen, 16 lbs./acre Phosphorus, 134 lbs./acre Potassium, 12 lbs./acre Sulfur and many other nutrients in lesser amounts. If you remove this residue, you need to have a plan to replace it, whether that be through a manure application or synthetic fertilizers.
In addition to nutrient loss, you also are losing organic matter. If you continue to remove residue, eventually you will begin to deplete organic matter on these fields. Organic matter is important for nutrient cycling, water holding capabilities of a soil, and water infiltration.
Erosion control is a final consideration for whether baling residue is for you. If residue is needed, pick fields where wind and water erosion are less of a concern. On steep slopes, leave residue cover and choose fields with heavier soil types to minimize wind erosion through the winter and spring.
Summary: Consider the pros and cons above and the chart below to see if removing residue from your fields might be cost-effective in the long run. The bottom line is if residue is removed from a field, you need to make sure those nutrients are replaced in one way or another.
Source: UNL Cropwatch. What is the value of soybean residue? December 13, 2018
-Craig Langemeier, Western Product Agronomist
It is that time of year to sit down and evaluate the agronomic practices we did in 2018. We ask ourselves many questions trying to learn what worked and what we could do better in 2019.
Did we apply enough nitrogen?
Am I applying enough fertility?
Did cover crops work?
AND of course, did my hybrids meet my expectations?
Demonstration plots can help growers evaluate hybrids over a wide range of soil types, weather patterns and tillage practices. I would consider the following traits when examining hybrid demonstration plots.
Diseases: 2018 was a great year to evaluate disease resistance. Diseases will start hitting the plant the hardest during the grain fill period causing serious yield reductions from leaf diseases, ear rots and stalk lodging problems. Photosynthesis is the fuel to supply the plant energy for grain fill and plant health. Leaf disease will limit the amount sunlight it can capture and limit yield. Walking plots and your own fields gives you an opportunity to compare the differences among hybrids to disease problems that have occurred in your area. The environment over the last 5 years has created in many regions a concern over late season plant health. This is also a great time to try a foliar fungicide and see how it improves plant health of certain hybrids. Look at a nice mix of hybrids and fungicides in your future hybrid selections.
Lodging: Every year is a good year to evaluating stalk strength scores in your area. Right prior to and during harvest is a good time to assess stalk and root lodging. Environmental conditions along with planting populations can affect stalk and root lodging. Once lodging is noticed pay attention to the timing of the incident and do some more evaluation to determine what caused the event. Early root lodging could be caused by rootworm activity. Later root lodging could be caused by disease or stress from drought, excess heat or excess water. Stalk lodging is general a cause of wind, drought, hail and could be from high populations. If any of these stresses occur on a regular basis in your area, refer to the stalk strength scores in the seed guide because they may give you an insight of performance.
Population: Higher and lower plant populations will affect standability and yield. Certain hybrids have more of a fixed ear type, this means that the plant needs and can be planted at higher populations to achieve the desired yield goal no matter what the environment is. Other plants are a flex type ear which enable the plant to determine yield based off environmental conditions. The better the environment the bigger the ear the plant will produce. These hybrids are generally planted at lower populations. Please make sure that population charts are followed and setting the correct population for the hybrid and field is important. Most plots are planted at the same population, this needs to be taken into consideration when evaluating the plot yield results. An example of this would be if a hybrid with a fixed ear type is planted in a low population plot then hybrids with a flex ear type may have an advantage.
At Hoegemeyer, we are proud of the in-house agronomy research that we provide to farmers to help educate their farming decisions. We continue our extensive work on corn population studies and test our current line-up along with new experimental hybrids coming down the pipeline to maximize your seed investment. Learn more about planting populations here.
Plant and Ear Height: The corn plant reaches its maximum height around tassel time. If you are prone to wind events, plots are a good tool to help make hybrid decisions. A tall plant with a high placed ear is more susceptible to stalk lodging. Also, if you have soil type variances in your fields, you will want to focus on hybrids that have a higher ear placement. Plant type does need to be considered in your decisions for such things as residue management, field variability and cropping preferences such as silage.
Yield Potential: Of course, YIELD is one of the first things that should be considered. When looking at yield make sure you look at more than one plot, make sure those plots have checks or are replicated to smooth out soil variability. Don’t always pick the plot winner! Consistency is the key, look for hybrids that seem to always be in the top 5 in many different plots. Make sure you match up appearances with results, the prettiest one doesn’t always win. Make sure to check on ear appearance. Does it have molds, how many kernels around, how much tip back is there and how many kernels on the ear? Just to name a few.
Contact your local Hoegemeyer dealer to help you evaluate test plots and pick the right seed for your acres.
- Stuart Carlson, Northern Product Agronomist
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.
Several years ago our agronomy team identified four qualities that we felt set our corn lineup apart from the competition: drought and Goss’s Wilt tolerance, more harvestable yield and genetic diversity. The 2017 growing season brought significant challenges to some areas, while customers in other areas had record yields.
We did not let this season go to waste for evaluating new products and making improvements for future years. We revisited these four points of differentiation to assess how our lineup performed.
Dry conditions plagued the northern plains early in the 2017 growing season, but timely rains alleviated the drought somewhat as the season progressed. Southeast Nebraska and northeast Kansas started the season with good moisture with drought impacting yields during pollination and grain fill. With different droughts in different areas of the western corn belt, we had a good chance to evaluate drought performance across much of our lineup. Below is a high level summary of how our hybrids ranked in drought environments.
A high-level look at the relative performance of our products specifically in drought environments below 150 bushels per acre from 2015-17.
It's noted that corn products rated 8 or 9 for drought continue to rise to the top, with still some good product performance with 7’s. While I think that farmers with drought-prone fields should plant the majority of their acres to 8’s and 9’s, planting a product rated a 7 for drought on some acres can open up some other good product options and increase genetic diversity on the farm.
Goss’s Wilt Tolerance
We haven’t seen a widespread outbreak of Goss’s Wilt since 2011. A lack of natural Goss’s Wilt pressure is good for farmers but makes it more challenging for seed companies to screen new hybrids for Goss’s Wilt tolerance. Fortunately our products are tested in special trials that are inoculated with Goss’s Wilt. From what I’ve seen from these trials, we have strong overall Goss’s Wilt tolerance in our newer products. Hoegemeyer 8414 AM stands out with a 7 score, and many of our new products carry a 6 rating, which makes them suited for Goss’s Wilt-prone fields.
More Harvestable Yield
More harvestable yield means that our products need to be able to stand and hold onto their ears until harvested. Multiple late October wind events impacted growers in Nebraska and surrounding areas in 2017. For more information on the factors that may have caused late season harvest issues, read UNL’s Cropwatch update.
Products from all seed companies were impacted by the winds but not all hybrids were affected the same. In our lineup, we had products that stood quite well against the wind, but some of the higher yielding racehorse products seemed to be the most prone to lodging and ear drop. We are taking all of this into account as we make product recommendations for 2018. Going forward, we know that growers will not be satisfied if we abandon high-yielding products for the sake of bullet-proof agronomics. Selecting products will remain a balance between top-end yield potential and agronomics, but we are committed to providing more products that strike the right balance.
2017 was an example of how genetic diversity mitigated risk from unpredictable weather events. When a weather event “picks on” one specific style of hybrid, a farmer can usually handle some problems on a percentage of acres, but not the entire farm. Several of our race horse products that were introduced in the 2014-2015 time period share a common parent, and these were among the hardest hit in our lineup by the 2017 winds.
We have several new products for 2018 that are bringing racehorse type yields with different parental backgrounds. 2018, 2019 and 2020 will usher in a lot of new genetic options across our entire lineup. Also, with full regulatory approval of Qrome™ brand products expected soon, genetic diversity will get a boost in our triple stack lineup.