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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dicamba Use in Soybeans

Last week Dr. Hager discussed the use of Dicamba with Xtend soybeans.  He cautioned that the Dicamba will not be a silver bullet, but it may be a good tool in the toolbox if used properly.  He says Dicamba was never rated excellent on Water Hemp, but it is very good for now.  You should use the Dicamba according to its very restrictive label.  Beware of too much and too little wind.  There is only one approved nozzle.  If you mess anything up you could be in violation of label restrictions.  More on Dicamba Stewardship.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Weed Control

Last week we attended the Illinois Crop Management program in Springfield.  They seemed to save the best speaker for last.  Dr. Hager discussed weed control in the resistance era.  He continues to call for multiple modes of action in the same application.  He showed us why herbicide rotations are not really effective in keeping resistance at bay.  His discussion of Palmer Amaranth took up a big part of the program.  He says we need to have zero tolerance.  That means if soybeans are too tangled to walk through, you need to get in the truck or 4 wheeler and go get the plants.  The destruction of crop will be minor in comparison to the problems created by the Palmer amaranth.  Evena few weeds should be removed.  More on resistance here.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Soybean Harvest started in Mato Grosso

By Eduardo Paim:

Here in Mato Grosso soybeans have already begun to be harvested, in the north of the state some farmers are complaining that it is raining a lot and this can damage the quality of the grain. The average production is excellent for these first crops that are being harvested, 60 bags per hectare. In general Mato Grosso already has 15% harvested. Here in the south the harvest has already begun and the production is excellent!

Rainfall can change the quality of crops and productivity, and we have heavy rainfall forecast to fall in February.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

More on Lower Population Soybeans

I recently blogged about lower population soybeans based on Marion Calmer's research.  The idea makes a lot of people nervous.  This DTN article out of the University of Wisconsin confirms Mr. calmer's assertations about lower soybean populations.  Shawn Conley, Twitter aka @badgerbean goes in to some details on seed treatments and other insurance measures you can use to make sure those low seeding rates work.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Lots of Geese

Geese were plentiful in Fayette County yesterday.  Both Canada Geese ans snow geese.
 Corn feilds should not have any volunteer corn this spring.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Soybeans in Brazil Looking Mixed

By Eduardo Paim:

Good morning mate! I've been away for a while. Here in Mato Grosso we are looking at a very good soybean crop, I believe it will be a record of this production. In the states of Bahia, Piauí, Maranhão and Tocantins there was a lack of rainfall and some crops were replanted. In the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and Santa Catarina there was an excess of rainfall, which affected the crops. In Brazil in general I believe that on average we will have a good harvest! Argentina It has great problems with excess of chucas in part of the country and drought in another part of the country, I believe that this year will have great damages in soybean and corn, now it is left to plant wheat to recover part.

Monday, January 16, 2017

War on Crop Residue

2017 marks my 40th year in the business of soil management. In 1977 when I started working s a soil scientist, there was still a big question as to the effects of conservation tillage on crop yields. Farmers led the way in proving that top yields could be had even with high surface residue. In the past year, I have noticed that there seems to be a war on residue.  Tours at John Deere and Greg Sauder's Yield Center 360 both unveiled tillage equipment that looks to imitate moldboard plowing without moldboard plowing.  Burying residue seems to be becoming accepted management.It was refreshing last week to attend the National No-Till conference and see that there are still people out there that are interested in leaving residue on the surfacefor soil health benefits and erosion control.

Last week I read an Article in October Prairie Farmer "Residue Impacts on Corn Yield". The Article list 5 problems with crop residue that I will attempt to debunk.

1. Residue saps moisture.  While residue sticking down into the planting slit can wick moisture, a well adjusted planter will overcome that issue easily. Residue other than in the planting slit covers the soil and conserves moisture. 

2. Insulation effect.  Residue can keep soil temperatures lower than bare soil. This issue can be overcome two ways.  One, light vertical tillage can cut up residue and get it to decompose a bit to get some bare soil.  Two, Row cleaners move trash away from the planting area allowing soil to warm up as needed when seeds are planted.  The added bonus of the insulation effect is that as temperatures rise into the summer, crop residues keeps ground and field temperatures closer to ideal.

3. Toxic Environment. They say that too much decomposing residue adds toxins to the soil.  Residue on the surface is not a problem.  Incorporated residue could be a problem, especially in a corn on corn situation.  Rotate to a different crop.

4. N and P Stealer.  There are lots of ways to overcome this. Adequate P levels in the soil will reduce P tie-up.  Nitrogen may be tied up, but once again. adequate fertilizer N will help to make nitrogen available when the crop needs it.  Residue on the surface is not the culprit.  Cover crops can also help. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Maximizing Soybean Profits.

ne of the highlights of the national No-till Conference was listening to Marion Calmer discuss his soybean production  methods.  Calmer is a manufacturer of narrow row corn heads and an on farm researcher.  He uses replicated strip studies to test his ideas and the ideas of others.

I have written several times about soybean population research.  The point is that extremely high population soybeans do not provide any economic advantage.  In fact, in Calmer's six year study, Yields were nearly the same no matter what population he planted.  He admitted that he is reluctant to plant less than 75,000 plants even though his research would support as low as 50,000 plants per acre.   For every increase in population by 25,000 plants per acre he says it costs  an additional $10 per acre with no return.  If you are looking to save money in the coming year, look at cutting back populations.  If 75,000 plants per acre makes you nervous, try cutting back 25,000 from wherever you are.

He also compared 30 inch rows to 15 inch rows.  The 4 bushel per acre advantage of 15 inch rows is huge.  If you are still planting 30 inch row soybeans it is a costly production method.  He admitted that there might be an additional gain of 1 bushel per acre if the soybeans were drilled.  A few years back he was drilling his production acres.  He has switched to 15 inch rows in the past few years.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Responsible Nutrient Management

We have spent the past three days at the National No-Till Conference in St. Louis.  Not only is this a great No-Till Conference, but it is a great crop production conference.

At the Luncheon on the first day, Responsible Nutrient Management Practitioners we awarded for their diligence in taking care of their soil nutrient levels.  Jason Carter, Mike Werling, and Mike Taylor were recognized for their nutrient management programs.  Jason Carter is using chicken litter to build his soils up.  His program also includes annual soil testing to measure progress.  As his soil has improved, he has cut back on chicken litter.

Mike Werling is looking at economics and applying fertilizer at modest rates to maximize profits.  He soil tests every three years.  Cover cr ops are also a component of his program.  Werling uses less than one pound per bushel of corn to produce high yields economically.

Mike Taylor makes sure his soil tests correlate with soil types on his farm.  He also uses cover crops and lower than average fertilizer rates to produce higher than average yields.  He uses variable rate technology as appropriate and also applies in row fertilizer to spoon feed his crops.  He is using No-till and cover crops to improve organic matter levels on the topsoil.

Friday, January 6, 2017

TO Do List for 2017 Growing Season

It would seem we might be too late to implement new management plans for 2017.  Things like Field drainage are already done or scheduled, but if you can afford the investment, now may be the time to get on your contractor's list for next year.  Hybrid selection is likely done.  Prairie Farmer offers other tips that can still be implement in their 10 tips article.