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Field day offers planting season overviewField day offers planting season overview

By Staff | Sep 10, 2010

Jay Smith area marketing manager with Rosen's Inc. talks with Brian Mundie during NEW Coop's plot day held Aug. 26 near Otho.


Farm News staff writer

OTHO – A plot day held near this central Webster County community provided local farmers an opportunity to not only hear from local seed and chemical reps, but were provided with an overview of the growing season so far, and were educated about a few of the diseases and pests that have been affecting this year’s crop.

Steve Barnhart, a regional agronomist with WinField Solutions, spoke during NEW Co-op’s plot field day on the Rick Nelson farm south of Otho.

Barnhart took a look back to the spring and the frost that hit much of the area. Although the growing point was still below the ground on corn and many of the beans were still in the ground, there are some signs the frost might have had some lasting effects.

“(Producers)?need to manage that product and one way is to use a foundation herbicide.” —Steve Barnhart WinField Solutions

“We are seeing some possibilities of damage the frost might have made,” he said. “Any kind of stress is never good on a plant.”

Corn diseases such as crown rot, which is a typically found in corn during stressful growing conditions, Barnhart said, has been showing up in many fields in the area. adding that not only this year’s extreme heat could be the cause, but frost last May could also be a reason for the disease.

In corn fields, those plants that are appearing mature and are already brown could very well be suffering from the disease which Barnhart said will be those areas to keep an eye on and to get them harvested before the plant dries down too much.

“I’m thinking when the corn starts to dry it’s going to dry fast,” said Barnhart. “Check those fields and when they get dried down to 18 percent go out and check to see how the plant is holding up and get the corn out of the field before it falls and hope for a warm fall were we can dry corn, naturally in the bin.”

A condition in corn called “tip back” Barnhart said is also been prominent in area fields.

Tip back is when the first half-inch to inch on the top of the ear of corn is undeveloped. Barnhart said there is more than one reason why this could be occurring.

“Tip back is an issue, but we can’t blame it on one thing,” he said.

Heat, a lack of nitrogen and increased plant population could possibly be causes for tip back.

According to Barnhart, although it has been said corn requires a lot of heat, our record breaking yield years for corn have actually been years with cooler growing season.

The issue for this year’s heat, Barnhart said, is during the day the corn plant is busy making sugars and for the plant to use and typically at night it is supposed to cool down enough to where the extra sugars can go to making kernels. However, with the all-night high temperatures, the corn plant is using those sugars instead.

On the positive side of the corn growing season, Barnhart said, many early corn hybrids are rapidly approaching maturity.

“The black layer is close in some 100-day varieties and they are progressing well,” he said.

Goss’ Wilt, Barnhart said, is just now beginning to show up in fields, but most likely will not be a problem in corn as much as it could’ve had it shown up a few months ago.

Southern rust is also starting to show up in some corn fields causing some of the plants to lose leaves fast.

“Conditions have been conducive for southern rust this year,” he said.

Southern rust doesn’t over winter in Iowa and was most likely carried by the wind, but other corn diseases, such as gray leaf spot and eye spot were all carried over in last year’s residue and properly managing that residue will be the key to help controlling those issues next season.

An impending early harvest, Barnhart said, will hopefully give producers a chance to manage some of that residue, which was hampered last year due to the extremely wet fall conditions.

The only way to truly break down that residue, Barnhart said, is to get in good contact with the soil.


Barnhart discussed the widespread problem of sudden death syndrome appearing in bean fields.

“It is absolutely wet weather related,” said Barnhart. “It starts early from back when the month of June was wet and it could even go back to the cool weather when the beans were planted early.”

Barnhart added the majority of SDS is affecting beans planted early and that beans planted after mid-May are not showing many signs of the disease as of yet.

SDS is also more evident in those areas that suffered compaction most likely from last fall’s extremely wet conditions.

“We came off the wettest October in 130 years, then we harvested and compacted the fields and are seeing some relation to compaction issues,” he said.

White mold, he said was an issue last year, but isn’t affecting the soybean crop too much this year and that there could be something encouraging coming out of some of these diseases showing up in corn and soybeans.

“Having some bad diseases in some years could result in some resistant varieties in two to three years,” he said. “There’s always a little bit of positive in every negative.”


The theory has been, Barnhart said, to control weeds at 4 to 6 inches before they start causing yield loss and with wet springs, a foundation herbicide is valuable, especially in corn.

Another reason for a foundation herbicide is to also help not be completely reliant on glyphosate, which several weeds are becoming rapidly resistant.

Barnhart stressed that just because glyphosate is becoming cheaper to not rely on that as your only source for weed control.

“(Producers)?need to manage that product and one way is to use a foundation herbicide with several modes of action,” he said.

A foundation herbicide will not only help with weed control, but can help control insects and diseases, he said.

Controlling weeds, according to Barnhart, will get rid of those plants were insects, such as the black cut worm, which has been sprayed for a lot in Iowa this year, to overwinter in and weeds are also known to carry some diseases such as soybean cyst nematodes.

“During wet years it’s nice to have a foundation herbicide for flexibility,” said Barnhart. “Flexibility, yield, insects and disease are all advantages of a foundation herbicide.”

Contact Kriss Nelson at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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