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2011 crop challenges outlined

By Staff | Feb 4, 2011

Bob Streit, independent crop consultant, explains a new side dressing tool that will soon be available during the last of a series of two programs held at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge.

FORT DODGE – There appears to be a trend in more growers applying a residual pre-plant herbicides again, due to not only recent wet springs, which have hindered timely herbicide applications, but to help control the increasing problem of resistant weeds.

That assessment was offered by Bob Streit, an independent crop consultant, Monday to 20 producers attending his second of two presentations featuring crop challenges for 2011 at Iowa Central Community College.

“We are still seeing Round-up resistant varieties being planted, but are also seeing a switch back to pre-plant herbicides,” said Streit.

“Guys are learning they shouldn’t have relied completely on Round-up as a (sole) means of weed control.”

Streit recommended several products that can be used. He said that when it comes to deciding just which residual herbicide to use, figuring out the pH levels and the kind of weed pressure in one’s field will help determine which will work best.

Fungicide use

Streit described fungi as simple plants without chlorophyll and no way to produce their own sugars. The most important factor, he said, is to understand what he calls the fungi triangle, which features three factors – susceptible host, conducive environment and pathogen; and with those three factors combined all together will equal disease.

Fungicides need to be used with caution, Streit warned, as diseases are being developed due to fungicide misuse.

“Too much selling and not enough education has been used,” said Streit. “Never use strobes twice alone consecutively or twice alone in the same season.”

According to Streit, people need to learn how the chemicals work, when the proper application should be and what should be added in the tank for extended protection.

In most cases, he added, it’s not a matter of using maximum rates, but more on timing and having the right active ingredients at work on the surface. Topography, he said, makes a big difference on whether your field is more susceptible to disease. Those fields that are in low-lying areas where fog may form or they have more hours of leaf wetness need to be monitored more for diseases.

Higher corn yields

The first step in a map to higher corn yields, Streit said, is to establish a deep root zone by identifying and fracturing any compaction layers.

The next step, Streit suggests, is getting soil prepared so oxygen can get deep into the soil for good microbial activity.

Fix soils, if needed, he said with lime and gypsum. He also suggests watching magnesium levels and that the application of biologicals and manure will help remediate the soil.

One particular biological Streit mentioned was Bio Pack which is designed to hydrate new seedlings and provide key nutrients.

Another step in the map to higher corn yields, he said, is to supply early nutrient needs and later to identify and manage disease and bugs.

The last step, according to Streit, is to utilize a foliar fertilizer program at specific plant stages.

When it comes to making seed-buying decisions, Streit advises on asking lots of questions as some seed guides may not provide a lot of information on diseases and other factors.

Higher soybean yields

Plant soybeans, Streit advised between May 1 to May 7 if possible at 125,000 to 140,000 seeds per acre and have the seed treated prior to planting with ABM or another innoculant, or a systemic fungicide mix containing Apron and Maxim or Allegiance; an insecticide such as Gaucho or Cruiser if there is a bean leaf beetle threat, as well as an application of SabrEx to the seed.

As suggested earlier, an application of a residual pre-plant herbicide may be a good idea to help control early weed pressure.

Understand the soil biological components and understand nutrient requirements and boost early plant growth.

Scout and spray for early-season insects. Scout for bean leaf beetles on calm sunny days between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Continue to watch for insects and be wary of aphid populations from mid-July through August.

Streit also suggest using a foliar program throughout the growing season and controlling any leaf diseases.

Whatever steps a grower makes for the 2011 growing season, Streit suggests they make their plans ahead of time as it is much easier to fix any mistakes on paper before they are made out in the field.

Contact Kriss Nelson at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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