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500 attend Landus’ first research showcase

By Staff | Sep 4, 2016

FIELD SALES AGRONOMISTS Shawn Robinson, from Audubon, and Brett Westergaard, from Exira, presented different management strategies they are testing during Landus Cooperative’s field day in Farnhamville.



FARNHAMVILLE – More than 500 customers, members and agricultural professionals gathered last week at Landus Cooperative’s inaugural field day at its Farnhamville location.

Landus Cooperative was created April 1, 2015 after members of West Central and Farmers Cooperative voted to merge.

Todd Claussen, director of agronomy for Landus Co-op, outlined the 21 projects being studied in the 184-acre site at the Farnhamville location.

“We have a comprehensive number of components,” Claussen said, “and with $3 corn, you need the best system as possible.”

Landus employees led several plot tours during the event, which included what nitrogen and fungicide application effects were during a stressful growing season, sudden death syndrome and seed treatment, corn planting depth and management strategies and management strategies in soybeans.


Two field sales agronomists, Matt Lau, based in Woodward, and Ryan Albers, based in Coon Rapids, presented research on SDS and seed treatments.

Lau said SDS is more evident in fields. This fungus infects the roots of the soybeans early on in the growing season and carries up the root. It typically doesn’t show up until later in the growing season.

Compacted and wet areas of a field will show the first signs of the fungus before it begins to affect other parts of a field, according to Lau.

In order to help combat SDS, the agronomy team suggested looking for a soybean variety that has a resistance to SDS as well as treating the soybean seed.

Although not always ideal, Albers said planting soybeans later in the spring when the soils are warmer could also help fight off SDS.

“If you plant later in the warmer soils, this allows less time for the fungus to infect the roots, but that is not always ideal,” said Albers. “Planting date trials have shown there is up to a 15-bushel-per-acre difference if you go past the optimum planting date window.”

For those who plant early, Albers said they highly recommend a seed treatment.

ILeVo seed treatment from Bayer CropScience, Albers said, provides excellent control of SDS, although it can still show up in extreme cases.

The use of the ILeVO seed treatment is on the rise, helping to prove the seed treatment’s performance.

“With more than 100,000 acres, soybeans treated with ILeVO shows a high confidence in this product,” said Albers.

Seed treatments in general have been showing significant yield advantages.

“We have been seeing very profitable response of seed treatments,” said Lau.

In order to identify SDS, Lau said to look at the infected roots for white pith. A brown pith will indicate infection from brown stem rot, which shows similar symptoms to SDS.

Foliar apps

2016 stresses on corn and how nitrogen and fungicide applications played into those stresses was presented by Brian Berns, field sales agronomist, based in Farnhamville, and Ryan Rice, field sales agronomist, based in Lohrville.

Berns said nitrogen and plant health protection through fungicides are the two factors producers can manage during the growing season.

As far as weather in the Farnhamville area in March and April, Berns said precipitation was average to below average during those months and temperatures were above normal.

“This is the reason we recommend using nitrogen stabilizers to help protect your nitrogen applications, whether that is in the fall or the spring,” said Berns.

May precipitation, Berns said, was above to well-above normal with temperatures fairly to maybe a little below normal.

These conditions, he said, brought on some emergence and early stand issues and disease infection during this wet period of the growing season.

That extra rainfall in May, Berns said, may have contributed to some significant nitrogen loss.

Precipitation for the month of June was well below normal, which allowed for the root system in the corn plant to work its way down into the soil.

Temperatures for that month were way above normal; in fact, Berns said 13 days during the month of June were at 90 degrees or higher.

“The corn plants spent a lot of energy on the respiration process, energy that could have been used for later,” said Berns. “This also caused rapid growth.”

Berns said during July, the precipitation pattern was well above normal which didn’t bring any major negatives to the growing crop. In fact the wet soils kept the organic matter moist, offering an additional opportunity for the corn to consume nutrients, helping it get through a potential nitrogen problem.

Temperatures in July were above normal, according to Berns. The excessive heat during July could have caused some issues to the ear formation.

“This robbed a week of grain-fill away and we are now seeing tip-back,” said Berns. “The heat shorted the ability of the plant to fill grain.”

Rice discussed the benefits of a fungicide application.

“There are other benefits of them even when they are not used for a disease,” he said.

Fungicides will help reduce stress, improve respiration and overall plant health.

“It’s been hard to prove the benefits of fungicides, but this year we have,” Rice said.

In the training and research plots at Landus, Rice said the use of fungicides actually cooled the corn plants down significantly by reducing respiration.

“We could see a 12-degree difference in the fungicide-applied plots over the non-fungicide treated plots,” said Rice.

He added this is beneficial because the higher temperature of the plant during its growing period will shorten tasseling time, shorten grain-fill – which will all cause tip-back on the ears – and there have even been sections in the field that didn’t even pollinate.

Looking forward to the fall harvest, Rice said a typical 105-day variety of corn requires 2,600 growing degree heat units and, as of Aug. 23, Farnhamville was showing just 258 growing degrees left until it is expected to reach black layer on Sept. 4.

Rice warned producers to keep an eye on those corn fields once that stage arrives.

“As that plant shuts down it is going to shut down quick.”

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