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CROP WATCH

By Staff | Apr 14, 2017

Here we are now two weeks into April and the checkered flag is about to drop on corn planting in the state. Of course they have corn over a foot tall in Texas where planting began over a month ago and acres have been in the ground over two weeks in Illinois, Missouri and Nebraska. But in parts of those states they tend to get hot and dry in July and August and they have reasons for being early in trying to beat the heat. Here most people wait until the insurance date for replanting, plus when temps are only in the low 50s during the heat of the day, there is no need to get into a rush.

And for the people that pay attention to the Cubs, Royals, Cards, Brewers or Twins the baseball season has begun. It just seems more like summer when you can tune into the afternoon or evening games and follow your favorite team as they take on any and all opponents. Over a 162 game season, then two set of playoff games before finally making it to the World Series, it becomes a marathon that hinges on the little ligaments in the elbows of each teams’ pitchers. Sometimes with decent perceptive drafting, many hours of grueling preparation, lots of travel and nights on the road, the baseball gods smile on one team and they end the season on a victorious note. Who will it be this fall that wins it all? Play ball.

Corn Planting Season

Watching the calendar, hearing the weather forecasters, and looking at the thermometers it appears it will slowly warm up to more seasonal weather and the soil will be reaching the 50 degree range. With Monday’s high only being in the low 50s in central Iowa with a strong north wind more days in the 60s will be needed to warm the soil to where one feels safe putting the seed in the ground. More than one forecaster predicted a cool and wet April and so far that has proven to be accurate. With today’s planter size and the fact that larger operations will run two machines, plus the fact that more operators have the guidance systems to plant late at night accurately, we can play catch-up in rapid fashion once the fields are dry enough.

It is interesting to listen to the advertising over the Ag radio stations and watch the print ads to see what the trends are in new products and what direction people and companies are headed in. The many monitors and computers are gathering lots of data, but did they all get analyzed so they can be used in a predictive manner for 2017. Part of the reason I say that is that there was more than one operator who worked in a prescribed sampling manner and ended up applying in-season N in amounts from 40 to 100 extra pounds of N and showed no yield advantage of the treated acres over the untreated check. In those cases there are theories as to where any extra nitrogen could be evading detection, but what theory is correct, and how does one adjust your management to guess correctly this season?

There are more companies offering satellite and drone imagery, which is good. Both give a quicker look from the air as to what the broad appearance and condition of the field is. But one is still crucial to taking advantage of such services is having a knowledgeable person on the ground who knows insects and plant diseases and what curative measures or products can be prescribed that can act as cures for problems that show up. I do think the thermal imaging work that can be done with special cameras from low flying planes will be valuable even this season.

I did stop at a local large coop office and we got into a short discussion with their few newer agronomists and we visited about such aerial work. I commented on the fact that corn plants being affected by ECB or Goss’s Wilt run a three to five degree fever above non-pestered plants when those two things are affecting the plant. One guy piped up that nothing could be done for the last mentioned disease. I hope for his customers’ sake he does his homework about newer products that will often work when used in a systems approach.

Timing

This week yet much more seed will be picked up or delivered. There will also be many acres worth of in-furrow or planted applied product placed into sheds in preparation for being applied.

One question I have been asking growers is what proactive program they expect to use to increase or improve their soil and plant health this season. If they have not considered the issue but they show interest it is typically time to send them a PPT by Dr Rick Haney that describes what soil health measurements consist of, how different labs run his test and what the results should be telling them, and if they begin their journey how long it may take to reach their goal and what it might cost.

In the past month the mentions of BioEmpruv must have struck a nerve with corn growers who have recognized the decline in health of the corn crop as well as they fact that their fields have seemingly died in a one or two day time period. They also recognized that the old corn growing bible says that the first leaves on the corn plant that should turn brown are the husk leaves rather than the top and bottom leaves. Having different people repeat the same lie over and over still doesn’t make it true. So if you have not set concrete plans on improving your soil or plant health that might be one task to complete yet before you get real busy.

The many people that have called listened to what our story has been and the facts and observations matched what they have been seeing since 2009. We stressed the importance of including micronutrient analysis or any soil samples and the value of doing early tissue tests at about the V5 -6 growth stages. A number of retailers have also been running sampling programs to give guidance. Most of those growers recognize that by not reacting or being proactive in maintaining a green and filling crop they have been losing a substantial number of fill days in those years.

Dr Zack Bush, MD, Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology/Metabolism, and Hospice/Palliative care.

Now that the introduction has been made, what does Dr. Bush do and should we be listening and following his advice? Dr Mercola described him as perhaps the sharpest young doctor he has met.

We have followed Dr Bush now for over a year and use some of his products. He is a very bright young MD who began his career as a cancer researcher with the NIH. After the funding from that group dried up he branched into nutrition where he was working to understand how chronic inflammation and loss of intercellular communication was at the core of all diseases and why food seems to have lost so much of their medicinal value (verbatim from Dr. Mercola). In his team’s work they explored how RNA worked and discovered that that one gene alone can code for over 200 protein products, and that over 30 percent of the switches come from the bacteria in the gut. Those critters are there for a reason and they need to function properly for you to stay healthy and not be pushing daisies before your time.

In this journey he ended up realizing that what was going on in people’s stomachs and GI tracts were very similar to what was going on in the soil near the plant roots. Healthy soil produces nutritious food which in turn grows healthy people. His many observations and well substantiated conclusions were that much of today’s food is much lower in mineral content that it used to be and that the decline needed to be corrected. He was observing that about 30 percent of his patients were improving after he treated them and took care of their problem, but 70 percent just continued their decline.

The article covered nine pages and the one on one interview is twenty two pages in an easy to understand conversation. We will post both on our website. Anyone who hopes to stay healthy until their way later years may want to read this. You can find it at www.centraliowaag.com later this week.

Bob Streit is an independent crop consultant and columnist for Farm News. He can be reached at (515) 709-0143 or www.CentralIowaAg.com.

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