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By Staff | Jun 1, 2018

As we move into the lasts few days of May it might be good to look around and pass judgment on how the season has done so far. Considering that our last big snow of 12 inches fell only about five weeks ago farmers have made remarkable progress. Everyone was putting in very long hours and the fact that many growers adapted their planters to be able to plant at higher speeds accelerated the rate at which they could cover more acres.

One item many of us wondered about was the rate at which spring applied 82 percent of 32 percent was going to get applied prior to planting. Apparently not fast enough as with the planting delays and wet soils there were lots of acres where the operators looked at the calendar and concluded that the best course of action was to get the planting done and then come back with whatever form of N was available and whatever method of application. Then the bind became getting enough semis in the fleet to deliver UAN to the floaters or to ramp up for major in-season application needs.

On a state wide event it was good to see a young former Iowa Central Community College student from the tiny north Iowa town of Clarksville enter the American Idol singing competition. My wife had me watch the recordings of the show and she was fun to listen to. Now to me the best entertainers can go on stage with just their own instrument and voice and capture a crowd. In that group I would include John Fogerty, Neil Young, Emmy Lou Harris, Gretchen Peters, Brandi Carlyle and others I have seen in person. Apparently she did a good enough job of it that she ended up winning the contest, capturing the $250K, a recording contract and a tour for the next few months. I’m guessing we will hear a lot more from Maddie Poppe over the years.

Emergency planting meetings

In last week’s paper they announced that several extension/crop insurance meetings were going to be held for farmers in several north central Iowa counties. They likely have several for farmers in the proverbial ‘same boat’ in south central Minnesota where the incessant rains and soggy fields have prevented farmers from getting their major crops planted. We have seen this happen before and it always puts the growers in a bind where they go into the season with high hopes that get dashed with each day that passed where they are unable to proceed with the fieldwork and planting. Now the affected growers have lost the first three to six weeks of the growing season that they have taken advantage of in the last twenty years. There can still be decent yield potential if they can get the corn planted in late May, but once the calendar turns to June, depending on rotation, drainage and pest problems, making the decision to plant beans instead can make more sense.

We saw back in 1991 when planting went in spurts, first around May 21st for 2 to 3 days, then around May 28 to 30th, and finally after June 5th, planting corn after June 5th along Hwy 3 in Wright County was not a paying proposition. Most of the unplanted acres are now north of Hwy 3, so the guidance given at those meetings could prove helpful. The optimism that growers entered the season with will be dashed and growers will be looking more of their insurance guarantee than maximizing bushel yields and gross dollars from the marketplace.

If growers in the affected area decide to plant soybeans, they could now narrow their rows up if possible. As to maturity they should stick with a medium or early maturity variety for their area. If they had planned on planting a very full season variety they should use a half maturity group earlier.

One item to consider for anyone planting beans at this time is that the cutoff date for applying Flexstar and a few other products of that same family will still be July 1st. The window for application will get much narrower to minimize the chance of carryover to corn in 2019.

One major concern in northern Iowa with planting second year beans is potential yield loss due to SCN. It may be good to know that southern growers for several years now and extension nematologists have seen good SCN control with on seed, if-furrow, or even foliar applications of chitosan based products. We will be posting info about Varnimo, Root Rx, or Nemosan on our site or could answer questions about them. I would still like to locate a few plots with those materials to see how they perform locally. We would like to track yield and pull soil cores to get counts on each field.

Corn development

This has to be the quickest development corn crop I have ever seen. Picking up 25 GDUs per day during the early vegetative growth stage can be credited for forcing this to happen. We already have corn in our neighborhood reaching the V 6 growth stage. This is actually a bit later than preferred for the first post-emerge herbicide application.

Make sure to keep tabs on the growth stages of the plants in your fields so as to make the application in the optimum window prescribed in the label guidelines. This window could get squeezed for the Dicamba based products as well as for the HPPDs.

As fast as the corn is growing the grasses and weeds are keeping with the same rapid pace of growth. Any rain delays that last more than a few days could allow broadleaf weeds to grow beyond the recommended height quickly. Custom applications could be under a severe time bind and really hoping for days under 85 degrees with winds in the ideal 3 to 10 mph range.

Observations so far

In the fields I have scouted already the small corn plants are beginning to show the inter-veinal streaking. I have turned those into Midwest Labs for ‘mineral plus Moly’ analyses to develop an action plan for making any foliar micro-nutrient applications.

Other corn fields are showing a pattern of yellowish and somewhat stunted plants in low or high areas of the fields. With wet subsoils now and if ponding rains fall in your areas, expect to see leaching of fall applied without stabilizers, or spring applied N without stabilizers begin to show up as yellowing corn. Conditions are in place to have leaching become an issue.

With yellow corn plants showing up in fields with adequate N applied, recognize that a shortage of Moly can cause plants to be unable to pull in or utilize N that has been applied. If you turn soil samples in be sure to specify that you wish to include Moly testing with them.

Bugs in our fields

There was a spurt of activity earlier with bean leaf beetles in bean fields. This seems to have subsided as more fields emerged. The overwintering beetles will have laid their eggs, which will feed underground on SB roots. We don’t see them doing this feeding.

Will this be the year where we find and identify the Dectes stem boring beetle and its larva? They can be found in neighboring states to the south and as close as northwest Missouri and in eastern Nebraska.

With their egg laying season of early June thru late August they have proven to be a scout and spray nightmare insect where they have appeared. Multiple applications of regular pyrethroids, using polymers or the commercialization of longer lasting new insecticides, or using the new chitosan products will be needed to combat this insect. Expect to find the first hatched larvae near the regular and expected June 1 to 5th date. Digging to find them can let you gauge any upcoming feeding problem. Until now there have very few products that can arrest a problem where they are already chewing on roots. It will be interesting to see if or how the earlier mentioned product perform against these root feeding pests.

Combating stress

Temps in the mid to high 90s this early in the season are record breaking and can be stressful to corn plants. In the past it was tough to find any products that could minimize this stress on the plants. Two new ones that have turned up with great science behind them are the Ensure from Adaptive Symtiotic Technology. It is a Trichoderma fungus that lives inside the vascular tissue of plants and imparts superb heat and drought tolerance to plants. The Mainstay Si calcium silicate foliar applied material is also known to help plants conserve water and tolerate drought and stress.

With the corn plants in many locations reaching V6, be aware that the bacterial complex that plugs the vascular system of plants will be showing up in the V8 to V10 window. Have you control plans in place.

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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