homepage logo

Crop watch

By Staff | Jun 8, 2020

As we enter the last week of May we can all think of how in the farming community not much has changed in that as you prepared machinery for the spring, figured out crop management plans, booked product, and figured out the jobs for each person in your operation, not that much was different than in previous years. Then when you go to town or try to conduct business with your banker, at your USDA office, or possibly ask a valid question from one of your long time suppliers things go absolutely nuts and it seems that the world has gone insane and a great number of people are scared silly and have no more common sense. You base your decisions and life on facts and information.

You had to be asking ‘Don’t they teach people to think for themselves anymore?’ The best quote of the week that I read was from Thomas Jefferson. He said and wrote that “When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.” Watching the large protest in states where their overzealous governors or mayors are making rules up that keep shuttered businesses locked down, tells you that people have had enough and are recognizing that 95+ % of the experts had no clue as to what has been going on and are not managing for the national and personal financial wellbeing.

I have mentioned in past columns that a $.30 per day treatment regime of zinc and tonic water killed the virus within 5 to 6 days and plus acted as a preventative. The quinine, as an extract from the bark of the Cinchona tree, has been used since the 1600s to treat malaria. When combined with the zinc it keeps the virus out of the body. In addition several medical research groups summarized and publicized their findings that a commonly used animal wormer derived from a Japanese soil fungus had been found to be killing 99.98% of the virus particles within 48 hours. The safety profile of the product was also quite good and no major side effects had been seen.

Field happenings

Overall the fear that the freezing temps were going to result in lots of replant acres did not materialize in most of Iowa. In most cases the cooldown slowed the germination and early growth of both the corn and soybean seedlings enough that the growing points were below ground and safe from frost. In the end a negative became a positive. If the temps had been 2 or 3 degrees cooler, or if the daily temps had been warmer and sped up plant growth of both crops, the amount of replant could have been high.

The first planted corn acres hold plants that are now in the V2 V3 growth stage. Having such slow GDU accumulation seems to be quite similar to 2018 where lots of corn acres were way behind in development and many of us did the calculations as to flowering date. There seems to be slim to no chance of having a normal maturity crop. Then a near record warm June developed and we saw the corn plants add 3 to 4 feet in growth and had nearly caught up by tasseling time. Might the same thing happen again this season?

The focus for most growers once the fields get dry enough will be to apply any needed broadleaf weed control products to their corn fields. If only grass control products were applied pre-emerge the list of emerged broadleaves is quite long. The commonly used Callisto has always done a good job with good crop safety and a long residual period. Where both grass and broadleaf control are needed the Armeazon or Impact products have performed well in the past. Remembering the last two years we have to hope for enough dry weather that these early post applications can be applied while the weeds are in the controllable stages and labels can be followed.


Depending on when the post-emerge broadleaf pass on corn fields get completed the focus will shift to the soybean fields as the 25 to 30 days after planting time window will be here soon. The cool and cloudy conditions have slowed emergence and growth but a few 80 degree days will change that quickly. Recent history and recommendations from herbicide specialists say that small broadleaves are much easier to kill than larger ones, as the ones you don’t control harden off and have developed many more growing points.

The practice of making a reapplication of a residual broadleaf products has become very common. With a high percentage of the bean seeds having been in the ground for nearly a month, but with most of the beans plants only at their early growth stage, the timing of that reapplication may also need to be earlier than normal. Then does a person increase the rate of that product to lengthen the residual period? That issue will have to be discussed since the germination of waterhemp can be through mid-August. It appears that we will be hoping for the PPO products to provide enough control of those late emergers.

Insect issues

To this point early scouting passes have not seen any major insect issues. The fields have generally been too wet to get into the see what might be appearing. Generally if bean leaf beetles are a problem they will also be around buildings and other plants chewing on the leaves.

Post weed control activities

It is common for growers after they get any weeds or grass under control to assume the main work is over with. That may not be the case. For many years after a popular herbicide had been applied both major crops would show the ‘yellow flash’ and have an ugly yellowish striped appearance. It often took two weeks for the green color to reappear. A bit of that could be explained in that the roots had to hit the nitrogen zone. Yet the majority of the cause was the chelation of the minerals that had occurred in the plants that was limiting the plants’ ability to form chlorophyll, inhibiting the ability of the roots to ward off invasion of the roots by pathogenic fungi and a host of other problems. Corn and soybean growers in S America always followed such herbicide applications with a micro-nutrient trip 7 to 10 days later to avoid or reverse the problem.

Once the corn reaches the V5 growth stage the crop scout or grower should be watching the plants for any deficiency symptoms and pulling leaf samples to send for analysis. Even in a year when a number of growers are inclined to not spend any more money on crop inputs, if a mineral related to plant growth and health, N efficiency, or sugar deposition, the chance of getting a decent ROI from an application of a MicroMix and Moly yields wise or late season standability wise are still good.

Boron and moly sufficiency

While mentioning micro-nutrients a grower has to recognize the function of these two minerals in the plant. Proper boron levels dictate where the sugar goes in the plant plus facilitates intake of other minerals into the cells. Moly is important to both corn and soybeans in constructing an enzyme needed to convert nitrate nitrogen into protein. If and when that doesn’t happen the plants are more disease and insect prone. Tissue test results from the Midwest indicate that those two elements are deficient in 90 plus percent of the fields sampled.

Other thoughts to consider are plant health maintenance. If your thought process when someone mentions plant health and you immediately think fungicide, a better response needs to be proper nutrition and mineral sufficiency. That applies to be plant and human health and is why God gave you an immune system.

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

Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page

Crop watch

By Staff | Jun 8, 2020

So how would everyone rate the spring, the 2020 planting season, the condition of the crop? All in all we would have to give it an A for most of the state. In parts of Nebraska and Missouri farmers are still struggling to get planting completed. So we have reasons to feel optimistic about the yield potential of both the corn and bean crops. Now we just need a strong rebound to feel that our efforts would get rewarded. Somewhere and for some reason we have to hope for and work for some black swan event to make that happen.

By now most fans of Elwynn Taylor, our now retired ISU climatologist tell about farmer Benner. He was an unknown farmer from Kentucky who carved diagrams in the wooden beams in his barn that depicted the 18.5 year solar cycle that traced the droughts that seemed to occur every 9 or 9.25 years, and the resulting low yields. He accompanied the droughts with a 2 year up cycle where the low yields created an economic boom cycle that resulted.

So just when the economy was beginning to open up in more states and cities there had to be the racial event up in the Twin Cities. The entire event seems too staged with lots of outside agitators getting paid to protest. And who delivered pallets of bricks to conveniently sit on the street available for anyone to hurl at windows and people?

And for my list of must watch videos or articles to educate yourselves. First of all, a great read and somewhat long is one entitled ‘The Perps behind CoVid-19’. It is a full rundown of the clandestine labs and biological research being done in many countries and an assessment of the danger they present to the human race. A lot of them have serious splaining to do. Such articles mean more when you know a few of the individuals mentioned.

Then there is a two hour interview conducted by a gonzo, very insightful, somewhat rogue, person named Joe Rogan. He interviews a Libertarian, regenerative ag apostle who might be the most well known chicken and veggie farmers in the country, Joel Salatin. He has a few recent books to his name such as ‘Everything I want to do it Illegal, where he names the many regulations and hoops an individual producer has to do to sell healthy and nutritious food to people who want to buy it. A more recent one is the ‘Incredible Pigness of Pigs’. He was the keynote speaker at the Eco-Ag Conference a year ago and he gave a 105 minute talk that was information filled and hilarious. Everyone would have voted to give him another 30 minutes.

His message what that the virus shutdown was great for local food producers who sell directly to the consumers, as more of them want to be closer to the source of their food and where it is coming from. In the interview he does mention Iowa, with its great soil and industrious producers, but where a high percentage of the stuff that hits our tables is grown elsewhere. But he asks why we only raise two or three major crops. It may take some ingenuity and determination to break the mold, but there is money in food, just not much in commodities. So what will it take to make it happen? When one flies over European countries along the North Sea the number of greenhouses below is amazingly large.

The condition of the crops

The condition of the corn crop is good, with it needing more sunshine and heat. It sounds like the heat will be arriving in June. Most of the fields have taken on a yellowish caste in the last week. My guesses are with saturated soil conditions the roots are not as active as they should be thus are not pulling in the nitrogen sitting a few inches down. Until now the spring has still been on the dry side and not much leaching should have occurred yet.

Already it appears that in areas that consistently face woolly cupgrass moving in from the field edges are seeing it happen already. For corn taller than the V2 growth stage the top product to spray might be Capreno, with its two mode of action products that long residuals. The smaller and a bit later planted corn may be able to make a pass or two around the field edges and along the waterways with Corvus for longer control, or one to the three labeled HPPDs.

The tallest corn I am seeing locally is in the V4 and moving into the V5 growth stage. That means it is time for growers who like to manage their N programs by taking late spring soil nitrate tests to determine how much NO3 is present do so. The Solum Soil Lab, which was owned by Winfield Solutions for a short while can test for both NO3 and NH4 to give a broader view of the amount of residual nitrogen available to the plant. If you can get an accurate figure on those levels, and the amount of rainfall during the three spring months don’t exceed 9 or 11 or 13 inches, I will have to be reminded what figure to use, then what shows up now should be plant available for the corn crop. This could be one area where a livestock feeder could save money.

Tissue testing

With poor prices a common refrain is that many growers don’t plan on spending any additional money on the crop. Is that a wise move? To me each grower still needs to identify the low stave on their cropping barrel and make educated guesses on which products still have a high likelihood of giving a decent ROI. It may increase the chance of breaking even or returning a profit if prices rebound or there are shipping problems in the South American countries.

With knowing that four micro-nutrients are deficient 70 to 95% of the time, it is easy to tell growers to be sure to pull leaf or plant samples for lab testing of the major micros. The optimum time to pull samples is quickly approaching, so be ready with sample bags and a plan to do this sampling.

Soybean herbicide applications

The 25 to 30 days after planting for the post-emergent broadleaf herbicide applications will be here shortly. The bean plants may be shorter than normal, but some of your first applied product may be declining in effectiveness already. The earlier than normal bean planting date may be paired with an early then normal application of the overlapping residual products.

In making plans about how to manage any leaf diseases or any other fungal problems that may be showing up in six weeks, be aware of the new Impulse, a new mineral foliar product that besides supplying the micronutrients that are commonly deficient in bean fields, but it also keeps fungal diseases at bay for the rest of the season. In 2019 trials the bean plants exploded with branches and pods. Double digit yield increases are typically hard to come by. I view this as a groundbreaking new product. There is still a small supply available through dealers. In an era where strobes have lots some of their activity the cheap generics may no longer control the Cercospora.

May the sun shine all week with a gentle one inch rain on Saturday night.

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

Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page