Agronomy Notebook

What did we learn from 2014 growing season?

I asked several farmers and Seed Consultant Reps what new things they learned from 2014 growing season. I will be discussing some of those ideas in these articles for next three weeks. It is difficult to learn new things every year but each growing season either teaches us some new ideas or reinforces what we [...]

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Should we be using soybean maturity group as a tool for variety selection?

Over the last decade I have noticed a subtle shift across much of the northern soybean growing region towards planting later maturity group soybeans. This shift, either conscious or unconscious, may be attributed to earlier planting dates, relatively favorable fall harvest windows, and the drive for maximum yield as influenced by high commodity prices. As [...]

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More questions for your seed rep

I strongly believe that your Seed Rep should be able to answer some tough questions whether he is working for Seed Consultants or some other seed company before you sign on the dotted line. If they can’t answer some of your questions, they should be able get the answers from an agronomist. Below are some [...]

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Interpreting least significant difference in yield data

For studying yield data from university, seed companies or third party sources, always look for the LSD value or Least Significant Difference at the bottom of the data set or Table. What does it mean and how to use it in evaluating data? • LSD value measures variability in the test which may be caused [...]

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Plan now for 2015 weed control

As herbicide resistant weeds become more prevalent across the Eastern Corn Belt, university weed experts and agronomists continue to advocate the importance of fall herbicide applications. University research has proven to be practical and applicable in the field. Growers who make fall herbicide applications have an easier time keeping weeds under control in the following [...]

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How do you analyze test plot data?

Most farmers plant single strips of several hybrids and try to select hybrids for the following year. Single strips are OK for observations but replications can measure variability and give you more reliable results. Consider the following points for analyzing test plot data. • One location or test is not enough to draw conclusions about [...]

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corn seed

Corn maturity and drydown

Corn kernels are about 32% to 30% moisture content at physiological maturity or when black layer develops. Several factors influence field drydown after black layer. Kernel moisture content decreases faster with warm, dry weather and may decrease slowly in a wet and cool environment. Fuller season corn hybrids that require more growing degree units (GDUs) [...]

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Causes and cures of ear droppage in corn

There are several reasons for ears falling off of corn plants. Ear droppage may be caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Corn breeders try to discard the experimental hybrids with a tendency to drop ears and select hybrids with good ear retention. • I had observed a lot of European corn borer damage in [...]

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Factors affecting corn dry down in the field

Growers like to have hybrids with high yield potential, excellent disease tolerance, great standability, faster dry down and lower grain moisture at harvest. Well there seem to be a contradiction here. Hybrids that live longer are not going to die earlier and dry fast. Management decisions such as planting date, plant population, amount of nitrogen [...]

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How to prevent N leaching

Even though it appears that we are headed for a record corn crop, some farmers have noticed signs of nitrogen deficiency showing up in their crops. According to some of the Seed Consultant professionals, these growers applied the nitrogen fertilizers by splitting application and side-dressed as late as possible. However, the drenching rains that followed [...]

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