This summer we had a lot of questions around planting VT2 hybrids. Seed suppliers continue to come with new genetics that are only available in VT2 and these genetics are some of the highest yielding genetics out there. In an effort to help us make decisions for this coming year we participated in a joint effort with Wyffels and put yellow sticky traps in our bean plot fields. These sticky traps were part of over 500 traps put out by Wyffels this summer. We have attached the results from the Wyffels study. We also put out an additional 9 traps and checked those for a 4 week period from July 20th– August 17th. Results were the following.
Milmine- .32/day Atwood- .14/day
Camargo- .11/day Ivesdale- .46/day
Seymour- .18/day Mansfield- .18/day
Royal- .46/day Catlin- .07/day
We would appreciate the opportunity to help you make your seed choices next year and hopefully this kind of information helps. If you have any questions please contact one of our Seed Specialist.
Wyffels study results: BTR_Manage_Corn_Rootworm_2018_1
Tal Holmes: 217-637-7604
Randy Mosier: 309-824-6551
Darren Roelfs: 309-275-8176
Mitch Holmes: 217-637-7603
We had enough dry weather in March to allow some ammonia to go on early, but there has been little opportunity for field work over the last six weeks. Rainfall over the past month has been below normal for the northern third of Illinois and above-normal in the southern half of the state, especially along I-70. Even though it’s not sopping wet in many areas, below-normal temperatures in recent weeks means very slow drying of soils. While we know that conditions can change quickly – even as I write this the forecast has improved for the rest of this week – it’s clear that the spring of 2018 is not going to be one that allows a very early start for field operations.
Soybean following soybean
With soybean acreage in Illinois expected to increase some and corn acreage to fall this year, some soybeans in 2018 will follow soybeans. As I’ve written before, there is no particular concern in planting soybeans after soybeans, except perhaps to avoid doing this if soybean cyst nematode egg counts are high. We have no reason to expect that SCN counts are unusually high, but if this will be the third year of soybean in the same field or if there was any hint of SCN damage in the 2017 crop, it might be worth taking a count yet this spring. SCN-resistant varieties are a must in any case.
The yield penalty for soybeans that follow soybeans instead of corn varies some by site and year, but most of our research shows this penalty to be modest, usually less than 10%. Averaged over three trial sites and two years (2016 and 2017), soybean following: 1) continuous corn yielded 76.9 bushels per acre; 2) two years of corn yielded 71.4 bushels; 3) one year of corn yielded 69.2 bushels, and; one year of soybean yielded 68.0 bushels per acre. In 2017 we had soybean following two years of soybean, and averaged over three sites, these yielded about 2.5 bushels less than those following one year of soybean.
In two long-running studies in western Illinois, tillage has had either no effect on yield of soybean following soybean, or has decreased yield. If the soybean stubble was not tilled last fall, it would probably be better to plant soybeans without tillage this spring. We did see a slow start to no-till soybeans under the cool, wet conditions of 2015, and at the Monmouth site that year, no-till soybeans following soybeans yielded 5 bushels less than tilled. This differences was even larger in soybean following corn that year. Soybean following corn tends to yield a little more when tilled than with no-till, in fact, though the difference averaged over years is not enough to pay for tillage operations.
Other than normal scouting for disease and weed management, though, there are few other management considerations specific to growing soybeans after soybeans.
Cover crop management
Cereal rye planted into corn stalks last fall has made much less growth than normal, especially in comparison to 2017, when February temperature averaged nearly 10 degrees warmer than in 2018 and the cover crop grew for a couple of months before April. The slow growth this year will continue as long as soil temperatures remain in the upper 30s to low 40s as they are now. But rye is a cool-season crop, and will start to grow rapidly once it warms up.
Conditions have not been good to kill the cover crop with herbicide, so slow growth may be preferable to rapid growth for now. But a choice will need to be made in the coming weeks about how long to let the rye grow before spraying to kill it. We want enough growth to produce the benefits for which we planted the cover crop, but we also need to manage it so it doesn’t interfere with soybean establishment. If soybean seed can be placed into soil well, this shouldn’t be a big concern. But as long as the weather and soils stay cool, soils will dry slowly, especially once the rye is killed and is no longer taking up water. Lower amounts of residue due to slow growth will help some, but soybean seed placement and crop emergence could still be a challenge, especially if soils continue to dry slowly or the weather turns wetter. Clearing residue off the row will help, if that’s an option.
In the spring of 2017, soil conditions and temperatures were so favorable early that some people planted a “test” area of soybeans in February to see how they’d do. They did well – soybean are quite tolerant of frost as long as they haven’t emerged yet or have emerged and their “neck” has straightened out to bring leaves and cotyledons to the horizontal. So the period in mid-March with temperatures in the 20s last year didn’t kill the crop, and some of these soybeans yielded as much as those planted in late April.
This year, soils in some areas were dry enough to plant by mid-March, and some people again planted soybean then. [Some corn got planted as well, but that no longer attracts the attention that super-early soybean planting does.] Conditions since have been much less favorable than they were a year ago, and this has kept the early-planted crop from emerging, at least in most fields. Only about 30 growing degree days (base 50) have accumulated over the past month at Champaign – that’s maybe a fourth of the number of GDD needed for the crop to emerge. It will be surprising if soybean seed that has been in cold, wet soils for the past month is still viable, but we won’t know for sure until soils warm up. For the curious, digging up seeds and putting them in a damp paper towel in a warm room for a few days will show whether they’re still alive. Even if they’re alive there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to emerge and become healthy plants.
Lost in the attention given to the survival of soybeans planted very early is the question about such early planting – provided the crop survives – affects soybean yield. Given how rare it is that soybeans can be planted by or before mid-March, we have not done trials on this. We mostly have anecdotes, and those may be skewed towards those times when the crop survived. We have seen a few cases, especially in the very dry spring of 2012, when planting in early April was followed by stressful (cool or dry) conditions that limited plant height and yield compared to soybeans planted later. Even if soil conditions allow a March-planted crop to emerge, there is virtually no chance that it will yield more than a crop planted in the same field in late April, and some chance (if it survives) that it will yield less.
Overall, our data across 26 soybean planting date trials show that soybeans produce full yield if planted anytime between the second week of April and the end of April. The rate of yield loss with planting delay accelerates into May, reaching about 2/10ths of a bushel per day by the end of the first week of May, a quarter of a bushel per day by mid-May, a third of a bushel by the end of May, and 4/10ths of a bushel per day by June 10. These are lower loss rates than we often see presented elsewhere, most of which are based on a limited number of trials. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to plant as early as we can to get full yields, but it does show what most farmers know from experience – that high soybean yields depend more on what happens during the season than on when the crop gets planted, although planting by mid-May increases the chance that the crop will be able to respond to favorable conditions later. A corollary to that observation is that planting soybean into poor soil conditions just to get them planted early can decrease the ability of the crop to respond to favorable conditions later, and thereby end up costing yield.
While 100,000 or even fewer plants per acre will maximize yield in many cases, our research shows that this is not always enough plants. Trying to minimize the seeding rate can end up costing yield and losing money, especially in those cases when emergence and stand establishment are lowered by conditions at or after planting. While responses to plant stand do vary across trials, we have found that 115,000 to 120,000 plants (not seeds) per acre are often needed to produce the highest dollar return on the seed investment. If we plant good seed into good conditions we can expect 85% stand establishment, in which case we should plant about 140,000 seeds per acre, which for most seed companies today is one unit of seed.
Despite that fact that most trials in Corn Belt states in recent years – including our trials in Illinois – have shown little or no yield increase from applications of 45 to 90 pounds of N (100 to 200 pounds of urea) during the growing season, this practice continues to draw a lot of interest. In a set of trials we just finished, applying 45 or 100 pounds of N at planting time produced large increases in yield two years in a row on an irrigated loam soil near the Illinois River at Chillicothe, Illinois. Planting-time N had no effect on yield in most other trials in heavier, higher-organic-matter soils. We did find yield increases in a number of trials when we applied the same amount of N four different times, from planting through early podfilling. While repeated use of N may help explain some “contest” yields, the yield increase from four applications was not enough to pay even half the cost of these applications. Putting that much N on also means a lot of N left in the soil at the end of the season, so more N loss through tile.
With so many voices today claiming that N application on soybean “can” increase yield and others saying that it still won’t increase profits, what should producers do? In an ideal world, 500 Illinois farmers would put out a set of N strips (next to strips without N) in a field or two each year, and results would be brought together to produce data-backed expectations of how profitable this practice is on different soil types and across years. One of the reasons that’s difficult today is that so many soybean fields are harvested on an angle to the rows, making yield data collection difficult or impossible. There is also no one to organize such work and little noticeable interest by those who might fund such a project. “Trying” N by applying it to a field or two is sometimes suggested by those who feel that this is a profitable practice. This approach, of course, provides no information on whether or not applying N did anything.
For those interested in a “lite” N trial on soybean
Both times that we’ve seen a large yield increase from N on soybeans were on lighter-textured soil with N applied at planting. Applying N at planting typically makes leaves and cotyledons of small plants darker green in color compared to plants without N. In cases where N ends up increasing yield, this darker green color persists into vegetative stages, and plants tend to show increased growth and more green through most of the rest of the season. Where planting-time N doesn’t increase yield, the difference in green color between plants with N and those without N disappears as the plants make vegetative growth, and as their roots get more access to N from the soil and from N fixation in nodules. By the time plants are 6 to 8 inches tall, the effects of planting–time N are often no longer visible.
Based on what we’ve seen, I’m suggesting a low-cost alternative to large-scale application of N as a way to see where and how often N might have the potential increase soybean yields. Here’s the outline:
- After planting and before emergence, choose a uniform spot at least 20 feet away from endrows or edge of the field, and put flags in the corners of an area 15 feet x 15 feet square. We expect to see N effects more often on soils that are lighter in texture and lower in organic matter, so place this accordingly, in two or three fields or parts of fields with contrasting soil types if that’s an option. If possible record GPS coordinates for each site.
- Weigh out enough N fertilizer – urea or lawn fertilizer (without herbicide) – to provide 50 pounds of N per acre on the 225 square feet you flagged out. Calculate this by dividing the number 25.83 by the percentage of N in the product (urea may be 46-0-0, or 46% N; lawn fertilizer might be something like 27-0-4, or 27% N) to give the amount of product needed. As an example, if using urea (46% N), you would need 25.83/46 = 0.56 lb. of product. Multiply this by 16 to get number of ounces, or by 453.6 to give number of grams, if you have a gram scale. If you have a measuring cup but not a scale, urea weighs roughly 3/4ths as much as the same volume of water, so a cup (8 fluid ounces) of urea weighs about 6 ounces.
- Apply the fertilizer carefully, by hand or using a hand spin-spreader, uniformly over the soil inside the square.
- The “data” to be taken can, for most people, just be a photograph with the image split between the area with N and an area (outside the square) without N. I suggest taking a photo at about the V2 stage (two full trifoliolate leaves present), and another one about a month later, at perhaps V6-V7, when plants may be a foot tall or so. Find the side of the square that gives the best contrast under existing light conditions. Feel free to supplement the photo by noting what you can see (or not see) by eye.
- If the second photo shows no difference in greenness of plant size between those that received N and those that didn’t, the experiment could end there, with the conclusion that N probably made no lasting difference on growth, and so is unlikely to increase yield. If the plants with N are still greener and/or larger than those without N, that would be a signal to come back once or twice more, to see if the differences persists to the podfilling stages in mid- to late August, and again before leaves drop.
- If plants inside the treated square are visibly different than those outside, and there’s enough ambition and curiosity, you could harvest 15 or 20 randomly-selected plants inside the treated area and outside the treated area, and take a photo with the two sets of plants next to one another to show any visual effects on height or pod number. Those interested could count the number of pods, or even thresh the plants (in burlap bags works best) and weigh seed to estimate yield. Calculating yield would require an estimate of number of plants per foot of row. Yield estimated this way are highly variable, so they may not line up with what we thought we’d see based on plant size and appearance.
I’d be happy to look at photos from such comparisons; if there’s enough interest I could also develop a small reporting form to make a record for each trial. I’ll also be glad to send a layout for anyone interested in doing a strip trial with and without N. I can be contacted by email (link below, on my name) or my cellphone number is (217) 369-1997.
Rootworm management is a yearly consideration for most corn producers in central and northern Illinois. Western corn rootworm (Fig. 1) is the primary pest species throughout most of the state, but areas in northern IL can experience pest pressure from the northern corn rootworm (Fig. 2) as well. Adult population densities have been low in recent years compared with historical averages, although they did creep up a bit in 2017. The overall reduction in corn rootworm pressure is likely due to a combination of unfavorable weather (or at least unfavorable to rootworm larvae) and widespread adoption of corn hybrids expressing combinations of Bt toxins for rootworm control.
Over the last few years, western corn rootworm populations with resistance to Cry3Bb1 and mCry3A (two commonly expressed toxins in Bt corn hybrids) have been documented in Illinois. Research published in 2016 on Iowa1 and Minnesota2 western corn rootworm populations showed that resistance to these toxins also confers resistance to the structurally-similar eCry3.1Ab toxin. Cross-resistance among these “Cry3” Bt toxins should be expected for Illinois western corn rootworm populations. Resistance to pest control practices in the western corn rootworm is nothing new; this insect is notorious for developing resistance to control tactics such as insecticides and crop rotation. Part of the concern with these recent developments is that there are relatively few Bt toxins available to combat corn rootworm. Furthermore, all available hybrids with pyramided traits for corn rootworm use either Cry3Bb1 or mCry3A in combination with a second toxin (either Cry34/35Ab1 or eCry3.1Ab). This means that, where resistance is present in the population, there might in fact be at best only one effective toxin at work. (If you have trouble keeping all of these toxins straight, a good resource is the “Handy Bt Trait Table” produced by Dr. Chris DiFonzo at Michigan State University: https://www.texasinsects.org/bt-corn-trait-table.html).
There are steps producers can take to manage corn rootworm and hopefully slow the further development of resistance. The best way to delay resistance to any control tactic is to reduce exposure of the target insect to that tactic in the environment. Specific ways to accomplish this with Bt toxins include:
- Apply rootworm control (whether in the form of a Bt hybrid or a soil insecticide) only where it is economically justified based on sampling rootworm adults the previous year. If you monitor using a yellow sticky trap, the economic threshold is 2 rootworm beetles per trap per day in corn following corn. For rotated corn, the economic threshold is 1.5 western corn rootworm beetles per trap per day in soybean3. (These thresholds are based on a recent study in Iowa, which recalculated economic thresholds for corn rootworm based on updated crop values and control costs3).
- Rotating corn with soybean or another non-host crop remains an effective management strategy in the southern portion of the state. While crop rotation is no longer a reliable method to protect first-year corn from western corn rootworm damage in central and northern Illinois, all larvae that hatch into soybean still die, and every acre planted to soybean is an acre where larvae are not being exposed to Bt toxins or soil insecticides.
- Where monitoring indicates that control is justified in corn, rotate the control measures used from year to year. This means rotating among Bt hybrids with different trait combinations and non-Bt hybrids treated with a soil insecticide.
- Follow all refuge requirements for any Bt corn hybrids you plant. In many cases, the “refuge in a bag” or “RIB” approach is now used, but check with your seed distributor on specific requirements for your hybrids.
Finally, an important step is to monitor the performance of your control methods. While lodging is often the cue we look out for to identify rootworm damage, keep in mind that (1) corn can take a lot of damage without lodging depending on soil type and weather conditions and (2) plenty of factors other than rootworm damage can lead plants to lodge. The best approach to evaluating rootworm damage is to dig a representative sample of roots in late July and evaluate them for feeding damage: unpleasant work, but necessary if we want to understand the true extent of the damage. Consider planting a small area or a portion of a row with a non-Bt/untreated hybrid as a check strip. Having an untreated patch in your field will allow you to compare the efficacy of your management tactic vs. the background level of damage where no rootworm protection was used. Finally, if you experience greater damage than expected in Bt corn hybrids in 2018, please let us know at the email address below; your reports will help us to document the status of resistance in Illinois and provide updated information to producers.
As we gear up for the second year of dicamba application, there’s no doubt the revised label creates challenges for both applicators and producers. We pride ourselves on meeting the needs of our customers promptly and correctly. With dicamba, we’re asking for your help in the process.
One of the biggest challenges for us this year will be identifying surrounding crops and, in particular, those directly bordering the field to be applied. It will be logistically impossible for our sales staff to identify all of the fields that potentially could be impacted. So, we’re reaching out to you, our customers. If you’re using Engenia®, FeXapan™ or XtendaMax®, please help us out by talking with your neighbors to find out what’s going to be planted next to your field.
Please identify not only susceptible crops, but anything we should be aware of adjacent to the field. For example, a home, garden or orchard. We want to be able to apply every field you want us to cover, and your help in identifying any concerns surrounding your field will give us a much better chance of getting every acre applied without incident.
Due to dry weather in Argentina, soybean prices showed recent strength despite rising ending-stocks projections for the current marketing year. At 530 million bushels, the current forecast for soybean ending stocks represents a 228 million bushels increase over last marketing-year’s ending stocks.
According to University of Illinois agricultural economist Todd Hubbs, the development of soybean prices over the next year depends on the size of the 2018 U.S. crop and a more robust pace of consumption than produced thus far this marketing year.
“For soybeans, monitoring the pace of consumption occurs on a weekly basis for exports and a monthly basis for the domestic crush,” Hubbs explains. “Current projections for domestic soybean crush during this marketing year sit at 1.95 billion bushels, up 51 million bushels from last year’s crush total. The pace of soybean crush is currently running approximately 2.7 percent above last year’s pace through December.
“Weather issues in Argentina and recent increases in soybean meal prices create the potential for increased crush profitability throughout the rest of the marketing year. This scenario indicates a crush total for this marketing year near or above the USDA projection.”
USDA projections for marketing-year soybean exports decreased 60 million bushels to 2.1 billion bushels. Soybean export projections declined 125 million bushels over the last two World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates reports. Using Census Bureau export estimates through December, and cumulative export inspection totals through Feb. 8, soybean exports for the current marketing year total 1.350 billion bushels. “For the rest of the current marketing year, 25.8 million bushels of soybean exports are required each week to meet the USDA projection,” Hubbs says.
As of Feb. 8, total outstanding sales for the current marketing year totaled 322.4 million bushels, which is below the estimated 749 million bushels required to meet the USDA projection.
“Current data suggest soybean exports need to pick up the pace to reach the recently lowered USDA projection for this marketing year. The ability to attain the existing projection hinges on the size of the crop in South America and U.S. competitiveness in export markets. Brazil appears set to produce a crop larger than 4.1 billion bushels and continues to get a healthy share of the export business to China. Overall, weak exports and a slightly stronger crush place 2017-18 ending stocks at or slightly higher than the current forecast,” Hubbs says.
Building expectations about 2018 U.S. soybean production starts with planted acreage. Presently, an expectation for an increase in soybean planted acreage exists, Hubbs says. U.S. soybean plantings in 2017 came in at a record 90.1 million acres, a 6.7 million acre increase over 2016. Current USDA long-term baseline projections place 2018 planted acreage at 91.0 million acres. “The lower cost of producing soybeans and the perceived profitability advantage of soybeans over many alternative crops drive expectations of an increase in soybean acreage,” Hubbs adds. “Planted acreage near 91.3 million is projected for 2018. The USDA will survey producers’ planting intentions next month and release an estimate of those intentions in the March 29 Prospective Plantings report.”
Since 1996, the difference between planted and harvested acreage of soybeans ranged between 587,000 to 1.858 million acres and averaged 1.01 million acres. Under a normal weather scenario, the record level of planted acreage may see the abandonment of approximately 700,000 acres in 2018. Planted acreage of 91.3 million acres leads to a harvested acreage of about 90.6 million acres.
“Yield expectations for the next crop year usually rely on trend yield analysis,” Hubbs says. “Current USDA baseline projections place 2018 soybean yields at 48.4 bushels per acre. Using a conditional trend yield analysis, normal weather during 2018 indicates a trend yield for average U.S. soybeans near 48.5 bushels per acre. Yield at that level would create a 2018 soybean crop of 4.398 billion bushels,” Hubbs says.
A 2018 soybean crop of 4.398 billion bushels combined with the current USDA soybean stock projection of 530 million bushels and imports of 25 million bushels leads to a marketing-year supply of 4.954 billion bushels, 236 million bushels larger than the supply for the current year. To prevent 2018-19 ending stocks from increasing under this scenario, Hubbs says soybean consumption needs to exceed 4.424 billion bushels, 176 million bushels greater than current marketing-year projections. “Increased soybean consumption at this level does require a significant expansion in soybean exports and strength in soybean crush levels. A larger planted acreage or higher yield creates a scenario for greatly expanded ending stocks in the 2018-19 marketing year,” he adds.
“Expectations for the next marketing year include increased soybean acreage, an increase in ending stocks, and lower prices when compared to the current prices witnessed in the market. The mitigation of a major price decline requires a substantial increase in consumption or lower production in 2018. Neither alternative seems likely at this point. Using the current 2017-18 consumption projection and increased production in 2018, average farm price in the United States for soybeans could fall in a range of $9-$9.20 for the 2018-19 marketing year,” Hubbs says.
Source: University of Illinois
All United Prairie Locations will be closed on Monday, February 19th for Presidents Day. If you have any needs please contact your United Prairie Sales Agronomist prior to this weekend. Thank you, and enjoy your Presidents Day.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has released an updated version of the “Soybean Diseases” (IPM 4) publication to help farmers and other professionals in the agriculture industry identify and scout for disease threats to soybean production in Iowa. The publication includes scouting tips, disease descriptions, hi-resolution images and general recommendations for management. Also included are illustrated disease cycles for many diseases, a foliar disease estimation chart, and soybean growth and development and staging information.
“Soybean disease issues change over time, and the information we have about diseases advances with new research,” said Adam Sisson, extension specialist for the Integrated Pest Management Program at Iowa State University. “We updated ‘Soybean Diseases’ to reflect these changes and to improve the usefulness of the publication.”
“Several diseases not found in the previous version have been added, such as soybean vein necrosis and tobacco ringspot, along with new images and updates throughout,” said Daren Mueller, associate professor and extension crop plant pathologist at Iowa State University.
The “Soybean Diseases” publication is available to purchase online at the Extension Store. A hard copy of the publication costs $5, but there also is an option to order it in boxed quantities of 50 for a reduced price of $3.50 per publication. Printable downloads are $2.50 each.
Source: Daren Mueller and Adam Sisson, Iowa State University
Don’t Forget to Pre-Register!
The United Prairie Winter meeting is fast approaching!
Do not forget to Pre-Register for the meeting by January 9th for a chance to win a pair of Dugout Box tickets to the Cubs/Cardinals game on July 29th in St. Louis!
You can Pre-Register by Calling 217-485-6000.
The United Prairie Winter Meeting is on January 16th at the iHotel in Champaign.
United Prairie Locations will be closed on Friday, December 22nd and December 25th for Christmas and then again on January 1st and 2nd for the New Year. We hope you all have a safe and wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year. We look forward to working with you again in 2018!
One of the more significant agronomy choices for 2018 will be whether to go with Xtend® or LibertyLink® soybeans. That decision should be made based on the specific weed control issues you face. We have solid lineups of both Liberty and Xtend beans that will deliver strong yields. No matter which way you go, we’re confident yields won’t suffer.
Whether you apply yourself or choose to use our custom application service, you’ll want to pay careful attention to the requirements for the XtendiMax® dicamba herbicide, if you choose Xtend soybeans.
Moving to corn, the genetics we used last year are leading the field again. There are some new numbers, however, that you may want to try a planter full of for the coming year. We’re ready to help you match the right hybrid to your soil, growing conditions and maturity.
Evaluate rootworm pressure
This is the second or third year in which we’ve seen declining rootworm pressure in many of our fields. Some of the best genetics for yield are associated with Double Pro hybrids right now. Wyffels corn has some very strong Double Pro genetics, and DEKALB® has some excellent SmartStax hybrids that are also available in Double Pro.
If you’re in an area where rootworm is not a major issue, or you have a planter equipped to apply insecticide, take a look at these Double Pro options. They’ll deliver strong yields at a price that will help your bottom line. However, if you’re in an area that traditionally experienced rootworm pressure, discuss your situation with us. A SmartStax® hybrid may be the better choice for you.
Once again this year, soybeans planted in April delivered better yields than those planted in May. In our area, seed treatment is a must if you’re planting early—a fungicide/insecticide package at a minimum. And, as Darren Roelfs observes in the Danvers area, fungicide application—at times combined with catching some spotty rain—resulted in as much as a 10-bushel yield advantage in some areas.
Keep all these observations in mind as you plan for 2018. Remember that we’re here to help, so don’t hesitate to bring us your questions.