Jeremy Hogan Update
Friends, Customers & Colleagues,
In the past week I’ve had the opportunity to scout several corn and soybeans fields in the Champaign, Decatur, Bloomington area. Overall I’m very encouraged with what I have seen. Although we had some excess moisture throughout the month of June, most of the corn throughout this geography looks very very good. I expected to see more Nitrogen (N) deficiency in the low ground than what I did. Our nitrate sampling in most area fields shows that we certainly don’t have excess N, however as long as we continue to get light showers along the way with no flushing rains then we should have enough N to finish…..it will be close in many fields depending on the amount of mineralization that takes place from here on out. In addition to Nitrogen, my two other biggest concerns are foliar/stalk disease and lack of sunshine (photosynthesis).
From a disease and fungicide perspective we are set up for a big disease year due to favorable conditions for disease development. As we transition from vegetative to reproductive growth, the corn plant will quickly go from “fight” to “fill” mode. During vegetative growth the plant does everything in its power to fight off various stresses. Once reproduction occurs then the plant gives up a very high percentage of its defensive mechanism and instead does everything in its power to reproduce. This includes pollinating and filling kernels. This is why we usually start to see disease show up shortly after tasseling. It is somewhat concerning when we see disease show up prior to pollination as is the case in many fields this year. Many first year corn fields that I checked last week were relatively clean. Today I found a completely different story in many of the same fields. Corn on corn fields that had low levels of Gray Leaf Spot (GLS) infection last week were noticeably worse today. These levels of infection have gotten worse and will move up the plant as we continue to get further into pollination and grain fill. I’m also starting to Northern Corn Leaf Blight (NCLB) show up in the past week and continue to get reports from neighboring counties that it is out there and also continues to develop at a rapid rate. Protecting from GLS and NCLB in the upcoming days and weeks will be imperative to protecting what I believe could be another record breaking crop across our geography.
My second concern is regarding the levels of Anthracnose Leaf Blight (ALB) in nearly every corn on corn field. This is the same fungus that causes Anthracnose Stalk Rot (ASR). Just because there is ALB present doesn’t always mean there will be ASR. However, if similar weather patterns continue then we can expect this fungus to attack corn stalks as we move through pollination and grain fill. Therefore we could very likely experience rapid stalk deterioration and stalk lodging as harvest approaches. Hybrids vary in their level of susceptibility to anthracnose so be sure to check ratings and plan fungicide applications accordingly.
My third concern is the lack of photosynthetic energy that we’ve been able to capture due to continued cloudy days this summer. At this point we are approximately 25% behind in solar radiation compared to last year. If we start getting sunshine and warmer days similar to what we experienced this past weekend then we could quickly catch up with little or no adverse yield effects. However, if cloudy weather patterns persist then we could find plants short on carbohydrates which could result the plant robing the stalk to fill the ear. This could very well result in reduced stalk integrity and harvestability issues.
Last week I presented to several of you at various field days about the state of this crop locally and the concerns listed above. Keep in mind that Headline AMP at tassel will not only help protect the plant from continued disease development but it will also help from a plant health perspective in regards to better nutrient and carbohydrate utilization for grain fill and late season standability. Most corn fields planted April 13-17 will be at full tassel ready to spray sometime this week. Some early planted fields have already been sprayed. In fields that have experienced water damage or nitrogen loss I am seeing some uneven tasseling. In these situations you will either need to make the fungicide application based on the majority of the field or wait until entire field has tasseled. If 99% of the tassels are not present then be sure to remove the adjuvant from this application to prevent potential injury to pre-tasseled plants.
In less fortunate areas that experienced heavy rain events that caused severe leaching or denitrification, then Nitrogen management should be #1 on your radar and disease/plant health protection #2. Make plans now to aerially apply Urea treated with LIMUS or apply UAN treated with LIMUS via Y-DROP. LIMUS is a new advanced urease inhibitor from BASF with 2 modes of action (MOA) compared to single MOA traditional urease inhibitors. Once you get these fields back on track from a plant nutrition standpoint then re-evaluate the state of the crop from a fungicide and plant health protection standpoint.
The early planted soybeans are quickly approaching R3/R4. As you would expect there is a lot of Septoria Brown Spot and the potential for other fungal diseases to develop. In addition, the lack of sunshine could cause reduced pod and seed fill so a plant health application will be imperative for improved carbohydrate utilization as we move into the late reproductive stages. In order to maximize soybean yield at this point we will need to do everyting we can to increase the number of pods/plant, increase the number of seeds/pod, and increase seed weight. Replicated research trails at the BASF Midwest Research & Agronomy farm has proven that Priaxor fungicide consistently increases yields by increasing number of pods, seeds, and seed weight. With the recent increase in commodity prices we cannot leave any yield on the table.
Overall we are in a great position to maximize yield at a decent price. Based on what I’ve seen in the past week, protecting this crop could make all the difference in the world when it comes to profitability. I have seen and/or have recieved reports from many areas across the country regarding the state of this corn and soybean crop. We are most certainly one of the few areas across the country that are still looking at Good to Excellent yield potential. We’ve invested way too much at this point to let yield slip away. Lets stay focused and finish strong in the upcoming days and weeks!
Jeremy P. Hogan
Technical Marketing Agronomist
U.S. Row Crops
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