Monday, June 26, 2017

Thistle Caterpillar

Generally speaking, thistle caterpillars are a minor concern for growers. However, they have been reported in soybeans across the Burrus territory this year.  If a soybean field has small plants and the caterpillar population averages one insect for every other plant across the entire field, or if defoliation reaches 20-25%, then these pests should be a concern.

Thistle caterpillars are mostly found in the leaves of soybean plants. They hatch and form webs by tying the leaves together with silk, creating a protected area for them to feed. After 2 to 4 weeks they form a chrysalis that hangs from the plant, and hatch after 7 to 10 days, emerging as a butterfly.


Eggs: The thistle caterpillar eggs are light green and barrel shaped.

Caterpillar: The body of the caterpillar is approximately 1 ¼" long and is black with yellow striping on both sides. It is covered with branched, spiny hairs. They are often found in webbed leaves where they feed.

Adult (Butterfly): Upper portion of the front wings are red-orange and brown with black and white spots. The hind or lower wings are red-orange and brown with black “eye spots” along the edge.

Thistle caterpillar found on soybeans in northern IL

Example of leaf webbing on soybeans in central MO


When the thistle caterpillar feeds on the leaves of the soybean plant, it causes defoliation in the upper canopy. 

Example of leaf defoliation


If high concentrations are found in one area of the field, those places could be spot sprayed. Labeled rates of insecticides can be used to manage thistle caterpillars.

Koch, Robert, Suzanne Wold-Burkness. “Thistle Caterpillar in Minnesota Soybean.” University of Minnesota Extension, Crops Team. 2015.
Rice, Martin E. “Thistle Caterpillar – Mostly Minor Pests of Soybeans.” Department of Entomology, IC-494 (15). 20 June 2005.

Written by Burrus Seed Intern Andy Vanlanduyt

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

High-Performance Alfalfa Forage Solutions

While most of our growers know we carry a complete lineup of superior seed corn and soybean products, it is a lesser known fact that we also offer three outstanding alfalfa varieties for growers looking for high forage solutions.  

214FY Brand Alfalfa
High forage yielding, persistent alfalfa that has excellent quality potential. It has a quick re-growth after cutting to maximize the growing season and performs best in high producing, well drained soils.

214FY has a solid disease, insect and nematode resistance package that allows it to thrive in adverse environments. This variety is excellent for the dairy and beef producer that needs high tonnages of dairy quality forage.

388HY Hybrid Alfalfa
This is a new improvement in Hybrid Alfalfa with the use of msSunstra Hybrid Alfalfa Technology. Some of the characteristics of this hybrid are dense stands with fine-stemmed herbage and fast recovery. But there is an exceptional boost in yield.

The fine stem characteristic of this alfalfa makes a dense, attractive alfalfa bale. 388HY Alfalfa is the variety of choice for the highest yields of high quality forage.

344EQ (Extended Quality) Alfalfa

344EQ was created to provide superior forage quality over an extended harvest window for growers. It features high TTNDED (Total Track Neutral Detergent Fiber Digestibility) and NDGD48 forage scores. Yield for 344EQ is very good and it has a reliable disease package. This variety excels on farms that want to produce high yields of consistently top quality forage.

388HY alfalfa spring planting in Sugar Creek, WI

388HY alfalfa spring planting in Sugar Creek, WI

Agronomic Summaries

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Areas of Yellow, Striped, or Purple Corn Being Spotted

Are you seeing yellow, striped, or purple corn? My suggestion is to get to the "root" of the matter.

Recently, many fields have received frequent rains and field areas that are more likely to retain moisture, such as heavier soils or low lying areas, as well as compacted areas from equipment, could show signs of stress. Corn plants in these areas could be stunted, yellow, or purple and appear in distinct patterns within tire tracks, heavily traveled paths or end rows, anhydrous tracks, or in entire fields. Why does this happen?

Corn that is younger than the V6 growth stage is more vulnerable to "ponding" or heavy soil saturation. If soils are saturated for over 48 hours, oxygen becomes depleted leading to:
     1. Restricted nutrient uptake
     2. Restricted water uptake
     3. Stunted root growth until soil dries to acceptable conditions
     4. Possibility of root death
     5. Increased vulnerability to disease

Root function in saturated soil deteriorates because less photosynthates are used by the root. These photosynthates or sugars can accumulate in the above ground plant parts. The higher amount of photosynthates in these above ground plant parts can lead to purpling, which can be confused with phosphorus deficiency, especially in cool conditions. In addition, roots may not be able to take up nitrogen; therefore, they could become stunted and lack color. 

Some genetics may show more purpling or striping than other genetics, especially before nodal root development - no cause for alarm!

Some dry fields with corn that has compromised root systems could show signs of nutrient deficiency symptoms, not because the soil was lacking nutrients, but because those areas of the field were lacking moisture, planted too shallow, compacted, or are without an adequate root system.

In order to determine if a problem is present, roots of the nutrient deficient plants should be compared to roots of healthy plants. In most cases, corn plants were under the V6 growth stage and had not yet developed nodal roots to tap into nutrients.

Root growth that is restricted due to lack of moisture or compaction, can lead to stressed plants that show nutrient deficient symptoms. Our advice was to pray for  good growing weather and to wait for the nodal root system to develop so those plants could recover. Since root systems are compromised, problems can occur later in the season, especially if it becomes dry and plants are unable to reach subsoil moisture.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Evaluating Corn Stands after Excessive Rain

One of the biggest yield robbers (culprit of uneven germination or poor emergence) is due to highly variable soil moisture conditions at planting.  Soil moisture variation can be caused by different soil types, tillage patterns, Mother Nature, or seedling depths.  Too much water at planting can limit oxygen to seed and restrict growth of corn seedling. There is also a risk of poor or uneven germination if soil moisture conditions are too dry at planting or if the planting depth is too shallow.  Be sure to have the appropriate seedling planting depth for optimum corn germination.

  • Oxygen supply can deplete within flooded soils within 48 hours, cooler temperatures help plant survival (reduce speed of respiration), but germinating seed/plant not expected to survive more than 4 days
  • Effects on germinating seeds are not well known, but they need oxygen
  • Smaller seedlings are more susceptible to injury than larger seedlings
  • Some corn hybrids respond better than others
  • If corn is not completely submerged, there is limited diffusion of oxygen from shoot to root (helps increase survival)
  • How quickly water recedes (soil type) will help determine survival
What can you do?
  • If corn is at a later growth stage, evaluate the growing point, if it is dark, the corn will likely die
  • Radicle (root) should be cream colored, if not there may be root disease
  • Surviving plants should start growing 3 to 5 days
  • Flooding/saturation restricts root development, so drought stress could develop later in the season
  • Take stand counts and use the Burrus replant decision chart
For more information, check out Corn and Soybean Survival in Saturated and Flooded Soils.

Should you replant your corn: Grower replant chart

Take a stand count by taking a diagonal path through the field and stop every 75 feet (or another predetermined amount of steps).  

Evaluate the stand by counting the number of plants in 1/1000 of an acre (17' 5" in 30 inch rows) in several areas of the field, then find the average plant population per acre. 

Burrus provides an easy to use Replanting Yield Projection Chart on their website. 

This chart allows you to make replant decisions by giving you an expected percent of maximum yield based on various planting dates and plant populations per acre.  

Line A, B, and C rows at the top of the page represent Burrus hybrids that have been placed in A (high), B (moderate), or C (low) planting rate categories.  If you are not sure about the planting rate of the hybrid that you planting, you can go to the Corn Planting Rates chart.

For example, if you planted a "B hybrid" on April 20th, and had an average plant population of 25,000, you can still expect to have 97% maximum yield potential, so there is no need to replant, because if you replanted the same hybrid on May 9th, and had an average plant population of 35,000, you would expect to have a 97% maximum yield potential.  

If you have frequent gaps within the corn row, you may want to subtract another 5% from the maximum yield potential.

Another option, is the U of I Mobile Corn Replant Decision Aid.

Burrus has furnished 100% free replant seed since 1935.  To make sure you don't inadvertently create a trait change, always replant products from the same "family" of traits.  

Have questions?  Contact your Burrus agronomist.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Burrus Footprint Planting Update (Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin) 4/20/17

A Burrus corn plot was planted at the McCormick farm near Sumner, MO

Planters are going like crazy.  Some growers are finished planting corn, but some have not started.  No soybeans have been planted yet.  If it does not rain this weekend, many could finish up planting corn. – Jordan Watson, Northeastern Missouri

At least 70% of the corn has been planted in my area.  By Saturday there could be only 25% left with corn planting done by Sunday.  Many may start planting soybeans next week.  The daytime soil temperature is around 75 F.  The planting conditions have been excellent. Numerous unidentified white grubs were found when planting a field. – Donny Marnin, Central Missouri

The southern portion of my territory is well into planting with some growers done.  The northern part of my territory is planting corn and soybeans.  All in all, I would say 60% of corn and 10% of soybeans have been planted! - Riley Young, Central Missouri

Throughout my territory, I would say 50% of the corn has been planted, but no soybeans planted as of yet.  There is rain in the forecast for the next few days, so farmers are pushing pretty hard to try and get that crop in the ground. – Colby Reilson, Southwestern Illinois

A lot of the farmers in Rochester, Springfield, and Greenview area were waiting for fields to dry up before they head out. Closer to Taylorville and New Berlin, the fields were ready to go. There was much more planted at this time last year.  – Jim Allen, Central Illinois

We've had quite a bit of rain over the last few weeks and fields have been wet. The work is really just getting started over the last few days. Lots of guys out spraying and working ground. Planters were going yesterday (Wednesday). – Jeff Seckler, North Central Illinois

Planting has not started, as of yet in my territory.  There is still major anhydrous to go on before planting. This is making some farmers a bit edgy.  It seems like we have been getting rain every 3 to 4 days for the whole month of April, equalling about 1-2 inches per week.  We need several days of dry weather to get things properly dried up. – Lance Brillion, Northeastern Illinois

Rain has been keeping guys from getting field work done.  Larger growers started planting on Sunday afternoon, but then rain stopped them on Tuesday morning.  So, there are very few acres planted and many are still trying to get anhydrous on. – Justin Parks, Northwestern Illinois

The ground is warming up nicely. A few farmers have started planting corn. There is still a lot of moisture in the ground, plus we had .88 inches of rain last night (Wednesday). Alfalfa is about 80% done. Mostly, farmers are putting down fertilizer and starting to turn dirt. – Brian Bredeson, Southwest Wisconsin

A few large growers tried to plant today in Southwest Wisconsin, but no one is in a hurry. The ground is not quite fit yet. If we missed the rain, there will be a few more going, but we got .75 inches of rain last night (Wednesday). – Tom Sandahl, Hughes Sales Manager

It is still very wet, but warmer temperatures have really warmed soils up, with some anhydrous going on. – Bob Wagner, Southcentral Wisconsin

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Top 10 web resources that farmers should not live without during #plant17

If you are wanting high-quality climate data, derived information, or data summaries for the Midwest, this website is for you! 

This important website provides a regional Corn Belt approach to determine corn N rate guidelines by calculating economic return to N application with different nitrogen and corn prices to find profitable N rates directly from recent N rate research data. 

Sorting through all of the U.S. corn hybrid insect or herbicide transgenic traits can get confusing, so that is why University contributors created a table to help you decipher trait packages spectrum of control and refuge requirements.  Burrus has their own version of this chart too!

Because repeated use of herbicides with the same site of action can result in the development of weed herbicide-resistance populations, a chart was created to help find herbicide trade names by either their mode of action or premix. 

6.  Corn and Soybean Fungicide Efficacy Charts
Check out fungicide efficacy or how well each product controls crop diseases based on University multiple year and location testing.

This should be your “go to” for herbicide updates, package mixes, site of action, injury symptoms and my favorite, herbicide effectiveness ratings.

4.  Soybean Herbicide Use Guides:
LibertyLink® Soybeans:
Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® Soybeans:
Enlist E3™ Soybeans:
With many new soybean herbicide technologies being used this growing season, it will be more important than ever to learn the proper herbicide use and rates as well as keep up with industry and label updates!

3.  Crop Pest Monitoring
Illinois:  Follow @ILPestSurvey on Twitter or go to:  theBulletin (pest and crop development information for Illinois)
Wisconsin:  Pest Bulletin
Keeping up with pest monitoring and updates is a must, especially if you are going “traitless” this growing season!

This will be your favorite website for all the soybean information that you could ever want with just one quick search!  I also happen to be an ILSoy Envoy and contribute to the blog!

And the number one web resource……

You will not want to miss out on the convenience of all the Burrus charts in one location at the Burrus website to help with planting accuracy, population, replant, fungicide and herbicide response, yield calculation as well as product ratings, and characteristics!