Monday, October 23, 2017

PowerShield® seed treatment just got better - again!

As we begin to treat our seed corn, we are upgrading our treatment package again.  The beauty of trademarking our PowerShield® label is that we can upgrade components as new and better options are developed, keeping it the best seed treatment available!  For instance, last year we made the decision to add ethaboxam to our seed corn treatment to battle pythium.  This year, replant was higher than normal, almost twice our 10-year average, and yet, we were over three times better than some major competitors.  Some have asked how and why?  We have better seed treatment and higher cold germinations.  The cold, wet weather in 2017 planting time separated the men from the boys on replant.

Since we moved to Poncho® 500 / VOTiVO®, we have yet to furnish replant for black cutworm, wireworm, or white grubs.  So why would we change our inputs?  Stewardship.  As you know, Burrus is a proponent of taking the best possible care of our environment.  With this in mind, we are now using Lumivia® insecticide.  Lumivia utilizes an active ingredient different than clothianidin which is the base chemistry in Cruiser® and Poncho® seed treatments.  Research has shown that Lumivia has minimal impact on the environment and beneficial insects and pollinators when used in accordance to the label.  Use of Lumivia enables us to preserve the efficacy of clothianidin while also being stewards of the environment.  For those with nematodes in their soil profile, we offer HP or high rate Poncho, treated seed with Poncho® 1250 / VOTiVO® for a $10 per unit upgrade.

Lumivia provides a new mode of action for corn.  It is fast acting against soil pests and systemically translocates upward protecting the seed, roots, and developing seedling stem and leaves.  Wireworms can feed on the young plants, roots, and seeds even at 29 days after emergence; Lumivia will protect plants up to 60 days after planting.  Lumivia has low to no impact on beneficial arthropods and pollinators and has an excellent environmental, ecological, and toxicological profile. 

Adding Lumivia is just another step Burrus is taking to make sure our growers are set-up for success.  You can trust that we are always willing to make the changes necessary to offer the very best products and services available.  If you have questions about our seed treatments and how they can help your bottom line, contact your BurrusAccount Manager

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fall Evaluation of Soybeans

Over the past week, the Burrus agronomy team spent time evaluating soybean research plots.  These plots consist of our current soybean lineup alongside experimental soybean varieties.  The experimental soybeans have the potential to become part of our lineup in the future.  

Jamie Long, Sales Agronomist & Josh Gunther, Product Lead take notes on experimental soybean varieties near Centralia, MO.

This week, we evaluated the soybeans throughout Missouri, western Illinois, and north central Illinois.  These sites represent different growing conditions and soil types that can be found throughout our footprint.  The agronomists have evaluated the sites throughout the growing season taking ratings on height, width, appearance, and disease.  This week was spent getting a final evaluation of the plots prior to harvest. 

This week, we evaluated final lodging scores and overall appearance.  When evaluating overall appearance, we take into account the amount of green stems, signs of potential diseases present during the season, and height on the various soil types.  For example, in our irrigated plots, many experimental varieties were tall and lodged.  We can make note of the varieties that did stand well under high yielding conditions.  We also want to make sure that on stressed, tighter soils the varieties will have an adequate height to give growers the most yield.  

Josh Gunther & Chip Turner, Research Lead evaluate soybeans near Jacksonville, IL.

Throughout the winter months the agronomists, along with Burrus management, will meet and discuss observations from the growing season along with yield data to determine which products may be advanced to our future product lineup. 

We are excited to bring the experimental soybeans that have the best agronomics and yield potential across the Burrus footprint to your farm in the future!

by Jamie Long, Sales Agronomist

Monday, October 9, 2017

Top 20 Questions from the 2017 Growing Season

As this season comes to an end, it seemed an appropriate time to do a countdown of the Top 20 questions that were asked during the 2017 growing season.

20.  Should I replant my corn or soybeans?

The Midwest experienced one of the largest replant situations during the spring of 2017.  Burrus seed quality and seed treatment was a saving grace, but for those that planted directly ahead of some heavy rain, there was no escaping #replant17. Replant considerations were based on Burrus corn and soybean replant charts (stand and planting date), but other considerations were hybrid/variety selection, weather, as well as disease, pest and weed pressure.
Additional information: Progressive Farmer, AgWeb

19. Should I use seed treatment on my soybeans?
The importance of seed treatments on soybeans was easily observed in 2017. An example is the insecticide component control of bean leaf beetles with early planting and grape colapsis control in double-crop soybeans. Even though this was not a year for the visual symptoms associated with sudden death syndrome, we are hearing reports of yield increases with use of PS SDS (ILeVO®). Insects and diseases are cyclical, but seed treatment can provide insurance to protect your seed and provide return on investment. 
Additional Information: ILSoy Advisor - Seed Treament Evaluation, ILSoy Advisor - Treating Naked Soybeans, Burrus Buzz 

18. Got grubs and should I treat for Japanese beetles? 
During planting this year, we began to receive many reports of grubs. Some learned that you could identify the grub by examining hairs on their hind end and most appeared to be Japanese beetle larvae. With the mild winter, we knew there could be the possibility of high Japanese beetle pressure, which often can be worse on field edges. Scouting and thresholds were a must, and some soybean fields in western Illinois were treated up to three times!
Additional Information: Burrus Buzz, Progressive Farmer, Successful Farming, Pekin Daily Times 

17. Should I grow cover crops this year?
Many realized that cover crops, especially in corn, could serve as a "green bridge" that invited pests to their field for a feast. This made it more important than ever to terminate cover crops before planting to help deter pests such as armyworm and cutworm. Those that scouted could use thresholds and treat. On a positive note, we also witnessed how cover crops could conserve moisture within the seed bed, which helped to avoid replant in dry planting conditions.
Additional Information: University of Illinois Extension, Prairie Farmer, IL Nutrient Research & Education Council 

16. Do I need to treat for black cutworm?
Winter annuals from those that did not implement a fall burndown or tillage were the perfect place for cutworms to lay their eggs this spring. With our PowerShield® seed treatment and Bt traited corn hybrids, we often do not need to worry about cutworm, however, when we plant or replant corn hybrids without Bt traits, especially late in the season into fields with minimum till/no-till, the risk for cutworm increases. Seed treatments can only last so long. Without the Bt trait, rescue treatments were made if black cutworms and plants were small and pest populations exceeded 3%.
Additional Information: Prairie Farmer, Think Burrus blog, Prairie Farmer - Scout like a pro 

15. What are the white spots and will this affect my corn? 
Paraquat used for burndown before soybean planting unfortunately can drift to a neighboring corn field. The end rows were severely stunted, but for the most part, the remaining field could "grow out" of the contact damage sustained to older leaves. There is also a bacterial disease called holcus spot, which can be confused with paraquat injury, that was found throughout the state this year. Wounds are needed for infection and it is not considered to be a threat. One way to identify herbicide injury is to look for "white spots" on broadleaves, because holcus spot will only affect grass species.
Additional Information: Dr. Carl Bradley 

14. Why is my corn stunted and roots rotted?
In a few instances, fields that received heavy rain, and perhaps did not have adequate drainage, were infected with pythium root rot in low lying or stressed areas. PowerShield seed treatment, specially equipped with a new addition of ethaboxam, kept most pythium species at bay. However, pythium needs water to infect corn and soybeans and some corn stands needed to be evaluated.
Additional Information: Progressive Farmer, Prairie Farmer, Think Burrus blog 

13. What rot is hot in soybeans?
Unfortunately, our cool, wet spring was followed by some hot, dry weather. Depending on the environment, PowerShield seed treatment could help for some root rot pathogens, but after that the disease triangle will tell the tale. Pay attention to environmental conditions, soybean variety, and cultural practices to help predict any disease threats. We saw diseases such as rhizoctonia, root rot, charcoal rot, stem canker, white mold, sudden death syndrome, as well as brown stem rot.
Additional Information: ILSoy Advisor 

12. Why is my corn floppy?
If we run into excessive drying of the upper soil surface, rootless corn can result. In some instances, we did have to rule out root rot disease. Yes, it can be worse with shallow seeding (<1 to 1.5"), but perhaps the main problem was furrow erosion due to heavy rains. Some try cultivation to pull moist soil up from below onto roots, but ultimately the main cure is a good rain.
Additional Information: Purdue Extension 

11. Can I lower my soybean population? 
Disadvantages of higher planting populations can include lodging, plant competition, increased disease pressure, as well as an overall decrease of branches, pods, seeds, and therefore, yield per acre. With seed treatments like PS SDS, research has shown you can reduce your planting population, protects your seed investment and help to reduce seed cost. Special shout out to our customers Terry Gerken and Aaron Rice for participating in the North Central Soybean Research Program's on-farm population trial with the help from the Illinois Soybean Association.
Additional Information: ILSoy Advisor 

To see the top 10 questions asked this season, see my corresponding Burrus Buzz article.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

What's Your Fall Herbicide Program?

With harvest coming to an end, it is time for growers to begin prepping for the next year by applying fall herbicide to their fields.  Fall herbicide applications are often made on no-till fields targeting winter annual species such as marestail (horseweed), purple deadnettle, henbit, and chickweed.  Applying a herbicide in the fall can help control these weeds prior to them reaching the reproductive stage and will allow for a cleaner field prior to planting next year’s crop.

Did you know?
Purple deadnettle (top) and henbit (bottom) are both alternative hosts of soybean cyst nematode (SCN).  If these weeds are not controlled in the fall, SCN levels can continue to increase rapidly and infect the following soybean crop.

University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food & Environment

Application timing
In the Burrus footprint, the application timing is likely between early October and Thanksgiving.  Since the target of the fall herbicide application is the emerged winter annual species, it is important to allow the weeds time to germinate and emerge through the crop residue.  Applying the herbicide too late can cause issues with poor herbicide efficacy due to reduced activity within the plant. 

Fall programs typically include dicamba and/or 2,4-D plus glyphosate to control weeds that are currently emerged.  To get residual control of emerging winter annual species, residuals can be applied as well.  The chart below shows recommended herbicide programs based on next year’s crop.  It is important to not rely on the residual to provide control of spring emerging weeds.  Most university research shows that a soil residual herbicide in the fall will deteriorate and not control the summer annual weeds (i.e. waterhemp) in the spring. 
Any crop next spring
Glyphosate + 2,4-D
Autumn™ Super + glyphosate or 2,4-D
Metribuzin + 2,4-D (excluding dandelions)
Authority® MTZ + 2,4-D (excluding dandelions)
Basis®/Harrow™ + 2,4-D
Dicamba + 2,4-D
Express® + 2,4-D
Soybeans next spring
Canopy® EX/Cloak® EX/Fallout™ + 2,4-D
Canopy®/Cloak® DF + 2,4-D (excluding chickweed)
Corn next spring
Simazine + 2,4-D

Adapted from 2017 Weed Control Guide Ohio, Indiana and Illinois

As always, follow the herbicide label when making a herbicide application.  For more information regarding fall herbicide programs for your farm, contact your Burrus agronomist. 

By Jamie Long, Burrus Sales Agronomist

Friday, September 8, 2017

What is a Tassel Ear?

This year, many asked about tassel ears, which is when corn plants form an ear (female flowers), instead of the tassel (male flowers).  Normally, the female parts of the tassel and the male parts of the ear shoots abort, on a corn plant,which results in unisexual flowers (ear and tassel). However, every once in a while, the development of the tassel is altered and the female parts result in the development of kernels.  This results in the tassel and ear on the same structure on top of a corn plant.  The physiological factors for the development of female flowers on the tassel is thought to be hormonally-driven, but the environmental trigger that alters the hormonal balance is not exactly known.  

Tassel ear

Some hybrids could be more likely to form a tassel ear.  Tassel ears can be on tillers or suckers. These tassel ears can form when the growing point is damaged by hail, wind (green snap), animal feeding, frost, flooding, herbicides, and mechanical injury before V6.  For example, we see many tassel ears near plot alley ways  that were cut earlier in the season.  Tillers or suckers are more likely to be found in low plant densities.  Tassel ears can also be found on field edges where early season soil compaction and saturated soil conditions could be the reason for this abnormality.

This year's early season wet weather could be the reason we could be finding more tassel ears, but do not to confuse tassel ear with the disease, crazy top, where infection causes tassel or shoot development to be an abnormal mass of leaf tissue.

Tassel ear found in a drowned out spot in a field

Monday, August 21, 2017

Stinkbug Mania

The stinkbug is not usually a pest we think about, but be on the lookout for these pests because by the time you see their injury, it could be too late.  Why?  We want to protect our seeds!

This pest is relatively new to the U.S. and is mainly an issue in the South and Eastern cornbelt;  however, they could be a concern in the Midwest.  A warm winter does not necessarily predict the invasion of the pest, but it can put fields at higher risk.  Fields that are late planted, have cool weather that delay maturity, or vulnerable to pests could also be at risk.  Heavy populations are possible and they are great hitchhikers.

There are many different kinds of stinkbugs and they can be pests of many different crops as well as fruits and vegetables.  They have round, oval bodies with a shield shaped triangle on their backs with 5 segmented antennae.  One stinkbug that we are especially worried about is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, which has white bands on it's antennae as well as other distinguishing characteristics. This pest arrived in the U.S. in 1998 and its populations are building.   As they get hungry, we fear they will move from orchards to corn and soybeans.

Green stinkbug feeding in soybeans

Stinkbugs have piercing and sucking mouth parts that can poke through husks or pods.  This causes seeds to be shriveled, blasted, or flat.  We especially worry about injury on soybeans.  Most insecticides are labeled for stinkbug control.  Adult stinkbugs can tolerate more insecticide, but younger stinkbugs, such as nymphs, are easier to kill.

Stink bug nymph:  photo courtesy of University of Illinois, Kelly Estes Bulletin Article

Stinkbug injury in corn

Scout several areas (10) throughout the soybean field with a sweep net or visually, then average the number of stinkbugs that you find.  Populations will be higher at dusk or dawn.  If you see an average of 4 or more adults/nymphs after R2 growth stages or mid August, you may consider an insecticide treatment.  The threshold is lower for seed fields.

To find out more information, you can listen to Stephanie Porter's at Podcast, Stinkbugs: The Pest To Watch Out for This Year.

For more information, contact Kelly Estes, University of Illinois Agricultural Pest Survey Coordinator.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

What the Heck is that Corn Disease?

Several weeks ago, Bryce Sandahl, our Account Manager near the Rockford, Illinois texted me a picture of a disease showing up on corn.  He thought it looked like gray leaf spot, but was not sure because we really had not had the right conditions for disease development.

When I looked at the lesion, it looked shiny, so I immediately thought bacteria.  We looked under the microscope and found bacterial oozing coming from the leaf tissue.  We did an ELISA quickstrip test to test for Goss's wilt (another common bacterial disease in corn) and it tested negative.

Back, in the old days, when I was at the U of I Plant Clinic, we would have assumed it was most likely Stewart's wilt by process of elimination.  But, with new diseases constantly emerging, such as Bacterial leaf streak, we need to be careful!  So, I sent a sample to the U of I Plant Clinic and they confirmed that it was Stewart's wilt by use of primers and sequencing!

Stewart's wilt was also a major threat to sweet corn!  It is vectored and spread by the corn flea beetle. After the recent mild winter, it is possible that  the corn flea beetle populations could be heavier this year.

There can be two stages of this disease:  seedling wilt phase, which affects susceptible young plants and the leaf blight phase, when infection takes place after tassel.  Remember that insecticides in seed treatments like PowerShield® help to control the corn flea beetle in young plants, so this helps to combat the seedling wilt phase of Stewart's wilt.

The main way to control this disease is resistance and if it is found today, the lesions will be small, watersoaked, following veins, with wavy margins (like the picture) and not extend much further than 2 to 3 cm from where the corn flea beetle fed. Before resistance in hybrid corn, the symptoms from Stewart's wilt were much more serious.

Fun Facts:  This disease was thought to be first described in the 1880's by the entomologist, T.J Burrill, who is famous for his work on Fireblight and helping to prove that plant diseases could be caused by bacteria.

Stewart's wilt held much economic importance throughout history because of quarantine restrictions, costs associated with breeding for resistance, and phytosanitary regulations within seed trade.

Lastly, this disease brought back many memories from my U of I college years when working as an undergraduate with Dr. White's corn plant pathology breeding crew.  If you were a short student worker, like me, you got the job of "clapping" the corn, during the seedling stage, with Stewart's wilt inoculum.   Later, these various corn lines were evaluated and rated after disease development.  If you were good, like me, you got to hold the clipboard for the grad student and take notes for them!