Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Few Questions about Corn Rootworm Management

1. We have often heard corn rootworm larvae are not fond of sandy soils.  Do you recommend a rootworm trait(s) in continuous corn acres grown within sandy soils?
The risk would be reduced in any kind of sandy soil environment because as rootworms move through the soil, the sandy texture abrades their soft exoskeleton. Even in a continuous corn situation, larval mortality would be pretty high. However, it is tough to make a recommendation without knowing what the adult population was like in the field last year. You may need to dig deeper with the grower or agronomist to understand what adult populations were like this past August to determine whether or not a trait is needed. Another risk factor to consider, if the grower can’t remember whether or not they saw a lot of adult rootworm beetles, compare the planting date of the field to others nearby. Later planted corn tends to attract more adult beetles than neighboring fields that were planted earlier.

2. What is the rootworm risk in non-sandy soil that has previously been in continuous corn, but then soybeans last season?  Is a rootworm trait(s) recommended when the field goes back to corn after one year of soybeans?
The location of the field will determine a lot of the risk. If the field is located squarely within an area where corn rootworm has been found to have rotation resistance, then there may be need for a rootworm trait. Generally, this would be the northern 3/4 of Illinois and Indiana, the eastern 1/5 of Missouri and Iowa, and the southern 1/3 of Wisconsin. Even within this area, rotation will reduce the population by about 50% because adults lay their eggs in both corn and soybeans. This should mean the population will be reduced even in corn following soybeans. Without some idea of what the adult population was like in August last year, it’s really tough to make a blanket recommendation.

In 2017, rootworm populations seemed to increase somewhat based on University surveys in east-central Illinois (e.g., Livingston Co.) and west-northwest Illinois (e.g., Knox Co.). You can learn more by going to Increased Insect Densities Reflected in Annual Corn and Soybean Survey. Of course, any first-year cornfield will not have issues if it is located outside of the area where rotation resistance is a concern.  Unfortunately, this is really a tough insect to get a handle on without some kind of in-season insect counts. 

Answers courtesy of Nick Tinsley, Bayer SeedGrowth Technical Representative, Crop Science Division, Bayer US

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Exploring Cover Crops and their Relationship to Seed Treatment

Dr. Alison E. Robertson, Professor and Extension Field Pathologist, Iowa State University, was invited to speak during a Seed World Strategy Webinar called Exploring no-till, cover crops and the relationship with seed treatmentsShe began by giving a brief overview of past research done that has led up to recent information pertaining to seedling diseases in cover crops. 

A study done in 2011-2013, throughout the Midwest, showed Phytophthora spp. was not considered the main source of seedling disease as it had once been 20 years ago. Instead, the main fungal-like organism found in soil was pythium spp.  Researchers discovered a total of 82 oomycete species in the soil during two years of totally opposite environments. Of this total only 2 to 4 Phytophthora species were in the mix, with 52 to 57 pythium species found. Not all of these pythium species were considered pathogenic. They also found various communities of pythium species found within different fields and this could be influenced by several factors such as soil temperature, drainage, management, planting date, etc.  She also reported that these pythium species varied by latitude.  

This research opened Pandora’s box and the next step was to figure out which pythium species were pathogenic. The next research, done in 2016, showed some specific pythium species favored cooler temperatures, while others favored warmer temperatures. Researchers then discovered that seed treatments have different sensitivities to different pythium species. They tested both metalaxyl and ethaboxam, which are common seed treatment components that protect against oomycete fungi. They found, for example, a particular pythium species that prefers warmer temperatures was less sensitive to metalaxyl and ethaboxam during warm conditions. They continue to work on this research.  

The next study evaluated temperature swings after planting, which are very common in Iowa, to see if they affected the amount of seedling disease in a field. Researchers found, via greenhouse work, that there was a greater amount of seed disease in soybeans when there is cold stress 1 to 4 days after planting. For example, cold stress reduced emergence by as much as 50%, but the good news is that they saw seed treatments mitigated this stress.

We have always known that corn planted right after winter rye had reduced yields, but no one really knew why this was happening.  Researchers discovered that winter rye was a host of the same seedling pathogens, such as pythium and fusarium, as corn. As the rye roots die, pythium spp. can increase in the soil. The objective of recent research was to find out if rye was serving as a green bridge for pathogens that could later infect corn seedlings. Cover crop termination trials revealed that corn planted into rye right after it was terminated had a higher amount of disease compared to corn planted after rye that had been terminated 14 to 21 days earlier. The primary disease isolated from these corn roots was pythium spp., not fusarium spp. I look forward to learning more.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

What I Learned from Tom Burrus

I believe that everything happens for a reason and not just by chance. I believe that God put Tom Burrus and others in our lives as teachers and I was able to learn something from Tom every day.  I will try to touch on some of the most meaningful things that I will cherish always. He taught me:
This is a picture of the last field day that Tom and I attended together in September of 2017 near Reddick, Illinois.  The corn and soybean field day was hosted by Jason Zimmer with topics that included high yielding soybeans and and an update on soybean technologies.
1.) The seed business and its history, as this is something I had not ever experienced before.  He was proud of his family's impact on the seed business not only in the past, but also their future business plan.

2.) Pride of product, seed quality, and seed treatment and basically, how to be an honest salesman (or woman).

3.) How to manage my time, so that I could work a 26 hour day, but remember my family and to have always have fun.  I will never forget his little chuckle and the way he bounced when something tickled him.

4.) Co-workers are family, and no matter what they do, they should be treated fairly and with respect.

5.) Our Dealers and customers are family. If they need me, they know I care and I will go above and beyond for them.

6.) If I make a mistake, I take ownership of it. I will face it square on and no matter how bad it may seem, I will make it right, then learn from my “bad day.”

7.) Respect is something that is earned, and it does not come easy.

8.) How to work a room or a crowd. I will never be able to do this like Tom Burrus, but I will never forget everyone’s smiles when he told his “stories/jokes.”  His daughter, Lori said that many remember him starting his jokes with, "Marcy said I can't tell this, but...."

9.) Never be afraid to stand up for what I believe is right, even when everyone else is afraid.  Never be afraid to call bullsh*t.

10.) My gender does not matter. He believed in me and I believed in him, as well as everything he and his family have worked for over the years. This is not just because he (and the Burrus/Hughes families) hired me to do a job, but because this is what my own family would do too, if put in many of the same situations.

He will be greatly missed, but forever in our hearts.  Goodbye Tom, Stephanie Porter, Burrus Seed Sales Agronomist.

Special thanks to Holly Spangler of Prairie Farmer for including my thoughts in her blog, Remembering the Grand Gentleman of the Seed Business.

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