Monday, January 30, 2017

Kernel Cleaning for Grain Premiums

Growers are always looking for ways to improve their bottom line. Identity preserving grain is an excellent way to increase premiums. Hard endosperm, high extractable starch, conventional corn and High Oil corn offer the possibility for additional premiums. 

Specific management techniques such as kernel cleaning your planter, flushing harvest equipment and identity preserving the grain are crucial to your success. Kernel cleaning your planter is a vital step to ensure hybrid purity. The only way to accomplish this is to carefully kernel clean each box. Kernel clean means dumping, shaking and twisting the metering device until every kernel is removed from the planter box. What happens if you choose the quicker way of planting down the seed and just dumping the new hybrid on top? A research study performed by Burrus showed nearly 2% of the seed was still being planted with the initial hybrid up to an hour into continuous planting.

The experiment was performed using a John Deere Finger Pickup unit on a check stand. Untreated yellow seed was placed in the bottom of the planter box. We used 8,000 kernels, 4.5 lbs. of an 80,000 kernel unit weighing 45 lbs. That quantity of seed would not plant a round of half mile rows. An addition of 80,000 kernels of treated seed was dumped on top of the yellow seed. Every five minutes a sample was taken to analyze the percent of yellow and treated seed. The first treated seed was observed in less than one minute. After 80,000 kernels had gone through the check stand, the last 4.5 lbs. of seed was analyzed. 24% of the seed left in the bottom of the planter was the first yellow seed that started in the box.

There are other ways to help minimize instances of contamination. Select a field or fields that minimize contamination from cross pollination from neighboring fields with potential GMO pollen. Another way to reduce possible contamination is to harvest buffer zones or field frames of 24 rows and deliver it to the elevator as regular #2 corn. These practices should help improve your odds of identity preserving your grain and earning the premiums you are after.

Written by: Tim Greene

Monday, January 23, 2017

Is it seed treatment or PowerShield®? Seed treatment is no longer just "pink stuff."

In December, we attended the annual ASTA (American Seed Trade Association) conference.  As usual, we were present for the normal genetics meetings, but also meetings focused on currently available or future seed treatments from various companies such as DuPont, Bayer CropScience, Valent, and Syngenta.  This comes as no surprise, as billions of research dollars are not only being spent on the research and development of new seed treatment components, but also for seed treatment facilities, proper seed treating techniques, and training.  Seed treatment components are becoming just as important as seed genetics.

It was brought up at one of the meetings by a company representative that growers just think of seed treatment as "pink stuff."  This may be true, but I think the tide is turning based on questions that I have received. The tricky part is knowing and understanding what is in the "pink stuff" that surrounds the seed.

One of my recent emails read, "Can you explain your PowerShield® seed treatment, so that the common man can understand?"  The question made me smile because understanding base seed treatments, "add-ons", and rates can be confusing.  Our PowerShield® treatment on corn and soybeans consists of an insecticide, fungicides, nematicide and a biological. To find out more, we have tried to create a fungicide guide to help you understand each component of PowerShield seed treatment on corn and soybeans.  Soon, this document will be simplified and show that we will be adding ethaboxam to our corn seed treatment!  

What is the take home message? That "pink stuff" on your seed does not guarantee protection against all pests, diseases and nematodes.  Make sure you ask all the right questions to ensure that you are getting a return on your seed treatment investment!  

  • What is the rate of the insecticide?
  • Do you have nematode protection?
  • Do you have SDS protection? We have PS SDS (ILeVO).
  • How many fungicides are in the seed treatment?
  • Do you have a fungicide that protects against pythium or phytophthora (oomycetes)?
  • What are the fungicide rates?
  • Do you have a biological?

Not all seed treatments are the same!  Burrus will extensively test more seed treatment components in 2017 in order to continue the success of our PowerShield® seed treatment in the future.