Friday, May 24, 2019

Is Purple Corn Giving You the Blues?

If you were lucky enough to get your corn planted in April or early May this year, you may notice some of it is now looking purple.  There is no reason to worry as this is associated with the cold, wet soil conditions experienced across most of the Midwest.  These symptoms are typically observed before plants reach the V6 growth stage.  While the major culprit this year is cool, wet soil; these symptoms can be caused by other factors.

What is going on to cause this phenomenon to happen?  It is related to early-season stress that hinders nutrient uptake and root development.  Under saturated conditions lasting over 48 hours, root function in plants is impaired leading to: 

  • restricted nutrient uptake  
  • restricted water uptake
  • temporarily stunted root growth
  • increased likelihood of root death
  • increased disease susceptibility
The conditions listed all lead to reduced root growth and utilization of photosynthates by the root.  As a result, photosynthates are stockpiled in exess in plant tissues.  This explains the purpling and reddish color observed.  These plants may not be actively taking up nitrogen causing a yellowish, stunted appearance.

The first thought many growers observing these symptoms have is a phosphorus (P) deficiency.  In a true case of P deficiency, symptoms will continue after soils dry out and there are prolonged periods of sunlight.  When plants are young, they are transitioning to nodal roots which sustain the plant to maturity.  Because P is immobile in soil, plant roots must intercept it in the soil.  Plants also form a symbiotic relationship with vesicular-arbuscular mycorrihizae (VAM) to intercept soil P.  These hyphae extend the nutrient absorption zone and can be up to 100 times longer than the roots themselves.  Soil conditions including, compaction, pH less than 5.5, and severely dry soils, inhibit this relationship or root development and can result in temporary P deficiency.  As soil conditions improve, promoting root and VAM development, these symptoms will disappear.

Finally, different hybrid genetics may appear more purple than others due to differing responses to early stress.  It can be difficult to tell this in a field with a single hybrid.  Your Burrus representative can help you determine which hybrids are more likely to exhibit these symptoms.  The best solution for this season's symptoms is for Mother Nature to start providing some heat and sun to promote healthy plant growth.

Dana Harder, Field Agronomist

Monday, May 20, 2019

Taking Net Effective Stand Counts

Have you taken net effective stand counts in your 2019 corn fields? The process is simple:

1.   Measure off a 17' 5" section of row and count total plants.

2.   Flag abnormal emerges including: doubles, skips, and delays. Each flag is a 50% deduction. 

3.   Multiply the number of flags by 50% and subtract it from the total count.

4.   Divide that number by the total count and multiply by 100. 

Make sure to avoid the best and worst areas of the field when selecting where to conduct counts.  Also, take multiple counts throughout a field for a more accurate average.

Corn Emergence Abnormalities

For questions on stand establishment issues or replant decisions, contact your Burrus Seed representative.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

When to pull the trigger on planting

Deciding when to plant is not always easy and subject to one’s appetite for risk.  Each spring is unique, and the results vary depending on the year, but it is important to look at long-term trends when correlating yield to planting date. Many growers center this decision on crop insurance start dates.  This date varies based on where you reside, but most who participate in the federal crop insurance program know them by heart (Figure 1).  By waiting until this date, you are covered should you need to replant due to inclement weather conditions that result in a poor stand.  The payout is usually enough to cover the cost of dragging your equipment over the acres again.  

Figure 1. Crop insurance start dates across the Burrus footprint

Keep in mind you are also covered by the Burrus Seed 100% Free Replant guarantee without planting date restrictions. Offered consistently since 1935, the entire Burrus family of products qualify for free seed, free seed treatment, if available and free tech fees of equal or lesser value, if from the same technology family.  Also, should it get too late in the season to replant corn, Burrus will provide a 3 to 1 replacement of soybean seed to corn.   When you decide to pull the trigger on planting you can do so with confidence.

Soil condition and emergence:  Soil conditions are obviously important for establishment of both corn and soybeans.  Conducting tillage or planting into wet soils can cause compaction issues unfavorable for root development.  These conditions sometimes lead to seed placement in the furrow side wall resulting in weak and uneven stands. Wet and cold soils often lead to increased incidence of damping off from early season diseases.  It takes 100-140 growing degree units (GDU’s) for the corn plant to emerge.  Taking that into consideration, you should wait to plant until soil temperatures are in the 50’s and the 7 to 10-day forecast is in a warming trend.  Realize a corn sprout grows twice as fast at 55° F soil temperature as it will at 50° F. Since corn’s growing point is below the soil, it can tolerate freezing temperatures well for a short period of time. At cooler air temperatures, it can take 10-15 days for the corn plant to emerge, but at warmer temperatures it may only take half that time.  

In comparison to corn, it takes longer for soybeans to germinate. Soybeans require 130-150 GDU’s for emergence and can tolerate cold soil temperatures if the hypocotyl remains below the soil surface.  The risk for injury and stand reduction increases if freezing temperatures occur after the hypocotyl emerges.  With advancements and adoption of treated soybeans, it is no longer a prerequisite that soil temperatures be 55-60° F to start soybean planting. Soil temperatures for both Illinois and Missouri are easily accessed on the Burrus Seed website.

Corn yields by planting date and other implications:  Through the central part of our footprint, yield reductions due to late planting are not relevant until the second week of May.  Burrus research data from 2018 (Figure 2), demonstrates what can happen when planting into very cold conditions.  We experienced significant stand reductions for our March and early-April plantings which led to reduced overall yield. Last year, temperatures were 5-7° F lower for the entire Midwest compared to the 30-year average for April.  Given typical April weather, there is no documented yield reduction with corn planting dates in late-March and during April.  Our May results lineup very closely to other documented research results examining corn planting dates. 

Figure 2. Influence of 2018 planting date on the percentage of maximum yield and stand averaged across 11 Burrus hybrids.

It is important to remember that dry down conditions will change as harvest date becomes later with delayed planting.  When average daytime temperatures are 80° F, corn will dry down roughly 1 moisture point per day; however, when average daytime temperatures are 60° F it takes twice as long for kernels to dry down.  This increases the chance of frost risk and could lead to reduced yields.  Late planted corn tends to become a magnet for insects and disease, and the impact on yield maybe greater since there is usually less leaf area present.

Soybean yield by planting date and other implications: Earlier planted soybeans have become a trend.  Many results indicate yields are significantly reduced approaching the second week of May (Figure 3).  Early planted soybeans are recommended to be a slightly later maturity (0.5 MG) than what is utilized at a typical planting date to promote more vegetative growth.  When soybeans reach V3, they become sensitive to photoperiod (night length) and can flower earlier. Flowering is primarily triggered by photoperiod but GDU accumulation influences flowering as a secondary factor.  This means flowering can occur before the target night length is met. 

Figure 3. Soybean yield results by planting date in Illinois from 26 trials conducted from 2010-2016 (Source: Dr. Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois)

It is more important to include a seed treatment with earlier plantings, particularly a seed treatment with protection against sudden death syndrome (SDS).  Initial SDS infections often occur early in the season under cool, wet conditions.  Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) feeding is tied to these initial infections of SDS and is suspected to introduce of other early season diseases. Burrus Seed’s PowerShield® PS SDS seed treatment helps manage both SDS and SCN.

If you have questions on planting season decisions, submit to our research team at

Dana Harder
Burrus Seed Field Agronomist
Follow on Twitter: @harder_dana

Friday, March 22, 2019

Enlist® Field Forward: Matt Bangert

In 2016, Burrus grower Matt Bangert and his father Tony were offered the opportunity to participate in the Enlist Field Forward program on their Scott Co., IL operation. The Field Forward program is a closely monitored field trial of the Enlist® system in soybeans, administered by Dow AgroSciences.

With the recent approval of Enlist E3 soybeans and our Enlist product offerings for 2019, we are sharing the experience and feedback of growers with firsthand knowledge of the Enlist system.

Todd Burrus and Matt Bangert scouting Bangert's Enlist Field Forward soybeans in Scott Co. IL

Q: Tell me about your experience with Enlist this year.

A: We planted June 4 in a conventional tilled seed bed. Came back and sprayed it on June 28; we had knee-high lambsquarters out there, a lot of morning glory, some marestail that was over 12 inches tall, and a lot of waterhemp that was just coming on. We sprayed Enlist, and today there are basically no weeds out there. The lambsquarters that I was afraid would still be there is dead and gone. The waterhemp is gone, it was just total control.

Q: What would you tell other growers about your experience with Enlist?

A: If you’re having issues with Roundup resistant weeds, it gives a really good alternative to fight those weeds and not damage your plant. From what I’ve seen this year, it’s 100% weed control.

Q: How does the Enlist crop safety compare to the others you’ve worked with?

A: It’s as good or better. We had zero drift, zero crop damage to the neighboring fields. We have crops right beside this field, and there’s zero damage to those crops.

Q: What kind of advantages does “no drift” and “no off-target movement” provide to your operation?

A: It just gives us so much more freedom to spray. Some days you can’t spray because of the conditions outside. I feel, with what we’ve seen this year, it’s a lot different. It gives us a lot more freedom to spray when we want to spray and spray next to adjacent fields without worrying that it’s going to drift over.

Q: You mentioned that the weeds that you were targeting were lambsquarters, marestail, morning glory, and waterhemp?

A: Yes. That was the majority of the weeds out there. Like I said, the lambsquarters were big when we sprayed it, and there’s not a lambsquarters out there today.

Matt and Tony Bangert scout their Enlist Field Forward soybeans in Scott County, IL.

Q: Are any of those weeds resistant?

A: We’ve seen a lot of resistance in waterhemp, and maybe getting 50% control on waterhemp with Roundup, maybe. And with Enlist, we’re getting 100% control on it.

Q: Did the control provided by Enlist Duo meet your expectations?

A: Yes. It’s a clean field; you couldn’t ask for anything more.

Q: How do you think Enlist is going to benefit the Ag industry?

A: With the weeds that are becoming resistant, this gives us a new path to cleaner fields and it solves our problem that we’ve been seeing, especially this last year with the explosion of these weeds that are resistant.

Q: How do you think Enlist will help in the future in regard to weed resistance?

A: Well, if everybody are good stewards and how they use it, and do what they recommend, I feel it’s a chemical that we’re going to use for a long time.

Q: When you look at your operation and a product like Enlist, or the Enlist system, what do you feel is the most important about this kind of technology to your operation?

A: So specifically to our operation…we grew seed corn, and soybeans, and conventional corn. And when you have seed corn, you’re prone to more weed pressure. So when you plant beans in your rotation, that’s the time you want to clean up your weeds. And they need to be cleaned. And with our Enlist field, it’s basically a 100% clean field; and that’s what we’re after.

Q: Why is a clean field so important?

A: Weed pressure affects yield. When you’re growing seed, seed beans, you can’t have weeds in there. But I’d say basically yield loss is probably the most important.

Q: What advice would you give other growers who are thinking about incorporating Enlist into their operations?

A: Spray what they recommend. Don’t cut corners. We’ve got a good chemical here; let’s not throw it away. Let’s be good stewards and use the recommended rates.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Enlist® Field Forward: Tony Bangert

In 2016, Burrus grower Tony Bangert and his son Matt of Scott County, IL was offered the opportunity to participate in the Enlist Field Forward program. The Field Forward program is a closely monitored field trial of the Enlist® system in soybeans, administered by Dow AgroSciences. 

With the recent approval of Enlist E3 soybeans, and our Enlist product offerings for 2019, we are sharing the experience and feedback of growers with firsthand knowledge of the Enlist system.

Burrus grower Tony Bangert inspects Enlist E3 soybean plants during his participation in the 2016 Enlist Field Forward program.

Q: You’ve been able to watch your Enlist field this year, tell me about your thoughts based on the experience with the weed control and genetics of Enlist?

A: The Enlist beans were planted June 4, which is a little late for us and when we were out scouting the field early it was pretty clean. We were going to spray 3 days later and the amount of weed pressure that exploded in 3 days was just awesome. We went from couldn’t hardly find weeds, to seeing 4 inch tall waterhemp; we were literally amazed and this just went out there and cleaned it up.  I was just in the field and it’s amazing, it controlled every weed that it touched. I had not seen a weed that it did not control.

Q: And why are clean beans so important?

A: Anybody that’s ever run a combine can answer that for you. Yield of course, the weeds will hurt your yields but the combining is just so much easier.

Q: How about the growth and the appearance of these beans?  You said they were planted June 4 and we’re here on the 22 of July that’s 6 weeks.

A: These beans were planted in 30” rows and the rows are growing together in 6 weeks that to me is amazing. They look beautiful; I don’t know what else to say, they absolutely look beautiful at this time.  When we sprayed the Enlist, I saw no harmful effects to the soybeans at all and I watched it pretty closely. I didn’t see any movement at all, none.

Q: And why is that important?

A: We have seed corn growing right beside it so obviously we can’t have damage. There was no carryover or movement into the seed corn at all. Commercial corn on the other side no movement in that.  There’s just no movement at all.

Q: How do you feel about that since there’s 2,4-D in the product?

A:  I was scared.  I grew up with 2,4-D.  We, I mean it’s an old chemistry that’s been around forever and we think 2,4-D kills soybeans and obviously in this case it didn’t.  It killed the weeds and the beans were fine.  I mean—like I said, no damage at all to the beans.

Todd Burrus and Tony Bangert discuss the experience with the Enlist system during a field visit.

Q: How do you feel that Enlist compares to Roundup in the area of weed control and the ease of use?

A: We have used Roundup for a long time. The spraying is not different. I was trying to think of any difference honestly outside of the fact that the weeds are dead in this case. Glyphosate was a wonderful chemical but we have some weeds out there that are not dying from it anymore and we need a new chemistry to make this stuff work and the Enlist bean I was just very impressed with how it took down some good size waterhemp. It took down some marestail that was pretty good size, stuff that the glyphosate just isn’t getting any more.

Q: The Enlist system has 3 modes of action, why is that kind of chemistry important for your operation in the future?

A: That goes back to not getting resistant weeds out there.  We need to attack these weeds through several modes of action because if we don’t, we’re going to wind up with resistant weeds again I’m afraid.

Q: What kind of advice would you give other growers who are considering using the Enlist system?

A:  I would say don’t be afraid of it at all. For people my age, you know 60 years and older that grew up with 2,4-D there’s probably a little bit of a fear factor I would not be afraid of it at all. I mean I’m sure we’ll be using a lot of this in the future.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Burrus Seed to present at World Affairs Council of West Central IL


Todd Burrus and Burrus Product Lead, Josh Gunther, will be presenting at an upcoming event in Jacksonville, IL. The World Affairs Council (WAC) of West Central Illinois is sponsoring a program entitled, "What are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and How Do They Affect Me?"  

The WAC hope this event will inform attendees of the facts on GMO crops and their effect on our farms and the world economy. With our roots growing soybean seed and hybrid seed corn since 1935, Burrus Seed has some experience on this ever-changing discussion.

Key questions covered will include: 

  • What is a GMO crop? 
  • What are the historical contributors to consumer concern? 
  • Are GMOs safe?
  • What are the benefits of GMOs?
  • Why will food be labeled as "Containing GMO" in the future?

This free event is Tuesday, February 19 at 7:00 pm in the Pratt Classroom at the Schewe Library on the Illinois College campus. This is a public presentation that will be informative, timely, and interesting to everyone - we hope to see you there! 

For further information, contact Terry Denison at 217.320.2927.