Is rootworm making my corn lodge?

root lodgeThis week I scouted a corn test plot that had a mixture of NK and competitive products. It was evident that some root lodging and “goose-necking” was taking place to varying degrees amongst the different hybrids. What was causing this? The field in question was third year corn ground. Could it be simply corn rootworm (CRW) feeding? Some hybrids had the Agrisure RW trait for protection against this pest. Other hybrids had a competitive CRW trait, and those without a Bt gene for CRW were treated with Force insecticide at planting. Upon further inspection (e.g. root digs), it became apparent that there was actually very little CRW feeding on the roots. All forms of protection were doing a pretty good job. A week ago this plot received 100 km/hr winds as a passing storm made its way through the area. The grower indicated that the field signs were tilted on a 45 degree angle the next morning. Since then, the signs had obviously been straightened again. Yes, high winds may contribute to root lodging. The field was also saturated from recent rains. Poor drainage, compaction, or a wet growing season can cause shallow rooted corn. This may also lead to root lodging problems. As NK employee Matt Tyhurst said, “Ask a farmer to wear a shirt that’s two sizes too small, and then try to work … this is how the roots feel in a compacted, saturated soil with poor structure”. In this particular field I determined from the length of a random sample of mesocotyls that the corn was also planted less than 1.5”. The planting depth varied from 1-1.25”. This too played a part in the observed root lodging. Finally, some hybrids naturally have a stronger, bigger root mass than other hybrids. All of these factors can contribute to root lodging problems. Check your fields for compaction and dig up some roots to see how your corn will stand through a windy wet fall.

Have you scouted for soybean aphids?

Syngenta_AMS_ENG_RGBLevels of soybean aphid are on the rise in many areas of the province. It is important to get out into the field and scout. This is not a bug that is spray as soon as you see. Many beneficial insects are doing their job eating the aphids and spraying will just kill them as well. You need to be over the threshold of 250 aphids with populations rising before you spray. Check out Baute’s Bug Blog for more details.
Have you scouted? If so what is the aphid pressure in your soybeans

Would you be ready for a stewardship audit?

Big brother is watching and concerned. Over the past number of years surveys of Canadian Corn growers by the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) and CCPC (Canadian Corn Pest Coalition) have revealed some troubling trends – growers are less in compliance than they were in the past. Are you ready to stand in front of society and say I am growing my corn crop according to the stewardship agreement I signed? Do you have 20% refuge (on your farm not the neighbours)? Are your records of where it is planted readily available? Have you inspected the fields for resistance? NK Stewardship
At NK stewardship is a very important part of farming today and we do not want you to be the person that stands in front of the news reporter explaining why resistance was found on your farm.

CDN Dollar playing with basis again

CDN dollar at par talk with the US again. Not good news for the Canadian (CDN) farmer as this has a big effect on basis, perceived or not. Theoretically the strength/ weakness of the Canadian dollar (exchange rate) makes up part of the basis. Right now basis in Ontario is sitting at anywhere from 35 to 45 cents over for new crop corn and 5 to 15 cents over for soys.  Old crop basis on both crops  is still very good most likely attributed to demand (another part that makes up the basis).  A high demand maybe the only hope we have of keeping basis positive until fall harvest after that it could be in a free fall.  Last year there was huge debate whether basis was a true reflection of what it should off been.  Many producers were discouraged and thought the grain trade was keeping the basis artificially low.  The only saving grace to the lower basis was the high future prices.  I am not sure CBOT is going to help us as much this year.  Thoughts?

White mould in my soybeans, now what?

White mould soybeanWet weather, high humidity and what looks like a 60 bu/ac soybean crop. We have had a great year for the development of white mould in soybeans and we are really starting to see it now in the fields. Is there any options? Not really at this time. Soybeans flower over too long of period to get good chemical protection (protection like a condom not control). Also, the flowers are small for good chemical coverage and control has been an issue in the past. All white mould control measures for soybeans are managment practices, such as tolerant varieties (S19-90, S08-80) row width, planting population and rotation. None of these we can change now. Let me know if you have any options that might work. White Mold , Stem Rot – Sclerotinia sclerotiorum White Mould Test Results for the Ontario

Syngenta AMS (aphid management system) showing excellent control in the field

Syngenta_AMS_ENG_RGBAfter reading the Baute Bug Blog , I was interested to see how the AMS system is holding up in the field in the first year.  In eastern Ontario and Quebec the visual control in the plots have been quite exciting. S22-A1 is the first AMS soybean in Canada and in plots the beans are clean of aphids and show minimal aphid stress as compared to non-AMS beside them in the plots. It is still only early August but we have seen plots of AMS with 2 – 5 aphids per plant (waiting to die), Cruisermaxx showing aphid levels of 100 -200 per plant and non-treated 700-800 aphids per plant as seen by Martin Lanoutte, TPS in the St-Jean sur Richelieu, Quebec area.  Great early results with a new management system that uses seed treatment, biological control and trait to manage this yield robbing pest.

How much is refuge reduction (5% refuge) really worth?

I hear alot of excitement about refuge reduction or you may know it, SmartStax.  How much are you going to make ($) by going to the latest and greatest trait package that allows you only to have 5% refuge. Increase my yield because of less corn borer and root worm is the comment I have heard the most often.  How much more yield are we talking? Lets figure it out.

If cornborer control  gives 7 bu/ac advantage over isoline and Agrisure RW gives 3 bu/ac compared to isoline under normal rootworm control measures (rotation or insecticide) we would see a benefit to refuge reduction of approx. 10 bu/ac.  10 bu on 15% more acres (reduction from 20 % to 5%) is about 1.5 bu/ac average yield increase.  Not very much when the genetic yield increase is over 2 – 2.5 bu per year.  Just be selecting the new genetics and placing them in the right field you can easily get more than 1.5 bu/ac and should get at least 2 – 10 bu/ac.  Most growers would not even switch to a new variety if it only yields 1.5 bu/ac better in his plot.

But it will be easier to plant or more convenient.  I don’t think so. It actually will be harder to plant and track (remember record keeping requirements of stewardship). If you have an 8 row planter (remember you need 4 rows of refuge) and use the two end row units of the planter as refuge (strip design).  On a 100 acre field how many rounds do you have to plant until you will switch the boxes to all one hybrid? It is just over 5 rounds (up and back). You have to make sure that this refuge is within a 1/4 mile of the rest.  Is this easier than 21 round out of 26 rounds in the field using current refuge stewardship fo 20%?

What is your advantage to reducing your refuge?

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