Genetic marker technology is allowing seed companies to roll out new insect-resistant traits much faster than in the past. The newest insect-control products for 2013 will focus on the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) and aphids. Next-generation insect traits in the pipeline will control other insects such as stink bugs and armyworms.
Cash rents for farmland during the last several years has been to follow commodity markets. It’s still early to foresee what lease rates will be like in 2013. Experts including Lloyd Brown with Hertz Farm Management, Gary Hachfeld of University of Minnesota Extension, and Purdue ag economist Gerald Harrison offer tips on renegotiating current leases and finding new land to rent.
Farmers who are unprepared to make in-season nitrogen (N) applications to corn are putting their yield and profit at risk, says Peter Scharf, University of Missouri Extension soil scientist.
“N loss in cornfields has been widespread across much of the Midwest due to wet soil conditions for four straight springs — from 2008 to 2011,” Scharf says. “So when thinking about spring fertilizer strategies, number one is to make sure your crop will have enough N when it needs it.”
Not long ago, Goss’s wilt rarely caused a stir among corn growers west of the Mississippi. The 2011 season changed all of that.
“Goss’s wilt was discovered several decades ago in Illinois, but it’s only been a sporadic problem in certain fields until recently,” says Suzanne Bissonnette, University of Illinois Plant Clinic director. “Over the last three to four years, the disease has been building in severity across the state, mostly in fields that have been planted to continuous corn. This year, it was an epidemic.”
Weed scientists generally don’t agree on the exact ranking of soybean’s worst weeds, but they mostly agree on which weeds belong in the top four or five that Midwestern soybean growers should be concerned about. Common waterhemp, giant ragweed, marestail (also commonly known as horseweed) and common lambsquarters are listed among the top problematic weeds for soybeans, according to weed experts in Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Minnesota. Other yield-robbing culprits in these states include common ragweed, giant foxtail, velvetleaf and annual morningglory.
Ignorance might be bliss for some situations in life, but not when it comes to guaranteeing effective weed control for profitable corn yields, caution several Midwestern extension weed scientists.
“Good weed control starts by knowing what the predominant weed species problems are for each field,” says Aaron Hager, University of Illinois Extension weed scientist. “If you don’t know what your worst weeds are, then you won’t know how to choose the best product, or mix of products, to control them.”
With fertilizer prices trending higher and supplies tighter, farmers should talk with their local fertilizer dealer to make sure they are “applying the right rate, in the right form, at the right time,” says Bruce Erickson, agronomic education manager, American Society of Agronomy.
Late-planted corn will likely fail to fully mature and dry down quickly this fall. Growers should prepare their dryers to handle a larger-than-normal volume of high-moisture corn, rather than leave the corn to field dry late in the season.
Corn and soybean growers should expect to see higher fertilizer prices for the 2012 crop, but not at extremely high levels of the past. Purdue economists predict increases of 10 to 15%. And supplies will be tight, but not "impossibly tight."