Excessive rains challenged farmers in southwestern Minnesota this spring and summer. Saturated soils led to nitrogen deficiencies which contribute and are conducive to late season stalk issues in corn fields.

Many fields of corn in the area lacked the normal vibrant green color in the first week of August. Depending on where the rain settled, patches of short stalks intermixed in fields with normal plants. Excessive rain meant many growers struggled to get the spring crop planted, and now they face difficulties in getting the crop harvested.

Golden Harvest Agronomist Roger Plooster tells farmers to watch their fields closely for lodging this fall.

“Stalk rot and corn root rot will be an issue,” Plooster said during an interview at Minnesota Farmfest, held Aug. 7-9 near Redwood Falls. “Farmers need to get into fields in a timely manner to harvest. With today’s commodity prices, there is a tendency to want to wait for corn to dry in the field. But growers could lose a lot of yield due to weak stalks that lodge.”

Plooster said in fields that are drained well there is a potential for some good yields. But field averages will be determined by the good areas combined with the lower yielding areas. In some areas, nitrogen deficiencies show up by yellowed plants. In some corn fields, roots didn’t develop well.

The moisture also contributes to the tendency for white mold. “The plants have a heavy canopy with a lot of moisture held down there. If the disease is in the soil, it can be an issue. Planting seeds that have a good tolerance for white mold is important. There are options.”

“Many of the fields are looking really good,” Plooster said. “The guys worked pretty hard on weed control. There will be some waterhemp late in the season but overall, fields look good.”

At the time of Farmfest, soybeans aphids had really taken off. He said the bugs showed up early along U.S. Hwy. 212 and U.S. Hwy. 169. Temperatures in the 80s contributed to an explosion of the bugs. Helicopters were used by some to apply fungicide or insecticides. One product used is Endigo which is a residual which will keep the aphids from coming back.

Those who have saturated fields have resigned themselves to lower yields. “It’s hard to gauge. I’ve been in the business for 29 years, but I don’t want to guess.”

At Dakotafest in Mitchell

At Dakotafest 2018, held Aug. 21-23 near Mitchell, representatives from Peterson Farms Seed of Harwood, N.D., were excited to share the latest in technology with growers stopping by their booth.

Nick Castro covers northeast South Dakota for the company. He said at the Brown County Fair in Aberdeen, he found that many farmers are not aware that a new tool is available in their seed toolbox. The new LibertyLink soybean LLGT27 system combines elite genetics with an herbicide-tolerant trait stack and features tolerance to both glyphosate and Liberty. It was approved in July, so they are trying to let people know of the option available for the next growing season.

“We are looking forward to sharing this with our customers and are taking early orders for this new product. There are eight varieties with differing maturity levels,” Castro said. “Many of our customers are waiting for the Enlist soybeans which are in our pipeline. Approval from China is still needed for the Enlist Weed Control System which confers herbicide tolerance to a new 2,4-D formulation—2,4-D choline—and glyphosate for beans. We look forward to having five different bean technologies for South Dakota maturities going into 2019 if Enlist is approved.”

Peterson Seeds has been testing LL GT27 in replicated trials for a number of years and have selected the best of the best of these elite genetics for our South Dakota line-up.

Luke Gronewoller covers southeast South Dakota where there has been an abundance of rain this year. “Weed control is dictated by timing, so trying to get in to spray fields has been difficult,” he said. “If a producer can get the field sprayed when the weeds are 6 inches tall, they can get good control. But if it rains and the farmer can’t get in the field until the weeds are 10 inches tall, they lose control. In other areas, it has been so dry that the chemistries didn’t work.”

Gronewoller said once there is poor control in a field, it doesn’t matter what you spray, and that’s evident in a fair number of troubled fields in the southern part of the state.

Two team members at Peterson Seeds are dedicated to precision planting. The company aims to use precision technology to get the right seed on the right ground. Castro said they are able to do that because “we play nicely with all the trait companies out there.” Other companies are tied to a specific agenda set by a board in order to satisfy investors. Carl (Peterson) works with a variety of providers so that growers have choices.”

As harvest nears, there is concern in dry areas as to whether the pods will fill. Yields will suffer. In the areas where there has been excessive rain, some crops have yellowed. It’s hard to tell what bean yields will be. Castro said they could range from 10 to 50 bushels per acre. Some fields could see 60 bushels per acre. Combines rolling through the fields this fall will tell the story as to the success of the year.

Connie Sieh Groop is a freelance ag writer, and she can be reached at conniegroop19@gmail.com.

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