Wednesday, August 28, 2013

From Aphids to Agitators

Topic #1
This past week was one of angst for soybean growers.  On one hand the soybean market was responding nicely to a weather scare in the US.  On the other hand soybean aphid numbers were exploding and eliminating some of those same high priced bushels.  By Monday afternoon, Brian and I made the executive decision to stop spraying.  If anyone asked, the bean crop was too far advanced and it was becoming revenge spraying.  This sort of worked until today when a couple of nervous growers wanted two fields sprayed and Russ wandered across an IMPACT plot where the full season varieties were under heavy pressure and not close enough to the critical R6 stage of development.  The R6 stage is when it no longer is worth killing aphids, however a lot of brain cells were being burned last week while trying to determine how close we were to R6 vs aphid numbers.  No one was satisfied, which was the reason for the stop work order on Monday.  The grower, the agronomist and the custom applicator were all getting grumpy.
The best description of soybean development I have ever seen is courtesy of Shawn Casteel, Purdue Extension.  Definitely worth a look and saving for future reference.

Topic #2
I always marvel at how a corn plant can pee on itself.  We had 2 mm of rain on Tuesday night which is the first measurable precipitation in 3 weeks.
The leaves work as a funnel to accumulate that small amount of rain at the base of the plant where it does the most good.

Topic #3
You sometimes hear agronomists preaching tip fill on corn.  I took some pictures today in my hybrid test plot.
This is P9754YHR a new 97 RM hybrid that has amazing tip fill.  This is a heavy test weight, outstanding grain quality hybrid.  The plant stand is a solid 33,000 and every tip looked like this one.
This is P9910XR, which will never fill its tip.  It can't and won't.  Doesn't make it a poor hybrid, just a hybrid that does not fill its tip.
P0216HR is a hybrid that Pioneer reps south of the 401 think we are crazy to plant this far north.  I am not sure I agree with them.  Half of the field around the plot is planted to 216.  I just need September to be frost free.
P0094YHR is a new 100 RM hybrid that has my attention.   Impressive appearance, with less maturity risk.

Topic #4
Leave it to Nuhn Industries.  I attended the North American Manure Expo last week which was held at the University of Guelph Arkell Research Station.  On display was Nuhn's latest invention, called the Lagoon Crawler.
It is an amphibious beast that can drive into a lagoon, maneuver and float while agitating and then drive out of the lagoon when the job is done.  The operator controls the unit while standing in complete safety on the bank of the lagoon.  Power washer not included.
A more detailed description is at


  1. Do you think 0216 is going too perform as well as promoted? Ours looks excellent but ears are at shoulder level and not filled as good as your pic, FYI we have 3,350+ chu so it is an "early" corn here...on our clay soils a hybrid that was say 5-6' tall would be nice and better to no till in next the old 3780A or 3750 , Do we really need 10-12' tall corn? thanks kg kimball

    1. Do we need 10' tall corn? No I actually agree with you. For grain production we do not want a big plant. Small compact hybrids are much easier to deal with for some of the reasons you express. That being said, the genetics today are taking us down the big plant trail. It appears that a big factory is necessary to capture the extra yield potential.
      P0216 performance has been stable over a wide range of environments, but every year is a new adventure. My pictures are from a high yield environment where 216 is
      challenged to make maturity. Your situation is quite different.