Renewable Farming

Historic highs in corn and beans? Foliar-feeding this way helps protect yields

My longtime friend Jim Wiesemeyer, Pro Farmer’s policy and trade analyst based near Washington DC, posted this prediction today on

 How low will Brazil’s corn crop go? A lot lower than many think and definitely way below USDA’s current 109 million tonne forecast, based on conversations with veteran Brazil crop watchers. Sources inform the crop is likely in the low-90-million-ton area, with the country’s safrinha crop the major problem. Other private-sector estimates are at 100 million tonnes or less, with most indicating a downward bias to their outlook.

“If so, veteran commodity traders see the potential for all-time highs for corn and soybean markets, with volatility in the export and fobbing markets. Anxiety is rising that come fall, significant demand for both corn and soybeans will produce major logistics problems. Front-end futures are expected to lead the way to all-time highs. Concerns about the crop in Brazil make potential rains all that much more important for U.S. crop prospects.”

Jim Wiesemeyer

May 3, 2021 By Jerry Carlson  This spring’s highs in corn and bean futures could look modest, compared to December 2021 futures and beyond — if persistent dry Plains weather keeps stalking eastward into the heart of the Corn/Soybean Belt. Here’s a checklist of ways you can help crops endure dry stretches with deep roots and a drought-tolerating treatment.

1. If you’re still planting corn or soybeans and your planter has in-furrow capability, stimulate prolific rooting and rhizosphere growth with a blend of fungal/bacterial microbes, plus sugar, plus Vitazyme biostimulant, plus WakeUP Spring. Adding BioEnsure and BioTango enhances this biological program with endophyte organisms which confer drought resistance to your crop. If you can budget only $8 per acre, I’d put first priority on getting BioEnsure and BioTango into your furrow for both corn and soybeans.

2. Even if May and June rains are normal, foliar spray BioEnsure and BioTango early. You can piggyback these live organisms with a postmerge herbicide trip. If you spray about V2 to V4 on corn or soybeans, include 5 ounces per acre of WakeUP (either Spring or Summer) to accelerate early root growth. WakeUP helps mobilize sugars from leaves to roots, so roots pump out more sugars, aminos and other nourishment for mycorrhizal fungi. The tiny filiments of fungi act as extensions to root hairs, and they’re capable of capturing moisture from thin films around soil particles which roots can’t absorb. Also, these friendly fungi have 10 times more power to dissolve soil nutrient elements, compared to roots alone. 

A decade of research on BioEnsure and BioTango by Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies (AST) shows that these endophytes enhance yield, even in a season of normal rainfall. Field trials demonstrated a 12% yield increase in corn under low-stress conditions when treated with both BioEnsure and BioTango.

3. If low-rainfall stress intensifies in June and early July, you can still foliar-apply BioEnsure and BioTango. The endophytes quickly colonize in your crop, and confer stress-tolerant capability to hang onto yields. In our greenhouse last winter, we tested this ability to recover from wilting after foliar spraying with BE/BT. We’ve shown those results in earlier reports.  (Sorry if I’m sounding redundant here — but after farming through several dry seasons, I consider these endophytes very important protection.)

4. Monitor your crop with tissue tests, or sap tests, through the growing season. Foliar-apply trace elements as needed. Typically, Midwest crops are chronically low on boron. Extensive use of glyphosate will chelate (tie up) most trace elements and reduce availability.

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