Renewable Farming

Sept. 4 crop update from consultant Bob Streit

1. This late heat seems to be hurting the corn and helping soybeans. Pods should fill now, while the corn will be pushed harder toward black layer maturity, often ahead of normal.
2. Lots of Northern Corn Rootworm beetles can be seen in both soybean and some corn fields. It sure appears that our management tactics using both granular or liquid insecticide or traits has selected for the late hatching variant. Late stripping using an attractant and an insecticide may be useful. FInding a very long lasting product for spring or V8 growth stage application may also be a remedy.
3. Anyone, including myself, who drove to the Farm Progress Show Tuesday, Sept. 1, was shocked to see that roughly half of the corn fields from Davenport to Decatur were 90% or more dead. Dying with so many days of grain fill left will leave potential corn yield unrealized.
4. We are seeing great results with a biological product specifically produced by a very good biochemist that is geared specifically to CMM, CMS, CMN which is the bacteria that causes Goss’s Wilt. The Physoderma is known to be a weak secondary invader. We have test plots as well as fields near Story City, Carroll and up near Sioux Center testing it. They are dark green yet.
5. Get ready to hear more about solar magnetic storms. This may have helped singe the top corn leaves two weekends ago. Google something called the ‘Carrington Event’ from back in 1859. We are waiting for confirmation from a good source as to this happening.

Crop Conditions

Even though the USDA crop size predictions still tell us how monstrous the corn and bean crops are going to be, the way so many of the corn fields are turning yellow or brown, more of them will be a crap shoot as far as accurately guessing their yield prior to harvest.

Typically in years with record yields we have fields that stay green clear thru until the first frost. Instead what I have and others have seen across a four-state area are more and more fields that seem to be both cannibalizing themselves from the top of the plant with top leaves turning a pukey yellow or a totally brown color. If they aren’t doing that, they seem to be dying from the ground up. Those with better drainage and a more managed nitrogen system where nature did not saturate the soils for weeks, the plants have stayed much greener, leaving their owners much more optimistic about final yields.

I and a few other agronomists are getting phone calls from farmers who have not been satisfied about being told it is programmed plant death or normal drydown. They suspect something is going wrong and are seeking answers as to what to do in 2016 to avoid the problem. That is good, since it is only a realization that there is a problem that has these operators looking for answers that are credible.

The test strips that allow growers to check their corn plants for CMS are still telling that this bacterial disease is present in many fields. What also helps is having a resource group of experienced pathologists who can tell us whether a disease causing organism is an aggressive or docile pathogen. The latter tend to be showing up after the primary disease causing organism has already invaded.

Fields in Minnesota are showing the problems, as are fields in Missouri. The same goes for fields in Illinois and Nebraska. Thus overall it will be affecting grain fill and final yields.

Currently the fields where the seed was treated with a microbe/mineral mix geared to control Goss’s are looking tremendously healthy. When we summarize the data we are guessing that people who tried it on a few acres will be expanding their use of it.


This year with its frequent and drenching rains in May, June, July and August reinforced the idea that the use of stabilizers and sidedressing with stabilized N is a good management plan. Losing N to leaching or denitrification is a double loss, and no amount of preplanning can predict if this will be a year where it will pay off in a big way. Over much of the state their use has been a sound plan the last four years.

Later I will be discussing what I learned from the companies offering new or established stabilizers.


The Soybean Crop

The occurrence of SDS in soybeans is a major problem in quite a few areas of Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri. The saturated soils that occurred in May and June were basically a guarantee of a repeat of 2010 and 2014 if the growers did not actively manage the crop to avoid or minimize the Fusarium caused disease.

Items that need to be examined by the bean farmers who are heavily hit this year are field drainage, genetic susceptibility, herbicide use, lack of Mn-Cu-Zn available to the plants, and presence of high fusarium populations in the soil. Each of those can play a role. Studying each and taking steps to manage each will be important in lessening or avoiding the problem in 2016.

At a crop consultants’ summer conference, we got to see a field trial of several seed treatments. One of the products displayed was Bayer’s ILeVO. It did look very good. Unfortunately there was no work utilizing the biological called Heads-Up. There were a lot of growers who liked what they heard but the premium priced mentioned product was more than they wanted to spend in a price conscious preplanting season.

Trade Shows

If possible be sure to attend any local shows or demos where new varieties are on display or new cropping regimes are being tested. The emphasis now is the efficiency of each product and expected ROI. We saw a lot of that as growers were deciding on what traits if any to use in 2015. It’s is going to be much the same looking towards 2016.


Bob Streit    (515) 432-0907