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Planting & Cold Conditions

The 2018 planting season is coming up very quickly for most of us and has already started for our fellow growers in the Delta. As this planting season approaches, I look at current conditions and the 30-day forecast, things don’t look ideal. A majority of the corn belt has snow on the ground and if you don’t have snow, soil temperatures are still in the 30’s. The 30-day forecast for central Iowa, doesn’t give us temps above 60° until mid-to-late April. When you add the probability that we are going to get cold spring rains into that picture, it looks like our soil is going to take some time to warm up.

I know there are a lot of growers that like to get started as soon as they can, or once the soil is mostly fit to plant. I also understand that universities have research where they remind everyone that the earlier you plant corn, the higher probability of yield. What those papers/reports never talk about is the planting conditions. Cold temps delay emergence, give pathogens more time to get past the defense of our seed treatments, and ultimately end up reducing the stand and hurting yields. Now you throw soil conditions that are a bit wet to plant, but the universities calendar says go, so we go; smear sidewalls along with adding some compaction here and there. In this situation, our haste has reduced our stand and limited our yield across the field, or acres we planted, just to hit a calendar date.

There are extremes in the other direction as well. There are a few people that say, since corn doesn’t germinate until the soil gets to or above 50°, you shouldn’t plant until the soil gets to 50°. That’s fine if you only have a few acres to get over, and if that was the case I might even cherry pick a day here and there. The reality is that we have more acres to plant and what seems like less time to plant them. I still hold steady with my belief that we have more time than we think and we need to make sure we do our best job of planting each field we have.

Let’s look at some of the options growers have to combat everything that is thrown at them in a planting season.

First off, a good seed treatment. I know with the financial difficulty in the current agriculture economy, a lot of growers were looking for areas to trim costs, but a good multi-active ingredient fungicide and insecticide seed treatment is not something to cut back on. A good seed treatment, in my opinion, allows growers to get started planting before the soil temp is at or above 50°. I tell growers that if you have a good seed treatment and the 5-to-10-day forecast is for rising temps, go ahead and start at 45°.

Second, proper planting depth can reduce the effects of possible environmental changes (temperate drop, cold rain, etc.). If corn is planted between 2 - 2 1/2” there is more soil between the seed and surface to reduce temperature fluctuation. At this planting depth, the soil can actually warm up rain water by the time it gets to the seed, if the soil temperature is higher than the temperature of the rain.

Next, if the grower has starter on the planter, they can add additional fungicides in-furrow. There have been many studies done that show by adding a fungicide like Headline in-furrow, they can reduce some of the stress on the seed and seedling, which allows it to tolerate more or longer periods of unfavorable conditions. This gives the grower a wider window for planting.

Lastly, know when to stop planting when conditions are forecast to be unfavorable. If possible, planting needs to stop 24-36 hours before a cold or chilling rain. The seed usually takes in enough moisture for germination in the first 24-36 hours after it is placed in the ground. If the moisture is considerably colder than the seed, it can have adverse effects on the seed and plant that will/may come from it. It can corkscrew underground, it can cause it to leaf out underground which prevents it from emerging, or the seed will not even germinate. All of these effects have a negative relationship to yield.
When you look at all the options growers have to combat and eliminate these planting issues, a cold, wet spring doesn’t look as bad.

Agronomy, Cold, Corn, NuTech Seed, Planting, Seed, Soybeans, Spring

Planting Soybeans: How Early Will You Go?

More and more farmers are planting soybeans earlier, some even start planting beans before corn, and some have a dedicated soybean planter and corn planter going at the same time. The University of Nebraska does a great job explaining the benefits of planting soybeans early in the following article (click to read): Why Planting Soybeans Early Improves Yield Potenial.

Phil Pickett, our DSM from Elkhart, IL, planted 4 acres of our 3361L soybean last Friday, March 23rd. The early planting is an experiment and Phil will update progress every Friday on his Facebook page. He no-tilled into a cereal rye cover crop, the soil temperature was 42° F. Phil just informed me that the beans are sprouting today and they’d received 4” of rain. Click here to view the video & click here to visit Phil's Facebook page.

We can use some best management practices to minimize risk when planting early. First is to use a quality seed treatment such as NuTech Seed SmartCote® Extra or SmartCote® Supreme. The insecticide component of the seed treatment is systemic and will prevent the spread of soybean mosaic virus and bean pod mottle virus by controlling overwinter bean leaf beetles. Bean leaf beetles are drawn to the first emerging soybean fields and are a vector of the earlier mentioned bean diseases.

(Photo: Bean leaf beetle feeding on newly emerged soybeans in the unifoliate stage. Photo credit: Marlin Rice.)

DuPont™ Lumisena™ is the highly effective fungicide portion of SmartCote® Extra and SmartCote® Supreme, which protects soybeans from damping off diseases which can be a greater risk when planting early into cooler soils.

Other management practices that don’t cost you a penny include:

  • select varieties with good emergence scores
  • start in fields known to warm up quicker with good internal drainage
  • tilled fields will warm quicker than no-till fields
  • wait until soil temps are near 50° F and there’s a warming trend for 48 hours after planting
  • don’t mud them in just to get a jump on the calendar (several of the agronomy service calls I went on last year were because of planting in soils too wet which resulted in stunted, necrotic plants and poor root systems)
  • start small to gain experience and confidence for future early plantings


(Photo: Stunted soybeans from planting into wet soils. Photo credit: Chris AdamsStunted soybeans from planting into wet soils. Photo credit: Chris Adams)

We’ve all heard about the 60+ bushel yields from June planted beans and we know soybeans are very forgiving when it comes to planting date, stand density, leaf defoliation, etc. That said, if conditions are right you might try to squeeze out a little more yield with early planted soybeans.

I’d like to pass along a couple cool things from our friends at the University of Wisconsin. Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) has become the single most damaging pest of soybeans in the U.S. The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board is sponsoring free SCN testing for Wisconsin farmers.  The following link contains information on the testing.

The WSMB Free Soybean Cyst Nematode Testing Program
Although we’re a little early for replant, I’d like to pass along information on the Bean Cam app from the University of Wisconsin. The app allows you to take photos of a suspect soybean stand or enter actual plant densities and will make recommendations for replant decisions.

Soybean Replant (Bean Cam)


Above all, be safe and aware during the most important step of the growing season: planting.

West places second in National Corn Growers Association National Corn Yield Contest

NuTech Seed District Sales Manager Kevin Doneth presents a check to grower Eric West, of Croswell, for his second-place finish in the NCGA National Corn Yield Contest. Pictured above (left to right): Kevin Doneth, NuTech Seed DSM; Neal West, NuTech Seed Dealer; Eric West, NuTech Seed grower.

NuTech Seed District Sales Manager Kevin Doneth presents a check to grower Eric West, of Croswell, for his second-place finish in the NCGA National Corn Yield Contest. Pictured above (left to right): Kevin Doneth, NuTech Seed DSM; Neal West, NuTech Seed Dealer; Eric West, NuTech Seed grower.NuTech Seed District Sales Manager Kevin Doneth presents a check to grower Eric West, of Croswell, for his second-place finish in the NCGA National Corn Yield Contest. Pictured above (left to right): Kevin Doneth, NuTech Seed DSM; Neal West, NuTech Seed Dealer; Eric West, NuTech Seed grower.

CROSWELL, MICHIGAN – NuTech Seed corn grower Eric West earned a second-place finish in the National Corn Growers Association National Corn Yield Contest for his 2017 harvest.
West entered the No-Till/Strip-Till Non-Irrigated State competition, where he placed second in the state of Michigan. West recorded a yield of 272.9674 with NuTech Seed 5L-601™. West was outyielded by less than one bushel by the state champion.
West raises corn in the Croswell, Mich., area and has grown NuTech Seed corn for seven years. He purchases his NuTech Seed hybrid corn products from his brother Neal, a NuTech Seed dealer for the past three years. The Wests are supported by District Sales Manager Kevin Doneth, of Durand, Mich.

2017 Corn Performance & new products for 2018

Each year growers are presented with a new set of unique challenges that can vary from weather events to insect pressure. It’s a lot to keep up with and why growers need to work as hard as they do. NuTech Seed has been working just as hard to identify new elite hybrids that can help growers achieve the most yield out of every field. As part of the expanded lineup for 2018, NuTech Seed has launched the addition of 10 new genetic families, ranging from 85 to 119 relative maturities.

New product highlights include:

  • Our first ever Optimum® Leptra® products to help provide a superior level of efficacy against ear-feeding pest
  • A robust set of new yield leading genetics that have been thoroughly tested across a wide range of geographies and growing conditions
  • Expanded genetic platforms that will increase our conventional offerings

As part of our development process, NuTech Seed conducts intensive testing of our products both internally and externally to accurately validate the right fit for these new products. This class of newly advanced products continues those efforts and maximizes our diversity and helps drive our performance year after year.

In the 2017 F.I.R.S.T trials, 17 different NuTech Seed hybrids took the overall highest yield designation in 49 different trials. More importantly, NuTech Seed hybrids achieved 227 ‘Top 5’ finishes and 432 ‘Top 10’ finishes respectively.

These results are simply amazing and 2017 is the 2nd best overall performance that we have ever experienced in these trials. Most companies would love to have just one year of record breaking performance, but we have been doing it for the last four!

Herculex® I Insect Protection technology by Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer Hi-Bred. ® Herculex and the HX logo are registered trademarks of Dow AgroSciences LLC. Liberty®, LibertyLink® and the Water Droplet Design are trademarks of Bayer. Agrisure® and Agrisure Viptera® are registered trademarks of , and used under license from, a Syngenta Group Company. Agrisure® technology incorporated into these seeds is commercialized under a license from Syngenta Crop Protection AG. ® YieldGard, the YieldGard Corn Borer Design and Roundup Ready are registered trademarks used under license from Monsanto Company.
AVBL,YGCB,HX1,LL,RR2 (Optimum® Leptra®) - Contains the Agrisure Viptera® trait, the YieldGard Corn Borer gene, the Herculex® I gene, the LibertyLink® gene, and the Roundup Ready® Corn 2 trait.Herculex® I Insect Protection technology by Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer Hi-Bred. ® Herculex and the HX logo are registered trademarks of Dow AgroSciences LLC. Liberty®, LibertyLink® and the Water Droplet Design are trademarks of Bayer. Agrisure® and Agrisure Viptera® are registered trademarks of , and used under license from, a Syngenta Group Company. Agrisure® technology incorporated into these seeds is commercialized under a license from Syngenta Crop Protection AG. ® YieldGard, the YieldGard Corn Borer Design and Roundup Ready are registered trademarks used under license from Monsanto Company.

AVBL,YGCB,HX1,LL,RR2 (Optimum® Leptra®) - Contains the Agrisure Viptera® trait, the YieldGard Corn Borer gene, the Herculex® I gene, the LibertyLink® gene, and the Roundup Ready® Corn 2 trait.

corn, F.I.R.S.T. trials, Harvest, hybrids, performance

Midwest Region Update - January 2018

In 2017 the performance power of NuTech Seed shined once again, with a wide range of conditions and or environments.
Down south in Missouri they had pretty good planting conditions, got some hard pounding rains which led to some flooding and crusting, causing some replant acres. From the end of June through the rest of the growing season, most of Missouri got nice timely rains and had almost an optimal growing season.
Moving North, Iowa had a dry year for most of the state, with timely rains coming in August and September. These rains helped the crops along and a combination of rain and cooler temps helped finish both corn and soybeans. In some cases, it seemed to bring the soybeans back to life.
In Minnesota, most of the state had good planting conditions and then in July the rain came in and seamed to almost rain every week. A few of those rain events even had isolated areas that saw amounts approaching 10”. Along with the rain came cooler temps, which made it harder to get heat units, and made for a later harvest.
The Dakotas’ were the tail of two environments. The western portions of the Dakotas’ were dry and seamed to stay dry for most of the growing season. The Red River Valley started off with good planting conditions and got timely rains so that the crops never were stressed too much. They didn’t have the optimum conditions of the past few years, but over all had close to an average growing season.
In all of these conditions, our performance did not waver. In independent third party trials, we ended up with 8 First place district finishes, 23 Top 5 district finishes, and 19 Top 10 district finishes. This shows the performance and choices that NuTech Seed has. Whatever mother nature throws at our growers, NuTech Seed has the ability to step up and perform.

corn, F.I.R.S.T. trials, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, soybeans

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