Seeds for Success

By Jerry Hartsock & Dakota Miller
Cutting Edge Consulting & Research Services 

Fungicides

Yield and late season plant intactness on corn has been far SUPERIOR on fungicided acres versus nonfungicided in 2021. Several factors were improved by fungicide applications including:

  • More efficient use of nutrients
  • Longer grain fill period
  • Improved staygreen contributing to prolonged photosynthesis
  • Less cannibalism of the stalk and roots when things got tough
  • Control/suppression of Gray Leaf Spot, Northern Corn Leaf Blight, Common and Southern Rust, Tar Spot, etc.
  • Much improved standability

It was common to see 20-40 bpa increases with a single application at the R1 growth stage of the elite class of fungicides including Velytma, Trivapro, and Miravis Neo. Other products can provide similar results, but duration of benefit is longer with the newer, elite class. Two pass programs for example V6 + R1, V12 + R1, or R1 plus 20 days added another dimension of yield and structure benefits.

Soybeans treated with ILEVO seed treatment on the right; same variety of soybean NOT treated with ILEVO on the left.

Corn was not the only crop that benefited from fungicide in 2021. So far this fall there have been 5-10 bushel per acre differences in soybeans that had at least one fungicide application compared to the fields that did not receive that application. Various nutritionals at R2 or R3 seemed to have increased yields as well. The fields that did not receive an application were harvest-ready prematurely and cut the pod-filling stages short. Fungicided acres lived longer and therefore had more time to commit to filling the pods and increasing seed size. In a fall where soybeans were drying down fast in a lot of areas, it pays for a fungicide application to help get the soybeans closer to their full maturity. Along with fungicides, Ilevo on soybeans appears to be on track to deliver higher yields (4-6 bpa) than without. It was a must to have protection from Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) for soybeans to live to their true maturity by dramatically reducing the effects SDS can bring. We look forward to seeing results from side-by-side testing of Ilevo and Saltro seed treatments also.

Starter, Nitrogen and Sulfur Management

This season it was apparent who successfully executed a great nitrogen and sulfur management program and who did NOT. Starter fertilizer that placed necessary groceries near the root system played a key role in early season vigor and growth. This shot of nutrition early carried the plant through a crucial time of setting rows around until it reached another source of nitrogen. In places there were also differences between starter systems providing more nutrition off to the side versus an in-furrow system depending on the starter mix. In no-till and early planted conditions, this early shot of nutrition was even more important due to cooler conditions, slower root growth, and unavailability of nutrients until later in the season. In many areas, to have a successful program, adaptations HAD to be made to provide a late source of nitrogen due to root development, nitrogen losses, or lack of nitrogen earlier in the season. We believe that a late source of both nitrogen AND sulfur is what makes a huge difference. In many cases this season, where a crop was short of nitrogen it was also short of sulfur and vice versa. When a shot of nitrogen is applied, it is becoming more and more important to apply a source of sulfur as well. Both nutrients work together in the plant and are needed to achieve exceptional yields.

Photo courtesy of Cutting Edge Consulting & Research Services. Planting begins in Illinois, spring 2021.

Corn Planting Date and its Influence on Yields

The 2021 growing season might have us rethinking the standard of needing to have corn planted by May 5th-10th or sacrifice yield by planting after that range. We are currently analyzing three planting date ranges with the first range being prior to or by April 28th. The second range includes planting anything after April 28th, but before or by May 8th. The third range includes anything planted May 9th on. Initial findings are much more inconsistency with the first or first two planting date ranges. Final ear counts at harvest appears to be a significant factor. We believe there is also better yields and consistency of yields in hybrids 109 day and fuller this year as a whole. Staying the course with the highest of standards along with the “extras” the MPS asks you to do has led to a staggering difference across the board!

What’s Your Learning List?

Cutting Edge Consulting and Research Services has many things we are looking at and analyzing this season, and some of these include:

  • Planting date range differences (as discussed previously)
  • Soybean treatment differences – Ilevo vs. Saltro
  • Population by yield comparisons in soybeans and corn
  • Micronutrient products in soybeans
  • Fungicide products (Veltyma, Trivapro, Miravis Neo, and others)
  • Fungicide timing/multiple applications
  • Starter fertilizer on soybeans

What does your personal list look like, and how do you plan to accomplish learning as many things on that list as possible? Who is on your team to help you look, learn, and find new strategies to push you to a new level? Planning for the 2022 growing season has already begun and we hope you continue to have a safe and successful harvest to wrap up the 2021 growing season!

If you would like to learn more about how you can thrive by becoming an ISC, let us know.

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