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Wrapping things up

Reports are coming in now that test weights are very low.  Fields with enough N are finishing with huge kernels.  Normally in my estimates I use 85,000 for 16 girth for kernels per bushel to check corn yields.  This year I am using 75K to 80K.  I think DK 6333 will end up with 70K!  With these extremely large kernels comes poor test weight, they simply do not pack in very tight compared to smaller kernels.  For fields that died early from either insufficient N or stalk rots, this test weight problem is worse.

Black layer projections continue to lag.  The cold weather (freeze!) last weekend slowed heat unit accumulation, and many fields that were close to black layer simply died.  Now the only corn not at maturity is fields planted late in the month of May.  Theoretically all of the corn planted through Mother’s Day is now at black layer.

 

Heat Units 1-May 10-May 20-May 31-May
112-day 2,800 Black Layer 8-Oct 16-Oct Not possible
107-day 2,600 Black Layer Black Layer Black Layer 7-Oct

 

I have begun pulling Basal Nitrate tests to determine how much Nitrogen (N) is left in the soil.  This is a measurement of how much N was left in the lower stalk as the corn plant finished maturing.  This number should be low, but I want to confirm the accuracy of the Basal Nitrate test based on what I have been seeing in the fields before I report on it.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook under Hintzsche Companies or on Twitter: @HintzscheCo or @HzAgronomist for more field observations.

griesbach

 

Rick Griesbach
Hintzsche Agronomist
815-378-0083

 

 

 

Back on Track

With a very nice weekend, we have gotten back on track for maturity, or at least are back to the same dates as my first projections a month ago.  As September ends, we are ending up with 425 Heat Units for the month, or about 10 units less than the ten year average.  As for maturity, most 107-day hybrids have black layered now.  Full season hybrids are now less than a week from black layer if planted by Mothers Day.

 

Planting Dates 

Heat Units 1-May 10-May 20-May 31-May
112-day 2,800 3-Oct 7-Oct 13-Oct 23-Nov
107-day 2,600 Black Layer Black Layer Black Layer 7-Oct

 

So what is Black Layer?  Black Layer is the physiological maturity of the corn plant.  The kernel severs the connection to the cob and will no longer accept nutrients from the plant.  There are 2 ways to get black layer, I call them die down, and dry down.  When the plant dies, this year from crown rot and/or insufficient nitrogen,  a black layer forms on the kernel.  Generally these ears will dry much slower (if at all), and test weight has been lost.  When a kernel matures with the plant still alive, the kernel will no longer accept nutrients and the plant will actually remove moisture from the kernel.  Today a grower combined a well managed field black layer and the moisture was 28%.

Management keys I look for today in the corn fields are:

1) Does the plant have any green leaves left?  Corn plants that have received proper nitrogen management now have several green leaves above the ear.  Fields that died two weeks ago in DeKalb County were not correctly N managed!

2) How bad is stalk rot?  These rots, mostly Fusarium and some Gibberella, killed a lot of plants in the cold snap two weeks ago.  All of these plants will be on the ground by Halloween.  These rots have turned the crown brown, with a little pink sometimes.  Anthracnose turns the crown tan, and causes the top leaves to die.  Crown rot is the result of a cool, wet year and not a management issue. Crown rot killed 3 to 5% of plants CoSB, and 10 to 20% of plants in CoC.   Anthracnose is the result of not using a fungicide and is a management issue.

3) Does the plant have any red color on it today, particularly on or around the ear?  Red color indicates the plant has excess nutrients that the kernel did not accept and are being wasted.  This is partially genetic, and partially management, and should NEVER happen!

4) Have you seen any signs of Northern Corn Leaf Blight?  This leaf disease is controlled with fungicides, and there are HUGE differences in hybrid susceptibilities.  This disease is hitting the big P very hard.

As far as soybeans go, I can’t believe how quickly they have dropped leaves and matured in the last 10 days!  I spoke with Ron Hintzsche this morning, and he said he is seeing a 10 bushel response to Mother Mix sprayed on soybeans this year.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook under Hintzsche Companies or on Twitter: @HintzscheCo or @HzAgronomist for more field observations.  Have a great harvest!

griesbach

 

Rick Griesbach
Hintzsche Agronomist
815-378-0083

 

Creeping Towards Harvest

September 24, 2014–With an average week of temperatures, black layer projections have not changed much this week.  Basically, corn planted before May 10 that is less than 107-day RM is now black layered.  Full season corn planted by May 10th is now about a week away from physiological maturity.  At Black layer, corn is roughly 35% moisture, but this year I have seen exceptionally well managed fields black layer at moisture closer to 28%.  In other words, keeping a plant alive and healthy is the fastest way to take moisture out of the kernel.  Corn that dies prematurely forms a black layer, but dries slower.  Here are my projections, basically unchanged from last week.

 

Heat Units 1-May 10-May 20-May 31-May
112-day 2,800 3-Oct 8-Oct 15-Oct Not possible
107-day 2,600 Black Layer Black Layer 25-Sep 7-Oct

 

Corn fields that were not sprayed with fungicide now have tops dying from Anthracnose.  Anthracnose kills the top of the plant, and is the primary return on investment for fungicides in northern Illinois.  Crown rot is also present in just about all fields and is worse in corn-on-corn fields.  This disease is killing plants outright, and unfortunately there is very little under our control right now. I have also seen a lot of northern corn leaf blight, which is also controlled with fungicides.  There seems to be a large variance in hybrids.  Goss’s Wilt is present in regular fields, but doesn’t seem very aggressive this year.  Nitrogen management is now defining the last 10 to 15 bushels of yields.  Only the very well managed fields with sidedress have enough N today.  The corn-on-corn penalty (not soybean credit for first year corn) was far more than 40 units this year, and overall soil organic matter mineralization was below average.

Fall planning; there is no carry over nitrogen this fall.  Harvest will be late, and residue management for 2015 corn-on-corn will be huge.  I strongly recommend harvesting 2014 corn-on-corn first, applying AMS and getting these fields ripped in October.  Stalk lodging will be a problem, and it’s only a matter of time.  So far the shanks seem solid in most fields, so ear drop does not appear to be a problem.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook under Hintzsche Companies or on Twitter: @HintzscheCo or @HzAgronomist for more field observations.  Have a great harvest!

griesbach

 

Rick Griesbach
Hintzsche Agronomist
815-378-0083

Black Layer Projections

September 15, 2014

This cold snap we just shivered through really knocked my maturity date projections.  We gained less than 15 heat units in 4 days, which put us behind the 10-year average and significantly behind last year.  Those 4 cold days basically backed up black layer by 5 to 7 days.  We gave up all the gains we had picked up over the last three weeks.  Here’s where we’re at in Northern Illinois:

Hybrid Heat Units Planted   May 1 Planted   May 10 Planted   May 20 Planted    May 31
112-day  2,800 Oct 4 Oct 8 Oct 14       N/A
107-day 2,600 18-Sep 21-Sep 24-Sep 7-Oct

As we prepare for harvest, we have to come to terms that the 2014 will be wetter than last year.  The most significant decision now is harvest order.  It is imperative that corn on corn fields are harvested relatively early so fall tillage will get done timely.

A quick way to check if you have enough nitrogen (N) in your fields this week is to look how many green leaves remain on the plant below the ear.  If the leaves are brown above the ear already, you did not weather proof your Nitrogen investment.  Also, if the top leaves are turning brown, you would have made money applying a fungicide this year.  (Anthracnose is killing the top of the plant.)  Crown rot is also occurring, which causes individual plants to die.  Crown Rot is NOT a management issue, though there seems to a little bit of hybrid differences.  To check the difference between crown rot and anthracnose, dig up the plant and split the crown.  If the plant is dying or already dead and the crown is brown, that is crown rot.

As we approach harvest, be sure to follow us on Facebook under Hintzsche Companies or on Twitter: @HintzscheCo or @HzAgronomist for more field observations.  Happy harvest!

 

griesbach

 

Rick Griesbach
Hintzsche Agronomist
815-378-0083

Approaching the Finish Line

September 8, 2014—  Here is this week’s update for black layer projections.  The weather this past week gained us another day in black layer projections (see following chart).

My projections for black layer for a 112-day hybrid (2,800 Heat Units) are for the following planting dates:

May 1 = September 29

May 10 = October 3

May 20 = October 8

May 31 = November 4

Projections for a 107-day hybrid (2,600 heat units) for the following planting dates:View Post

May 1 = September 14,

May 10 = September 17,

May 20 = September 21

May 31, = October 2

Last week, the May 1st planting showed 112 days needed (450 more heat units) until black layer.  We ended up receiving 150 heat units or 1/3 of that total.  With a cooler 10-day forecast, we most likely won’t see the black layer projections move ahead in the future.  Remember, where the readings are taken matter.  My data is from Rockford, IL.  University of Illinois readings (from the research farm located in Shabbona, IL) indicate that those fields need 150 additional heat units to reach black layer.  In the Axis Seed plot tour last week, I saw 98-day corn nearly at black layer and 114-day corn barely dented, which corresponds to the chart above.

In the field, Anthracnose is taking out the tops of the corn plants in untreated fields, especially in corn on corn.

As we approach harvest, be sure to follow us on Facebook under Hintzsche Companies or on Twitter: @HintzscheCo or @HzAgronomist for more field observations.

griesbach

 

 

 

 

 

Rick Griesbach
Hintzsche Agronomist
815-378-0083

Black Layer Projections Shorten

September 2, 2014—  Here is this week’s update for corn maturity projections.  With warmer than average weather for the end of August, my projections moved ahead several days.  Northern Illinois is now about 30 heat units ahead of the 10-year average, and just slightly ahead of the 2013 crop year.  (This past week last year was very hot!)

My projections for black layer for a 112-day hybrid (2,800 Heat Units) are for the following planting dates:

May 1 = September 30

May 10 = October 4

May 20 = October 8, and

May 31 = October 18.

 

Projections for a 107-day hybrid (2,600 heat units) for the following planting dates:

May 1 = September 15,

May 10 = September 19,

May 20 = September 23, and

May 31, = October 4.

For May 1st plantings, the average field in Northern Illinois is just over 400 heat units away from maturity, which is the average September heat.  It matters where the readings are taken, and as of August 29th, the weather stations in Shabbona, Illinois had accumulated 2,104, Rockford 2,275, and Stephenson County 2,407 heat units.   My data is based on measurements taken at the Rockford Airport.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook under Hintzsche Companies or on Twitter: @HintzscheCo or @HzAgronomist for more field observations.  Wishing you all an outstanding harvest!

10-2012 Rick Griesbach

Rick Griesbach
Hintzsche Agronomist
815-378-0083

Maturity Projections for Northern Illinois

August 23, 2014—  To date, we have accumulated just over 2,300 heat units for the entire year, with August 22nd being the largest daily accumulation of heat units for 2014.  This pulled 2014 about a day ahead of 2013, and half a day behind the 10-year average.

My projections for black layer for a 112-day hybrid (2,800 Heat Units) are for the following planting dates;

May 1 = October 3

May 10 = October 7

May 20 = October 12, and

May 31 = Thanksgiving.

 

Projections for a 107-day hybrid (2,600 heat units) for the following planting dates:

May 1 = September 17,

May 10 = September 20,

May 20 = September 24, and

May 31, = October 7.

 

The average frost date is around the second week of October.  Field observations also confirm this data:

  • Corn earlier than 107 days is starting to dent, and it generally takes 30 days from dent to black layer.
  • Fuller season corn is in the dough stage, but not quite dent, which puts these fields 40 days to black layer (assuming a planting date of May 10 or earlier).

Follow us on Facebook under Hintzsche Companies or on Twitter: @HintzscheCo or @HzAgronomist for more field observations.

10-2012 Rick Griesbach

Rick Griesbach
Hintzsche Agronomist
815-378-0083

The Latest Observations From the Field

July 28, 2014—Over the past week, the dry weather has released some soil nitrogen, significantly improving (deepening) the corn’s color. Nitrate levels in the soil have made a slight recovery, especially CoS.  I am now seeing dark green next to yellow portions of leaves which indicates a flush of new nitrogen into the plant.  Ten to 14 days of dry weather is precisely what we needed.  Proper Nitrogen management (tying N to population and K levels) will be handsomely rewarded this year.  2014 Nitrate Master 7-21

In northern Illinois, most corn fields are now wrapping up pollination.  The cooler weather has probably helped insure near perfect pollination, but with plenty of moisture, that was likely to happen anyway.  Corn plants have achieved maximum height this year.  On Friday I measured a DeKalb plot for height, and the average was just below 10 feet.  With saturated soils in June, I consider the root system to be (at best) average.  Average root systems and huge plants leave them a little vulnerable to a dry August.

Tissue tests continue to improve with drying soils.  Nitrogen levels have increased, and have now gone back above the trend line.  All of the insoluble nutrients have improved, while Sulfur and Boron continue to lag.  Another agronomist whom I trust said that the low Boron tests correlate with late tassel emergence, which explains why we have such long silks.  Some yield trends are emerging with tissue tests, and I continue to correlate tissue tests to yields.

Rootworms continue to be missing in action.  There are four possible explanations; 1) The winter froze the eggs, 2) The saturated soils at hatching in the second week of June drown the larvae, 3) With so much more corn with 2 traits below ground, control is much better, 4) they are late to hatch again.  I think that #3 can be ruled out as 75% of the fields I look at are 2 traits below ground, and there is not much difference to the 25% with only one below ground trait.  We are going to start monitoring the rootworm populations with sticky traps to get a better idea of numbers, and will also continue to dig roots to monitor them.

Anthracnose appears to have started much earlier than usual.  Nearly every crown I split is discolored and getting a little punky, which means the disease is starting to separate the plant from the root system.  This is the disease that will cause the plant to die from the top down in September, and can cause stalk rot later on.  Spraying a fungicide now will slow the die back, and keep the plant intact far longer this fall.

While the cooler temperatures are awesome for me working outside, these below-average temps are causing us to lose heat units.  We have fallen several days behind the 10-year average for heat.  Corn planted in the second week of May has accumulated 1,500 heat units.  We need more 85 degree days or the corn will be as wet as it was last fall.

Bottom line, we now have the two major prerequisites for awesome yields, an intact root system, and night temperatures below 70 degrees in July.  With the burst of Nitrogen I saw this last week, I am now more confident that we will have a large crop coming.

Follow us on Facebook under Hintzsche Companies or on Twitter: @HintzscheCo or @HzAgronomist for more field observations.

10-2012 Rick Griesbach

Rick Griesbach
Hintzsche Agronomist
815-378-0083

Test Results For Samples Pulled July 7, 2014

July 16, 2014—Nitrate Tests for our four northern plots have now all crashed.  There are three sources of N for the plant today: Nitrates, Ammonium N, and N mineralized from the soil.  Today, the Nitrates are effectively zero, the ammonium N is not in much better shape, and the mineralization process has greatly slowed with all the wet weather.  The corn plants nearing pollination have taken up three quarters of the N which is stored in the stalks.  The remaining N now has to come from the soil.  If we can get several weeks of dry weather, the biological processes will fire back up and start releasing N.  Field observations show traces of N deficiency on the lowest leaves as the plant sloughs them off.  Bottom line, there is going to be a huge reward for applying enough N (matching it to planting population) and K.

Tissue Tests are also all over the place.  Overall, the corn plants have taken up nitrogen much better than Potash.  With limited air in the soil due to the wet weather, root growth is below average.  Therefore, plants are taking up N better than K.  Keeping K above 2% is the strongest yield correlation as I examine tissue tests against yield files.  Most fields are showing deficiencies in micro-nutrients.  It is apparent that one quart of Zinc is not enough Zinc.  Yesterday, we pulled tissue tests in my starter plot, where we put up to a gallon of Zinc in the starter.  I want to see if the low levels are coming from a positional problem or supply problem.  Boron is running low, and not increasing in the run up to pollination.  I have concluded that Boron needs to be applied V10 to V16.  Sulfur levels are declining in most fields.  The AMS is soluble enough that it is leaching through the soil.

I have been impressed how well most fields have recovered from the wind event two weeks ago.  We are splitting stalks, and noting how full the internodes are today.  This information will be correlated with yield files.  Rootworm feeding remains below average.  I am starting to wonder if we killed some rootworm last winter.  I finally found my first northern beetle yesterday and western rootworm today, which is a week behind the normal timeframe.  Rootworms are no threat for silk clipping this year.  So, the only question will be whether rootworm levels build enough to make adult management worth the expense.  Every field I enter has some discoloration from anthracnose in the crown of the plant, which is going to make fungicides pay for all corn-on-corn fields, and hybrids that are weak on anthracnose in corn-on-soybean fields.  The recent cool weather is perfect as we enter into pollination, but is it too cool?

No-till soybeans continue to lag behind conventional soybeans.  In discussing the reason behind this, my conclusion remains that residue management is making all the difference.  The nodulation has died in yellow areas in soybeans where the soil is too wet, and the plant is no longer being supplied with nitrogen.  Insect activity is starting to build.  The worst aphids are 0.5 per plant, but we still have a long way to go.  Japanese beetles are SLOWLY building up, but they also may have been hurt with the cold winter.  There is a lot of brown spot showing up in the soybeans fields, and this disease alone will make fungicides pay off nicely.  There is also some powdery mildew from all the wet weather.

Follow us on Facebook under Hintzsche Companies or on Twitter: @HintzscheCo or @HzAgronomist for more field observations.

10-2012 Rick Griesbach

Rick Griesbach
Hintzsche Agronomist
815-378-0083

Have Rains Affected Nutrient Levels?

June 23, 2014— Soil Nitrates are now above the trend line for both corn-on-corn and corn-on-soybeans in the
same territory. Nitrate levels have improved for corn-on-corn, most likely due to the sidedress applications.
The results that I’m looking at now were pulled on June 16th, before the ‘Noah conditions’ started on the 18th.
I anticipate nitrates to drop on the tests I pull (slop out) this week.

The last 10 days have given us twice the amount of rain that fell during the entire month of May. I believe our
subsoil moisture has finally been recharged. I estimate nitrogen loss to be from 20 to 50 units, depending on
the application method, timing, and how long the soil remained saturated.

The June 16th tissue test results surprised me. Out of 75 results came in, only three were not deficient in boron.
The majority of these tests came in critically low. (Note: Several of the critically low tests had boron applied this
spring!) If we don’t see boron climb by the time the corn is chest high, I am thinking about an earlier application
of fungicide with boron, just before tasseling. One third of the zinc tests came back deficient, and 40% of
manganese tests were also deficient.

Potassium levels also dropped in some fields. I discussed this with Jake Jungels, another Hintzsche agronomist,
and we tossed around several theories for this drop. Jake noticed some common trends: no K fertilizer 18 months
ago, fog chisel, and K levels lower than 350#/a, combined with a huge uptake of nitrates, which may have been
enough to depress K levels.

6-23-14 Griesbach chart

 

Follow us on Facebook under Hintzsche Companies or on Twitter: @HintzscheCo or @HzAgronomist for more
field observations.

 


10-2012 Rick Griesbach

Rick Griesbach
Hintzsche Agronomist
815-378-0083

10-2012 Jake Jungels

Jake Jungels
Hintzsche Agronomist
815-693-3820