Comments on Crop and Concern
This has been a year filled with tremendous opportunity to raise outstanding corn and soybean crops, but also a year that will yield disappointing results in some fields or parts of fields. As I walk through corn fields and see dramatically different yield potential in adjacent areas, I am reminded of the need to control compaction, control weeds, apply timely and adequate N, control insects and foliar disease, and choose hybrids with a good balance of yield stability and adequate agronomics. We are seeing problems with either a single application of N (such as injected manure) or surface applied N. These differences are magnified on corn-on-corn ground that could use better drainage. Due to a mild winter, insect survival was high and we did not break the compaction which occurred during harvest or manure application, or tillage. Now is a good time to create a cost effective plan for 2017, which addresses insect concerns, compaction, poor drainage or fertility concerns which were observed in 2016.
Iowa is currently running about 230 heat units above normal this year and rainfall varies from slightly drier than normal to 10+ inches above normal. Due to the combination of early planting and Diplodia root rot leading to premature death and stalk rot, we are starting to see many corn hybrids mature and/or start to die prematurely. When a plant dies, black layer forms immediately so be careful not to confuse normal blacklayer (physiological maturity) with premature death. Silage harvest is behind schedule in many places due to wet fields, but it needs to be done soon to insure the best silage quality. We are at blacklayer with many 106-108 day hybrids around Iowa City and Cedar Rapids and some 114 day hybrids will be at blacklayer by September 1, so frost will not be an issue this year and some farmers could be done harvesting in September or early October. To maximize yield and profit, harvest should begin in the low 20 to 25% range. Soybeans seem a little behind corn on a relative scale and they have many pods left to fill, which will really benefit from the recent rains, unless SDS, BSR or White Mold lead to early death.
I feel we may not quite reach the yield potential forecast for Eastern Iowa due to lighter kernel weight, as many plants reached maturity too quickly this year. Typically the highest yields occur in cooler years with longer grain fill periods. In some fields we also limited yield due to less than optimum plant available N and disease control this year. Kernel counts are generally very good for early planted corn, but some later planted corn tipped back quite severely due to excess heat during pollination and early grain fill. Yield formulas are highly dependent on using the right kernel weight factor (.85 +- .5 on the slide rule) and getting an accurate sample of harvestable ears for the field (including adequately representing the poor areas or planits). In summary, there clearly will be some outstanding yields in many corn fields, but variability will be considerable and timely harvest may be critical to prevent field loss. Healthy soybean fields appear to have tremendous yield potential if all pods are filled, but SDS will curtail yields in many fields.
Scout your fields for stalk quality issues and schedule harvest according to the risk of stalk and root rot. Also scout for kernel and ear rot diseases, which are prevalent this year. High risk fields include fields with inadequate N (excessive firing) or with disease infested hybrids. Your largest eared hybrids, which tend to pull extra photosynthate from the stalk, are also good choices to harvest first. If you want help in assessing your fields (regardless of the brand of corn), please contact your dealer or the Miller Hybrids office for a Miller Hybrids seed expert.
Miller Corn Research
Miller Hybrids research is conducted under variable conditions to allow the identification of hybrids that can tolerate the stresses that are typical in your fields. In 2016 there are 4 main research sites in Iowa, one in central Illinois and two satellite sites in N. Illinois. Sites include corn-on-corn and we have soils ranging from sandy to tight black soil. Three sites were sprayed with fungicides. Our plan is to understand hybrids so that when we recommend them for your farm, you will be pleasantly surprised. We strive to understand hybrid characteristics from our research and from your fields, and then to add to our portfolio the highest performing and well understood hybrids that are needed to maximize your financial return per corn acre.
We focus on genetics first and traits second, as we are determined to provide you what you want for your farm. Many people have been pleased with a Roundup® or glyphosate weed control program on corn because it is “cheap” and easy. With “generic-Roundup” at bargain prices, it is cheap until you also consider technology fees and the earlier onset of weed resistance. Miller Hybrids has an excellent set of stacked hybrids and refuge hybrids for those of you who choose a glyphosate option or for those who don’t. We offer an industry leading set of hybrids for those who plan to use a conventional herbicide option or Liberty® or glufosinate herbicides. If you are considering corn-on-corn and want to control volunteer corn from this year’s Roundup tolerant corn, we have you covered with a set of Liberty Link® corn borer and rootworm traited hybrids.
We have a diverse and high performance set of Roundup 2 Yield®, Roundup Extend® (Roundup+Banvel tolerance), Liberty and conventional trait options. We also carry a few excellent economy priced glyphosate tolerant (GT) soybeans which are consistent performers. Also, be sure to call Miller Hybrids for your alfalfa, forage, and cover crop needs this fall.
Miller Hybrids has programs which reward loyalty and growth with our current customers. We have a new customer program which provides free soybean seed when a planter-full each of 2 or 3 corn hybrids are planted. We have an attractive prepay discount schedule with maximum discounts if paid by September 15, as well as an interest free financing program until January.
If you or anyone you know is looking for an independent seed company, who truly wants to place your needs before ours, please give us a call. We would appreciate the opportunity to spend time discussing hybrids with you at one of our show plots or in local fields at your convenience. Our goal is to understand your farm and help reduce your cost per bushel, by putting together the right hybrid and trait package for you. You can also visit us on the web at www.millerhybrids.com or reach the office at 319-656-2532 or toll free at 866-946-CORN. Your success in 2017 starts with the choice of the right seed and seed partner. We would be honored if you choose us as a seed partner and thank our loyal customers who have done so!
Farm Progress Show!
Visit the Miller Hybrids booth in the SE corner of the Farm Progress Show the next 3 days (8/30-9/1) and register for a chance to win a 40” TV or a meal. Call us for a free pass to get in (limited quantity of passes available).
Thoughts from Ph. D. Corn Breeder and Miller Hybrids Owner, Bob Miller.
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