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Five Crop Considerations for 2016 and 2017

Here's what folks have been talking about this summer.

Summer is a time when farm editors, like me, pick up all kinds of tidbits among the field days and meetings. Here’s a smattering of what I’ve heard folks talking about this summer.

1. Pay Attention to Palmer Amaranth
Ignoring this pigweed family member can be costly, says Scott Cully, a Syngenta research and development scientist. He’s seen it grow from 1½ inches on Friday morning to 6 inches high on Monday.

“It just grows so quickly,” he says.

Overlapping residual herbicides is a good way to manage it, he says. This strategy consists of adding a preemergence residual herbicide before planting, followed by an in-crop application of another residual herbicide. This can protect a crop though canopy and help curb late-emerging weeds.

2. Gypsum Can Reduce P Runoff

Wondering how to keep phosphorus on your soils and from running off into waterways and lakes? Adding gypsum has achieved 50% reductions of P concentrations in runoff in the tight clay soils of northwestern Ohio.

Tasseled Corn
Gil Gullickson

“The calcium portion of the gypsum binds with surface P to prevent runoff,” says Joe Nester, a Bryan, Ohio, agronomist.

3. Monitor Corn Disease
Ample moisture and warm temperatures have set the stage for corn disease in some areas. Gray leaf spot is one disease that’s popped up, as has southern rust. Thus, this may be a year fungicide applications pay.

“The environment seems to be setting up for disease,” says Jeff Hartz, marketing director for Wyffels Hybrids.

4. Moving Away From Traits? Be Careful

Slumping commodity corn prices amid static seed corn prices has caused more farmers to consider non-GMO or reduced-traited corn in 2017 seed plans.

“We are not seeing a lot of rootworm pressure in the Corn Belt,” says Jeff Hartz, marketing manager for Wyffels Hybrids. “That is setting up (for some farmers) for double traits (herbicide tolerance and European corn borer resistance),” he says. “It can make sense economically, but we have to be careful we don’t get into a situation where it can backfire. Corn rootworm is still out there.”

That’s been the case with European corn borer in some areas of eastern Iowa. Some non-GMO fields have taken 30- to 40-bushel-per-acre yield hits by ECB, he says.

5. Stagnant 2017 Seed Corn Prices – So Far
Price isn’t the only factor for selecting seed. “We are pretty flat with where we’d been in the past year,” says Hartz. “The price of some products has gone up in the past year; other prices have gone down. Overall, they are flat.”

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