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May 2010 Archive for Syngenta Field Report

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The Syngenta Field Report features information and experts from Syngenta sharing observations about issues growers are dealing with in the fields.

Live, from your desktop, it’s a webinar

May 28, 2010
Anthony Transou
Meetings. You see the e-mails or hear about them from your seed guy or your agronomist or your neighbor. But how often do you have the time to drive for an hour or two to listen to the experts there?
And so, the natural progression, thanks to the Internet, has been seminars via the Web, also known as webinars, Web conferences, Web meetings, etc. These events let the experts sit in their offices and share their presentation with you real-time, on your desktop. All you need is a link, a few minutes to register and sometimes a phone line, and you’ve got the meeting experience from the comfort of your home office (minus the free donuts or lunch). You can usually even ask questions by virtually “raising your hand” and typing your inquiry into a little box.

Have you attended a Web-based meeting or seminar? Does this format work for you? What do you like? What kind of topics do you want to learn about? Or, if you aren’t a fan of this format, what would you prefer?

What insects may be lurking in your fields this year?

May 25, 2010

Caydee Savinelli

It is an unpleasant thought of unwelcome insects invading your corn and soybean fields. What insects should you keep your eyes open for in 2010?


University of Illinois entomologists recently predicted corn and soybean insect threats. According to University of Illinois Extension entomologist Mike Gray, Japanese beetle infestations will continue to vex growers this year. Despite the cold winter, snow cover across many areas of Illinois most likely served as a buffer and enhanced the survival of overwintering grubs.


The western corn rootworm causes some management challenges every year. Gray expects light to moderate infestations this year like last year when wet soil conditions in the spring resulted in high mortality of western corn rootworm larvae soon after the hatch occurred.


Growers across the Midwest are concerned that an expected grasshopper infestation could ravage crops. Over the coming weeks, federal officials say grasshoppers will likely hatch in bigger numbers than any year since 1985 – a year when hungry swarms caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage when they devoured corn, barley, alfalfa, beets and more. 


Soybean growers may face another threat – red-banded stink bugs. Kelly Tindall, an entomologist at the University of Missouri Delta Research Center, recently found stink bugs in three soybean fields in Dunklin County, Missouri. Research in Louisiana proved that red-banded stink bugs caged on soybean pods for 72 hours, damaged up to 41 percent of the seeds and reduced seed weight by a third.


Entomologists anticipate soybean aphid and corn borer populations may be down.


It’s still too early to assess the potential impact of insects that migrate such as black cutworms, corn leaf aphid, fall armyworms and corn earworms, but it’s a good idea to stay on the look out for problem insects, and work with your agronomist to scout, if needed. Click here to watch a short presentation that includes insect scouting information.


What insects are you most concerned about for the 2010 season? What insects have historically been problematic in your fields?

Residual herbicides protect Ohio corn

May 21, 2010
Gordon Vail

Recently, some of my colleagues in Ohio heard their growers talk about the importance of residual weed control in corn. One said residual control is the “whole thing” when it comes to managing weeds in corn. He prefers herbicides with multiple modes of action for broad-spectrum weed control and to manage resistance.

In another operation, guys said that even with herbicide-tolerant crops, they still need residual herbicides to control weeds. They know there are hidden costs in weed competition, especially when they saw a yield difference at harvest between fields with and without pre applications including mesotrione, an active ingredient that helps more effectively control tough broadleaf weeds like ragweed and pigweed species.

As your corn emerges, make sure you have a residual herbicide out there to protect your yield potential.

Should you expect nematode pressure?

May 18, 2010
David Long
In the South, a recent acreage shift away from cotton has increased corn and soybean acres. In some areas, crop rotation helps manage nematode populations, but when rotational crops also host these microscopic, thread-like worms, this strategy doesn’t help. Because cotton, corn and soybeans are all host crops to several of the same nematode species, growers who have historically battled nematode damage in their cotton fields can expect to see yield loss due to nematodes in their corn and soybean crops, too.

Soybean nematodes live in all soil environments, but damage is often more apparent in lighter, sandier soils, or under stress conditions. While symptoms vary and are not always visible, growers will notice a loss in yield. Symptoms can include premature yellowing and wilting, root galls, chlorosis of the leaves, stunting of roots and shoot, poor pod set and reduced feeder roots. Nematodes also cause significant damage to crops by facilitating fungal infections that can lead to extensive root decay.

Photo: Dead, stunted, and chlorotic plants caused by root-knot nematode. Source: Clemson University

To clearly identify below-ground symptoms, roots should be dug and closely examined. Below- and above-ground symptoms are not always distinct enough to use as a sole basis for diagnosis, so it is best to collect soil and root samples for a laboratory analysis.

Do you know if you have nematodes in your fields?

Rain, rain go away…

May 14, 2010
Gordon Vail
This spring has been dramatically different from last year, when many growers across the Corn Belt were still planting corn in June. By the end of April, the heart of the Corn Belt had more than 70% of their corn in the ground. And by now, growers are finished with corn and many also have their soybeans planted.

An Illinois colleague said that his retailers and growers saw the value of a flexible pre-emergence herbicide this spring. During the past several weeks, growers have talked about pushing to get seed in the ground before rain comes, but they didn’t get the pre down before it rained. 
They said that after several days ideal for planting, heavy spring rains helped corn started to emerge, but they knew they still needed to get their residual herbicide applied. The day the field is dry enough to get back in is the day you appreciate a residual herbicide that can be applied to emerged corn without crop safety concerns.

Were you able to get your herbicide out before the spring rains came?

Can you rely on post-emergence weed control?

May 11, 2010
Chuck Foresman

ALS-inhibiting herbicides became very popular in the ‘90s when they successfully controlled tough weeds post-emergence. But then resistance developed.
Glyphosate-tolerant seed quickly became popular, and glyphosate also controlled tough weeds post-emergence. But now resistance has developed.
Many growers rely on post-emergence weed control for tough weeds. But with weed resistance spreading, do you know what effective options are still available post-emergence? A little research shows that some problem weeds are very good at developing resistance to herbicides. After investigating a bit further, I learned that based on the types of herbicide resistance already showing up in weeds, if glyphosate resistance were to develop, there may not be many post options left to control these weeds.

That’s why I recommend pre-emergence herbicides and herbicides with multiple modes of action to manage against weed resistance.

Beyond SCN: Soybean nematode pressure

May 07, 2010
David Long
Most soybean growers are aware of Soybean Cyst Nematodes (SCN). But there is another group of nematodes that feed on soybeans. Non-cyst-forming nematodes include root-knot, reniform and lance nematodes. And they nibble on soybean roots, as well.
Remember, nematodes are microscopic, thread-like, non-segmented worms that live in soil and feed on plant roots. Plant parasitic nematodes are tiny – barely more than a millimeter long – and translucent. That makes them invisible to the naked eye.
Although many soybean varieties now have SCN resistance, SCN still accounts for significant soybean yield losses, especially across the southern United States. However, root-knot and other non-cyst forming nematodes may be considered a bigger threat, because they are more difficult to manage. 
Most of the non-cyst forming nematodes also attack rotational crops such as cotton and corn. Since there are few rotational options and limited resistant soybean germplasm, management of these nematodes may require a nematicide.
(Photo: Juvenile root-knot nematode entering root gall.)

Nematicide seed treatment boosts corn yield

May 04, 2010

Palle Pedersen

Last season, a series of large-block plots showcased the first nematicide/insecticide/fungicide seed treatment combination for corn in real-world growing conditions across the country. These side-by-side trials directly compared this new option to the industry standard insecticide/fungicide seed treatment. 

Excessive rain, cooler-than-average temperatures and an overall low-stress year in the field promoted higher-than-normal yields across the Corn Belt.  Despite the low-stress growing season, the trials showed an average yield increase of 4.5 bu/A in fields with yields ranging up to 190 bu/A. But in summarizing trials over three years, this combination with a nematicide delivered an average 6 bu/A yield increase on 85% of corn acres.
This technology shows the ability to help growers boost yield potential. To learn more, visit the online tutorial.
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