Author

Hunter Stone, Senior Staff Agronomist

Hunter Stone, Senior Staff Agronomist

Hunter is a senior staff agronomist at FBN focusing on data and technology. He grew up in northwest Alabama surrounded by upland cotton and terra rosa soils. Hunter attended Auburn University earning a bachelor's degree in agronomy and soils and a master's degree in soil science. He has a blended applied and data science background with expertise in agricultural systems modeling, commodity markets, GIS and remote sensing, machine learning and statistics, precision agronomy, and software development. Hunter is a certified crop adviser with wide-ranging experience in field and specialty crop agronomy practice.


A deluge this past weekend dumped 4 or more inches of rainfall on parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The map below illustrates just how wet the weekend was for the Upper Midwest: One need only look as far as news coverage of dam breaks in Central Michigan to know this degree of rainfall is normal. Whether or not this particular event has lasting effects for 2020 crops remains unclear, but some localized replants will certainly be necessary. As a whole, however, #plant20 is close to a wrap for corn according to this week's member planting progress poll, with two notable exceptions: In North Dakota, where temperatures have been cooler than normal, and the Ohio River Valley, which has seen above-average precipitation this spring. Emergence challenges for planted corn Getting corn to come out of the ground hasn’t been as easy as putting it in was for many farmers across the U.S.  A look at USDA’s crop progress estimates from Monday, May 18, continue to show corn planting progress well ahead of the 5-year average, but corn emergence remains just average. Slower-than-expected emergence is attributable to cool spring temperatures, which have in turn limited growing degree days (GDD) even in spite of early planting: Unfortunately, the Memorial Day weekend forecast looks a lot like last weekend—wet. A 200-mile-wide swath from Omaha to Dallas is forecast to receive 2.5 to 5 inches (or more) over the weekend.  These high rainfall totals should accumulate west of areas that were most inundated a week ago; that westward skew and overall warmer temperatures are small silver linings. Address your management needs all season long with You can double down on savings and convenience when you shop for ag chemicals on . Simply buy the crop protection products you need online and get them shipped directly to your farm—or schedule free pick-up at your local FBN Hub . It’s just one of many different ways we’re making farming better for farmers. Copyright © 2014 - 2020 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights reserved. The sprout logo, "FBN" and "Farmers Business Network" are registered service marks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. FBN Direct Services are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. FBN Direct is a service mark of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, adjuvants, and biostimulants can be ordered online and via mobile app. Please contact an FBN Sales representative for fertilizer and seed orders. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. It is a violation of federal and state/provincial law to use any pesticide product other than in accordance with its label. The distribution, sale and use of an unregistered pesticide is a violation of federal and/or state law and is strictly prohibited. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided on this page or which is provided by us in any form. It is your responsibility to confirm prior to purchase and use that a product is labeled for your specific purposes, including, but not limited to, your target crop or pest and its compatibility with other products in a tank mix.


Another week of spring planting is in the books, and it appears that not even a polar vortex can slow the overall planting progress farmers are making. Temperatures this past weekend plummeted into the 20s across much of the Midwest, setting record daily lows in hundreds of counties. And yet USDA’s crop progress report released on Monday, May 11, showed soybean plantings in the U.S., on aggregate, four times further along than they were at this point in 2019 and well ahead of the five-year average.  We’ll know soon enough whether pushing ahead in spite of a menacing late chill was prudent, but putting planters away in the middle of May is a refreshing prospect—particularly with the planting challenges of 2019 in the rearview mirror. The progress we’ve observed with soybean planting so far hasn’t been shared equally across all geographies, though. ’s May 14 soybean planting progress poll shows member farmers in Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska nearly completed— ahead of average—while the Mississippi Delta region and parts of the Mid-South and Southeast lag behind. Spring precipitation has governed #plant20, creating a split reality where parts of the Upper Midwest have become unnervingly dry and many areas south of I-70 remain wet to the point of irritation. A glance at the last few U.S. Drought Monitor updates show drought creeping east from the Colorado Front Range into Kansas and Southern Nebraska with parts of Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota falling to pre-drought, ‘abnormally dry’ conditions in yesterday’s release. This dry pattern will reverse—at least over this weekend. Nearly all of the Eastern U.S. is forecast to get 0.5 to 1.5 inches of rainfall Friday to Sunday with a narrower, northeast-leaning swath from San Antonio to Akron accumulating up to 4 inches.  This moisture is timely in many regions given planting progress and expanding dryness; some of the heaviest precipitation, however, will fall on areas that could use a break from all of the rainfall. Soil crusting, washing along hill slopes and ponding in low areas are a few conditions that can result from heavy rainfall, and all of these can hamstring early crop establishment. Adding this near-term forecast to last weekend’s record chill demands early-season scouting attention to monitor potential fallout in your fields. Here’s hoping the last two weekends in May see less intense, less extreme weather events than the first two! Address your management needs all season long with You can double down on savings and convenience when you shop for ag chemicals on . Simply buy the crop protection products you need online and get them shipped directly to your farm—or schedule free pick-up at your local FBN Hub . It’s just one of many different ways we’re making farming better for farmers. Copyright © 2014 - 2020 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights reserved. The sprout logo, "FBN" and "Farmers Business Network" are registered service marks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. FBN Direct Services are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. FBN Direct is a service mark of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, adjuvants, and biostimulants can be ordered online and via mobile app. Please contact an FBN Sales representative for fertilizer and seed orders. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. It is a violation of federal and state/provincial law to use any pesticide product other than in accordance with its label. The distribution, sale and use of an unregistered pesticide is a violation of federal and/or state law and is strictly prohibited. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided on this page or which is provided by us in any form. It is your responsibility to confirm prior to purchase and use that a product is labeled for your specific purposes, including, but not limited to, your target crop or pest and its compatibility with other products in a tank mix.


Mother's Day weekend in the U.S. is shaping up to be historically cold for parts of the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley, with freeze warnings in effect from Minneapolis all the way to Nashville. A quick look at the 5-day forecast shows that farmers in the Upper Midwest and Northeast may experience frost or freeze conditions in the coming days. On top of that, we are anticipating rainfall—and potentially snow in parts of North Dakota and the Northeast—across many of the same areas. The impact of frost and freeze on recently planted crops These temperatures and the associated precipitation could spell disaster for recently planted crops. Cold shock and frost injury are very real risks that cause poor stand and/or stunted growth and may result in the need to replant. In very recent plantings, cold shock results when soil water chilled below 50 degrees Fahrenheit is imbibed, causing plant cells to rupture. Cold-shocked seedlings are more susceptible to plant pathogens and often exhibit wonky, corkscrew-like early growth. For plants already up and growing, frost and freeze will only injure foliage under the best circumstances and kill entire crops in the worst, where freezing temperatures destroy the plant’s growing point.  Growing points are below the soil surface until around V6, so young crops have insulation, but a hard freeze can cause injury that impedes new growth in a condition called “buggy whipping” even before growing points are above ground. Yield reductions are associated with all of these conditions. It’s impossible to know whether or to what extent this cold snap will affect your crop, as many factors govern risk and effect. Scouting will be necessary to weigh any corrective actions. Replanting is not always the right decision, even with significant defoliation or reduced emergence. Your university extension office will often have a table that can help consider the economics of replant decisions, accounting for injury extent and eventual replant date.  You can also reach out to a member of the Agronomy team for decision support by calling or texting (605) 223-4224. Address your management needs all season long with You can’t control the weather. But for pest pressure and other needs that arise related to the health of your crop, there’s  . Simply buy the crop protection products you need online and get them shipped directly to your farm—or schedule free pick-up at your local Hub . It’s just one of many different ways we’re making farming better  . Copyright © 2014 - 2020 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights reserved. The sprout logo, "FBN" and "Farmers Business Network" are registered service marks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. FBN Direct Services are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. FBN Direct is a service mark of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, adjuvants, and biostimulants can be ordered online and via mobile app. Please contact an FBN Sales representative for fertilizer and seed orders. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. It is a violation of federal and state/provincial law to use any pesticide product other than in accordance with its label. The distribution, sale and use of an unregistered pesticide is a violation of federal and/or state law and is strictly prohibited. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided on this page or which is provided by us in any form. It is your responsibility to confirm prior to purchase and use that a product is labeled for your specific purposes, including, but not limited to, your target crop or pest and its compatibility with other products in a tank mix.


What a difference a year can make! Corn planting thus far in 2020 has progressed more than two times faster than 2019 according to USDA’s planting progress figures released on Monday, May 4. ’s own planting progress poll shows members are making quick work of corn acres across core portions of the Corn Belt in 2020, with farmers in Iowa and Minnesota impressively nearing completion. Central Illinois, Southern Indiana, Ohio, and North Dakota are lagging behind a bit because of regional rain (IL) and/or cold temperatures (IN, OH, ND) that have somewhat hobbled planting efforts. The year-to-year turnabout is quite simple to explain—rainfall and snowmelt have been at average to below-average levels in 2020, whereas 2019 saw historically wet conditions across large swaths of the U.S. That’s not to say that farmers everywhere in the U.S. have had it easy when it comes to planting in 2020. The Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast have been rocked by severe weather that brought tornado outbreaks and extreme rainfall reaching 400% of normal. Meanwhile Central Illinois has also been a target for spring storms, creating soggy soil conditions that are not ideal for planting (see map below). Still, overall planting progress for corn to date is on par with or ahead of the 5-year average in much of the U.S., according to data from the USDA, and is in a completely different universe from what we witnessed at this point in 2019: What you should know about early planting For those who have been able to get their crop in the ground, early planting has its benefits. member-contributed data and academic research data have both shown time and again that early seeding pays dividends at harvest by pushing reproductive growth stages earlier in the season. This in turn reduces heat risks that can devastate pollination and seed set and late-season frost risks that can halt seed fill. Early planting does, however, expose you to increased risk of frost injury and cold shock in corn that can lead to season-long stand issues or force you to replant. In fact, over the weekend and into next week, a polar vortex is brewing that will plummet temperatures and dump substantial rain creating frost and cold shock risks for much of the Eastern Corn Belt and Upper Midwest. 2020 will almost certainly not be “perfect”—nothing ever is—but it’s safe to say we are off to a tremendously better start than the craziness we experienced in the early months of the 2019 crop year. Address your management needs all season long with You can double down on savings and convenience when you shop for ag chemicals on . Simply buy the crop protection products you need online and get them shipped directly to your farm—or schedule free pick-up at your local FBN Hub . It’s just one of many different ways we’re making farming better for farmers. Copyright © 2014 - 2020 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights reserved. The sprout logo, "FBN" and "Farmers Business Network" are registered service marks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. FBN Direct Services are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. FBN Direct is a service mark of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, adjuvants, and biostimulants can be ordered online and via mobile app. Please contact an FBN Sales representative for fertilizer and seed orders. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. It is a violation of federal and state/provincial law to use any pesticide product other than in accordance with its label. The distribution, sale and use of an unregistered pesticide is a violation of federal and/or state law and is strictly prohibited. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided on this page or which is provided by us in any form. It is your responsibility to confirm prior to purchase and use that a product is labeled for your specific purposes, including, but not limited to, your target crop or pest and its compatibility with other products in a tank mix.


Hydraulic planter down-force has been adopted widely in the past few years, and there is a good reason! The load sensor in these units adjusts downward pressure to keep the row unit at a level depth so your seeding depth is always consistent no matter what the soil conditions are like. That allows you to have very even emergence, maximizing your seed spend and maximizing crop yield. To ask a question directly to our Agronomy team, text the word to phone number 326326.


Some farmers should be seeing a short-lived but welcomed drier pattern over the next 7 days according to recent NOAA forecast runs. The map below shows forecasted 7 day cumulative rainfall in percent of normal rainfall, as well as the many river locations that are recording flood stage after weeks of heavy rain.  With the exception of a northeasterly swath across eastern Nebraska, northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, the major Midwest corn and soybean producing areas are forecast to see below- to near-normal precipitation. Compared to the prior 30 days, Midwest farmers, particularly in the eastern Corn Belt, finally have a chance to get corn acres in the ground. In contrast, the map below shows the previous 30 day cumulative rainfall as a percent of normal. Much of the southern Plains and the eastern Corn Belt ranked among the top 15 wettest on record for this period. Monday’s USDA Crop Progress Report showed the effect heavy spring rains have had with Illinois 56 percentage points behind its 5 year average corn planting pace; meanwhile, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, South Dakota, and Ohio tallied more than 25 percentage points behind. Planting progress over the next 15 days may be critical to achieving average or better corn grain yields. If you haven’t already, it’s about time to start your planters!