Author

Steve Sick

Steve is FBN Breeding Project Lead


Sep 14, 2020

by Steve Sick

As we look into our development pipeline each year, our primary goal at F2F Genetics Network™ is to deliver high-performing genetics, affordable traits and technology and a commitment to help you lower production costs and maximize your potential return on investment. When we launched our first seed lineup in 2018 , we placed a lot of focus on bringing quality conventional corn hybrids to the market and helping farmers understand the potential value of conventional premiums and reduced seed costs to support their bottom lines.  Want quality genetics at a fair price? But we know that in agriculture, it takes different cropping plans and systems to help every farm be successful. That’s why it is so exciting that our 2021 seed lineup includes more options than ever before , giving you increased access to a diverse range of quality hybrids at the right prices. #Plant21: F2F Genetics Network seed corn Trying to figure out which hybrids to plant in 2021? Here are a few highlights from our F2F Genetics Network seed corn lineup: Conventional Corn Our robust hybrid lineup continues to feature high-performing conventional corn products — 20 unique seed varieties ranging in maturity from 78 to 116 days — that help you focus on your bottom line. For years, farmers have been pressured to spend more on traits they might not need in order to chase high yields—no matter the cost. Our conventional hybrids are developed for performance and come with a more attractive price tag, making it easier for the numbers to work for your operation.  Traited Corn Sometimes traits offer you the flexibility you need to effectively manage pressure on your farm. In this year’s portfolio, we are proud to distribute more than two dozen quality Master Farmer™ hybrids traited to help address a variety of needs you might have.  We’re also completing trials on hybrids carrying a now off-patent trait for glyphosate tolerance (GT). This is among the first off-patent GT traits on the market, and it shows our continued commitment to bringing great value products while lowering your farm’s cost of production.  Our GT corn products will also be particularly useful in states where structured refuge is required, meaning you won’t have to pay higher prices to meet refuge requirements.  Organic Corn For an increasing number of you, transitioning acres to grow organic row crops is attractive from a sustainability perspective and makes sense financially, as well. This year we’re distributing Blue River® Organic Seed in our corn lineup, allowing us to better support farmers who have transitioned to organic production or are in the process of transitioning.  You can order Blue River® Organic Seed through your current dealer/distributor or place an order directly through F2F Genetics Network .  Focus your farm on greater ROI At Farmers Business Network® , we’re committed to putting Farmers First ® and powering the prosperity of family farmers. Download our F2F Genetics Network 2021 seed guides and get ready to work alongside our knowledgeable team and maximize your profit potential today.  "Farmers Business Network" is a registered trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. The sprout logo, "FBN" and “F2F Genetics Network” are trademarks of Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. “Master Farmer” is a trademark of Masters Choice. “Blue River” is a trademark of Blue River Organic Seeds, LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. F2F Genetics Network branded seed products and other seed products are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. Terms & Conditions are subject to change at any time and without notice. See sales order form for additional terms and conditions. All sales are subject to entrance into a Master Distribution Agreement, where applicable, and the terms and conditions set forth therein.


May 06, 2020

by Steve Sick

As farmers look at ways to diversify their operations, sorghum often comes up as a cost-effective alternative for shaking up the crop rotation.  And if you’re specifically looking at options for silage, grazing and more, forage sorghum and sudangrass may provide opportunities for you to save on input costs while allowing you to take advantage of marginal acres and limited water resources. Want quality genetics at a fair price? Grow forage sorghum for efficient silage production Forage sorghum is a tall plant—usually growing to heights of 8-12 feet—that generates a great deal of biomass. Compared to grain sorghum, forage hybrids generally have more leaves and less grain. These qualities contribute to making forage sorghum a great option for farmers looking at livestock feeding opportunities.  Production of forage sorghum for silage requires significantly less water than corn silage. And, in many cases, forage sorghum silage is comparable to corn silage—both in terms of production and quality.  If you’ve grown sorghum before or are exploring planting it this crop year, you’re probably aware of the diverse array of hybrids available. The biggest considerations in selecting forage sorghum hybrids for your farm are: Yield potential Maturity Overall quality Cost Some forage sorghum hybrids have the Brown Mid-Rib (BMR) gene, which can translate to higher fiber digestibility and better forage quality. Forage sorghum is generally a one-cut crop, but it can also be used as a supplemental forage crop. Enjoy increased versatility with sudangrass Sudangrass is a valuable annual forage grass that grows rapidly and can be used for multiple cuttings. Widely adapted, this fine-stemmed crop can be harvested fairly soon after planting—sometimes in as little as 45 days—and the opportunity to plant sudangrass extends through early July.  In some areas, sudangrass can even be planted with forage soybeans to take advantage of additional moisture. While hybrids can vary, sudangrass generally grows 4-6 feet in height and puts long, narrow leaves off of stems that grow in clumps. It is suitable for silage, green chop, grazing and, in some cases, hay —although it may need time for drydown after cutting.   PRO TIP: There is a small risk of Prussic acid poisoning with forage sorghum and sudangrass. To mitigate this risk, avoid grazing in drought-stressed or recently cut regrowth. Wait 14 days after frost for grazing or cutting.  Planning on planting sorghum acres this year? If you’re exploring planting sorghum this spring, we can help you determine which hybrids might work best for your operation. Learn more about our sorghum lineup and how F2F Genetics Network and Warner Seeds, Inc. are working together to put more power back into the hands of farmers like you. Sources: 1. USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service 2. National Sorghum Producers The sprout logo, "FBN" and "Farmers Business Network" are registered service marks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. “F2F Genetics Network” is a trademark of Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. F2F Genetics Network branded seed products and other seed products are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. Terms & Conditions are subject to change at any time and without notice. See sales order form for additional terms and conditions. All sales are subject to entrance into a Master Distribution Agreement, where applicable, and the terms and conditions set forth therein.


May 06, 2020

by Steve Sick

Whether because of lower-than-expected grain prices, higher-than-anticipated input costs or a later-than-optimal planting window, it’s always good for you to have options in case you need to switch up your crop plans last minute.  Because of its versatility, grain sorghum is an excellent option for farmers seeking greater potential return on investment when acres, timing or economics don’t make sense for more traditional row crops. Learn more about grain sorghum Grain sorghum in an exceptionally well-adapted crop that allows you to take advantage of marginal and dryland acres. It generally features lower input costs than other row crops and is often favored when a late change in crop planning needs to be made. The majority of sorghum grown in the U.S. can be found in the Sorghum Belt, an area spanning from South Dakota to Texas. In 2019, American farmers planted more than 5 million acres to sorghum.  And while it is one of the top cereal crops in the world, sorghum also produces a comparable amount of ethanol when evaluated alongside other feedstocks—and it does so using significantly less water. In fact, approximately 40 percent of the sorghum produced in the U.S. goes to ethanol production. Thinking of planting grain sorghum this year? How to select grain sorghum hybrids To choose the right grain sorghum hybrids for your operation, you need to evaluate your input costs alongside a seed’s yield potential and relative maturity. Getting the highest possible yields for the best price available—creating the optimal return on investment—is always key, but it’s important to know how relative maturity plays into those yield goals.  Grain sorghum hybrids are classified as early-to-medium and medium-to-late relative maturities. As with any crop, the fuller season hybrids have more time to develop, which translates into higher yield potential. Another important consideration in grain sorghum seed selection is the potential threat of sugarcane aphids. Sugarcane aphids can be devastating to a sorghum crop, and the sprays to control them can be quite expensive. Also, with a severe infestation, it may require multiple costly sprays to achieve good control. While sugarcane aphids haven't quite made their way to the majority of the northern parts of the Sorghum Belt, it is important to be prepared in case they do move to your area.  Interested in planting grain sorghum this year? At F2F Genetics Network™ , we’re able to deliver a wide array of quality Warner Seeds grain sorghum hybrids—including an impressive selection of sugarcane aphid tolerant seeds. If you’re considering planting grain sorghum this year, we can help you determine which hybrids might work best on your operation. Learn more about our lineup and how we’re working together to put power back into the hands of farmers like you. Sources: 1. USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service 2. National Sorghum Producers The sprout logo, "FBN" and "Farmers Business Network" are registered service marks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. “F2F Genetics Network” is a trademark of Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. F2F Genetics Network branded seed products and other seed products are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. Terms & Conditions are subject to change at any time and without notice. See sales order form for additional terms and conditions. All sales are subject to entrance into a Master Distribution Agreement, where applicable, and the terms and conditions set forth therein.


Apr 07, 2020

by Steve Sick

When the time comes for you to plant your crop, you have options. There’s always those good old faithful commodity crops—corn and soybeans—with no shortage of seed brands, genetics and trait packages from which to choose. But let’s say you’re looking for some new possibilities. Are weather conditions in your region or conditions in the market (or both) causing you to look for ways to diversify your operation a bit? One crop you might want to give a second glance at is sorghum. Want quality genetics at a fair price? Here’s some background on sorghum Sorghum is one of the top cereal crops in the world. Much of the sorghum grown in the U.S. is found in a region spanning from South Dakota down to Texas that is commonly referred to as the Sorghum Belt.  American farmers planted 5.3 million acres to sorghum in 2019 and harvested an average of 75.9 bushels per acre, making the U.S. the world’s leading sorghum producer. 1 Sorghum’s versatility is one of its greatest assets. It is an excellent dryland crop that does well on marginal acres. It is also lauded for being water and solar-energy efficient, and its high biomass content makes it an outstanding soil builder.  Sorghum generally carries lower input costs and is a great alternative option when weather events and other unforeseen delays necessitate change in your planting schedule. What market opportunities does sorghum present? Sorghum has a wide range of uses marketwise, matching its versatility. Here are some of the most common market opportunities present for sorghum:  Livestock Feed Sorghum’s primary market is in the livestock feed industry. It can be a high yield-potential option for foraging, hay production, silage and green chop.  Ethanol Sorghum can produce a comparable amount of ethanol to other feedstocks using one-third less water. Approximately 40 percent of domestic sorghum goes toward ethanol production. 2 Food Products  Like other cereal grains, sorghum can be cooked and eaten in many different forms. Sweet sorghum is used in the production of a molasses-like syrup that is sold as an alternative sweetener and is also an ingredient in a variety of beverages. Sorghum flour has also gained popularity as a gluten-free substitute for individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.  Exports A significant portion of U.S. sorghum moves into the international market for use in livestock feed, ethanol and other food markets. Other Markets There’s no shortage of other market opportunities for sorghum, including pet food, brooms, building materials and more. How do you select the right sorghum hybrids for your operation? At F2F Genetics Network™ , we’re able to bring quality Warner Seeds, Inc. sorghum hybrids into the hands of farmers like you.  If you’ve grown sorghum before or are exploring planting it this crop year, you’re probably aware of the diverse array of hybrids available. Here’s a quick overview of the sorghum products in the Warner Seeds lineup:  Grain Sorghum  Grain sorghum heads out in a variety of colors and has many uses across the food industry. Lighter hybrids are often used to make gluten-free flours while dark varieties are known for their high levels of antioxidants and other food uses. The mid-color hybrids—reds, oranges, etc.—are often used in livestock feeds.  Our selection of grain sorghum hybrids from Warner Seeds is vast; learn more about one of our top-selling hybrids, 7706W: Forage Sorghum Forage sorghum is most often used for silage applications, but it can be used as a supplemental forage crop when necessary. It grows quite tall—usually 8-12 feet—and creates a great deal of biomass.  Some forage sorghum hybrids have the Brown Mid-Rib (BMR) gene, which can mean higher fiber digestibility and better forage quality. Forage sorghum is generally a one-cut crop.  Watch this video to learn more about one of the BMR forage sorghum hybrids in our Warner Seeds lineup: Sudangrass  Sudangrass is a fine-stemmed forage product with fibrous roots that puts off tillers and can be harvested fairly soon after planting, sometimes within 45 days. Reaching a height of 4-6 feet, it grows back quickly after planting—meaning some farmers can get two or three cuttings in a growing season. It can be used for hay, silage or green-chop.  Take a closer look at Gro-n-Graze 8493, one of the sudangrass options from Warner Seeds: Planning on planting sorghum acres this year? If you’re exploring planting sorghum this spring, we can help you determine which hybrids might work best for your operation. Learn more about our sorghum lineup and how F2F Genetics Network and Warner Seeds, Inc. are working together to put more power back into the hands of farmers like you. Sources: 1. USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service 2. National Sorghum Producers The sprout logo, "FBN" and "Farmers Business Network" are registered service marks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. “F2F Genetics Network” is a trademark of Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. F2F Genetics Network branded seed products and other seed products are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. Terms & Conditions are subject to change at any time and without notice. See sales order form for additional terms and conditions. All sales are subject to entrance into a Master Distribution Agreement, where applicable, and the terms and conditions set forth therein.


Mar 07, 2019

by Steve Sick

While soybean yields were good (even above average) last year, seed quality has been a concern for the next crop year. In many areas, wet weather delayed harvest and led to increased grain moisture. In some cases, several cycles of this delay occurred before beans could actually be harvested.  The increase in days of mature soybeans remaining in the field reduced the seed quality, with soybeans sprouting or rotting in pods, or pods shattering and releasing the soybeans to the ground. What’s the big deal about soybean seed quality? The wet conditions and extended harvest gave rise to a variety of seed diseases. Two of the most common soybean diseases we saw were: Phomopsis seed decay (Diaporthe longicolla) : Attacks soybean seed that are shriveled or have a cracked seed coat. Often times phomopsis can be seen on the seed coat as a chalky white substance. Purple seed stain (Cercospora kikuchii) : Appears as purple seed or seed partially covered with purple staining. These diseases and others may be more likely to appear throughout the next growing season. Both diseases, if left unchecked, have the potential to lower future germination rates significantly. The presence of these diseases also means seed treatments could  be especially important next year. The seed treatments will not increase the germination rate, but will protect the soybean seed from further degradation. Be prepared to apply a fungicide if and when the need arises. What the germination tests are telling us Cold germination tests done in Indiana and Arkansas show germination is down roughly 10 percent from normal at 80 percent germination. Accelerated aging tests were also performed — this test subjects the seed to 72 hours of high heat and humidity before the germ test. Those results showed 53 percent germination (25-32 percent) less germination than back in 2017. Soybean seed options Keep in mind that germination numbers vary by variety, and some varieties may not be available this spring due to low germination numbers. Be prepared to make some new picks where your soybean seed is concerned; in fact, now would be a excellent time to visit with your seed supplier about your soybean seed quality and options. Emergence numbers If you wind up planting lower germination seed, first do some back of the napkin emergence math. If you normally plant 160,000 of 94 percent germ seed, you should have a final stand of 150,400 plants per acre. Planting the same amount of 80 percent germ soybean seed should have final stand of 128,000 plants per acre. You can increase seed drop to try and achieve the same final stand, but this doesn’t always translate into increased yield. Low germination doesn’t necessarily mean low yields. Low germination years have happened in the past, and they rarely result in overall lower yields. You might see lower yields due to low germination combined with other production factors, such as drought, heat, disease and weeds. Diligent scouting will help you to protect your soybean yields by managing all of the potential challenges and pressures associated with soybean production and performance. Sources: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/thin_soybean_stands_can_produce_surprisingly_high_yields https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/perspectives/blogs/ag-weather-forum/blog-post/2018/12/06/lower-soybean-seed-germination-2019 F2F Genetics Network branded seed products and other seed products are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. Terms & Conditions are subject to change at anytime and without notice.


Feb 07, 2019

by Steve Sick

Ever found yourself thinking about whether or not to make a fungicide application ? You’re not alone in that.  Maybe it’s because you’ve seen disease popping up in your crop, or because conditions are right for disease and you want to head them off. Or maybe you’re considering a fungicide application because you’re anticipating big yields and you don’t want a last-minute pathogen to ding that number. Chances are good that you’ve thought about whether or not you should add a fungicide into your annual crop budget, or even considered trialing one. How Fungicides Can Help You Make Your Money Back Fungicide applications have increased dramatically over the past 15 years, so it’s safe to say that many farmers see the value of a fungicide application. And because many fungicides are preventative (as opposed to curative), that means farmers are often applying them based on the likelihood of disease, but before they would see any symptoms. Fungicides can provide a return on investment in several ways: Fungicides have varying control of and residual activity against diseases. By selecting a fungicide that provides control of the most common diseases for your geography, you can increase the likelihood of effectiveness, which means you’re improving the odds that your fungicide will be worth it’s cost and then some. When a fungal disease is present at application, a fungicide can halt the growth of the current pathogens and protect against another disease incidence. If no disease is evident at the time of application, a fungicide can also help to provide protection from any potential fungal diseases. What Dodging Disease Means for the Plant So, you’ve stopped or avoided a disease… what exactly does that mean for the plant? Increased photosynthesis : With more healthy leaf area, plants can more effectively use nutrients to achieve maximum yield. Greater stress tolerance : Vigorous plants are better at withstanding stressors, such as drought conditions or extreme temperature variation. Increased water use efficiency : Healthy stalks and leaves are more efficient at using water, leading to an extended grain fill period, thus more opportunity to develop yield. Increased standability : With fewer stalk diseases, farmers will see fewer stalk issues and less lodging, leading to increased yield (because you're reducing ear loss at harvest).  Is There a Catch to Fungicides? Maybe you’re wondering if there are any downsides to a fungicide application (other than the potential added expense). Well, it depends . Here are three things to keep in mind: In some instances, having a healthier crop can lead to a longer growth phase and a later harvest. This extended time in the field (maturation can be delayed by 5-10 days) means increased vulnerability to weather events. And weather events can cause harvest losses. If grain must be harvested earlier to avoid weather events, or to keep on an appropriate schedule, there could be an increase in drying costs. It’s possible that continued application of fungicides could lead to a resistance issue. With known Frogeye Leaf Spot resistance to strobilurin fungicides, there is a reason to think that this could begin to occur more with continued use, so this a good argument for treating only when necessary. PRO TIP If you’re planning to wait and see: Many farmers treat with fungicides only when they’ve spotted disease in their crop, or they have good reason to believe it’s coming. Here are a few things to do before you decide to sit back and, “wait and see:” Start with an in-depth study of the planned varieties information provided by the seed source, checking each hybrid/ variety’s susceptibility to various diseases. Consider tillage practices, such as no-till and level of crop residue on land to be planted. Check the farm’s disease records and if crop rotation is practiced. Analyze the planting date, hybrid/variety maturity, weather forecasts, grain price and yield potential. Scout diligently for any sign of disease. Read next: How Fungicides Work (2 min read) 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.  Sources: http://www.apsnet.org/publications/apsnetfeatures/pages/fungicides.aspx


Feb 01, 2019

by Steve Sick

The questions keep rolling in about soybean seed quality: Will a late harvest and wet weather impact the soybean seed supply to come for planting? The answer is pretty simple: Yes.  While most farmers try not to get mad at a good rain, the abundance of water that many areas saw around harvest time created the ideal conditions for fungi, shattering and rotting; and the worst possible conditions for getting equipment into the field to protect the seed quality that was left. In this less than favorable environment, many seed suppliers have reported higher occurrences of Phomopsis seed decay ( Diaporthe fungus), a disease which can infect the pods and lead to lower germination rates. PRO TIP With soybean quality issues on the horizon, check the germination rates on your seed bag tag, or contact the seed company for exact germination rates. For commercially produced seed, this can be found right on the seed bag tag. If you’re using your own seed or seed you’ve saved, make sure to have it germ and stress tested at a state lab to know what your opportunity is. If your germination rates aren’t quite where you’d like them to be, here are a few steps you can take to ensure you get the most at planting. Make sure you’re using a high-quality fungicide seed treatment.  While lower quality seed may make it tempting to cut costs, don’t let seed treatment be where you cut corners. Research from Iowa State University shows that seed treatments can increase germination rates 10-15 percent, and more given the right mix. Limit handling as much as possible though, as low germ seed is more susceptible to mechanical injury. Consider increasing your seeding rate. If germination rates are below 90 percent, consider increasing your seeding rates to account for the difference. To get a number, divide the planned seeding rate by the percent germination to get the new rate. For example, if you plan to plant 140,000 seeds per acre, and your germination rate is 85%, then 140,000/0.85 = 164,706. 165,000 would be your new planned rate. Wait for the right planting conditions. If it was difficult to find the right, quality seed at planting time, it will be even more difficult at replant; so, make sure that you put in every effort to get your soybean seed in the ground under ideal conditions. With concerns about low germ seed, this probably won’t be the year to be the first in the county to get your beans in the ground or to mud them in at the last minute. If possible, it might be a good idea to plant your higher-germ seed first and save your lower germ percentages until later in the season when conditions for germinating seed are more favorable. “F2F Genetics Network” is a trademark of Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. “F2F Genetics Network branded seed products and other seed products are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. Terms & Conditions are subject to change at anytime and without notice. See sales order form for additional terms and conditions. Sources: https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/news/crops/article/2018/12/06/lower-soybean-seed-germination-2019 https://crops.extension.iastate.edu/cropnews/2018/12/should-you-use-fungicidal-seed-treatment-low-quality-soybean-seed


Oct 30, 2018

by Steve Sick

Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) is a growing concern for many farmers because it is one of the most damaging pests to soybean production.1 Yield loss from SCN varies with infestation level, but up to 30 percent yield loss has been documented in some places. So, if your soybeans yields were lower than expected, have you considered whether you might have SCN in your fields?  What is the soybean cyst nematode? Soybean cyst nematode was first positively identified in a few county’s across four states in 1957, but today it has been found to be widespread in 30 states. SCN are quite prolific and every one has the potential to produce 35,000 to 40,000 more nematodes by seasons end—fortunately, SCN larvae have a high mortality rate. How to identify the soybean cyst nematode: Look for small SCN cysts on the lateral roots. Immature cysts can be white or cream-colored before turning brown at maturity. SCN is a small roundworm, but one of the largest nematode species. The cyst is actually the mature female nematode. It is a lemon shaped cyst, brown in color when mature and attached to the outside of the soybean root. The cysts are much smaller than the nitrogen-fixing nodules that are commonly found on roots of soybeans, and can be seen with the naked eye. A mature cyst can contain up to 200 eggs. They hatch and the small nematode larva chew and enter the roots of host plants (certain weed species and common cover crop plants) and soybean roots. SCN larva continue to feed until the female becomes so large that the root bursts open. The female nematode then attaches to the outside of the root. The eggs are fertilized by the male SCN, and when the eggs are mature, the female SCN dies to release her eggs. The eggs then hatch to begin the second generation of SCN. With warm soils a generation requires only 40-45 days to complete a cycle, and there can be six generations per year. How does SCN damage crops? Yield loss can occur without any symptoms evident above ground. You’ll have to examine the soybean roots of suspect fields by carefully digging and crumbling or washing the soil away from soybean roots. Above-ground symptoms usually mimic other problems, such as soil compaction, stunted plants, herbicide injury, nitrogen shortage, iron chlorosis and drought. Yield loss can be caused by: Reduced nitrogen-fixation efficiency. Damage to vascular tissues in the roots, which limits nutrient and water usage. Root stunting and root damage can then create secondary pathogens and provide insects with an entry point—SCN feeding on the roots also provides an entry point for soil-borne fungus, like soybean sudden death syndrome, or SDS, to enter the plant. (SDS and SCN are often associated with each other in the field, and managing SCN has show to be an effective way to also manage SDS.) How does SCN spread? SCN can be spread in many ways—wind, rain, animals and birds, as well as humans from soil on shoes, and mechanically, so be sure to protect your fields from SCN spreading into soils not yet infested. How do I know if I have a problem with SCN? The most reliable way to determine if SCN are present in your soil is through soil samples. Collect samples immediately following harvest when you have easier access to the field, and sample your fields each year at approximately the same date to get an indicator if SCN populations are increasing or declining. How to take a soil sample to identify SCN: Use a common soil probe and collect 20 random cores to a depth of 8 inches for every 20 acres of suspect fields. Mix the cores well and put them into soil sample bag. Keep the samples cool and deliver them to a laboratory as soon as possible for analysis. What should I do about SCN? Once you have determined that you have SCN in a field, there is no way to totally eliminate the nematode. But there are a few management practices that can help your soybean crop: Overall plant health, such as keeping fertility levels high, weed control that eliminates host plants and adequate water intake. SCN can be managed well by variety selection —some soybean varieties contain a PI number as a resistance source, which provide good control of SCN, up to 90 percent.2 There is no advantage when planting GMO over non-GMO or conventional soybeans —SCN doesn’t discriminate and will attack GMO and conventional soybeans equally. Rotating PI sources of resistance helps control SCN populations. (Think of it as rotating modes of action when applying herbicides to reduce the possibility of resistance.) If your yields do not increase with these varieties, an HG Type test3 may be needed to determine the specific type of SCN in your soil. Crop rotation is also an effective way to aid in control of SCN. Unfortunately most cover crop plants are good hosts for SCN. If planning a cover crop on fields where SCN was identified be sure to check a host plant list. (Your local ag extension office should be able to help with this.) Are there any good treatments for SCN? There are a few nematicide seed treatments on the market to aid in SCN control at planting, but seed treatments do not always control SCN below damaging levels. Always read and follow label use instructions. Sources: 1.  https://www.cornandsoybeandigest.com/soybeans/reflecting-scn-iowa-through-years 2. https://crops.extension.iastate.edu/cropnews/2017/11/over-1000-scn-resistant-soybean-varieties-all-29-have-pi-88788-resistance 3.  http://www.soybeanresearchinfo.com/diseases/scnhgtest.html 4.  https://mssoy.org/blog/scn-affirmed-as-a-suspect-in-soybean-monocrop-yield-decline 5.  https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/fieldcropsipm/insects/nematode.php 6.  https://cropwatch.unl.edu/sudden-death-syndrome


Article Pressures

Gaining Cutworm Control in Corn

Oct 23, 2018

by Steve Sick

There are several species of cutworms that attack young corn seedlings, and black cutworm is the most prominent of all species to cause damage to corn.  Here’s what you need to know about managing this disease, in case it shows up in your fields. How does black cutworm damage corn? The first generation of black cutworm is the only generation to have an impact on corn production. The life cycle of the black cutworm begins with the adult moths arriving from Southern states where they overwinter. This first generation of Black Cutworm moth flight begins in early April and continues to the end of May. The moths are attracted to and deposit eggs on growing vegetation, such as winter annual weeds, grasses and cover crops. If the moth cannot find growing vegetation, it may deposit eggs on corn crop residue. The eggs then hatch and the larva begin to feed on plants. If corn was planted and the weeds were destroyed (providing a clean seedbed), corn may be the only growing vegetation for larva to feed on. This sets up the perfect scenario for corn stand reduction by black cutworms. Larva continue feeding until mid-June and pupate from late-May to early-June with the second generation moth emerging from the soil beginning around the first of July. The third generation adult moth emerges in mid-September. Controlling black cutworm Black cutworm feeding can reduce corn stands to less than acceptable populations and impact final yields if not dealt with quickly. Traited seed, a seed insecticide treatment, and a soil-applied insecticide treatment typically only suppress black cutworm feeding. Rescue treatments continue to be the most reliable way to get acceptable control. Download the FBN Conventional Corn Production Guide to receive a list of some of the most commonly used chemical products and active ingredients for use on conventional corn. Scouting for black cutworm Diligent scouting on a weekly basis is a must. Concentrate your scouting efforts on areas of fields that have a weed history, high crop residue or cover crops. Cutworms are nocturnal, meaning they feed in darkness and hide under crop residue or soil during daylight hours, making them difficult to see when you’re scouting. If you see plants with erratic leaf margins, or wilted plants, try to confirm you’re seeing cutworm feeding—search for the cutworm itself within a few inches of the corn plant base by carefully digging or removing bits of soil and crop residue. (Cutworms tend to roll up into a ball when disturbed.) How do I control cutworm in conventional or non-GMO corn? Traited corn shows variable cutworm control at best, including black cutworms and most other species of cutworms as well. That means gaining control of cutworms requires a good scouting regimen accompanied by rescue insecticide treatments when certain thresholds have been met. When 3-4 percent of corn plants show leaf feeding and/or 1 percent of plants have been cut off, a treatment for cutworms could be needed. There are many rescue insecticides labeled for cutworm control in corn, such as those with the active ingredients bifenthrin or imidacloprid .  Remember to a lways read and follow label use directions. Sources: 1.  https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2016/nebraska-perspective-efficacy-cry1f-bt-corn-against-wbc Admire Pro is a registered trademark of Bayer. Capture LFR is a trademark of FMC Corporation or an affiliate.


Oct 10, 2018

by Steve Sick

Corn r ootworm can limit corn production severely if not controlled properly—corn rootworm has historically caused some of the greatest corn yield losses among any insect. But you can achieve acceptable control of this insect in conventional corn —it starts with knowing and understand the types of corn rootworms and their life cycles. This is true for managing any pest pressure on conventional corn . Each stage of the corn rootworm life cycle can cause plant damage Corn rootworms can do damage to corn yields in both larva and adult beetle stages of their life cycle, which reduces nutrient and water uptake and limits yield potential. There is only one generation of corn rootworm per year. Life cycle stages are egg, pupa, larva and adult beetle. Rootworm eggs hatch. The rootworm eggs hatch in the spring and the larva move to the roots of seedling corn plants from mid-May to mid-June. The larva feed and enter the roots. Larvae hollow out the roots and end up pruning the roots limiting the roots ability to absorb nutrients and water. Severely pruned roots also reduce the standability of the corn plant, and can cause corn plants to lodge, making harvest difficult resulting in possible corn ear loss. Larvae exit roots and pupate in the soil. When corn rootworm larvae reach full size (sixth instar stage), they exit the roots and pupate in the soil near the roots. Both larvae and adult beetle feeding can provide entry points for secondary pests and disease. Adults leave the soil and mate. Adult rootworm beetles emerge from the soil in late June to mid-August and then mate. Adult rootworm beetles also feed on corn silks during the pollination period causing poor pollination of the ear and limiting the number of kernels to to be produced. Females deposit eggs. Approximately 14 days after emergence, the female rootworm beetles deposit their eggs into the soil near the corn plant’s root zone. High populations of rootworm beetles can scrape the chlorophyll from corn leaf surfaces. This results in less leaf area to manufacture sugars to be translocated to the corn kernels, limiting kernel fill. Black Western Corn Rootworm beetle feeding on silks of the corn plant ear during pollination There are three species of corn r ootworms The adult beetle stage of the life cycle is only way to identify which rootworm species is present. 1. Western Corn Rootworm (WCR), whose adult beetle stage is yellow with black stripes to almost completely black, is the most common rootworm beetle and most damaging species across the Corn Belt. 2. Northern Corn Rootworm (NCR) are lime green in color and are usually found in fewer numbers than WCR in the northern portion of the Corn Belt. NCR have the unique ability to enter a extended diapause stage, meaning they can remain in the egg stage of its life cycle for an extra year. This allows NCR to survive in a one-year crop rotation. 3. Southern Corn Rootworm (SCR) are yellow to light green with black dots on its back. SCR generally causes the least damage of the three types of rootworms, and are typically of more concern in the southern Corn Belt. SCR eggs do not survive the winter in most of Corn Belt, but there can be situations where adult SCR beetles must be controlled to protect against silk clipping during corn pollination. There are several ways to control corn rootworms Specific crop planning, timely scouting and insecticide treatments can help control corn rootworm when growing conventional corn One-year crop rotation to another crop , such as soybeans or wheat, works well for Western Corn Rootworm (WCR), but not for Northern Corn Rootworms (NCR), which can enter an extended diapause. A two-year rotation is required for NCR control. Scout for any beetle populations this season in the fields you have planned for corn in 2019. This will help you to indicate if a soil insecticide may be required next spring, because once corn is planted, there is no reliable rescue method to control corn rootworm larvae specifically. Soil-applied insecticides at planting time, either in-furrow or T-band. Seed treatments can help to suppress rootworm populations. Adul t rootworm beetles can be controlled by spraying when female beetles become gravid (full of eggs) and before they deposit their eggs. This can require two treatments in fields that are especially populated with beetles; protect the pollination period by spraying when silk clipping is evident. Place rootworm traps. Corn rootworm beetles can leave corn fields and lay their eggs in soybean fields. Placing rootworm traps in adjacent soybean fields is a good way to monitor corn rootworm activity and populations. Treating soybean fields with a high trap count is an effective way of helping control next year's rootworm populations. There are a number of insecticides available to control rootworm larvae at planting, and to be used as an in-furrow application on conventional corn. Several insecticides are labeled to control rootworm adult beetles. Some adult beetle insecticides can be applied by air, ground or through a sprinkler system. Always read and follow the label use instructions for any insecticide to be used—it is the law. Sources: 1. https://blogs.illinois.edu/view/7447/566398 Please consult with an independent agronomist and consider your specific field conditions (e.g,. soil type and texture, weed pressure, and rotational factors) before making a chemical planning or purchasing decisions. You are solely responsible for complying strictly with the label and the laws in your jurisdiction and for your intended application. Please note, this information is not intended as an agronomic recommendation, nor are we making any such recommendation. Always consult an independent agronomist if you are unsure of agronomic decisions on your operation. We are not a licensed commercial or private applicator of chemicals including, without limitation, herbicide, pesticide, insecticide, rodenticide or fertilizer. All alternative products listed are only possible alternative or substitute products, and its listing in this document does not constitute a recommendation. The reader is solely and exclusively responsible for determining the suitability of any product for his/her intended use, following the product label for proper handling and use, and for complying with all applicable local, state, and federal law. Please consult the label for the most complete and up-to-date information about any referenced product. Readers must have a valid applicator or dealer license to use restricted use pesticides. FBN Direct Services are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. “F2F Genetics Network" branded seed products and other seed products are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed.