Planting is the first step in the quest to mazimize yields. As seeds hit the ground, they’re under attack from various predators.
Tackle Weed Worries
Based on 2019, what should you expect for the weed seedbank?
“Weed control suffered in later- planted fields because weeds were so much bigger when tillage was done,” says Mike Kavanaugh, AgriGold national agronomy manager. “If you don’t change tillage to match weed size, you might not get the weeds uprooted.”
In addition, some farmers weren’t able to perform timely herbicide passes because of excessive soil moisture. If that was the case on your farm, be proactive against the weed seedbank.
“Try to put preplant or pre-emergent residuals down as close to planting as possible,” says Dana Harder, Burrus agronomist.
This year it’ll be critical to make sure you have herbicides with multiple modes of action and strong residuals to hold off weeds, he adds. Continue scouting after application to ensure adequate control.
Fight Fungus and Diseases
Wet weather increases the risk of pathogens. In most cases, the pathogen exists in the soil. Review notes from previous years to know what fields are most susceptible.
“Anytime it’s warm and wet for corn it’s a good year for fungicide,” Kavanaugh says.
Diseases to watch for in corn:
- Southern rust
- Common rust
- Tar spot
- Early crown rots
- Northern corn leaf blight
Diseases to mind in soybeans:
- Sudden death syndrome
- Frogeye leaf spot
- White mold
“Check hybrid and variety tolerances, know if certain ones are at greater risks, scout fields and see how it’s going along throughout the season,” Harder says. “If an infection is bad enough, you’ll see positive ROI from fungicides.”
Prepare for High Insect Populations
This past winter didn’t bring harsh cold temperatures, which means not only do winter annual weeds survive, so do insect pests. Scout for infestations, check to make sure your seed traits are defending against pests and be willing to pull the insecticide trigger if insect populations reach threshold.
“We had a very mild winter, so insects just did not die out,” says Erich Eller, owner of ForeFront Ag Solutions in Huntington, Ind. “I’m gearing up for more scouting and an increase in insects and diseases.”
One specific pest to watch for is black cutworm. Moths overwinter in warmer southern states, but they might not have had to travel as far south this year. That means you might expect populations to show up sooner, with more vigor.
To find maps showing your farm’s risk for southern rust or tar spot, visit AgWeb.com/disease-concerns