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Crop Yields
Telemetry aids irrigation

Better irrigation management could provide a big boost to yields on fields with center-pivot irrigation, says a University of Missouri Extension irrigation specialist.

The 2009 season worth a closer look

Corn yields in 2009 ranked among the highest ever recorded in the U.S., despite delayed planting. According to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service, Indiana’s average yield was 166 bushels per acre vs. 160 in 2008, and 158 for the five-year average. It wasn’t hard to find farmers reporting whole-farm averages of 200 bushels per acre. Was it because of new genetics, traits, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides? Or was it thanks to the cool, wet summer with minima

Stories behind crops quiz photos

Your December Indiana Prairie Farmer featured 10 pictures in the annual Indiana Prairie Farmer/Beck’s Hybrids Crops Knowledge contest. If you don’t have your issue handy, visit on the Web, click “More Indiana Prairie Farmer,” then “Magazines Online.” You’ll find the story on Page 7 in the December issue.

Big yield recipe includes lots of heavy kernels

No one in their right mind last June would have guessed farmers would harvest near-record yields in 2009. Not even someone with a crystal ball could have come up with that prediction.

Soybeans deserve early planting, too

John Zupancic bought a 16-row corn planter for 2010. But he didn’t buy row splitters. That was a planned decision, not a mistake.

Giving rice a fertile future

Walking his father’s rice fields in the Bootheel as a youngster, Zack Tanner left his footprints for the future.

Producers find profits in growing hybrid rice

For father-and-son farming team Bryan and Pete Moery, the decision to plant hybrid rice rested in increased yields. The disease package, lower fertility needs and decreased seeding rate only sealed the deal, making profits consistent.

The small things that make big soybean yields

It is a well-worn maxim but a true one for Ricky Stallings of Belvidere, N.C. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right,” he quips.

Still going strong

The annual corn yield trials conducted by Iowa State University and the Iowa Crop Improvement Association reached a milestone in 2009: They’re 90 years old. Since 1920, the tests have offered unbiased information to farmers on the adaptation and performance of corn hybrids.

Waiting on wheat

Tenacity and technology are giving wheat a boost in southern Minnesota.

Wheat pencils out for growers

Not much wheat is grown south of Highway 212, yet that doesn’t discourage farmer and seed salesman Dick Stangler, Kilkenny.

Texas growers shine in National Corn Yield Contest

Texas producers made a big showing in the National Corn Grower Association’s 2009 National Corn Yield Contest.

Simple steps solidify soybean yields

Know your soils. Keep soil fertility up, and maintain soil pH in the proper range. Pick varieties that perform well in your area, and follow a weed-control program that works. Then hope the weather cooperates. If so, the result should be respectable soybean yields.

Starter fertilizer, big finish

The top winners of this year’s corn yield contest grew more corn than any North Carolina producers have ever grown in the state. Greene County corn growers Jimmy Harrell and Tommy Hardy of H&H Farms and Hardy Farms, near Snow Hill, produced 399.26 bushels per acre on their Irrigated Division, conventional-tillage category corn entry.

Get on road to 250-bushel corn crop

The road to 250-bushel corn starts with getting your next 20 to 25 bushels per acre, according to John McGillicuddy, a 30-year veteran agronomist from Iowa City, Iowa, who consults with corn growers from Texas to the Dakotas on how to increase yields. He spoke at Peterson Farms Seeds field day near Harwood, N.D., in August. McGillicuddy boiled down his formula for producing more corn to the basics. “Yield equals the number of kernels times the kernel weight,” he sai

Don’t compromise on seed quality

2009 was a tough growing season and an even tougher harvest, and it’s created a lot of concern about soybean seed quality for 2010.

How to pick SCN-resistant varieties

Soybean varieties resistant to soybean cyst nematode, or SCN, are tremendously effective management tools. These resistant varieties produce greater yields and result in lower SCN numbers at the end of the growing season than nonresistant (susceptible) varieties.

5 success secrets for quality durum

Paying attention to details pays dividends when growing durum wheat, says Mark Birdsall, Berthold, N.D.

10 steps to increase yields

Want to increase the bushels you sell on your farm each year? I have two solutions for you. The first is to acquire more land. The second is to better utilize the ground you already have. While I’d love to help you with the first option, it’s more realistic for me to help you with the second.

Dig into toolbox to manage residue

With higher yield goals, higher plant populations and aggressive fertilization, you need to manage increased amounts of crop residue to establish productive stands the following year. This is especially important if you are planting corn following corn. Typically, soybeans can tolerate more residue than corn.

Plug holes in your soybean regime

Wait to increase soybean yields? Then imagine putting the crop’s maximum yield potential — around 100 bushels per acre today — in a bucket, a bucket with six or seven holes in it, advises Karen Corrigan, of McGillicuddy Corrigan Agronomics.

Desiccants speed sunflower harvest

Confection and oilseed sunflower producers may avoid harvest delays and yield loss due to inclement weather, disease, birds, lodging and seed shattering by applying a desiccant to the crop after physiological maturity occurs.

Triumph Seeds’ SmartStax corn yields big for South Texas producer

A new corn hybrid shined for a South Texas farmer this year.

Hot summer nights test newest genetics

USDA market estimates through the remainder of the 2010 corn marketing year will be interesting to watch. The August report projected high yields. However, the first 10 days of August generated sweltering heat across most of the Corn Belt. Rainfall was plentiful in some areas during August, but scarce in others.

Deer chew off more corn than you think

Estimating the corn yield stolen by insects, diseases and other problems is usually not that difficult for university specialists or crop consultants. But have you wondered about yields consumed by deer feeding in your corn? It might be something to think about with the population surge of these four-legged critters in parts of Nebraska.

How that hot new hybrid got a start

The decision on which experimental hybrids to test is made at several stages of hybrid development by the plant breeder. Some plant breeders cross new inbred lines with two elite parent lines to create potential new hybrids. Each breeder might have 400 to 500 new lines each year, thus creating 800 to 1,000 new experimental hybrids.

Get most from yield maps

It’s that time of the year — map-reading time. As you sit down at your desk with a stack of GPS yield maps, remember that colorful maps are not the same as useful knowledge.

Maximize your yield potential

Several factors are included when trying to maximize yield potential for soybeans. In today’s “plant early and plant fast” environment, growers often look for tools to increase efficiencies and minimize risk. The number of products available today for soybean growers is almost endless.

Nothing special?!

Sam Santini of Stewartsville, N.J., did it again last fall. He topped the National Corn Growers Association yield contest with a Class A nonirrigated yield of 306.49 bushels per acre — one of seven in the country topping the 300-bushel mark.

Detect ear-fill problems

Corn pollination is fast approaching, and it is an extremely important stage in the plant’s life cycle. Up to this point the corn plant has been determining its yield potential. The kernels to be fertilized are set at this point, and it is up to pollination to finish the process and begin seed development.

‘To do’ list for crop loss

John Armatys of First National Insurance in Fullerton has been selling farm and crop insurance and serving area farmers for three decades. He says that when there is a crop loss in the field during the growing season, there are specific steps farmers need to be aware of to make their insurance claims go smoothly.

Grain yields need boost to overcome global food deficit

Ken Cassman believes Nebraska farmers are in a strategic position to help meet global food needs of the future, but not by themselves.

Tips for producing 300-bushel corn

Producing 300-bushel corn requires different thinking.

‘SoyWater’ software assists irrigators

It takes around 20 inches of moisture for soybeans to yield 75 bushels per acre. That’s a half-million gallons of water. Moisture comes from the soil and Mother Nature, and can be added with irrigation.

Missouri River farmers start cleanup

The coming months won’t be easy for flooded farmers like Scott Olson of Tekamah. Of course, the past few months haven’t exactly been a cakewalk for hundreds of farmers who operate along the Missouri River.

Make yield results make sense

Like other farmers this fall, Jim Rouse and his crew saw a lot of variability in yields they harvested in the Iowa Crop Performance Test for 2011. These trials are scattered at 36 locations around Iowa, and farmers use the data each year to help decide which corn hybrids and soybean varieties to plant.

Get dry-weather strategy for corn

Dry conditions crept into Iowa late last summer like an unwelcome stray pet. We recognize its downsides, but we also realize that some good can, and did, come of it.

Adding pinch of sugar on corn may aid in crop standability

York County farmer Scott Gonnerman tried a sweet experiment on 100 acres of corn in 2011. Gonnerman, who farms southwest of Gresham, applied table sugar to his corn as part of an on-farm research project with University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension.

Soybean cyst nematode now confirmed in 54 counties

John Wilson doesn’t mince words when talking about the damage caused by soybean cyst nematode.

Canadians share their advice about getting good corn yields

Getting good yields, Canadian corn growers, along with agronomists, shared good advice with me on my recent visit. While we talk about some of these recommendations in Iowa, a preseason review is helpful whether you farm in Canada or Iowa.

Narrow rows may lift bean yield

Soybean row spacing: What is optimum for today’s production systems? Row spacing used by soybean farmers in Iowa has varied from 6 to 40 inches. What row spacing should you consider if you are contemplating buying a new planter for soybeans? Can narrower row spacing improve yield and profitability?

Take the battle to SCN this summer

Soybean cyst nematode has been the buzz since it was first found in our region in 2003. Although the spread has not been rapid and infestation has not reached economically challenging levels, every soybean grower needs to be alert and know how to identify it.

Slow down to win the planting game

A slow — really slow — planting speed pays huge dividends in corn, say Steve and Scott O’Neill, two farmers and consultants from Olivia, Minn.

Hessian fly could be problem this year

The Hessian fly could be a problem in wheat this year, according to Jonathan Nixon, South Dakota State University Extension entomologist.

Thirsty crops

Pollination. It’s the week that can make or break your corn crop. A lot of corn this year reached that critical growth stage sooner than it usually does, thanks to being planted weeks earlier than usual. Is reaching pollination earlier than normal good or bad?

ASI: It’s all about timing

Two words for time in ancient Greek are chronos and kairos. Chronos referred to sequential or chronological time. Kairos depicted “a time in between,” when something special happened, an opportune or supreme moment, a time of either crisis or opportunity. While kairos is qualitative; chronos is quantitative. The clock ticking on my desk marks chronos; the wedding this weekend is a kairos moment.

Drown-outs, droughts in a month

Just like every spring, 2012 provided its own set of challenges to getting a crop planted and established here in southern Iowa. Like much of the Midwest, we had a very mild winter with little precipitation. This was welcomed by my cow-calf neighbors as they didn’t have to fight the cold and mud during spring calving season. It also set our minds on putting crops in sooner than we usually do.

Corn yield 2012: too early to tell

Upon hearing that his obituary had been published, Mark Twain stated: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

High-quality hay more than pays for itself

We all know high-quality forage is a must for maximum production of milk and milk components. Adequate roughage is needed for good rumen function. But as more roughage is fed, diet energy density is reduced.

Can late rains still make beans?

By any measure, this crop season has been an extreme challenge. Given the long, hot and dry spell that plagued us in July, I’m guessing that by the time you read this in mid-August we may still be challenged with above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall.

How drought affects soybeans

Widespread drought across the entire state rarely occurs in Iowa or other parts of the Midwest. However, the 2012 growing season is one of those rare years. Normally, there is more concern with draining excess water. This year has put more focus on conservation of water for crop production.

Soybean prices get fidgety

Coming off his group’s annual meeting in January, Charles Hall, CEO of the North Carolina Soybean Producers Association, says prices struggled a bit last year before climbing back into the mid-$12 range. Of course, he well remembers plenty of market quotes in 2005 and 2006 when those prices were in the mid-$6 range. It is all relative, right?

Bringing home the prize

In 2010, Kevin Monahan of Waverly, Va., had his worst year ever growing peanuts. In 2011 he had his best peanut-growing year ever. In fact, judging from the state peanut yield contest, Kevin had the best peanut yield in the state in 2011.

Growers eager to make cotton

It’s dry in much of Texas, but not as dry as it could be. Growers learned just how dry the state could get last year when they had to abandon more than 4 million acres of parched cotton. After that devastating 2011 cotton crop across much of the Cotton Belt, Texas and Oklahoma producers are itching to actually make a 2012 crop.

7 tips for successful winter wheat

Jochum Wiersma, University of Minnesota Extension small-grain specialist, Crookston, says there are seven key points to establish winter wheat successfully and give it the best chance to survive the winter.

Foliar feeding Not effective

Foliar feeding soybeans doesn’t usually increase yields, says Ron Gelderman, South Dakota State University Extension soils specialist.

Soybean yield curve is up, but why?

When you look at the historical data, it is clear that there is a long upward trend in the yield of soybeans over the last 80 to 90 years.

Higher-yielding wheat is AgriPro research goal

Higher-yielding wheat is the goal of a commitment to robust research at Syngenta AgriPro Wheat, Matt Keating, Syngenta account lead for cereals, told seed dealers attending the annual Cereal Kickoff in Salina on March 13.

Test weight in small grains

Test weight in small grains including wheat, oats and barley is an important component of crop quality and value. The test weight of a representative sample of your crop will give an indication of how it compares to the industry standard. A lower test weight equals lower value. Standard or higher test weights generally bring the best price and provide the best quality when fed to livestock on-farm.

Sweet yield secrets

Even in a drought, farmers should not give up on their crops. That was the message from four Missouri crop farmers who shared their strategies on realizing 100-bushel soybeans and 300-bushel corn during a recent University of Missouri field day.

Yield, performance help pick seed

The lessons learned this past growing season are good reminders as growers develop plans for this upcoming spring. For some, seed purchase decisions are already made, but according to some agronomists and seed sales representatives, purchase decisions were running in delayed mode at the end of 2009.

Keep apple prices up after storage

Consumers like apples year-round. But keeping the crunch in premium-quality, fresh market applies and extending the selling season is still a challenge — one that Chris Watkins, Cornell’s postharvest fruit scientist, has been working with growers on since late 2006.

Seed corn supply adequate despite difficult season

The story goes that an old gent walked into his own wake, smiled, and said, “The reports of my death were greatly exaggerated.” True or not, it accurately describes the ups and downs of expectations on seed corn this year.

Could non-GMO beans boost income?

Should there be non-GMO soybeans in your future? That may depend upon three factors: premium opportunities, availability of competitive genetics and your willingness to step up your management.

Become an innovative leader

There are four types of farmers: followers, early adopters, innovators and bleeders. I prefer to talk about a hybrid type — an innovative leader.

Corn hybrids are not forever

You might remember the James Bond movie “Diamonds are Forever.” Unfortunately, new corn hybrids only last a few years. After all that time searching for the needle in the haystack, there’s only a small window to use it.

Have crop ready when Mother Nature calls

Corn yields throughout the Corn Belt were spectacular in 2009. Was it environment or genetics?

Specialty crops bring income opportunities

In 1972, Levi and Norma Huffman operated a 1,800-acre family farm near Lafayette. Nearly 40 years later the farm has grown to 3,000 acres, and the couple raises specialty and row crops. Today, the farm is run by Levi, son Aaron, son-in-law Jim Hawbaker, and their families.

Twin-row tweaking

The jury may still be out on twin-row corn for many growers, but Mark Peterson has examined the evidence on his farm and he’s reached a verdict: More bushels, more dollars.

Boost N and boost corn yield

All Peter Scharf sees is yellow corn and lost potential when he looks at the 2009 corn harvest report in Missouri.

Pile on the grain

Across the Southeast, the best average is 165, in Kentucky, and the worst is 100, in Florida, according to USDA’s crop production report. Somewhere in the middle are Tennessee at 148, Georgia with 140 and Alabama with 108.

Oklahoma works to find better peanut

Better peanuts may be coming soon to the Southwest, thanks to collaborative work in Oklahoma.

Ask your seedsmen plenty of questions

We’ve encouraged you to proceed cautiously when adding new hybrids or varieties. Add only a small percentage of new hybrids each year. Make sure you’ve seen the hybrids growing in person. Seek yield data that backs up performance claims.

OSU tracks input costs

Fertilizers, fungicides and insecticides can help improve soybean yields, but stacking on every available input might not be the best plan. To help farmers determine what input investments are most likely to pay off, Ohio State University Extension researchers have been comparing yield responses and costs with various combinations of inputs.

Will the right soybean please stand up?

Thomas Carter celebrated his 56th birthday this year. Twenty-eight years ago, half his lifetime to this point, he began a long-range project to find a soybean with drought resistance. Now he’s on the edge of his work coming to fruition. Carter has designed five drought-hardy soybean varieties that appear to have the right kind of drought hardiness. He will release the first of them this winter.

Still hot for corn

Paul Anderson is practicing SOS corn storage this winter — store on stalk. “It worked last year,” the Harvey, N.D., farmer says. Field losses were low, test weight increased to acceptable levels, and the corn dried to 15% moisture by spring. “I hope it will work again this year — so far it has,” Anderson says.

Foliar application best with aphids

Will an insecticide seed treatment control soybean aphid, and is it economically justifiable when a foliar insecticide application may also be needed? Extension entomologists have been conducting research to answer these questions.

Stem canker rises in South Dakota

Something didn’t look right in the soybean field on the north side of the road. It was the wilted look of those leaves turned bottom up to the early September sun that made South Dakota State University plant pathologist Thomas Chase pull over and stop.

How to figure seeding rate

Each year questions arise about the correct seeding rate for hard red spring wheat, says Jochum Wiersma, University of Minnesota Extension small-grains specialist.

Tiles improve planting conditions

With all the wet and unpredictable weather we’ve received the past couple of years, tile drainage has become a huge talking point. Though it is true we can’t control the weather, we need to start thinking of water as a manageable variable. As more fields in our area are being drained, the benefits are definitely beginning to show.

Take action now to fight SCN

Soybean cyst nematode continues to spread north. SCN is present in many eastern and central South Dakota counties. This year, we discovered a field in the Red River Valley by Kent, Minn., and I’ve heard of other fields recently identified in Barnes and Trail counties in North Dakota. These are in addition to locations found previously in Cass and Richland counties in North Dakota.

Drought-optimized corn hybrids coming

Drought is an unwelcome but regular visitor to the western Corn Belt, knocking on the door somewhere every year and adversely affecting both dryland farmers and those who are limited on their irrigation water.

He wants a better bean

Carlos Urrea wants to keep Nebraska at the top in United States production of dry edible beans such as great northern, pinto and light red kidney.

Farmers navigate a shared course

Last March, Dennis Gengenbach’s full-time employee suddenly quit, leaving the Smithfield farmer in the lurch for the coming cropping season. “It’s hard to keep good help today, especially with such big equipment and the precision technology that goes with it,” says the 61-year-old farmer.

Don’t leave beans, bucks behind

Soybeans don’t make money unless they make it into the grain bin. With the 2010 soybean harvest completed, hindsight and a simple yield loss monitoring tool can help producers hone in on their harvest efficiencies for the next growing season.

More new ideas from Beck

Dwayne Beck — a South Dakota State University ag expert, no-till innovator and manager of the Dakota Lakes Research farm in Pierre, S.D. — can be counted on to surprise his audience with new ideas about how to farm in the Dakotas.

Northern corn grower sold on using fungicide

Is applying a fungicide routinely to corn several times during the growing season profitable? David Hartz believes so, and he backs up his conviction with his bank account.

Irrigators are getting ‘more crop per drop’

How close are Nebraska irrigators to the corn yield potential on their farm? In the three-county Tri-Basin Natural Resources District of south-central Nebraska, at least, the answer is pretty darn close.

Timing of weed control is key to victory in protecting yield

When it comes to postemergent weed control in corn, timing is everything. While the vast use of glyphosate herbicides and herbicide-tolerant seed has curbed weed pressure, the development of resistant weeds has made the timing of weed control more important than ever. If farmers wait too long in the growing season to treat, they can expect yield reductions.

Check soil fertility with tissue tests

This is the time of year when you can evaluate your fertility program by taking plant tissue tests. What can you address if you come across deficiencies? Of the tissue test results I’ve looked at over the years, nitrogen and zinc seem to be the nutrients most often listed as deficient. Phosphorus, potassium, sulfur and sometimes boron may show up as deficient as well.

Dairy manure great for corn

Manure from dairy cows is great for corn, says Darren Hefty, who farms with family members near Baltic, S.D., and co-hosts the TV show “AgPhD.”

New alfalfa varieties matched to field conditions

Pioneer Hi-Bred is providing high-quality alfalfa varieties to help growers match alfalfa to field conditions.

Wheat varieties excel over several years

One thing Robert Duncan of College Station emphasizes as Texas AgriLife Extension Service state small-grains specialist is to look at more than just one year’s data when considering wheat varieties.

No-till shines

It’s not too wet or too cool in eastern North Dakota to no-till, says Tim Haakenson.

No-till delivers with ‘right stuff’

It takes the right crops, rotation and equipment to make no-till work in the wet, cool conditions in eastern North Dakota, says Tim Haakenson, Aneta, N.D.

Logues diversify with hay business

Since Joe Logue began farming in 1962, the Wakonda, S.D., family has used alfalfa to diversify their farm. And they stayed ahead of the rapidly changing hay business by adapting to their customers’ needs and trying the latest equipment early.

Bayer cotton varieties, tools ready for ’12

It’s not long until the New Year, and cotton growers are ready.

Devoted to peanuts

Oklahoma peanut grower Joe D. White raises other crops, but he’s passionate about peanuts.

Average corn seeding rates, yields increase

Average corn seeding rates used by growers in the U.S. and Canada have increased from 23,000 seeds per acre in 1985 to more than 30,000 seeds per acre today. That’s a steady move up during that period of almost 300 additional seeds per acre each year.

Decide what you need in seed

With so many choices available, it’s tough to imagine not being able to find the hybrid you want with the trait package you need.