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Use your time in combine seat to scout fields

Posted Monday, September 19, 2011, at 2:01 PM

Harvest provides an opportunity to scout your fields from an advantageous position.

As you travel through the field, you can observe various types of problems that may have occurred during the growing season. Weeds that were not controlled would be one of the most obvious problems that will show up.

With the increase in weeds that are resistant to various herbicide classes, it is important to identify these problems as early as possible in order to control them as early as possible to control increases in populations and movement of the weed. This may also provide some opportunity to begin managing the problem this fall.

Insect and disease problems can also be detected in the fall. There are two ways to note insect or disease damage. The first is to note if particular varieties seem more susceptible to an insect or disease.

If one variety or hybrid seems to be more susceptible to disease pressure or insect pressure, then this information could be used in variety or hybrid selection for next year. If all hybrids or varieties are affected similarly, then the cause of the problem needs to be identified to aid in selecting management options for next years crop.

Corn harvest is progressing well with a wide range of yields being reported. I have heard reports from as low as 10 bushel per acre to as high as 285 bushels per acre. Most of the variation can be attributed to where the rain fell. Test weights have also been reported as low as 47 lbs/bushel and ass high as 59 to 60 lbs/bushel.

There are reports of stalk rot and crown rot showing up in some corn fields. The pinch test and the push test are two methods to check for stalk integrity. Conduct the pinch test by squeezing the second or third internode above the ground.

If it collapses, stalk quality is compromised. The push test is performed by pushing a corn stalk to approximately 45 degree angle. If it breaks, stalk quality has been reduced. If 10 percent of the stalks tested show poor stalk quality or lodge at the root, then these fields should be harvested earlier.

When a soybean plant is growing normally early in the season, it produces high levels of carbohydrates to feed itself. When it is exposed to stresses such as heat and drought, the plant tends to abort pods.

We can also see underdeveloped seeds within a pod. When these pods abort or seeds per pod decrease or underdeveloped seeds occur, the plant has an excess of carbohydrates and will stay green longer. This can result in a condition known as green stem syndrome.

The green stem syndrome can also be the result of stinkbug damage. Producers have had to deal with this before in this area. This syndrome in itself does not damage yield.

Where it can affect the crop is in producers delaying harvest due to the green stems or misinterpreting the green material as an indication that the crop is not mature in the field and delaying harvest past the ideal harvest moisture level.



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As our local University of Missouri Agronomy Extension Specialist, Crook has been writing a column for the print edition Agriculture page for the past three years and we will now be sharing it on our web version. Crook has a bachelor and masters degree in agronomy from University of Missouri and received his doctorate in Agronomy from Kansas State University. He was in soybean variety development research for 22 years for various seed companies and has been Saline County's agronomy specialist for 10 years.
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