Crop Talk – Wheat Fertility


Hello all!

I am hearing a lot of talk around the country about wheat and where money could be saved this fall. A lot of attention is centered on phosphorous. Many people are asking if phosphorous would be a good place to save money.

To answer simply – no. I do not dispute that you could probably get away with no phosphorous for a year or so, but what will eventually happen is your soil levels will drop drastically and it will adversely affect yield.

Our soils are typically between 10-25 ppm on phosphorous. Now consider this – if your ppm drops even 1 point, it takes 18lbs of actual P to raise it back up. At current prices, that would cost somewhere around $9.00 per acre ON TOP OF what your wheat crop would need. The long-term cost isn’t worth the short-term return.

Well what about delaying the application until the spring if prices go up? This becomes an agronomic issue more than economic. Phosphorus is an immobile nutrient, meaning the root has to grow into it and make contact to take it up. The opposite would be nitrogen. Nitrogen moves through the soil in water. When the plant takes in water, nitrogen comes in with it.

So agronomically, a topdress application of phosphorus would be of no benefit to the current crop, because the roots would be below to phosphorous applied on the surface of the soil.

Farmer’s Coop has been proudly selling MicroEssentials SZ for 3 years. For those of you that don’t know about it, MESZ is a homogeneous blend of 12-40-0-10s-1zn. The sulfur is from two sources – ammonium sulfate for immediate availability and elemental sulfur for season-long availability. The zinc is evenly spread across the field to maximize the availability to every plant.

The video below illustrates the importance of evenly distributed fertilizer:

We also strive to provide our growers will clean, high quality fertilizer. A plugged up drill costs time and money.

If you have questions about anything discussed above, please call your local Farmer’s Coop agronomist.

Make it a great week!


Crop Talk – Protecting yield with fungicides


Hello all!

So far this year, the corn and dry bean crops are looking great, so today I wanted to talk about protecting yield with fungicides.

We are currently in a high yield environment, very similar to 2012. We are receiving lots of heat units and the crops have responded accordingly. I believe this would be a great year to look at a fungicide at tassel in corn and the beginning of flowering in dry beans. Both applications have a great track record of improving yields at harvest.

The fungicide I recommend on corn is Headline AMP. There are many trials that show very consistent yield results, along with improved standability, on corn treated around tassel time. The key point here is to treat prior to pollination or immediately after pollination. Spraying while the plants are actively pollinating can result in poor pollination, leading to yield loss.

In dry beans, I recommend using Priaxor at the beginning of flowering. Dry beans are particularly weak against diseases and the application of a fungicide is very beneficial, eliminating stress and increasing overall plant health which will lead to increased yields. Consider pairing a foliar product, such as Max-IN Copper, for better results.

Speak with your local Farmer’s Coop agronomist for more info.

Make it a great week!


Crop Talk – Protein in wheat

It is pretty well-known that the protein in the dryland wheat this summer hasn’t been that great. We have had numerous discussions amongst ourselves about it and I thought it might be a good topic this week to discuss.


I think the low protein comes down to about 3  factors:

  1. Fertility – Nitrogen and sulfur are the most important factors in protein content. It really isn’t enough to just apply nitrogen to achieve a certain yield goal. We should be factoring in our desired protein content. But if the plant can’t utilize the nitrogen, what is the point? That is where sulfur comes in. Without adequate sulfur, plants can’t use nitrogen efficiently. Every application of nitrogen should contain some sulfur.
  2. Stripe Rust – This summer we had the worst outbreak of stripe rust that we have seen in a very long time. While we typically associate rust with yield loss, I don’t think we can ignore it as a possible factor. Any stress put on the plant will adversely affect performance, so why should protein content be any different? It is no coincidence that the irrigated wheat is testing higher for protein. The majority were sprayed with a fungicide at the first sign of rust.
  3. Freeze damage – It is hard for me to point at this one as a definite factor. The primary reason is there were many fields that never had any signs of damage, yet the protein content has been consistently poor on the dryland acres. However, like stripe rust, it can’t be ignored as a potential factor.

Instead of focusing on just one, I would say it was likely a combination of two or three of the above factors.

If you would like to discuss plans for next year, be sure to contact your local agronomist at Farmer’s Coop.

Make it a great week!

Crop Talk – Weed control following wheat

Hello all!

Wheat harvest has officially begun and that means it is time to start thinking about fallow spray again. There are lots of weeds under the canopy that will start to rapidly grow as soon the wheat is harvested. A good rule of thumb will be to wait about a week or so following harvest before spraying. Doing so will allow the weeds to regrow if they are clipped off by the combine.

Here are some popular picks:
2,4-D LV6 – I think we are all familiar with 2,4-D at this point. It is still a go-to option on fallow acres because of price point. It will get the job done under most circumstances, but don’t count on it against kochia, that’s where my next pick fits…

Distinct – I like to think of Distinct as dicamba on steroids. It has an additional active ingredient (diflufenzopyr) that drastically increases the knockdown power of the dicamba. For those of you familiar with Status, you know how effectively it works on kochia, lambsquarter, etc. Distinct is Status without the safener.

Atrazine – I like to add atrazine on dryland acres that will be fallow for the upcoming year or irrigated acres that will be corn. The goal is to extend the weed control to potentially eliminate an extra post application later in the year. Also – I can’t stress this enough – resistant issues are a lot less likely to creep up with pre-emerge herbicides.

All of the above options should be tank-mixed with RoundUp.

As usual, if you have any questions about these chemicals, or other available options, call your local Farmer’s Coop agronomist!

Make it a great week!

Crop Talk – Residual corn herbicides

A cool, wet weekend dropped soil temperatures. Recently planted corn will not be very active until our soils begin to warm up again.

Weather Update:

  • Soil temperature at 2″: 48° at 10:30 AM
  • Rainfall: 0.1″

This week is all about corn herbicides – residual in particular. RoundUp and Status are very common herbicides in our part of the country, but neither provides anything in terms of residual weed control. Here are a few of my favorite products:

Atrazine is probably the most well-known residual herbicide around. It is very strong against grasses and handles broadleaves such as kochia and lambsquarters. I like it primarily as a dryland option because it is very economical and also to avoid any potential rotation issues. Tank mix with RoundUp to burn-down any emerged weeds.

Trisidual is a great option for irrigated corn. It can be applied on corn from pre-plant all the way up to 11″ tall. In most cases, the residual activity lasts long enough to make it through to canopy, making it a great one-pass option with a price comparable to RoundUp/Status. Rotation to dry beans is no problem for the following year, but sugar beets can’t be planted for 26 months.

Zidua is the only choice if you have Palmer Amaranth creeping into your corn fields. It hasn’t become very common in our area yet, but if you see it, I strongly recommend getting it under control before it spreads. Palmer is a prolific seed producer and will quickly multiply in your fields, not to mention having resistance to many herbicides including RoundUp.

As usual, visit with your local Farmer’s Coop agronomist if you have any questions.

Make it a great week!


Tucker Talk: March 4, 2016


White 4-Pod at FCE

The 2016 revenue protection spring price for corn is $3.86. This is the average December futures price over the month of February.  The harvest price will be the average December futures price over the month of October.

Corn exports did better than expected last week and even though total exports are behind last years, the exports last week were higher than the same week last year.  Gulf corn offers to Asia have finally drifted low enough to be within $0.05 of offers from Argentina which will leave the US open for corn bookings.

Crude oil prices rallied today to 2-month highs but traders consider it short-covering rather than a bullish change in fundamentals.

Increased weather risk has caused a $0.20 rally in wheat over the last 3 days.  Warm temperatures have caused wheat to break dormancy 4 weeks ahead of schedule in important growing areas.  Most wheat producing areas are still under statistically high probability of a hard freeze until March 31st.  Areas such as Kansas and Oklahoma will need more moisture in order to keep the wheat going but rains are having a hard time developing.  Large rallies will be limited by increased farmer selling and moving of on-farm grain stocks.

Tucker Talk: February 19, 2016


Early Morning Sunrise in Hemingford

The state-run company of ChemChina purchased Syngenta a couple weeks ago.  ChemChina believes that this purchase will help advance the acceptance of GMOs with the populace of China. This is also a major step for China in moving towards improving their national corn yield by 25-30% through the applications of GMOs and the complimentary technologies.

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a popular choice this year with depressed prices across all commodities.  In October of 2015 there were 23.55 million acres signed up for the program with a cap of 25 million acres.  The deadline for the current sign-up period is February 26, 2016  That cap drops to 24 million acres next year and will remain there until 2018.

Recent warm temperatures across the mid-west U.S. have eliminated snow cover and caused wheat to emerge from dormancy in many ares.  Pictures out of Oklahoma and Texas show winter wheat 2-3 inches tall.  Concerns are arising over the increased risk of winter wheat freezing over the next 2 months.

Ergot was of significant importance in the 2015 wheat harvest at Farmer’s Coop locations with some wheat being rejected.  The acceptable level of tolerance for the presence of ergot bodies is 0.05% or about 10 bodies in a coffee can.  0.05% is an extremely low tolerance level and is the international standard.  There has been some confusion with Egypt over the last couple weeks.  Egypt rejected a load 2 weeks ago and it was thought that the issues were  worked out but then they rejected more loads this week.  Egyptian agricultural authorities announced that 0.05% would be accepted but offers to sell wheat to Egypt are scarce due to the confusion.  You would probably be leery too if you had a ship full of wheat rejected on delivery.  You can read more on ergot at the links below.

Why All the Fuss Over Ergot?

Ergot in Wheat: A Brief Summary

Climatologists met yesterday to forecast spring and summer weather conditions in 2016.  They concluded that given the current trend in the El Nino/La Nina pattern, there is an increased likelihood of above normal temperatures throughout the entire central region of the U.S. and an increased likelihood of below normal precipitation throughout the Great Lakes region. They predict that the current El Nino trend, which has moved from strong to neutral since January, will last through March.  If it moves quickly into a La Nina pattern we could see drought conditions across the mid-west.

Interesting News: Pope Francis, the internationally recognized head of the Catholic Church and Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox church met last week.  This is the first meeting of the two leaders since the split of the catholic church in 1054 when each leader was excommunicated by the other.  This meeting has no doubt been spurred by the threat of ISIS against Christians all over the world.  The Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church are planning on joining forces to combat the Muslim threat against Christendom.  Once again the Christian and Muslim worlds are in conflict but instead of the Christians invading the Muslim world (400 years of crusades) the Muslims look to be invading the Christian world (terrorism?).