Keeping Your Place on the Farm: How Planning Ahead Makes or Breaks Farm Safety


September 17-23 is National Farm Safety & Health Week, and it’s the perfect time to refresh ourselves on the staples of farm safety as we prepare for the harvest season. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 410 agriculture workers died on the job or from an agriculture-related injury in 2019. That’s more than one farmer every day who didn’t make it home to their family.

“No one can take your place,” this year’s National Farm Safety & Health Week theme, reminds us there are often no second chances when it comes to farm safety.

Facing the Facts

Of the agricultural worker deaths in 2019, the leading cause was transportation accidents, such as trailers overturning. University of Missouri Extension echoes the dangers of machinery, stating tractor rollovers are the leading cause of fatalities in the agriculture industry, accounting for more than half of all farm-related deaths.

Some additional factors that commonly cause farm accidents include:

  • Defective equipment
  • Missing product labels or equipment warnings
  • Farm structure or equipment fails
  • Improper training
  • Grain engulfment or entrapment

While the list of possible causes could stretch on further, the list of potential impacts on farmers extends even longer, including:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Hearing loss
  • Stress
  • Broken bones
  • Fractures
  • Cuts and scrapes from tractor injuries
  • Skin conditions from chemical burns or sun exposure
  • Eye irritation
  • Exhaustion
  • Heat stroke 
  • Electrocution
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Respiratory disease
  • Cancer 

Researchers used data from National Electronic Injury Surveillance to determine these leading health effects, and they uncovered some eye-opening statistics while they were at it.

Over a five-year period, an estimated 62,079 people were treated in an emergency department for agricultural-related injuries. Of those, approximately 30% were young patients and 22% were elderly. 

These age groups typically aren’t in the workforce for other industries, but they are commonly involved in agriculture, creating additional risk.

Finding the Solution

While these facts remind us of harsh realities in agriculture’s history, we each can play a role in creating a more optimistic future for the industry. 

“Failure to plan is planning to fail.” We’ve all heard it before, but it’s said for a reason. Planning ahead and being prepared for emergencies are some of the most important steps you can take to make your farm a safe place to be.

Developing a safety checklist and creating a farm emergency plan helps you be proactive rather than reactive. These documents make sure everyone involved in the farm is on the same page about how to handle these intense and scary situations.

Make the list and check it twice

Your safety checklist should contain a list of all equipment that should be checked before operating. Review recommendations from the NIOSH, the National Ag Safety Database and your local codes to ensure your equipment meets lighting and marking requirements. While you’re taking a look around the shop, take note of any repairs that may be needed before harvest, too.

Put proper protocol in place

A quality emergency plan answers the immediate questions that come to mind in the event of an emergency. Who do you call? Where do you meet? What do you bring? Include answers to these and other questions you anticipate in emergency situations.

It’s also important to train anyone who will be around or operating equipment so everyone is aware of proper protocol. Include this training when you go over your safety checklist and emergency plan. During this training with your farm crew, it can be helpful to walk through potential scenarios to see the plan in action.

For more information on aspects of farm safety that may be overlooked, join educational webinars throughout the week and learn how to protect you and your family and keep your place on the farm.

Caring for Communities


Liqui-Grow is more than just an ag retailer in the 23 towns we service across Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. We are active members of each of those communities, committed to being your trusted partner and neighbor.

As a family-owned business, we recognize the importance of supporting the local communities that give our team members and customers a safe place to raise their families.

Volunteering and Contributing 

Whether it’s purchasing a show animal at a county fair premium auction, spraying water on a track to prepare for a tractor pull or providing monetary contributions, Liqui-Grow is proud to support local events throughout our trade territory.

Along with Liqui-Grow supporting our local communities as a business, our team also takes pride in being active participants through serving on boards, volunteering and more. 

Each of the locations Liqui-Grow operates in was chosen for a reason, and we truly value the communities we are involved in.

Recommend a Charity

Have an event or organization you would like to see added to the list? Talk with your local Liqui-Grow representative, text us at 564-220-2508 or email

The Importance of Selecting A Quality Seed Treatment Package


The potential of one's crop starts long before the seed is even planted in the ground. How seed is harvested, dried, stored and treated before planting all make an impact in that seed’s ability to perform best in the soil it is planted in. 

Although seed treatment packages have been around for some time, the agriculture industry is constantly researching and testing new treatments to protect your crop – starting at the seed. 

As the weather allows, farmers continue to creep into the fields earlier and earlier each year with their planters. Farmers risk planting early into cold wet soils to maximize the amount of sunlight the plants are exposed to and drive those high yield potentials. Cold wet soils are often associated with early season pests and diseases.

We've seen that longer growing seasons in soybeans results in higher yielding crops at harvest, thus the importance of planting our soybean crops as timely as possible. 

Farmers who use a high-quality broad-spectrum seed treatment package can help protect their soybeans from harsh weather conditions we often expose early planted soybeans to. By adding a seed treatment package to your soybeans, you will receive better germination rates and protect your seed from early pests and diseases. 

But what is really in that seed treatment? Oftentimes there is a mix of fungicides and insecticides. Let’s dive into how the right seed treatment package can maximize bushels for your farm operation!

Fungicides on Treated Seed

Seed treatments we use today are hand-selected by Dr. Jake Vossenkemper and a team of experts to try and protect soybeans from an array of diseases we combat in the spring.  Without a crystal ball, we are unsure of which disease could show up, and using a broad-spectrum seed treatment can mitigate the risk from different diseases present.  

Currently, our most popular seed treatment has four fungicides that boost protection against Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, Pythium, Phytophthora and other yield robbing seedling diseases. It also has a 5th component from a fungicide, to help give extra protection against Fusarium, early on.  

We recommend adding Ilevo® Seed Treatment to this strong seed treatment package to protect against Sudden Death Syndrome and Soybean Cyst Nematodes (SCN). Today SCN is the #1 yield robber in soybeans, and on average loses 1.5bu/ac, across the 12 most northern states. Learn more about Soybean Cyst Nematodes here

Insecticides on Treated Seed

Seed Corn Maggots and Bean Leaf Beetles are two popular insects we often see in early spring planted fields throughout Northeast Iowa and Northwest Illinois’ fields. Seed Corn Maggots burrow through the seed corn and affect the germination.  Bean Leaf Beetles chew on leaves and can potentially infect crops with Bean Pod Mottle Virus. This virus can cause yield damage and seed discoloration. Using soybean seed treatments can ward off these insects along with others and protect yield from an early start.  

What to look for in your corn seed treatment package:

If you are finding secondary insect pests such as wire worm, grape colaspis and true white grub in your fields, it may be beneficial to consider up-treating your seedcorn with Poncho® 1250. One of the many benefits of up-treating your seed with Poncho® 1250 is you don’t have to worry about applying an in-furrow insecticide or granular insecticide to combat these insect pests. Don’t wait though!  Most companies require you to order higher rates of seed treatment early and most companies have cut off dates.  Check with your Liqui-Grow Sales Applicator to learn more!


Here to Help You Choose

Determining the best seed treatment package for your operation can be a stressful task. Lean on your local Liqui-Grow Sales Rep to help you determine the best seed treatment package for your operation. We test a variety of seed treatments on the market and ensure our customers are receiving quality products that will get the job done right. 

Questions? Give us a shout! 

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email

Meet Liqui-Grow’s 2023 Research Interns

research interns with jake out in the fields doing research

This summer, Dr. Jake Vossenkemper is leading a team of research interns throughout the Liqui-Grow territory to learn the latest in crop technology and nutrient management and apply their knowledge out in the field.

Some are learning about Liqui-Grow for the first time, while others are returning to the intern team to soak in more knowledge and experience. We’re excited to share how these young leaders are contributing to Dr. Jake’s ongoing research.

Ella Garret

Growing up in the small town of Port Byron, Illinois, Ella Garret heard about Liqui-Grow through a friend, who recommended the internship to her. “I recently changed my degree to ag business and I wanted to learn more about it and what I can do with it,” Ella G. says. “I love the lifestyle and wanted to do something in the workforce with it!”

Ella G. has been able to experience multiple aspects of the agriculture workforce throughout the summer. Her primary focus, however, has been working hard in Dr. Jake’s research fields, from soil sampling and planting, to helping spray the fields this summer.

“Working with Dr. Jake has been great,” Ella G. says. “He’s excellent at slowing down and teaching you about anything.”

Ella G. admits she didn’t know what to expect coming into her summer internship with Liqui-Grow, but says, “I loved every part of this internship. Liqui-Grow is a great company to intern for, and you learn a ton.”

Ella Krukow

ella krukow researching in the fieldElla Krukow grew up on a large row crop and cattle operation, but she wanted to expand her agronomy knowledge. “I’ve been involved with livestock my whole life. I wanted an internship that would provide more insight to row crops,” she says.

Ella K.’s time in the field with Dr. Jake and the other research interns taught her about crop protection products, plant biology and soil science. “Agronomy can be fun!” she says, also noting how she enjoyed building relationships with others in the company. “Liqui-Grow is definitely a family-oriented company,” Ella K. says.

Learning under Dr. Jake was a great experience for her. “I didn’t expect he would be there all the time, but he was, and he taught me a lot,” she says.

Some of her biggest takeaways from the summer include seeing the difference of a traditional planting season versus windy, hot days planting research plots, doing a lot of stop-and-go with the planter. “It was hard for me to see planting go so slow coming from a large row crop background,” she says.

Ella K. also discovered her interest in marketing and plans to help promote the internship program for future students to show how fun and educational the experience is.

Ryan Parchert

Ryan Parchert comes from a diversified family operation started by his grandpa, consisting of row crops, cattle and show pigs. He learned about Liqui-Grow’s internship opportunities from Liqui-Grow employee Cheyenne Bush and was interested in the research aspect.

“My goal is to be an agronomy salesman and sell fertilizer,” Ryan says. The research internship is helping him gain the technical knowledge needed to excel in that career path.

His prior knowledge of Liqui-Grow was pretty limited, but over the past few months, he’s learned much more about the company, services and quality of products they offer to customers. He’s also witnessed the crop performance benefits of liquid suspension products compared to dry fertilizer.

A couple of Ryan’s favorite things about the internship are working with Dr. Jake and interacting with customers on service calls. “Everyday is an adventure,” he says. “That’s why I think I enjoy it so much. I like to have fun while I’m working.”

Ryan has really enjoyed spending time with farmers and talking through their problems to find a good solution. “I’m a big people-person and I enjoy connections,” he says.

Working on research trials has also helped Ryan gain a deeper understanding of agronomy and crop nutrition. “We had a field where we were all pretty certain what the problem was, but on closer examination, it was a different nutrient deficiency than what we originally thought,” he says. “We looked at the soil reports and what was causing the deficiencies in the plant. They lined up, but not close enough to explain what we were seeing. We thought it was Zinc, but it ended up being Manganese.”

As Ryan wraps up his internship next month, he’s excited to explore more opportunities in sales and see the results from his work in the research plot. “This internship has really been an integral part of what I want to do with my future,” he says. “I’m really excited to see what the next day holds.”

Hope Saroka

hope saroka standing in fieldHope Saroka didn’t come from a farming background, but got involved in agriculture through FFA, and found her love of crops through competitions. During a job shadow in college, she met Dr. Jake, who suggested she apply for the research internship. Now, she’s back for her second year!

Dr. Jake gave Hope a deeper understanding of agronomy, beyond what she was hearing in the classroom. “I’m applying to the research trials what I learned in the classroom the spring before,” she says.

Hope enjoys the diversity of her work, including pulling soil samples and working with the lab to understand the nutrients better. Service calls are also a highlight of her summer. “I’m a very social person, so that fulfills my social butterfly needs. We also get to talk through problems that customers have in their fields and help them decide what to do next,” she says.

Her greatest lesson, though, has been the importance of building relationships with people throughout the company, as she has been able to learn all aspects of the business through meeting sales applicators, location managers and customers. “I didn’t realize how family oriented Liqui-Grow is. Everyone cares about everyone,” she says. “This was a perfect fit for me. I got the taste of plant sciences, sales and office management. It goes hand-in-hand with what I learned in college.”

Wyatt Wessel

wyatt wessell standing in fieldWyatt Wessel is a first time research intern for Liqui-Grow, but a longtime follower of Dr. Jake’s work, as Wyatt’s father owns a contract research business and has worked with Dr. Jake for several years prior.

Seeing life on the inside of the company, though, has given Wyatt an even greater appreciation of the company and research that Dr. Jake leads. “I never realized how widespread the territory Liqui-Grow covers and how diverse Twin State Inc. is,” he says.

Working in research, Wyatt knows the importance of accuracy and detail, but the biggest lesson he learned this year was patience. “There’s no reason to get upset about a mistake,” he says. In his trials, he faced less than favorable conditions for ideal results and had to make adjustments for the test to work properly. “The microbes needed to achieve the results didn’t have the moisture they needed,” Wyatt says.

Wyatt’s internship also helped him expand his network and opened up doors for future opportunities. “It’ll help me become more diversified in the world of research, especially if I’m wanting to get into contract work. The N2O study I did could be a potentially huge market for contract work,” he says. Combining his education in the field with classroom learning is exciting for Wyatt, who already has a list of questions for his professors this fall.

Each of these interns came into their summer experiences with different backgrounds and aspirations for the future, but all are leaving with the same feelings of gratitude and growth. We are proud to support the next generation of agriculture, and we look forward to providing hands-on educational opportunities each year through research internships.

Managing Tar Spot This Season


Tar Spot. This seven letter word is causing headaches to many farmers across the nation. Tar Spot Disease has been on a non-stop track of multiplying since its first appearance in the corn belt back in 2015. 

Originating from South America, this disease is quite a ways from “home,” so what keeps it sticking around year after year? Let’s find out. 

When conditions are right

Summer months bring much more than watermelon, pool days and bonfires. Not only are people more active, but these warmer days and cool, dewy nights create the perfect environment for Tar Spot to become active in your fields too. 

The sweet-spot for this fungus to grow is when temperatures average around 60-70ºF at night with high humidity levels (we’re talking 75% plus!). Not only are these temperatures and humidity levels ideal for Tar Spot, but the corn leaves seem to be quite the resting place for this disease to develop — especially if the leaves are dewy for an average of seven hours per night. 

On average, we see Tar Spot pop up in corn fields starting at V10, but if the conditions are right, this disease is able to infest fields at earlier growth stages too. Having the ability to identify and manage Tar Spot in a timely manner not only impacts your crops, but your economic payback at harvest too. 

Putting Tar Spot under the microscope

Tar Spot is commonly mistaken as Southern Rust or Common Rust, but what makes it different? Tar Spot shows up as black spots within the leaf, whereas rust is commonly found on top of the surface. Plus, rust is able to be scraped away, but not Tar Spot. Tar Spot lesions are also dark brown to black in color, whereas rust has more red-orange toned specks on the leaf surface. 

Though individual Tar Spot lesions might not look too deadly on your crop, they quickly multiply. Each speck has over 10,000 spores infected with this disease, and once you get it, it is quite a pain to get rid of. 

In fact, Tar Spot is able to overwinter in fields and be passed down from crop generation to generation—not to mention the ease of infestation through wind transfer. Another reason why it is important to monitor your fields and take action quickly if the disease starts to appear. 

Tar Spot is commonly found near the ear leaf on the plant, both on the upper and lower sides of the leaves. From the ear leaf up on the plant, sugars are being developed to help build yield as the crop progresses towards harvest. Thus, it is important to identify and manage this disease early on.  As it works its way up the plant, you may see the ends of some leaves start to turn brown and die off.

To ensure you identify this disease properly—and a proper plan of action is implemented—talk with your local Liqui-Grow agronomist. 

Impacting your crop

Though these tiny specks might not seem too detrimental to your crop, Tar Spot has been proven to result in poor grain fill, kernel abortion, reduced kernel weight and can even cause the stalks to fold over in half – literally bringing them to their “knees.”

In more severe cases, Tar Spot has reduced yield by more than 100 bushels per acre!

Management practices to consider

Though tar spot may already be infesting your fields, it is hard to see the visual impact until around 20 days after the infestation has started. As time progresses, you will start to see the black lesions appear, and you’ll want to ensure you have a timely fungicide application to reduce crop risk as the season continues. 

A fungicide application at VT with multiple modes of action such as RevyTech®, Veltyma® or Delaro® Complete is preferred, but depending on the time of year, product availability may be limited. 

We’re here to help! Contact your local Liqui-Grow office for assistance in scouting your fields for Tar Spot and other diseases and determining the right fungicide application, to help protect the yield you’ve been generating this season. 


Questions? Give us a shout! 

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email



Guide to Disease Management and Fungicides for Corn and Soybeans


“What diseases should I be looking for this season? How can I prevent or treat them?”

These are questions we commonly hear from customers this time of year. As we progress through the hot summer months, the threat of disease looms in fields. 

Kurt Maertens, technical agronomist at BASF, joined Dr. Jake Vossenkemper to discuss what to expect for fungal diseases this season and best management practices for fungicide application in our latest L.E.A.D. Academy Webinar.

If you have high-performing fields, you may wonder whether a fungicide application is necessary. In a 2020 study on soybeans, we found that high-yielding fields actually see an even bigger impact from fungicide and insecticide applications.

In the study, we tested a set of “normal management” plots and a set of “high yield management” plots. The study was conducted over three sites and replicated a minimum of six times per site. 

In the end, we saw a yield increase of 5.5 bushels per acre in the normal management and 8.1 bushels per acre in the high yield management category, all from an R3 fungicide and insecticide application.

Identifying Fungal Diseases in Corn

Common diseases we are seeing in corn in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois include Gray Leaf Spot, Northern Corn Leaf Blight and, on the top of many farmers’ minds, Tar Spot. Generally, moisture and temperature determine which of these diseases we see in fields, and to what extent.

Gray Leaf Spot

Gray Leaf Spot is distinguished by long, rectangular lesions that may resemble a cigar. Some hybrids handle Gray Leaf Spot a little bit differently and may have smaller lesions. If left untreated, Gray Leaf Spot will continue to grow and take over the leaf area throughout the season, affecting yields.

Tar Spot

Tar Spot has become fairly familiar to farmers in the Eastern portion of the Corn Belt, but others in the West may experience the disease for the first time this season. As its name implies, Tar Spot lesions look like small raised flecks of tar on the leaf surface—almost like a paintbrush was flung towards the plants—and cannot be rubbed off with a fingernail.  

This disease can be very hard to see at first because those first few tar spot lesions are often very small and infrequent. But, as the disease progresses, the spores multiply and the quantity of lesions on your leaves are very noticeable. By the end of the season, you may have leaves completely covered in them. And, based on what we’ve seen in fields, this progression can be very rapid.

Overwintering is another important consideration for Gray Leaf Spot and Tar Spot. The spores from disease last year overwinter in the crop residue, just waiting for the right weather conditions to multiply and infect fields this season.


Rust is another disease to keep in mind. Tar Spot is easily confused with rust, especially early on. However, Tar Spot lesions are much deeper brown—almost black—compared to  the orange or red appearance of rust.
There are two primary species of rust we see in our customers’ fields: Southern Rust and Common Rust.

Common Rust is more frequently seen in our service area than southern rust, but Southern Rust has a more serious impact. Common Rust typically shows up as a raised lesion with a dark red color, and there may be three or four lesions in any given area.

Southern Rust lesions are more light red to orange in color and have a lot of powder. If you knock a leaf and orange powder comes off, it’s most likely Southern Rust. We see some instances of Southern Rust almost every year, but the big concern is when it arrives. If you suspect you have Southern Rust in your fields, contact us right away for help controlling this very aggressive species.

Identifying Fungal Diseases in Soybeans

Septoria Brown Spot

The most common soybean disease we see around Eastern Iowa and Northwest Illinois is Septoria Brown Spot. This disease usually starts at the lower canopy and works its way up, slowly impacting yield potential and resulting in significant losses at harvest.  It’s important to protect all of the leaves on soybean plants, because they all help build sugar, produce pods and increase yields. Learn more in one of our weekly short videos on the soybean fungicides.

Frogeye Leaf Spot

In other areas, Frog Eye Leaf Spot is of greater concern. We are seeing some resistance to certain fungicides in that disease. If Frog Eye Leaf Spot infects a field, it produces a larger lesion that can have detrimental effects on soybeans.

Frog Eye Leaf Spot in soybeans is similar to Southern Rust in corn. It’s not a common occurrence every year, but when it does appear, it can drastically lower yields. 

Much like the corn diseases, Frog Eye Leaf Spot and Septoria Brown Spot overwinter in last year’s crop residue, waiting for the right weather conditions to appear.

Treating Fungal Diseases


The best way to avoid disease pressure is through prevention with fungicide applications. Our recommendation is applying at VT/R1 on corn. 

In recent years, two applications of fungicide has become a viable management consideration for many. The general recommendation from Liqui-Grow is a second application three weeks after the first VT/R1 application, which provides enough residual to protect the crop through the black layer stage. We recommend two applications in years with heavy disease pressure and in regions heavily infected with Tar Spot.

Fields with higher disease susceptibility are irrigated fields, high fertility fields, fields that receive manure applications, and long term corn-on-corn fields. Since moisture is one of the key drivers for developing these diseases, irrigated fields should plan on two applications for maximum effectiveness.


For soybeans, R3 is the optimal time for a fungicide/insecticide application. At this stage, the plant has produced a majority of its nodes, including the main yield-producing nodes that develop in the middle of the R3 stage. Plus, there is adequate leaf cover to protect the plant and absorb the fungicide and insecticide that’s sprayed.

Fungicide Selection

Along with timing, fungicide selection and resistance can be a concern for growers.

In certain pockets across the Midwest, we do see Frog Eye Leaf Spot and Septoria Brown Spot start to become resistant to a certain mode of action of fungicide—strobilurons. But, most of our fungicides are formulated with multiple modes of action. 

Fungicides formulated today use a combination of demethylation inhibitors (DMIs) and succinate dehydrogenase inhibitors (SDHIs) along with the strobilurons. Combining all these modes of action is the best way to prevent resistance and to get good control over disease.

Disease can be damaging to yields, under the perfect growing environments, but with properly timed fungicide and insecticide applications, you can help protect your fields. 

Give us a call today at 563-359-3624 to schedule your fungicide application. You can also text us at 564-220-2508 or email

Sculpting Soybean Potential: How weather and post-emerge applications build soybean performance throughout the season.

No doubt, drought conditions are hitting Eastern Iowa and Northwest Illinois pretty hard these past few months. But know we’re not alone. In fact, most of the Midwest is facing D1 level drought conditions according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. Let’s dive into how these conditions, if continued, may impact your crop this season. 

How Are Soybean Acres Being Impacted - What Are We Seeing?

You may have noticed thicker cracks within the soil from lack of moisture recently, but that’s not the only thing we’re seeing as a result of the current drought conditions. 

  1. Herbicides

Given the dry conditions we’ve experienced over the past couple of years, we’re seeing a carryover of herbicides in soybean acres, especially HPPD-inhibitors and atrazine applications. Most of this carryover can be found along the many miles of gravel roads that surround our territory, or in the soils of North-Central Iowa that tend to have naturally high soil pH.

  1. Crop Health

Due to the minimal rainfall early in the season, we haven’t seen as many early post-emerge diseases arise at this time. Instead, soybean plants are efficiently soaking up enough available water to help them continue to develop until the next rainfall occurs. 

Looking to the Future - What’s to Come?

As we’re still early in the season, it’s hard to determine what yield potential will look like this fall. On the bright side, it looks like there is some rainfall in the forecast later in the growing season (30-40% increase in rainfall predicted.) Yield potential isn’t typically determined until around the R3 growth stage, so the lack of rainfall isn’t impacting yields quite yet.

Hope is on the Horizon

We’re heading into the El Niño weather pattern cycle, which results in more moisture from evaporation across the Pacific Ocean. This moisture then gets pushed into the air and carried across the nation. 

With soybeans, we see a longer seed setting phase than other crops. They start developing around the R1 growth stage, and don’t stop producing until the R5.5 growth stage. With the predicted rainfall to come later this growing season, there is still hope for a profitable crop at harvest. 

Fungicides & Insecticides - To Apply Or Not?

At this time, we’re gambling with Mother Nature for much-needed moisture. If the forecast is correct, and we do receive more rainfall as the growing season progresses, fungicides and insecticides will be needed. 

We recommend holding on to your products until the weather is more definite and you can determine if an application is necessary. The last thing we want our farmers to encounter is not having the products they need when the time comes to make an impact on their crop.  

Pests - What to Watch for this Season

Bean leaf beetles are persisting through the growing season at their normal rate, whereas we’re seeing stink bugs at a higher rate in cover crop fields. 

Take a close look at your fields as you’re out scouting. Though the bean leaf beetles are at their typical rate of infestation, the virus they bring to your crops could be even more deadly. 

Bean Pod Mottle Virus is a virus that is transmitted by these bean leaf beetles. This virus has the ability to take three to four bushels off of your yield without you even knowing it. 

A few years back, Iowa State University performed a study testing fields that were clear to the human eye for this virus and found that around 62% of the fields sampled had Bean Pod Mottle Virus. So, it is more common than you may think. 

Crop Diseases - What to Watch for this Season

Frog eye leaf spot and septoria brown spot are no new diseases. Frog eye leaf spot becomes more common as hurricane season approaches.

Did you know? This disease is transmitted through the air and needs to be blown up to the Midwest from the southern states. The intensity of hurricane season that year is what determines the impact of this disease here in the Midwest. 

Septoria brown spot reduces yield potential in almost every field in our territory. The more rain we receive, the more severe this disease will be this season, and the greater the need for control. 

When looking for the ideal fungicide or insecticide to tackle these pests and diseases, our recommendations are to: 

  1. Look for a fungicide with 2-3 modes of action. This will help slow down the development of fungal diseases that are resistant to fungicides for an extended period of time. Consider applying your fungicide applications around the R3 growth stage. 
  2. Invest in a cost-effective pyrethroid insecticide. These insecticides are relatively inexpensive yet target a broad range of yield robbing insects. 
  3. Apply two-in-one. If you are needing to apply both a fungicide and insecticide, we suggest applying these at the same time to receive a more consistent economic payback. 

To talk more of the specifics of what may be best for your operation this season, contact a member of our Liqui-Grow Sales Team.  

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email

Managing Corn in Dry Conditions

Dry corn field in drought

As drought conditions continue to affect much of the upper Midwest, row crop farmers are evaluating their corn and making nutrient decisions to prepare for this fall’s harvest. While the actions of Mother Nature are out of our control, there are positives to the current crop conditions that producers can manage throughout the summer months.

First and foremost, while the conditions are starting to affect yield, it often takes a severe drought to drastically hamper yield numbers. At the V12 stage, corn uses about .26” of water each day, making it very resilient even in dry conditions. And according to drought maps in early June, much of the upper Midwest is in the lower drought ranking.

US Drought Monitor map

Early Signs of Water Stress

As you watch your corn throughout the day, you’ll likely see rolled leaves during the heat of the day. While it doesn’t look the best, rolled leaves are actually a good sign that the plant is protecting itself. 

During the day, the top inches of soil dry out under the sun’s pressure, and water is lost from the root area of the plant. This lack of moisture causes the leaves to roll as the crop works to conserve moisture. Early in the morning and later in the evening, though, you should see a more normal leaf structure. In these cooler portions of the day (and overnight), moisture returns from high density areas to low areas, and the plant is able to absorb the water back into its roots to stay healthy, and from there the leaves will unroll.

Supporting Corn through Drought

So, how can you help your corn battle dry conditions and still grow a successful crop? 

The number one management tip is ensuring the plant has adequate potassium levels available. As potassium regulates movement of water in the plant, keeping this nutrient at a desirable level will help the plant to absorb whatever water is available. 

Potassium deficiencies often start in the lower leaves of the plant and work their way up. And the higher in a plant the deficiency exists, the more impact it has on yield. Monitor your fields for potassium deficiency, which shows up in a “burned” appearance on the edges of leaves, starting at lower canopies in plants.

Staying vigilant against pests and disease that attack the root system is also important. As water absorption becomes even more crucial in dry conditions, ensuring the plant has healthy, adequate root structures will keep available water flowing and improve overall plant performance.

We can’t control the weather, but we can control our response to it. Contact us to discuss what options are available to ensure your crops have the nutrients they need year-round. 

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NREC Meets and Seats New Member

We are proud to announce our very own Dr. Jake Vossenkemper has been appointed to the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council Board. At Liqui-Grow we support the research to protect and better our environment while still supporting Farmers in their quest to grow yield. We hope Dr. Jake Vossenkemper’s dedication and knowledge will help IL NREC be successful in their own strategic plan.

Congratulations, Dr. Vossenkemper!

News Release

NREC Meets and Seats New Member

SPRINGFIELD, IL February 17, 2022. Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello has appointed Dr. Jake Vossenkemper to serve on the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) board. Dr. Vossenkemper joined NREC for its Investment Insight LIVE event on February 16 in Champaign, Ill.

Dr. Vossenkemper will represent fertilizer retailers on the NREC board and replaces Dr. Robert Mullen whose terms limits had been met. “Robert has been a great asset to the organization, bringing a retailer’s perspective to the table. We thank him for his service to NREC,” Kirwan said.

Vossenkemper of Davenport, Ia. heads agronomy research and product development for the wholesale and retail divisions for Liqui-Grow fertilizers. He was raised on a farm near St. Charles, Mo., and received his PhD in crop sciences from the University of Illinois. “Jake has a real passion for growing more food, while advancing sustainable production tactics,” NREC Chairman Jeff Kirwan said.

The Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC) was created by state statute in 2012. Funded by a 75-cent per ton assessment on bulk fertilizer sold in Illinois, NREC provides financial support for nutrient research and education programs to ensure the discovery and adoption of practices that address environmental concerns, optimize nutrient use efficiency, and ensure soil fertility. A 13-member NREC Council annually solicits, reviews and funds projects that fulfill the organization’s mission.

801 E. Sangamon Avenue | PO Box 19281 | Springfield, IL 62794

L.E.A.D. Academy Webinar

Join Dr. Jake Vossenkemper to learn about how to improve yields with fungicide and insecticide application.  This webinar will cover…

  • Weather Outlooks and Disease
  • Diseases in Corn and Diseases and Insect Pest in Soybean
  • Best Application Practices and Pesticide Products
This presentation will be streamed live on YouTube June 10th at 9am.
You can scan the QR code on this flyer or go to the Liqui-Grow YouTube channel.