Quarterly Newsletter: July 2019

Banner image for July 2019 newsletter

JULY

Dr. Brad Bernhard joins Liqui-Grow

Soybean Industry Updates

Risk Factors for Foliar Diseases in 2019

 

Owner's Update

There are many changes & consolidations happening within the Ag world. Liqui-Grow is a family owned company with more than 60 years of service in many rural communities. The owners and all of our employees have a shared commitment to each of the local communities where we serve. Liqui-Grow represents many families, that live where they work, and they are devoted to helping you raise a profitable crop each and every year.

This year has REALLY proven to be a challenge for both our customers and our employees. Through it all we have tried to help you meet the spring challenges and will continue to do our very best for you and your operations. Thank you for your support. We look forward to providing to you the same quality products and services that we have provided over the last 60 years.

-Scott, Hov & Bruce Tinsman

photo of owners


 

New Addition to the Liqui-Grow Team

photo of Dr. Brad Bernhard
Dr. Brad Bernhard
Agronomy Research Manager

Brad Bernhard was born and raised on a hog and grain farm in Elwood, IL. Recently, he earned his Ph.D. in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois under the advisement of Dr. Fred Below. As part of the Crop Physiology Laboratory, Brad’s research focused on characterizing hybrids that would yield greater when planted at higher planting populations and/or narrower row spacings. In addition, Brad evaluated different nitrogen management strategies including band vs. broadcast nitrogen prior to planting along with different nitrogen sidedress application technologies (coulter vs. Y-drop).

The key takeaways from his research include:

Nitrogen Management

Study

Nitrogen supplying power of the soil is a good indication of plant yield-response to split applied N.

Plants that received banded N at preplant produced the greatest grain yields.

When sidedressing N, placing the N in close proximity to the crop row resulted in greater yields.

Hybrid x Population

X Row Spacing Study

Corn yields in Illinois maximized at 44,000 plants/acre in a 20 inch row spacing.

Corn grown in a 20 inch row spacing out-yielded 30 inch row spacing by 12 bu/acre.

As population increases, the size of each individual root system gets smaller.

Later maturity hybrids tended to yield more with higher populations and/or narrower rows.

 

Standard Population 

32,00 plants / acre

photo of roots

 

High Population 

44,00 plants / acre

photo of roots

 

At higher populations, the size of the root system is smaller necessitating the need for better crop management especially soil fertility.


 

Soybean Industry Updates

photo of Katie Hess
Katie Hess
Seed & Seed Treatment Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"We are currently testing soybeans to bring forward in 2020."

2019 has been a year for the books! We have seen a lot of mergers, buy-outs and technology advancements, so here are some key take-aways and highlights from what has happened and how it affects the soybean industry.

First I’d like to start with our new exclusive Armor dealership. Because of Armor’s agreements, we will be able to provide soybeans in various trait platforms to give our customers the options they have been asking for. We are currently testing soybeans to bring forward in 2020, and you can see those in plots across our trade area.

Bayer became the proud owner of Monsanto back on August 21, 2018. To make this happen, Bayer sold their Credenz soybean product line to BASF. We have been able to keep our Credenz dealership because of our strong partnership with BASF. Bayer has a new soybean technology to get excited about as well, XtendFlex. ®Xtendflex® soybeans are tolerant to glyphosate, glufosinate and dicamba offering more options to control weeds. Xtendflex soybeans are currently not approved for commercial use, but are in the testing phases to bring the best yield and genetics to farmers.

Dow and DuPont became one company, and then split into three different companies. As of June 1, 2019 the stand-alone agriculture company which evolved from, is called Corteva Agriscience ™. Under the Corteva umbrella is seed, chemical and digital products. Mycogen Seeds is part of the Corteva portfolio.  This merger is beneficial to farmers, because Mycogen Seeds will have a greater traits and genetics platform to pull from creating better products for the farm. We are excited to see the product and yield advancements in the Mycogen line-up because of this change, and what we will be able to offer our customers in the fall.

Enlist E3 ™ soybeans were finally approved! In Feb 2019 the Philippines approved Enlist E3 ™ soybeans for import, this was the final step before Enlist E3 ™ soybeans would be fully released for commercial use.  Enlist E3 ™ soybeans are available through us in the Merschman, Mycogen and Armor brands.  They are tolerant to glyphosate, glufosinate and 2,4-D choline, allowing flexibility to control weeds.

LibertyLink GT27 (LLGT27) soybeans are tolerant to glyphosate, glufosinate and HPPD group 27 herbicide. As of today, you cannot utilize the HPPD portion of this trait package. These beans are available through us in the Merschman and Credenz brands.

Soybean Trait Options by Brandchart of Soybean Trait Options by Brand


 

Risk Factors for Foliar Diseases in Corn - 2019

photo of Dr. Jake Vossenkemper
Dr. Jake Vossenkemper
Agronomy Research Lead    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The wet weather will allow foliar diseases to more easily infect corn leaves."

Nothing about 2019 has been easy thus far. For many of us, saturated soils and excessive rain have delayed planting and have made all other field operations difficult. While I’d rather not give you another worry, I’d be remiss as your agronomist if I did not inform you that several risk factors for significant foliar diseases in corn are developing.

Lack of tillage in the fall of 2018 and colder winter and spring temperatures have resulted in higher than normal corn residue and foliar disease inoculum carryover into the 2019 growing season.

NOAA and the National Weather Service predict higher than normal precipitation to continue (bit.ly/noaa3monthoutlook). The wet weather will allow foliar diseases to more easily infect corn leaves.

Disease pressure builds and reaches its maximum toward mid and late Aug. In 2019 much of our corn will still be accumulating significant amounts of grain yield well into late Aug, and therefore more susceptible to yield losses from foliar diseases.

Fungicides: multiple mode of action are far superior

I also wanted to remind you that if you chose to use a fungicide it can be tempting to select single mode of action fungicide (normally strobilurin or group 11) given their reduced cost, but University studies clearly show that dual or multiple mode of action fungicides (strobilurin+triazole or group 3+11) are far superior at protecting yield.

Chart on fungicide group 11 vs group 11+


 

Newsletter Archive - COMING SOON

Liqui-Grow Employees Recognized by Iowa Certified Crop Advisers

Working farmland requires tried and true strategies, which is why 50% of Liqui-Grow’s sales staff has dedicated themselves to becoming Certified Crop Advisers (CCA). Being a CCA is the standard of expertise and competence in the crop and soil management services industry. Trained CCA professionals can help increase per acre profit (depending on the crop and weather), have up-to-date knowledge on the latest developments in agriculture, and must adhere to a code of ethics that places a customer’s needs first.

Liqui-Grow is proud to announce that five of our employees were recognized for their years of service to the Iowa Certified Crop Adviser Program.

 

Dwain Kilburg Sales and Application at Eldridge, IA 25 Years of Service
Kurt Kirchner Location Manager at West Liberty, IA 25 Years of Service
Torie Korth Location Manager at Hampton, IA 25 Years of Service
Steve Heilskov Steve Heilskov Seed Sales at Hampton, IA 25 Years of Service
Mark Johnson Sales at Hampton, IA 20 Years of Service

For a complete list of CCA’s recognized by the Iowa Certified Crop Advisers, click here.

Urea – A Poor Choice of Nitrogen Fertilizer for In-Season N Applications

John Deere tractor in corn field

 

Summary

  • Urea fertilizer, if not incorporated by tillage or precipitation, is highly susceptible to ammonia volatilization (loss to the atmosphere as ammonia gas).
  • Uniform application of urea can be problematic due to segregation of larger and smaller urea prills and due to physical spread pattern interference from standing corn during in-season applications.
  • Liquid UAN (32 or 28%) is only 50% urea and is about half has susceptible to ammonia volatilization as dry urea.
  • Banding UAN further reduces the probability of nitrogen loss via ammonia volatilization.
  • Averaged over 3 on-farm plots side-dressing surface banded UAN gave 16.2 $/ac greater net returns and yielded 5.5 bu/ac more than surface broadcasted urea.

Urea, anhydrous ammonia and liquid urea ammonium nitrate (UAN 28 or 32%) are by far the most common sources of nitrogen fertilizer used in corn production. Moreover, all 3 sources of nitrogen fertilizer have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, but in particular, dry urea is an exceptionally poor source of nitrogen for in-season applications to corn. At first glance, urea seems to be an attractive in-season nitrogen source, because it can be applied rapidly with high clearance dry spinner spreaders and urea is commonly a few cents per lb of nitrogen cheaper than UAN. Urea, however, is highly susceptible to N loss via ammonia volatilization and uniform fertilizer nitrogen distribution can be a serious problem for top yields and maximizing economic returns.

Dry Urea: Elevated Risk for N Loss via Ammonia

Ammonia volatilization occurs when the urease enzyme hydrolyzes urea fertilizer to ammonia on the soil surface. Given ammonia (NH3) is a gas and lighter than air, the ammonia literally floats away into the atmosphere. The most effective way to prevent ammonia volatilization is for urea hydrolysis to occur beneath the soil surface where the ammonia gas can interact with hydrogen ions to form ammonium (NH4+).

To avoid serious N loss, urea must be incorporated with tillage, moved below the soil surface by precipitation or subsurface injected. For in-season N application, however, physical incorporation or injection of dry urea is not practical, leaving a rainfall event that must exceed 0.5 inches to move the urea below the soil surface (figure 1). This significant rainfall event must occur no later than 4 days after urea application (figure 2) or N loss from ammonia volatilization could drastically accelerate in subsequent days (Jones et al., 2013). UAN is also susceptible to ammonia volatilization, but only 50% of the nitrogen in UAN is urea. Therefore, UAN is roughly half as susceptible to ammonia volatilization as dry urea.

irrigation rate graph

UAN also provides more flexibility regarding in-season applications than dry urea. UAN can be subsurface injected or surface banded within the row. Subsurface injection of UAN strongly reduces the potential for ammonia volatilization because urea hydrolyses occurs below the soil surface. Banding UAN on the soil surface does not eliminate ammonia volatilization, but reduces the risk of ammonia volatilization considerably (figure 2, Jones et al., 2013). The reduction in ammonia volatilization risk with banding UAN occurs because banding physically reduces the amount of N fertilizer exposed to the urease enzyme.

Field with low Urea rate stripes

Poor Fertilization: Increases Yield Loss Risk

Achieving uniform application with dry fertilizer, which includes urea, can be a difficult task. Several problems exist that can lead to non-uniform urea applications. If urea is not uniformly sized, the result is segregation of larger and smaller urea particles during loading, transportation to the field and during spreading. Particle segregation is a problem because larger urea granules are thrown further from the dry spinner spreader machine than smaller particles, resulting in a higher application rate directly behind the machine and a lower applications rate at the edges of each pass.

Segregation is not the only concern. When side-dressing corn, poor urea distribution can be exacerbated by the standing corn crop, particularly when corn reaches over a few feet in height. Tall corn acts as a funnel, cutting down the distance at which the urea granules can be thrown compared to when no crop was present to disrupt the flow of urea toward the edges of each pass.

On-Farm comparisons: Broadcast Urea vs. Surface Banded UAN as In-Season N Sources

The on-farm studies were conducted at 3 locations in the 2016 growing season. The locations included Elkhorn, WI, Tipton and Morning Sun, IA. The base and side-dress N rates used at each location are listed in table 1. At each location the side-dress nitrogen was applied at growth stages between V6 to V8 as either surface banded UAN or surface broadcasted urea. At each location these treatments were replicated 3 or 4 times. The price of UAN and urea used to calculate partial profit was 0.36 and 0.32 $/lb N. The price of corn used to calculate partial profit was 3.50/bu.

Surface Banded UAN vs Surface Broadcasted Urea chart

Averaged over the 3 locations yields were increased 5.5 bu/ac from surface banded UAN when compared to surface broadcast urea (table 2 and figure 3). In addition to higher yields from surface banding UAN vs broadcasting urea, net profits were 16.2 $/ac higher for the surface banded UAN treatments, despite slightly higher nitrogen costs (table 3).

Table 1table 2table 3

Summary

Because urea cannot be physically incorporating post-planting, it is susceptible to loss via ammonia volatilization (loss to the atmosphere as NH3 gas). Moreover, uniform application with dry fertilizer, including urea, can be problematic due to segregation of larger and smaller urea prills and due to physical spread pattern interference from standing corn. For these reasons, urea is a particularly poor source of nitrogen fertilizer for in-season applications. In these 3 on-farm trials surface banding UAN increased yields 5.5 bu/ac and net profits 16.2 $/ac compared to surface broadcasting dry urea.

Reference

Jones, C., B.D. Brown, R. Horneck, D. Olson-Rutz. 2013. Management to Minimize Nitrogen Fertilizer Volatilization. Extension Publication EB0209. Montana State University. http://www.landresources.montana.edu /soilfertility/documents/PDF/pub/UvolBMPEB0209.pdf.

 

– Dr. Jacob Vossenkemper (Agronomy Research Lead)

Tar Spot Update

Summary

Last week Dr. Damon Smith, with the University of Wisconsin, gave an update on Tar Spot and I thought his findings were extremely valuable and the most relevant information I have seen to date.

Tiny black spots against a brown lesion are a symptom of the tar spot complex in corn.

Two corn kernels graphic

Keynotes

- Tar Spot can overwinter and has been in WI for 3 years. It is also in Eastern IA. The first two years Tar Spot was in Wisconsin, it did not infect plants until late August. This year it arrived Mid-June.

- There hasn’t been a single plant found with the Monographella version (the really bad type only found in Mexico so far)

- Tar spot is causing yield loss in the absence of any another disease, such as grey leaf spot.

- Hybrid tolerance incredibly variable. Some can handle it, some take a huge yield hit with this disease.

- Early hybrids take less of a hit. Research is showing that at 10% of the leaf area covered with Tar Spot yields are reduced by 8 bu/ac. Longer maturity (103-113 day) hybrids lost 15 bu/ac when 10% of the leaf area was infected.

- University plant pathologist are creating a phone app (the TarCaster) that will hopefully be able to predict the arrival of the disease based on the weather. They already have a similar program for predicting white mold. They expect that to be out for testing this upcoming year.

- Yield losses appear to be dependent on when the plants become infected with Tar Spot. For example, this year infection started between V8 and VT is some regions but in previous years infection did not start until after milk stage.  There is barely a hit on yield if it arrives during the Milk stage.

-Fungicide does help if timed properly, and at least Headline Amp and Delaro are labeled for Tar Spot.

-University plant pathologist plan on releasing a fungicide update around the end of December to show when the optimum time will be for applying fungicides to control/suppress Tar Spot.

Registration of Dicamba for Use on Dicamba-Tolerant Crops

In 2018, EPA extended the registration for two years for over-the-top use (i.e. use on growing plants) of Dicamba to control weeds in fields for cotton and soybean plants genetically engineered to resist Dicamba. This decision was informed by extensive collaboration between EPA, the pesticide manufacturers, farmers, state regulators, and other stakeholders. The registration includes label updates that add protective measures to further minimize the potential for off-site damage.  The registration will automatically expire on December 20, 2020, unless EPA further extends the registration. States affected include Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Read the full article at epa.gov.

What are Liquid Suspension Fertilizers

And Should I Consider Using Them On My Farm?

Summary

  • Liquid fertilizers offer some unique advantages compared to dry granular fertilizers:
    • Accurate nutrient application distribution
    • Can be tank mixed with many pesticides
    • Macro and micro nutrients can be evenly blended
    • Can be easily surface or subsurface banded
  • Liquid suspension fertilizers offer the same unique advantages and are cost competitive with dry granular fertilizers.
  • A recent summary of 39 science-based studies showed that banding fertilizer reduced phosphorus fertilizer fixation in the soil, caused roots to concentrate in nutrient rich fertilizer bands, and resulted in increased nutrient uptake and 4.5% higher corn yields.
  • Local on-farm research shows that surface banding liquid suspension fertilizers on 15" centers increases corn yields by 4.2 bu/ac and profitability by 16.7 $/ac compared to broadcasting equivalent rates of dry granular fertilizer.

Liquid Fertilizers – Some Unique Advantages

Liquid fertilizers offer unique advantages over dry granular fertilizers. Liquid fertilizers can be applied extremely accurately, can be tank-mixed with many different pesticides, and micro nutrients can be evenly blended in liquid solutions. These factors result in uniform nutrient application for both macro and micro nutrients, and increased profitability due to higher crop yields and fewer trips across a field when compared to dry granular fertilizers.

Liquid fertilizers offer unique advantages over dry granular fertilizers.

Graphic of two corn kernels.

Liquid Suspension Fertilizers – Unique Advantages at Affordable Costs

Liquid suspension fertilizers provide the same agronomic and economic advantages as clear liquids (starter fertilizer, foliar sprays, those used in drip tape or over the top irrigation systems), but are more reasonably priced than clear liquids.

How can this be?

FIRST: the phosphoric acid used to make the phosphorus fertilizer source in liquid suspensions takes fewer manufacturing/processing steps than the phosphoric acid used to make starter fertilizer-grade clear liquids.

SECOND: in liquid suspensions, a small amount of clay is used to keep fertilizers suspended in a liquid solution. This is particularly important for the potassium source used to make liquid suspension fertilizers.

For example, without the added clay, only about 1 lb of potassium chloride could be dissolved in 1 gallon of water, but with the addition of a small amount of clay, that same 1 gallon of water can hold about 3 lbs of potassium chloride. Liquid suspensions are higher analysis fertilizers (higher % plant nutrients per/gallon material), which reduces transportation costs. When lower transportation cost are paired with more cost-effective raw materials, liquid suspensions can be priced lower than clear liquids, and are cost-competitive with dry granular phosphorus and potassium fertilizers.

Three-panel graphic of corn plant spreading roots into fertilized areas of the soil
Figure 1
Fertilizer Source N-P-K-S-ZN-B Rate lb/ac Yield bu/ac Fertilizer Cost $/ac Net Return $/ac
Liquid Dribble Band 21-50-75-15-0.5-0.2 231.2 47.1 +16.7 $/ac Liquic
Dry Broadcast 227 44.8 Dribble Band

Table 1

Banding Liquid Suspensions for Increased Fertilizer Nutrient Uptake and Crop Yields

Bar graph showing 3% increase in soybeans and 12% more in corn.
Figure 2. Nutrient uptake changes from banding vs broadcasting equivalent rates of ammoniated phosphorus fertilizers. Adapted from Nkebiwe, et al., 2016.

Besides being cost-effective, liquid suspensions are extremely easy to surface or subsurface band.

Banding nutrients achieves two goals: reduced phosphorus fertilizer fixation with Ca2+, Al3+, and Fe3+, and roots become highly concentrated in nutrient-rich fertilizer bands (figure 1). As a result of reduced phosphorous fertilizer fixation (tied up in non-plant-available forms) and increased root activity in nutrient-rich fertilizer bands, the amount of applied fertilizer that is taken up by both corn and soybean crops is increased. In fact, a group of crop scientist recently organized 39 science-based studies with the objective of comparing the effects of banding vs broadcasting fertilizer phosphorus on nutrient uptake and crop yields (Nkebiwe et al. 2016). Averaged over 112 comparisons of banded vs broadcasted phosphorus fertilizer sources, they found that banding phosphorus fertilizer increased nutrient uptake by 12% (figure 2) and corn yields by 4.5% (9 bu/ac or $31/ac at 200 bu/ac yield level) compared to broadcasting the phosphorus fertilizer sources.

Fertilizer Applications—Advantages and Disadvantages

Graphic of a corn plant subjected to broadcast fertilizer

Dry Broadcasting

Advantages

  • Many acres can be covered rapidly
  • Low application costs

Disadvantages

  • Application uniformity is poor and can result in reduced crop yields
  • Broadcasting results in fertilizer fixation in the soil and lower crop nutrient uptake when compared to banding fertilizer
  • Blended dry fertilizers sift or segregate during transportation and handling which can lead to lower or higher fertilizer applications rates than intended
Graphic of a corn plant subjected to subsoild band-applied fertilizer

Subsurface Banding

Advantages

  • Application uniformity is very consistent
  • Replenishes subsoil plant nutrients
  • Banding reduces fertilizer fixation in the soil, increases root activity in nutrient rich bands, and leads to higher nutrient uptake and often higher grain yields
  • During dry weather, subsurface placed nutrients remain more plant-available than fertilizer nutrients placed on the soil surface
  • Eliminates the chance for fertilizer runoff during high intensity rainfall events

Disadvantages

  • 3 to 5 times slower than broadcasting or dribble banding fertilizer nutrients
  • Slower application increases labor costs
  • Initial investment in high horsepower tractors and subsurface placement implements can be high
  • Yield increases when compared to broadcasting or dribble banding fertilizer may not always be high enough to cover added labor and equipment costs
Graphic of a corn plant subjected to dribble band-applied fertilizer

Dribble Banding

Advantages

  • Many acres can be covered rapidly
  • Application uniformity is consistent for each plant
  • Banding reduces fertilizer fixation in the soil, increases root activity in nutrient rich bands, and leads to higher nutrient uptake and often higher grain yields
  • Low application costs

Disadvantages

  • Floaters equipped with high capacity pumps and oversized hoses are needed to apply liquid suspension fertilizers

Liqui-Grow's Local On-farm Research – 2016 & 2017 Results

For the last two crop seasons (2016 & 2017), we have partnered locally with growers to compare what effects broadcasting dry granular fertilizers vs surface dribble banding liquid suspensions fertilizers has had on corn yields. These studies were on-farm strip trials set up as valid experiments with randomized treatments and multiple replications. The dry fertilizers and liquid suspension fertilizers were applied at the same plant nutrient rates per acre. These trials were located in Traer Iowa, Morning Sun Iowa, Washington Iowa, and Roseville Illinois.

In 74% of the side-by-side comparisons, surface-banded liquid suspension fertilizers produced more corn grain than equivalent rates of dry broadcasted granular fertilizers.

corn kernel graphic

We applied the fertilizer, and the farmer cooperator harvested the plots with their commercial combines.

In 74% of the side-by-side comparisons, surface-banded liquid suspension fertilizers produced more corn grain than equivalent rates of dry broadcasted granular fertilizers (figure 3). Moreover, in 68% of those side-by-side comparisons, net returns were higher for the liquid suspension fertilizers (figure 4). Overall we found that yields were increased by 2% (4.2 (bu/ac) and profit per acre was increased by $16.7/ac from banding vs broadcasting fertilizer nutrients (table 1). Our findings are similar to those recently summarized by Nkebiwe et al. 2016, and are yet another example of what effects banding has on fertilizer nutrient availability, crop nutrient uptake, and grain yields.

Banded liquid suspension yield increased graph
Figure 3. Yield increase from using banded liquid suspension fertlizers vs brodcasted dry granular fertlizers in 16 side-by-side comparisons.
Banded liquid suspension net return graph
Figure 4. Net return from using banded liquid suspension fertlizers vs brodcasted dry granular fertlizers in 16 side-by-side comparisons.

Summary

Liquid suspension fertilizers offer unique agronomic and financial advantages. These advantages include accurate fertilizer placement and distribution, macro and micro nutrients that stay blended in solution, and a product that is exceptionally easy to surface or subsurface band apply. These factors together result in reduced fertilizer fixation, increased nutrient availability, and often statistically higher crop yields and net returns than broadcasted granular fertilizers.

References

Nkebiwe, P.M., M. Weinmann, A. Bar-Tal, and T. Müller. 2016. Fertilizer placement to improve crop nutrient acquisition and yield: A review and meta-analysis.
Field Crops Res. 196:389–401.

Doctor in the Field

There’s a new doctor in the field. And by “field” we mean the corn field.

For the last two and a half years, Liqui-Grow’s Lead Agronomist, Jake Vossenkemper, has been working on his dissertation in Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. Jake has been a PhD student since the spring of 2012.

On Monday, March 27, 2017, Jake gave his final defense for his dissertation on crop management factors that interact with soybean planting dates. Through his research, he found that soybean-planting date, seed treatments, and cultivar maturity selection are all-important management decision to consider for producing maximum soybean yields. He also found that warm fall temperatures can increase soybean yields by 3 to 6 bu/ac compared to normal fall temperatures. In addition, he found that when temperatures remain warm in the fall, full-maturity soybean varieties often out yield mid-maturity soybean varieties. These finding add to our understanding of what factors are important to maximizing soybean yields, and may help soybean breeders breed for resistance to cold late-season air temperatures.

We are all very proud and excited for Jake’s most recent accomplishment! He will graduate on May 13, 2017.​