Ken’s Final Blog

I leave you with the following comments and reflections in this, my final blog. 

Ag Life

Our crop at the Agronology 10 Research Center was planted later than normal and experienced some rather significant weather events. 

At growth stage V5 to V6, a straight line wind flattened the entire corn crop. Then, at V10 to V12 the crop experienced a green snap event. This green snap damage resulted in 1000 to 8000 plants per acre being eliminated. 

Finally, the rainfall pattern in July and August was very stressful for the crop. We would get .5 to 1.0 inch of rain and then go 3 weeks without any additional rainfall. In late August, we received about 3.5 inches of rain in 3 days. This late rain greatly and positively affected our soybean crop, but was too late for our corn crop.

Family Life

The highlight of 2014 was our family trip to Disney with 10 family members. Those two 7-year-old grandsons certainly enjoyed all the magic, color, and sound that are abundant at Disney.

My 70th birthday and Retirement Party after Thanksgiving was something for me to remember. 

Again, thanks for the good times and fond memories!

Ken Disney Ken Retirement Party

Ken Washburn

Farm Bill 2014

Today through March 31, 2015, the farmer has the vitally important opportunity to reallocate their farm’s base acres and/or update yields to reflect current practices. 

Additionally, the farm can also make the decision for the five year period, 2014 through 2018, for Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC).

Learn more

For further information, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency or go online at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/info/farmbill.html.

K and Rootworm Corn

Dr. Fred Below and others at the University of Illinois have demonstrated that rootworm traited corn requires more potassium than non-rootworm traited corn.

Dr. Below reported that a 200 bu/a corn crop will take up 274 lbs. K20 per acre or approximately 1.4 lbs. K20 per bushel produced. In his study, he utilized six different hybrid pairs that differed by the presence or absence of the rootworm trait at two locations over two growing seasons.

The rootworm traited corn required 13 percent more potassium than the non-rootworm traited corn.

Soybeans with High Yields

At the Agronology 10 Research Center at Walcott, Iowa, in the last four years (2011-2014) the soybean yields have truly been outstanding.  The package of management factors employed has included:

  1. Early planting date
  2. Ready 2 Yield Soybeans with excellent disease control packages
  3. Good soil test P & K values
  4. 91% of the soybeans had a soybean fertility package applied
  5. Effective early weed control
  6. Fall tillage

Table 1

Critical Observations at the Agronology 10 Research Center

                 Observations_________            2011         2012        2013        2014       4 Yr. AV.
AV yield for 18 plots/yr:                                 80.5          72.7          81.8         77.4           78.1
Highest yield for individual plot/yr:            84.0         75.3          89.8         81.6           82.7
Planting Date:                                                  5/02        4/25          5/01         5/06          5/1
P&K applied (fall, dribble band):                15/18       17/18        17/19        17/18          91%
P (ppm)                                                              36             33             31              28              32
K (ppm):                                                            227           224           236           211             224
CEC (MEQ):                                                     19.2          24.7          18.8           20.2           20.7
Tillage (fall):                                                    18/18        18/18        19/19        18/18        100%___

Fall Harvest for 2014

I have finished harvesting both our corn and soybeans at the Agronology 10 Research Center on September 30, 2014. 

Harvesting surprises

One of the biggest fall harvesting surprises occurred on Tuesday, September 30, 2014. On Tuesday evening, we began harvesting our maturity group 2.9 soybeans with temperatures in the middle 80’s. Wednesday morning it was cold (55°), overcast, with no dew, and the wind was blowing. When we finished harvesting on Tuesday evening, our harvest moistures for 2.9 maturity group soybeans were from 9.9 to 11.2%. But on Wednesday morning, our harvest moistures began at 14.5% and finished at mid- afternoon with harvest moistures still at 13.5%.


Cool Weather in September


What is the effect of the cool to cold weather on crops in September?

Cold weather on corn

For corn, the influence of this cool weather is additional days to build yield by delaying crop maturity. However, by delaying maturity—black layers—later in the month of September, the crop will dry down more slowly, resulting in higher moistures at harvest time.

Cold weather on soybeans

For soybeans, this cool weather has very little effect on harvest timing. It could, however, reduce yields some.

Cold weather on crops

Both corn and soybeans will generally be killed by 28°F temperature for four hours. If the plant is killed by these cold temperatures prior to maturity, higher moistures in the grain will be seen.

Black Layer

Crop Status for Mid Sept. 2014


Yesterday, September 11, I drove back from a meeting in Kansas City. Along I-80 & I-35, very few cornfields had been harvested. However, several fields in the general Kansas City area appeared to be ready for harvest.

But massive amounts of rain received on September 9-10 will be delaying the beginning of harvest along the IA-MO state line.

The general health and maturity of the soybean crop is most easily seen today. If the entire field is yellowing, then that’s good. However, if you see areas in the bean field which are still green and other areas that are turning yellow, something is wrong.

Yellowing soybean field

When’s Harvest?


When should we begin to program the start of our Fall 2014 harvest for both corn and soybeans?

Method 1

One method would be to look back at the past four year’s starting dates and calculate an average starting date for this year. Using this method for our corn, we would have a starting date of September 22 for harvesting 25% moisture corn and September 27 for 10-to-13% moisture soybeans.

Method 2

A second method for figuring this year’s harvest date begins with our mid-tassel date for this year’s corn—10-12 July—and then adds 42 days to reach R5—dent growth stage—on Julian date 233.


With Julian date 233 being August 21 as the beginning for R5 growth stage, add another 21 days to reach physiological maturity—black layer. At black layer, our corn should have approximately 32% grain moisture. Allow 10 days for the corn grain to dry to 25% moisture.


On Julian day 264, September 21, should be our projected harvest date for our corn. Our soybean harvest date of September 27 still feels good.


Rain – At Last

Rain update

At the Ag 10 Research Center, we finally received a rain event after having been missed for 28 straight days.

Last Friday and Saturday, the 22 and 23 of August, we received 2.8 inches of rain. This significant rain event will assist both our corn and soybean crops during the grain filling process. We will see some yield benefits to this late August rainfall event.

Additionally, our yards and pastures have certainly greened-up as a result of this rainfall.


Pastures Need a Rest


I am observing our pastures during this extended period of no rainfall. During this dry period, the growth and production of pastures have dramatically decreased. During this droughty period, the pastures need time to regrow (minimum of 21 days) and some additional nitrogen (30 to 50 lbs. N/A and 10 lbs. Sulfur/A).

The pasture needs these additional nutrients, rainfall and time to grow biomass for later grazing and better plant health.