Corn

Unlocking the Power of Zinc

 

Getting the small things right can make a big difference—especially when it comes to crop nutrition. 

Zinc needs for corn are relatively small, but given the right environment and nutrient blends, it can add significant yield benefits. Read on to learn more about this essential nutrient.

The Importance of Zinc

Zinc is an essential component in several enzymes required for metabolic processes in crops, including protein synthesis and growth regulation. This crucial micronutrient is largely responsible for plant development, and without it, crops would fail to thrive. Zinc is widely known for its ability to positively impact crop growth and yield productivity.

Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiency is a very common problem across the globe in agriculture. It can be caused by low levels of Zn present in the soil profile, an imbalanced fertilizer program, or even other nutrients, such as phosphorus. We know zinc is important, but what happens without it?

  • Because of its role in plant growth, signs of zinc deficiency include minimal new leaf growth, small leaf growth, curled or cupped leaves, discoloration of leaves, stunted stalk growth and overall lower yield and quality.
  • Without zinc, crops are also more susceptible to damage from temperature changes, including cold and drought conditions. Particularly in cold temperatures where mineralization within the soil slows down, crops can take up less zinc from the ground. This is especially important to consider in terms of shallow, sandy soil composition where soil cools dramatically quicker than denser soil. So as we continue to push the limits and plant earlier in the springtime, zinc deficiencies are showing up more frequently in field conditions.

The Impact of Phosphorus on Zinc

Another important factor concerning zinc is its relationship with other nutrients. Phosphorus, another vital crop nutrient, can actually tie up zinc, if not properly balanced. This imbalance can cause harm to the plant and lower yields. Phosphorus isn’t bad, we just need to make sure we use the right ratios when using it in starters to maximize the yield benefits of starter fertilizers.

In the chart below, Dr. Jake shares how several studies have indicated that applying phosphorus starter fertilizer without zinc can actually lower crop yields.

In fact, Dr. Jake saw yields increase by five to seven bushels per acre when zinc is applied. Traditional phosphorus fertilizer can actually prevent zinc uptake, therefore doing more harm than good for the plant. This is why adding zinc is crucial to starter fertilizer application. 

A well-formulated fertilizer will include zinc at a concentration level that can mitigate phosphorus interaction and produce strong, healthy crops. To learn more, or check and see if your starter fertilizer program is balanced, reach out to a Liqui-Grow Sales Applicator!  We are here to help!

Maintaining Zinc

Now that we’ve established zinc’s importance in crop development and yield optimization, let’s talk about how to maintain zinc levels. 

  • Your soil composition greatly impacts your need for zinc and affects your application strategy. As mentioned before, soil density and composition can impact zinc requirements. While temperature plays a role, conditions such as rocky or sandy soil are additional determining factors. Zinc occurs naturally in rocks, so even small rocks within the soil can be a source of zinc for crops (so don’t get too carried away when picking rocks in the field!). Being aware of soil health also means knowing when certain resources or nutrients have been depleted and will need to be replenished to maintain plant health. 

All crops require zinc, but the amount differs based on the crop, where it is growing and the balanced fertilizer applied to it. Dr. Jake has pinpointed where corn responsiveness would be maximized in terms of zinc application, but other crop varieties will differ.

  • Be aware of the signs of deficiency and, in rare cases, toxicity. The ability to identify problems early on means you can properly address the issue and continue growing a strong, healthy and high-yielding crop. Zinc is especially vital during the early stages of plant growth, so be proactive and scout early to set your fields up for success.  

 

If you’re interested in learning more about zinc use in your crop, check out this Liqui-Grow Loop video. 

Want to learn more about Dr. Jake’s research? Check out this overview or watch his 2023 research results summary. 

Embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKECU92VdbU

Questions? Give us a shout! 

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com.

2023: Year In Review

 

As we bid farewell to 2023, we’re reflecting on the achievements, challenges and business success we’ve experienced as we work to bring you the highest quality service and products for your operation. 

Major Achievement: Launching ExactStrip

A major highlight of 2023 was doubling the number of acres we applied using ExactStrip, which was first offered in 2022. On top of that, Dr. Jake has completed his research of this technology and we’re satisfied with the results! We’ve heard positive feedback for this innovative solution ever since the initial launch and are looking forward to 2024.

“I was sort of a guinea pig for ExactStrip, and I’m glad I was! There was a phenomenal visual difference the entire season season and when it got to harvest there was considerably more yield with the ExactStrip application”

Navigating Challenges

The business and our growers faced challenges, particularly in supply and demand dynamics post-COVID. Liqui-Grow worked tirelessly to ensure that our customers didn't bear the brunt of these challenges. This resilience will continue to expand and reward customers in 2024, with improved supply resulting in lower costs for many inputs.

Grower Success Amidst Adversity

Despite facing a challenging drought year, our dedicated growers who trusted our recommendations still achieved high yields. New hybrids and cutting-edge technology played a pivotal role in helping them weather the tough conditions, showcasing the vital role that Liqui-Grow's products and service play in supporting farming operations throughout our trade territory.

Internship Program Flourishes

Our commitment to nurturing talent continued through our internship program, which welcomed seven interns in 2023! These young minds brought fresh perspectives and helped drive our research and sales efforts, fostering a culture of innovation within Liqui-Grow. We’re proud to support the growth of young individuals interested in agriculture. In 2024 we’re making improvements to enhance the learning experience. Contact our Davenport office for information about a future internship.

Growing the Liqui-Grow Family

The company expanded its workforce in 2023, adding 15 new full-time employees to the team. Additionally, we celebrated the arrival of 5 team members' babies

Empowering Communities

Beyond the fields, Liqui-Grow continued its tradition of giving back to the communities we serve. Through sponsorships and donations, we empowered local initiatives and organizations, emphasizing our role not just as an agricultural company, but as a community-focused organization dedicated to the well-being of our small towns. Please contact the Davenport office for donation/sponsorship inquiries. 

As we look back on 2023, Liqui-Grow takes pride in the strides made, the challenges overcome and the positive impact created. The year reaffirmed our commitment to excellence, innovation and community empowerment, setting the stage for even greater achievements in the years to come.

To learn more about Liqui-Grow our goals for 2024, text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com.

 

How to Get the Best Pricing for 2024 Crop Inputs

 

The saying “the early bird gets the worm” is applicable to more than robins and blue jays. In fact, when it comes to crop protection inputs, if you’re not early you may not get a worm at all.

As we gear up for our 2024 pre-pay season, we’d like to offer some key insights that we foresee in next year’s supply inventory and help you prepare to take advantage of the best time to purchase your inputs.

What’s new?

The supply chain for crop protection products took a major hit following the pandemic in 2020. Those issues lingered into 2021 and 2022, tightening available inventory and creating challenges for delivering secured product. Thankfully, 2023 held a better outcome and 2024 looks to continue on the upward trajectory for more products.

Let’s look at the forecast for product inventory:

    • Glyphosate products like RoundUp are in great supply. This product has rebounded since 2020 and is even experiencing up to a 40% price reduction on certain products. Contact your Liqui-Grow sales representative to learn which products have the best prices.
    • Post-emergence grass killers for corn and soybeans have a good supply and have seen a price reduction. These will be a great addition for growers trying to control volunteer corn in soybean fields. .
    • For the first time since 2020, fungicides will be in good supply from Liqui-Grow. However, most of the inventory will be booked by February 15th as growers see the value in these products for overall plant health. We will be offering a significant discount during pre-pay season and encourage growers to place their order early to guarantee product availability.
  • Pre-emergence products for soybeans will have some product changes and we encourage you to ask your local Liqui-Grow sales representative what new products are best for your operation.

Pricing will likely still play a role in product selection this year, but the trends are looking favorable for growers, if you make your purchases during the pre-pay window.

Planning Ahead Pays

Each year, we encourage growers to consider new ways to increase yield and reduce input cost. The best way to accomplish that is by taking advantage of the best pricing window of the year. 

At Liqui-Grow, we devote time to researching and securing the best products on the market to give our customers ample choices for their operation. In fact, that makes us different from most ag retailers. We don’t come to your farm with a preferred list of products - we provide the products that you ask for to meet your goals. 

This personalized mindset is also the driving force behind our service lineup. Whether you want herbicides and fungicides custom applied on your operation or just need the products packaged and ready for pickup, we can support your crop protection needs. 

We also offer “hot loads” for growers who use their own application equipment but need chemicals mixed at a moment’s notice. When you’re ready to load, give us a call and the mixture will be ready when you arrive!

But the bottom line when it comes to having a successful customer experience at Liqui-Grow is to take advantage of this pre-pay season to book the best products at the best price. 

Buying now is truly the only guaranteed way to secure your product for next year. Plus, if the weather changes and you have to adjust your plan midway through the season, we’ll work with you to ensure you have the product you need for your crop.

Growers concerned about cashflow can also utilize Liqui-Grow financing options as long as you lock in your pricing by January 10th. Terms with all financing options have changed for the 2024 season, so consult your Liqui-Grow sales representative for the current rates and payment options. 

For more questions around product options, availability or pricing, text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com.

What 2024 Tax Changes Could Mean for Your Operation

 

Running a profitable farming venture requires more than reducing input costs and increasing yields. In today’s economy, you also have to manage taxes, payroll and countless other financial variables that dictate your bottom line.

With December 31st knocking on our door, we want to provide our customers with some key insights regarding upcoming tax changes and how they could impact your operation. We met with Dustin Kimball, CPA, to discuss the most pressing issues around tax laws and financial planning for your operation.

In this visit, Dustin outlined changes related to:

  • Iowa State Tax Reductions
  • Section 179 & Bonus Depreciation
  • Estate Planning
  • Capital Equipment Purchases
  • Business Entities
  • And More!

 

Highlight Video (15 minutes)

 

Questions? Give us a shout! 

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com.

A Researcher’s Reward: 2023 Research Plot Results

Our fall L.E.A.D. Academy webinar provided answers for a question on the top of many farmers’ minds this time of year—what worked well, and how can we improve for next season? Watch Dr. Jake’s overview of his 2023 research plot results here, or read on to learn more about his conclusions.

 

Fertilizer Distance Study

We launched our multi-location fertilizer distance study three years ago in preparation for the launch of ExactStrip application. Now, after testing more than 800 plots at 10 locations across three seasons, Dr. Jake is excited to share his findings.

ExactStrip shares RTK guidance lines from the floater to the farmer’s planter, tractor or strip till machine in order to plant as close as possible to the fertilizer bands. Much like a teenager being close to a refrigerator, the closer the plant’s roots are to the fertilizer, the more nutrients the plant will consume.

Dr. Jake tested ExactStrip fertilizer application against broadcast application and a check plot with no fertilizer applied. Each ExactStrip application included a 30” band of full-rate fertilizer, and distances tested ranged from 0” to 15”.

Traditional liquid fertilizer applications tend to occur between 6” and 9” of the planted row—a range that yielded a 2 to 3 bushels per acre increase over broadcast application and 12 to 14 bushels per acre more than the untreated plot in our study. 

With ExactStrip, we are able to place fertilizer within 3” of the row—providing a 5 to 8 bushels per acre yield advantage over broadcast application and 16 to 18 bushels per acre over untreated.

This yield increase proves the value of precision application for maximum crop performance. We are excited for Liqui-Grow customers to continue seeing these results on your own farms. 

If your farm equipment is up to date with RTK capabilities, reach out to your local Liqui-Grow sales representative and ask them about our distance study and ExactStrip technology.

 

Pairing ExactStrip with Strip-Till

Continuing with his ExactStrip research, Dr. Jake conducted a study comparing different approaches for applying fertilizer in strip-till operations. 

ExactStrip application following strip-till performed very well against traditional injected application, and Dr. Jake is optimistic about how these numbers will continue to improve as his research on pairing ExactStrip with various tillage practices moves forward. 

In-Furrow Additives on Corn

Dr. Jake has been studying biological and non-traditional products for corn for the past six years. Through this extensive research, two products stand out. 

 

Micro-AZ and AvailT5 show consistent yield improvements of more than 4 bushels per acre across the 20+ plots tested. Dr. Jake strongly recommends these products for an affordable and reliable yield boost in corn.

Micro-AZ In-Furrow Starter

Micro-AZ caught Dr. Jake’s attention because the formulation centered around azospirillum brasilense—a well-researched bacteria that causes significant increases in corn root hairs, which improves nutrient uptake and leads to consistent yield increases.

 

AvailT5 Additive

AvailT5 is a phosphorus enhancement product that is a valuable additive for any field, particularly ones with pH above 7 or below 5.5 and/or low phosphorus levels. 

Dr. Jake compiled 140 side by side comparisons across 8 sites, and the results show that AvailT5 is effective whether applied in–furrow or with fall suspension fertilizer. According to his research, AvailT5 yields an average return on investment of $13 per acre.

Next, Dr. Jake wanted to compare the impact of AvailT5 on various soil types. When you look at the locations with the ideal conditions for AvailT5 to make the biggest impact, you can see the average yield increase from 4 to 9 bushels per acre, bringing in a $38 per acre return on investment.

Using this knowledge, we’ve come up with an innovative solution to maximize the impact of your investment. By using grid samples to identify areas of the field with high/low pH and low phosphorus levels, we’re able to inject AvailT5 exactly where your fields need it, and skip the areas that don’t. 

This is an application method that can benefit any farmer. Talk to your local Liqui-Grow sales representative to take advantage of AvailT5.

New In-Furrow Additives

While we recognize and appreciate the reliability and consistency of Micro-AZ and AvailT5, we also embrace cutting-edge technology and new products on the market.

This year, Dr. Jake conducted studies involving Maneuver, Utrisha P and Fosters + Pmax. The initial results all show strong performance, but we have smaller amounts of data on these products. Dr. Jake is eager to continue studying their impact on crop yields and gathering more data to help farmers make informed decisions.

 

Foliar Non-Traditional Screening in Soybeans

Another new study for 2023 centered around foliar non-traditional screening in soybeans. The preliminary findings shine a spotlight on one key group of products: amino acid based.

Dr. Jake is confident in the ability of amino acids to provide a strong foundation for soybean additives, ultimately resulting in a high return on investment. This initial research backs this belief, and we will continue to share updates as the study continues.

Starter Fertilizer with Zinc

For his last research update, Dr. Jake shared insights from a study focused on the presence of zinc in starter fertilizers. This research revealed the shocking conclusion that applying starter fertilizer without zinc actually lowers crop yields.

This is because traditional phosphorus fertilizer ties up zinc in the soil, ultimately doing more harm than good for the plant. For a starter fertilizer to truly benefit your crop, it needs to be a well-balanced formulation.

From concluding long-term studies to just beginning new ones, this fall’s L.E.A.D. Academy webinar set the stage for another productive year of unveiling new agronomic insights in 2024.

Want to learn more about Dr. Jake’s research? Text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com.

The Truth About Phosphorus for Crop Nutrition & Soil Health

 

The Importance of Phosphorus

Ever wonder why some fields are impacted by drought more than others?  It could be the result of low phosphorus levels in the soil.  

Phosphorus is a key contributor to plant and root development, along with nutrient uptake. From a technical standpoint, phosphorus is a fundamental element of a plant’s DNA and RNA structure, and a key component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the primary energy currency for a plant. This means phosphorus is responsible for helping a plant grow, develop and maintain energy throughout its life cycle. 

As far as the drought conditions are concerned, when plants are already stressed and struggling to retain nutrients, it’s pretty obvious that low phosphorus levels in a field will have a negative impact on plant performance.

Signs of Phosphorus Deficiencies

Phosphorus deficiencies can be harder to identify than other nutrients, mainly because they can often look the same as harsh environmental conditions.  But don’t worry, if you think you’re seeing something, call your Local Liqui-Grow Sales Applicator to get expert guidance in identifying those deficiencies. 

The main symptoms of phosphorus deficiencies are stunted plants or purplish leaves. It’s important to know what hybrids you have in your field, as some plants have natural characteristics that may resemble a phosphorus deficiency. 

Once plants have a bold blue or purple hue to them, though, recovery can be difficult. Thus, we recommend growers take a proactive approach to nutrient management to avoid potential issues.

Learn more about phosphorus management in this video to determine if your field has sufficient resources available or needs intensive application.

 

Thumbnail image for Phosphorus video

Maintaining Phosphorus Levels

Overall, the basics of phosphorus management haven’t changed. Soil naturally has very small amounts of phosphorus in a plant-available form. But phosphorus is usually in  mineral and organic forms that must go through a long process of weathering and microbial degradation before they become plant-available. Thus, phosphorus applications are often necessary to maintain adequate phosphorus levels.

Speaking of adequate levels, as new technologies emerge and advanced hybrids are developed, new phosphorus recommendations are coming into play. In 2023, Iowa State University updated their nutrient recommendations to meet the demands of production. See how your soil compares to these new standards here

Once phosphorus is applied, the soil does a great job of retaining it. When growers apply phosphorus in a liquid form, it is more readily available to the plant and isn’t bound up by other nutrients, like calcium, iron and aluminum. Liqui-Grow’s extensive testing and research has shown that using a balanced fertilizer approach and applying phosphorus at the same time as potassium and other micronutrients provides the best results for your crop’s performance. Using a phosphorus stabilizing product like Avail T5 further protects your nutrients and helps your fertilizer investment pay off even faster. 

To learn more about the technology available for phosphorus applications, watch this Liqui Grow Loop video and contact your local Liqui-Grow sales rep to create a customized nutrient management plan for your operation. Text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com today.  

Why Nitrogen is the Lifeblood of Your Crop

 

A plant needs many nutrients to produce a good yield, but when it comes down to the basics, nitrogen is the lifeblood of your crops. This nutrient affects nearly every vital element of a plant’s life and structure.

The Importance of Nitrogen

To grow yields, a plant has to convert sugars into energy, and nitrogen plays a big role in this conversion. It is a key component of chlorophyll, the process by which a plant harvests sunlight and converts it to sugars used for vegetative and reproductive growth. That’s a long way of saying that you need nitrogen to make grain. In fact, it takes approximately .8 - 1.2 pounds of nitrogen to grow 1 bushel of corn. 

There are several forms and sources of nitrogen, but the most common for field application is ammonium nitrogen (NH4), as it is not easily lost from the soil. Once ammonium nitrogen enters the soil, it is converted into Nitrate (NO3) by microorganisms and used by crops for growth and development. Since nitrate is a water soluble form, it’s more easily lost in groundwater.  

Managing Nitrogen Levels

To grow yields, a plant has to convert sugars into energy, and nitrogen plays a big role in this conversion. It is a key component of chlorophyll, the process by which a plant harvests sunlight and converts it to sugars used for vegetative and reproductive growth. That’s a long way of saying that you need nitrogen to make grain. In fact, it takes approximately .8 - 1.2 pounds of nitrogen to grow 1 bushel of corn. 

There are several forms and sources of nitrogen, but the most common for field application is ammonium nitrogen (NH4), as it is not easily lost from the soil. Once ammonium nitrogen enters the soil, it is converted into Nitrate (NO3) by microorganisms and used by crops for growth and development. Since nitrate is a water soluble form, it’s more easily lost in groundwater.  

Nitrogen is naturally found in soils, and as the weather warms, mineralization of that nitrogen occurs to convert it into a plant available form. However, the majority of nitrogen in the soil currently is not plant available. And we can’t predict temperatures or rainfall far enough in advance to rely upon mineralization as a sole source of plant available nutrients.

Thus, to manage your nitrogen levels effectively, it’s important to understand your field’s soil type and texture. Loam type soils will retain nitrogen easier than others. Thus, if you have varied soil types throughout your fields, it’s not uncommon to see different nitrogen deficiencies in different fields at different times of the growing season. Fortunately, a crop’s high demand for nitrogen throughout the entire plant makes it easy to spot deficiencies.  

 

Here are some signs of low nitrogen levels in your soil: (https://www.powerag.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/corn-def-nitrogen-2.png)

  • Orange & red tint in the midrib of the leaf
  • Pale, yellow-ish green plant color (from decreased photosynthesis)
  • Poor plant structure, such as stunted plants and withering leaves
  • Leaves changing color from yellow-ish green to brown

 

Of course, the best way to prevent deficiencies is through proper nutrient management. At Liqui-Grow, we recommend applying 32% Liquid Nitrogen to keep your soil healthy and equipped for productive performance each year. It has a balance of 50% urea, 25% ammonium nitrogen (NO4+) and 25% nitrate (NO3-), providing three of the four main sources of commercial nitrogen.

This blend keeps crops fed throughout the season as the nitrate is immediately available and mobile in the soil, while the ammonium is not as easily lost and readily available to plants. The urea in this blend must be converted into ammonium nitrogen to be available to plants, which can occur in warm spring soils in less than a week. 

However, application alone doesn’t guarantee the nutrient will be available to your crop. 

There are four main ways that nitrogen is lost in the soil:

 

— Photo credit to University of Illinois – 

  1. Ammonia Volatilization — When nitrogen is laid on the ground, pH levels change and nitrogen can be lost into the air as gas. Most commonly this happens with urea and can result in up to 30% loss. The best way to naturally prevent ammonia volatilization is with tillage, rainfall or irrigation to push the nitrogen into the soil. However, a surface banding application can mitigate losses to a maximum of about 10%.
  2. Nitrogen Leaching — Once nitrogen enters the soil, the nitrate form can be lost when heavy rainfall carries it down into the soil. If leaching occurs more than 6’ below the soil, plants will likely not absorb the nutrient. 
  3. Immobilization — When nitrogen is immobilized, it does not flow freely through the soil, making it unavailable to plants. While not a permanent issue, nitrogen accessibility during key periods of plant need could be affected by immobilization.
  4. Denitrification – If soils are saturated and void of oxygen, nitrogen gas and nitric oxide can leave the soil in a gaseous form. 

This volatility means timing and method of nitrogen application is key to reducing nutrient loss. Under normal field conditions, it takes urea 3-5 days to convert into ammonium. Using a nitrogen stabilizer, such as ATS or Instinct®, helps slow the conversion from ammonium to nitrate, protecting the nitrogen from volatilization and leaching. 

Additionally, measuring your carbon to nitrogen ratio with a soil test will help keep nitrogen available to plants. A 12:1 carbon-to-nitrogen ratio is ideal for plant performance. Lower ratios will limit microbial activity, while a higher ratio will restrict the soil from releasing nitrogen. To learn the best strategies for managing this ratio, visit with your local agronomist. 

Utilizing the correct nitrogen source and applying the right rate at the right time will keep your crop, your wallet and your environment healthy and strong. To learn more about managing nitrogen in your field, ask a Liqui-Grow Sales Applicator or text us at 564-220-2508.

Comparing ‘24 Seed Options

 

Determining which hybrids and varieties are the best fit for your operation in the new year. 

Harvest is underway and NOW is the time to lock in your seed for 2024. Although there are a ton of good options for seed in 2024, here are five corn hybrids and soybean varieties we recommend you look at as you head into the new year:

5 Corn Hybrids for ‘24

 

Brevant B11C37AM 

B11C37AM is a 111 day hybrid that offers a high level of resistance to a variety of common diseases, specifically:

  • Gray Leaf Spot
  • Northern/Southern Corn Leaf Blight 
  • Goss’s Wilt

Additionally, this seed hybrid showcases strong stalk and root structure, and good green snap tolerance. We have also been pleased with its performance on drought acres. Keep your eyes peeled in the fall as B11C37AM has great stay green tolerance and harvest appearance, so it can stand well into the season and offers up the ability to be harvested later.

 

Brevant B14H38AM

B14H38AM is a 114 day, late-maturing hybrid. It is strictly an Acre Max (AM) product, and performs best when planted into bean stubble.

This product is the real deal! It’s a true 114, with a nice combination of yield and agronomics to back it up! Keep it on your highly productive acres to maximize its potential. Here’s what you can expect to see from B14H38: 

  • Good green snap tolerance. 
  • High response to fungicide applications. 
  • Strong tolerance to Gray Leaf Spot, Northern/Southern Corn Leaf Blight and Goss’s Wilt.

 

DeKalb DKC66-04SS/DKC66-06TRE  

This hybrid comes in 2 trait options: SmartStax (SS) & Trecepta (TRE) and is a 116 day hybrid. DKC66-04/06RIB has great agronomic performance and yield potential across all acres, but performs best on well-drained soils. As for disease tolerance, DKC66-04RIB has good tolerance to: 

  • Northern Corn Leaf Blight
  • Gray Leaf Spot
  • Goss’s Wilt
  • Anthracnose Stalk Rot

As we move South where Southern Rust is common, we recommend a fungicide application. We’re excited about the yield potential this 116 day hybrid brings to our farmers with good dry down to be able to manage harvest.    

In 2022, DKC66-04RIB had a 67% win rate against 187 comparisons in local research plots. DKC66-04RIB is once again having a very good year across a lot of acres.  Be sure to ask us about it!

 

DeKalb DKC56-26TRE

DKC56-26TRE is unique in that it comes only in a Trecepta trait package. Ask our Liqui-Grow reps on how to place Trecepta! DKC56-26TRE is a solid early corn hybrid that has the ability to perform on any acre including sand, stress or high yielding fields. This corn has some ear flex, so don’t push the populations too high. This seed option performs exceptionally well in high heat and drought years, but like always, if we’re going to ask it to work, we need to apply a fungicide on it to help it along.  

Additionally, DKC56-26TRE has a strong tolerance to the following diseases: 

  • Southern Rust
  • Gray Leaf Spot
  • Anthracnose Stalk Rot

If your field’s are prone to Northern Corn Leaf Blight, consider a fungicide application.

In 2022, DCK56-24TRE ranked 16 out of 111 hybrids in our Liqui-Grow Research Plots.  It’s a head turner for sure, and has been once again as combines have started to roll here in 2023!

 

DeKalb DKC110-10SS

**New Hybrid in 2024!

DKC110-10RIB is new for 2024, and what a year it will make its debut! Even through all the stress and drought, it’s still performing to expectations. This hybrid will only be available in a SmartStax trait package.  

This seed option has very good root and stalk strength, with some ear flex, so don’t overpopulate. If you’re used to the Fast Die/Fast Dry products from DeKalb, this is going to look a little different as it has more staygreen into the fall. DKC110-10RIB is a good candidate for a fungicide application. 

 

5 Soybean Varieties for ‘24

 

Asgrow AG24XF4

**New Variety in 2024!

Packaged to perfection, AG24XF4 is an overall upgrade to the AG24XF1 with more yield potential. It offers a nice defensive package within the 2.4 maturity range. Consider AG24XF4 on acres where White Mold and Sudden Death Syndrome are a concern.

 

 

Brevant B283EE  

**New Variety in 2024!

B283EE is out of the Next Gen of soybeans for Brevant, bringing more yield and genetics to Brevant’s lineup. B283EE is a great bean for farmers who want to start their planting early in the spring.

With its exceptional disease package, B283EE has great tolerance to Sudden Death Syndrome, Brown Stem Rot, Charcoal Rot and White Mold diseases.

 

 

Merschman Cherokee 2429E 

Cherokee 2429E is a 2.9 soybean that is developed to be better on Sudden Death Syndrome acres and increase standability than the varieties that came before it. This seed option is packaged to perform East to West on a variety of soil types. After seeing heavy Phytophthora Root Rot (PRR) this year, we have found that this variety has exceptional tolerance to PRR. 

In 2022, Cherokee 2429E  yielded 106.7% through Merschman testing. We’re very excited to get this bean out into our customers' fields!

 

 

Xitavo XO3131E 

XO313E is good out of the ground and a go-to option for farmers who want to start planting early. XO3131 is versatile enough to go across a variety of acres.

It’s a medium bush plant type so to maximize branching & yield within your soybean crops, consider a moderate to lower plant population. XO3131E can handle both wide row or narrow row planting.

In 2022, Cherokee 2429E  yielded 106.7% through Merschman testing. We’re very excited to get this bean out into our customers' fields!

 

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg for seed options for your farm! As ‘23 harvest rolls on, be sure to check out our seed variety plot data results!

To hear more of what we have to offer heading into the new year, and to lock in your seed hybrids and varieties, talk with your local Liqui-Grow Sales Rep! Some varieties have limited supply, so we recommend securing your seed options as soon as possible. 

Questions? Give us a shout! 

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com.

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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 questions@liqui-grow.com.

 

Resources: 

https://corn.ipmpipe.org/tarspot/

https://crop-protection-network.s3.amazonaws.com/publications/tar-spot-filename-2019-03-25-120313.pdf 

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

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

Corn

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.

Soybeans

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 questions@liqui-grow.com.