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2015 crop lessons

Excellent yields occurred across most of the Midwest in 2015. Still, top-end yields were lost due to pest pressure. Here are a few maladies that occurred last year that you should watch for 2016, says Tim Dahl, a Minnesota-based Syngenta agronomist.
Herbicide-resistant weeds
Just a few scattered weeds at harvest may seem meaningless. Still, these survivors may resist herbicides and multiply in subsequent years. If ignored, those weeds will not only hurt yields, but also create problems for years to come, says Dahl. Using multiple mode-of-action herbicides is one way to forestall resistance.
“Acuron herbicide is unique in that it has four different active ingredients and three different effective modes of action,” he says.

Late-season diseases like Northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot took off top-end yields in some fields, he says.
“Northern corn leaf blight has really been showing up the last two years,” says Dahl. “The best way to control Northern corn leaf blight is with a good defense in your hybrids. Then, we can really help out the plant by doing a fungicide application, especially at the R1 stage on corn, to make sure the plant stays alive as long as it’s supposed to.”

The longer life can help plants generate more photosynthesis to garner more yields.
Soybean pests
Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) remains a top soybean pest. SCN-resistant soybean varieties still remain a good tool for dealing with this pest. There also are some promising seed treatments for managing SCN. They include Syngenta’s Clariva Complete Beans.
If a farmer has very high soybean cyst nematode levels, the first thing to do is select the genetic package, the best-adapted soybean variety for that acre, adds Dahl. Then, use a high quality seed treatment. It’s also important to use crop rotation as a defense, but even if you rotated out of soybeans for several years you would still need to manage them, he adds.
Sudden death syndrome (SDS) continues to creep into the picture. Dahl saw more of it in 2015. “When those soybean cyst nematodes nibble away at the roots, they weaken the plant,” he says. “Then the pathogen is able to overcome the plant and knock off yields. We need a good genetic package, good seed treatment, and then cultural practices to avoid SDS.”
To avoid these issues, Dahl stresses the importance of planting in ideal conditions, proper in-field drainage, and avoiding compaction.
“Margins are extremely tight, in my conversations, farmers want to know where they can we save a few dollars,” he says. “We have to be careful we aren’t cutting things that are going to hurt us in the end.”

(Author – Kacey Birchmier, source – http://www.agriculture.com/crops/corn/2015-crop-lessons_136-ar51949)

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