It’s time to think about the 2012 growing season. There’s still a lot of speculation on the number of corn and soybean acres that will be planted this year.
Production agriculture faces many challenges many of us have never before seen. As you prepare for spring, here are some things to think about as you consider ways to make the year more profitable for your farming operation:
Corn following corn again was challenged in 2011. Even though the major issue was lack of rain, FS crop specialists worked jointly with their customers to implement a nitrogen management system.
This system uses all sources of nitrogen, including nitrogen stabilizers, to keep the ammonium available to the corn crop and not lost to the environment, and nitrogen application incrementally applied over the course of the year instead of in a single application. The fall of 2011 was ideal for a first application of nitrogen using this system.
We recently learned of the spread of resistant weeds across Illinois. Our current weed-control strategy of glyphosate continues to be challenged in many areas of the state. Yet we cannot afford to lose glyphosate as a tool to control weeds.
There are countless studies which show yield loss due to early-season weed competition, one reason a soil-applied herbicide helps maximize soybean yields.
Another reason to use soil-applied herbicide is to preserve the sustainability of glyphosate in a weed-control system. Increasing the rate of the soil-applied herbicide is an option to take the pressure off the glyphosate application.
Your FS crop specialist is using these techniques and taking a proactive approach to manage and mitigate the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds.
We also learned insect pests can adapt to transgenic crops. It’s hard to argue the value of utilizing transgenic traits to control western corn rootworm. However, over the last couple years, this pest has caused isolated damage in Illinois as well as Iowa and Wisconsin.
In 2012, best management practices, including rotation, are being implemented; but with talk of increased corn acres, the use of soil insecticides to control corn rootworm is being used as well.
Your FS crop specialist is available to help you develop programs that take your farming operation to the next level, allowing sustainability of our current products, while making your farming operation more profitable.
Jeff Bunting is GROWMARK’s crop protection marketing manager. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org