Yield Protection

Scouting Weeds Insects

The price for both corn and soybeans is expected to increase this year, and your grower-customers will want to protect their investment. Savvy retailers will ensure their scouting program will help customers harvest top yields.

A scout should look for weeds and weed escapes, insects, diseases, drainage problems, and nutrient deficiencies — items that can threaten growers’ yields. “You’re looking out for the health of the plant,” explains Dr. Gary Fellows, BASF technical marketing manager. “Take your time walking the field. The more you walk, the more you find things going on that cause the plant to lose yield.”

That scouting program may start before the first seed is ever planted, says Dustin Hoeft, agronomist at Farmers 4-County Coop in Belle Plaine, IA. “Generally, we’ll begin scouting a farmer’s fields five days after planting, but it depends on the herbicide program,” he says. “We may start scouting before planting, especially in a no-till or complete post program.”

Weeds and insects are the focus of the early scouting. “We scout three to four times on average in the spring, including looking at stand counts. We’ll start looking for diseases during the second and third scouting,” he says.

Farmers 4-County Coop scouts know each grower’s plan for each field. “The lines of communication must always be open during the planning stage, especially after you’ve built a relationship with the grower,” advises Hoeft. “And the longer you work with a field, the more you get to know its history. You’ll know the more problematic fields, which then get a closer look.”

Building On Basics

Every grower-customer of Blanchard Valley Farmers Cooperative, Inc. in Findlay, OH, is offered the basic scouting program, but they can add features such as a second tissue testing for a more customized program for their corn, soybean, wheat, and alfalfa crops. Depending on the management program they select, they can expect four to six scout visits in a typical year.

For example, a soybean grower may contract for six visits between July and mid-August. During the initial visit, the scout will check for aphids, bean leaf beetles, Japanese beetles, grasshoppers, and other pests to determine the timing of any necessary fungicide applications. A follow-up visit to check for signs of Asian soybean rust will be scheduled shortly before the soybeans move into the R-4 growth stage.

Blanchard Valley’s scouts walk the fields; drive-bys in a truck don’t cut it. “Sometimes you can walk in two steps and can see the problem; for example, spider mites are always at the edge of a field,” says Don Boehn, crop consultant and 27-year industry veteran. “How far you need to walk in will vary. If you know you need to spray for aphids, you can see the threshold numbers in a few areas and determine the timing of the insecticide application. The proactive scout can project out the treatments by trying to catch the problems on a timely basis; that’s being efficient.”

The Doctor Is In

A scout can make a difference in the plant’s overall health, says Boehn. “If the plant doesn’t feel well, it’s not productive, just like a person who’s sick isn’t as productive at work,” he says. “Stress can affect a person’s productivity. It’s the same with the plants. While a doctor will do blood tests to find out what’s wrong before administering medications, we like to do tissue tests to be sure before we do something foliar or apply fertilizer or chemicals,” he says.

“I’m like the grower’s doctor,” Boehn says. “Hopefully I’m always a step ahead, but if the grower does see something in his field that concerns him, I want to be the first person he thinks to call.”

Smart Investment

“Growers are not as willing to pay us to scout on the corn fields,” Boehn says, which stems from a time when the retailer didn’t charge for scouting. “Now they want in-depth scouting, and we’re going to charge for that service. Some of our growers are a little slow to adapt.”

On the flip side, Boehn sees customers — many in their 30s — who want to do everything right. “These guys look at farming as a true business and they understand that they have to spend money to make money,” he says.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fungicides Stories
FungicidesSudden Death Syndrome, Brown Stem Rot Reported In Indiana Soybeans
September 3, 2014
Farmers and retailers should be watching for symptoms of these two diseases over the next few weeks as they are best managed through preventative methods. Read More
FungicidesResearchers Target Soybean Disease With Genetic Resistance Study
August 6, 2014
University of Illinois researchers will share new information on controlling sudden death syndrome through genetic resistance at this year's Agronomy Day. Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesValent Launches New Seed Protection Fungicide For Soybeans
July 16, 2014
The INTEGO SUITE System contains the first new, novel seed protection fungicide chemistry registered in 30 years by the EPA for protection against Pythium and Phytophthora. Read More
FungicidesNew Players May Make Pest Headlines In Corn, Soybean
April 1, 2014
The usual insects and diseases took a bit of a break in 2013, but other culprits surfaced — and could return. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
Latest News
Nachurs Alpine Solutions, Liquid fertilizer, micronutrients, facility
MicronutrientsYara Launching YaraVita Procote Liquid Micronutrients
March 31, 2015
Yara North America, Inc. broadens its fertilizer coating offerings with the introduction of YaraVita Procote, oil-based micronutrient liquid suspensions that Read More
Industry NewsINCOTEC Board Member To Retire
March 31, 2015
JanWillem Breukink has decided to retire from his position on INCOTEC’s Board of Directors, effective April 1, 2015. This was Read More
MicronutrientsAgrium Deals Michigan Micronutrient Facility To Cameron…
March 31, 2015
Cameron Chemicals, Inc. has announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Agrium Inc. to purchase the Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Creates, Fills New Pacific Northwest Sales P…
March 30, 2015
H.J. Baker announced today that Gary Bingham has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division to further deepen its sales portfolio Read More
Algal blooms
StewardshipStudy: Algae From Clogged Waterways Could Be Used As Bi…
March 30, 2015
Water-borne algal blooms from farm fertilizer runoff can destroy aquatic life and clog rivers and lakes, but scientists are reporting Read More
Young corn plants
Stewardship4R Nutrient Stewardship Summit Coming To DC
March 30, 2015
The annual 4R Nutrient Stewardship Summit will be held on May 12 in Washington DC. The summit will include a full Read More
FungicidesSyngenta Suing Willowood Over Azoxystrobin Fungicide
March 27, 2015
Syngenta announced today that it has sued agrochemical maker Willowood, LLC., for patent and copyright infringement, as well as unfair Read More
ManagementRetail Week: The Future Of Mycogen Seeds; The 4Rs At Na…
March 27, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matt Hopkins discuss recent trips, including a look at the future of Mycogen Seeds at Dow Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto Hears The WHO
March 27, 2015
Another challenge to the safety of glyphosate, and the responses from supporters and opponents, calls to mind a classic Dr. Seuss story. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Plant Food Expands Sales Team
March 27, 2015
Monty’s Plant Food Company, a leader in natural soil enhancement and  plant fertility products, has hired Andrew Bullock as a Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Louisiana Plant Poised For 2015 Production
March 26, 2015
As the 2015 planting season gets underway, growers across the country will need crop protection products to combat pests and Read More
Lake Erie Nutrient Stewardship
LegislationOhio Lawmakers Finalize Phosphorus Restrictions
March 25, 2015
State lawmakers on Wednesday finalized new rules designed to curb toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie, calling the regulations a major step forward in addressing the problem. Read More
Spreaders17 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2015
March 25, 2015
Manufacturers shoot for versatility and accuracy in this year's crop of fertilizer spreaders. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Hires Mid-South Product Consultant
March 25, 2015
Monty's Plant Food Co. has hired Matt Woodring as a Product Consultant for portions of Central Kentucky and Tennessee.    Read More
StewardshipMapShots Integrates With DriftWatch
March 23, 2015
Growers and agricultural providers using AgStudio FARM and AgStudio PRO can now view vital information about specialty crops and apiaries through a recent integration with the DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site Registry from FieldWatch, Inc. Read More
Crop InputsWorld Health Organization Report Contradicts Scientific…
March 23, 2015
A new report from the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate with a “2A” rating as a probable carcinogen, a Read More
Eric SfiligojSeed Treatment Stays Necessary
March 20, 2015
Grower-customers looking to scale back spending in 2015 won’t consider seed treatment, say experts. Read More
HerbicidesMARCH MADNESS: Industry Rallies Around Glyphosate Safet…
March 20, 2015
A newly published report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the herbicide glyphosate as a "2A-rated possible carcinogen" and the ag industry responds by circling the wagons. Read More