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
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
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
corn field
CropLife 100The Andersons’ Humic DG Now Available In Canada
February 13, 2015
The Andersons, Inc. Turf & Specialty Group has announced its Humic DG product is now available to customers in the Canadian turf, agriculture and horticulture markets. Read More
Farmer on tablet
CropLife 100Southern States Co-op: An Inside Look At Our Aerial Imagery Program
February 8, 2015
Now is as good a time as any to explore the basics of what a retail aerial imagery program looks like today. Read More
Latest News
Eric SfiligojCommodity Classic 2015: Playing The Waiting Game
March 2, 2015
There was plenty of future-talk at this year’s event as companies (and growers) are largely in a holding pattern of sorts. Read More
Industry NewsHighway Equipment Appoints New Director Of Business Dev…
March 2, 2015
Cory Venable, who joined Highway Equipment Company (HECO) in 2013 as OEM Account Manager, has been promoted to Director of Business Development. Read More
Prairieland FS employees
Eric SfiligojWorkforce Worries
March 2, 2015
Finding good employees almost always ranks as the No. 1 or No. 2 problem for ag retailers in our annual CropLife 100 survey. 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 I…
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
2,4-D Celebrates 70 Years; GROWMARK Uses Super Bowl Ad To Share Positive Message
Management2,4-D Celebrates 70 Years; GROWMARK Uses Super Bowl Ad …
February 27, 2015
Jim Gray, executive director of the 2,4-D Research Task Force, lays out planned activities to mark the chemistry’s 70th anniversary. Read More
HerbicidesUniversity Of Arkansas Flag The Technology Program Adds…
February 27, 2015
Started in 2010, the Flag the Technology program provides a visual reference for applicators to distinguish between fields planted with different herbicide-tolerant trait technologies. Read More
Luckey Farmers, Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center
Industry NewsLuckey Farmers’ Berkey Branch Certified In 4R Nut…
February 26, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Luckey Farmers Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center in northwest Ohio has been added to its growing list of nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
Crop InputsWinField Unveiling NutriVision Technology, Ascend Dry F…
February 24, 2015
New for 2015 are NutriVision Technology, a unique tool for monitoring in-season plant nutrient availability, and Ascend WSG plant growth regulator, a new dry formulation of Ascend plant growth regulator. Read More
FertilizerNew Formulation Of NutriSphere-N Protects High Volume U…
February 24, 2015
Verdesian Life Sciences is launching NutriSphere-N HVTM, a new polymer formulation of the proven NutriSphere-N Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager that protects high-volume applications of UAN. Read More
EquipmentIowa Ag Secretary Northey Names Hagie Water Quality Lea…
February 24, 2015
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has named Hagie Mfg. as a recipient of the Secretary’s Water Quality Initiative (WQI) Leader Award. Read More
FungicidesEvito Fungicide Gives Canadian Wheat Growers New Diseas…
February 24, 2015
EVITO fungicide from Arysta LifeScience North America gives Canadian wheat and barley growers a new option for disease control. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Commodity Classic Turns 20
February 23, 2015
Two decades in, this annual gathering of all things agriculture has become a must-see event. Read More
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
CropLife Retail Week: On The Road Edition
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: On The Road Edition
February 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent trips to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and the Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Acquires FLM+ Assets
February 19, 2015
FLM+ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O'Lakes, Inc., and the company will retain its employee base after closing of the deal, which is scheduled for the second quarter of the year. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnited Suppliers, Stine Seed Form Marketing Alliance
February 19, 2015
The new alliance will greatly expand sales opportunities for Stine Seed with the United Supplier Seed Link Owners. Read More