Control Early-Emerging Weeds with Tillage or an Effective Burndown

Jared Goplen and Liz Stahl, Extension educators Weed Control in Late Planted Crops

The wet spring has been frustrating for a lot of farmers to get crops planted. One consolation with the late start is that there are several weed-control benefits of delayed planting. The primary benefit of delayed planting is that many of the early-emerging weeds will have emerged so they can be taken out with tillage or an effective burn-down prior to planting, assuming the weeds have not gotten too large yet.

Control early-emerging weeds with tillage or an effective burndown

A series of research studies have been conducted at the University of Minnesota investigating how delayed planting dates can enhance the control of herbicide-resistant giant ragweed. Giant ragweed is one of the earliest-emerging weeds in Minnesota, with 90% of seedlings emerging before June 1st. Tillage prior to planting effectively controls giant ragweed seedlings, providing up to 90% control of giant ragweed when tillage and planting occur in early June (Goplen et al. 2018).

Tillage prior to crop planting can also improve control of other herbicide-resistant weeds that emerge early in the growing season, including lambsquarters, common ragweed, and kochia, all of which have substantial emergence prior to June 1st.

Figure 1 illustrates the predicted weed emergence of key species in southern Minnesota in 2019 up until the start of June. These predictions are based on actual growing degree day (GDD) accumulation in southern Minnesota and weed emergence models (Werle et al. 2014). As can be seen in Figure 1, by May 31, early-emerging weeds like giant and common ragweed are nearing the end of their emergence period, while lambsquarters is nearly 50% emerged.

Fields that are tilled and planted this week will likely have significantly-reduced ragweed pressure, so weed control should focus more on weeds that emerge later in the season. Weeds that survive tillage can be more difficult to control later on, so scouting should be continued in heavily-infested areas to ensure weeds were in fact controlled with tillage.

For more information and graphs click here

Cover Crop Options for Spring 2019 Planting

Anna Cates, Soil health specialist, Liz Stahl, Extension educator and Phyllis Bongard, Content development and communications specialist Cover crop options for prevent plant acres & drowned-out areas

Excessive precipitation and persistently wet conditions have prevented the planting of corn and soybean in some fields and led to ponding and drown-out areas in others. On acres where “prevent plant” is claimed for insurance, the USDA-Risk Management Agency (RMA) requires protection from erosion and control of noxious weeds. Planting a cover crop to these areas can help control weeds and prevent erosion, while enhancing soil structure and preventing “fallow syndrome”.

Fallow syndrome can occur when there is not enough living root material for beneficial soil mycorrhizal fungi to survive. These “good fungi”, also known as AM fungi, facilitate the uptake of nutrients that are less mobile in the soil, such as phosphorus (P) and zinc (Zn).

For more information click here

How Will Delayed Planting Influence Crop Diseases in 2019?

Damon Smith, Extension Field Crops Pathologist, University of Wisconsin-Madison Darcy Telenko, Extension Field Crops Pathologist, Purdue University


Having someone scout your crops in 2019 is critical! Call your agronomist today to set this service up

“We keep getting this question, because as we write this, it is storming yet again in many locations in the Midwest. Rain, rain, and more rain has pushed back timely planting everywhere. Concern is starting to mount about not only yield loss simply from delayed planting, but what increased risk of yield loss due to disease there might be in 2019. As we consider this issue, we will use tar spot of corn and white mold of soybean as just two examples of where this could be an issue.

The Plant Disease Triangle. Remember that the plant disease triangle is the foundation for understanding how plant diseases develop and how to manage them. In order for a plant disease to occur you must have a virulent pathogen, a susceptible host plant, and favorable weather conditions to coincide at the same time. If any one of these three components is missing (or we implement a management strategy that removes or reduces one component) then a plant disease will not occur. When it comes to the host component, it not only matters that the host is generally susceptible but is also at a susceptible growth stage. Consider white mold of soybeans for a minute. All stages of soybean are susceptible to infection by the white mold fungus, but most infections occur through open flowers. Thus, the disease triangle is met when you have (1)white mold fungal spores flying around at the same time that (2)soybean flowers are open (susceptible stage), during, (3) cool and wet weather (favorable environmental condition)completing the triangle (Figure 1). The point here is that if we continue in a cool wet pattern, and delayed planting continues, we may quickly find ourselves with crops at susceptible growth stages when the weather is very conducive to disease.”

For more information click Scouting is Critical in 2019:


Farmer on Trade War: U.S. Lost Part of Soybean Market Forever’

Ali Velshi - MSNBC

Tony Mellenthin, a member/producer of Countryside Cooperative, was recently a guest on MSNBC with Ali Velshi to discuss the China tariffs.

Tony currently serves as the president of the Wisconsin Soybean Association and has served as the president for the Pepin County Farm Management Club. A must see interview!

Spring 2019 Edition – Countryside Compass

The Spring 2019 issue of the Countryside Compass is now available online!

Check out the stories covered in this edition:

  • Learning how to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable
  • AgSolver – analyzing profitability on your acres
  • How economic times are driving credit policy enforcement
  • Important tax benefits
  • Changes in the Grain Division
  • Lengthening your usefulness of feed bins
  • Spotlight on the Heck Dairy in Mondovi
  • What sets Countryside apart from others
  • What to look for with LP tank tilt this spring
  • Countryside’s commitment to Drive to Feed Kids
  • HVAC spring tune up
  • Countryside’s Internship Program and partnership with Chippewa Valley Technical College

Countryside Cooperative Spring 2019 Compass

What is the Field Forecasting Tool and How Does it Help You?

This summer we have been making use of Winfield’s new Field Forecasting Tool (FFT) to help producers make better input decisions for this year’s crop. The Field Forecasting Tool takes Nitrogen rate calculators to a whole new level. Not only does it calculate Nitrogen within the model, it calculates Potassium as well. Other inputs the calculator takes into consideration are previous crops, tillage practices, soil type, soil nutrient levels, planting dates, planting depth, plant population, and seed variety. Events that affect the in-season adjustments of the model include growing degree units, growth stage updates, weather patterns, irrigation, fertilizer applications, and tissue samples.

As the crop is growing in the field it is also growing within the model based on the above factors. Growing degree units and weather patterns the tool puts together by itself but the other inputs must be entered by the agronomist so crop scouting is very important. Whenever a fertilizer application is made the model gets updated with that information and calibrated accordingly. While crop scouting we update the growth stage to help keep the model as up to date as possible and pull tissue samples.

Tissue samples are very important to the Field Forecasting Tool and are used to calibrate the system and keep the model accurate so we can use it to make fertilizer application decisions. There is a tab within the tool where we can set up a table with the type of the fertilizer being applied on a range of dates and application rates to determine the most profitable rate and day of application based off of fertilizer cost, application cost, predicted grain price, and change in bushels per acre. Another helpful tab within the model is the water management tab. Within it we can see rainfall and irrigation events that have already taken place and a prediction of rainfall based on the short and extended forecast, and a historical average. It also shows us if the field has experienced any water stress yet this year and predicted water stress so we can make irrigation decisions if there is a pivot on the field.

The Field Forecasting Tool is immensely helpful in assisting agronomists in their data calculations and predictions to help you, the producer, get the most out of your crop and your inputs. This tool really keeps the customer at the forefront, with improved predictions and models that will help you make economic and agronomic decisions beyond this year, but in the years to come.

Photo depicting a 2nd Over the Top application of fertilizer. Note the growth stage at the top (V12) and the predicted stress days.

Photo depicting Potassium levels across the growing season. In red, there are predicted potassium stress days.

Photo tracking urea applications. In dark green are days when applying urea is most profitable. In bright red, days when urea application would do no good. Also note the tool bar on the left side for calculating cost to the producer.

Photo depicting data taken from an in-field tissue sample. On the bottom you can see the growth stage the field was in at the same spot on June 14th, and then the progress in growth on June 25th. You can also see exactly how this area is doing in terms of nutrients listed around the middle circle. If the periodic symbol is green, it’s doing good. Yellow and red symbolize a deficiency.


Finally, here’s a look at the water predictions. It’s divided into soil available water, and outside source water (rain or irrigation) and predicts when the crop will be water deficient.

Put Crop Inputs Where They’ll Do Most Good

Mike Christensen, Agronomy Division Manager

Are you ready to try variable rate planting (VRP) this spring? Your Countryside sales agronomist can write a prescription using your soil types, past aerial and satellite images, and the data your yield monitor gathered last fall.

We’re writing most VRP prescriptions using WinField® United’s R7® tool. We’re seeing good repeatability from what the satellite imaging is showing and what last year’s yields were.

Part of the reason for the interest in VRP is that there are so many differences in soil types and yields within a field. As the economy tightens, growers want to make sure they are spending money where it will do the most good. They want to treat zones with high yield potential differently than zones with low yield potential.

Take corn, for example. Your VRP planting population may vary by as many as 1,000 seeds between zones. If your seed costs $300 a bag for 80,000 kernels, you could save up to $4 per acre between two zones. If your field contains five zones of variability, you could save up to $16/A between the zone of lowest potential and the zone of highest potential.

A Word of Caution: If you vary your population that much, make sure you feed the corn in the better zones enough groceries (nitrogen and sulfur) to reach its potential.


Try our new field forecasting tool

The other piece of technology you can try this season is WinField® United’s R7® Field Forecasting Tool (FFT) Once you’ve planted your seed, we can use this tool as a barometer to tell if we’re doing the right thing in-season.

At the beginning of the season, we’ll load data like variety, population, soil type, and fertilizer application into FFT. Then, using live weather data, the tool will help you and your Countryside sales agronomist understand if nitrogen and potassium levels are sufficient or deficient. If deficient, we can apply more in season to reach the crop’s yield potential.

            Call your Countryside sales agronomist and ask them about VRP and the FFT.

Fungicide Shows Huge Return for Countryside Grower

It may be difficult to pull the trigger on applying a fungicide this year. However, your time and investment may pay off like it did for a Countryside grower in 2017.  Tim Mares, a Master Agronomy Advisor that works with Countryside, has seen huge returns from a fungicide application on many occasions.  He worked with this grower last year and saw 30+ bu/ac increase.

“The farmer wanted to spray half the field with a fungicide to see if it would make a difference. At harvest, the grower couldn’t believe the yield response he had.  He wished he would have sprayed the whole field,” said Tim Mares.

The yield map below shows the difference. The fungicide was applied via aerial application at tassel to the left side of the map.  The field had DKC52-84(High RTF) planted on the left and DKC 53-56(Low RTF) planted on the right.  “It had soybeans in 2016, which usually means less disease pressure.  There were a few rows in the center of the field with DKC53-56 that we usually don’t see as much of a response from fungicide (due to the Low RTF rating).  However, we still saw a dramatic increase in yield,” said Tim Mares.

The grower also applied Masterlock and Max-In Boron. The Masterlock helped reduce drift and boron helped elevate the boron deficiency.  These products along with the fungicide gave the grower the best chance at increased yields.

Contact your Countryside agronomist to learn more.

Don’t Just Hope When it Comes to Fungicide

There’s no doubt that when commodity prices are low, the late-season expense of fungicide applications can be difficult to justify. But sound in-season management is what makes your yield goals attainable. The right decision on fungicide applications requires a calculated approach. Response-to scores can help farmers manage the variability found in every field. This leads to clearer picture of how to allocate their resources and obtain a higher return on your investment.

Response to Fungicide (RTF) scores are key indications of your potential return on a fungicide application.

The Answer Plot® program tests around 240 varieties every year. Some varieties have a very high bushel response and others do not.  Below is a chart that shows all the variety results in 2017.


When conditions favor disease growth, use RTF scores to evaluate the potential ROI of fungicide application. Contact your Countryside Agronomist here to learn more about Response To Scores on your varieties.


It Pays to Check Fields Early and Often

We all have seen fields with high yield potential devastated by disease. The only way to stop disease is to catch it early or prevent it altogether.  The two primary diseases for corn in our area is anthracnose and northern corn leaf blight.  It’s important to check your fields early and often.

Anthracnose Identification

It appears as leaf blight and may occur anytime after emergence. In early corn, it will appear as water-soaked round spots and blights on lower leaves.  The spots and legions will grow up to mid and late corn development.  The legions will look yellow, red or brown depending on the situation.

The key is to catch it in early corn development. It can appear as top die-back after tassel and eventually lead to stalk rot.  Both symptoms can have extreme effects on field performance and harvestability.

Northern Corn Leaf Blight Identification

It appears as oblong lesions that look like a cigar which may be tan or gray in color. The size of the legion ranges from 1 to 7 inches and typically appear on lower leaves first.  Northern Corn Leaf Blight usually appears late in the growing season.  The disease requires temperatures from 64-81 degrees F, cloudy, and humid conditions to spread.

Both diseases survive on crop residue overwinter and spread by wind and water. Managing anthracnose and northern corn leaf blight can by done by hybrid selection, scouting early and often, fungicides, and other cultural practices.

(pictured: Northern Corn Leaf Blight)


Contact your Countryside Agronomist for further information. If you are not a Countryside customer, contact a member of our team here.

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