26 articles tagged "Agronomy Tips".

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Author:  Bob Nielsen Among the top 10 most discussed (and cussed) topics at the Chat ‘n Chew Cafe during corn harvest season is the grain test weight being reported from corn fields in the neighborhood. Test weight is measured in the U.S. in terms of pounds of grain per volumetric “Winchester” bushel. In practice, test weight measurements are based on the weight of grain that fills a quart container (37.24 qts to a bushel) that meets the specifications of the USDA-FGIS (GIPSA) for official inspection (Fig. 1). Certain electronic moisture meters, like the Dickey-John GAC, estimate test weight based on a smaller-volume cup. These test weight estimates are reasonably accurate but are not accepted for official grain trading purposes.       The official minimum allowable test weight in the U.S. for No. 1 yellow corn is 56 lbs/bu and for No. 2 yellow corn is 54 lbs/bu (USDA-GIPSA, 1996).[Read More…]


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Author: Bob Nielsen Weather conditions strongly influence in-field grain drydown. Plant characteristics can also influence in-field grain drydown. Early grain maturation usually means faster in-field grain drydown. Later grain maturation usually means slower in-field grain drydown. elayed maturity of corn due to late planting or simply cool growing seasons often translates into delayed or slow drydown of mature corn grain prior to harvest and, consequently, higher than desired grain moisture contents at harvest. Wetter grain at harvest increases the need for artificially drying the grain after harvest which, in turn, increases the growers’ production costs and can delay the progress of harvest itself. Conversely, an early or rapid drydown of the crop decreases growers’ costs and facilitates early or at least timely harvest of the crop prior to the colder and, often, wetter conditions of late fall. At the moment, the 2018 end of season is shaping up to look[Read More…]


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AUTHORS: Jim Camberato, Shaun Casteel, Gail Ruhl, and Darcy Telenko Soybeans in Indiana often show potassium (K) deficiency symptoms during seed fill – leaf margin chlorosis to necrosis. Although the symptoms are classic in many respects, one aspect of their occurrence differs from the norm — the symptoms are occurring on the youngest uppermost leaves, oddly enough, rather than on the older lower leaves (Figure 1). As the deficiency continues and the severity increases, the necrotic leaf margins can simply drop off the plant resulting in a ragged or tattered appearance (Figure 2). Iowa State Extension specialists described this condition in Iowa several years ago, referring to it as ‘Soybean Top Dieback’. X.B. Yang and John Sawyer describe the condition in the newsletter article Soybean Top Dieback Shows up in Iowa Again. Low soil test K has been found in association with Soybean Top Dieback. Samples from Indiana fields exhibiting K[Read More…]


AUTHOR: Bob Nielsen Corn is often harvested at grain moisture contents higher than the 15% moisture typically desired by grain buyers. Wetter grain obviously weighs more than drier grain and so grain buyers will “shrink” the weight of “wet” grain (greater than 15% moisture) to the equivalent weight of “dry” grain (15% moisture) and then divide that weight by 56 to calculate the market bushels of grain they will purchase from the grower. The two sources of weight loss due to mechanical drying are 1) that due to the loss of grain moisture itself and 2) the anticipated weight loss due to dry matter loss during the grain drying and handling processes (e.g., broken kernels, fines, foreign materials). An exact value for the handling loss, sometimes called “invisible shrink”, is difficult to predict and can vary significantly from one grain buyer to another. For a lengthier discussion on grain weight shrinkage[Read More…]



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Author: Bob Nielsen Understand this one simple fact about grain yield monitors: They do not measure grain yield. How’s that for an opening statement? What I want you to understand is that yield monitors ESTIMATE yield by converting electrical signals received from a mass impact or optical sensor, located somewhere in the clean grain elevator of the combine, into ESTIMATES of grain flow (lbs) per second or two of travel time. Along with ESTIMATES of distance traveled (usually based on differentially corrected GPS signals), header width, and ESTIMATES of grain moisture content… the yield monitor’s firmware / software then ESTIMATES “dry” grain yield per acre, at a moisture content of your choice, and records those yield estimates, and their geographic location in the field, every second or two in the display’s memory or uploaded by cellular connection to a Cloud-based Web server. Yield monitor calibration involves a series of steps[Read More…]





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Author: Bob Nielsen Fancy colored yield maps are fine for verifying grain yields at the end of the harvest season, but bragging rights for the highest corn yields are established earlier than that down at the Main Street Cafe, on the corner of 5th and Earl. Some patrons of the cafe begin “eyeballing” their yields as soon as their crops reach “roasting ear” stage. Some of the guys there are pretty good (or just plain lucky) at estimating yields prior to harvest, while the estimates by others are not even close to being within the proverbial ballpark. Interestingly, they all use the same procedure referred to as the Yield Component Method. Yield Component Method Other pre-harvest yield prediction methods exist (Lauer, 2002; Lee & Herbek, 2005; Thomison, 2015), but the Yield Component Method is probably the most popular because it can be used well ahead of harvest; as early as[Read More…]


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