ASK THE AGRONOMIST BLOG

Stine’s Ask the Agronomist blog is your source to the latest information from our expert team, including advice and insight on field practices, product recommendations, planting and harvest updates, new technologies, crop management, innovative research and information about how to keep your farm operation running smoothly year round. 

  • The Stine® 3-2-1 Advantage
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    The Stine® 3-2-1 Advantage

    November 10, 2022

    Posted by Stine Seed in Stine News

    Join Stine® in our countdown for success in 2023. We’ve always held firm that our line of Enlist E3® soybeans is unmatched in the industry. And just as growers are mapping out their 2023 seed plans, we have the numbers to show our products are leading edge. We call it the Stine 3-2-1 Advantage — data-backed research that proves we have the best of the best when it comes to soybean genetics.

    “Stine is synonymous with soybeans and for good reason,” says Myron Stine, company president. “We have the industry’s largest private seed breeding program, which means we’re continuously developing new, higher-performing seed. But even more important is that we understand the value of data. We know that’s what growers want and need to help them make educated decisions for their farms. Now, we’re excited to share our 3-2-1 Advantage. It’s research growers can trust from a brand that cares deeply about their success.” 

    Let the countdown begin.

    3…

    Stine Enlist E3 soybean lines are 3 bushels/acre better compared to the leading competing trait platform. In 2021, Stine conducted 128 side-by-side comparisons putting Stine enlist E3 against the leading competing trait and brand (Asgrow® XtendFlex® soybeans). These plots were properly conducted to ensure a fair playing field for both soybean brands, which means all soybeans were planted in the same location at the same population and row spacing and with the same equipment. Only some like maturities were compared. Stine Enlist E3 genetics had a 73% win rate over the leading competitor trait and brand, resulting in a 3.3-bushel advantage. Even more, our newest E-series line of Enlist E3 soybeans had a 78% win rate versus the competition, resulting in a 4.8-bushel advantage (more than $50/acre profit potential).

    2…

    All Stine soybean lines are 2 bushels/acre better compared to all competing brands. In 2021, we received data from 306 Stine customers who planted side-by-side field comparisons.. It’s important to note that these were not our plots, but fields planted by growers who not only planted Stine, but also a variety of other competitors. They, too, used the same location, same field type, same machinery, planting population, and row width for each brand and trait platform. At the end of the day, Stine brand soybeans outperformed the competition 72% of the time, coming in at an average of 60.5 bushels/acre compared to other brands at 58.5 bushels/acre. This is a 2-bushel advantage (or $26.00/acre profit potential).

    1…

    Stine leads the industry in soybean genetics, and we are committed to being No. 1 not only in product performance but also in quality and customer service.

    “Stine wants to be No. 1 and prove that Stine cares more,” says Myron. “Stine is the fourth largest soybean brand and the largest private Enlist E3 soybean brand. No one understands soybeans better than we do. It is our goal to also be No. 1 in product quality and customer service. This is a huge initiative for us, and we look forward to proving it in 2023.”

    Growers need the data to make smart decisions on their farms. Stine’s 3-2-1 Advantage is what sets us apart in the soybean game. For more information on our 3-2-1 Advantage or to learn about our 2023 soybean lineup, contact your local Stine sales rep or regional sales agronomist.

  • Need help selecting seed for 2023? Don’t forget to look at plot data.
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    Need help selecting seed for 2023? Don’t forget to look at plot data.

    November 03, 2022

    Posted by Stine Seed in Products

    Deciphering product performance from plot data can be beneficial for growers making educated seed decisions for the next planting season. You’ve likely already heard from several agronomists from different seed companies presenting their latest local and regional plot results. This is all great information to have, but it’s important to understand what you’re looking at and ask the right questions to make a better decision for your operation. 

    One rule of thumb we tell growers is to always keep this equation top of mind:

    Genetics + Management + Environment = Yield

    “Genetics are only part of the equation,” says Tony Lenz, Stine corn technical agronomist. “Growers need to look at the big picture, as many factors go into producing top-end yield. They need to consider the environment they’re in and the management strategies they employ and those used in the plot results being presented to them. Growers need to take a comprehensive approach to decipher plot data.”

    Ask the right questions
    When reviewing plot data with your local seed company and dealers, we recommend asking questions to help you better understand what you’re looking at on paper. A few questions we recommend include the following:

    1. How was the plot set up? How many products were used for comparison and at what replication?
      Essentially, you want to ensure you’re looking at fair results.

      “You really want to make sure  the plots were done right,” says Bill Kessinger, Stine corn technical agronomist. “What’s the plot length? Are you only seeing data from a good-quality plot? How many rows per product were used for the comparison? What was the row width used? How were the comparisons replicated? Were hybrids of similar stature and height used in the plot or could there be potential for a shading effect? These are all important questions to ask when reviewing plot data."

    2. Was the Least Significant Difference Value (LSD) considered?
      LSD is generally reported in plot results and designates the number (typically in bushels/acre) that separates entries without making them significantly different. For example, if Hybrid A made 152 bu/acre and Hybrid B made 141 bu/acre and the LSD of the plot was 13 bu/acre, that data indicates that Hybrid A was not better than Hybrid B, but rather random chance likely accounted for the difference in the two.

    3. What is the product performance history of this plot? Have you done trials in previous years, and what were those results?
      As growers, you understand all too well that no year is the same and Mother Nature brings different variables that will impact yield. It’s important to get what history you can of that plot or of similar plots near that location to determine performance in different years.

      “You may have stress in one area this year that skews the data, but we need to think bigger picture,” says Lenz. “If you had a drought year that hurt your yields, you can evaluate data for drought tolerance, but you need to look at how that hybrid did in a lot of different environments year over year. There’s a lot of variabilites to look out for, especially in a year like 2022.”

      Make sure to ask how specific products of interest perform in good growing years and in years where stressors such as drought or high moisture could have impacted yields. Always ask for several years of data if available.

    4. Is standard deviation (SD) or coefficient variation (CV) data available?
      SD and CV are typically provided for strip trial plots and are used to report individual hybrid performance in a given location but in a larger context. SD is a mathematical formula that reports one deviation from the mean in a “normal” distribution or bell curve. CV states the SD as a percentage. These terms are basically the same thing; they show you how far the average of Product A deviated from the mean of the plot. Going back to our earlier example, if Hybrid A yielded 152 bu/acre and the average of the plot was 155 bu/acre with a SD of 6, the data indicates that Hybrid A was within the normal distribution of hybrid yields in that plot, regardless of overall yield numbers.

      “In our Stine plots, we ensure all plot performance is reported in percent of plot average,” says Kessinger. “This means that if products of similar maturities demonstrate performance of 100% or higher, they are within the normal distribution of yields in the plots.”

    With these questions answered and after thorough review of the results, you should be in a position to make sound production decisions for your operations. For more tips on deciphering plot data, review this article or contact your local Stine sales rep or regional sales agronomist.

  • Managing soil compaction during and after harvest
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    Managing soil compaction during and after harvest

    October 28, 2022

    Posted by Stine Seed in Harvest

    Soil compaction is an issue many growers face each year, and it’s one that can greatly impact yields the following season. In fact, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach notes yield loss due to soil compaction caused by wheel traffic can range anywhere from 10% to 20%. What makes it even more problematic is that it can last for several years if not properly managed. It’s important for growers to do what they can this fall to prevent and mitigate the problem before next growing season.

    Stine® Seed Company agronomy experts urge growers to design their soil management and cropping practices to ensure the prevention of soil compaction.

    “Compaction is a serious issue and can be affected by several factors, including heavy rain in a dry year or harvesting when the soil is too wet,” says Todd Schomburg, director of agronomy. “It’s critical for all growers to understand how severe these things can be for soil degradation."

    Whether you still have fields left to complete or have wrapped up harvest, take note of these do’s and don’ts for preventing and managing soil compaction before winter hits. 

    Do assess your fields before entering with harvest or tillage equipment. Soil compaction occurs when heavy equipment is operated in fields with wet soils. Fields with no stubble, heavy tillage and compromised soil structure are at an increased risk of compaction. Extension experts agree it’s best, when possible, to wait for drier conditions before hitting the field. A proper assessment of the soil can help determine if conditions are more conducive to soil compaction. Growers can use a soil probe or shovel to test the moisture conditions by pulling subsoil samples (a minimum of 12 inches below ground) and assessing them for excess moisture. While less accurate than other tests, it’s a quick way to note the soil’s appearance and feel to determine if compaction should be a concern. Iowa State Extension provides this table for estimating soil moisture with this method. That said, employing a penetrometer is perhaps the most effective method to determine accurate soil moisture.

    Don’t rush to get a crop out or start tillage if wet soils persist. If you don’t take the time to assess your fields’ moisture level properly, you’re potentially putting them at high risk of compaction and, ultimately, yield loss. Factors that lead to yield loss from compaction include, but are not limited to, improper soil drainage, denitrification, and root growth issues. If you need to get into the fields, consider harvesting or tilling around areas where wet soil is an issue.

    Do find a way to reroute field traffic. Find ways to redirect grain carts and other transport equipment to an edge of the field close to the exit to lessen the compaction caused by field traffic. If you must have the grain cart follow you throughout the field, have it take the same path as the combine to avoid additional tracks.  

    Don’t ignore the manufacturer’s recommendations for tire size and pressure settings. Lowering inflation pressures following manufacturers’ recommendations and using wider tires help distribute the equipment’s weight more evenly. Experts from the University of Wisconsin-Extension also recommend attaching dual wheels, using machines with tracks or more uniform wheel spacing, and even reducing the load size out of the field.

    Do take advantage of a dry fall to remediate compaction. Penn State Extension recommends “subsoiling” in a dry year. They note, “For maximum fracturing below the soil, use a subsoiler with large, winged points, or a paratill subsoiler with bent-leg shanks. After the subsoiling operation, prevent recompaction by managing your field operation to dry soil conditions, keeping axle loads, and contact pressure low.”

    Don’t rely on tillage alone. Tillage should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Light tillage can help break up some compaction in the topsoil, and a deeper tillage may be necessary to break up the subsoil. That said, tillage shouldn’t be the only solution in your plan. Growers should also consider planting a cover crop in combination with tillage and employing the other best practices discussed in this article for a complete mix of tactics to help clear up compaction.

    Do enlist the assistance of a local agronomist or field extension expert for guidance on best practices for avoiding compaction. Even if you’ve wrapped up harvest, they can advise you on how you can navigate compaction this fall through the next planting season.

    To learn more best management practices for your soil this fall, contact your local Stine sales rep or regional sales agronomist.