Summarizing Winter Production Meetings

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After our Corn and Soybean meetings earlier this year, one grower asked me what was the one take away message that would make his operation profitable in 2015. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. However, here are few notes I gathered that might help you put the pieces together.


  • If you intend to grow Corn, consider your price points. Dr. Heiniger (NCSU Corn Specialist) noted from economic analysis that unless you have the potential to produce 120 bushels in a given field, you might want to consider another crop this year.Corn Econ
  • You can use the Realistic Yield Expectation (RYE) of soil types to determine your yield potential. You can access RYE through the NCSU Nutrient Management Website.
  • Research has shown that to get your crop off to the best start you need uniform germination. Make sure your planter has consistent depth, proper spacing, and soil temperatures have reached 55 degrees at a 2-inch depth before planting.
  • To achieve high yields, make sure your soil indices are all in the high range. Soil test should be taken and recommendations followed. Only a minor deficiency can lead to less than optimal yield.
  • If you want to ensure the plant is reaching its optimal nutrient levels during the season, tissue testing at V6 will give you the best chance to make corrections.
  • Dr. Crozier (NCSU Soil Science Specialist) Recommended applying a starter fertilizer that contains 1/4 to 1/3 of your total nitrogen (N) requirement for that crop at planting and apply the remaining at side-dress (when plants are 15-24”).
  • To produce 1-bushel of corn you will need between 1-1.25 pounds of nitrogen. Therefore if your RYE is 125 bushels your total nitrogen requirement is 125-156 pounds of lb. N/acre.Corn Nitrogen Table
  • If placing 2×2, do not exceed 80 pounds of Nitrogen. If placing in-furrow, do not exceed 5 gallons per acre of Nitrogen.
  • Dr. Reisig (NCSU Entomology Specialist) reminded us that aerial applying an insecticide to tasseling corn for stink bug control is not effective.
  • If Stink bugs are a concern, start to look for these insects in fields planted next to wheat. Scout for stink bug 7 days after wheat harvest, as this may be the opportune time to make an application. Most stink bugs will confine themselves to field edges and an application across the entire field may not be necessary.
  • Brown Stink Bugs are the insect of concern. Look for these insects just prior to tasseling as this in when the corn ear is most susceptible. A suggested threshold for action was 5 or more Brown Stink Bugs in 20 sweeps. Dr. Reisig noted in an update last year, that his threshold for spraying stinkbugs is “one stink bug per four plants when the ear is forming, during ear elongation and the beginning of pollen shed and one stink bug per two plants nearing the end of pollen shed to the blister stage. I am willing to shift this threshold up to one stink bug per 10 plants when the ear is forming to be extra protective. Numbers this high are still rare”.


  • Rod Gurganus (CED Agriculture Agent – Beaufort County) reminded growers to make timely applications of Nitrogen at growth stage 30 to help optimize yield.
  • As long as tiller populations are acceptable (50+ tillers/square foot), making split applications in January/February was no more effective than a timely application at growth stage 30.Wheat Growth Stage 30
  • At growth stage 30 (growing point moves ½” up the stem) the growing point is just above the highest joint. If wheat is beyond growth stage 30, driving over it, freezing, or applying liquid nitrogen could damage the developing grain head.



  • Dr. Dunphy (NCSU Soybean Specialist) reminded growers that 3 foot high soybeans that lap the middle by flowering are essential to optimal yields.
  • A plant 3-foot high has enough leaf area to maximize the capture of sunlight. Any more than this, and the lower leaves will not effectively capture sunlight (no benefit). Less than 3-feet and the plant cannot maximize yield no matter what you do or apply.
  • Matching maturity group with planting date is a good way to achieve this goal of a 3-foot plant.
  • NC Soybean Variety Information
  • Foliar yield enhancement trials in Pamlico County showed little to no benefit, especially from fungicide applications. Since we have had a confirmed case of Frogeye Leaf Spot resistance to strobilurin fungicides in Beaufort County (2013), unnecessary fungicide applications could accelerate this problem.
  • Foliar Yield Enhancement Trials 2013-14 Summary
  • Dr. Reisig (NCSU Entomology Specialist) reminded growers that Neonicotinoid insecticidal seed treatments for soybeans provide no benefit.
  • Use of insecticidal seed treatments for soybeans will only increase resistance and limit the long-term effective control of these insecticides.
  • Dr. Dominic Reisig Note on Feeding of Soybean SeedlingsEPA Soybean Seed Treatment

Written By

Daniel Simpson, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDaniel SimpsonCounty Extension Director and Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture Call Daniel Email Daniel N.C. Cooperative Extension, Pamlico County Center
Updated on Mar 6, 2015
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