From the Field with AgriGold: Putting 2018 Under the Microscope • 11.7.18

Brandon Nystrom

From the Field with AgriGold: Putting 2018 Under the Microscope

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Variable, in most cases, has been the best word to describe the 2018 season. Growers saw challenges ranging from inconsistent weather conditions to erratic insect and disease pressures to diverse commodity prices.
However, from Brandon Nystrom’s perspective, 2018 will end on a higher note than expected for a number of growers.
“Even with the large amount of variability we saw from field to field this season and the environmental challenges growers experienced, we had a good harvest with better than expected yields,” commented Nystrom, Agronomist for AgriGold. “Now is the time to look back at how we got here while also looking ahead to 2019.”
Sizing Up 2018 Challenges
As Nystrom recaps the 2018 season with growers, three yield-threatening themes continually emerged. Specifically:
Nitrogen Loss
“An area of concern was nitrogen loss caused by rain early in the season. This ended up starving corn of much-needed nutrients later in the season, which ultimately reduced the top-end yields for fields in these challenging environments.”
Excessive Heat
“Any place that suffered from excessive heat during pollination or in the early part of grain fill might have experienced higher kernel loss numbers or failed pollination.”
Stalk Integrity
“Across the board, the question I received the most this season pertained to stalk integrity. Due to the excessive heat, the accelerated growth cycle, disease pressure and nutrient deficiencies, a large number of plants ended up dying, losing integrity and laying on the ground.”
Harvest 2018: How We Did
Considering all the environmental challenges and variability, Nystrom believes 2018 was a successful year for many growers.
“Reported yields were positive, especially in the stressed areas. Our hybrids performed very well, and I witnessed some of the best corn performances I’ve ever seen during my time with AgriGold,” Nystrom stated.
In addition, Nystrom pointed to full-season maturity corn hybrids as performing the best overall during the 2018 season. This success, he says, is due to how these hybrids held up against environmental stresses during the early grain fill periods of the season.
Takeaways from 2018
As growers wrap up 2018 and look ahead to 2019, Nystrom has compiled his key takeaways from the season. When looking at the whole operational picture, Nystrom says everything comes down to this: Management pays, and timing is everything.
“This saying is true any year growers face a lot of challenges. It’s critical to have an intimate understanding of the products they’re using in order to maximize the products’ abilities, but sometimes this gets overlooked in the shuffle of the season,” Nystrom elaborated. “Growers need to know what pays on their operation because it’s not about throwing as many dollars and inputs at that crop as possible but spending wisely and effectively.”
With this in mind, Nystrom is encouraging growers to account for genetic diversity and budget for fungicides going into 2019. He points to the need for the right hybrid on the right acre to mitigate risk and increase yield potential, which are two imperative pieces when facing suppressed grain prices. Nystrom also emphasized the season’s sporadic disease presence, which saw the fast emergence of gray leaf spot, wider introduction of tar spot further east in the Corn Belt and accelerated plant growth as signs of necessity for a proactive fungicide program to protect crucial yields and grain quality.
“Looking to 2019, we have to keep in mind there is no such thing as a perfect growing season. But with the adversity we saw in 2018 comes the opportunity to learn from what we did or didn’t do. If we’re diligent and proactive in our approach, we’ll have a better chance for more highs and profitability down the road,” Nystrom explained.
To schedule a meeting with your local AgriGold Corn Specialist and learn how you can start planning for 2019, visit AgriGoldBeBold.com.

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