HARVEST EDITION • 2019
WHAT’S NEW FOR ORGANIC?
VIKING CORN & SOYBEANS
by Jake Hansen Product Manager & Agronomist
New Viking Organic Corn & Soybean Products for 2020 NEW ORGANIC CORN HYBRIDS Viking O.98-91UP. A strong defensive-type grain hybrid at a 91-day RM that offers good drought tolerance, ear flex, and solid agronomics. O.98-91UP is well adapted to be planted across WI, MN, SD, & ND on lighter, variable soils. This has shown to be everything we describe it to be so far in 2019. I really like the look of this hybrid across locations with strong stalks and roots, and excellent intactness. It has really impressed me with its ability to set a respectable ear and make grain under adverse conditions. Viking O.31-91P. A tall, healthy dual-purpose hybrid, O.31-91P takes the place of our old O.31-92 with added stability and yield. It is a sister hybrid to our O.45-88 making it a good option to plant as an early hybrid moving south or late/replant. Good emergence, health, height, and late-season intactness makes this hybrid a candidate for grain or silage. Viking O.45-97UP. This 97-day hybrid brings excellent vigor, health, and overall agronomics. O.45-97UP has more of an eastern adaptation to fit the I-29 corridor in SD and across the eastern U.S. This hybrid has held up very well this year, staying healthy and putting on a good long flex ear. This is another hybrid that adds a little more height and staygreen for that dual-purpose grain or silage option. Viking O.85-00P. A sister hybrid to our best-selling O.8495UP, O.85-00P is a new 100-day grain hybrid with a very strong western adaptation. With excellent drought tolerance and roots, this is a strong candidate to handle fields in western MN, SD and northern NE. I like the uniformity and stability of this hybrid to handle tough acres and still bring good yields in the fall.
Viking O.46-02P. This is a 102-day grain hybrid with a wide area of adaptation. This hybrid is right at home from central NE to NY, with its semi-flex ear, and strong agronomics. O.46-02P has been a strong performer this year. It held together in strong winds in many areas in SD, MN, and IA and has also handled the high moisture very well. Viking O.18-06UP. This is high-yielding new grain hybrid that has a wide area of adaptation from NE to NY. At 106day, the O.18-06UP has strong emergence and early vigor with good health to carry it into the fall with excellent test weight and grain quality. It is a more moderate height, but still has a good capacity to canopy well. It has looked very strong across locations this year with a big, girthy ear and excellent fall intactness.
NEW ORGANIC SOYBEAN VARIETIES Viking O.N1958. This is a new 1.9 RM Emerge Navita™ Soybean that has been bred specifically to improve feed efficiency utilization in animals. With low anti-nutritionals (raffinose and stachyose), and higher protein levels (4344%), we believe that the improved feed-use efficiency will prove very compelling to poultry & livestock operations. It has competitive yields with strong agronomics behind it. (Requires heat-treatment before feeding.) Viking O.2155N. This 2.1 RM bean has been a mainstay in our conventional lineup for a few years, and is now finally available in organic. It has yielded with some of the best varieties available to farmers anywhere, with solid defensive traits to boot. The consistent performance and yield on this soybean I think will make O.2155N one of our best-selling soybeans.
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Corn Test Weight
Lighter than Average? By Margaret Smith, PhD Forage Agronomist
2019 Growing Conditions & Test Weight Late planting and frost dates in the north likely had the greatest impact on corn test weights this year, but test weight is affected by a variety of factors. REASON #1: Delayed Planting Dates The 2019 crop year began with above-average earlyseason rainfall and delayed planting in many areas across the Upper Midwest (Table 1). Planting was delayed most severely in Wisconsin, with only 58 percent of the corn crop planted by June 2, compared with the long-term average of 91 percent. Though many of these acres were designated as ‘Prevented Planting’, much corn eventually was planted, just later than average. Table 1. Corn Acres Planted: 2019 Compared to 5-yr Avg for Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin Planted by May 5
Planted by June 2
Adapted from USDA NASS Crop Progress Reports, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin
REASON #2: Growing Degree Days Late planting for corn always reduces total Growing Degree Days (GDD) available for development before frost dates. Though July and August seemed cool, GDD accumulation from either May 1 or June 1 through our first frost dates (October 11-13) didn’t vary much from the long-term average (Table 2).
A warm September made up some of the earlier season lag in GDD accumulation. Later-season warm temperatures don’t completely make up the difference in corn development, though, as less sunlight is available in September to drive photosynthesis than earlier in the summer. Most farmers who planted late replaced their fullseason corn for shorter-maturity hybrids, but were those maturities ‘short’ enough? (Table 3) Though the severity of frost from October 11-13 varied across the Upper Midwest, some fields ended growth on those dates. These fields will have lighter test weights than those that matured before freezing. Table 3. Corn relative maturities and estimated Growing Degree Days (GDD) need to mature the crop. Corn Relative GDD needed to Maturity (days) reach Maturity 85
REASON #3: Corn Diseases Fields affected by disease likely will produce light test weights.
2019 HARVEST EDITION
Table 2. 2019 GDD Accumulation from May 1 and June 1 Through October 11 at Four Locations. Location Albert Lea, MN Morris, MN Wausau, WI Waterloo, IA
2019 GDD Accumulation (to Oct 11)
Difference from Avg.
Adapted from: https://mrcc.illinois.edu/U2U/gdd/
Example of stalk rot, October 17, 2019.
Despite excessive rain this year, corn had fairly low incidence of leaf diseases. We observed a fair
amount of corn rust, but not enough likely to cause any economic yield loss. We also observed a number of Northern Corn Leaf Blight infections, but at low levels. In late September, anthracnose in some fields started to cause some top die-back. This was most prevalent on corn-on-corn acres. This autumn’s late rain and cooler temperatures increase the potential for crown and stalk diseases to set in. Some ear rots have taken hold late in the season. Further rain, high humidity and cool temperatures as corn stands in the field to dry will raise the risk of infection. Corn ears that exhibit damage from insect feeding or other injury are likely the first to be affected by ear rot, followed by those plants that are holding the ears more upright, with tighter husk covers, allowing moisture to sit in the ear longer.
REASON #4: Drying Corn As corn dries, it shrinks and packs better into a given volume, so test weight increases. Drier corn is also ‘slicker’ which improves packing. When corn matures before freezing and dries naturally in the field, test weight increases about 0.5 lbs per bushel per point of moisture removed. Increase in test weight with high temperature, mechanical drying is only about 0.25 lbs/ bushel per point of moisture removed. This relationship is most pronounced with grain that reaches physiological maturity (compared to grain damaged by frost) and contains moistures from 30 percent down to about 16 percent (Table 4). The more damaged kernels in grain, the less gain in test weight with drying.
Table 4. Increase in test weight for mature corn harvested between 30% and 16% kernel moisture, dried to 15.5% moisture. Grain Moisture at Harvest Percent damaged grain
26% 24% 22% 20% 18% 16% Pounds/Bu
1. Grain Moisture One of the most important factors influencing test weight. Wetter kernels are more plump and don’t pack as well in a volume measure. The good news: corn test weight increases as grain dries. 2. Late Planting Delays the grain fill period into fall’s cooler temperatures and less solar radiation available to support grain fill. 3. Stress During Grain Fill Adverse environmental conditions can limit the photosynthetic capacity of plants. Stress factors include: - Drought - Excessive moisture, which limits oxygen available to roots - Cool temperatures and limited heat unit accumulation or limited sunlight - Late-season leaf diseases, especially gray leaf spot, anthracnose, & Northern corn leaf blight 4. Ear Rots Infestation of fungal pathogens diplodia, gibberella, etc. will result in lighter weight, diseased, and broken kernels. 5. Ear Freezing in Fall When temperatures reach freezing before corn reaches physiological maturity (black layer), plant development stops and prevents the final stages of grain fill. 6. Kernel Physical Characteristics Size and shape of corn kernels and slickness of the corn seed coat affect how well kernels pack into a volumetric measure. Article references are available online at: www.alseed.com/ corn-test-weight-lighter-than-average
10% damaged 4.5 4.0 3.5 Adapted from Hall and Hill, 1974
Genetic variability among hybrids can affect grain test weight, but other factors contribute more to variability from growing season to growing season. Other factors influencing test weight include:
2019 HARVEST EDITION
This relationship of increasing test weight with drying may vary with grain below 20 percent moisture. As corn dries nearer safe storage moistures, test weight may not change, or in some cases, may decrease slightly, because kernels can lose moisture without changing kernel shape.
What Causes Light Test Weight in Corn?
FARMER | MILLER By Chaunce Stanton Marketing Manager
ALBERT LEA SEED CUSTOMER PROFILE As the vacuum system whirred away, organic hard red winter wheat moved through the stone milling wheels and into a three-stage sifting system with mesh screens ranging from 1,000 microns down to 200 microns.
Above & Below: Harold Wilken, farmer & miller.
“Our flour is very consistent,” Harold Wilken said. He’s the founder of The Mill at Janie’s Farm in Ashkum, Illinois. “From the top of the bag to the bottom of the bag, you’re getting the same flour. No stratification.” The mill was custom-made by Engsko, a Danish company, that has been in the milling business for more than a century. Although it’s a new, highend piece of equipment, it’s really just the latest iteration of the most ancient type of mill: the stone. The system feeds whole grain kernels between 36-inch stationary and rotating mill stones.
2019 HARVEST EDITION
Harold’s team adjusts the grind and screens based on the hardness of the grain and the desired final product, anything from cracked wheat to finely sifted cake flour. “In the mornings, the stones are cold,” Mill Manager Jill BrockmanCummings explained. “We have to start with them closer together, but then as they heat up, we adjust the spacing to allow for expansion.” Keeping the stones cool has the added benefit of maintaining the nutrition in the whole kernels’ essential proteins, oils, vitamins, and minerals. The end results are flavorful, organic flours that are in demand across state lines. “Why is our mill in Illinois selling milled wheat to a wheat state like Kansas?” Harold asked. “Quality. Even our sifted flours contain 70-90% of the whole kernel, so you get more flavor and more nutrition,” he explained. “Most commercial flour has been run through a roller mill, which grinds it down to a powder. The big mills don’t want anything with
FARMER | MILLER • Harold Wilken, continued flavor. If they want flavor in a flour, they’ll add it themselves.”
Then in 2001, Harold’s daughter, Janie, died in a car accident.
The mill has a diverse customer base, tapping into the Chicago markets with everything from corn flour for tortillas and polenta, to cake flour for bakeries across the Midwest.
“We were devastated,” he remembered. “After she died, a neighboring landowner sent us a condolence letter and said, ‘when you’re ready, I’d like to talk to you about transitioning our farm to organic.’ It was only 30 acres, but it was a start, so I transitioned that land in 2003.”
“The other market we’re catering is to distilleries. I have six startup distilleries that I’m working with, mostly with wheat. We don’t malt, but we are adding a hot milling process for flaking barley.” The mill also has a really interesting niche item: bran for a worm farm that raises worms specifically for reptile feed. “Organic bran is a perfect medium for those worms. If that wheat had been sprayed with anything, it would kill the worms,” Harold said. When asked why he made the leap from farming to adding a milling operation, Harold described a “perfect storm” of circumstances. “I once loaded a semi-load of wheat for chicken feed to New York. It was $2.25 per bushel just to get it there, and I wondered, Why am I sending wheat to a chicken farm 900 miles away when just an hour-and-a-half up the interstate, there are millions of people in Chicago?” In the mid-1990s, Harold first thought about going organic. “I knew I needed to do something different, but my landowners were 100% conventional at that time.”
When he made his 2005 budget, Harold realized he was spending more on ‘tech fees’ than he was earning. “That’s when I decided to take all the land I was renting organic. I attended the Organic University at MOSES, taught by Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens, and I realized I could do it. I wrote a letter to the landowners and explained it to them, the risk being that I would lose landowners. But everyone went with me.” Now on the 2,400 acres of organic ground he farms, Harold grows about 95% of the grain for the mill himself, but he sources Bloody Butcher open-pollinated corn and Turkey Red heritage wheat from specialty growers.
Jill Brockman-Cummings keeps an eye on the milling process – and sometimes a hand, too.
Above: Bran by-product: organic worm food! Below: The three stage sifting system.
They have added more organic acreage each year since 2009. “Everything has fallen into place to make the mill and the farm what it is today. I tell people my Human Resources Manager is out of this world, because I really think that Janie is an advocate for us on the other side. There’s no way that I could do all this on my own and have it all come together. God’s in charge.” 2019 HARVEST EDITION
Order organic flour from the mill at www.themillatjaniesfarm.com
Frantzen Farm: Diversifying the Rotation for Forage/Feed Options By Carl Gaudian Dealer Accounts Manager
“Diversity leads to stability. Our new rotation gives us a chance to widen our cropping window.”
In a year with widespread weather challenges, Tom Frantzen of New Hampton, Iowa, is realizing the benefits of diversifying crop rotations. Frantzen Farm is a highly diversified organic farm that raises pork and beef in New Hampton, Iowa. While many farmers experienced limited choices and narrow planting windows this year, a diverse six-year rotation has given Tom Frantzen flexibility, including forages and cover crop blends to feed on-farm for more year-round feed options. One of Tom’s big challenges this year was finding enough forage for his 80-head beef herd. He also wanted to feed his animals in a way that benefited the soil on the farm. “We had a tough haying season and good quality hay is hard to make. We needed something to feed, and we needed it quick,” Tom explained as he walked across a field of grazed turnips and radishes. “The key was having a window in the rotation in late summer.” He found that window thanks to Hybrid Rye. After harvesting a field of Hybrid Rye in July for rye grain and straw, Tom drilled two different cover crop mixes into the rye stubble:
2019 HARVEST EDITION
GrazeMax CC4 – Specifically formulated for costeffective biomass production for fall grazing with oats, barley, kale and turnips. Oats and barley consistently produce the most fall tonnage in the Upper Midwest. Kale and turnips add highly digestible protein and is palatable late into the fall. NitroMax CC1 – A blend of barley, peas, radish designed to maximize soil coverage and green manure production in the fall following earlyharvested crops like small grains, sweet corn, vegetables, corn silage, or early soybeans.
Planted July 25 at 100 pounds per acre, the mixes were a lush, green pasture by mid-October that is providing the forage volume and quality that Tom’s cows need every day. The beef herd strip-graze the field and are fed a fresh section every day, which balances the grazing impact on the forage across the field. The possibility for compaction is reduced because of the rapid movement of the herd across the area. The plan for this ground next year is to go into organic corn. “85% of the time our soil is completely covered and our animals are fed. Weed control is far better, and our manure is now applied with very little nutrient loss,” he said. Thinking of next year’s rotational options, Tom planted Brasetto Hybrid Rye September 26 on a piece of ground coming out of pasture, and it was growing well when we visited him on October 14. He grows Hybrid Rye for many reasons: fall establishment helps outcompete weeds; rye grain adds quality nutrition to his hog feed ration; and rye straw provides animal bedding. The rye also helps to prevent erosion and nutrient loss in the winter and spring, which helps fulfill sustainability goals important to farms, communities, and consumers. Tom is excited about the potential for farmers in diversifying crops in Iowa and beyond. “You want to talk about diversity and economic viability of a third crop? Hybrid Rye. You want to talk about weed suppression and crop rotation? Hybrid Rye. You want to talk about multi-cropping within a livestock operation? Hybrid Rye, warm season annuals, and cover crops. We need this crop!”
“I’m not going to recommend hybrids that I wouldn’t plant on my own ground.”
by Chaunce Stanton Marketing Manager
WALKING PLOTS WITH JAKE HANSEN
I followed Jake Hansen in a replicated Viking corn research plot in Grafton, Iowa on a sunny October afternoon. This was the twentieth location where Jake has walked corn and soybean plots in 2019. He’s put some miles on this year: from Champaign, Illinois, to Omaha to Fargo, to Madison, Wisconsin. “Here’s one of our organic hybrids, Viking O.69-01,” Jake said as he grabbed a nearby ear. “Girthy ear, really nicelooking root structure. I don’t mind the look of that!” As Product Manager and Agronomist, Jake compares our current Viking hybrids with possible new hybrids and industry checks from companies like DeKalb and Pioneer. In his plot checks, he rates a variety of features on each hybrid or soybean variety and then adds his own overall opinion. “Today I’m looking at corn plant height, ear height, roots, stalk strength, and levels of greensnap. I compile my notes from each plot for a good overview of each hybrid from all the locations I saw this year. Then I connect my ratings with the yield data to complete the picture.”
The test plot in Grafton is managed conventionally, but it holds a variety of hybrids offered in the Viking organic line-up. I asked Jake about testing organic hybrids in conventional systems – will an organic hybrid perform differently on organic ground? “The biggest differences are the consistency of fertility and weed control. In a conventional plot like this, a farmer can put on whatever he needs. In organic, a farmer has limited options for fertility, be it manure or other organic material. What we’re showing here is the yield potential of those organic hybrids. I’m transparent with organic customers about that, but that’s also why we’ve teamed up with Prairie Sky Farm to run organic corn and soybean trials on organic farms. Organic farmers valur emergence and early-season vigor. That’s number one on our criteria for organic hybrid selection. They also need corn that canopies well, and most of them really want corn with good drydown, unless they are taking it for silage.” Jake pointed out that being a farmer also informs his in-field observations. “I’m not going to recommend hybrids that I wouldn’t plant on my own ground. I need to know what I’m talking about when I work with other farmers, and this is the best way to do it.”
2019 HARVEST EDITION
“In this plot, we’re looking at 40 different hybrids, everything from 95-day to 105-day hybrids. Each plot is 17.5 feet long with 4 rows per hybrid, with only the middle two rows being harvested. That gives shorter hybrids a fighting chance, so they don’t get shaded out,” he explained.
“I’m looking at the line-up that we’re offering for 2020 and experimentals that may be part of our line-up for 2021. Our trials help verify the claims made by the genetic providers. We need to see things for ourselves.”
1414 W. Main Albert Lea, MN 56007
2019 ANNUAL CONFERENCE IS THIS THE NEW NORMAL? ADAPTING THE FARM TO CHANGING REALITIES THURSDAY, NOV. 21
DIVERSIFYING THE CONVENTIONAL FARM
FRIDAY, NOV. 22
ADAPTING ORGANIC FARM PRACTICES
SELECTING SEED FOR ADAPTATION ALBERT LEA SEED
SELECTING SEED FOR ADAPTATION ALBERT LEA SEED
WEATHER TRENDS & FARM IMPACTS DR. MARK SEELEY
CLIMATE & GROWING SEASON CHANGES DR. DENNIS TODEY
COVER CROPPING: HOW TO GET IT IN THE GROUND FARMER PANEL
GROWING ORGANIC SMALL GRAINS FARMER PANEL
11:45 AM-12:45 PM: LUNCH
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM: LUNCH
ORGANIC FARM SUCCESSION – TRANSITION TO THE NEXT GENERATION CARMEN FERNHOLTZ & MEGAN WALLENDAHL
REGENERATIVE AG IS ADAPTATION GRAHAM CHRISTIANSEN
CORN/SOYBEANS – MANAGING FERTILITY IN HIGH RAINFALL ENVIRONMENTS DR. MARK RUARK
ORGANIC ROTATIONAL CROP MARKETS MERCARIS, PIPELINE FOODS, GRAIN MILLERS
TAKING THE NEXT STEP: PRACTICAL IMPLEMENTATION OF ROTATIONAL CROPS PRACTICAL FARMERS OF IOWA
WEED TRENDS: POPULATION, SEED LEVELS, EMERGING SPECIES DR. ERIC GALLANDT
ORGANIC WEED MANAGEMENT FARMER PANEL
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