Sunrise over Little Sand Lake

Kyle Stull captures the sunrise over Little Sand Lake in Max, Minnesota.

A week ago we took a much-needed vacation to northern Minnesota for the first time in three years. We returned to fields that had progressed quite a bit while we were gone. I found the first corn in dent August 19 from mostly early May- and April-planted corn. A lot of June-planted corn was just starting or finishing pollination this week. So we're still looking at quite a spread in maturity for this fall.

With some silage in early dent we look to be about two to three weeks from the start of harvest in most early fields. Timing is going to be difficult for many with fields that will likely be ready one week and others that will be ready a couple weeks later.

Many have said that they don’t envy crews harvesting custom silage because they will be running everywhere to try to finish fields in a timely manner. The biggest thing I've noticed in corn is nitrogen deficiency. But it's difficult to tell if it's from nitrogen loss or dry spells when we couldn’t apply nitrogen for the plant. Tar spot has yet to appear in fields around us. So on that front things are looking better than 2018 at least.

I spent a couple days this past week walking soybean fields to try to feel where they are at, along with insect scouting. I've found some soybean aphids; nothing worth spraying yet. One thing I did notice was that planting date had some effect on pod counts. But not as much as I would have thought. One early field of beans had plants higher than my waist with about 22 pods. Fields planted in late May and early June had much shorter plants with pod counts from 25 to 30 with more branching. It will be interesting to watch yields come in this fall.

A lot of cover crops have been planted on prevent-plant ground lately with some early-planted fields starting to go to seed, which we don’t want. We're starting fall tillage in several fields we couldn’t finish this past year and were prevent plant this year. Cover crops will be immediately put on after we finish each field. So we should have a decent head start on 2020.

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Kyle Stull farms near Ixonia, Wisconsin, at Kieck Farms LLC handling the agronomy side of the business. He and farm owner Dennis Kieck run 1,300 acres of corn and soybeans along the Rock River. Stull is a certified crop adviser and also runs Stull Agronomy LLC providing crop-consulting services along with selling seed.