Eric Wilson, Wyffels Hybrids agronomy manager

A good growing season continued for most of Minnesota and Iowa going into mid-June, although some areas of drought were developing. In southern Minnesota, temperatures heated up early in the month to help with crop development.

“When corn is from V1-V10, it’s putting on a leaf every 85 heat units,” said Eric Wilson, Wyffels Hybrids agronomy manager, of Algona, Iowa. “Realistically, we’re putting on a leaf every three days.”

Wilson is finishing up his Ph.D. work in Crop Science from the University of Minnesota. He’s passionate about serving corn growers and helping them maximize their productivity.

Corn was reaching the V7 or V8 stages and was ready to start elongating by the second week of June. Growers across Minnesota side-dressed corn if that was one of their agronomic practices. A lot of growers spin on dry urea, some use 28 or 32 percent UAN, others side-dress anhydrous ammonia. The Y drop applicator for 32 percent N is becoming more popular, too, Wilson said.

“If you get a nice little half-inch rain after applications, it’s almost like you can watch it green up overnight,” he said.

Cool temperatures earlier in the growing season had slowed weed germination and emergence. Some growers were changing up their herbicide programs to take advantage of that.

“They’ve moved a lot of those pre-emergent herbicides back later in the season, so they are still using a good weed control system and just pushed that back to a one-pass system,” he said. “Growers got a burndown on anything coming up with a residual that will be there for the remainder of row closure.”

Wyffels Hybrids is focused on operating a corn rootworm sticky trap program this year. Around July 1, they will place sticky traps to capture corn rootworm beetles and they will count the number of beetles they collect per day.

“This gives us an idea of pressure levels and then helps us make in-season recommendations, as well as recommendations for the next growing season,” he said. “We put a lot of effort into this, as we feel it brings a lot of value to the customers we serve.”

The presence of corn rootworm beetles generally times pretty closely to lightning bug (firefly) sightings.

With good planting conditions and fields that remained free of major weed problems, Wilson felt 2020 conditions were as good as possible, except for a few areas in western Minnesota that were too dry; and a few areas in southeast Minnesota that remained too wet.

“The fields have been very clean so far in the northern Corn Belt,” he said.