Pro Farmer Crop Tour - Day 2

Pro Farmer Crop Tour - Day 2

Eastern Route - Tuesday August 22

Day 2

Map - Eastern Route - Day 2 - Pro Farmer Crop Tour

Leader - Cody Pettit, Pioneer Field Agronomist
East-Central Illinois

Photo - Cody Pettit - Pioneer Field Agronomist
  • Corn potential looks strong for the most part.
  • Variability from our long planting window for corn is showing and has been all season long.
  • More plant-to-plant inconsistency this year than last.
  • With all the challenges soybeans experienced, we know they are a resilient plant.
  • August is a big element for soybean yield. We could still see some favorable outcomes.
  • Go to more updates & photos.

Crop Conditions - East-Central Illinois

- Cody Pettit

  • Wide planting window for both corn and beans lead to lots of variability in emergence and later abiotic stress.
  • Replanting occurred on the early April planted beans in many areas due to frost events at the end of April.
  • Corn handled the cold early conditions much better than beans.
  • No-till and cover crop fields suffered the worst from dry planting/drought conditions.


  • Corn crop ranges from R2-R4 development stages in most of the eastern Illinois area.
  • Disease pressure is low, currently. Gray leaf spot (GLS) can be found in most fields in the lower canopy and northern corn leaf blight (NCLB) lesions have been very spotty. It seems surrounding areas of IL and IN have moderate tar spot, but it remains minimal here. Rains and cooler temps could easily change that.
  • We did see some nutrient deficiencies that came from the drought. Although the drought didn’t seem to have as much of an effect as expected, cool nights and lower daytime temperatures aided that.


  • Soybeans really rode the struggle bus this season, limits were pushed starting with planting. We witnessed a long planting window with soybeans as well, there were several replanted fields due to the late April frost events.
  • Once the drought set in, soybeans seem to stand still for three weeks to a month with very little growth and nutrient deficiencies. Once the rains came in late June and July, it brought on another stress that came in the form of diseases, we have had no shortage of root and stem rots.

Emergence stressed corn and soybeans across eastern IL that were planted in the early April window Emergence stressed corn and soybeans across eastern IL that were planted in the early April window

Emergence stressed corn and soybeans across eastern IL that were planted in the early April window.

Growing Season

  • Some areas in our geography experienced timely rains at the beginning of June, but very spotty and will make for variability in performance this fall.
  • The minor/severe drought we experienced had some fields across Illinois showing nutrient deficiencies.
  • Although stressed, there were some factors that helped mitigate yield loss from the dry conditions.
  • Most of our area has very strong yield potential.

drought stress in soybeans and corn

corn plants damaged from drought

Photos taken in stressed fields in Iroquois/Kankakee Counties.


Thus far, we have experienced a very low disease pressure year in corn. There is tar spot (TS) out there, but not quite like we were expecting.

The rains that returned in early July created an ideal environment for stress/disease in soybeans. Plant roots were small and holding on from dry conditions until heavy rains flooded areas and we saw root rots and other disease take over pockets of fields.

early corn field - disease damage

Root/stem rot diseases like Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia, and brown stem rot (BSR) are showing up in fields after heavy rains in July created ideal conditions. Sudden death syndrome (SDS) showing up as well.

Western Route - Tuesday August 22

Day 2

Map - Western Route - Day 2 - Pro Farmer Crop Tour

Tour Leader - Casey Rankin, Retail Product Agronomist, Southeast Nebraska

Tour Leader - Casey Rankin, Retail Product Agronomist
  • The majority of corn is in the R3-R5 stage. The corn furthest along is at half milk line.
  • Corn planting conditions were surprisingly better than expected. Lack of consistent soil moisture, crop residue, and ammonia burn were prominent.
  • The majority of soybeans are in the R4-R5 stage.
  • We have observed carryover herbicide issues in soybeans from lack of rainfall.
  • My biggest concern going into harvest: Tar Spot, early season ammonia burn, and stalk/ear rots.
  • Enlist E3® soybeans are showing very good potential in terms of flower and pod counts.
  • Go to more updates & photos.

Crop Conditions Across SE Nebraska

- Casey Rankin


  • Early season drought/lack of moisture stress was a big issue. We knew we were going to need timely rains – but the widespread Nh3/ammonia burn as a direct result of the early season drought was the big yield reduction factor
  • Our pollination window was excellent with the temperatures and rain we had – but the wind that caused stalk lodging inevitably hurt our potential.
  • Very minimal disease pressure this year until Mid July and with the lack of early season moisture – conversations about whether to apply a fungicide were happening the 3rd week of June.
  • Then, the consistent rains and favorable temperature came for pollination. The southeastern counties are facing a new challenge with Tar Spot moving in aggressively.
  • The amount of recent cloudy days has slowed the progression of corn – which I’m afraid has caused kernel abortion and will cause stalk rots in the coming days. Ear rot is also a concern.


  • Herbicide applications made just prior or just after planting consisting of Group 14 and 15 herbicides have been an issue for the past several years and this year was no exception. We need to make sure we’re applying anything with a PPO 10-14 days prior to planting.
  • Soil crusting was an issue with stand establishment in some areas with how fast soils dried out if you were lucky enough to catch a rain.
  • We have observed some carryover herbicide issues from lack of rainfall
  • With the rain and “cooler” temperatures we have experienced for much of the summer – soybeans are a breeding ground for disease today. SDS, white mold, brown stem rot are all prevalent.
  • Gall midge and stem borer continue to be the two biggest insect issues we face.
  • My biggest concern: Disease severity, insect severity, and green stems.


Planting Conditions

seedling and roots seedling and roots

drought stress in soybeans

Soil Crusting

soil crusting - inhibiting plant emergence soil crusting - inhibiting plant emergence

Sulfur Deficiency Combined with Low K

Sulfur Deficiency Combined with Low K

Wind/Root Lodging

wind and root lodging in corn

Andy Behrends. 6/29 Shubert, NE

corn plants damaged from drought

7/10 Nebraska City

corn plants damaged from drought

7/10 Nebraska City


Tar spot symptoms on corn leaf

Tar Spot 8/8 west of Falls City.

SDS symptoms on soybean leaves

SDS - 8/8

White mold symptoms on soybean leaves

White Mold - 7/26


mature corn ears

Sales Rep Jared Wiese. 7/27.

scenic - late season soybean field

Brock, NE. Beautiful field of P30A75E™ brand.


Ken OBrien -  M.S. - Pioneer Agronomy Science Leader

Pioneer CU Agronomy Manager Matt Essick

AQUAmax® Breeding Changes Over Time.

Pioneer CU Agronomy Manager Matt Essick reviews AQUAmax updates.
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Photo - man reviewing tablet in cornfield - mid season

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The transgenic soybean event in Enlist E3® soybeans is jointly developed and owned by Corteva Agriscience and M.S. Technologies L.L.C.

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Pioneer® brand Optimum® AQUAmax® products were grown in 13, 623 on-farm comparisons across the United States against competitor brand products (+/- 4 CRM) in 2018. Water-limited yield data includes 240 competitive comparisons with a win ratio of 63 percent, and favorable environment includes 13,383 competitive comparisons with a win ratio of 61 percent. Water-limited environments are those in which the water supply/demand ratio during flowering or grain fill was less than 0.66 on a 0-1 scale (1=adequate moisture) using the Pioneer proprietary EnClass® system and in which the yield average of competitor brand hybrids at the location was less than 150 bu/acre. Favorable growing conditions are locations where yield levels were at or above 150 bu/acre on average, regardless of water supply/demand ratio. Precipitation levels are interpolated values based on local weather stations. Product performance in water-limited environments is variable and depends on many factors such as the severity and timing of moisture deficiency, heat stress, soil type, management practices and environmental stress as well as disease and pest pressures. All hybrids may exhibit reduced yield under water and heat stress. Individual results may vary.