Category Archives: Crop Management

Crop Progress in Central Illinois – Derek Porter

What a difference last week made in the planting progress here in Central Illinois and across many areas of the corn belt. Much of the corn in my area has been planted with a slug of beans being put in the ground much of last week through this week. Unfortunately, there are still areas experiencing wet conditions. I talked to one guy out in Ohio that’s still experiencing wet conditions and it sounded like there was a strong possibility for him to take prevent plant on all his corn acres and if conditions don’t improve, beans might not be planted either. Driving around central Illinois, I would say the condition of the corn crop has improved as we’ve dried things out but there are plenty of fields that are still riding the struggle bus compared to what we normally would expect this time of year in central Illinois. Some corn that is V3 and earlier is trying to establish its nodal root system which might cause yellowing in some fields particularly ones that have been waterlogged and compacted. Soil microbes are also starting to ramp up as conditions dry out and are tying up some of the nitrogen, sulfur, and other nutrients in the soil in order to break down old crop residues. This will cause yellowing in both corn and soybeans and is often referred to as the carbon penalty. Any yellowing seen in corn early on is likely to limit top end yield potential particularly in hybrids that flex in girth. In soybeans, this yellowing will likely go away once the soybean starts to make its own nitrogen which is at the V4 stage and shouldn’t limit yield potential a whole lot. A good way to manage this carbon penalty is to apply some nitrogen either broadcast or with your planter along with some sulfur. I had one grower apply some liquid UAN with some thiosulfate out the back of his planter and he saw a pretty good response in the early growth of his corn.

Speaking of early growth, phosphate-based starter fertilizer’s such as our Crop Choice® 3-18-18-1 or 9-18-9-1 that have a high concentration of phosphorus, push energy production and ultimately growth in the plant. Even if corn was planted late this year, I still expect to see a positive yield response if you used a phosphate-based starter fertilizer such as our Crop Choice blends. The positive yield response could even be as much or more than is typically seen when starter fertilizer is applied earlier in the season. This is due to the accelerated growth that should lead to earlier pollination and a longer grain fill period. This in turn will give about a week more of grain fill leading to higher kernel weight which will be the key to high yields with late planted corn. Usually lack of starch accumulation in the kernels due to a shortened ear fill window is why corn doesn’t yield quite as well when it’s planted late.  

I’m also seeing a lot of sulfur and zinc deficiencies throughout the area and a foliar feed of these nutrients with your post emerge herbicides might be warranted. Our Foliar Opp® contains both sulfur and zinc plus other micronutrients and our Max72-SRN® contains sulfur but can be blended with zinc and other micronutrients as needed. We’ve seen both products add 5-10 bushels in corn when combined with our Sugar E-Boost®. With cash corn at $4.50 here in central Illinois, it only takes 2 bushels of corn to pay for this application.

I’m also seeing good performance out of our Landoil® and Soil Boost spray adjuvants. Once again both adjuvants are proving to be safe on the crop with very little herbicide response being observed in fields that had a full label rate of herbicide applied to them.

I hope things are looking better on your operation as we progress through this tough growing season. If you have any questions you can call our office or contact myself or other Soil Service salesman in your area.


Derek Porter

Sales Manager


Crop response of running UAN with thiosulfate on the planter.

Crop response of using a phosphate based starter (3-18-18-1 on the left) gives a rapid growth response that accelerates corn growth by 1 week.

Corn yellowing due to the carbon penalty.

Sulfur deficiency on corn appears as yellow stripping between the veins. Zinc and other micronutrients such as manganese can look similar.      


Landoil and Soil Boost Extreme did an outstanding job controlling weeds and provided excellent crop safety. 


Nutrapathic™ Soil Restore and Nutrapathic™ Liquid Bacteria Concentrate

SOIL Service, Inc. logo

Nutrapathic™ Soil Restore and Nutrapathic™ Liquid Bacteria Concentrate

There are more and more companies in the agriculture field, not to mention the horticulture and organic fields, who are developing and marketing biological products to help build soil health, breakdown residue, develop healthier plants, and improve yields. SOIL Service, Inc. has been promoting this for at least the last fifteen years that I personally have been associated with them.

We have used the Soil Restore and Liquid Bacteria Concentrate on our own farms, done research with them, side by side comparisons on customers farms, and personally, I have done a Soil Health Study on a thirty-acre farm on our Central Missouri operation.

 What are mycorrhizae?

Mycorrhizae are naturally occurring beneficial fungi that attach to the plant root system, spreading filaments inside and outside of the roots, working as an extension of the root of almost every plant. Soil fumigations, fungicides, tillage, and overuse of synthetic fertilizers can destroy mycorrhizae fungi.

Functions of mycorrhizae

Mycorrhizae improves soil structure, reduces fertilizer rates, and increases growth response. This fungus also protects roots from soil toxins, diseases, and insects. It seeks out nutrients from a far greater soil area than the plant can access by itself and regulates the uptake of nutrients in response to the plant needs. Plants have greater resistance to invasion of weeds and insects because plants are healthier. Fungi are a largely responsible for stabilizing calcium. Soil low in fungi will permit calcium to leach.

Functions of bacteria

Bacteria is able to perform a wide range of chemical changes, including breakdown of organic matter and disease suppression. They are also useful in providing nitrogen to plants. Nutrapathic Liquid Bacteria Concentrate contains bacteria that colonize the plant rhizosphere, promoting plant growth and suppressing plant pathogens. Plant growth is credited to the phytase activity that provides plants with phosphate. It also produces a variety of proteases, amylases, and gluconases.

Our experience with Soil Restore and Liquid Bacteria Concentrate has shown that providing more mycorrhizae and beneficial bacteria that these products provide to our soil do the following:


  • Plant health improves
  • Plants are more robust
  • Deeper and more robust root systems
  • Better stress tolerance


  • Better transfer of nutrients to plant roots (especially phosphorous)
  • Suppression of disease pathogens in the soil
  • Stabilizes calcium
  • Breakdown of plant residue, especially plant roots, helping build O.M.
  • Better water infiltration

Bottom line, by using Soil Restore and Liquid Bacteria Concentrate we get better yields from our crops.

What have we seen in the Soil Health Study Field in Central Missouri, we have just no-tilled, cover crops (grazing the covers with the cow herd), rotated (corn, beans, and wheat), some tillage with the Rogue VT®, and very little P & K fertilizer, and Crop Choice® starter and foliar fertilizers, and Soil Restore & Liquid Bacteria Concentrate on a three year program (one ingredient in the Nutrient Recycling Program)?

  • Better soil tilth
  • More water infiltration during large rain events
  • Better stress tolerance in the crops
  • Increase in Organic Matter (2.9 in 2012 to 3.5 in 2018)
  • More earth worms
  • Much better overall yields with less fertilizer then fields on same farm not treated.

Soil Restore and Liquid Bacteria concentrate can not only be used with the Nutrient Recycling Program, but also with any starter program in the row. It can also be added to a liquid 32% fertilizer application, or in any herbicide program. We have had really great success applying in the fall as the NRP to start the break down of corn residue.

We have some great programs that we have promoted for years and we know they work. So, if you have some interest in applying a biological this year on your farm, get in touch with us at SOIL Service, Inc. You can do that by calling or emailing at the following:

John Viertel – MO Sales Manager


Delayed Planting- Should You Switch to an Earlier Maturing Corn Hybrid?

SOIL Service, Inc. logo

The beginning of May finds most of the Midwest lagging behind in corn planting as wet weather continues to inundate much of the area. Even though planting is behind our normal progress, it’s important not to panic and make drastic decisions based on emotion. One of the common mistakes that’s made when planting is delayed is changing from a full season variety corn and an early season variety. This change occurs most likely to the worry of not having the corn black layer by the first killing frost.

While a switch in maturity might ultimately be necessary, it should not be warranted this early in the season. Research done by Purdue and Ohio State investigated the effects of delayed planting in corn. This research found that when planting was delayed into May, corn hybrids adjust to this delayed planting. Corn reaches maturity by accumulating a certain amount of heat units called growing degree days (GDD). When the calendar reaches May 1st,GDD’s for corn to reach maturity decreases by 6.8 GDD’s per day. So a corn hybrid requiring 2700 GDD to mature and planted on May 30th would require approximately 2496 GDD’s to reach maturity compared to if planting had taken place on April 30th. With this lower GDD requirement, a full season variety should be able to reach full maturity before the first typical killing freeze even if it’s planted towards the latter part of May in the Midwest. Usually, switching to an earlier maturing hybrid should not take place unless planting is delayed till the very end of May and into June.

It would be wise however to work with your seed supplier in advance and ask about potentially switching maturities before the time comes due to potential shortages in supply. Keep in mind that a full season hybrid can often times have a yield advantage over a shorter season variety. Switching to an earlier maturing hybrid can be risky due to a lack of heat and disease tolerance if its planted outside of its normal area. While planting date is one key to good yielding corn, always remember that timely rains and moderate temperatures in July and August can have an even more dramatic impact on yield. Research has found that corn planting delayed until May 15th can still provide 95% of optimum yield and planting delayed until May 20th provides 91% of optimum yield. So while the weather refuses to cooperate, it’s important to not get discouraged and over react. There is still a lot of hope for the 2019 growing season.


Update – MO Plot

Here we are no tilling, into a killed cover crop, a CROP CHOICE fertilizer plot on April 25. Notice the dark clouds to the west? We did have a shower and had to quit for the day right after we got done with the plot. We finished the field the next day. This is going to be an interesting comparison. We used 9-18-9-1 as the base starter, then added zinc, then SUGAR E-BOOST, and then Max 27 SRN. There can be an allelopathic effect from the cereal rye, when planting corn into that cover crop. Having a good starter program with extra nitrogen should help the corn get off to a good start, not having to deal with the effect from the cereal rye. This plot should give us a good idea of how our program works.

I will be following this plot the entire season, so check back to check on its progress.

By the way, it has started raining this morning, and the forecast for the rest of the week here in Central Missouri is for 2.5 to 5 inches of rain. Field work has again come to a halt. It has been an interesting year, to say the least. A lot of corn got planted last week, now we have to deal with heavy rains on those freshly planted fields. As it dries out and corn starts to emerge, take time to evaluate stands carefully before making any replant decisions.


My contact info:      or 573-680-6951 voice or text

Soil Service, Inc office: or 888-313-2360

Have a safe and productive planting season!

John Viertel

Attributes of Applying Fungicide – John Viertel

SOIL Service, Inc. logo

To say that it has been dry in my state, is an understatement! Today we are getting a bit of rain, and more is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. It is going to take 8 to 10 inches to get us back to normal and “bust” this year’s drought. Hope that it doesn’t all come at once!

One of our customers called last week with a success story. He had gotten some Max 72 SRN and Sugar E-Boost to fly on his corn with the fungicide application back in July. Evidently, his neighbor had also flown on some fungicide (with out Max 72) across the road. The neighbor’s corn was having standability problems. Our customer’s corn was standing almost perfectly, he was proud of it and is making plans for his aerial app next season, with more Max 72 and Sugar E-Boost!

One of the attributes of applying fungicide is better stress management by keeping the plant healthy for better late season standability. Getting the fungicide translocated throughout the entire plant is the key. Using SOIL SERVICE, INC. products (Soil Boost Plus, LandOil, Sugar E-Boost, Max 72 SRN) with the aerial application will enhance the effectiveness of the fungicide. In this case, it has really showed up.

If you are in an area where there has been some stress on you corn this season, and did, or didn’t apply a fungicide, get out and check on the stalk quality. You may want to get that combine out just a little sooner this year.

Don’t forget that the Farm Progress Show is coming in just two weeks. If you are planning on coming, our booth # is 757, we’ve moved, and there will be a whole new look to our booth. Stop and see us and ask about Max 72 SRN, aerial application, and all our other products. Hope to see you there!

John Viertel, MO Sales