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From the Fields: NK Planting Report, Part 4

Agronomist Mark Riehl highlights new products, fungicides and management techniques to help Indiana farmers maximize yield potential


They say timing is everything, and the adage proved true for Indiana soybean farmers last year. Those who planted soybeans early (April and early May) saw yields at harvest that drastically eclipsed yields from their counterparts who planted later. Mark Riehl, an NK Seeds agronomist who supports farmers throughout the Great Lakes region and in parts of Indiana and Ohio, says that timing and management are often the primary keys to success in growing corn and soybeans.

Mark Riehl

“The 2022 soybean planting was delayed, and some of the late-planted beans didn’t finish well,” Mark recalls. “Farmers are therefore anxious to get their beans in the ground this spring.” Thanks to a faster-than-average start, many were doing just that, as Mark reported that soybean farmers in west-central Indiana were approximately 70% planted as of May 4, with much of the state about half planted. This pace is faster than last year.

While the race was on to get soybeans planted early to maximize heat units, Mark says the key to successful corn yields hinges on consistency. “Indiana farmers are practicing patience, awaiting a 48-hour period in which to get their corn planted,” he shares. “This will allow the corn crop to grow uniformly to help farmers get top yield potential even though corn planting is only at about 35% (as of May 4).”

As they await their planting window, many Indiana farmers are hoping that the season ahead mirrors last year’s growing conditions.

“Some areas across the south of the state were a little dry last year, but corn did amazingly well throughout most of Indiana,” says Mark. “Farmers are looking at what they can do to get more top-end performance out of their hybrids again this year.”

The smooth 2022 growing season was a welcome reprieve after 2021 brought a high incidence of disease and Corn Rootworm concerns. And while much of this was due to Mother Nature, Mark also gives credit to farmers’ management practices. “We had high fungicide use last year, which alleviated most concerns around Tar Spot and other diseases,” he says. “Fungicides last year may not have paid as big of dividends as they did in 2021, but they still paid for themselves in terms of yield. We saw fewer disease issues for the area because of the use of fungicides, and we saw better standability and higher yields.”

Yields That “Popped to the Top”

Several NK® hybrids performed well in 2022 across geographies and management techniques. “NK1082 showed really good bounce-back performance last year,” he recalls. “We had less disease pressure than usual last year, and that, combined with fungicide use, helped farmers in our area to grow a lot of healthy corn with yields that popped to the top.”

Another popular hybrid was NK1188, a mid- to full-season corn that Mark says has performed well in northern Indiana for several years. “It handles the heat and various management styles and competes with 115-day corn,” he says. “Also, we still have a lot of guys who plant NK0877 — it’s been our linchpin in northern and central Indiana because you can put it on any kind of ground. We’re still selling a lot of it.”


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NK1082 is a broadly adapted hybrid featuring Artesian® technology for all yield environments. This standout hybrid offers excellent yield potential not just in the South, but across the entire Corn Belt.


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On the fuller-season side, NK1188 provides consistent yield potential and agronomics across environments. Featuring an attractive plant and ear placement, farmers will note its improved test weight and grain quality and its dependable drought tolerance.


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Mark’s “linchpin” hybrid, NK0877, is broadly adapted with consistent performance. It offers outstanding drought tolerance in the Central and Eastern Corn Belt and provides excellent heat tolerance for yield stability.

While Mark often highlights these hybrids to growers in his region, he’s looking forward to recommending many new products to them. “We’re excited about 20 new hybrids we’re launching for 2024,” he says. “We have a few fields of these new products in side-by-sides this year, and there’s a lot of excitement for opportunities they’ll provide next season.”

Soybean Options for Highly Productive Acres

Mark is equally confident in recommending NK soybeans to Indiana and Great Lakes farmers. “NK24-A2E3S brand is a new, early Group 2 variety that western and central Indiana farmers are taking a close look at,” he says. “It did very well in trials last year, so farmers are considering it for an early bean that can handle management and provide top-end yield potential.”

soybeans in dirt field

In the Group 3 maturity range, Mark often recommends NK30-B2E3 brand, which performed excellently in local 2022 FIRST trials. He says it’s a variety that farmers can plant early and trust to carry through the season.

Mark reports that one new NK variety, NK36-H9E3S brand, is also performing extremely well.

“Indiana farmers are leaning toward these varieties this year, checking them out in trials and trying them on their highly productive acres,” he says. And no matter which trait platform a farmer prefers, Mark says they have options for the 2023 growing season and beyond. “NK30-U4XF brand is also getting a lot of attention right now because it is a versatile variety that excels in highly productive environments,” he says.

 New NK24-A2E3S brand   

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New NK24-A2E3S brand has the versatility to handle many environments. Its plant type extends placement to stress-prone environments, and it offers very good standability for an easy harvest.

 NK30-B2E3 brand   

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NK30-B2E3 brand is a new variety featuring awesome yield potential with superb standability. It’s able to handle any soil type but performs best in high-yield environments.

 NK36-H9E3S brand   

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NK36-H9E3S brand is another new variety with great standability for broad placement. It also features excellent Sudden Death Syndrome tolerance and excellent standability all season long.

 NK30-U4XF brand   

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NK30-U4XF brand is a spectacular bulk bean that provides strong standability with excellent top-end yield potential.

No matter which products or platforms Indiana farmers choose for their operations, Mark offers some universal advice. “Make sure to continue to do the things that help attain top yield,” he says. “Practice a little patience and wait for soil temperatures to rise above 50 degrees before you plant corn. Think about the right management tips, use your nitrogen when you need to finish the crop, and do the things like applying fungicide that help manage for top yield.”

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