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Ohio State University Extension


Battle for the Belt: Episode 17

Figure 1. The Wingtra vertical take-off drone is being used to capture imagery in the Battle for the Belt field trials.

Episode 17 of Battle for the Belt is now available:

In Episode 17, we talk with Luke Waltz, a PhD student with the Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering. Luke leads the remote sensing and soil sensors data collection aspects of the Battle for The Belt Project.

Drone Data Collection

The drone used for the Battle for the Belt project is a Wingtra vertical take-off drone (Figure 1). The drone can fly for up to 45 minutes at a time. Luke uses two different types of cameras to get images of the Battle for the Belt research plots. He flies the drone over each location once a week. The images captured by the drone can be stitched together and broken down to the plot level (e.g., planting dates, soybean seeding rates, and/or corn hybrids). The pairing of the agronomic data and imagery taken in this project will lead to useful tools for producers for planting date decisions in soybean and corn.

Battle For the Belt Location Updates

This past week at each Battle for the Belt location, the crops did not progress as we were expecting. Though there were some soybeans flowering in planting date one (April 12-14), there was no major difference from last week. After scouting each location, we have not found signs of disease in either crop thus far.

The Wooster location had planting date five (planted on June 21) in both corn and soybeans emerged last week (Figure 2). The soybeans stages were V7, V5, V4, and V1 for planting date one (April 14), two (April 27), three (May 11), and four (May 30), respectively. The corn stages are V8, V7, V6, and V4 for planting date one, two, three, and four, respectively. At this location planting date three had ideal planting conditions and early season weather. Planting dates one through three are similar in growth stage.

Figure 2. Planting date five (planted on June 21) at the Wooster location.

At the Western location, the soybean stages for planting date one (April 13), two (April 27), three (May 11), four (May 25), and five (June 8) are V10, V7, V4, V2, and VC, respectively. There were a few soybean plants at R1, but it was not consistent throughout. The corn stages at planting date one, two, three, four, and five are as follows: V9, V8, V7, V6, and V2. In the next couple of weeks corn and soybeans will be scouted for diseases and insects again. As R1 gets closer in soybeans throughout the state and tassels develop internally inside the corn plant, scouting becomes important to make informed management decisions.

At the Northwest location the soybean stages are V10, V8, V6, V3, and VC for planting date one (April 12), two (April 26), three (May 11), four (May 25), and five (June 8). Corn at the Northwest location was V9, V8, V7, V5, and V3 for planting date one, two, three, four, and five, respectively. Crops at Northwest are progressing well. Some soybean plants are at the R1 stage; however, flowering is not consistent.

The R1 stage is the first stage of the reproductive development of the soybean. In indeterminate varieties, the soybean begins to flower in the low to mid canopy and moves to upper nodes further in development. At this early reproductive stage, scouting is imperative for making informed fungicide application decisions. When considering fungicide application, we recommend to use the Soybean Fungicide Efficacy tables by the Crop Protection Network here. If you want to learn to scout or improve your crop scouting, the Crop Protection Network also created a Crop Scout School here. Table 1. presents the weather summary for all five planting dates across the three study locations.

Table 1. The planting date one, two, three, four and five in the trial at all three locations with day of planting, soil, air temperature averages, and Growing Degree Days (GDDS). Information from CFAES Weather System,

As a recap, this research project includes five planting date windows, 1) Ultra early = late March to early April; 2) Early = mid to late April; 3) Normal = early to mid-May; 4) Late = late May-first week of June; and 5) Very late = mid to late June. As of today, all locations have all five planting dates planted.

Keep following the ‘Battle for the Belt’ this growing season to learn more and get further updates! You can  find the full video playlist of Battle for the Belt on the Ohio State Agronomy YouTube channel.


Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.