Growing Knowledge

Read the latest insights from our experts as they cover agronomy issues that matter most to you and your operation.

Be Purposeful When Controlling Fungal Diseases

Dennis Christie
Agronomist
No matter what crops are in your fields, maintaining plant health should be a top priority to maximize yield potential. Healthy green leaf area helps promote photosynthesis that eventually leads to grain fill. When plant health is compromised, so is yield potential. Here are some tips to help maintain the green on your leaves and in your pocket.
 
Scout with intention
Many plant diseases are soilborne, meaning that they start on the ground and make their way up a plant. Unless you’re getting into the plant canopy to look for diseases, you may miss them until it’s too late for action.
 
Proper disease identification can be tricky, but it’s a must for choosing the right corrective action. If you have questions, seek the expertise of your trusted agronomic advisor.
 
Know when to act
Is it time to spray a fungicide? To decide, you can start by reviewing the seed hybrid and varieties you’ve planted. If they’re more susceptible to disease, protecting with a fungicide might be the right choice. Other things to consider are current and forecasted weather conditions, and history of disease pressure in the field. Wind-borne diseases like rust can blow up from the south, so keep an eye on conditions outside of your local area too.
 
Choose the right product
There are a lot of fungicides on the market, but they don’t all work the same way. A strong fungicide delivers multiple modes of action against the diseases you’re targeting. For example, RustEase, a new fungicide by WinField United, contains two modes of action for broad-spectrum control of many common crop diseases. The active ingredients, cyproconozale and azoxystrobin, provide upward mobility with improved distribution so they can move within plant tissue to protect new growth. RustEase has both preventive and curative properties and provides solid residual activity.
 
To get the most from your fungicide application, add MasterLock® adjuvant to the tank mix. MasterLock improves deposition, retention and spreading of fungicides on leaves and helps product penetrate deeper into the canopy, where many fungal diseases start. You’ll get better plant coverage with MasterLock, which translates into better return on the application investment and more leaf area protected against disease.
 
RustEase is labeled for use in wheat, corn and soybeans. In my area, it’s primarily used in wheat because it protects against leaf, stem and stripe rust, as well as powdery mildew, tan spot and Septoria leaf blight. You’ll get the best return on investment when the flag leaf is protected, so an application from the late boot to flag leaf stage is recommended. Work with your agronomist to scout for and treat fungal diseases to protect plant health and yield.  

Stay in the Know: Visit an Answer Plot Event

WinField United
Agronomy Team
Partnerships are the cornerstone of all successful businesses and your farm is no exception. Every year we look forward to farmers, retailers and our agronomy experts gathering to share ideas at local Answer Plot® events. You’ll get the latest information directly from our agronomic team.    
 
Our goal is to offer timely, locally relevant topics that help increase your productivity and profitability. Here are some things we hope you take back to the farm.
 
Deeper insights. We talk a lot about data, and it’s true, we collect a lot of it. But we’re looking at new ways to analyze data for deeper insights that affect your farm. For example, instead of just testing for a fungicide yield response, we want to examine how a specific fungicide and hybrid work together.
 
Better forecasting. We’re striving to improve our ag technology tools. We use data from the Answer Plot locations to help us calibrate and fine-tune features within the R7® Tool. Our ultimate goal is to use data to be more predictive so that we can help you stay one step ahead of in-season challenges. When you visit an Answer Plot event this summer, you’ll learn how these tools fit with your management plans.
 
Timely information. Answer Plot events are designed to be educational, and we like to use current conditions to lead productive discussions. That means each event is structured a little differently, depending on what is happening in the field. Even if you’ve attended events before, you’ll learn something new, because as we collect and analyze more data, our insights become stronger.
 
Profitable practices. We want every dollar you spend to come back to you in the form of higher yield and better returns at the end of the season. Visit an Answer Plot event to learn what our research says about particular management practices and products. For example, we’re sharing optimal planting dates and populations based on specific scenarios. We’ll also help you nail down the best application windows for fungicide and nitrogen applications based on local research.
 
Don’t miss the opportunity to get timely agronomic information from our local experts. Visit answerplot.com or talk with your local retailer to learn about Answer Plot events happening near you.

High Management Is a Winner for Wheat

Tiffany Braasch
Master Agronomy Advisor
Kent Pfaff of Washburn, North Dakota, took first place this past December in the National Wheat Yield Contest in the Spring Wheat—Dryland category, harvesting 104.29 bushels per acre with CROPLAN® 3530. To me, more important than achieving this yield is that it also optimized his profit. As Kent’s local agronomist, I wanted to share some of the secrets to his success, which include timely input applications, in-season imagery and tissue sampling data.
 
Fertility crucial from preplant to in-season
Kent starts the season with a soil test to gauge fertility. At planting he applies a micronutrient package that contains zinc with his starter fertilizer. Plant roots, whether they are corn or wheat require zinc in higher amounts in early plant growth. He also treats his seed with Warden® Cereals WR, a product that contains both fungicide and insecticide that protects seedlings from disease and insects early in the growing season. In addition to Warden® Cereals WR, he also uses Ascend® plant growth regulator to help enhance the growth and development of wheat early in the season.
 
Kent customizes a variable-rate nitrogen prescription for each field. This helps him hit his high-end yield goals on the highest-fertility part of his field while backing off on his tougher or less productive areas. He starts with the response to nitrogen (RTN) recommendations for his variety when planning the prescription. Kent variable-rate applies his nitrogen in the form of anhydrous ammonia and applies it side dressed at the same time as seed and starter fertilizer. Like many farmers in our area who use no-till or minimum-till systems, Kent uses this “one-pass” system for his small-grain crops.
 
Follow recommended populations 
Kent followed the CROPLAN® response to population (RTP) scores in determining planting rate, in this case 1.5 million seeds per acre. With other wheat varieties, he may have gone up to 1.8 million seeds per acre; but with CROPLAN® 3530, he optimized yield at a lower planting rate. Managing each variety according to Answer Plot® Program recommendations is key.
 
Maximize acre-by-acre management
In addition to using the R7® Tool to variable-rate apply his nitrogen, Kent is using the R7® Field Monitoring Tool and in-season imagery to track day-to-day performance on all fields in his operation. Early season between third and fifth leaf, he applies herbicides for weed control. At the same time, the use of an insecticide and fungicide helps control disease and insects on the wheat. Another application of fungicide at heading helps control late season disease such as scab. He felt there was yield left on the table by not investing in a flag leaf application. CROPLAN® 3530 has a high response to fungicide (RTF) scores, and we will evaluate this season to determine if another application at flag leaf might optimize his return. Kent says that to him, as a farmer the bottom line is that we achieved a high yield but, more important, improved profitability.
  
Winning with Wheat
Kent and the other National Wheat Yield Contest winners will be honored at the Commodity Classic farm trade show, to be held in San Antonio, Texas, in early March. Congratulations to Kent on this exciting and well-deserved honor. If you want to find out more about the National Wheat Yield Contest, click here. To find out more about how you can increase the yield potential of your spring wheat crop, talk with your local agronomist.

Tech Tasks After Harvest: Part 1

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField
On this week’s episode of The Deal With Yield®, host Joel Wipperfurth welcomes Drew Garretson, regional technology manager for WinField® United, to discuss the best ways to use ag technology after harvest. Now is a perfect time to evaluate which management practices were successful this past growing season based on in-season imagery and yield data, and how to improve next year. Also hear about the updated R7® Tool and how it has been re-engineered to be faster, more user-friendly and customizable. 
 
For more information about the R7® Tool updates, visit answertech.com
Season 7: Episode 4 – Tech Tasks After Harvest: Part 1

The Deal With Yield is a podcast series covering the issues that matter most in crop production. 

Target Fungicide Applications to Receptive Hybrids

Answer Plot®
Research Team
The yield potential of a bag of seed has many factors that contribute to the overall result. In addition to seed, fertilizer and herbicides, fungicides are another tool that can help you optimize the yield potential of your corn crop.  
 
Research from the 2015 Answer Plot® Trials showed that response to fungicide scores pinpoint yield advantages from fungicide applications.
 
Finding #1
2015 Answer Plot® trials* found that a hybrid with a high RTF score and one with a moderate RTF score generated 9.69 bu/A and 8.17 bu/A more respectively than a hybrid with a low RTF score.
 
Conclusion
RTF scores accurately predict the effectiveness of fungicide applications on a hybrid-by-hybrid basis.
 
Finding #2
National results from the 2015 Answer Plot® Program show an overall 11.5 bu/A average yield response to fungicide applications over untreated corn. This represents 93 percent of the 32 participating Answer Plot® Program locations demonstrating a positive response to fungicide.
 
Conclusion
Fungicide applications can increase yield in corn across a range of maturities (in this case, 90 days to 115 days).
 
The RTF score provides you with a plan for in-season management by understanding which hybrids benefit the most from protection against fungal diseases and rust. Understanding the genetic response to fungicide treatments helps you determine where fungicides can increase yield potential and where they will be economically beneficial.
 
Stay tuned for additional Answer Plot® insights in the coming weeks.
 
 
 
*2015 Answer Plot® data from nine states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

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