Growing Knowledge

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

Season 15, Episode 2: Digging Into Nutrient Deficiencies in Alfalfa and Soybeans

Joel and Jon
Hosts, WinField United
Hosts Joel Wipperfurth and Jon Zuk expand on the nutrient deficiency conversation on this episode of The Deal With Yield. Jon gives a look into 2018 soybean yields and the common nutrient deficiencies seen in fields across Minnesota. Joel talks alfalfa and the decision-making that goes along with managing his favorite crop.
 
Digging Into Nutrient Deficiencies in Alfalfa and Soybeans

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

Manage for More Yield on Non-Rotational Acres

Jonathan Zuk
Regional Agronomist
The advantages of crop rotation have been well documented over the years. But market conditions and on-farm needs are pushing more farmers to skip rotations and opt for continuously cropped acres instead. If you’re one of those farmers, here are some considerations to maximize productivity on non-rotated acres.
 
Continuous corn acres
Research has shown that continuous corn yield penalties were more severe in areas with low moisture and low yields.1 With that in mind, it makes sense to choose high production acres for corn-on-corn rotations, if possible. Here are some other tips to maximize yield potential.

 
  • Choose stable hybrids. Strive to find balance with a high-yielding hybrid that also carries defensive traits like strong disease and insect resistance. Trait packages that protect against above- and below-ground pests, including corn rootworm, are also a good investment for corn-on-corn acres.
  • Evaluate seed treatments. The right treatment helps protect against early-season fungal diseases and insects that might be more prevalent due to the extra plant residue and added moisture in continuous cornfields.
  • Apply foliar fungicides and insecticides. As insect and pathogen populations accumulate in soil and crop residue, the potential for damage and yield loss increases.
  • Manage residue. Extra corn residue can result in additional challenges at planting, including wetter, cooler soils. Excess residue can also have implications for nitrogen cycling.
 
Continuous soybean acres
Pests seem to be one of the biggest yield-limiting factors for soybean-on-soybean acres. Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is historically one of the main concerns, although many farmers aren’t testing for the pest in their fields. Here are some management practices to reduce the yield penalty associated with continuous soybean cropping.
 
  • Alternate genetics. Choosing diverse seed varieties each year helps ensure common weed, insect and disease pests don’t become resistant to management strategies. WinPak® soybeans from CROPLAN® seed include a unique combination of two varieties that work together and confer different levels of protection against common diseases to help mitigate risk.
  • Treat seed. Selecting soybean varieties with the right seed treatments can provide up to 40 days of protection against early-season diseases including rhizoctonia, Pythium and sudden death syndrome.
  • Watch nutrient levels. Multiple years of soybean production can remove nutrients including phosphorus and potassium from the soil.
  • Apply foliar fungicide and insecticide. Applications at the R2/R3 growth stage can provide extra protection against late-season pests.
Strategic production practices can help you get more from non-rotational acres. Consult with your local WinField United retailer to develop a comprehensive management plan that includes the proper seed choices, crop protection products and fertilization needs for your acres.
 
1. Seifert, C. A., M. J. Roberts, and D. B. Lobell. 2017. Continuous Corn and Soybean Yield Penalties across Hundreds of Thousands of Fields. Agron. J. 109:541-548. doi:10.2134/agronj2016.03.0134
 
© 2018 WinField United. CROPLAN®, WinField® and WinPak® are trademarks of WinField United.
 

Manage Field Variability in Soybean Crops

Holly Thrasher
Technical Seed Manager
I can’t think of many fields that are completely uniform in soil type from fence row to fence row, nor can I think of two years where the weather is the same. Variability is a common issue on farms, which can make it tricky to purchase the right soybean seed for a particular soil type.
 
But there is a solution. It’s the combination of two different soybean varieties that is offered in CROPLAN® branded WinPak® varieties. These unique combinations of both offensive and defensive varieties provide an exceptional level of stability throughout the field by working together to increase yield potential on tough acres while maintaining yield in higher-producing areas.
 
What we select for
We choose seed that will be complementary in terms of agronomic features, such as region-specific disease tolerance, heat and drought tolerance, standability, and yield potential. This happens after we’ve selected the appropriate maturities. We select maturities carefully so the two varieties have a consistent drydown in the field, which helps eliminate problems at harvest. Our seed pairings are strategic; they are carefully formulated to provide farmers with optimal performance in their specific regions.
 
Managing variability
Achieving optimal yield potential with variable soils can be difficult, and planting diverse soybean varieties can help balance dissimilar soil types through more appropriate management.  For example, while soybean variety A is projected to do well on your fine and medium-textured soils, you may have other areas of the field with pockets of coarse-textured soil where that variety may not do as well as variety B, which is projected to have a strong performance on those tougher soils. Combining the two varieties improves the overall average yield potential of the field as a whole.
 
Proven in the field
A premium pairing of soybean seed varieties can provide a consistent boost to yield potential that is otherwise hard to find. In fact, 2016–2017 data from regional Answer Plot® trials show WinPak varieties consistently outperformed their individual component varieties by 2.1 bushels per acre.
 
Latest traits
We have added a number of WinPak varieties to the CROPLAN seed lineup that contain the newest Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® trait technology. And we maintain and refine combinations that include established seed technologies such as LibertyLink® and Roundup Ready 2 Yield®. We listen to our retailers when they tell us what their farmers are requesting for WinPak offerings and do our best to provide them with new options.
 
WinPak varieties can help you capitalize on your top-end yield potential in the better areas of the field and offer solid defense in areas where you have greater variability in soil type. They can also help balance the variability inherent in other factors that affect overall yield potential, such as weather challenges. Talk with your local trusted advisor today about how WinPak varieties can help you get a jump on your soybean strategy for the 2019 season.
 
 
© 2018 WinField United. Answer Plot®, CROPLAN®, WinField® and WinPak® are trademarks of WinField United.
LibertyLink® is a trademark of Bayer CropScience.
Roundup Ready 2 Yield® and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC.

Preview 2018 Answer Plot Data

John Kinnard
Senior Manager, Data Team Services
Harvest is underway in some areas, and data from our Answer Plot® program is already being analyzed. While it will be a while before we have a complete data set to evaluate, I’d like to preview some of the exciting information you can look for as harvest wraps up.
 
Expanded seed characterization. Our corn hybrid and soybean variety characterization data is the foundation that the Answer Plot program was built upon. WinField United’s seed characterization trial is a leading platform in the industry due to the number of replications and locations. This year, we’ll have new corn hybrids and soybean varieties to characterize so farmers can better place the latest genetics. As you make your seed selections for next year, be sure to check out the updated CHT charts in the R7® Tool.
 
CROPLAN® corn hybrid zinc seed treatment. As you may know, CROPLAN is the only seed brand to add zinc to its standard corn seed treatment. We tested zinc-treated corn seed at 62 Answer Plot locations last year and found that it averaged a 3.2-bushel-per-acre yield advantage over standard seed treatments. We’re continually testing new formulations of this treatment with an eye towards further improving our seed treatment portfolio.
 
Fungicide trials. We’ve expanded our fungicide trials this year to include more products across different environments and disease pressures. Our hope is to better understand which products offer the greatest return on investment to ensure we’re giving you the best product recommendations. We compare generics, common brands and new products side-by-side to help retailers and farmers make the right decisions for their operation.
 
Soybean herbicide systems. This year, we’re running a new trial that compares the yield potential of soybeans under three different trait and herbicide systems: glyphosate, gluphosinate and low-volatility dicamba. We’re hoping to understand which systems provide the greatest value to farmers.
 
Soybean treatment. There are a lot of questions as to whether soybean seed treatments pay for themselves. We’re running trials to better understand under what conditions these treatments offer the greatest seed protection. For example, nematicides are emerging as a new innovation in this space, and we want to study how these products perform and interact with existing fungicide and insecticide options.
 
Every year presents farmers with a different set of challenges. The Answer Plot program faces those same environmental conditions. Our goal is to classify those situations to better use our data to tailor solutions for you. We’re looking forward to analyzing and sharing another year of unmatched, quality data from our Answer Plot locations.

Nurture Success. Not Weeds.

Holly Thrasher
Technical Seed Manager
Now’s the time to make your soybean trait and herbicide system choices for 2019. Getting a head start on these weed-control decisions will help improve your chances of getting the products you want. Here are some factors to keep in mind when considering your 2019 weed-control strategy.
 
1. Review this year’s weed control outcomes.
Did you get acceptable weed control with the trait package you chose for 2018? Did that trait package protect your soybeans from off-target herbicide movement? These are important considerations for next year’s choices.
 
2. Evaluate herbicide performance.
While it’s important to evaluate how your herbicide performed this year in soybean fields, you also need to determine how well that herbicide system worked in the fields you are planning to rotate to soybeans next year. For example, if you have corn in those fields now, was weed control successful and what weeds were a problem? Knowing what you’ll have to contend with will help enable earlier control.
 
3. Determine the economics of a field.
Your trusted advisor can help you determine if a field has adequate potential for soybeans next year compared to how aggressive you’ll need to be with a herbicide program to manage current weed pressure. They can help you align yield potential with managing for the best ROI on next year’s soybean crop by choosing the most appropriate trait package.
 
4. Start clean in spring.
A fall burndown is especially important in areas where winter annuals such as marestail are an issue. Depending on your geography, a late winter or early spring burndown with a residual herbicide for areas that are prone to summer annuals like kochia will also be important. Remember, choosing the right trait isn’t always going to be the answer. Successful weed management also requires changing up chemistries and using overlapping residuals.
 
5. Practice good stewardship.
Driving down central Kansas roads this summer, I’ve noticed that most farmers have transitioned to using not only LibertyLink® trait technology but also Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® trait technology. I believe this has helped enable more effective weed control. That said, we have to be good stewards of these traits and make sure we do everything we can to avoid herbicide resistance.
 
Your WinField United advisor can also share Answer Plot® information and data regarding different trait packages and herbicide programs based on our in-field testing to help you make the best decision for your farm. Be sure to talk with him or her soon.
 
© 2018 WinField United. Answer Plot® and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.
LibertyLink® is a trademark of BASF Corporation.
Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® is a trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC.

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