Growing Knowledge

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

Find Ways to Improve Profitability: Attend a Clinic

Bob Pomerleau
Make room on your calendar this winter for an opportunity to improve your operation’s profitability. WinField United retailers will be hosting more than 3,500 clinics across the country to share agronomic insights to help you get more from your acres, as well as highlight the latest plant nutrition and crop protection products. Here are some of the topics that may be presented at a clinic near you.
 
Response to Fungicide (RTF)
  • Learn about tools to help you understand where fungicide applications are more likely to have a positive impact on ROI.
  • See spray demonstrations to learn what products can help improve fungicide coverage.
Managing Dicamba
  • Determine the best practices for managing dicamba applications on Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybean acres.
  • Discover ways to combat herbicide-resistant weeds and steward new technology.
Journey of the Droplet
  • Get the facts. Picking the right adjuvant is extremely important in the battle against weed pressure and resistance. Learn more about how to improve coverage and uptake to get it right the first time.
  • Learn which adjuvants provide consistent product performance to help control rising pressure from weeds  
Tips for High Yield/High Management Acres
  • Prep for optimal yields by learning how to adjust nutrient levels throughout the year.
  • Learn how different nutrient formulations can influence plant uptake.
Nitrogen Management Best Practices
  • Find out how your fields are losing nitrogen and focus on solutions to keep it in the root zone.
  • Protect your investment by learning how the right rate, nutrient source and application timing can make a difference in plant availability. 
 
You’ll hear about these topics and more at the upcoming clinics. Our local agronomists will also be available to answer more specific crop production questions and provide recommendations as you plan for 2019. Contact your local WinField United retailer for more information about upcoming clinics in your area.
 
© 2018 WinField United. WinField® is a trademark of WinField United. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® is a trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC.

Wind Tunnel Will Enhance University of Minnesota Research

Dan Bissell
Senior Research Engineer, Product Development
A donation from WinField United will enable aerosol researchers at the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering (CSE) to study what’s blowin’ in the wind. And then use that knowledge to help farmers.
 
A large wind tunnel once housed at the former WinField United Product Development Center in River Falls, Wisconsin, is now ready to rev up at the Aerosol Diagnostics Laboratory on the university’s Minneapolis campus. The tunnel will be formally presented at a ceremony on November 16.
 
The tunnel played a major role in our breakthrough product research for many years. However, the new WinField United Innovation Center (opened in 2017) required an upgraded wind tunnel designed for the high throughput demanded by our product development process. This prompted us to see if the University of Minnesota was interested in acquiring our existing wind tunnel and using it for agricultural product research.
 
As a graduate of the CSE and having served as an undergraduate research assistant in the aerosol research department, I realized how beneficial this technology will be. 
 
Using aerosol research to fuel ag progress
The aerosol research group of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, founded in the 1950s, is one of the leading centers of small-particle research in the United States. Aerosol research is the study of how particulate matter moves through the air. Our work, which uses active ingredients with various spray nozzles and in multiple tank mixes, has enabled WinField United to develop considerable expertise in understanding the potential for spray drift of agricultural products.
 
Research at the Aerosol Diagnostics Laboratory will help validate and inform our activities at the Innovation Center and vice versa. WinField United and the University of Minnesota will collaborate and share learnings, and expand knowledge about spray drift in the agricultural industry.
 
One area of specific exploration may be dicamba drift. At WinField United, we’ve already begun to examine this issue and the use of drift reduction agents. This new partnership gives us another avenue to help tackle this problem. Examining droplet size more closely might be one way to begin to offer some answers to dicamba drift.
 
Pursuing the unexpected
WinField United sought out the CSE to make a connection with a discipline of science that is distinct from agriculture. We wanted partner with the experts on spray drift and particulate movement in the atmosphere.
 
There are numerous scientific disciplines in the CSE that WinField United could tap into. These include soil health, residual effects of herbicides, movement of pesticides through the soil layer and runoff of crop protection products into waterways. This partnership is a way for our company to bring more subject matter experts into agriculture to offer fresh perspectives on making our industry better for farmers and more sustainable for everyone.
 

It’s Not Too Early to Talk Fungicides

Jason Roth
agronomist
Farmers often ask me when they should plan to purchase their fungicides for the season. My answer is, in the off-season AND in-season. It seems contradictory, but there are good reasons to make purchases both times of the year.
 
It’s not just about disease pressure
With tighter margins, many farmers are choosing to delay their fungicide purchases to see what the season brings. But that might not be the best approach to getting the most from your genetics. Our Answer Plot® data shows that not all hybrids respond to fungicide applications the same way. We’ve seen some locations where disease pressure has been relatively low, yet the hybrids respond significantly to a fungicide application. That’s because fungicides do more than just control disease. They affect plants in other physiological ways, including influencing nitrogen use efficiency, respiration maintenance and hormone production. All these things can affect yield potential, even in the absence of disease.
 
3 tips for a stronger plant health strategy
My advice for building a solid plant health strategy comes down to three steps.
 
  1. Review your seed choices and learn how they respond to a fungicide application. Plan to prepay for fungicides and adjuvants on acres with high-response hybrids. Our data shows a positive return on investment, even when disease pressure is low.
 
  1. For hybrids that are less responsive to fungicides, I’d recommend holding off on fungicide purchases to assess disease pressure in-season. If disease comes in early and is heavy, I’d recommend a fungicide, paired with MasterLock® adjuvant, to help protect yield potential.
 
  1. Regardless of when you make your purchase, you should always plan to add an adjuvant to your tank mix. The drift deposition aid MasterLock improves fungicide coverage within the plant’s canopy, leading to improved ROI potential on input costs. Our Answer Plot data has shown an average 5.7-bushel-per-acre yield advantage in corn, simply by adding MasterLock to the fungicide tank mix.
 
If you’re tempted to wait to make your fungicide purchases until next summer, take a look at your genetics’ response-to scores to make sure you’re not missing an opportunity to optimize yield. Postharvest is the perfect time to work with your local WinField United retailer to plan hybrid placement and management to ensure you’re capitalizing on your seed’s potential.    
 

Adjuvant Research That Proves Itself in the Tank

Darrin Holder
Agronomist, WinField United
Every spring, you probably make a significant investment in crop protection products. But are they performing as well as they could be? Adding a quality adjuvant to your tank mix can help more product reach its target and be more effective once it gets there.
 
Finding answers
Researchers at the WinField United Innovation Center use state-of-the-art technology to evaluate the entire crop protection product application process, resulting in the creation of leading-edge adjuvants, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides to help you be successful in the field.
 
During the growing season, we run field trials to see exactly how our adjuvants perform with a variety of crop protection products. Year-round, our staff runs many compounds through our Spray Analysis System to observe how different combinations of adjuvants and active ingredients affect spray quality. Spray chambers at the Innovation Center allow products to be tested much like they would be in the field, with the same size nozzles and nozzle orientation as a full-size sprayer.
 
Laboratory testing, as well as research conducted under regulated growing conditions in greenhouses and growth chambers, lets us test products without the unpredictability of the external environment. This leads to greater efficiency, consistency and precision. Determining product specifics such as shelf life and mixing capabilities helps WinField United bring a more complete product to market.
 
The numbers tell the story
Research indicates that WinField United adjuvants help increase the efficacy of crop protection products, giving you the opportunity to increase yield and ROI potential. Here are just a few data points.
  • MasterLock® adjuvant helps improve fungicide response on corn, increasing yields by an average of 5.7 bushels per acre.1
  • Class Act® NG® adjuvant doubles the amount of glyphosate uptake over ammonium sulfate (AMS).2
  • StrikeLock® adjuvant is as good as or better than other high-surfactant oils in weed control, outperforming them approximately 14 percent of the time.3
 
In addition, InterLock® adjuvant delivers more droplets in the ideal droplet diameter spectrum, increases droplet speed without thickening the spray and helps get more active ingredient deeper into the plant canopy.
 
The way I think about applying a crop protection product is, If I don’t do this right, I’m in a respray situation. And nobody makes money in a respray situation. You’ve got to start with the correct amount of active ingredient per acre, then use a quality adjuvant to get as much of that active ingredient as possible to the target.
 
 
Talk with your local trusted advisor about how adding a quality adjuvant to the tank can help you get more out of your crop protection products.
 
 
1. WinField United. Fourteen studies, eight states, all fungicides, 2012–2017.
2. Westra P. Colorado State University.
3. WinField United trials (Answer Plot® and product development sites), 2014–2016.
 
Because of factors outside of WinField United's control, such as weather, applicator factors, etc., results to be obtained, including but not limited to yields, financial performance, or profits, cannot be predicted or guaranteed by WinField United. Actual results may vary.

Consider Fungicide Response When Selecting Seed

Kevin Sloane
National Technical Seed Manager
When considering seed choices for next season, include WinField United’s response-to-fungicide (RTF) scores in your decision-making process.
 
In 2017, WinField United tested 199 corn hybrids at 41 Answer Plot® locations and compared corn hybrids sprayed with a fungicide at V5 and VT against those receiving no fungicide treatment. The yield difference between the treated and untreated plants ranged from a 4-bushel-per-acre decrease to a 37-bushel-per-acre increase, with an average response of 11.2 additional bushels per acre for the fungicide-treated plants.
 
After measuring the yield difference between hybrids, WinField United assigns each hybrid a high, medium or low response score based on its yield difference between the treated and non-treated compared to all hybrids tested. Choosing the hybrids with optimal RTF scores for your unique fields is key. Here are some things to consider.
 
Monitor fields all year long
I recommend making your seed decisions a process, rather than something you only think about during the first part of September. Keep a close eye on your fields all year long to better understand what your hybrids are doing — and not doing — throughout the season and what steps you can take to help them achieve better yield potential. Season-long management allows you to adjust cropping plans according to what the year is giving us.
 
Consider field history
Evaluating your field history can help you anticipate future issues and select the right hybrid. If you have a field in a corn-on-corn rotation, and/or that field has had disease in the past, there is a high probability that it could occur again. This field would be a prime candidate for a high-RTF hybrid to potentially control disease there.
 
Optimize yield potential and standability
Our Answer Plot trials have shown that high-RTF hybrids give farmers a better chance to optimize yield potential by keeping the plant alive longer, and offer potential agronomic benefits such as improved standability late in the season. Alternatively, in situations where you are selecting a hybrid for lower-yielding ground that is difficult for equipment to access, it might make more sense to choose one with a lower RTF score.
 
Use RTF scores as a one of the talking points
Remember that RTF scores are only one factor in your seed-selection decisions. Other considerations are response to continuous corn, response to population and response to nitrogen. So, asking the right questions when making seed selections is the key to better placement, return on investment and predictability year over year.
 
Using all the tools in the toolbox, all season long, is the key to help you put the odds in your favor for predictable yields year over year. Talk with your trusted advisor about the best mix of hybrids for your operation.

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