Growing Knowledge

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

Testing the Future of Spray Technology

Jonathan Zuk
Regional Agronomist
Not all DRAs are created equal. Host Jon Zuk is joined by WinField United senior engineer Dan Bissell to discuss the groundbreaking spray research coming out of the Innovation Center on the latest episode of The Deal With Yield podcast.
Season 14, Episode 6: Testing the Future of Spray Technology


It Really Is All About You

Kevin Eye
Vice President, WinField United
For 20 years, we’ve been focused on testing every agronomic concept that might make a difference for a farmer. The Answer Plot® program has looked at the good and the bad, the new and the assumed, the maybe-this-could-work and the crazy-but-possible. The program has grown to include nearly 200 sites across the United States, Canada, Mexico and South Africa that produce an incredible 6 million data points every year. And those millions of data points have led to some really valuable insights that are helping farmers get more from every field, every season.
 
But what all of us at WinField United are most proud of isn’t the big numbers; it’s the individual success stories Answer Plot insights have helped create. Every trial and every observation is managed by a local expert agronomy team driven to help their customers succeed. That’s what makes this program worthwhile and what can give you greater confidence in your agronomic decisions.
 
Putting Answer Plot data to work
You might be using Answer Plot insights without realizing it. If you are using response-to-fungicide scores to choose hybrids and plan in-season management, Answer Plot results helped shape the advice you’re getting from your local agronomy team.
 
When you’re discussing the pros and cons of increasing plant population with your agronomist, it’s a good bet Answer Plot data is adding context to those conversations.
 
When your team is helping you plan nitrogen applications throughout the season to get the most from your genetic investment, you can be sure Answer Plot trials helped fuel those recommendations.
 
If you have found the benefits of leveraging the R7® Tool on your farm, you have definitely been using Answer Plot data and insights.
 
Visit an Answer Plot site to see more
And we’re not done yet. We have our sights set on even more in-depth management insights and more localized data for better individual farm decision-making. Here are a few examples of what’s ahead for the Answer Plot program:
  • We’ll be evaluating seed care technology to give you the best opportunity to start the season with a strong, healthy stand.
  • We’ll be looking beyond general fungicide response to analyze how specific hybrids respond to specific fungicide products in more locations and accounting for more management strategies.
  • We’ll be testing new strategies for controlling herbicide-resistant weeds to help you choose the best solution for your specific challenges.
  • We’ll be tackling soil quality to help you maintain and improve the foundation of your crop production program.
You can be sure we will use everything we’ve learned from the last 20 years to inform the next 20 years and beyond – always focused on helping you make confident decisions for every field, every season.
 
Thanks for helping us recognize 20 years of insights and for inspiring us with your agronomic challenges. Let’s solve them together. I hope to see you at an Answer Plot event this summer!

Answer Plot Program Insights Reveal Yield Opportunities

WinField United
Agronomy Team
The Answer Plot® program was created to give farmers greater confidence in their agronomic decisions. Since 1988, we have been transforming data from test sites across the country into expertise you can use on your farm. Here’s a look at five key insights from the program in 2017 that can help you move your operation forward this year and in the years to come.

1. Don’t leave 90 bushels on the table.
Spending smarter beats spending more. Response-to scores help you manage input decisions with a clear understanding of potential ROI. Through the Answer Plot program, we measure crop response to management strategies, including plant population, nitrogen application, continuous corn and fungicide application. The bottom line: Nearly 90 bushels could be at risk on any acre every year.
 
The data below shows the range of yield response to four key decisions that affect productivity and profitability. The better you can predict the results of your management decisions, the less risk you will carry and the more yield opportunity you will realize.

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2. Plant with confidence.
The best results come from matching every seed to the right management practices. To improve your odds of choosing the right seed for each acre, we collect data on how a vast range of products perform on fields just like yours. Using those results on 240 corn hybrids and 360 soybean varieties at nearly 200 Answer Plot locations, we populate the R7® Tool Top 10 feature, which finds the best 10 products for your fields and the conditions you face, including geography, soil type, maturity and irrigation.

3. Let the fungicide data do the talking.
Effectively managing mid-season input costs can make the difference between profit and loss. But when disease strikes, you have to protect yield. Response-to-fungicide (RTF) scores help you with seed selection and indicate where to scout for conditions that favor disease growth, so you can decide whether you can expect a return on a fungicide application and when to take action.
 
The Answer Plot program gauges RTF scores on 240 corn products every year. In 2017, based on data from 41 locations, average yield response after fungicide application was 11.2 bushels per acre. And the higher the RTF score, the higher the yield response.
 
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4. Keep nitrogen in its place.
Losing valuable nitrogen through air or soil is easy — and that’s not good for yield potential, the environment or your input budget. Nitrogen stabilizers slow the rate of nitrogen conversion so nutrients are ready and waiting for developing plants. The Answer Plot team is actively applying learnings from more than 400 independent research trials, which found treating fields with NutriSphere-N® Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager increased corn yield by an average of 10.0 bushels per acre compared to untreated plots.1,2

5. Seed treatment stops small pests from becoming big problems.
A well-chosen seed treatment can prevent damage from some of the biggest soybean yield threats, namely soybean cyst nematode (SCN) and sudden death syndrome (SDS). Based on testing at 25 Answer Plot locations with moderate to high SCN pressure, combining Warden® CX and ILeVO® seed treatments boosted soybean yield by 2.8 bushels per acre.
 
We hope you’ll join us in celebrating 20 years of insights — and bring your tough questions to an Answer Plot event this summer. See you at the plots!
 
Results may vary. Because of factors outside of Winfield Solutions’ control, such as weather, product application and any other factors, results to be obtained, including but not limited to yields, financial performance or profits, cannot be predicted or guaranteed by Winfield Solutions.
 
1. Koch Industries, 2018
2. Verdesian Life Sciences data on file

DRAs Really Do Matter

Dennis Christie
Agronomist
Once you’ve decided to plant dicamba-tolerant soybeans, be sure you’re ready to take the steps needed to ensure a solid return on your investment through more effective weed control. Using application techniques appropriate to new dicamba herbicide tank mixes will help protect yield potential while preserving the value of the technology for future seasons.
 
Follow the rules
Job one is to follow all label guidelines for tank-mixing herbicides before applying the mix to Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans or cotton with XtendFlex® technology. That means following directions for application timing and procedures, using approved nozzles and, in almost every case, adding a drift reduction agent (DRA) to the tank mix.
 
You’ll find lists of approved DRAs for each product on company websites. Specific requirements vary by state and can change over time, so double-check guidelines within a week of applying a low-volatility dicamba herbicide.
 
DRA 101
In general, DRAs help reduce off-target applications by making spray droplets larger. Larger droplets are better able to penetrate the canopy to reach surfaces of target weeds, which results in more effective control.
 
Larger droplets also means fewer droplets, so follow guidelines for spray volume to ensure good coverage. Most dicamba tank mixes should be applied at 15 gallons per acre, but be sure to check the label and consult your agronomist with any questions before making an application.
 
Aren’t all DRAs the same?
Even among approved DRAs, you will find performance differences. While all DRAs start out doing the job of increasing spray droplet size, some DRAs may not maintain that performance over time as they are subjected to recirculation within the spray tank.
 
Here’s why: Shear forces imposed on a spray solution moving through a spray system can cause DRAs to act differently. Some DRAs are more susceptible to shear forces, which reduces their ability to suppress fine droplets during application.
 
In testing multiple DRAs with new dicamba herbicide tank mixes using the WinField® United Spray Analysis System, we found some DRAs lost their ability to reduce the percent of driftable fines. However, OnTarget™ adjuvant continued to work after many revolutions through the spray pump.
 
We know OnTarget™ adjuvant will give you the best potential for return on your DRA investment based on comprehensive testing with the WinField® United Spray Analysis System, validated by in-field testing. The graph below shows reduced small particles in dicamba applications when OnTarget™ adjuvant was added to the tank mix.

 We have seen additional good results in field trials when OnTarget™ adjuvant and InterLock® adjuvant are used together in dicamba tank mixes. Adding InterLock® adjuvant at a rate of 1 to 2 ounces per acre will help improve consistency of spray droplet size for better coverage and performance.
 
Take time to plan your herbicide tank-mix strategy before application season heats up. Adding a DRA to a dicamba mix is the best way to get better return on your input investments and ensure good results from this needed weed-control technology for years to come.

XtendiMax® herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology is a restricted use pesticide. XtendiMax® herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology is not registered in all states and may be subject to use restrictions in some states. The distribution, sale, or use of an unregistered pesticide is a violation of federal and/or state law and is strictly prohibited. Check with your local Monsanto dealer or representative for the product registration status in your state.
 
ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS FOR USE ON PESTICIDE LABELING. IT IS A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL AND STATE LAW to use any pesticide product other than in accordance with its labeling. NOT ALL formulations of dicamba or glyphosate are approved for in-crop use with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans, Bollgard II® XtendFlex® or XtendFlex® cotton. ONLY USE FORMULATIONS THAT ARE SPECIFICALLY LABELED FOR SUCH USES AND APPROVED FOR SUCH USE IN THE STATE OF APPLICATION. XTENDIMAX® HERBICIDE WITH VAPORGRIP® TECHNOLOGY AND IN CROP USES MAY NOT BE APPROVED IN ALL STATES. Contact the U.S. EPA and your state pesticide regulatory agency with any questions about the approval status of dicamba herbicide products for in-crop use with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans, Bollgard II® XtendFlex® or XtendFlex® cotton.
 
Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans contains genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate and dicamba. Bollgard II® XtendFlex® cotton contains genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, dicamba and glufosinate. Glyphosate will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Dicamba will kill crops that are not tolerant to dicamba.
 
Glufosinate will kill crops that are not tolerant to glufosinate. Contact your Monsanto dealer or refer to Monsanto’s Technology Use Guide for recommended weed control programs.
 
Individual results may vary, and performance may vary from location to location and from year to year. This result may not be an indicator of results you may obtain as local growing, soil and weather conditions may vary. Growers should evaluate data from multiple locations and years whenever possible.
 
ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Bollgard II®, Genuity®, Monsanto and Vine Design®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend®, XtendFlex®, XtendiMax® and Vaporgrip® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology, LLC

Are Your Herbicide Sites of Action Effective?

Mark Glady
Regional Agronomist
As new herbicide technology hits the market, there has been even more discussion about the battle against resistant weeds. The International Survey of Resistant Weeds reports there are 160 weed species in the U.S. that are resistant to at least one herbicide class. But how does resistance happen and what can you do to help combat the problem?
 
Rise of Resistant Weeds
Resistance starts with a small number of weeds that carry mutations making them more tolerant to specific herbicides. This happens spontaneously, in the same way that mutations happen in our own DNA. The problem arises when we inadvertently give these weeds the upper hand by selecting for them when we apply herbicides that they are tolerant to.
 
Herbicide-tolerant weeds are selected for when there is a spray program that lacks diversity, meaning herbicides with the same sites of action are continuously applied. Every time a weed escapes control, it has the potential to make seed. Those seeds end up in the soil and the next generation of weeds have more tolerance to the herbicide they are developing resistant to. If the same herbicide class is used without including additional effective sites of action for control, the cycle continues until resistant weed populations have taken over.
 
Break the Cycle
The good news is that you can stay one step ahead of resistance by diversifying your spray program. The goal is to limit weed escapes by using multiple site of action herbicides in your tank mixes. It’s also important to layer herbicides throughout the season and incorporate residual products to get extended windows of coverage. These strategies all help attack the defenses of weeds that have become adapted to the environments they are thriving in.
 
Some weeds have documented resistance of up to four different sites of action, so don’t assume adding multiple site-of-action herbicides to your tank will be enough. Make sure the products you are using are actually effective against the weeds you are trying to control.
 
The website Take Action on Weeds has a tool that identifies sites of action for most common herbicides to help you diversify your spray program. Alternating herbicide sites of action can help extend product life and reduce the likelihood that weeds will develop resistance. Talk to your local retailer to learn more about effective weed management strategies.

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