Growing Knowledge

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

Are Plant Growth Regulators Worth the Investment?

Jonathan Zuk
Regional Agronomist
Biological growth stimulants have been getting more attention from the agricultural community in recent years, but you may be wondering if they actually live up to the hype. The Answer Plot® program has generated some solid research supporting the benefits of applying plant growth regulators (PGRs), both in-furrow at planting and later in the season as a foliar application. If you haven’t added a PGR to your crop nutrition program, now may be the time to start.
 
What do PGRs do?
PGRs are hormones that regulate the growth and development of plants. There are five basic classes of plant growth regulators. Each of these has a different effect on plants, ranging from stimulating plant growth to dictating seed germination. Plant responses may vary depending on PGR type, rate and application timing.
 
When should you apply a PGR?
Plant growth regulators can be applied throughout the growing season. To promote vigorous root growth and early emergence, PGRs can be applied as a seed treatment or in-furrow at planting. The benefit of using a PGR prior to emergence is that seeds get an extra boost and a strong start at a time when soil and environmental conditions might not be favorable.
 
Ascend® SL plant growth regulator by WinField United contains three EPA-registered active ingredients for more vigorous emergence, better root growth, wider leaves and thicker stalks. Answer Plot data from 199 sites over three years showed 60.5% of sites responded positively, with 5.85-bushel-per-acre positive response when Ascend PGR was applied in-furrow to corn at planting.
 
Applying a foliar PGR prior to tasseling in corn can help stimulate plant growth and development to harness more energy for grain fill. An application at V4 to V6 in corn makes sense because you’ll have a better idea of your crop’s yield potential and can focus PGRs where you’ll get the best return on investment. Answer Plot data from 13 locations in 2017 showed an average 2.8-bushel-per-acre yield advantage when Ascend SL was applied as a foliar application at V4 to V5 in corn west of the Mississippi River.
 
Aren’t all PGRs the same?
PGR is a broad term for any product that uses plant hormones to generate a plant response. PGRs can initiate many responses in plants, from more vigorous root growth and stem elongation to plant senescence; therefore, not all products provide the same results. Before you invest in a PGR, be sure you know what the active ingredients are and what the expected plant response is. ALWAYS remember that more active ingredient does not always mean a better plant response when applying PGRs.  Always ask for firm data to back up any product claims.
 
To learn more about plant growth regulators and where they fit into your management plan, talk with your local retailer.

Using Plant Growth Regulators and Nitrogen Stabilizers

Joel and Jon
Hosts, WinField United
On this episode of The Deal With Yield, Joel Wipperfurth and guest host Jon Zuk discuss if plant growth regulators are a mainstay in today’s crop management plans. The guys also cover varying nitrogen management practices, crop models and decision trees.
Season 12, Episode 4: Using Plant Growth Regulators and Nitrogen Stabilizers

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

In-Season Management Tips for Spring Wheat

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField
On this episode of the Deal With Yield®, host Kyle Reiner and agronomist Jason Hanson discuss in-season management for spring wheat and the impact these practices can have on yield. Tune in to hear Hanson’s tips for getting plants off to a strong start with plant growth regulators, assessing nutrient needs using tissue samples and making timely herbicide and fungicide applications to optimize yield potential. Kyle and Jason also look at the differences in wheat production in the Upper Midwest versus overseas.
Season 8: Episode 7 – In-Season Management Tips for Spring Wheat

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

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