Growing Knowledge

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

The Skinny on Pump Shear and Dicamba Drift

Dan Bissell
Senior Research Engineer, Product Development
Last season brought headlines of farmers who faced challenges when they applied a new dicamba herbicide to their field — as well as to some who did not. More often than not, inadvertent dicamba drift was publicized to be the main culprit for damanged crops and bad feelings between neighbors.
 
At WinField United, we heard the stories. And we have a solution to help limit dicamba drift, giving you greater peace of mind.
 
If you have planted dicamba-tolerant soybeans or cotton this year, using a superior drift reduction adjuvant (DRA) is key to keeping your dicamba applications on target. However, not all DRAs are created equal. Some can break down in the spray tank due to shear in the pump. This renders them largely ineffective.
 
Finding answers
As part of our rigorous WinField® United Product Development Process, we evaluated several DRAs with new dicamba herbicide tank mixes using the WinField® United Spray Analysis System. In our lab-scale testing, some DRAs lost their ability to reduce driftable droplets due to the high shear environment of the pump simulation.1
 
But our testing also revealed a promising opportunity.
 
We found that OnTarget™ adjuvant was more resistant to shear breakdown, maintaining its drift-reduction technology, even after 50 passes through a sprayer pump simulation.
 
ShearGraphic2-copy-web.png 
The pump shear problem
All DRAs start out by decreasing drift when mixed with dicamba. But some may not sustain that performance over time because they are subjected to shear forces in the pump, which occurs when some liquid moves faster than neighboring elements. The theory is that shear force causes the polymers in some DRAs to break apart, diminishing drift control.
 
OnTarget is formulated to be compatible with extra- and ultra-coarse nozzles and dicamba-based tank mixes, and its anti-foam formulation makes application convenient.
 
Adding OnTarget to the tank can give you more confidence about your spray outcomes. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your herbicide investment by reducing drift, enhancing droplet spreading and improving canopy penetration. Talk with your trusted local advisor about how OnTarget can work for your dicamba-tolerant crops this year.
 
 
1. Bissell, D. C., Brown, D., Magidow, L. C., and Gednalske, J. V., “An Assessment of Polymeric Drift Reduction Adjuvant Performance After Prolonged Exposure to Pump Induced Shear,” Pesticide Formulation and Delivery Systems: 38th Volume, Innovative Application, Formulation, and Adjuvant Technologies, ASTM STP1610, B. K. Fritz and T. R. Butts, eds., ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA; 2018.
 
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.

Can You Spot a Micronutrient Deficiency?

Mark Herz
Agronomist, WinField United
Generally, it’s pretty easy to see when stress has taken a toll on crops. But determining what’s causing unhealthy plants sometimes requires extra detective work. Micronutrient deficiencies, for example, are hard to diagnose based on visual symptoms alone. Here are some tips to help you diagnose micronutrient deficiencies as you scout fields.
 
It might not be insect damage in alfalfa
Boron deficiency is more common in alfalfa than in any other row crop. Since boron is an immobile nutrient in plants, signs of deficiency will show up in new growth first. You’ll often see yellow-reddish leaves near the top of the plant, while older leaves remain green. Boron deficiency is sometimes misdiagnosed as leafhopper damage due to similar plant symptoms. One differentiator is that boron deficiency causes bunched leaves and shorter internodes, whereas leafhopper damage does not.
 
Watch for manganese deficiency in soybeans
Of all the micronutrients, manganese seems to be the most limiting for soybeans. Symptoms of manganese deficiency include yellow tissue between veins on new plant leaves, followed by brown, dying tissue. If the deficiency isn’t corrected, there could be yield loss due to lack of green leaf area. Symptoms of manganese deficiency look similar to other nutrient deficiencies and agronomic problems, so good scouting is key.
 
Your corn might be missing zinc
The micronutrient most likely lacking in your corn crop is zinc. Deficiencies can show up early in the season due to cold, wet soil conditions, or later in the season if the deficiency is severe. Deficiency symptoms generally appear in the newest leaf tissue, since zinc isn’t mobile in plants. To identify if your corn might be suffering from a zinc deficiency, look for yellow or white streaking on the leaves, which may not be uniform across the width of the leaf.  
 
Scout and sample
The best way to definitively diagnose a micronutrient deficiency is by soil and tissue sampling. Micronutrient deficiencies are rarely consistent across a field, so it’s important to target plants that are displaying symptoms to ensure you’re getting an accurate snapshot of your crop’s health. Combine scouting with tissue and soil sampling to help diagnose problems and follow up with appropriate fertilizers in-season as needed, and talk to your local agronomist for help diagnosing micronutrient deficiencies.
 
We’re here to help you with your holistic plant nutrition plan. Next, we’ll explore how to mitigate in-season stress using plant growth regulators and how to pair plant nutrition and seed choices. We’ll continue to dig into all aspects of plant nutrition throughout the year right here on the Growing Knowledge blog, so be sure to check back for more plant health tips.

Answering Farmer Questions: Part One

Joel and Jon
Hosts, WinField United
On this episode of the Deal With Yield, Joel Wipperfurth and Jon Zuk answer questions they received from farmers at this year’s Commodity Classic tradeshow. The two discuss industry inquiries ranging from dicamba use to the impact of mergers.
Season 13, Episode 2: Answering Farmer Questions: Part One

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

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.

Picture1-(1).png 

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

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