Growing Knowledge

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

Combine Land and Weed Management for 2019 Success

Mark Glady
Regional Agronomist
It’s time to formulate your land management and herbicide programs for 2019. Here’s how combining these strategies can provide optimal weed control without sacrificing sustainability.
 
Herbicide choices
If your 2018 herbicide program adequately controlled weeds, you’ve dramatically reduced the weed seed bank potential for next year’s crop. If some of your 2018 herbicide choices didn’t work as planned and you have weed seed that scattered when you harvested, you’re going to have some challenges come spring. This will make applying a residual herbicide at preemergence particularly important.
 
One option is Threesidual™ herbicide, which contains three active ingredients from three different sites of action to manage weeds in field and silage corn. Add InterLock® adjuvant to the tank mix to achieve optimal deposition.
 
Tillage system
If you are a no-till soybean farmer, it’s important to do a spring burndown with some glyphosate and dicamba prior to planting. And you should apply a broad-spectrum residual herbicide such as PREsidual® herbicide to prevent weeds from emerging. If you use conventional tillage, you will eliminate those weeds during the tillage process, so you don’t need to spray before you plant. However, you will need to apply a preemergence herbicide such as PREsidual herbicide, Charger Basic® herbicide or Dimetric® EXT herbicide, mixed with InterLock adjuvant.
 
Sustainability goals
Conventional tillage, of course, churns the ground up, which can lead to erosion, versus no-till, which reduces it. However, no-till requires more herbicides, which are safe when used according to label directions. If you are a conventional farmer who is trying to work some no-till plantings into your operation, be sure to use a broad-spectrum herbicide program that manages all weed species. Such a program might include applications in addition to the normal spring and early-summer spray times to achieve effective control.
 
Likewise, planting a cover crop can be a good choice for no-till farmers, since it can help reduce soil erosion, preserve topsoil and create better soil structure as a result of its active root system development. Cover crops can also be used effectively with conventional tillage.
 
Agronomist recommendations
Remember that controlling broadleaf weeds such as waterhemp or ragweed can require a different herbicide system than when managing grass species such as foxtail. If you haven’t done so, let your local trusted advisor know specifically which species of weeds and/or grasses were problematic in your fields this season. Then determine which products can manage the issues and what land management practices will best complement that strategy.

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.
 

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