Growing Knowledge

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

Push Crops Through Stressful Conditions With Biostimulants

Jason Haegele
Agronomist, WinField United
During the lifespan of a crop, it’s faced with numerous stressors that can chip away at yield. So what can you do to protect plants from stress? It starts with keeping crops healthy from day one with good management practices.
 
Stay ahead of the season
Start by anticipating potential problems based on current crop conditions and the weather forecast. Scout crops frequently and use technology like the R7® Field Monitoring Tool to track growth stage and crop development. Take tissue samples ahead of key nutrient uptake periods to allow yourself time to make in-season fertilizer adjustments if necessary.
 
Biostimulants can help
In addition to traditional fertilizers, biostimulant additives can give crops an extra boost, especially during stressful conditions. Biostimulants are biologically derived products that can trigger reactions in a plant ranging from stress alleviation to yield enhancement.
 
Voyagrobiostimulant fertilizer by WinField United works well on highly managed corn acres where there is moisture stress prior to application or where moisture stress is anticipated. A foliar application from V4 to V8 in corn is recommended when fertility is adequate and available moisture is low. Answer Plot® research indicates that in areas that had less than 2 inches of rain immediately following a Voyagro application, there was a positive return on investment 93 percent of the time. The average yield response of a Voyagro application under these conditions was 3.8 bushels per acre.*  
 
Toggle® is another biostimulant fertilizer used in corn, soybeans, cotton and other crops. It’s derived from seaweed and enhances root growth, promotes synthesis of antioxidants and improves photosynthesis by increasing chlorophyll production in plants. Toggle works best on acres where stress is known to occur, such as areas where drought and high temperatures are likely or in saline or sodic soils. A foliar application around V5 and again at flowering can offer stress protection in corn.
 
Biostimulants promote plant growth and work best when applied with traditional fertilizer products. Work with your agronomist to develop a fertilization program that works harder to protect your crops during times of stress.
 
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, as well as tips for soil testing. 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.
 
*2015 Answer Plot data, 27 locations across IA, KS, MN, MT, ND, NE, SD, TX

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.

Stay in the Know: Visit an Answer Plot Event

WinField United
Agronomy Team
Partnerships are the cornerstone of all successful businesses and your farm is no exception. Every year we look forward to farmers, retailers and our agronomy experts gathering to share ideas at local Answer Plot® events. You’ll get the latest information directly from our agronomic team.    
 
Our goal is to offer timely, locally relevant topics that help increase your productivity and profitability. Here are some things we hope you take back to the farm.
 
Deeper insights. We talk a lot about data, and it’s true, we collect a lot of it. But we’re looking at new ways to analyze data for deeper insights that affect your farm. For example, instead of just testing for a fungicide yield response, we want to examine how a specific fungicide and hybrid work together.
 
Better forecasting. We’re striving to improve our ag technology tools. We use data from the Answer Plot locations to help us calibrate and fine-tune features within the R7® Tool. Our ultimate goal is to use data to be more predictive so that we can help you stay one step ahead of in-season challenges. When you visit an Answer Plot event this summer, you’ll learn how these tools fit with your management plans.
 
Timely information. Answer Plot events are designed to be educational, and we like to use current conditions to lead productive discussions. That means each event is structured a little differently, depending on what is happening in the field. Even if you’ve attended events before, you’ll learn something new, because as we collect and analyze more data, our insights become stronger.
 
Profitable practices. We want every dollar you spend to come back to you in the form of higher yield and better returns at the end of the season. Visit an Answer Plot event to learn what our research says about particular management practices and products. For example, we’re sharing optimal planting dates and populations based on specific scenarios. We’ll also help you nail down the best application windows for fungicide and nitrogen applications based on local research.
 
Don’t miss the opportunity to get timely agronomic information from our local experts. Visit answerplot.com or talk with your local retailer to learn about Answer Plot events happening near you.

Eye in the Sky: What Satellite Imagery Can do For You

Joel and Jon
Hosts, WinField United
Host Jon Zuk is joined by WinField United technology manager, Mary Pat Sass to discuss using satellite imagery to monitor crops and make in-season adjustments. They cover the benefits of using imagery together with boots-on-the-ground scouting and Mary Pat shares her experiences from the field.
Season 13, Episode 5: Eye in the Sky: What Satellite Imagery Can do For You


Displaying results 1-5 (of 228)
 |<  < 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10  >  >| 
SUBSCRIBE TO THE ANSWER PLOT® ADVISOR NEWSLETTER