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.

Season 15, Episode 4: Real Talk: Sustainability and Modern Farming

Joel Wipperfurth
Director of E-business
When you think of the word “sustainability” in the realm of modern farming, you may not realize that many farmers have already adapted everyday sustainable practices. It can be a topic of contention, but on this episode of The Deal With Yield, host Joel Wipperfurth and guest Molly Toot, senior director of sustainability at Land O'Lakes, dive into farmers’ common sustainable practices and the tools available to track their sustainability journey.
Season 15, Episode 4: Real Talk: Sustainability and Modern Farming

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

2018 Data Spells Success for CROPLAN Corn, Soybeans

WinField United Agronomy Team
In many areas of the country, 2018 was a challenging year for agriculture. Late spring planting, too much or too little rainfall, and a growing season with wide-ranging temperatures caused even more pressure for farmers in a time of economic challenges.
Despite these variabilities, preliminary data from Answer Plot® locations nationwide showed strong results from CROPLAN® corn hybrids and WinPak® soybean varieties. Here’s a deeper dive into 2018 numbers.
Corn: Yield, agronomic advantages
Nationally, CROPLAN corn hybrids delivered a 5.2-bushel-per-acre yield advantage on average over the competition,* demonstrating that we can go toe-to-toe against one of the best brands on the market. Regional numbers were strong as well.

Every year, we strive to improve our CROPLAN hybrid lineup. We evaluate our current products, decide what to keep and determine what experimental hybrids we’ve been testing over the years to move into our regular product offerings. In addition to yield potential, factors that we consider in formulating our product lineup include genetic makeup and the economic potential of that particular hybrid, as well as the agronomic aspects including roots and stalks, grain quality, and resistance to insect pressure and diseases such as gray leaf spot and Goss’s wilt.
Soybeans: Winning performance from WinPak varieties
A unique combination of two different but complementary soybean varieties, WinPak varieties work to help you manage field variability. Because we’re not able to predict what next year will bring, WinPak varieties can help you spread your risk by combining seeds that are able to better compensate for each other’s limitations. The numbers from 2018 below indicate WinPak varieties enjoyed both national and region-specific yield advantages across the board over non-WinPak varieties. According to 2018 results, regions with the most variability tended to see the most pronounced advantage.

Through our 2018 nationwide Answer Plot trials, we are able to see the profitability potential with WinPak varieties, and with less risk. Our data suggests that WinPak varieties have a yield advantage that actually increases with soil variability, field stresses and environmental challenges. In addition, because no special planting equipment is needed, WinPak varieties are an economical way to do a multi-variety placement.
The reliability of Answer Plot data
We test seed at nearly 200 Answer Plot locations across the United States, where we’re able to replicate our trials. We’ve generated more than 6 million data points from the Answer Plot program, with each data point statistically analyzed to help us deliver reliable, consistent insights to help you improve yield and profitability potential. Talk with your local trusted advisor about the quality of our data and how CROPLAN seed can fit into your 2019 planning.
*Source: 2018 Answer Plot trial data. Based on 232 comparisions against Pioneer corn hybrids.
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.
© 2018 WinField United. Answer Plot®, CROPLAN®, WinField® and WinPak® are trademarks of WinField United.

Get Technical About Nitrogen Management

Mark Glady
Regional Agronomist
Nitrogen management in corn crops is challenging for a number of reasons, one of the main ones being nitrogen’s chemical properties: When in nitrate form, nitrogen is water-soluble, meaning it moves easily with water. If a field receives moderate to heavy rainfall and an abundance of water is moving down through the soil profile, nitrate can easily leach out of the profile along with that water. 
Since weather conditions and rainfall volumes are difficult to predict, one way to manage nitrogen is to collect data periodically throughout the growing season using various tests and technology. Here are some tools that can help you make sure your nitrogen is staying where you want it to and not moving off track.
1. Soil sampling
Using a pre-sidedress nitrate test (PSNT) soil sample is one tool that can provide insight into the level of nitrate present at the V5 growth stage. Work with your local trusted advisor to do this just prior to the grand growth phase of corn, when plants have a high demand for nitrogen. 
2. Tissue testing
Tissue testing provides a second piece of data to evaluate how much nitrogen is present in the plant at any given time. NutriSolutions® tissue testing lets you gauge the amount of nitrogen and other nutrients your corn plants are taking up. This lets you correct any deficiencies promptly and accurately.
3. Crop modeling
Crop models like the R7® Field Forecasting Tool provide insight into what nitrogen availability looks like for corn on any given field. Models are not perfect, but they do provide a look into the nitrogen sufficiency status of corn during the season. Postseason, the Field Forecasting Tool allows you to review the plant’s uptake throughout the year. Running different scenarios lets you know what you could have done differently during the past season and how to plan for the year ahead.  
4. Stalk nitrate test
A stalk nitrate sample is a kind of “nitrogen report card” you can get at the end of the season. It lets you know if your corn plants had enough soil nitrogen available to them, or if they were short and had to “rob” nitrogen from the stalk. This allows you to recalibrate your nitrogen management decisions for next season.
Better together
It’s hard to manage nitrogen throughout the season using just one of these methods. It’s when they’re used together that you derive the most benefit. The sooner you can detect whether your corn plants have adequate nitrogen, the sooner you can tackle problems. You can also have greater confidence in your nitrogen management strategy and more assurance in the recommendations your advisor makes, given test results.

Dial In to Data Quality

Steve Anthofer
Answer Plot Operations Sr. Manager
Winter is here and it’s time to formulate a farm plan for next season. Take time to review data from 2018 and use it to make decisions for 2019. Here are some ways to help ensure your data is as accurate and information-rich as it can be.
1. Demand data that’s replicated.
Agronomic data that’s backed by extensive replicated trials helps verify whether variations in that data are due to error or to the effects of different treatments. Data that undergoes a quality assurance process gives you the confidence to use it to make critical decisions. WinField United Answer Plot® data is derived from high-quality, replicated research with built-in controls that help us understand product performance so we can offer recommendations you can trust.
2. Know the limits of crowdsourced data.
Crowdsourced data can tell you what happened when a product was tested, but not why it  happened or how it happened. Knowing the kind of environment in which a product performed well, and how it interacted with other products, are steps toward better predictability. Crowdsourced data doesn’t offer that level of specificity.
3. Request data that’s prescriptive.
Farmers need information that helps them make decisions about future crops. Conclusions made about commercial products that have been in the market for a while can be useful if you continue to use those products. However, those same conclusions have limited value when you’re considering new products you haven’t yet used on your farm. WinField United delivers insights on many seed and crop protection products at least a year ahead of data that is crowdsourced.
4. Insist on data that represents your fields.
Notice I didn’t say, data that “is specific to” your fields. Using on-farm data or research from nearby fields used to be the standard. Now, using environmental characterization, we can identify research from locations nationwide that can represent the average environment of a given farm.
Said another way, when you only use local data, you make inferences based on past performance to represent next year. But next year is probably going to be a lot different from this year. By using data from a field in another location during the same year, we can represent the average of your farm’s environment and use that information to make decisions.
5. Work with your local trusted advisor.
Meet with your advisor now to navigate Answer Plot data and start making plans for next season. Every year is different, and your advisor can recommend the tools and insights needed to help you navigate your data and use it to start 2019 off right.
© 2018 WinField United. Answer Plot® and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.

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