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.

Getting Real About Food Production

WinField United
Leadership Team
Being a farmer-owned cooperative means working together for the common good. From March 9 to 12, Land O’Lakes had an opportunity to do just that at a different venue than usual: the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference. SXSW is an annual event held in Austin, Texas, that celebrates the convergence of the technology, film and music industries.
Sound like an odd place for Land O’Lakes to be? It’s really not. Finding answers to help ensure the future of food security and efficient, sustainable food production will rely on input from innovators from all walks of life. Many of the more than 100,000 SXSW participants are the very people who can help address these challenging issues. And they need to hear things from your perspective.
What Land O’Lakes did at SXSW
To help close the gap between farm fields and family tables, Land O’Lakes, working with many members of the WinField United team, created The Food Effect — an immersive, interactive experience designed to encourage open, honest dialogue and meaningful interactions between food producers and consumers. Topics for the exhibits in The Food Effect demonstrated:
  • How farmers are working to keep excess carbon out of the atmosphere.
  • How ag technology is helping farmers farm more economically and sustainably.
  • How science in our food is helping farmers around the world grow more crops (even in dry climates) and may eventually enable the delivery of much-needed vaccines.
  • How personalized nutrition for dairy cows allows them to produce more milk.

Leaders from diverse areas, including academia, technology, food production, public policy and more, participated in panel discussions on topics as varied as food policy; urban agriculture; modern farming; big data; how science and food production interact; and ensuring that people have access to sufficient, nutritious and affordable food.
Encouraging the conversation
Together, WinField United and Land O’Lakes are actively fostering the food production and sustainability conversation. And we’re backing up our words with actions. For example, our technologies can help farmers place crop protection products, nutrients, seed and water where and when they will be most effective. And the Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN team supports farmers with conservation and sustainable practices that allow them to keep as many acres as possible at top production levels.

SXSW attendees represent the future. They are curious and on a continuous quest for learning. So are we, and so are you. It’s what we all do on a daily basis: work together for the common good. To explore the conversation further, follow @LandOLakesInc and #TheFoodEffect on social media.

A Look into the Museum of Modern Agriculture

Joel Wipperfurth
Ag Technology Applications Lead
Last summer, the WinField Crop Adventure exhibit was unveiled at Fair Oaks Farms®, a family-friendly, agrotourism destination in Fair Oaks, Indiana. The purpose of the WinField Crop Adventure is to inform people, especially those who do not have a direct connection to farming, about how modern agriculture works and the role it plays in their lives.
A lot has happened over the past year. Nearly 150,000 visitors have toured the Crop Adventure exhibit, with many more vacationing families anticipated by Labor Day weekend. This means that more people are becoming familiar with the science, agronomic practices and technological breakthroughs needed to feed the growing global population.
Interactive exhibits most popular
The Crop Adventure features different rooms representing various aspects of crop production, including the history of agriculture, the soil ecosystem, how harvested crops are transformed into various commodities and the future of agriculture.
According to Jamie Miller, attractions manager at Fair Oaks Farms®, the most popular aspect of the Crop Adventure is the “Winning in the Field” room, which explores what it takes to keep growing crops healthy, watered and safe from pests.  The room includes a “Be the Crop” experience, where children can “catch” the sun’s rays and raindrops, and load “grain” made of Styrofoam into a small-scale grain elevator. “There are so many interactive exhibits, and everyone loves to learn by doing,” says Miller.
A different room, called “The Battle Underground,” is another popular spot. “We usually get a number of questions about soil differences in various areas,” says Miller. “Visitors also enjoy viewing the flip displays, which uncover everything from different seedling diseases to bugs that live in the soil.”
Advancing technology and knowledge
Most people outside of agriculture don’t realize how much technology plays a role in advancing crop production, water and land conservation, and irrigation methods. The Crop Adventure integrates a lot of technology into the mix, not only demonstrating how features like in-season imagery and infrared maps can help determine crop health or field problems, but how tools like drone technology and predictive crop modeling are helping shape the future.
Through venues such as Fair Oaks Farms® and educational opportunities such as the WinField Crop Adventure, agriculture becomes less mysterious and more people engage with our industry on an emotional level. See for yourself with a trip to the WinField Crop Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms®, learn more here.

Stay Up to Date on Spraying Requirements

Tyler Steinkamp
Regional Agronomist
With increasingly complex technologies, strict application regulations and a multitude of weed resistance issues, it is now more important than ever to ensure you’re maximizing the effectiveness of your herbicide program.
There are four key steps to controlling weeds through the use of herbicides. WinField United works with farmers and applicators to get the most out of each step through hands-on demonstrations at local spray clinics. Here are some examples of how attending a spray clinic can help you make the most of the four steps to effective weed control.
Contacting the weed. During spray clinics, we discuss what types of nozzles should be used, and go over the pressure and gallons per acre that would be ideal for each application. We also talk about maintaining the correct boom height and increasing canopy penetration by utilizing drift control products. Anything that we can do to increase the amount of herbicide that makes it out of the nozzle and down to the plant will dramatically help improve the herbicide uptake.
Absorbing the herbicide. Adjuvants are absolutely critical to increasing penetration into a leaf. From the time the droplet hits the leaf surface until it dries, is all the longer the herbicide has to be absorbed. Adjuvants can enlarge the surface area of the droplet, decrease evaporation and cut through waxy cuticles of the leaf surface, thereby increasing absorption of the herbicide into the plant. However, not all herbicides are receptive to the same adjuvants. During a spray clinic, we focus on which herbicides require which adjuvants to increase their efficacy within the plant.
Movement of the herbicide in the plant. Once the herbicide is into the plant, it must move to the site of action. The more herbicide that moves into the plant, the more that will get to the site of action. Because some herbicides do not move much in the plant, we have to focus on increasing coverage with those particular herbicides.
Reaching the site of action. In other words, enough herbicide must reach the site of action to provide a lethal dose. All the recommendations during a spray clinic will help you boost the amount of the herbicide within the plant, which will enhance the chances of the herbicide reaching a lethal dose at the site of action.
For more information about attending a spray clinic and to find one near you, see your WinField® United retailer.

Tips for Achieving 100-Bushel Soybeans, Part One: Plant Smart

Brittany Ullrich
Ag Technology Specialist
Most growers have heard about Dr. Fred Below and his extensive research on the secrets to obtaining 300-bushel corn and 100-bushel soybeans. We’ve developed six steps to achieving 100-bushel soybeans, based on extensive research through our Answer Plot® Program and ag technology offerings.

1. Variety selection
Soybean placement should not be approached as one-size-fits-all. Agronomists can help you use data to select the best soybean variety for a particular soil type. Make sure you are capitalizing on new technology in varieties to increase your success on even the toughest acre.

For example, let’s say you have a maturity range of 0 to1 across your territory, making selection important. The Top 10 interactive charts below show which varieties perform best on coarse, medium and fine soil types. Just look at the difference between R2T00800 on medium soil (19 percent higher than the average) versus on coarse soil (1 percent higher than the average). For easy math, if the trial averaged 50 bushels, by placing this variety on medium instead of coarse soil, the potential yield increase could reach roughly 9.5 bushels based on variety selection alone.

2. Early planting
Farmers who have traditionally gotten their soybean crop in the ground before May 5 have seen no effects on yield. However, according to University of Minnesota Extension research, yield loss jumps to 6 percent when beans are planted by May 20, and to nearly 30 percent by mid-June. Monitoring rainfall and soil saturation in your fields can help you plan accordingly to get soybeans in the ground early.

3. Premium seed treatment
Early planting into cold, wet soils can pose disease and emergence issues. Using a quality seed treatment on soybeans can help address this. Warden® CX seed treatment is proven to increase yield over fungicide alone by nearly 3.5 bushels. To learn more about seed treatment options, download the free WinField Publications App in the iTunes® Store to access our Crop Protection Product Sell Sheets, where you can find information on seed treatments starting on page 201.

Learn more about the right technology for your soybean plan this year on

Part two of this series outlines key management considerations for 100-bushel soybeans. Read it here.

4 Tools to Help Plan for Success

Answer Plot®
Research Team
With low commodity prices causing concerns this past fall, farmers are looking for ways to receive top returns on their input investments while getting optimal performance from each acre.

WinField has the proprietary tools to help you design an individualized prescription for every field based on this year’s insights.

With hundreds of replicated trials that include a wide range of products at nearly 200 locations nationwide, the Answer Plot® Program provides one of the industry’s most extensive data sets for use when planning. Based on sound scientific practices and meticulous attention to detail, Answer Plot® data is the basis for customized R7® Tool insights and recommendations that will help you identify the right input investment for each of your fields.

Use the R7® Tool to help set realistic yield goals for next season. The R7® Tool allows you to see your fields like never before; viewing field maps with historical data, soil variability and other primary information. Based on each zone’s conditions and precise local Answer Plot® data, you can work with your regional agronomist to develop a customized plan for your operation, including population counts, and fertility and crop protection recommendations to increase potential return on investment.

For current R7® Tool users, you can evaluate the 2014 season with field response and profitability maps to help improve productivity potential and profitability potential next season.

The Top 10 function within the R7® Tool helps you identify the top 10 best-performing hybrids for different locations within your fields. By matching soil type with Answer Plot® test results, your WinField agronomist can provide you with the right seed product options — including photos of root appearance and anticipated ear size for each hybrid — that have the best chance of success under current conditions.

This season’s tissue testing data and analysis with the NutriSolutions 360™ system provides a road map for plant nutrition planning in the coming season. Tissue testing data provides you with insights of how to correct plant nutrient deficiencies throughout the growing season, so your crops are able to reach their optimal yield potential next season.

Contact a local WinField representative for more information.

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