Understand the Value of Foliar Health

Dan Griffin
technical seed agronomist
If you could look into a crystal ball during 2019 planning, what would it tell you? Obviously, there’s no predicting the future in agriculture, but you can use data to help inform your decision-making.
Every year, WinField United generates response-to-fungicide data for all the hybrids being tested in nearly 200 Answer Plot® locations nationwide. In 2017, the results demonstrated a national average yield gain of 11.2 bushels per acre, following a tassel application of fungicide. These gains are often twice this amount in the eastern Corn Belt, due to high rainfall, heat, humidity and fungal pathogen populations that overwinter on crop residue, causing foliar disease pressure throughout the growing season.
But where on an ear of corn do we physically see the benefit of a foliar fungicide application?
This year in Ohio, our local WinField United team designed a new Answer Plot demonstration called the “Ear Leaf Demo” to show how response to fungicide can be seen on an ear of corn. As you consider input investments for the year ahead, the results from this demonstration can help you better understand the value of a foliar fungicide application.
Leaf surface area leads to grain fill
The ear leaf is the most important leaf on a corn plant because it powers the photosynthetic ability of the plant late into the season. Protecting the ear leaf, and the leaves above it, adds yield through increased kernel depth, which is a critical component to high-yielding corn. Gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight and southern rust destroy the photosynthetic ability of a given leaf by infecting the plant and decreasing the amount of photosynthetically active leaf surface area. Decreased leaf surface area diminishes the plant’s ability to add yield through kernel depth. Foliar fungicides play an important part in preserving ear leaf integrity during the grain fill period, which could contribute to increased yield potential.
To demonstrate leaf integrity’s critical role in yield growth, we removed the ear leaf for a block of eight rows and left it intact on the adjacent eight rows. There were no other differences between the two treatment zones. The removal of the ear leaf simulates the impact a foliar disease can have if it attacks the surface area of the leaf. During a year of high disease pressure in Ohio, the visual results were impressive. Remember, yield response to a VT/R1 fungicide application is not seen in increased kernel rows or length — it is seen in increased kernel depth.
Overhead view of full-length corn

In these images, the increased kernel depth is easily identified. Both the plant with an ear leaf intact (left) and the plant with an ear leaf removed at R1 (right) have the same number of kernels around and the length. But notice the stark difference in kernel depth between the two. The plant with an intact ear leaf added much more kernel depth and, in turn, will have the higher yield potential come harvest.
This is how fungicide applications can provide value: providing disease resistance on the ear leaf to preserve the plant’s photosynthetic ability longer into grain fill. Understanding that value is important as 2019 planning begins. Be sure to speak with your local agronomist about whether you should set aside a disease protection budget for next year.
© 2018 WinField United. Answer Plot is a trademark of WinField United.

Preview 2018 Answer Plot Data

John Kinnard
Senior Manager, Data Team Services
Harvest is underway in some areas, and data from our Answer Plot® program is already being analyzed. While it will be a while before we have a complete data set to evaluate, I’d like to preview some of the exciting information you can look for as harvest wraps up.
Expanded seed characterization. Our corn hybrid and soybean variety characterization data is the foundation that the Answer Plot program was built upon. WinField United’s seed characterization trial is a leading platform in the industry due to the number of replications and locations. This year, we’ll have new corn hybrids and soybean varieties to characterize so farmers can better place the latest genetics. As you make your seed selections for next year, be sure to check out the updated CHT charts in the R7® Tool.
CROPLAN® corn hybrid zinc seed treatment. As you may know, CROPLAN is the only seed brand to add zinc to its standard corn seed treatment. We tested zinc-treated corn seed at 62 Answer Plot locations last year and found that it averaged a 3.2-bushel-per-acre yield advantage over standard seed treatments. We’re continually testing new formulations of this treatment with an eye towards further improving our seed treatment portfolio.
Fungicide trials. We’ve expanded our fungicide trials this year to include more products across different environments and disease pressures. Our hope is to better understand which products offer the greatest return on investment to ensure we’re giving you the best product recommendations. We compare generics, common brands and new products side-by-side to help retailers and farmers make the right decisions for their operation.
Soybean herbicide systems. This year, we’re running a new trial that compares the yield potential of soybeans under three different trait and herbicide systems: glyphosate, gluphosinate and low-volatility dicamba. We’re hoping to understand which systems provide the greatest value to farmers.
Soybean treatment. There are a lot of questions as to whether soybean seed treatments pay for themselves. We’re running trials to better understand under what conditions these treatments offer the greatest seed protection. For example, nematicides are emerging as a new innovation in this space, and we want to study how these products perform and interact with existing fungicide and insecticide options.
Every year presents farmers with a different set of challenges. The Answer Plot program faces those same environmental conditions. Our goal is to classify those situations to better use our data to tailor solutions for you. We’re looking forward to analyzing and sharing another year of unmatched, quality data from our Answer Plot locations.

Focus on Data Quality, Not Quantity

Brody McCauley
Wisconsin Answer Plot Research Manager
“Data” seems to be the buzz word in agriculture lately, with new agriculture startups launching daily to provide more information for farmers. But maybe more data isn’t what we need. It’s time to focus on quality data that leads to profitable decisions. Here’s how we’re doing that with the Answer Plot® program.
  1. Cause and effect or correlation? There’s a big difference between correlation and causation. We have nearly 200 Answer Plot testing locations across the U.S. where we’re able to replicate our trials. We’ve generated more than 6 million data points from the Answer Plot program, and each data point has been statistically analyzed to help us deliver reliable, consistent insights to improve farm profitability. Our dedicated analysts help us decipher the data to make sure what we’re seeing is real, not just correlation.
  1. You get what you give. If a trial protocol is flawed by design, or if the execution of the trial is botched, data integrity is compromised. The old saying “garbage in, garbage out” applies to data as well. Our Answer Plot teams are committed to limiting variability in our tests by placing trials on the most uniform soils possible. We follow pre-established protocols for all processes, from how we get the seed into packets for planting to our quality control of data points. 
  1. We’re all human. Human error is one way data integrity is compromised. We’ve tried to limit the introduction of human error by employing as much technology as possible to help improve our accuracy. For example, we use ArcMap GIS to manipulate and create all plot maps. And Trimble GPS guidance systems read those maps when we’re planting, applying fertilizers and crop protection products, and harvesting. Using pre-mapped files, we can accurately place each seed and apply each treatment using technology, which helps reduce human error.
The Answer Plot program is a valuable resource for farmers because you can be confident that you’re getting quality data that has been collected using established protocols and analyzed using sound statistics. To learn more about the data we’re collecting, visit AnswerPlot.com or contact your local WinField United retailer.

Making a Difference With Community Gardens

Nathan Pohlen
agronomy research specialist
As an agronomy research specialist with WinField United, I spend a lot of time finding ways to help farmers increase their productivity. My position has provided me a unique opportunity to use my training and experience to mentor the next generation of farmers as a sponsor for the WinField United Answer Plot® Community Gardens project.
The program is supported by the Land O’Lakes Foundation, which grants funds to high school FFA chapters to plant and maintain community gardens. Local Answer Plot teams share agronomic knowledge and support the schools throughout the growing season. At the end of the season, all the produce grown is donated to a local food pantry to help battle hunger in rural communities.
The Community Garden project gives teens who may not have had a typical farm upbringing the chance to experience modern agriculture and find out what it takes to produce a quality crop. Students learn about pest control, pollination, planting and harvest, as well as how to be good stewards of the land. At the same time, they’re giving back to their community through a local charity.
I work closely with the Gilbert and Story City FFA chapters in Iowa to help coordinate crews, provide advice and maintain the gardens. I’m impressed by how these students have taken ownership of the project and how it has served as a gateway to get them involved in other local charities. I’ve also seen a big boost in ag education as students invest time in the gardens.    
WinField United teams support the Community Garden project because we understand the value of agricultural education for our young people. This collaborative program continues to enrich the lives of local students, the community and Answer Plot teams.

Farmer Stories: Answer Plots Help Farmers Take Advantage of Tech

WinField United
Agronomy Team
As we reflect on the past 20 years, one thing that amazes us is how far agriculture technology has come. From traited seed to remote sensing, it’s clear that staying on top of the latest advances in agriculture can be a daunting task for most farmers. When we design Answer Plot® events, one goal is to ensure farmers are aware of the latest technology and resources available to help them grow their businesses. A visit to an Answer Plot event may help you navigate ever-changing ag technology tools.
Capture opportunities
Michael Corderman, a corn and soybean grower in Armstrong, Iowa, says staying on top of technology makes him a better farmer. He’s attended Answer Plot events for several years for the progressive insights that are shared.
AnswerPlot_FarmerTestimonials_0005_-Times-are-changing-so-fast-in-today-s-world-that-you-ve-got-to.jpgOne of technology opportunities Michael discovered at an Answer Plot event could help him get more grain to market.
AnswerPlot_FarmerTestimonials_0006_-The-R7-Field-Forecasting-Tool-is-a-great,-great-product-I-m.jpgTechnology like this helps farmers allocate their resources to make their dollars work harder.
Finding Answers at Answer Plots
But, using the technology is just one part of the equation. Knowing how to process the information that the technology supplies and apply it in practical ways is another hurdle farmers face. That’s where Answer Plot events can help. We demonstrate new technology, but we also help digest the data to reveal what impact it will have on your farm.
John Preussner of Dundee, Iowa, recalls the first Answer Plot event he attended 14 years ago.
AnswerPlot_FarmerTestimonials_0007_-I-remember-at-that-meeting-I-actually-stood-up-and-said,-‘Am-I.jpgLike Michael, John has also found opportunities on his farm by using technology tools, namely the Characterization Charts (CHT) tool within R7.
He uses the information to place different hybrids on his farm as a way to help manage risk. John is confident in the data because it’s replicated over many environments and under different production practices.    
Take advantage of new opportunities that are waiting to be found on your farm. Talk with your local WinField United retailer about visiting an Answer Plot location before harvest gets underway.

Farmer Stories: Solid Relationships Build Solid Businesses

WinField United
Agronomy Team
Over the past 20 years we’ve had the pleasure of interacting with farmers, retailers and agriculture enthusiasts at local Answer Plot® events. We know that strong relationships are an important component of every farm business, so we’re always excited when farmers come together at Answer Plot events to share ideas and solve on-farm challenges.
Establishing more than healthy crops
Answer Plot events are an opportunity for local farmers to gather and learn from our agronomists, but also from each other. Dave Armstrong, a corn and soybean farmer near Newcastle, Nebraska, finds value in learning from other local farmers at Answer Plot events.
AnswerPlot_FarmerTestimonials_0002_-It-s-a-great-event-for-information-and-for-networking-with-Win-1.jpgExpanding networks and fostering new relationships can add tremendous value for farmers looking to solve business challenges and attending an Answer Plot event allows them the opportunity to do that.
Educating farmers (and their daughters)
The Answer Plot program began as a way to educate farmers and share information about the latest research in crop production. Each year we develop new insights to help farmers increase their bottom lines. For example, we may test 240 hybrids just to measure their response to various production practices. We use the Answer Plot events as a forum to share what we’re learning from all of those trials.
Ron Heerten farms with his brother near Springview, Nebraska, and has been at it for over 30 years. He attends Answer Plot events because he values the educational aspect of the program.
On occasion Ron would also bring his kids with him to an Answer Plot event, which helped spark his daughter Moriah’s interest in agronomy. Moriah says attending Answer Plot events encouraged and reinforced her decision to pursue an agronomy degree at the University of Nebraska.
AnswerPlot_FarmerTestimonials_0004_-Going-to-Answer-Plots-with-my-dad-helped-me-see-the-importance-1.jpgThese are just a couple of examples of how Answer Plot events bring together people and great ideas to improve productivity. Make plans to attend an event near you.
We’ll continue to spotlight farmer stories as we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Answer Plot program. Check back as the season progresses to learn how other farmers have found value in local Answer Plot events.

Farmer Stories: Bringing It Back to the Farm

WinField United
Agronomy Team
Successful farmers today rely on top-performing products, innovative ideas, strong partnerships and smart decision-making to meet their business goals. As we reflect on the past 20 years of the Answer Plot® program, we are spotlighting some of the ways that the program has impacted farmers and helped increase their productivity.  
Finding the right product for the job
Generally, if an agricultural product makes it to market, there’s data to support that it fits somewhere. That somewhere just might not be your farm. The Answer Plot program began as a way to evaluate hybrid performance to help farmers understand what products would work best on their farms. While that’s still one aspect of the program, it has evolved into a comprehensive management tool that helps farmers get the most from each unique acre.
Dave Armstrong, a corn and soybean farmer near Newcastle, Nebraska, looks to the Answer Plot program to help him select and manage his hybrids throughout the growing season. He’s been farming for 41 years and attending Answer Plot events for 15 years. Even with his wealth of farming experience, Dave finds value in staying current with what’s going on in the industry by attending Answer Plot events.
AnswerPlot_FarmerTestimonials_0000_-The-hundreds-of-replications-that-they-do-in-soil-types-like-m-copy.jpgBoosting confidence in technology
Farming is risky business, and adopting new technology and agronomic practices can be intimidating. Over the years, Answer Plot events have helped farmers like Mike Thompson increase their confidence in adopting new technology by delivering reliable, consistent data and providing hands-on demonstrations of the latest ag technologies.
Mike farms near Rochester, Minnesota, with his two sons, Cody and Brett. He’s attended Answer Plot events for the past five years to learn more about the newest innovations in agriculture. Mike says he adopted better spray practices after learning about them at Answer Plot events. He and his sons now use InterLock® and Class Act® in their tank mixes and change up their nozzles to get the most effective spray coverage.
AnswerPlot_FarmerTestimonials_0001_-Rochester-is-one-of-the-windiest-cities-in-the-country-We-wen.jpgWe’ll continue to spotlight farmer stories as we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Answer Plot program. Check back as the season progresses to learn how other farmers have found value in local Answer Plot events.

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.

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.


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.

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

Let Hybrids Tell You What They Need

WinField United
Agronomy Team
Whether you’ve already chosen your corn hybrids for the year or still have purchasing decisions to make, one thing’s for sure: every dollar counts. Understanding how each hybrid reacts in various situations can lead to a clearer picture of how to allocate your resources.
Obtain Hybrid-Specific Data
From the moment your seed touches the soil, every decision you make affects the ROI potential of that seed. Response-To Scores can help you determine how a particular hybrid will perform under different management strategies. According to seven years of Answer Plot® data, there is a potential loss or gain of 90 bushels per acre based on these four factors:
  • Response to continuous corn
  • Response to population
  • Response to nitrogen
  • Reponse to fungicide
A 90-bushel-per-acre swing can be the difference between operating at a loss and having a banner year, so be sure to factor these scores into 2018 seed decisions if you haven’t finalized your purchases. If you’ve chosen your hybrids, you can still use this data to help ensure you give those hybrids what they need throughout the growing season.
Ensure Inputs Count
Response-To-Nitrogen and Response-To-Fungicide scores can help you determine how your hybrids will react to applications before you invest in these inputs, so you can weigh possible yield gain against application costs.
For example, Answer Plot® data, which tests the Reponse-To-Fungicide scores of 240 hybrids every year, shows that you’re more likely to see post-application yield increases from hybrids with high Response-To-Fungicide scores. In 2017, Answer Plot® data showed an average yield response of 11.2 bushels per acre following fungicide applications on fields with hybrids that had high Response-To-Fungicide scores; knowing the variance of each hybrid is important, which ranged from 0 to 37 bushels.
Work with your agronomist to review this information for each of your hybrids and use it to help guide management decisions now and throughout the growing season.

2017 Answer Plot® Insight #4: The Right Seed Yields Results

WinField United
Agronomy Team
This is the final in a series of four posts highlighting key insights from 2016 Answer Plot® field data and trials.
Every season brings its share of challenges, old and new. As a result, you want the confidence of knowing that the seeds you plant can meet those challenges. Putting the right seed in the right soil is the first step in achieving genetic yield potential and reducing risk.
Using our Answer Plot® testing protocol, WinField United identifies the management strategies needed to reach maximum yield potential for our CROPLAN® seed brand. From soil type and disease risk to crop rotation and response to nutrient applications, extensive replicated testing measures yield based on a variety of inputs and environmental factors.
During 2016 Answer Plot® trials, we used applied science to analyze and compare statistical data from CROPLAN® seed against products from our key competitors. The results showed that CROPLAN® corn hybrids and soybean varieties outperformed them.
At 135 Answer Plot® locations in 20 states, CROPLAN® corn hybrids outperformed the key competitor with a yield advantage ranging from 8.7 bushels per acre in western states to 10.7 bushels per acre in northern states.  

At 116 Answer Plot® locations in 16 states, CROPLAN® soybean varieties outperformed the key competitor with a yield advantage ranging from 1.5 bushels per acre in western states to 3.3 bushels per acre in northern states.

Talk to your local WinField United retailer to discuss best management strategies to maximize yield potential for your seed.  
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.

2017 Answer Plot® Insight #3: Split N for Higher Yield Potential

WinField United
Agronomy Team
This is the third in a series four posts highlighting key insights from 2016 Answer Plot® field data and trials.

Managing nitrogen is a key concern as farmers continue to look for ways to increase yield while managing input costs in a tight market. Using split nitrogen applications is an important management strategy that can help increase productivity and profitability potential, while promoting sustainability.
An effective split-application program starts with using enough nitrogen to meet requirements for early-season growth, then returning with one or more applications to meet later nitrogen needs. This limits the amount of nitrogen that is susceptible to loss by leaching or denitrification. Delaying nitrogen applications also gives you more time to react to environmental conditions.

Split applications allow you to take several in-season measurements that can help you ascertain the correct nitrogen rate. Using in-season imagery with the R7® Tool, as well as tissue and soil testing with the NutriSolutions 360® system, can help you more accurately determine how much nitrogen to apply and when to apply it, without over-applying.

In 2016, at 15 Answer Plot® locations in 10 states, data showed that side-dress nitrogen applications made at V4 and treatments with a Y-DROP® applicator at V10 led to significant yield advantages in corn over a base rate. By applying nitrogen when crops need it most, plants can prosper while the financial and environmental costs of nitrogen loss can be minimized.

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.

2017 Answer Plot® Insight #2: Expect Results From Fungicides

WinField United
Agronomy Team
This is the second in a series of four posts highlighting key insights from 2016 Answer Plot® field data and trials.

Using data from our Answer Plot® Program, WinField United strives to help farmers make the right decisions throughout the growing season. One area we have focused on recently is response-to-fungicide (RTF) scores and the potential economic benefits of making a late-season fungicide application.

Granted, with current low commodity prices, the expense of a late-season fungicide application can be difficult to justify. And the questions, “Is it worth the cost to spray fungicide?” and “Will I get my money’s worth out of this expenditure?” are legitimate. What is certain is that making the right decision about fungicide applications requires a calculated approach.

RTF scores are key indicators of the potential economic benefit of applying fungicides and allow you to weigh possible yield gain against application costs. Answer Plot® data from 2016 shows a strong fungicide yield response in both corn and soybeans. Across all locations, an 88 percent positive response rate was observed in corn (a 15.3-bushel-per acre yield advantage) and a 92 percent positive response rate was observed in soybeans (a 2.1-bushel-per-acre yield advantage).

We also test each hybrid for its individual response. Some hybrids respond exceptionally well to a fungicide application and are “must spray” hybrids. Others do not respond as well, so applying a fungicide may not pay for itself. We can help you think through the possibilities to ensure you are putting your dollars in the right place and optimizing your investment.

Contact your local retailer for hybrid-specific response scores and for further information on a late-season fungicide application.

At 67 Answer Plot® locations in 12 states, the average corn fungicide response was a 15.3-bushel-per-acre yield advantage.

At 38 Answer Plot® locations in 11 states, the average soybean fungicide response was a 2.1-bushel-per-acre yield advantage.

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.

2017 Answer Plot® Insight #1: Belowground Traits Beat Corn Rootworm

WinField United
Agronomy Team
This is the first in a series of four posts highlighting key insights from 2016 Answer Plot® field data and trials.
The injury caused to corn plants by corn rootworms can be devastating. There are several ways to reduce corn rootworm populations and help minimize the injury caused, including using an in-furrow insecticide, using an insecticide to eliminate adult beetles, or by planting hybrids with belowground traits.
Hybrids with belowground traits provide the most consistent control of corn rootworm because the effectiveness of insecticides is based on weather patterns and on the timing of the emergence of rootworm beetles. Smart hybrid selection can help minimize risk and maximize the potential for success.
Answer Plot® data demonstrates that Genuity® SmartStax® corn hybrids deliver consistent yield advantage compared to hybrids without belowground traits. In 2016 trials, even with an in-furrow application of Capture® LFR® insecticide, Genuity® SmartStax® hybrids outperformed hybrids without belowground traits across all locations and performed even better in locations that were under insect pressure.*
With increasing rootworm populations, think about the risks of not choosing hybrids with corn rootworm traits. In fields at risk for corn rootworm infestations, we recommend you consider planting hybrids with belowground traits to provide consistent protection compared to insecticide applications alone.
In 214 comparisons performed across all Answer Plot® locations, Genuity® SmartStax® corn hybrids showed a 4.9-bushel-per-acre yield advantage over Genuity® VT Double PRO® corn hybrids: 225.9 bu/A vs. 221.0 bu/A.

In 92 comparisons performed at Answer Plot® locations with corn rootworm pressure, Genuity® SmartStax® corn hybrids showed a 5.5-bushel-per-acre yield advantage over Genuity® VT Double PRO® corn hybrids: 237.7 bu/A vs. 232.2 bu/A.

*Because the primary objective is to look at genetic performance, standard agronomic practice is to apply an insecticide to genetic trials to manage the potential variation from belowground pests.
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.

Want local insights? Visit an Answer Plot® event this season.

Kevin Eye
Vice President, Agronomy & Product Development
We’re gearing up for a busy season at our Answer Plot® locations across the country. Each year we reevaluate the program and design demonstrations that are relevant to local geographies, based on insights from farmers and our regional experts.
Whether you’ve never attended an Answer Plot® event or you’re a seasoned attendee, here are some reasons it’s worth your time to attend.
Interactive demonstrations. Each event is a little different depending on the time of year and location, but the main goal is education and training. Whether that’s providing product recommendations, demonstrating ag technology tools or delivering agronomic insights, we’re constantly changing our focus to stay relevant to your needs. This year, we’re highlighting several new demonstrations that you can learn about here.
Data-driven research. In addition to interactive demonstrations, our Answer Plot® Program includes more than 200 research-trial locations across the country. When you attend a local event, you can expect insights derived from high-quality, local data. We’ll talk about what we’ve learned from our multi-location field trials and what new data we’re gathering to help you make informed decisions next year.
Timely information. There are multiple events at each Answer Plot® location throughout the season, so there’s always something new to learn. Early-season demonstrations might include seed treatment and weed-control evaluations. Mid-season, we might talk about soil and tissue sampling, the use of ag technology tools, or crop fertility. As the season winds down, we’ll focus on late-season plant health topics and preparing for harvest.
Customized sessions. Answer Plot® events are designed to be fluid and interactive. We encourage you to bring questions about challenges you’re facing to help drive conversations. And, if you find that you can’t make one of the scheduled events, it’s possible to schedule one-on-one time with a local agronomist at the Answer Plot® location when it works for you. Our goal is to provide local data, insights and information to make your operation more productive and efficient.
To learn more about events scheduled in your area, visit answerplot.com or talk with your local retailer.

Add Greater Value to On-Farm Trial

Steve Anthofer
Answer Plot Operations Sr. Manager
Testing new products and management techniques on your own fields is a good way to get a close-up look at results under your own growing conditions. However, because most on-farm trials are limited in scale, the results provide only a glimpse into performance.
To rely on such small-scale data for planning purposes can stymie your chances for success, since the decisions you make are only as good as the data you’re analyzing. And if your data is “iffy,” any resulting actions you might take will be equally suspect.

That’s why it’s beneficial to compare your on-farm data with high-quality, large-scale test results that reflect a variety of soil conditions and weather scenarios, results that paint a more complete performance picture. In 2015, our WinField® United Answer Plot® Program tested 231 corn hybrids, replicated 12 times at 191 locations across the country. We also collected a total of 5 million data points from our trials. This level of local, regional and national testing allows us to ensure the validity of our data, so you can feel confident using it for comparison purposes with your on-farm results.
Tips for On-farm Trials
Before doing any data comparisons, make sure your on-farm trials deliver the best results possible. Master Agronomy Advisor Matt Mesenbrink has worked with a number of farmers performing their own trials and offers the following recommendations:
  • Keep things simple. Test one thing at a time: one hybrid versus another hybrid; high management versus low management. Limit the trial to the most important information you seek.
  • Understand variabilities. Remember that weather and fertility will affect your outcomes. Because of factors you can’t control, the size of your trial might diminish and, as a result, it may not be a true test of what you’re farming.
  • Work with your agronomist. If trial results differ from what you expected, ask your agronomist to help determine why. Understand that you may need to adapt if conditions change.
  • Engage your other stakeholders. Review your plans with the managers and applicators you work with to help ensure everyone understands what you want to accomplish and what their roles are in helping make that happen.
By following these simple steps, you can feel assured in your results and you’ll be on your way to making solid, data-based decisions for the coming year.

WinField United Staffer Is New NCWSS President

Eric Spandl
Technical Marketing Manager
Greg Dahl, a research manager for product development at WinField United, was named president of the North Central Weed Science Society (NCWSS) on December 15 at the organization’s annual meeting in Des Moines. Iowa. He will serve in this role until December 2017.
Greg Dahl, NCWSS PresidentThis is a great honor for Greg, a 30-year industry veteran who has been with WinField United since 1997. He has been an active member of the NCWSS since 1981 and was given the organization’s Distinguished Achievement Industry Award in 2011. WinField United is proud of Greg’s many accomplishments in the field of weed management research. He sees a number of important issues ahead for the organization to deal with in 2017 and beyond.
“We have resistant weeds. We also have the new dicamba technologies hitting the market, which will create opportunities to do great things,” said Greg in a news release announcing his appointment. “But we will need to practice stewardship like we never have before — doing our very best to keep chemicals in the right place and ensuring they stay where farmers put them.”
Greg has coordinated and conducted numerous experiments in the areas of adjuvants, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, seed treatments and micronutrients with WinField United. His research has led to the introduction of more than 50 new or improved products.

Many NCWSS members are affiliated with universities or the crop protection industry. Others are crop consultants, state or federal agency or private research personnel, extension educators, graduate students in weed science, or other weed science experts. The NCWSS covers 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Ontario.

Greg has an impressive track record in the industry, and we are very proud that he has been named president of the NCWSS. His professional background, and his broad and deep knowledge of agronomy and weed science, make him a valued colleague. I know the NCWSS will benefit from his vast experience.

A Late-November Planning Checklist

Jonathan Zuk
Regional Agronomist
As you wrap up harvest and think about what inputs to purchase for 2017, consider the following points to see if you are on track to make the best decisions for your operation.
1. Use 2016 Answer Plot® data to help guide the process. This will help you determine when to put your foot on the brake and be cautious, and when to hit the gas and try something new. For example, WinField United has reviewed response to nitrogen (RTN), response to population (RTP), response to fungicide (RTF), response to soil type (RTST) and response to rotation (RTCC) by hybrid for the past several years through its Answer Plot® Program. For example, the RTN information tells us that getting nitrogen right is potentially worth about 55 additional bushels per acre, and that this response changes by hybrid and by year. So, if you get it wrong, you could really get it wrong. But getting it right could mean making a profit when you might not have.
Making sure you are using quality data to aid your decision making is going to be the key goal for 2017, particularly with down markets.
2. If you can measure something, you can manage it. Reflect on the 2016 growing season, and what it meant for your fields and your wallet. Low commodity prices certainly played a big role; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean next season is the time to cut all your inputs. Rather, it may be a time to consider, “How can I manage this situation better than I have in the past?” In the end, you’re likely to add ag technology to help you make more targeted inputs rather than eliminate them. Use the R7® Tool along with data and other information to help you make those determinations accurately and more confidently.
3. Leverage end-of-year knowledge. December is approaching, which means you might be completing paperwork for loans and land rents and starting to get some hard budget numbers. This will put you in a position to make more-informed decisions for 2017. As you plan, think through possible increases in expenditures that could potentially double your money or help you gain insight into the next yield bubble.
So know when to brake and when to go. And don’t do it without quality data and the counsel of your local agronomist. 

Final Approvals for New Soybean Technologies

Mike Anderson
Marketing Manager, CROPLAN® corn and soybeans
Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided the final stamp of approval needed for use of XtendiMax™ herbicide with VaporGrip™ Technology in crop with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans and Bollgard II® XtendFlex® cotton. This approval means that you can now take full advantage of the next-generation soybean technology system.
What has been approved:
  • XtendiMax™ herbicide with VaporGrip™ Technology* has received EPA approval for use in conjunction with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans. The system will include Roundup Ready Xtend® soybeans, the industry’s first biotech product with tolerance to dicamba and glyphosate herbicides. 41 soybean varieties are available through WinField United’s CROPLAN® brand, ranging in maturity from 0.0 to 6.9.
Double Check Labels
Some of the tank-mix products you’re accustomed to using may no longer comply with this cropping system, so double check the label. We want to ensure you are armed with all the necessary information, insights and recommendations so applications are on-label, responsible and effective.

We will share additional information on the chemistries and adjuvants related to Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans and other newly-available cropping systems as our research progresses.

Contact your local retailer to learn more about what this technology could mean for your operation.

* Pending state approvals of XtendiMax™ with VaporGrip™ Technology.
ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS FOR USE ON PESTICIDE LABELING. IT IS A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL AND STATE LAW to use any pesticide product other than in accordance with its labeling.  NOT ALL formulations of dicamba or glyphosate are approved for in-crop use with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans, Bollgard II® XtendFlex® or XtendFlex® cotton.  ONLY USE FORMULATIONS THAT ARE SPECIFICALLY LABELED FOR SUCH USES AND APPROVED FOR SUCH USE IN THE STATE OF APPLICATION.  Contact the U.S. EPA and your state pesticide regulatory agency with any questions about the approval status of dicamba herbicide products for in-crop use with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans, Bollgard II® XtendFlex® or XtendFlex® cotton.
Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans contains genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate and dicamba. Bollgard II® XtendFlex® cotton contains genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, dicamba and glufosinate. Glyphosate will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Dicamba will kill crops that are not tolerant to dicamba. Glufosinate will kill crops that are not tolerant to glufosinate.  Contact your Monsanto dealer or refer to Monsanto’s Technology Use Guide for recommended weed control programs.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not an offer to sell Roundup Xtend™ with VaporGrip™ Technology. This product is not yet registered or approved for sale or use anywhere in the United States.
Commercialization is dependent on multiple factors, including successful conclusion of the regulatory process. The information presented herein is provided for educational purposes only, and is not and shall not be construed as an offer to sell, or a recommendation to use, any unregistered pesticide for any purpose whatsoever. It is a violation of federal law to promote or offer to sell an unregistered pesticide.
Bollgard II®, Genuity®, Monsanto and Vine Design®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend®, Roundup Xtend™, XtendFlex®, XtendiMax™ and VaporGrip™ are trademarks of Monsanto Technology, LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2016 Monsanto Company 

EU Approves Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® Soybeans for Import

Mike Anderson
Marketing Manager, CROPLAN® corn and soybeans
The recent import approval for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans by the EU marks an important milestone toward a full system launch of the next-generation soybean technology. This exciting news follows Monsanto’s February announcement of Chinese import approval, lending even greater commercial potential for U.S. growers.
What this means for you:
With the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the final stages of review for over-the-top use, farmers can now move ahead with including Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybean products in their plans for 2017 planting. Once the EPA approves over-the-top use, this trait technology will provide more weed management options as well as the latest generation of soybeans genetics.  The industry's first soybean stacked herbicide trait with both dicamba and glyphosate tolerance will be available in 40 Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® traited CROPLAN® products ranging in maturity from 0.0 to 6.9.
Additional information on the chemistry and adjuvants related to Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® will be forthcoming as the EPA completes its approval process.
Contact your local WinField retailer to learn more about what this technology could mean for your operation. 

Late-Season Nitrogen Applications Hit the Sweet Spot

Jonathan Zuk
Unrivaled research and demonstration programs from the Answer Plot® Program help WinField deliver customized farming recommendations and fuel our cutting-edge ag technology tools.

WinField research teams plant competitor products, partner products and WinField products in side-by-side trials over multiple seasons, then evaluate these data points at local, regional and national levels from 191 locations across 32 states. This impartial testing provides comprehensive data you can use to confidently make decisions for your own operation.

Over the coming weeks, we will share some of the more significant insights derived from our 2015 Answer Plot® Program, such as:

Trials showed a positive yield response to split-season and late-season nitrogen (N) applications made at critical corn growth stages.

Researchers compared three application scenarios
  1. Total N allotment applied at planting
  2. Two-thirds of N allotment applied at planting, one-third at V10
  3. Total N allotment applied at planting, followed by additional N at VT 
Both split applications were made with the 360 Y-DROP™ applicator for precise placement at the stalk base.*

  • Total N allotment at planting: 235.9 bu/A
  • Split application at planting/V10: 245.3 bu/A (Average yield increase of 9.4 bu/A)
  • Total N at planting, then additional N at VT: 247.1 bu/A (Average yield increase of 11.2 bu/A)
By making the second applications at V10 and VT, plants received an N boost during the critical V10 to R2 growth stage, when corn uses about 50 percent of its total nitrogen needs.

Bottom line: Strategic application timing can help eliminate the financial and environmental costs of applying excess nitrogen, and result in additional bushels.

Stay tuned for additional Answer Plot® insights throughout the season.

*2015 Answer Plot® data based on six locations in Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

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.

Capturing Maximum ROI

Answer Plot®
Research Team
Marker-assisted breeding technology has dramatically increased the speed of developing new hybrids with improved yields and stress tolerance. This novel breeding process involves testing a small chip removed from the seed coat and endosperm to select seeds with specific genes and traits, drastically shortening the development period.

The question is: Are you reaping the benefits of these new hybrids and varieties as soon as they become available?

"Over the last several years, we’ve seen up to 5- to 6-bushel-per-acre yield increases with many new hybrids as compared to the current elite hybrids," says Brad Miller, region product manager, WinField. "Farmers need to capitalize on these gains as soon as possible or they’re losing out on yield."

A primary reason why you can confidently plant new genetics in a shorter period of time is the management information gleaned through the Answer Plot® program.

"Our Answer Plot® research includes numerous replicated trials for statistical accuracy and a high level of confidence in our data," Miller notes. "Through this research, we develop key insights about the right management practices, such as plant populations, soil types, plant nutrition and other factors that will help farmers capture maximum yield potential the first year they plant new products."

"Farmers are going to have approximately the same cost per acre for seed, whether they’re buying products that came out this year or four years ago," Miller notes. "However, sticking with an older hybrid with less yield potential than new releases for several years could cost that farmer 15 to 20 bushels per acre in lost yield during that time.

"WinField agronomists have the tools to help you take advantage of new seed technology as soon as it’s available and capture maximum return on your seed investment,” he adds.

Review the CROPLAN® 2015 Seed Guide for more information on new hybrids and varieties for the coming season to optimize your yield success and potential ROI.

1 Data from 136 Answer Plot® locations.
2 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.

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