Leaders of In-Furrow Technology (LIFT) Agriculture Blog.+Add.Feed Info1000FOLLOWERS
Leaders of In-Furrow Technology (LIFT) is your go-to source for in-furrow information and trends, brought to you by West Central. The LIFT Agriculture Blog keeps you up to date on the latest about in-furrow technology and its benefits.
Growers are planting earlier every year, driven by new hybrids and technologies. This maximizes the length of the growing season. However, early planting means planting into colder soils, which leads to delayed emergence and slower plant growth. Early-season wet, cold conditions can also lead to more disease, including pythium and rhizoctonia diseases. These early season diseases can lead to less nutrient and water uptake, even at low levels that can’t be seen with the naked eye.
Combining an in-furrow fertility program with a fungicide can get your crop off to the best possible start. The fertilizer will help improve emergence and vigor by adding bioavailable nutrients where they’re needed, and the fungicide will help control early-season diseases. Not all fungicides are the same. Choosing an azoxystrobin-based fungicide, such as AZteroid® FC, provides added plant health benefits which can improve the overall health and vigor of the plant.
In order to use both a fungicide and a fertilizer in-furrow, they need to mix together evenly in your tank. AZteroid FC is the first fungicide able to completely mix with liquid fertilizer for application at planting.
At-Plant Strobilurin Fungicides Can Increase Plant Health
Which Fungicide Should Be Used?
Strobilurin fungicides control many soil-borne early season diseases. These fungicides can also improve the health of the plant. When applied in-furrow, these increased plant health effects require the fungicide to be absorbed by the roots and move through the xylem of the plant. AZteroid FC contains azoxystrobin, which is xylem mobile. Many other fungicides are not xylem mobile, and will not provide the same level of plant health effects when applied in-furrow.
Common Soil-Borne DiseasesPHYTHIUM
Prefers cold soil (<60°F)
Damping off can occur before or after emergence
Rotten roots are brown and soggy in appearance
Plants can be easily pulled from soil
Most common in wet soil or when germination is delayed (around 80°F)
Shrunken, reddish-brown lesion on hypocotyls near soil line
Causes damping off in seedling stage
Using Fungicides at Planting can Increase Profits in 3 Ways:
1. By providing healthy conditions in the furrow during planting, growers will have healthier seedlings with maximum yield potential and increased profits.
2. Adding a yield increase from fungicides can cut the payback time for liquid fertilizer equipment by 50 percent compared to using liquid fertilizer alone. No additional equipment is required to use AZteroid FC.
3. In-furrow fungicide may also decrease the need for expensive in-season aerial applications because a healthier, stronger plant is more resistant to disease. This will be particularly true in years with low disease pressure, and will allow growers to wait until mid-season to decide whether or not an aerial application is required.
This January, the Leaders of In-Furrow & Foliar Technology (LIFT) partners, including West Central, BASF,Nufarm, FMC,Valent and Dow AgroSciences, came together to provide an opportunity for ag editors to hear from each of these companies in a convenient, sixty-minute webinar called the 2018 LIFT Virtual Summit.
The presentations consisted of a number of important agriculture topics, centered around the themes of increasing nutrient availability, protecting the crop from pest and disease pressures, how to optimize yields, best practices, product solutions and results and new product offerings for the upcoming season to provide the editors with information they could expand on and use with their audiences.
The lineup included:
“Driving Yield in Corn – How In-Furrow Fungicide Applications Prepare the Seed for the Best Start”
Scott Stout, Corn Fungicide Product Manager, BASF
In his presentation, Stout discussed the features, benefits and results for Xanthion® in-furrow fungicide and how in-furrow applications maximize yields and support plant health. For optimum yields, it is important to start out strong and provide crops with the necessary protection during planting through emergence. Xanthion in-furrow fungicide is ideal for growers planting early and in extreme conditions. It also offers two modes of action to protect both the root and root zone.
“Managing Soybean Cyst Nematodes with a New Biological Seed Protection Option”
Dair McDuffee, Seed Treatment Specialist, Valent
McDuffee shared Valent’s new Aveo EZ Nematicide and Intego® Suite Soybeans, explaining how both products help protect soybean crops against Soybean Cyst Nematodes and other pest and disease pressures. By colonizing the roots of the soybean plant, Aveo EZ reduces nematode reproduction. Intego Suite soybean seed treatment also protects against key pests and disease with a dual mode of action that provides protection above and below ground. When used together, the products offer reliable consistency and flowability in the treatment tank and optimal crop protection.
“Nitrogen Stabilizers: An Important Tool for Nitrogen Management”
Jake Wiltrout, Nitrogen Management Specialist, Dow AgroSciences
Wiltrout explained the importance of keeping accessible nitrogen in the soil longer to increase nitrogen effectiveness in crop production. With yield-reducing pressures such as denitrification and leaching, it is crucial to ensure crops have access to appropriate amounts of nitrogen for optimal plant health. By keeping nitrogen available in the soil for longer periods of time with nitrogen stabilizers containing Optinyte technology, such as N-Serve® and Instinct®, growers can optimize the benefits to their crop from the nitrogen to maximize crop yields and grow their crop in a sustainable way that is better for the environment.
“Formulation & Application Technologies of the Future – Next Generation In-furrow Technology”
Julie Boss, Product Manager, FMC
Boss discussed the future of in-furrow insecticides and fungicides featuring Ethos® XB Insecticide/Fungicide. She also highlighted in-furrow application technology innovations including Capture® 3Rive 3D®, a low-volume water based application system that allows growers to protect their crops in an efficient and sustainable way. Boss also introduced the Freedom Pass Application Innovations program that allows growers to access 3Rive 3D technology.
“Innovations in Regulatory, Formulations & Combinations with Seed Treatments”
Tom Kroll, Technical and Product Manager, Nufarm
In his presentation, Kroll shared the latest Nufarm innovations including registered custom blends, the Spirato® product family, nutrient assimilator integration (Sativa® IMF Sembolite Max) and triazole mixtures that are new combinations from the Sativa and Salient® product families. Kroll highlighted how registered custom blends are a solution for improving convenience with short-lived formulations and the commercial advantages for the registered formulations.
“Elevating Yields to the Next Level”
Paul Gerdes, Proprietary Products Manager, West Central
Gerdes highlighted the importance of essential nutrients, including phosphorus and zinc, for healthy plant development. Since phosphorus and zinc are known for getting tied up in the soil, making them unavailable to the plant, West Central has been focusing on developing solutions to make phosphorus, zinc and the other essential nutrients more available for plant uptake through their P Project. With products such as Levesol Zn, growers are able to optimize nutrient efficiency for better overall plant health. Gerdes also introduced the P Challenge, a new initiative for 2018 that was developed as a follow up to their P Project, to help ag retailers share improved fertility solutions and best practices with corn and soybean growers.
The LIFT partners recognize that events such as this virtual summit and their annual LIFT Summit help the ag industry continue to educate and create awareness for initiatives and product solutions that are being developed to help growers maximize their yields and improve overall crop health for better ROI and greater success from planting through harvest.
A special thank you to our ag media guests who attended the 2018 LIFT Virtual Summit:
Providing crops with the support they need from the beginning leads to healthier plants and better yields. Applying starter fertilizer allows essential nutrients, such as phosphorus, to be accessible to the plant from the beginning allowing the plant to benefit from the nutrients at this foundational stage.
In-furrow starter fertilizer applications are one way growers can get their crops off to a better start. By applying starter fertilizer directly in the furrow during planting, the seed is able to begin absorbing essential nutrients earlier and have better opportunities to maintain its maximum yield potential. In-furrow applications also promote fast and even emergence, and can provide insect and disease control from the beginning, if a fungicide and insecticide are included.
With all the benefits that starter fertilizers provide, there are also a couple things to be aware of when using a starter fertilizer with in-furrow application. First it is important to make sure the starter fertilizer is appropriate for the crop you are planting and that it is applied in the proper amounts, so the seed is protected from potential injury.
Seedling burn can be a concern when it comes to using starter fertilizer. Ensuring that the fertilizer you choose is safe for the seed is very important to the growth and development of the young plant.
West Central developed its Levesol® family of starter fertilizer products specifically for use with in-furrow application. Levesol, Redline®, Soyshot and Soygreen® are all designed to be applied at low-use rates to provide important nutrients to the seed at levels that are safe for healthy development and will not cause injury to the developing plant. Additionally, West Central formulated these starter fertilizers to be lower in salt content, making them safe for in-furrow applications. For example, their Soyshot starter fertilizer was developed with a low salt index for maximum crop safety in soybeans. Their Redline starter fertilizer also has a low salt content to be safe on seeds and enhance plant growth for a variety of crops, including corn, sugar beets, potatoes and wheat.
Another potential concern with using starter fertilizers is that locally high concentrations of certain nutrients, such as phosphorus, in banded starter fertilizers can cause important nutrients to become increasingly tied up in the soil, making them unavailable to the seed and seedling the longer they remain in contact with soil.
This is another reason why West Central developed their ortho-ortho chelating agent Levesol. It is the only pure chelating agent that makes micronutrients, both in the soil and in the fertilizer, soluble for uptake by the plant. After uptake, the chelating agent increases translocation within the plant. By keeping micronutrients in a soluble form longer for season long activity. Levesol prevents the micronutrients from binding with phosphorus. This leaves more phosphorus free for uptake and increases overall nutrient efficiency of the other essential nutrients.
Levesol can be mixed directly with liquid fertilizer and applied in-furrow. Its liquid formulation makes it easy to mix with other liquid fertilizers, and it doesn’t interfere with crop protection chemicals or other tank mix partners.
Applying fertilizer in-furrow is not the only factor that should be considered to maximize yield and plant health. The starter fertilizer itself plays a large role in supporting the crop. Previous posts have discussed the key advantages of ortho-ortho EDDHA chelate products and specifically Levesol.
Figure 1 shows the yield increases that can be expected from the addition of a P-based starter fertilizer with and without Levesol. The benefit to the P-based starter is emphasized by the addition of a zinc source but is not fully maximized until Levesol is added to the fertilizer mixture to ensure the nutrients in the starter fertilizer remain significantly more available for plant uptake.
Levesol’s potency provides for an easy-to-handle use rate 64 oz/Ac. Plus, it’s incredibly stable, and can withstand varying soil and environmental conditions.
The patent pending ortho-ortho isomer of the EDDHA chelate found in Levesol makes it the most potent and soil-stable fertilizer efficiency product on the market. Figure 2 shows the results of 106 extraction samples taken across the U.S. In these samples, Levesol increased extractable phosphorus an average of 7.2 ppm with a win percentage of 95% when mixed with deionized water in the presence and absence of Levesol filtered and submitted to the third party lab for analysis.
In-furrow applicationplacement is one of the keys to Levesol’s effectiveness, because it helps plants use nutrients more efficiently during their very early development.
The purpose of a starter fertilizer is to make nutrients more available and easily accessible to developing seedlings to facilitate a strong start during a relatively stressful time for the plant. With Levesol, growers can make sure that corn, sugar beets, soybeans, dry beans, sunflowers, wheat, barley and sorghum can safely and efficiently access the nutrients in the soil and in the fertilizer tank mix to begin their growth process with the best possible start.
By teaming in-furrow applications with industry leading starter fertilizer products like Levesol, Redline, Soygreen and Soyshot, your seeds will be able to safely access the nutrients they need for optimal growth.
For more information on in-furrow starter fertilizer applications and Levesol, read more on our LIFT blog.
When it comes to raising healthy crops, you cannot rely on the benefits of just one essential nutrient. A well-rounded balance of key micro- and macronutrients is critical to maximizing your crop’s yield potential. One nutrient that has not always been as highly prioritized, but is becoming recognized for its importance in healthy plant development, is zinc (Zn).
The Benefits of Zinc
Zinc is important in the plant’s protein intake ability. Optimal amounts of zinc help make other nutrients more available to the plant including phosphorus. Zinc also affects flowering and seed development. In corn, it supports silk development and grain production. Plants with access to the appropriate amounts of zinc have a better hormonal balance and a steadier metabolic process.
Because zinc is a micronutrient, plants only need a small amount to realize all the benefits. For deficient soil, growers can effectively raise the zinc levels by applying one to three pounds per acre. Although it can be a simple solution, ensuring that your crops have access to zinc is an effective way to protect the yield potential.
Causes of Zinc Deficiencies
There is often a distinguishable reason for a zinc deficiency. Low zinc rates are less common than deficiencies in other nutrients, including phosphorus and nitrogen, but this does not make zinc deficiencies less important to manage.
Soil conditions can also play a big role in zinc deficiencies. Alkaline soil is not an ideal environment for zinc. High pH soils, over 7.2, can cause zinc to immobilize and become unavailable to the plant. Sandy soils and eroded soil also cannot hold the appropriate amounts of zinc that crops need to thrive, since these soil types are highly leachable. Soil with extreme amounts of organic matter (OM), both high and low, can also cause zinc deficiencies.
Planting conditions can also have an effect on the availability of zinc in your fields. If you plant in cold, wet conditions and the temperature drops after the plants have emerged, the soil’s ability to release zinc can be drastically reduced. Low microbial activity due to these colder temperatures can also restrict zinc’s availability to the developing plants.
High levels of certain macronutrients can also lead to problems with micronutrient availability. Fields that receive too much phosphorus can make it difficult for zinc to move the phosphorus from the roots and up through the plant. The two nutrients work best when the levels of each are balanced. Furthermore, applying too much lime or manure to your field can also negatively impact zinc levels in the soil.
Symptoms of Zinc Deficiencies
There are several ways to identify if your fields have a zinc deficiency, including soil testing, tissue testing and visual symptoms. Soil testing is less effective, as it only reveals the levels of zinc in the soil, rather than the accessibility of the nutrient to the crop. Visual symptoms can be easier to diagnose in some crops versus others.
For example, it is easier to see visual proof of a zinc deficiency once the corn is about knee-high. Yellowing, white stripes and growth stunting are all signs of a zinc deficiency, but they can often also be mistaken as iron or manganese deficiencies. The best way to find out which nutrient your plants are lacking is to perform a tissue test. Tissue testing will show whether the plants have a zinc deficiency, either because the soil is low in zinc or because it is not available to the plant.
How to Avoid Deficiencies
Since soil and environmental conditions are a primary cause of zinc deficiencies, it is easier to anticipate whether you need to take precautionary actions to ensure your plants are able to access the optimal amount of nutrients necessary to help reach their full yield potential. Incorporating zinc applications into your starter fertilizer program is a great way to counter these conditions.
Levesol Zn, the most recent addition to West Central’s premium fertilizer inputs and part of the Levesol® family, was designed specifically for fields prone to zinc deficiencies. Levesol Zn is a premix of the Levesol chelate and a high quality 9% EDTA zinc that increases the length of time the zinc is available to the plant.
Levesol Zn eliminates the need to add zinc to your starter fertilizer program and optimizes the plant’s availability to the other nutrients in your starter fertilizer program including iron, copper and magnesium to help the crop maximize its yield potential.
Compatible with a wide variety of starter fertilizer options, Levesol Zn can be blended with most primary, secondary and micronutrients and crop protection products. The ortho-ortho EDDHA chelate also has a new defoamer system that reduces foaming when mixing.
Levesol ZN can be added to your phosphorus based starter program for corn, soybeans, dry beans, potatoes, sugar beets, sorghum and other crops that would benefit from additional nutrient accessibility.
When plants are able to access key micronutrients, such as zinc, it increases the speed of emergence, improves overall plant health and ultimately helps optimize the crop’s yield potential. Find out if your field may be prone to zinc deficiencies and counter the problem by incorporating Levesol Zn with your starter fertilizer application this spring.
For more information on Levesol Zn and other West Central fertility products, visit www.wcdst.com.
Protecting your seed against the hundreds of harmful pathogens and insects that affect crop production is key to maximizing yield. Prepare for the spring planting season by learning how to fight back and protect your crops from common diseases and pests in this LIFT Ag Academy course.
Through this course, you will learn how to help growers better understand the different types of seed treatments, so you can help them implement the most appropriate crop protection plan this season to attain their yield goals.
Watch Travis Palmquist, seed improvement specialist with West Central Distribution explain the impacts of Pythium, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia and Fusarium. He will also share with you how to watch for the conditions that trigger these diseases and how to best protect the seed. In this course, you will be introduced to the benefits of two new West Central seed treatments: Halifax and Lancaster.
As part of the course, learn more from Travis about the STI Customized, a custom seed treatment blending service for ag retailers looking to create their own brand image and differentiate themselves as a leader in the marketplace. These custom blends are computer-controlled for increased accuracy and are developed for the specific needs and geographies of your growers.
Additionally, watch two presentations by Todd Mayhew, product development manager, seed protection with Valent USA about optimizing your Soybean Stand Establishment.
In his first presentation, Todd will present additional information about the negative impacts from key soil-borne diseases. In his second presentation, he shares valuable information about symptoms of and ways to protect your crop from Soybean Cyst Nematodes (SCN). During his presentations, Todd will also introduce you to the benefits of key seed treatments, including Valent’s Intego Suite Soybeans and Aveo EZ seed treatments.
This course will conclude with a presentation on drones by Corey Klaphake, technical specialist with West Central Distribution. Corey has a lot of personal experience using drones and shares some great information on the different types of drones and key benefits for using them in agriculture.
Once you have completed this course, make sure to check out the other courses on the LIFT Ag Academy.
West Central Distribution developed the LIFT Agriculture Academy to provide a free training and educational agronomic and product resource for its ag retail customers. To learn more visit LIFTagacademy.com.
For plants to produce the best yields, nutrients need to be available for uptake to the plants throughout the growing season.
The West Central Distribution team works with ag retailers across the country to help them understand how improvements in fertility practices will help growers reach their yield and profitability goals.
Within farming, there are a number of uncontrollable factors that are not in our control (e.g weather), but there are many things that retailers and growers can do to maximize their yield potential and optimize their return on investment to make their businesses profitable.
One of the things that they can impact is improving the nutrient efficiency to make more nutrients available to the crop. This includes getting the most value from the nutrients already present in their soil and taking full advantage of the nutrients in the fertility products they use to maximize crop yields.
The Importance Of Nutrient Availability
Micronutrients often rest in the soil, and must be made soluble for uptake by the plants.
It is important to continue to educate growers about the importance of nutrient absorption and how it is critical throughout the lifecycle of the plant, but particularly during the plant’s early development stages. Unfortunately, crucial nutrients can get bound up in the soil and become unavailable for uptake by the plant. Unlocking these nutrients and increasing the overall nutrient efficiency is where the science of in-furrow technology becomes especially important.
As technology and understanding of nutrient uptake increases, growers are moving beyond just fertilizing acres toward a strategy of fertilizing the plants, starting with in-furrow fertilizer applications. The goal is to see better emergence from the start and then fertilize the field through broadcast applications to fulfill the plants’ needs throughout the season.
Nutrient Availability: Nitrogen Versus Phosphorous
Fertility plans and solutions that are built around the goal of maximizing nutrient efficiency will take into account existing field conditions, and will outline specific remedies for varying micronutrient deficiencies. It’s critical to ensure that nutrients are available to crops throughout the entire growing cycle, especially in the early growth stages.
When micronutrients are soluble, they are not able to bind with phosphorus, leaving more of it free for uptake by the plant.
For example, some growers use nitrogen stabilizers, which increase the nitrogen available to the plant by reducing the chances for volatilization, denitrification or leaching of the existing nitrogen. Outside of these situations, the amount needed by the plant can be measured directly by administering a soil test and then adjusting the amount you need to apply to the soil accordingly. What you see is what you get with nitrogen, so if it is still in the soil and hasn’t leached or volatilized, it will be available to the plants.
With phosphorus, however, what you see is not what you get. Phosphorus is particularly immobile in the soil and is often bound up, rendering it unavailable to the plant. Soil characteristics will determine how much of the phosphorus will be unavailable to the plant. In many cases, the phosphorus you add to the soil will get tied up first. Without assistance from an effective chelate or chelating agent, phosphorus can act like a chelate itself and bind or precipitate with cations, or ions with a positive charge.
Personalized Fertility Plans
Many micronutrients in the soil are underutilized because they are bound to negatively-charged soil components.
Micronutrient needs differ from one soil to the next, so a good plan of action for growers is to do their research and work with an agronomist or retailer to determine a fertility solution that enhances both the nutrients already present in the soil and the nutrients that fertility inputs provide.
Optimizing both macro and micronutrients in your soil with a starter fertilizer is one great way to maximize yields and improve overall crop health. With this in mind, West Central developed their Redline® starter fertilizer.
Redline offers a complete, balanced formula of essential macro- and micronutrients. It was designed to provide the biggest benefit to your corn acres with the nutrients necessary to help the crop reach its yield potential. Its concentrated formula also offers a low use rate making it effective and cost efficient. Redline contains the ortho-ortho EDDHA chelate technology in Levesol® which keeps the essential nutrients in the soil and in the fertilizer more soluble and available for plant uptake.
Due to the low salt content, Redline is safe to use with in-furrow applications and will not cause injury to the seed. With Redline, you will be able to ensure your fields are accessing key nutrients and increase your bushels per acre. Multiple years of data with Redline show it increases corn yields by an average of eight bushels per acre, providing a good return on investment.
Through the Leaders of In-Furrow and Foliar Technology (LIFT2) blog, our goal is to educate growers and retailers about the benefits of in-furrow application, and share options that are available to help increase yields, improve ROI and ensure success. We’ve got a lot more information to come; stay tuned for more updates on nutrient availability and efficiency and their importance throughout the season.
To learn more about Redline and how to maximize nutrient availability in your soil, visit www.wcdst.com.
Phosphorus is a key essential nutrient necessary to optimize healthy plant growth and yields. However, industry research shows that over 50 percent of production acres are phosphorus deficient. Research also shows 83 percent of growers are concerned about phosphorus getting tied up in the soil.
When crops are able to access the appropriate amounts of phosphorus, along with the other macro and micronutrients, it positively benefits the crop and protects the crop’s yield potential.
We Can Make Phosphorus More Available
Phosphorus is relatively immobile and known for getting tied up in the soil. When this occurs, plants are unable to reach their full yield potential because they do not get the optimum level of nutrients required for healthy development. Phosphorus tie-up occurs because the crops are in competition with other nutrients in the soil that are also attracted to phosphorus. When these other nutrients bind with phosphorus, it lowers phosphorus’ availability to the developing crop.
West Central Distribution and The Climate Corporation are challenging ag retailers and their growers to maximize yields by developing more efficient phosphorus management solutions for their fields. They launched the P Project to provide education and resources to help make phosphorus more available for healthy crop development.
In 2017, they implemented field tests including nutrient efficiency products and used digital agriculture tools within Climate FieldView to provide results from a variety of crops for multiple field locations. The following case study shows an example of the P Project at work.
P Project Case Study Featuring Soybean Fertility (Lamoure, ND)
Included a 20-acre fertility plot where they targeted two-acre treatments, including:
Used Climate FieldView to track the test results from start to finish, including details about fertility treatment applications, rainfall and other factors impacting the crop.
Field had been zone sampled which provided soil profile characteristics about the field.
Retailer Benefits From the P Project
Combining West Central’s Levesol family products increases phosphorus efficiency and improves fertility with the crop.
Combining these fertility products with a strong digital agriculture tool such as Climate FieldView is a way for retailers to provide proof data for the products and services they offer their growers.
Creates a powerful tool that helps the retailer share results from their local geography with their customers.
Allows growers to quantify the results and their return on investment for the products are using.
Increasing a Grower’s Return on their Investment
As seen in the results below, all the product trials showed increased in ROI vs. untreated check:
Because Every Field Has Nutrient Availability Issues
In 2018, West Central is challenging ag retailers and growers to take the P Challenge in their own fields. The P Challenge – part of the P Project will use cutting-edge digital tools to identify phosphorus availability issues. Once problem areas are identified, retailers will be able to work with their growers to use proven crop fertility solutions to create a crop management plan to help them achieve their yield goals.
As part of the P Challenge, growers will upload their grid soil data onto Climate FieldView so they can work with their retailer to make fertility decisions and track their success throughout the season.
Growers will be able to monitor their progress throughout the season with Climate In-Season imagery and have access to instant yield analysis tools that allow growers to analyze product performance come harvest.
To take part in the P Challenge, retailers can register their growers online through February 28, 2018. Complete protocols and requirements are available online. Following their registration, growers will receive a welcome kit with additional resources.
As part of the P Challenge, participants must be currently using, or open to using one or more of the following nutrient efficiency products:
The agriculture industry understands that crop protection is necessary to ensure optimal yields, but we also understand that the damage caused by off-target drift can be detrimental. Current herbicide regulations are becoming more stringent to reduce off-target drift and minimize potential damage to surrounding plants or species, making it more important than ever to take the necessary precautions to make sure the herbicides only make contact with their intended targets.
Drift reduction agents (DRAs) reduce off-site movement of herbicides. This term has been around for a long time. However, with the approval of the new herbicide technologies, DRA has also come to be an industry term for an adjuvant or other product that is approved to be tank mixed with the herbicide to mitigate drift. DRA’s create larger droplets for the tank mix to prevent off-target movement during the application or from being carried away from the desired target after the application.
Minimizing drift, means less damage to surrounding crops and other unintended targets, which is better for everyone. With drift control being a top priority in the agriculture industry, approved DRAs are required with the new dicamba herbicide applications.
The new tank mix and DRA regulations have changed the way new products are developed in the agriculture industry. While previously the focus was on reducing small droplets and creating more uniform droplet sizes, with the development of new chemistries and herbicide technology, the necessary standard today is to develop adjuvants and other DRAs that create the larger droplets necessary to reduce off-target drift.
Optimize DRA Use for the Best Results
Industry professionals agree the proper use of DRAs yield the best results. They also know there are many factors that can affect the efficacy of a pesticide application, including, but not limited to the DRA.
Today’s goals include minimizing off-target application, while trying to maximize the efficacy of the particular chemistries you are applying. This is why product manufacturers are working with industry experts and the EPA to come up with the best solutions for pesticide applicators and growers. However, as you consider your crop protection recommendations for next season, keep in mind that there are factors beyond the tank mix that in cooperation with each other, can also affect off-target movement.
These other factors include:
Spray nozzle selection
Volume and pressure of sprayer
Pesticide tank mixes’ impact on droplet size
In the past, many people thought that if you have a product that minimized drift, it worked uniformly regardless of the other parameters. Now there is a much greater awareness among experts that all these factors in combination with each other have an important impact on the outcome of the spray application. This means an application can have quite different outcomes, even if only one of these factors are changed.
This is why it is important to make sure you follow the application requirements for each product. The manufacturers have online resources that are updated regularly and product labels are clearly marked with specifications and regulations for spraying conditions, boom height, mixing instructions and additional information. Be attentive to the label to ensure that you are using the products correctly and in turn, reducing the potential for off-target drift.
Proper use of DRAs with approved tank mix partners is important and helps avoid damage to crops in neighboring fields and other species. It will also allow the industry to continue using these herbicide technologies as part of an effective weed management plan.
The All-In-One DRA
As part of its newest line of Elite Adjuvants, West Central Distribution offers Veracity Elite II, a DRA approved adjuvant with tank mix partners including XtendiMax® With VaporGrip® Technology, Engenia®, and FeXapan herbicide Plus VaporGrip® Technology. Veracity Elite II contains a water conditioner, surfactant and defoamer and also includes unique drift control abilities that are approved for use with glyphosate, dicamba, 2,4-D and other herbicides with DRA requirements. In addition to being an all-in-one adjuvant, Veracity Elite II has a convenient low use rate of 4 to 5 pints per 100 gallons of water. Veracity Elite II has also shown to be a beneficial adjuvant with other herbicides, in addition to glyphosate and the new dicamba products.
For additional resources on adjuvants and DRAs, plus agronomic information and product updates, keep reading our LIFT blog at inthefurrow.com/blog.
For more information on Veracity Elite II or the full line of Elite Adjuvants, visit www.wcdst.com or talk with your West Central account manager.
While still a fairly newer innovation, drone use is becoming more common in the agriculture industry. There are a variety of ways to use drones in agriculture, including data collection, building a database of images and video perfect for marketing and social media use, and even for building customer relationships. For example, giving your customers framed aerial shots of their farm is a fantastic way to nurture the grower/agronomist relationship and set yourself apart from your competitors.
With all the great benefits of agricultural drone use, come the challenges that you may face when purchasing, owning and flying drones. Even with these challenges, below are some great ways to overcome the potential frustrations that can come with this technology.
1. Define Your Needs
There are plenty of opportunities for using drones in the agriculture industry. To get the most benefits from owning a drone, first take the time to identify what you will be primarily using the drone for. Determining your primary and secondary goals for using drones on the job, and for recreational purposes, will help you research and eventually purchase a drone that will best fit your needs.
2. Finding the Right Drone
Starting your search for a drone can be intimidating. There is an overwhelming amount of options from a wide variety of companies, and they all claim to be the best. This can make it difficult to know which drone is the right fit for you.
Drones range in price and services, but are still an investment. Ensuring that you are choosing one that is ideal for your skill level and needs can save you money and frustration. All-in-one drone packages are a great way to begin familiarizing yourself with drone technology. These full-package drones are often equipped with all the necessary accessories that otherwise would need to be purchased separately with more advanced drones. When buying your first drone, keep it simple and look for all-in-one options that provide the features that you are looking for and then build from there.
3. Rules & Regulations
To avoid fines and other trouble when operating drones, it is not only important to have your drone registered with the FAA, but also to make sure you have the correct licensing.
Using the drone for work purposes requires a different license (remote pilot license) than if you are registering as a hobbyist. You will need to take a test to earn a remote pilot license. Set yourself up to succeed by preparing for the test. There are helpful options for study materials available online. Additionally, the information you will learn will benefit you and help you get the most value from your drone.
Proper care will help your drone last longer and perform at optimal levels.
Be sure to inspect your drone before, and after, every flight for any malfunctioning parts, including nicks or other visible propeller damage.
Ensure that the battery is fully charged before each flight.
Battery times can range anywhere from 20 to 50 minutes.
If you head to the field with anything less than a full battery, your flight time can be compromised and you might not get all the images or video that you need for that particular visit.
Most drones require software updates approximately once a month. Stay updated with the latest versions of your drone and controller software so that you have the best experience each time you use it. Some drone batteries also require software updates. Check on your particular model to make sure you don’t miss an important update.
When you purchase your drone, ask the salesperson or another contact who is familiar with the drone what the software update protocol is and how often you should update it for proper use and to extend the life of your drone.
“Start out simple when it comes to drones,” recommends Corey Klaphake, technical specialist with West Central Distribution. “The best way to make sure you purchase the most appropriate drone for your situation is to reach out for guidance and advice from others in the ag industry who already use drones before you purchase one.”
With tips from trusted colleagues as well as your own research about drones, you will be able to be more successful in picking out the best drone for your own use. Then once you make the purchase, you will have better results operating your drone and will get more satisfaction and value from using it.
For additional resources on agriculture technology, plus agronomic information and product updates, keep reading our LIFT blog at inthefurrow.com/blog.
Seed treatments play a crucial role by providing protection for the seed and seedlings against disease and insect pressure from the moment they are planted. There are hundreds of pathogens and insects that can damage or even kill the seed or seedlings before they even have a chance to develop, which can negatively influence the crop’s progress throughout the growing season and have a major impact on the yield results at harvest time. With soybeans, seed and seedling diseases are a common and significant problem.
According to a Soybean Disease Loss Estimates report published by the Crop Protection Network earlier this year, “In 2015, 11.7 percent of the total estimated soybean bushels were lost to disease in the top 28 soybean-producing states.” During that year, they also estimate the U.S. produced 3.93 billion bushels of soybeans. The report goes on to say the year was categorized as one with mild temperatures, above-average precipitation with many areas reporting record soybean yields.
Pest and disease pressures can also affect the plant’s growth and development throughout the season because of poor nutrient uptake or reduced stand establishment which can impact the crops’ overall yield.
Most crops benefit from a seed treatment. However, the seed treatments we are talking about are most commonly used on soybeans, dry beans, peas, potatoes, lentils and cereals such as wheat.
Since seed and seedling diseases in soybeans are a common and significant problem, fungicidal seed treatments can significantly reduce the occurrences of many seed and seedling diseases. Treating soybean seed has greatly increased over the past 10 years due to the effectiveness of these fungicides. With the growing use of fungicidal seed treatments, the industry can decrease the millions of soybean bushels lost each year to diseases including Fusarium, Pythium, Rhizoctonia and Phytophthora.
Seed Treatment Options
Continued advancements in seed treatment have allowed ag retailers a variety of options to help growers protect their crops from the hundreds of fungi and insects that may negatively impact their crop yields. Seed treatments as part of a strong crop management plan can help growers achieve the higher yields they strive to produce each growing season.
West Central Distribution offers retailers two industry-leading options for seed treatments which are designed to help fit the needs of their growers.
STI Customized is a custom-blending seed treatment service that has grown rapidly over the last several years. West Central offers three blending sites, allowing their ag retailers to choose from over 350 custom blends or create a completely new and unique blend for their specific needs.
Ridgeline Seed Care Portfolio is a new high quality packaged brand offering leading agronomic performance against well-known seed-borne and soil-borne diseases. Ridgeline provides a consistent formulation that retailers can count on. This focused control is convenient for the retailer to use and easy to manage. With Ridgeline, retailers don’t have to worry about inventory restrictions and other EPA rules that can govern custom blends. Ridgeline seed treatment is available in a variety of product options and convenient sizes including 2.5-gallon jugs, 15-gallon kegs and 250-gallon shuttles.
Ridgeline Seed Care Portfolio
Ridgeline includes some of the newest chemistries in the seed treatment market and provides excellent protection for a variety of crops. The portfolio provides four different product options, including:
Halifax Fungicide is a two-fungicide mix for soybeans and other legumes with enhanced Phytophthora control and includes a polymer for better adhesion and seed flowability in the planter.
Halifax Fungicide and Insecticide is a three-fungicide mix and insecticide that sets a new standard for water mold control. Both options deliver superior protection against well-known seed-borne and soil-borne diseases.
Lancaster Fungicide is a three-fungicide mix for cereals that includes a polymer and color in a ready-to-use formulation for commercial and grower applications.
Lancaster Fungicide and Insecticide is for cereals and provides unsurpassed protection with third generation insecticide and super-systemic fungicide defense system.