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February 2010 Archive for Syngenta Field Report

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The Syngenta Field Report features information and experts from Syngenta sharing observations about issues growers are dealing with in the fields.

Early weeds vs. late weeds

Feb 26, 2010

Gordon Vail
The cost of early-season weed competition in corn has been well documented.  But how do you know what “early-season weeds” are?

Depending on your location, weeds start emerging as soon as it’s warm enough for their seeds to germinate.  And flushes of weeds can show up all season long. “Early-season” usually refers to the life of the crop, rather than a specific time of year. 

 The weeds that emerge about the same time as the crop compete the most with your corn for nutrients, water and light.  For example, one giant ragweed can beat 12 corn plants for nitrogen.

Pre-emergence residual herbicides help control these early weeds and protect yield potential. 

Researchers like Clarence Swanton of the University of Guelph, Ontario, define early weeds as those that emerge with the corn.  So while in-season applications are important to manage weeds for next year, controlling weeds before or soon after they emerge is the best way to protect yield this season.

Secondary pest can become a primary problem

Feb 23, 2010

Caydee Savinelli


While CRW traits help protect your corn from corn rootworm, they also leave your corn vulnerable to early-season pests like wireworm, cutworm and white grub.  These insects harm young seedlings above or below the soil surface resulting in damaged corn plants or disrupted seed germination.

Insect pressures are shifting and increasing.  What once were minor pests that you hardly knew were in your fields have become noticeable yield robbers.  An insecticide not only provides another mode of action to fight CRW pressure, they also control those early-season bugs. 


One Iowa retailer set up two side-by-side comparisons of a traited hybrid with and without an insecticide.  In one plot, insecticide on traited corn increased yield by 8 bu/A, and on the other, it increased yield by 12 bu/A, doubling the return on investment.

The "art" of texting

Feb 19, 2010

Anthony Transou


imo, the are of txt is confusing. somtims I lol but usu idk wu. wht abt u?

Translation: In my opinion, the acronym-rich environment of text messages is confusing.  Sometimes I laugh out loud, but usually I don’t know what’s up.  What about you?


Cell phones have made staying connected and getting information more convenient than ever.  You can call for products or repairs from the field, tell your wife when you expect to get back to the house, stay in touch with your buddy across the county during the day, etc.  But do you use your phone to text?


Although texting is usually considered the domain of teenagers and twenty-somethings, it can have advantages.  Texting often cuts through small talk to get straight to your point, and it can be easier to reply when you have time, rather than grabbing a ringing phone.


But the lingo associated with texting is an art.  Here are a few guidelines to write or translate texts:

·        Use major consonants, but vowels may be optional

·        Numbers and symbols (2, 4, ?) often replace words or parts of words

·        Punctuation is often optional, even though that can create quite a bit of confusion

Do you text?  If so, what shorthand do you use?  What ag-specific acronyms do you use?

lemeno.  ttyl.

(Let me know. Talk to you later.)

Gray Leaf Spot: The Deadly Sin of Corn

Feb 16, 2010
Eric Tedford

If we could get a year without seeing gray leaf spot in a field, it would make for a glorious year for corn yields. However, the wicked reality of this situation is that we can’t! As each year passes, gray leaf spot threatens corn acres across the country and creeps up on growers. With all the other corn diseases out there, you may ask “What’s the big fuss with gray leaf spot?” Well gray leaf spot can be one of the most damaging and yield-robbing diseases in corn. According to the article “Effects of Foliar Fungicides on Corn Stalk Quality” by Carl Bradley of the University of Illinois, gray leaf spot can reduce grain fill by up to 50 percent. Reduced grain fill can result in stalk rot and ultimately cause standability issues in corn. Down corn on the ground negatively impacts yield potential and could cause issues with volunteer corn in following seasons, but that’s a topic for a later blog. So, how bad was gray leaf spot in 2009?
Many areas of the country witnessed gray leaf spot pressure at a severe rate. Southwestern Iowa was one of those areas that battled the disease at this level. Growers in that region of the state saw up to 20 of the brownish-gray stretched lesions on the ear leaf. As the disease eats away at leaf tissues, this inhibits the production of energy of the plant to ensure corn reaches its maximum yield potential. Each year climatic conditions have the potential to cause gray leaf spot to erupt and wreak havoc on fields. When conditions are wetter than normal, disease thresholds are usually higher. But hey, why try to predict the weather? Fungicide applications can help eliminate the stress of dealing with weather conditions potentially impacting yield by driving disease thresholds through the roof. Particularly a systemic fungicide with preventive and curative activity can defend against diseases that have struck and protect against those that may strike. In 2010, remember that gray leaf spot will be back - the question is “will you be prepared?”

Meet the 2009 Resistance Fighters of the Year

Feb 12, 2010
Chuck Foresman

We have selected Paul Barchenger, Hutchinson Coop, Hutchinson, Minn., and Jeremy Kichler, Macon County, Ga., Cooperative Extension agent as the 2009 Resistance Fighters of the Year.  Both are being recognized for their leadership, advocacy and proactive management practices in the fight against glyphosate-resistant weeds.

Paul, agronomy division manager at Hutchinson Coop, has been a fighting resistant giant ragweed and waterhemp since both weeds first became more difficult to control with glyphosate more than five years ago.  He also has worked with researchers at the University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University to confirm resistance and conduct field trials.
Jeremy, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent in Macon County, Ga., helped identify the first glyphosate-resistant population of Palmer pigweed ever confirmed. He has assisted with more than 100 replicated university trials, screening herbicides to develop an effective management program.
I look forward to working with both Paul and Jeremy in the coming year, as we continue to educate growers about glyphosate resisatnce. Both are knowledgeable and passionate about the issue. Visit in March for more information on how to nominate someone for the 2010 Resistance Fighter of the Year award.

Help Weed out Hunger in 2010

Feb 09, 2010
Gordon Vail
More than 49 million Americans – about 1 in 6 – have limited access to adequate food due to a lack of money or other resources1. That’s hard to believe! 
But that’s why we are working with Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, to help Weed out Hunger in our local communities.  Feeding America supports approximately 63,000 local charitable agencies, which provide food directly to more than 25 million people in need.
We are all about helping farmers meet the food, fuel, feed and fiber demands of 9 billion people by 2050, and that means getting the most out of every plant and every acre. And, by working with Feeding America, we are helping to Weed out Hunger one row at a time. See how you can get involved at
1 United States. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Economic Research Service. Household Food Security in the United States, 2008/ERR-83. Washington: 2009.

CRW may still be nibbling roots

Feb 05, 2010
Caydee Savinelli
CRW-traited corn has really helped Midwest growers combat heavy corn rootworm pressure. But after a few years, they are realizing that in some areas, the trait just isn’t enough.
With a CRW trait, some feeding is required for the rootworm trait to be effective. Plus, traits are low dose, which means that older rootworm larvae can be less susceptible to the trait. That means the rootworms may keep eating, causing more damage. This later larval feeding can cause scarred roots, reduced standability, and ultimately, reduced yields.
We began testing the benefits of using an insecticide with CRW-traited corn in Central Illinois, an area that many consider the ‘epicenter’ or ‘hotbed’ for corn rootworm pressure. And we got positive results. The next year, we did trials throughout the Midwest and we recorded increased yield in 85% of trials, regardless of climate or growing conditions. The average yield increase was 10.9 bu/A. Have you tried the added protection of an insecticide on your traited hybrids?
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