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March 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.

From the show circuit: Experts on weed resistance

Mar 30, 2010
Chuck Foresman
Over the past month, I’ve visited with several researchers and many growers and retailers about weed resistance at industry trade shows and meetings. I’ve heard quite a bit about the state of glyphosate resistance across the country, so as we head into spring, there is plenty to keep in mind.
Most growers would be thrilled to control 98% of the weeds in their fields and, in most cases, that means a job well done.  But in cotton country, Dr. Jason Norsworthy, University of Arkansas weed scientist, reports that this may not be good enough. He says an explosion in glyphosate-resistant Palmer pigweed means that pressure is so heavy that even 98% control is unacceptable. He recommends a season-long weed management program to protect crops from Palmer pigweed competition from pre-plant through harvest. 
Another University of Arkansas weed scientist, Dr. Nilda Burgos, agrees. She says studies show that if you allow the weed to compete with cotton early in the season, it can really hurt yield.

Resistance Fighter of the Year Paul Barchenger commented during a panel at Commodity Classic that despite the low cost of glyphosate this year, growers need to be careful. Not controlling weeds early in the season can actually cost them more in yield in the long run. He encourages growers to include residual herbicides and multiple modes of action to control weeds and protect crop yields. 
And grower Mike Flanary, who also participated in that panel, said that the effort required to proactively manage weed resistance is not much more than what he does anyway. He believes protecting his crop and managing against resistance for future seasons is worth a bit of extra work today. 

What weed resistance questions or concerns are on your mind heading into spring?

Forces of nature

Mar 26, 2010
Nature is truly a force to be reckoned with.
This year the world witnessed one of the worst natural disasters of our lifetime in Haiti. This disaster has left millions of lives turned upside down. Syngenta Crop Protection is working to help change these lives with the Heartland Laser Show tour. Click here to listen to fungicide brand manager, Jamie Eichorn discuss how Syngenta is making a difference with the interactive show. The tour has made its way across the Midwest and will continue to locations in Iowa through the last week of March. Learn how you can join us in our efforts to help Haiti.
Each year growers in the Midwest experience uncontrollable forces of nature. In 2009, that region of the country experienced hail storms that destroyed corn and soybean acres. Not only did growers lose yield, but they also dealt with hail damage that left plants exposed to disease pressure. Some areas of the country witnessed wind storms that knocked corn acres to the ground. Growers can help combat these forces with fungicide applications that provide a preventive and curative mode of action, and also increase standability and stalk strength.
Although the forces of nature the Midwest experienced do not at all compare to the disaster in Haiti, it does demonstrate the uncertainty that nature can deal us.

Using YouTube

Mar 23, 2010
Anthony Transou
Our computers have become multi-purpose tools, including an on-demand TV. The YouTube phenomenon has been around for a few years now (eons, in tech-time), and videos have become common on websites and as e-mail links. Do you watch them? 
Video hosting sights like YouTube contain incredible footage of your college team’s new recruit or the choreographed wedding dance surprises. But they also include information useful to the ag industry. For example, there’s this fall herbicide application video from Ag PhD on YouTube, or the video archive I help maintain on
If you like to get information as-needed, such videos can be very helpful. A basic search on YouTube can bring up all kinds of videos. But you always want to note the source. You will also find plenty of negative or questionable information, because anyone can post a video. If you want reliable information, you can visit a magazine or industry site you trust and look for their video archives.

What kind of videos do you find helpful? How long do you want them to be? And where do you want to find them?

Did the 2009 harvest change your spring plans?

Mar 19, 2010
Palle Pedersen
Most Midwest growers were glad to see the 2009 harvest end (unless they still have snow-covered corn in the fields). But, the late harvest and wet weather kept many from getting their planned fall fertilizer applications and tillage finished. 
Since they can’t predict spring weather, some growers are changing their 2010 planting plans. Corn acres may be down if there isn’t enough time to fertilize, and more soybeans may be planted. Other growers may just choose different maturities for corn or soybeans. 

So what about you? Did a late harvest prevent you from finishing fall fieldwork? What are your plans – and back-up plans – for this spring?

Cheap glyphosate can’t replace residual herbicides

Mar 16, 2010
Chuck Foresman

The decline in glyphosate prices is a positive for your bottom line. But beware of the temptation to cut corners and reduce your use of residual herbicides to save money in 2010. The overuse of glyphosate and a lack of diversity in herbicide programs have led to the development of glyphosate-resistant waterhemp, ragweed, Palmer pigweed and horseweed (marestail).

Not applying residuals can lead to fields that look like these, and the effect of yield loss on your bottom far outweighs the savings from a glyphosate-only program.

Palmer pigweed in Georgia soybeans


Waterhemp in Illinois soybeans


Lambsquarters in Ohio soybeans

Flexible weed control plans help manage weather

Mar 12, 2010
After the last couple years, I’m sure you would like to see a long, favorable spring. I know I would! But, we know the weather is a wildcard as we look to spring planting. 
Herbicide flexibility can help you control weeds in the spring and maximize yields in the fall, regardless of the weather. Residual herbicides are critical for keeping fields clean early. But if you spray and it rains too much before your corn is planted, you need a herbicide with long residual control. Or you plant and it rains before you can spray, you need a herbicide that can be applied after corn has emerged
Either way, including a residual helps control multiple weed flushes and minimize weed control disasters. Do you have a flexible weed control plan heading into 2010? What is it?

National Corn Yield Contest

Mar 09, 2010
Palle Pedersen

The annual National Corn Yield Contest managed by the National Corn Growers Association gives corn growers a chance to let their production skills shine. 
With either a nematicide/insecticide/fungicide seed treatment or an insecticide/fungicide seed treatment plus high-performing systemic fungicide available for the first time, growers have new options to protect their corn from yield-robbing pests. The seed treatment protects against the early-season threat of nematodes, insects and diseases, and the fungicide provides greater preventive and curative residual control over major corn diseases.

To encourage corn growers to try these new solutions, we will be recognizing 2010 National Corn Yield Contest winners who’ve used both of them with a donation in their honor to their local FFA chapter, or to an FFA chapter of their choice. This gives you a chance to try new technology and support your community. Think about what plots you may enter this season.

What do you do when your tractor does the driving?

Mar 05, 2010

Anthony Transou
Auto-steer tractors are cool. The whole “Look, Ma – no hands!” concept is way more fun when you are in a big, expensive machine. And they are practical, too. Straighter rows. Less trying to look both ahead and behind you at the same time.

For those of you who have auto-steer tractors, what do you do now with the time that is freed up as you drive across your fields? Does not having to steer across your field help you be more efficient? How?
Do you use that time to surf the Web on your smartphone? Check weather and markets? Are you using this time to make management decisions for your operation? Do you need mobile-device-friendly links to get online? Or do you call your retailer to schedule the next delivery of seed, fertilizer or crop protection products? Catch up with your neighbors who are also driving hands-free across their fields? Text? Play Free Cell on your in-cab monitor? 
The possibilities are endless, but I’d like to know how this technology has changed your days in the field.

"Farmer Swap" Stories

Mar 02, 2010
Palle Pedersen

We recently had the opportunity to send the winner of our 2009 Farmer Swap program to Brazil for a week. Dwight Fickbohm of Akron, Iowa, and my colleague Paul Luetjen visited the Brazilian states of Bahia and Mato Grosso to get a first-hand look at soybean production there.
One farm they visited was taken over by six brothers in 1980, and in the 30 years since then, they have increased average soybean yield from 24 to 54 bushels per acre on very sandy soil. Another is run by a group of U.S. growers. And on the last day, Dwight got to help combine – in 90+ degree heat in January. That’s not typical in Iowa.
They learned quite a bit about the similarities and differences in soybean production. In that part of Brazil, it’s common to harvest soybeans and plant corn on the same day. A Brazilian agronomist listed common pests, including caterpillar, whitefly and soybean anteater. That last one is quite a bit different than the disease and aphid pressures we deal with in the United States! But solutions to challenges are similar. For example, in comparative studies on one farm, using a seed treatment increased soybean yields roughly 29%.

Overall, they said it was a fascinating trip. Have you had the opportunity to see how crops are produced in other parts of the world?
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