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January 2011 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.

Bump up your yields and profit

Jan 28, 2011

Caydee Savinelli

Who wouldn’t want a potential yield boost in their 2011 corn crop? What if I told you that changing your insect management program could lead to a yield bump of nearly 11 bushels per acre?
In a series of 214 trials from 2007 to 2009 across the Corn Belt, Syngenta research found an average 10.89 bushel-per-acre yield increase when adding a soil-applied insecticide on top of insect-traited corn. Assuming corn prices are $4 per acre, that’s an economic advantage 68 percent of the time. And the odds of a positive ROI increase with corn prices.
With an increase in corn prices anticipated, don’t leave anything to chance. Protect your profit potential – consider adding an insecticide to your traited corn to maximize yield potential.

Caydee Savinelli is a technical brand manager for insecticides, responsible for several active ingredients developed and marketed by Syngenta Crop Protection. She has focused on insect control throughout her career with Syngenta and legacy companies. Caydee holds a doctorate in entomology from North Carolina State University.

Inspecting for insects - the importance of scouting in soybean fields

Jan 25, 2011

Dr. Roy Boykin

With every new year comes a new opportunity for a successful growing season. To make the most of that opportunity, it is important to be aware of the pests that will be working against your plans for record-breaking yield. Each year, soybean yields are threatened by various insect pests that can cause significant damage and yield loss. Insect pests like soybean aphid, bean leaf beetle and stinkbugs are just a few of the pests that can quickly take over fields and reduce crop yields and quality as well as profits. For this reason, it is crucial for soybean growers to regularly scout and properly identify these destructive insects.Soybean aphid 

Soybean aphids have quickly become one of the greatest potential threats to soybean fields. An infested field can suffer yield losses up to 50 percent if the infestation goes untreated. According to the Iowa State University Extension, soybean aphid populations can double in just two to three days if conditions are favorable, making early scouting a critical step in protecting your yield.

Soybean aphid

Another common insect is the bean leaf beetle that, like the aphid, can reduce yields by 20-50 percent if left unmanaged. Bean leaf beetleThese pests damage soybean plants by feeding on the foliage and the base of the pods, which causes defoliation and reduced seed quality. Entomologists from Iowa State University Extension recommend that scouting should begin during the R4 growth stage and continue through the R7 stage.

Bean leaf beetle 

The stinkbug is a pod and seed-feeding insect that can lead to reduced seed quality and quantity. StinkbugIn young seeds, stinkbug feeding can result in undersized or aborted seeds, whereas older seeds will become discolored and shriveled, reducing germination rates. The University of Missouri Extension recommends beginning to scout for stinkbugs once soybean plants start to bloom since female stinkbugs are highly attracted to the blooming soybean plant. Peak populations are typically found in August to September.


Knowing how to identify and scout for these insects is half the battle. It is important to have a plan of action to stop an insect infestation as well. An insecticide with dual modes of action, a fast knockdown and long residual can prevent populations of hard-to-control insects, like the soybean aphid, bean leaf beetle or stinkbug, from damaging your fields and give your soybean maximum opportunity for a successful yield.

What insects are you most worried about this upcoming season?

Dr. Roy Boykin, Senior Technical Brand Manager, Insecticides, Syngenta Crop Protection 
Roy is responsible for the technical development, positioning and product life cycle management of insecticides for all business units in the NAFTA Region. Roy received his undergraduate education at the College of Charleston with majors in biology and business and received his master’s/doctorate degrees in entomology with minors in plant pathology and crop science from North Carolina State University.


Weed control wisdom: Start clean – stay clean

Jan 21, 2011

Gordon Vail

Last season was typical for corn and soybean growers – the weather was unpredictable. And that is one reason that the mantra “start clean – stay clean” holds true when it comes to controlling weeds.
For example, a farm manager who works in southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska said that in 2010, rainfall rates were 200 to 400% higher than normal in the spring. That meant it was too muddy to get into many fields before crops – and weeds – were too large to spray. He expected weedy fields by fall, but he found that residual herbicide programs held well. He also credits early-season weed control with a 15% yield boost.

That yield boost shows up because pre-emerge residual herbicides provide good weed control well into the critical weed-free period, or the 4 to 7 weeds after planting when corn is most susceptible to weed competition. These residuals also widen the window for a second herbicide pass, which helps out when it rains a lot.


How do you start clean?


Gordon Vail, Syngenta Herbicide Technical Brand Manager, provides technical leadership for the biological development and labeling of corn herbicides for Syngenta. He holds a bachelor's degree in agronomy and a master's degree in weed science from the University of Arkansas, as well as a doctorate in botany and plant pathology from PurdueUniversity.

Using a fungicide to maximize return on investment

Jan 18, 2011

Eric Tedford

Every businessman knows that a business will not succeed without investment – investment of time, energy, resources and even money. However, every businessman also knows that a business will not succeed unless the product or service can generate a greater return than that investment.

While this concept is applicable in nearly every industry, nobody knows the importance of a good investment more than a grower. At the start of each year, growers must select products that can protect their crops, such as soybean, from a variety of elements that may reduce yields and their bottom line. With hundreds of products to choose from, these can mean the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful growing season.

A study from the University of Wisconsin–Madison revealed disease loss estimates in 2004 were about 12%, or nearly 400 million bushels, representing a total value loss of approximately $2 billion. While the study notes that 2004 was a record-breaking year for disease damage, disease still poses a constant threat to soybean yields each season, making fungicide selection a crucial step in enhancing the quality of your plants.
When investing in a fungicide, it is important to look for one that offers soybean plants broad-spectrum disease control from all four classes of fungi. When left untreated, diseases like rusts, anthracnose and brown spot are just a few of the yield-robbing pests that can take a damaging toll on soybean fields each year. Luckily, these diseases can be readily controlled by a strobilurin fungicide that contains the active ingredient azoxystrobin. However, if frog eye leaf spot is the main concern in your area, it is recommended that you utilize a product with two modes of action to avoid the development of resistance.
In addition to providing broad-spectrum disease control, a strobilurin fungicide containing azoxystrobin can provide plant physiological enhancements that can help you get more bang for your buck. The physiological enhancements provided by a strobilurin fungicide containing azoxystrobin can benefit the health of your soybean plants by improving plant growth through increased water use efficiency and preserved green leaf area that help to maximize yield.

A strobilurin fungicide containing azoxystrobin can offer your soybean fields these advantages to enhance soybean performance, help maximize yield, profit and increase your return on investment.


Treated with a strobilurin fungicide containing azoxystrobin
What diseases did you encounter last season that could have been better controlled by a strobilurin fungicide treatment?

Eric Tedford, Fungicide Technical Brand Manager for Syngenta, provides technical leadership for the development of fungicides. His experience includes fungicide research and development for field crops, development of postharvest fungicides, and global technical development of fungicides. He holds bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees in plant pathology from the University of Massachusetts, ClemsonUniversity, and the University of California (Davis), respectively.



Corn Yield Enemy #1

Jan 14, 2011

Caydee Savinelli

Corn rootworms. Often referred to as the “billion-dollar pest,” they are considered the top insect problem across most of the Corn Belt. We use traits, insecticides, crop rotations and often a combination of all three to fight them, because we’ve seen them adapt over time.
We know corn rootworms nibble away at yields. Here’s how:
  • As they eat into roots, they instantly make plants more susceptible to disease that can enter through those damaged points.
  • Injured roots are less able to absorb and transport water and nutrients to help the plant grow.
  • Any damage to the plant increases the stress on the plant – on top of other stresses like temperature, moisture, other insects, weed competition, etc.
  • Corn rootworm feeding can inhibit the formation of brace roots. Weak brace roots often result in lodging or goose-necking, which as you know can make harvest challenging.

Root growth leads directly to yield at the end of the season, which is why many growers combine traits, seed treatments and soil-applied insecticides to protect them. What do you rely on for corn rootworm control, and why?

(Photo: Insecticidal-traited corn, left side treated with a soil insecticide, right side untreated.)

Caydee Savinelli is a technical brand manager for insecticides, responsible for several active ingredients developed and marketed by Syngenta Crop Protection. She has focused on insect control throughout her career with Syngenta and legacy companies. Caydee holds a doctorate in entomology from North Carolina State University.

Introducing the Weeding out Hunger FFA Video Challenge

Jan 11, 2011

David Piñon

Do you know any current FFA members? Here’s a challenge for them, courtesy of the Weeding out Hunger campaign, with the chance to win up to $3,000 for their FFA Chapter.
The Weeding out Hunger FFA Video Challenge asks FFA chapters to produce a video showcasing the role agriculture plays in feeding Americans, and the role they play in their school and community. The videos will be submitted on the Weeding out Hunger Facebook page starting February 1, 2011. Starting April 1, the public will be able to vote for their favorites to select the competition finalists.
We know these students are positively impacting their communities, and we want to share their stories. For example, one question these videos will answer is, “What does agriculture in your community mean to the nation in terms of providing food, fiber, feed and fuel?”
This challenge is part of the hunger relief initiative Weeding out Hunger, which supports local food banks based on sales of a residual corn herbicide. Pass it on…


David Piñon, Senior Communications Manager, Syngenta Crop Protection
As a senior communications manager, David fosters brand awareness for products including corn herbicides and insecticides. He also develops agronomic communications for topics such as weed resistance and early-season weed control.

What's in your (seed)bank?

Jan 07, 2011

Chuck Foresman

Since harvest finished much earlier in 2010 than 2009, many people had time to get "extra" field work done.  But the timing and weather also gave late-emerging weeds more opportunity to make deposits in your weed seedbank.   
The weeds you saw from the combine cab or any green haze in your harvested fields are likely the same problems you will need to manage next year.  In the past, my colleagues in the field have mentioned walking fields during harvest, and finding many small weeds, just 5 to 6 inches tall, dropping a significant amount of seed.  Knowing what those weeds were, or what's in your seedbank, gives you an idea of what to prepare for next year.
An early spring burndown or residual herbicide could help you get off to a strong start in 2011. With glyphosate- and ALS-resistant weeds becoming more common, herbicide selection and application timing are critical.  Plus, a spring pre-emergence application is your best bet for yield protection.  What are your plans?

Syngenta Manager of Weed Resistance Strategies Chuck Foresman is an expert in weed resistance, having worked extensively with many universities and research associates around the globe on the subject. He holds a bachelor's degree in agronomy from Western Illinois University along with a master's degree in agronomy from the University of Wisconsin.

Why use a soybean residual?

Jan 04, 2011

Gordon Vail

At harvest, growers saw a few leftover "surprises" in their fields, especially in soybeans that relied on “economical” total-post glyphosate herbicide programs. Many weeds – like waterhemp and giant ragweed – thrived throughout the season, creating a seed bank that will need to be managed next season and beyond.
It makes sense to use a strong residual program for your soybean crop. Research by Bryan Young from Southern Illinois University has shown that a pre-emergence herbicide followed by glyphosate will out-yield two properly timed post applications of glyphosate by 3 bu/A, when glyphosate was applied to weeds <4” tall. 
So, if soybeans are at $12 to $13/bu (or more), you can do the math: Using a soybean residual herbicide could return nearly $40/A more in gross profit than two applications of glyphosate. The yield advantage of the residual followed by glyphosate program increased to 6 bu/A when glyphosate was applied to weeds up to 8” tall, which is certainly not uncommon.  Just something to think about as 2011 plans are in the works.

Gordon Vail, Syngenta Herbicide Technical Brand Manager, provides technical leadership for the biological development and labeling of corn herbicides for Syngenta. He holds a bachelor's degree in agronomy and a master's degree in weed science from the University of Arkansas, as well as a doctorate in botany and plant pathology from Purdue University.
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