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January 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.

Twitter and ag

Jan 29, 2010
Anthony Transou
Need to know “what’s happening?” Twitter is the place to find out, and to tweet your news to others. Ok, so maybe you don’t care who @Oprah had on her show today or what @THE_REAL_SHAQ does in his free time.
But there is a lot happening in the #ag industry, and if for those who like to know now, Twitter can keep you up-to-date. For example, @FarmJournal tweets live from conferences and events and @brownfield provides links to their news stories. And if you want to stay on top of government issues, consider following your state Farm Bureau or someone like Iowa Senator @ChuckGrassley
You can watch the discussion – or join in. The weekly #agchat is a facilitated discussion on current industry issues, and although you won’t agree with everyone who participates, you will get insight into a wide variety of viewpoints.
So for those of you tweeting away, who do you follow in ag and why?

Italian ryegrass may be tough to control this spring

Jan 26, 2010
Chuck Foresman

At the recent 2010 Beltwide Cotton Conference in New Orleans, glyphosate weed resistance came up more than once. Weed scientists offered their solutions to manage against resistance.

For example, Jason Bond, Mississippi State University weed scientist, discussed glyphosate-resistant Italian ryegrass in Mississippi. Italian ryegrass is an example of a weed developing resistance in multiple cropping systems. This weed was first confirmed glyphosate-resistant in perennial crops – specifically Oregon orchards – in 2004. Although not listed on, California also has this problem. (In fact, it was mentioned at the recent state Weed Science Society Meeting.) Now confirmed in resistant in Mississippi, control problems have also been reported in Tennessee and North Carolina.

In orchards, pre-emergence and residual products are recommended for control. And the solution is similar for cotton growers.  Bond recommended fall burndown programs if spring glyphosate applications fail to control Italian ryegrass.  According to Bond, residual herbicides provided excellent residual control when applied in first two weeks of November.  Of course, fall burndown timing has passed, but an early spring burndown may be an option. If you had a problem last year, expect a bigger problem in 2010…that’s the nature of glyphosate resistance.

The mesotrione story

Jan 22, 2010
Gordon Vail
Searching for new modes of action is an endless quest for R&D scientists, and new herbicide modes of action are few and far between these days. But the success stories are fascinating.
Take mesotrione, an active ingredient Syngenta brought to corn growers nine years ago. Although the first mesotrione herbicide was registered in 2001, it was developed because a researcher in the mid-1970s noticed that one of the shrubs in his yard didn’t have many weeds growing under it. Check out the full story. (Yes, that’s me).

Since then, mesotrione has become a valuable weed control tool that helps protect corn yield and manage challenges like weed shifts and weed resistance. It is a powerful active ingredient included in several corn herbicides. How have you used mesotrione in your operation?

Preserve glyphosate to protect the value of no-till

Jan 19, 2010
Chuck Foresman

I recently had the opportunity to talk to several hundred of the most dedicated no-till farmers in the country at the 2010 National No-Till Conference. They are an innovative group, and because of their commitment to no-till farming, they feel the threat of spreading glyphosate resistance keenly. 
These guys rely on herbicides to control weeds, and glyphosate is a critical tool for their operations. However, as glyphosate-resistant weeds like horseweed (marestail) spread, they are struggling to protect their yields without reverting to iron to control weeds.

My recommendations in soybeans included starting with a clean seedbed with a burndown herbicide that has an alternative mode of action, choose early pre-plant or pre-emerge herbicides with residual and two modes of action, and use glyphosate in-season with another mode of action. This type of program will help preserve glyphosate, and, by extension, the value of no-till and conservation-till systems.
No residual vs. pre-emergence herbicide
One last note – glyphosate resistance seems to initially rear its head in fields that are not rotated to other crops, enabling more herbicide diversity.  So keep a close eye on fields planted to the same crop year after year.

My friend (brother/boss/dad) wants to know…

Jan 15, 2010
Anthony Transou
The National Association of Farm Broadcasters recently shared the results of a survey they did on how “plugged-in” growers and producers are to online communications and social media. Their results show that those of you who are engaged online are very active, accessing information daily. 
Although many of the numbers about accessing information seem low to me, one statistic caught my attention. According to this study, roughly 13% of growers said they have someone else in their operation access the internet for them. 
So, is that you? Even if you plan to use this information yourself, is there someone else in your operation who doesn’t know what “www” stands for? What kind of information do you share with them? Is there anything about certain sites that makes it easier to find the information you need to share? Is there a way to get that information to them directly? Let me know your thoughts.

Corn yields respond to insecticide on trait

Jan 12, 2010
Caydee Savinelli
Trials throughout the Midwest found that adding an insecticide to CRW-traited corn hybrids boosted yields. Even in diverse climates and with varying insect pressure, an insecticide increased corn yield in 85% of trials, with an average 10.9 bu/A yield increase.

Insecticides provide another mode of action to control CRW pressure, and they also control early-season pests like wireworm, cutworm and white grub, which aren’t controlled by traits alone.


Illinois growers deal with some of the most intense CRW pressure in the country. Results from local field trials (below) show that using an insecticide increased yields in 86% of trials, with an average increase of 11.5 bu/A.  With corn at $4/bu, these trials delivered an economic advantage 68% of the time.

In Iowa, insecticide applications increased yields in 100% of the trials, and created an economic advantage 75% of the time at $4/bu corn. On average, the insecticide application resulted in a 7.1 bu/A yield increase.

Results from Nebraska field trials were similar.  In 86% of trials, using an insecticide over traits increased yields, with an average increase of 5.7 bu/A.

Glyphosate-resistance spreading

Jan 08, 2010
Chuck Foresman

Glyphosate-resistance waterhemp lives in just over half of Missouri fields, according to Dr. Kevin Bradley, a weed scientist from the University of Missouri. During harvest of 2008, he collected weed seed across the state, and he evaluated that seed for glyphosate resistance in 2009.

Here are highlights from his study:
- Glyphosate-resistant waterhemp in the fields at harvest was found in 51% of the randomly sampled fields
- Of the fields with glyphosate-resistant waterhemp, 53% had no other weeds present
- Palmer pigweed and giant ragweed were added to the list of confirmed glyphosate-resistant weeds in Missouri
- Missouri has Palmer pigweed, a weed related to waterhemp, in places that Dr. Bradley didn’t know it lived

Check out his complete presentation from a weed science meeting for more details on this study.

Liquid CRW insecticide offers rebate, convenience

Jan 05, 2010
The 2009 growing season marked the second year growers were able to use a convenient liquid formulation of a reliable soil-applied insecticide. Growers across the Midwest report several advantages to the liquid option and its unique delivery system:
- Saves time
- Easier to load
- Makes treating refuge rows easy
- Controls insect pressure
This video compares liquid formulations to granular products. 

In addition, a rebate is available for those who add the John Deere application system to their planters.
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