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October 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.

Weeding out Hunger helps local food banks

Oct 29, 2010

Gordon Vail

Before the 2010 growing season, I mentioned Weeding out Hunger on this blog, a Syngenta campaign to support local food banks. Here’s an update on our efforts.  
 
This fall, 55 food banks in 24 states received donations on behalf of Weeding out Hunger. These donations brought us to our goal of donating $100,000 in herbicide sales to local Feeding America foodbanks.
 
We are thinking globally to grow more from less and meet our goal of helping to feed nine billion people by 2050. But we also believe it’s critical to act locally, and Weeding out Hunger does just that. According to Feeding America, its network of food banks feeds one million more Americans each week than it did in 2006, and it relies heavily on the support of corporate partners, like Syngenta, to raise awareness of the hunger issue. 
 

With requests for help from many local food banks increasing, this campaign will continue into 2011.  See how you can get involved at www.weedingouthunger.com. And, you can receive real-time updates via Twitter at www.twitter.com/weedouthunger.

Talk about it

Oct 26, 2010

Anthony Transou

Farmers have plenty to think about. But they also likely have a limited circle of people who understand their business and are willing to bounce ideas around, such as:
 
  • Do micronutrients pay?
  • Would a different tillage system address soil structure issues in fields?
  • What equipment modifications would improve efficiency?
 
Online forums like these give growers the chance to “talk” about anything and everything, from policy to production. Other interesting forums can be found at www.agboards.com
 
So what’s the difference between a forum or message board and other types of communications online? Blogs like this allow comments that can start a discussion, but the topic has already been proposed. Social networks share and spread news and information. But forums are a place to talk about it. Communities decide what “it” is, but any member can start a focused conversation around a particular topic or question.
 
Do you participate in any forums or messages boards? Which ones are most valuable?

Nematode protection – evaluate your options

Oct 22, 2010

Dr. Palle Pedersen

We’ve been talking about nematodes – microscopic soil-dwelling pests that feed on crop roots – more in the past couple years. Research has shown that nematodes steal more yield than we realized.
 
And there are a couple options to protect your crops from this pest. Abamectin and Bacillus firmus are both seed treatments intended to combat the nematode threat. But the way they work is very different.
 
Abamectin:
  • Kills nematodes
  • Offers early-season protection from the day the seed is planted
  • Protects throughout critical early growth stages
  • Consistent protection regardless of environmental conditions
  • Proven performance under heavy pressure
  • Available with an insecticide and fungicide seed treatment combination
 
Bacillus firmus:
  • Does not kill nematodes
  • Requires time to multiply and produce toxin, missing the window to have the greatest impact against early-season pests during the critical early growth stages
  • Performance is affected by environmental conditions
    • Temperature can affect the organism once on the seed
  • Labeled product for corn must be used within 72 hours of being put in slurry
  • Can not be used with seed treatments that move the slurry to a low pH

Consider a fall herbicide application

Oct 19, 2010

Gordon Vail

Harvest 2010 is off to a much more timely start than last year. As you look at your fields from the combine, note what weeds you have now, and think about what they looked like last spring.
  • Were winter annuals a problem when you got into the fields last spring? If so, they will likely be back next year. 
  • Do you have perennials in a field? They aren’t going away either. 
  • Are herbicide-resistant weeds a problem? That’s another problem that spreads from year to year.
 
Depending on harvest and frost timing, a fall herbicide application may be a good option to clean up your fields. A fall herbicide applications before corn help save time in the spring, reduce weed pressure, manage resistance and spread the workload, depending on the weather. Reducing the weed pressure this fall may also help a one-pass residual program work better in next season’s corn.  
 

Have you used fall herbicide applications in the past? Do you plan to this season?

Time-tested herbicide atrazine helps manage resistance

Oct 15, 2010

Chuck Foresman

Applying multiple modes of action is one key to managing against glyphosate weed resistance. And alternative modes of action to add to glyphosate can be as basic as a 50-year-old herbicide like atrazine
 
According to a Kansas corn grower, “We need to rotate herbicides to help control weeds, especially glyphosate-tolerant weeds…and atrazine is one option we use.” An Illinois grower agrees, “We also use atrazine to provide a different mode of action for weed control.  We don’t want to develop weed resistance.”
 

Some weeds have developed resistance to atrazine, but used in combination with other herbicide modes of action, it is an effective resistance management tool.

Optimum Soybean Seeding Rates

Oct 12, 2010

 Dr. Palle Pedersen

What’s your soybean stand count today? What’s your population goal? And how did that influence your seeding rate at planting?
 
This summer I shared best practices for soybean seeding rates at a series of plot tours across the Midwest. One key to remember: For maximum yield, the stand count at harvest is most important. 
 
As seed costs increase, many growers are rethinking their standard soybean seeding rates. And that’s ok with the soybean plants themselves:
  • A soybean plant will adjust it’s growth and development based on space
  • Plant establishment percentage often decreases more from high seeding rates due to plant competition (red percentages on the bars represent the difference between the seeding rate and plant population)
  • Just 100,000 plants/A at harvest is often enough to maximize economic returns
 
So how can you cost-effectively reach the ideal harvest stand count? You don’t need to overseed, and a soybean insecticide/fungicide seed treatment combination can protect plants from disease and insect pressure.
 

What’s your soybean population goal? Should it change next season?

Control the Adverse Effects of Weather on Your Corn Crop with a Strobilurin Fungicide

Oct 08, 2010

Eric Tedford

In life, preparation is often considered a key element in determining success. Obviously, we can’t control everything, but proper care and preparation can help us adapt to the uncontrollable aspects of our lives.
 
For corn growers, the success of a field’s yield is all about preparation and management. You can plan when to plant, when to harvest and manage everything in between to provide your plants with maximum opportunities for success. However, even the most experienced growers can’t control one important element of the growing season – the weather.
 
According to Tamra A. Jackson, plant pathologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, this season’s harsh weather made many cornfields susceptible to dangerous yield-robbing diseases like common rust, anthracnose leaf blight and gray leaf spot. Each of these diseases can negatively impact yields, but unlike the weather, these damaging diseases are something you can control!
 
Applying a strobilurin fungicide to your corn plants can help combat the harmful effects of the weather by controlling a broad-spectrum of diseases to help crops reach their full potential. In addition to preventing diseases, a strobilurin fungicide can help plants use the sun’s energy more efficiently for greater growth, and also help improve stalk strength, which can help protect corn from harsh wind and storms.
 
So, next season help prepare your fields for the effects of summer weather by protecting them with a strobilurin fungicide.
 
What was the season like in your area and how did it impact your crop?

Did your residual last?

Oct 05, 2010

Gordon Vail

Once a crop canopies, you probably don’t spend much time scouting for weeds, unless they poke up above the crop. But harvest is a chance to prepare for next season, even while you take in this year’s crop. 
 
While covering acres in the combine, I recommend keeping a notebook handy for key observations. Did your 2010 herbicide program last? Did you see late-emerging weeds that may have produced seed while you were combining? Or did you see the weedy fields or yield losses that resulted from not getting herbicide applications made?
 
For 2011, you will want to choose herbicides that can help you address any problems noted this fall and protect your corn and soybean yields. Look for herbicides with:
  • Residual control – to manage multiple weed flushes
  • Wide application windows – so you have more time to get the herbicide on the fields, regardless of weather
  • Multiple modes of action – to manage against weed resistance
  • Long-lasting residual – because you need to prevent weeds through crop canopy

GPS and RTK: The technology behind those perfect rows

Oct 01, 2010

Anthony Transou

As combines role through fields this fall, operators will be on the lookout for a number of pitfalls. But across millions of acres, crooked rows are no longer one of them.
 
Thanks to Global Positioning System (GPS) data, the power of real-time kinematics (RTK) and the magic of auto-steer, row crops like corn, soybeans and cotton can be planted in perfectly straight rows. Or the rows smoothly hug the curves of a waterway or side hill. That same technology, combined with correctly calibrated yield monitors, provides a pretty accurate picture of crop performance.  
 
Here is a reminder of the incredible technology behind those perfect rows. 
  • GPS refers to a series of space-based satellites that provide precise location information for anywhere on the globe that can receive those satellite signals. 
  • RTK technology reads and processes those GPS satellite signals using a land-based reference station and the receiver on your tractor or combine to correctly identify a given location within an inch or two. 
  • That receiver sends streaming information to a computer in the cab, telling it exactly where you’ve been and where you need to go.
  • Then the auto-steer program physically directs the tractor to where you need to go.
 
The result: those straight rows that you were so proud of last spring, and that make it easier to combine this fall. Cool stuff.
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