SPRINg 2013 8 good coNTroL iN Zero-TiLL wHeAT
14 New ForTiX™ FuNgicide JoiNS eviTo®
18 TecHNoLogy AdvANcemeNTS HeLp mANAge riSK
A grower-to-grower Arysta LifeScience publication for farm management professionals
2013: Managing Change Where to go to ﬁnd good help? What’s driving land values? What to think about wheat?
moviNg up iN AcreS
Three families take a leap of faith with major expansions.
Chance to WIN an iPad! deTAiLS oN pAge 1
N E W GROU N D
Chance to WIN an iPad! www.NewgroundSurveyUSA.com
2 COVER STORY
2013: Managing Change
Farmers’ Roundtable: Moving up in acres Three innovative farming families recently expanded their operations: one to cut cost per acre; one to complete their dream ranch; one to support two families with full-time farming.
2013: Managing Change
2013: Managing Change
Farmers and farm co-ops sometimes search far and wide to find qualified employees.
Factors differ by country and location, but the result is similar. Land values continue to climb.
Where to go to find good help?
What’s driving land values?
New Fortix™ Fungicide joins Evito in Northern Plains
Start off clean, keep weeds small
Full-season protection for corn and soybeans can go on early with glyphosate.
Crop adviser helps clients manage weeds and resistance for a stronger bottom line.
S p r i n g
2 0 1 3
From the editor: Talk back; you could win an iPad! We have a favor to ask. We really want to know what you think of Newground® magazine. So we’d like you to go to www.NewgroundSurveyUSA.com and answer a few short questions, including the topics you would like to read about in upcoming issues. The incentive is two-fold – you have a say in what we write about, and you have a chance to win the iPad we will give away to a lucky survey respondent in a draw a few weeks from now. So please go online and give us your opinion today.
In our Spring issue, we write about change – one of the few constants in farming. Some innovative growers, like those in our Farmers’ Roundtable, have managed change by expanding their acreage and operations. Other large farms and even ag co-ops are changing the way they look for good help in the face of labor shortages in their areas. Industry experts share facts to help consumers understand the positive nutritional benefits of wheat in the face of books and diets that recommend they “lose the wheat.” In news from Arysta LifeScience, we have launched new Fortix™ Fungicide in partnership with Cheminova for broad-spectrum disease control
and season-long plant health benefits in corn and soybeans. We also bring you reports from the field on the performance of Everest® 2.0 and Pre-Pare® Herbicides on your farms and in research trials. We hope you find these stories helpful in managing your operation. Tell us what you think in the Newground reader survey at www.NewgroundSurveyUSA.com, and let’s keep the conversation going on Twitter @NewgroundAg. Thank you in advance!
Marilyn Cummins, editor, Newground magazine Follow Arysta LifeScience United States on Facebook. Follow Newground on Twitter @NewgroundAg.
Readers are invited to reproduce the contents of this publication with an acknowledgement to read: Originally published in Newground by Arysta LifeScience, Cary, NC. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. Please send us questions or comments on anything you’ve read in Newground. We’d love to receive them. If you have a story idea, we’d like to receive that, too. You can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax (403) 930-4901
Send a letter to: Newground PO Box 2170 Cary, NC 27512-2170
Good control in zero-till wheat
2013: Managing Change
Balancing cattle and multiple crops, grower counts on the team of Pre-Pare and Everest 2.0.
The wheat industry is using facts to counterbalance books and diets that recommend “lose the wheat.”
What to think about wheat?
Also in this issue:
13 18 Technology advancements help manage ag risk Genetics, equipment, new practices and new technology help lessen the impact of weather variables for today’s growers.
Good fit for Evito® Fungicide in N.D. Growers depend heavily on fungicides to protect no-till spring wheat, winter wheat and durum.
Stop the weeds, spare the wheat University of Minnesota grassy weed trials compare efficacy, crop safety to aid grower decisions.
Executive Advisors Craig Brekkas Linda Frerichs Hugh MacGillivray Royce Schulte Kevin Staska Editor Marilyn Cummins Researchers and Writers Marilyn Cummins John Dietz Trena Fox Art Direction and Design Tracy Irving Editorial Assistance and Production Shannon Anderson Erin Christensen Laramy Gibson Lindsay Kennedy Melissa Kolody Mark Near
Always read and follow label directions. EVEREST, the EVEREST logo, EVITO, the EVITO logo, Newground, the Newground logo, PRE-PARE and the PRE-PARE logo are registered trademarks of Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC. The Flush-after-flush slogan and the Xylem Pro Technology slogan are trademarks of Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC. FORTIX is a trademark of Cheminova, Inc. Huskie, Puma and Wolverine are registered trademarks of Bayer CropScience. Roundup and Roundup Ready are registered trademarks of Monsanto Company. GoldSky is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC. Axial and Discover are registered trademarks of Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC. Arysta LifeScience and the Arysta LifeScience logo are registered trademarks of Arysta LifeScience Corporation. ©2013 Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC. ESTU-206 Printed in USA
N E W GROU N D
2013: Managing Change
Moving up in acres �� Three innovative farming families recently expanded their operations: one to cut cost per acre; one to complete their dream ranch; one to support two families with full-time farming. �� Newground: Tell us about the transition your farm has gone through. MAURER: I started farming in 1984 at Neudorf. When my wife and I were married in 1992, I sold out my operation to my brothers and came over to Grenfell to farm with Lauren and her parents. We started out farming 700 acres down here, and we’ve expanded just about every year since. In this past year, when numerous farms came up for sale, we were fortunate enough to be able to buy a couple. We’ve done close to a 40-percent increase going into 2013, from 9,000 acres to a little over 13,000 acres. PETERSON: My wife and I bought our ranch in 1978. It was in the neighborhood of 1,000 acres. Last year, a farmer who’s been my neighbor for 30 years decided to sell out. We sold some property that was not next to us, that we’d bought earlier, and turned that equity into acquiring this property. Some is leased and some is deeded, but it more than doubled the size of our operation. It’s a contiguous, beautiful farming ranch that we’ve dreamed about all our lifetime. It was a big decision, and a big bite, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so we needed to do it. Our headquarters unit will be around 11,000 acres, and I leased another 5,000. RINGDAL: I’ve farmed in partnership with my brother Aaron, with support from our parents, since 1997. In 2005, we started farming full-time with about 3,000 acres. Since then we have grown our operation to over 17,000 acres. �� Newground: Did you start with a vision or a goal? MAURER: We’ve always been in an expansion mode. We’ve felt that the farm had to continue growing. It’s a large jump for this year, but we didn’t expand for the previous two years. When the opportunities arose, we felt these expansions fit into our long-term vision and mission, as one farm was across the fence from some farmland that we had. The second farm
is about 18 miles south and was owned by a relative who is going to work for us at seeding and harvest. He’s young, very knowledgeable, and is going to be a big asset.
PETERSON: It started through a relationship. My son went through a very large acquisition two years ago. He purchased one portion of this large operation and leased another portion. My son primarily operated it. He and the owner developed a very good working relationship, and that’s what started the discussions. The discussions went from leasing to doing a purchase. We decided the opportunity was good enough for our family to acquire this, so that’s what we did. RINGDAL: Our goal was to farm full-time in an operation that was financially sustainable. The acres we had in 2005 were not enough. We wanted to grow to a point that we could raise families without having to work off-farm. �� Newground: How did your resources match up with your vision and what you wanted to do? MAURER: Our (operating) cost per acre was rather high, prior to this expansion, so this will bring our cost of equipment per acre down to a more reasonable level. We have a lot of ‘mud’ equipment due to extremely wet conditions the past few years. If we go back to anything that resembles normal years, we have enough equipment to handle that workload. We do need a little more manpower; that will be a big challenge. There’s going to be a logistics issue with one farm being a little farther away, but once we master that, I think it will help us on our existing operation. We have been getting processes and procedures in place to look after it. We worked closely on these acquisitions with AgMpower Services Ltd. to see how it affects our financial ratios, working capital, etc. Doing the ‘what-if’ scenarios gave us the big picture. Backswath Management Inc. also helped us with some of the financial planning. ��
S p r i n g
2 0 1 3
Ryan Maurer farms with his wife, Lauren, near Grenfell, Saskatchewan, an hour west of the Manitoba border, an hour east of Regina and about four hours north of Minot, N.D.
Jim Peterson and his wife, Lorraine, operate their ranch near Buffalo, Mont., in the center of the state and west of Lewistown about 20 miles. The Petersons are pictured here with grandchildren Stone and Vivian James.
Clint Ringdal farms in partnership with his wife, Tanya, and his brother Aaron and his wife, Michelle, at Outlook, Saskatchewan, about an hour south of Saskatoon, on the northeast side of Lake Diefenbaker. Ringdal is pictured here with son Cade and daughter Belle.
N E W GROU N D
PETERSON: It was a big financial commitment. Realize, I’m 66 years old. My wife and I had to decide whether we wanted to take on this much additional responsibility. We were in good shape financially, thinking about retirement, and then this opportunity came along. For the long term, it felt like it was something we really needed to do. I’m optimistic about agriculture, long term. And, the fact that my son has his own operation 10 miles away made us a little more comfortable that we should do it. RINGDAL: Aaron and I have diverse skills. He is mechanically inclined, and I like to focus on the business side of things. We had a similar goal in both wanting to farm full-time, and we were quite committed to putting in long hours to grow the business. The main resources we started with were time and energy. We hit a few good years that gave us some decent crops and good prices and we started to build some equity. We weren’t always able to buy land or equipment. We rented land and used smaller, older equipment, and then grew the farm from there. �� Newground: What options helped you put the package together? MAURER: We sat down with Farm Credit Services. They know our farm, know our business and know our vision and mission. They could realize, too, that we had a decision to make. If normal moisture conditions returned, we had to reduce excess equipment or expand the farm to get our cost per acre down. It looked like the better choice was to expand the farm. PETERSON: Understand that our first full year of operations is just beginning. We added another employee and we had to regroup. We probably added a little machinery, but not a lot. It’s allowed us to grow our cattle numbers some more, so we are feeling growing pains. Yes, I’ll admit I’m watching and being very careful, but I’m also excited about it. I’m excited to have this opportunity. RINGDAL: On the financial side, we used whatever was available at first – whether it was cash advances through the Wheat Board, lines of credit with ag retailers or loans with the bank. We also leased some equipment and grain bins. We did whatever we had to do to get the ball rolling. But over time as our equity grew, we became more strategic in what financial tools we used, seeking the most efficient possible. We tried to invest in assets that gave us the best return or created the most opportunity. At first we rented land while investing in equipment. As our line of equipment grew, so did our grain storage capacity. After that we started purchasing land. �� Newground: What were the largest obstacles you needed to overcome? MAURER: We had too much equipment for the land base. We didn’t want to have that many dollars per acre invested in machinery for the acres we had. Either we had to get rid of some costs, or we had to increase the land base!
PETERSON: I’m not sure I know the answers yet. We have a lot more acres to cover during haying, and we may be a tad bit short on machinery. We’re going to give it a shot and be prepared to lease or hire some contract labor if we have to. We decided to not spend any more money until we get through the first year. RINGDAL: Our biggest obstacle was growing our equity to become a sustainable operation. In the long term, we needed a secure land base and strong-enough balance sheet to endure multiple poor years. We had to make sure our growth plans never carelessly exposed us to the financial risks of farming. We wanted to buy land, but to do so responsibly. �� Newground: What was the turning point in this transition? MAURER: We’ve always had expansion in our plans, and we’ve always viewed expansion as an opportunity. PETERSON: The turning point was doing the pro-forma cash flows. With my bank, we looked at it all and analyzed it six ways from Sunday to make sure we could make it work financially. I have a great relationship with Farm Credit Services. They were very helpful in analyzing this. The turning point was when we all got the comfort level that we could make this work. RINGDAL: It wasn’t suddenly one day or one month. The windfalls from the good years allowed us to grow our equity. This happened when others in the area were looking to exit and the growth opportunities kept presenting themselves. We were also fortunate to have two neighbors join our team full time, which stabilized our labor situation and allowed us to continue growing. �� Newground: What has this done for the farm and for you? MAURER: We’ll continue to explore opportunities, whether it be renting land, purchasing land or off-farm investment. Expansion doesn’t always have to be more acres. It might be in the form of identity-preserved crops or better marketing. As the farm grows, the human resources component changes. We spend less time on the tractor and more in management. We have four children. We’re not sure if any will farm or if they’ll all farm, but we want to be in a position that we can give them the opportunity to farm. That’s a challenge for us. PETERSON: This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It has brought a whole new level of excitement and enthusiasm to our operation. I feel like we have a dream farm and ranch now. Do I have mixed feelings? Yes, of course. Do I have a little anxiety? Yes, but my excitement and the opportunity we have outweigh that. I believe it was the right thing to do. RINGDAL: We now have confidence that we can farm in the future and that we can expect a stable income to raise our families. We have a secured land base to build from and have equity in place to seize opportunities that are the right fit for our farm. ❦
S p r i N g
2 0 1 3
2013: Managing Change
WHERE TO gO TO FINd gOOd HELP? Farmers and farm co-ops sometimes search far and wide to find qualified employees. As many large-acreage farm operators know, it can be hard to find, and keep, good help these days. “In the last couple of years, we’ve seen a major increase in private farms working through companies like ours to find qualified candidates that have the right background and are willing to put in the hours necessary,” says Shea Geelan, manager of ag recruiting for Management Recruiters of Sioux Falls, S.D., which recently began operating under the new company name gpac (www.gogpac.com). “The days of running an ad in the paper and getting qualified candidates are kind of gone by the wayside. “There is a war on talent,” he says, with high demand for candidates with the right background and working knowledge who also are willing to keep up with the pace of work and accept the lifestyle. That’s why he says gpac starts locally when helping farmers who contract with them to find the right people. “Just from a comfort-level standpoint, a private farm would rather have somebody who knows the area, is familiar with it and plans on staying long-term, rather than bringing someone in from outside the area and hoping they like winter months.”
It is a struggle to find new hires; help them find housing; and convince them to stay in an area where store shelves empty out and two-lane rural roads are crowded with miles of bumper-to-bumper semi-trailers. That’s the situation in which the CHS co-op Southwest Grain in Dickinson, N.D., finds itself, says Cate Sprout, staffing manager at CHS Inc. headquarters in St. Paul, Minn. Sprout and her recruiters manage the process of finding employees and finding them a place to stay. In mid-February, there were seven openings she was trying to help fill at that location, for agronomists and more. “At our Dickinson location, we did purchase a trailer so we could offer temporary housing for up to four people. If they do accept the job, we can offer temporary housing until they find permanent housing,” Sprout says. Homes sell before they are even listed; rental is expensive and hard to find and private homes rent single rooms for up to $800 a month. “We’ve hired and lost people to the oil fields,” she says. Truck drivers are rumored to be pulling in more than $100,000 a year. In addition to housing being expensive and hard to secure, the logistics of daily life are tough, even to find groceries on the shelf or eat at local restaurants that also struggle to find enough workers. “Yes, you may have the opportunity to make more money. However, we offer long-lasting careers and are a part of the community,” Sprout says.
�� Ag and oil booms
�� Seasonal help from overseas
Geelan lists three main reasons it is harder to find full-time farm employees lately: baby boomers retiring and too few “Generation Xers” coming along to replace them; ag college grads with more highly specialized degrees than before; and, ironically, the fact that there is more money in farming again, so young people are more likely to go home and join the family operation, taking them out of the pool of potential farm or ag company employees.
Sprout and her peers sometimes look far beyond state borders to help fill their labor needs, especially for seasonal help.
Employers in the Northern Plains have been facing another big obstacle in recent years: trying to compete with the wages for employment in and around the Bakken oil field boom, with its epicentre in the boom town of Williston, N.D.
“We’re using international seasonal workers as well as international interns for the areas where we are really struggling to find people,” Sprout says. CHS has partnered in the past with organizations to bring college students from the Ukraine and Spain as international interns working sideby-side with full-time staff to learn the cooperative business and take what they have learned back to their country. Whether help comes from near or far, it appears finding people is another change to manage in 2013. ❦
N E W GROU N D
2013: Managing Change
What’s driving land values? ��
Factors differ by country and location, but the result is similar. Land values continue to climb.
Land prices in both the Prairies and the Northern Great Plains are soaring into new territory, buoyed by prices for major commodities and low interest rates. Non-irrigated land in the Dakotas, for example, increased in value by 30 percent in both states from third-quarter 2011 to third-quarter 2012, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Highly-placed ag economists on both sides of the border are cautiously optimistic that farmland values will hold or continue to rise in 2013. A February 2013 USDA report projects a 7.5-percent rise in the value of farm real estate across the country this year on the basis of expectations about commodity prices, interest rates and government programs. Farmland values have increased steadily in recent years. For example, consider a $10,000 land investment in 2008. According to percentage increases in land values from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, that same piece of land in 2012 was worth from $15,500 to $17,000 in Minnesota, North Dakota or South Dakota. In Nebraska? Double, to $20,000. Farmland on the Canadian Prairies in the same period, according to the Farm Credit Canada “Farmland Values Report” released in October 2012, also did well for the
owners/investors. The value of a $10,000 land investment in 2008 increased to about $12,500 in Alberta, $13,500 in Manitoba and to $15,000 in Saskatchewan.
�� L ow rates, strong crop prices buoy Prairie land values Interest rates and crop receipts are the two things having the biggest impact on farmland values, according to Jean-Philippe Gervais, FCC’s chief agricultural economist. Farm receipts are higher than ever, and interest rates are in an extended low trough that hasn’t been seen since the 1950s. Meanwhile, major Prairie crops are returning new highs in yield potential and actual yields. “Despite the fact that land prices are quite high right now, when you compare that to per-acre wheat receipts, they are not far off the long-term average,” he says. When it comes to the impact on rented land, Gervais says, “You will find exceptions, but the rental rates should not get too far from farmland prices. They should move together.” It helps that the linkage of crop receipts and land values is on a positive trend.
S p r i n g
2 0 1 3
Left ro right: Jean-Philippe Gervais, FCC’s chief agricultural economist; Cindy Nickerson, USDA Economic Research Service senior economist.
The Prairies are seeing a steady increase in acres planted to canola, corn and soybeans. Technology changes are enabling farmers to expand the acres planted to these highvalue crops. At the same time, international markets for these commodities are expanding. “Our sector offers a pretty good future,” Gervais says. “Markets are expanding for our commodities. There’s a growing demand for food, a higher demand for feed grain for meat. We can supply those. And with interest rates being so low, farmland is in high demand.” While the impact of higher land values is mostly positive for sellers, it may be a different story for buyers. For a producer with lots of equity in the second half of his or her career, it may be easier to purchase land. For the young producer, prices are high, but there are more options than 10 or 15 years ago, Gervais says. For example, lenders can support the ambitious entrepreneur more readily because the land is gaining value, the investor’s risk is low and the probable returns are high from good land management. Young producers can rent or lease acres to reach a certain scale, spreading the equipment investment and using good management to build up equity. Or, they can farm in a special sector or niche that doesn’t require as large a scale.
“With interest rates remaining at historic lows while farm earnings are high, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that land values are high.” – Cindy Nickerson, USDA “Yes, farms are getting bigger. There’s no denying the census data, but there’s still room for smaller farms,” he says. “It’s still by far a crop receipts and interest rates story,” says FCC’s chief economist. “Nobody knows for sure where interest rates and crop receipts will go, but, interest rates are likely to stay low for some time. It brings the focus on where crop receipts will be in the next few years.”
�� U .S. less heavily leveraged in recent years The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis reported in their “Third Quarter 2012 Agricultural Credit Conditions Survey” that “Continuing a trend of the past several years, average cash rents and land values for non-irrigated and irrigated cropland as well as ranchland in the district all showed dramatic increases from the past year. The largest increases were seen for non-irrigated farmland, which increased in value by 26 percent, while cash rents for it rose by 16 percent. Rental rates for North Dakota irrigated cropland were unchanged.” The Dakotas saw the greatest gains in non-irrigated land value, according to survey respondents, with a 30-percent increase in each state, while South Dakota lenders reported the highest increase in non-irrigated cash rents, at nearly 20 percent. “Particularly with interest rates remaining at historic lows while farm earnings are high, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that land values are high,” says Cindy Nickerson, USDA Economic Research Service senior economist. Rental rates, in general, are on a similar upward path with land value. “Cropland rents may not react immediately to changes that affect farmland value,” she says. “There can be some stickiness when rental rates are locked in for a few years, which can happen when landlords and farm operators commit to multi-year rental arrangements.” She brings a third factor to the discussion – ability to service the farm debt. Debt is okay if the farm is able to meet its obligations to repay the debt. “What we don’t see is that farmers are heavily leveraged, on average, in recent years,” Nickerson says. “That’s good news.” As of early 2013, Nickerson and colleagues foresee continuing support for farm incomes based on current demand for crops for food and for energy. If farm incomes and interest rates remain stable, farmland values can be expected to remain at or above their current levels. ❦
N E W g r o u N d
gOOd CONTROL IN ZERO-TILL WHEAT
Balancing cattle and multiple crops, grower counts on the team of Pre-Pare® and Everest® 2.0.
Talking with Kurt Ridl, it’s clear that he enjoys what he does, whether it’s attending to his registered Black Angus brood cows during calving season or planning this year’s crop rotations and weed-control programs. Managing Ridl Farms at Dickinson, N.D., with his brothers Arthur and Keith, Ridl says their primary crops are zero-till wheat, corn and sunflowers, with additional rotation options like flax and canola. “We watch to see what we can generate the most money per acre on,” Ridl says. In the last couple of years, that has meant less durum and more corn, while keeping their large spring and winter wheat acreage pretty stable.
�� Crop-safe control of flushes
They’re cutting acres on durum this year due to low prices.
“Most of the time, even on winter wheat in the fall of the year, I’ll put Pre-Pare Herbicide on, and get started that way with the early season weed control and with the burndown. We’re especially going after wild oats, cheatgrass and downy bromes. That’s really the start of the program.
“In our local area, durum is bringing less than spring wheat, and it should not be that way,” he says. “There should always be a premium for the durum, and it hasn’t been there for almost two years.” He says he thinks doing away with the Canadian Wheat Board pushed a lot of excess durum onto the market, depressing prices. “We have to realize that we’re in a global market, and our markets change daily, from weather forecasts in Australia or Brazil or wherever, and it doesn’t change a little bit, it changes a lot, and it’s overnight,” he says. “Marketing has really changed a lot in the last 10 years, and it’s probably one of the hardest jobs a farmer has to do.” The picture for corn is brighter, however, and they plan to increase their grain corn acres again. “Look at the price of corn,” he says. “If you can generate those kinds of gross dollars per acre, and net more, then a farmer’s going to try it. For us, it wasn’t a huge investment, because we had all the corn equipment. We just stepped up acres. “We can raise quality corn out here, and not be discounted because of test weight or some other reasons,” he says, thanks to better varieties that make more efficient use of their limited rainfall, about 14 inches a year.
“We zero-till our wheat, our corn, our sunflowers. And that’s the best way we can conserve moisture out here and get the best value out of the water supply that we have,” Ridl says. “And there are many benefits of that: conservation of water, the organic matter build-up on the surface, the mellowing of the soil itself by not tilling it, the natural way it lays. And of course the soil is cooler in the summertime and retains heat in the wintertime.”
The largest share of Ridl Farm acres goes into winter and spring wheat, about 4,500 acres this year. Ridl outlines his weed control program for both crops:
“In springtime or in the fall, spring wheat or winter wheat, a burndown with Pre-Pare is a good start for us. And then, of course, as the season progresses, if we do have additional flushes of the grasses and the wild oats, we look at our in-crop options, and Everest 2.0 Herbicide is one of those options. “The reason we like Everest 2.0 on the young crops is that is has residual control. You’re not only getting the first flush, you’re getting successive flushes as well. Having the control on top plus the residual in the soil is one of the biggest reasons we use it. And it is very safe on the crop, and we’ve had excellent results with it. “If you get escapes, that’s where Everest 2.0 comes in in-crop to take care of that. With the residual and surface control, it works really well,” Ridl says. “It’s also tank-mix friendly with other broadleaf weed products, which is a nice feature. And the window of application helps, because we can’t always hit all of our acres at the optimum time.” ❦
Make your first move PRE-PARE® Adding PRE-PARE® to your glyphosate burndown gives you residual control of the weeds that can pop up after the glyphosate stops working. Weeds like wild oats, green foxtail, and aggressive broadleaves that can all rob valuable nutrients and moisture from young wheat. Young wheat gets the head start it needs, so you’ll get the yields you deserve. For the whole story, visit www.preparefortheseason.com.
For a longer lasting burndown
Always read and follow label directions. PRE-PARE and the PRE-PARE logo are registered trademarks of Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC. Arysta LifeScience and the Arysta LifeScience logo are registered trademarks of Arysta LifeScience Corporation. ©2013 Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC. PREU-157
N E W GROU N D
2013: Managing Change
What to think about
wheat? Wheat’s health benefits are plentiful, but largely unknown to consumers. Getting the word out is a way to counterbalance books and diets that recommend “lose the wheat.”
S p r i N g
2 0 1 3
Wheat scientists and advocates say a health certification for wheat, like the heart-healthy one for oats, could go a long way in educating consumers about the beneficial grain. In the meantime, a popular but controversial book has spawned what one wellness newsletter calls “wheatphobia,” and gluten-free diets and products seem to multiply daily, even though the percentage of people who truly can’t tolerate gluten is small.
“We need to work with industry to both substantiate the evidence and communicate confirmed health benefits to the consumer,” she says. “Most breeders are aware of wheat’s nutritional characteristics, but the demand needs to come from the millers, bakers and consumers before breeders can focus on these traits. Equally important to nutrition-focused wheat breeding is the retention of the nutrient-rich bran layers during milling and food processing.”
What’s a consumer (or a wheat grower) to think?
There may also need to be a premium offered for health-focused wheat varieties so that farmers have an incentive to produce them even if they don’t yield as much as existing lines. Until then, wheat varietal research will likely remain focused on disease and insect resistance as well as yield improvement.
Most consumers do not understand, or even know about, the protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral content in wheat, says Nancy Ames, cereal chemist and research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Nor do they have knowledge of the amount of research that goes into creating new varieties. “It is simply their choice in food products that drives the demand for wheat. Consumers want to increase their consumption of whole grains because they understand that whole grains are healthier,” says Judi Adams, president of the Wheat Foods Council. “This can be quantified by the number of new product launches we have seen worldwide. In 2000, there were only 164 new whole-grain products launched, compared to 2011 when 3,378 were launched. Not all of these launches were successful, but it shows you where consumers’ demands are.” Ames says she feels that the wheat industry has not fully communicated the benefits of wheat to the consumer. “Wheat is on the cusp of where oats were a few years ago, with respect to making consumers aware of the health benefits received from consuming the whole grains,” she says. “Consumers know that they want a healthy diet,” explains Ames, “so when they see the heart-health certification for a product containing oats, they purchase it. They don’t necessarily understand that the beta-glucan contained in oats decreases heart disease. But, by purchasing oat products they drive the demand, and in turn, breeders breed for higher beta-glucan levels so that processors can achieve the heart-health certification.”
�� Nutritional benefits abound Unlike oats, wheat does not currently have a health certification that could be marketed to consumers. But wheat is full of nutrition that is important in the human diet. Ames explains that wheat contains significant amounts of insoluble and soluble fibers as well as vitamins, minerals and other bioactives. For example, the European Food Safety Authority recognizes arabinoxylan as a fiber component that helps lower glycaemic response after a meal. Wheat also contains lutein, a naturally occurring yellow pigment that is important for eye health. Phytosterols from wheat germ and betaine from wheat aleurone layers have been shown to improve risk factors associated with heart disease.
“Consumers need to be educated about how the nutritional properties of wheat can help meet their dietary and health needs. Until consumers drive demand, we are at a stalemate,” Ames concludes.
�� Demand grows for gluten-free foods At the same time that the nutritional value of wheat is perhaps under-communicated, a best-selling book blames modern wheat for health problems and obesity, and hundreds of new “gluten-free” products line grocery store aisles to meet a growing demand of what some call a fad that extends beyond people diagnosed with true gluten-related health problems. The National Association of Wheat Growers website states that “Only 1 percent of the population is gluten intolerant and about 6 percent is gluten sensitive. The other 93 percent can healthfully enjoy a wide variety of wheat foods.” These statistics vary slightly depending on the source, but overall it is believed that the number of North Americans who suffer from the genetic disorder that causes celiac disease (gluten intolerance), as well as those who have the less severe (and hard-to-diagnose) condition of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, is low relative to the entire population. The main course of treatment for both conditions is to remove gluten from one’s diet, according to the Center for Celiac Research & Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital.
�� Lose the wheat, lose the weight? Advising everyone to cut out wheat and other whole grains is another thing all together. As of mid-February 2013, spots No. 5 and No. 6 on The New York Times list of bestselling hardcover advice titles were held by the controversial 2011 book “Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health” and the new “Wheat Belly Cookbook,” ��
N E W GROU N D
both written by Wisconsin cardiologist Dr. William Davis and published by Rodale Press. In his book “Wheat Belly,” Davis says that while “modern commercial wheat production has been intent on delivering features such as increased yield, decreased production costs and large-scale production of a consistent commodity,” few questions were asked about “whether these features are compatible with human health.” He says, “I submit that, somewhere along the way during wheat’s history, perhaps 5,000 years ago but more likely 50 years ago, wheat changed.” He expresses concern about the changes in wheat because “small changes in wheat protein structure can spell the difference between a devastating immune response to wheat protein versus no immune response at all.” And, he links wheat consumption to the increase in autoimmune diseases and obesity in North America. On his blog (www.wheatbellyblog.com) and on talk shows, Davis describes health cases in which he says patients are completely cured of conditions such as skin rashes, diabetes, colitis, joint pain, insomnia, dementia and brain damage. His solution to these and other health concerns – cut out wheat. Cut out all grains from your diet and you could see results in as few as three days, he advises. After going through examples of how he says wheat can harm the human body, he ties his findings to weight loss. He says he feels that “whole wheat bread increases blood sugar to a higher level than sucrose.” And that “wheat is an appetite stimulant: It makes you want more – more cookies, cupcakes.” Davis’ solution: “Understanding that wheat, specifically exorphins from gluten, have the potential to generate euphoria, addictive behavior and appetite stimulation means that we have a potential means of weight control: Lose the wheat, lose the weight.” He concludes his book by stating, “Perhaps we can recover from this catastrophe called agriculture, but a big first step is to recognize what we’ve done to this thing called ‘wheat.’”
�� What wheat industry experts say As one might imagine, Davis and his book are not too popular with the wheat industry and some doctors and nutritionists. Here are a few of the points wheat experts make in rebuttal. No crop plant in the developed world is the same as it was 5,000 years ago. And Adams with the Wheat Foods Council explains that, “All autoimmune diseases have increased over the years (autism, celiac, diabetes, etc.).” Ames from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada cites clinical trial evidence to defend that whole-grain wheat and wheat bran actually reduce adipose tissue (fat tissue), and a diet high in dietary fiber from wheat bran can result in lower calorie intake. “The soluble fiber is good for your heart and important for blood-glucose control,” she says. “The insoluble fiber is good for your gut. As unsexy as gut bacteria is, it is important. Studies show that gluten improves gut bacteria. Things such as antibiotics, antacids and our compulsive need for clean have harmed our gut bacteria, which may be a significant contributing factor in the increase of autoimmune diseases.” Adams says that gluten-free diets can tend to have more calories than a wheat diet because of the added sugars and fats that are used to replace wheat in many products. Therefore, for members of the general public who do not suffer from celiac disease or other gluten sensitivity, a balanced diet including all of the food groups is the best. “The gluten-free movement is a fad,” says Adams. “Cutting out an entire food group (as Davis recommends) will decrease your calorie intake, but most people will replace those calories with something else.” And most agree on the healthiest course of action: decrease your caloric intake and increase exercise to reduce disease conditions, improve your health and lose weight. The National Wheat Improvement Committee has compiled peer-reviewed research and garnered input from U.S. and international wheat scientists to prepare scientific rebuttals to Davis’ book. You can find the NWIC paper “Wheat Improvement: The Truth Unveiled” as well as the comprehensive analysis “Wheat Is Not Unhealthy: A Rebuttal to Recent Claims” by A.D. Bettge, ADB Wheat Consulting, in the science section of the Washington’s Best Grains website, www.thebestgrains.com. Julie Miller Jones, an internationally-known cereal scientist at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, published “‘Wheat Belly’ – An analysis of selected statements and basic theses from the book” in the July/August 2012 issue, Vol. 57, No. 4, of the AACC journal “Cereal Foods World.” It is online at http://tinyurl.com/bvjkmd9. ❦
Left: Testing spaghetti pasta made from durum semolina, red lentil, green lentil and chickpea flours at the Canadian International Grains Institute, Winnipeg.
S p r i n g
2 0 1 3
Good fit for Evito in N.D. �� Agronomist Chris Binstock advises grower clients in the southwest corner of North Dakota for Southwest Grain in Dickinson. He says they depend heavily on fungicides to protect their small-grain crops, especially when many fields have been seeded to nothing but spring wheat for at least 10 years, some for as many as 40 years. “The second that crop comes up, infection has already started. That’s the type of environment we have to deal with,” he says. “Our disease pressure, especially in no-till, gets to be very, very bad.”
get a lot of flashing on the crop, and it shows up pretty quick. In the next day or two, you’ll notice the flashing on that. But with the formulation that Evito has in the tank, we’re less likely to see that.”
The No. 1 and No. 2 foliar diseases they battle every year in spring wheat, winter wheat and durum are tan spot, because it can overwinter there, and the whole Septoria complex, Binstock says. In the super-wet year of 2011, “we had just about every single disease that you can possibly get in small grains. We had scab here, all kinds of rusts. That was the year for the diseases. I think some fields got hit five times with different kinds of fungicides.
And then there is the convenience factor.
“Typically, we’re dry up here in the summer and fall, and we don’t have late-season diseases near as much, but that particular year, we had a lot.” Binstock says there are several reasons Evito is a good fit in the fungicide programs his clients use. ®
“One of the reasons Evito Fungicide fits in really well for us is that instead of having small tank-mixes where we’re just mixing micronutrients or whatever, our tank-mixes get to be really big. We’re not just dropping in two or three different products. In some cases, depending on the field’s weed spectrum and weed pressure, we can be popping in as many as five to seven products on small grains in particular,” he says. “So one of the good things about Evito that I do like, and all of us here really like, is that the formulation mixes really well.” Not only that, but “when we get into a lot of specific chemical formulations, depending on what type they are, we
Wheat tan spot (Photo courtesy of University of Missouri Extension).
“When we get into a lot of these big tank-mixes, and you’ve got to try to fit as many containers as you can of seven different products on their spray trailers for these big 110-gallon shuttles, Evito is a space-saver because of the low volume we’re using and the small package size,” Binstock says. “Same with the Everest 2.0 product from Arysta. Guys do like that, when it’s a space-saver and really convenient.”
�� More grain corn to protect While small grains are still No. 1 in his area, Binstock says corn yields are getting better every year, and some counties have just been approved for crop insurance for grain corn vs. just for silage. “Now our guys are starting to use fungicide applications along with their corn herbicide,” he says, usually early on, at about the V5 growth stage. With drier conditions and lower disease pressure at tassel than growers in the Corn Belt have, “it’s still a tough sell to get them to fly it on with a plane, because we are not shooting for 200-bushel corn.” Even so, he has seen some 2- to 3-bushel yield increases in corn that has received a fungicide treatment, and every extra bushel counts. ❦
Soybean frogeye leaf spot (Photo courtesy of Allen Wrather, University of Missouri Extension).
Corn gray leaf spot (Photo courtesy of University of Missouri Extension).
N E W GROU N D
New Fortix Fungicide joins Evito in Northern Plains
Full-season protection for corn and soybeans can go on early with glyphosate. Arysta LifeScience, in partnership with Cheminova, is combining two best-inclass fungicide chemistries in the launch of Fortix Fungicide, registered for use in corn and soybeans. Fortix will set the new standard for fungicide performance by combining fluoxastrobin, the fast-acting strobilurin in Evito, from Arysta LifeScience, with flutriafol, the longestlasting triazole, from Cheminova. The two companies will jointly market, sell and support Fortix. “We believe the unique combination of these two chemistries will provide corn and soybean growers with a fungicide that goes above and beyond,” says Kevin Staska, Product Manager, Arysta LifeScience. “Growers have the flexibility to apply once early by ground or by air for yield-enhancing fungicide benefits all season long. “The two modes of action offer not only a broad spectrum of disease control for both corn and soybeans, but also provide a strong resistance-management program,” Staska says. “Even in low disease severity, using Fortix maximizes the yield potential of the crop by maintaining plants in a healthy state.” Fortix joins Evito fungicide as another option from Arysta LifeScience for fungal disease control in corn and soybeans. Evito continues as a fast-acting solution to protect wheat, corn and soybean plants at an efficient, concentrated, low-use rate. In corn, Fortix is labeled for numerous diseases, including (but not limited to) gray leaf spot, northern and southern leaf blights and rusts. In soybeans, Fortix is labeled for frogeye leaf spot, brown spot, powdery mildew and more. An early application of Fortix can be by ground, including in a tank-mix with glyphosate in Roundup Ready® crops to save a
trip through the field. Another advantage of Fortix is that aerial application can begin earlier in corn and beans to get across more acres. Under moderate disease pressure, Staska says, one application of Fortix protects plants from disease all season, improving plant health and maximizing return on every acre.
�� Powerful combination Loren Giesler, extension plant pathologist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says that the triazole component of Fortix, flutriafol, “really has very strong residual activity. It is among the longest activity that I’ve ever observed. “The great benefit of that is you get disease control for a longer period of time, and under prolonged disease pressure, it may reduce the need for a second application,” he says. “It also may provide some flexibility in fungicide timing for large-acreage growers, by giving them a larger window for possible application timing when they’re trying to cover a lot of ground.” In corn, while the best fungicide application timing for disease control has traditionally been at tassel, the longerlasting properties may allow a grower to apply earlier and obtain protection all the way through critical grain filling time, Giesler says. In soybeans in Nebraska and states north, he says many fungicide applications are made at the R3 or pod-set growth stage without the intent for significant disease control, but for the plant growth health effect. The fast-acting combination of a strobilurin and the triazole is also important for large operations when growers are trying to get the product on as soon as possible when a fungal disease is already present, he says. “The more rapidly a fungicide will act in the plant, the quicker you’re reducing any damage from that point. You stop the disease in its tracks.” Giesler also says the combination of the two modes of action in one product “is definitely a resistance-management strategy.” ❦
N E W GROU N D
Start off clean, keep weeds small
Crop adviser helps clients manage weeds and resistance for a stronger bottom line. The growers advised by agronomist Brian Michels in the northwest corner of North Dakota are fortunate to have nice loam soils, a good fit with the no-till and minimum-till practices they adopted early on to conserve moisture and save trips over the field. But with the fortune comes some challenges when it comes to managing weed control. Michels, owner of Production Service Agronomy in Mohall, N.D., along with his agronomist wife, Kristie, and a third agronomist, Jeremy Pederson, says they share a philosophy of helping their clients manage not only the weeds but also weed resistance by planning product rotations that work with the diverse crop rotations in the area. “We have the blessing up here of working with about eight or nine different crops, so there’s pretty good diversity in our cropping rotations,” Michels says – a mix of small grains, corn, soybeans, canola, flax and sunflower. “That’s a benefit that helps us with our weed resistance problems, instead of like down south where it’s mostly all corn and soybeans and cotton.” But such problems are growing, Michels says. “Roundup Ready-resistant kochia is showing up in North Dakota now, which is pretty scary, among other weeds, so we’re trying to be sure we’re diversifying chemicals and rotating.” In their no-till/minimum-till environment, “we’ve got to have something to get these weeds under control,” he says. “For the most part, we always rely on spring burndowns. That’s something we always do.
“We have a philosophy that we want to start these fields off clean, so that when we come in later with our in-crop application, we’re not spraying huge weeds. Because that is part of our problem in the past, when some growers got lazy and thought, ‘Well, we’re just going to let all the weeds come up, and then spray Roundup® once, instead of trying to spray early and spray late,’” Michels says. “What they were ending up doing, instead of spraying 2-inch weeds, they’re spraying 8-inch weeds, and they were putting a lot of pressure on that herbicide. And in our small-grain situations, part of the reason I think we have some Group 1 resistance is because guys are spraying too big with too low of a rate.”
The days of going out and spraying just a glyphosate burndown are pretty much over, Michels says. So as consultants, he and his team try to head off weed resistance problems by managing tools properly, which includes always having something in the tank with glyphosate at burndown. “We really need to be looking at using soil-applied herbicides as a foundation, to make sure that we can keep the pressure off our in-crop herbicides and keep weed size down, so our herbicides are more effective, and we’re not putting as much selection pressure on them,” he says. Michels seems to be practicing the message that Brian Jenks, weed scientist at North Dakota State University, and his colleagues have been preaching to growers – to be familiar with different modes of action, know which products are Group 1 and Group 2 and to be sure to rotate modes of action yearly. “If something’s been working for you, that’s a perfect time to change,” Jenks says. “We don’t want to get in the mode of using the same product year after year, because weed resistance is an issue. We’ve got to manage our system so we preserve the herbicides that we have. We don’t want to burn them out.”
�� Pre-Pare is the foundation When Michels describes the programs he recommends for spring wheat, he starts by talking about barley and Group 1-resistant weeds. “We have a lot of Group 1-resistant green foxtail in our area, so that means in many fields, we can’t use Puma® or Discover® or Axial® and be effective on green foxtail anymore. But barley is a big player up here, and there isn’t a Group 2 product labeled for barley that is effective on foxtails. So we have to use Axial, Puma or Wolverine® in barley,” he says. “So what we started about five or six years ago with our growers was, knowing that we’re going to be using Group 1 in barley, when we come to spring wheat two years later or whatever, we’re going to use a Group 2 product. “We tend to select Everest 2.0 Herbicide more often because of the green foxtail pressure we have in our area,
S p r i n g
2 0 1 3
Web extra: Arysta LifeScience Nitrogen Calculator www.arysta-na.com/nitrogen_calculator With our nitrogen calculator online, you can input wild oat density per square foot and nitrogen cost on a per-pound basis for your field in the calculator. The spreadsheet will automatically calculate pounds and nitrogen investment lost due to wild oat competition.
“For the most part, we always rely on spring burndowns.” – Brian Michels and Everest 2.0 is probably the best one on green foxtail to date,” he says. “It gives us some pretty good activity on wild oats, and you get a little soil residual with it. We like it; it’s a nice fit; and that’s a way of us getting a Group 2 chemistry on our grasses.” Then in the springtime, when they’re making their burndown recommendations, “if we know the field is going to spring wheat, we’ll assess historically what the weed pressure is. And if it’s got green foxtail and wild oat pressure, a lot of times we’ll recommend Pre-Pare Herbicide with glyphosate. What we’re trying to do is buy us time so that we don’t have a really heavy flush of green grasses that get big on us when it comes time to spray Everest in-crop later.” Using Pre-Pare will take out a lot of the flushes that are coming, Michels says, and if something does get through, it’s smaller than it would have been. “What we found with Everest 2.0 is that it gives us a lot better control on small wild oats, and Pre-Pare is our foundation to keep stuff small. As the Pre-Pare residual begins to break, our wheat is probably going to be in that 2-3 leaf stage, about where we want to start our applications in crop. And then coming back with Everest 2.0, we have great luck.”
In addition, he says he’s had success with Pre-Pare on volunteer canola, too. “So those are the reasons we use soil-applied products. Obviously to keep fields clean, to keep your weeds small, and the whole point is to try to increase the bottom line.”
�� Yield boost from Pre-Pare “We have seen a benefit from getting weeds early, no matter what,” Jenks of NDSU says. “In particular, with wild oats, if you have a heavy infestation, it is very important to control weeds early, because they can reduce yield. “We have seen with Pre-Pare that if you have the Pre-Pare out there, it can be a yield boost if you have a heavy infestation of wild oats,” he says of his research. “If you’ve got a light or moderate population, it might not always lead to a yield boost, but the other benefit of Pre-Pare is that it certainly decreases the number of plants out there, and hopefully you get better control from your post-emergence product because you have to deal with fewer weeds.” Also, Jenks says, if you’ve got a heavy infestation of grassy and broadleaf weeds, those weeds can use the nitrogen just as much as the crop can, and so another benefit to taking the weeds out, is making sure the nitrogen is there for the crop and not the weeds. ❦
N E W g r o u N d
TECHNOLOgY AdvANCEMENTS HELP MANAgE Ag RISk Genetics, equipment, new practices and new technology help lessen the impact of weather variables for today’s growers. Today’s crop farmers can operate with incredible speed, compared to even the recent past. They can work through the night. They can plant drought-resistant seed. They can choose stacked genetic traits to improve pest management and grow healthier, stronger crops. Not only do these advances help increase production and productivity, they have helped reduce losses from one of the biggest variables they can’t control – the weather. A sharp Saskatchewan farmer and an Indiana ag research consultant recently shared their perspectives about the role advanced technology and practices play in taking some of the risk out of the equation.
S p r i n g
�� Progress on the Prairies Precision-farming technology is the most important single change in the past 10 years, says Langenburg, Saskatchewan grower Arden Roulston. “We hire a consultant to make prescription maps now so that we just put fertilizer where it’s needed, and we cut back in other areas. That cuts our risks,” he says. “We sometimes spend a little less or a little more, but it’s going where we want it. The blanket approach is gone, and that’s a great thing.” Roulston gets satellite images and uses them to break his fields into five or six production zones. Each zone is soil-tested and prescribed an individual fertility treatment. Some farms are starting to use variable seeding rates to make the best possible use of seed supplies and production potential. Roulston tried a variable-rate fungicide treatment in 2012 and sees merit in continuing. He also began using micronutrients – copper and zinc – on wheat in 2012. “As we grow bigger crops and do continuous cropping, some of our micronutrients are starting to need help in certain zones. We have the technology now to capture that need and do that application. It’s not a blanket approach; we put it where we need it.” When he comes back to apply crop protection products, Roulston uses section controls on the sprayer to minimize overlap. It reduces injury to crops and natural sloughs from over-application and minimizes the amount of product he requires. Technology has changed Prairie harvesting, too, because “you can desiccate a crop and straight combine now. That’s a game-changer for us,” he says. “You don’t have to swath and have crops lying on the ground, at risk of rain.” Weather risk seems higher these days on the Prairies, as in the Corn Belt. A dozen years ago, the Saskatchewan farmer equipped his farm for a 30-day seeding window. “Now, you’re lucky to get 15 days of seeding. We need to equip a little heavier to get the same job done, and I insure myself a little better because of the unknowns,” he says. One of the most important, but smallest, pieces of risk-reducing technology is the smartphone that he carries, Roulston adds. “I use it all the time. If you’re spraying, you can check Environment Canada radar right when you’re driving. It cuts my risk for getting my chemical washed off. And, the commodity market cycles seem more dramatic, but on the smartphone you can watch the markets all day and just make a call at the right time.”
�� U.S. – Lessening the blow At a conference this winter, consultant and researcher Fritz Koppatschek noted that the Midwestern U.S. drought of 2012 was the worst in 30 years. Despite that, due to a number of innovations that weren’t around 30 years ago, the potential impact was less than expected.
2 0 1 3
Koppatschek is the managing partner for an agricultural consulting and contract research farm, ABG Ag Services, in Sheridan, Ind. He’s been working in the ag research business for more than 25 years, mostly in the eastern Corn Belt. Recently, he’s opened a branch office that will serve farmers in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota. A couple of things are going on with risk mitigation, he says. “One, biotechnology has simplified things. Another thing is, we’re starting to push the population. There’s just more plants out there.” On the biotech side, “Roundup Ready crops have really simplified weed control. We also have insect-protected crops that have simplified insect control. Now we’re starting to see a third trait, drought-resistance, stacked into our seed supply,” he says. The broad, unpredictable risks of weeds, insects and drought have all been mitigated in roughly the past 15 years by gene technology that works with crop protection products that allow good pest management in-season. And, there are side benefits. “You have healthier plants,” he says. Root systems are staying intact because insects haven’t been feeding on them, and roots have the ability to keep functioning in drier conditions. It’s a form of insurance that a crop can withstand a little stress better than ever before and, if conditions are favorable, produce a higher yield than ever. Machinery technology also has come a long way in reducing risk by increasing precision and real-time monitoring when planting, mapping field needs and matching inputs to needs with variable rate technology. While recent weather trends have often shortened the window for seeding or planting, growers are able to harness technology to plant more in less time. Koppatschek says 3- and 4-inch rains happen more frequently. “That’s truly a game-changer for access to ground. So I think it really means better management, being more efficient in shorter periods and being able to hit windows of opportunity when you can. Having good equipment, having equipment ready, having employees knowing what they’re doing is all part of reducing risk.” Above ground, the 24-row planter has emerged from mirage into commonplace reality on Corn Belt farms in the past decade, he says. Under the surface, farms have been investing in drainage systems as never before. “Tile drainage is really important here. If you can get planting even 12 hours earlier, that makes a difference in yield potential. Spending money on drainage really does help guys get back in fields. Even a little surface drainage will pay off,” he says. Koppatschek concludes, “I can’t predict what the next essential technology will be, but it’s cool to see how technology has been adopted. How did I ever get by without autosteer? How did we ever get by without cell phones?” ❦ 19
N E W GROU N D
Stop the weeds, spare the wheat �� U of M grassy weed trials compare efficacy, crop safety to aid grower decisions. Wild oats and other grassy weeds are the most expensive weeds to control for Minnesota growers, says Bev Durgan, extension weed scientist with the University of Minnesota.
results from post-emergence wild oat herbicides following weedy fallow and mechanical cultivation. The injury is measured visually and rated compared to a non-treated check.
“Generally, a grass herbicide costs more, and there are multiple options, so I look at trying to get the most efficacy,” she says, comparing factors including weed control, application timing, tank-mixes with other herbicides and crop tolerance across hard red spring wheat variety releases from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“We also take height, so if there is a reduction in height due to a herbicide, that is also something that a grower will see, especially if he has treated a field and sees a skip in it,” she says. “But reductions in height don’t always mean reduction in yield; there’s not a direct correlation to yield loss.” Yield is recorded in all the plots and also compared to the non-treated check.
“In general, you want to see that 90-plus-percent control of grassy weeds, especially wild oats,” Durgan says. “For foxtail, that’s not quite as important, but for wild oat control it is. Wild oats are more competitive, so you’ll get yield loss. Also you will get seed production.
In the 2012 trials, applications of Everest 2.0 Herbicide at 0.75 oz/acre on average showed only 4.5-percent crop injury vs. 9.8 percent for Huskie® Complete and 11.2 percent for GoldSky®. The crop safety paid off in yield, with Everest 2.0 averaging 56.9 bushels/acre vs. 54.9 and 54.5 for the other two, respectively. Percent of wild oat control was in the high 90s for all products in these plots.
“Wild oat seeds remain in the soil a longer period than foxtail does, and so, keeping that seed bank going with wild oats means that you have to continue to control them. Foxtail is less competitive, and lots of times, with a good wheat stand, you don’t get a lot of seed production with foxtail. But wild oats are taller than the wheat, and they’ll come up and produce seed.”
�� Minimize crop injury Small grain growers have very little tolerance for crop injury, she says, so Durgan and her trial collaborators look closely at which herbicides do the best job of stopping yield-robbing weeds without harming the growing wheat or the bottom line. “They don’t like to see that crop injured,” she says. “So, obviously, I want to make sure I’m giving growers the best information on the best way to control at the most economical rate, and to prevent injury. But if they do get injury, I also want to help them understand what the causes are and whether they are going to see a yield loss, because not all crop injury directly becomes a yield loss.” So one of her goals is to give growers an idea of what is to be expected, what influences crop injury and how a crop can recover. For example, she notes that in general, ACCase (Group 1) wild oat herbicide products “tend to produce less crop response (injury) and often higher control, however, we also have a lot of resistance issues around ACCase herbicides. So there has to be this rotation with another class of herbicides, the ALS herbicides (Group 2), to prevent resistance.”
�� Everest 2.0 trial results In grassy weed trials over the years at Crookston and Rosemont, Minn., Durgan compares crop injury and yield
“When Everest first came on the market, it had a different formulation, and in my trials, I did see a higher rate of injury,” she says. “Everest 2.0 does give quite a bit of crop safety vs. the older formulation.” Everest 2.0 was introduced in 2011 with advanced safener technology. The safener cloquintocet mexyl is built into the formulation. “What you see in the data is really true. We consistently tend to see less crop response with the Everest 2.0 than we have in the past. And over a number of years, Everest 2.0 does tend to give less injury than Huskie Complete or GoldSky.” In addition, in the 2012 U of M crop tolerance trials, Everest 2.0 consistently showed the highest crop safety across all six hard red spring wheat varieties grown in weed-free plots. On average across all varieties treated in the trials, the percentage of crop injury with Huskie Complete was two times that seen with the Everest 2.0 treatment. Trial results and analysis from Durgan’s research going back to 1997 are available online at http://appliedweeds.cfans.umn.edu/research.html. Durgan emphasizes that while her team is always looking for the most cost-effective control with the least injury, “we also are sure that we look at options to help growers manage resistance. They have to be looking at how to manage these weeds and looking at what they’re using in their herbicide combinations and rotations, so that they are not using them for multiple years without changing classes. Just switching from using one class repeatedly and going to the next class is not going to solve the resistance problem.” ❦
EVEREST 2.0. RELENTLESS ON WEEDS. SAFE ON WHEAT. ®
It’s rare to find a herbicide you can count on for long-lasting stopping power that’s also safe on wheat. The advanced safener technology in EVEREST® 2.0 makes it super selective for best-in-class crop safety. Safe on wheat, it’s also relentless on weeds, giving you Flush-after-flush ™ control of green foxtail, wild oats and other resistant weeds. And a wide window for application means you can apply at your earliest convenience.
RELENTLESS ON WEEDS
SAFE ON WHEAT
WIDE WINDOW OF APPLICATION
TREAT MORE WITH LESS
INCREASED YIELD POTENTIAL
Follow us on Facebook.
Always read and follow label directions. EVEREST and the EVEREST 2.0 logo are registered trademarks of Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC. “Flush after flush” is a trademark of Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC. Arysta LifeScience and the Arysta LifeScience logo are registered trademarks of Arysta LifeScience Corporation. ©2013 Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC. ESTU-190
Newground agriculture magazine