Friday, December 30, 2016

The Top Agronomic Blogs of 2016

2016 has been quite the year!  Mother Nature was not kind and some in Southern Illinois were not able to plant until very, late in the season. Temperatures dropped and rains came again after many had planted during Mother's Day weekend causing stand concerns in corn and soybeans. 

Some areas experienced extreme wind events with hail, while the western and central part of the state remained very, dry right up until corn pollination.  There were times when night time temperatures were very, high, which caused corn to be further stressed during the critical pollination period. 
But, then the rains came. There were record breaking amounts of precipitation. This caused gray leaf spot to show up during corn grainfill and stalk or ear rots flourished. Despite moisture and wind stress, corn hybrids remained resilient. 

Soybeans were taller than ever this year and some areas experienced heavy sudden death syndrome pressure.  This was the year that many realized that weeds were out of control in their soybeans and many turned their attention to new soybean herbicide technologies. Despite the setbacks from Mother Nature, weeds, and diseases, many reported the highest soybean yields that they have ever had on their farm.

For this agronomist, there was never a dull moment, and I was able to learn more than ever about our products when weeds, insects, and diseases made their debut along with the "roller coaster" weather during the 2016 growing season.  The most read agronomic blogs or "hot topics" of 2016 are as follows:

Monday, December 12, 2016

Ethaboxam added to Current Corn PowerShield® seed treatment

When I starting working at Burrus, just about three years ago, one agronomic concern to corn that had just began to surface was pythium root rot, but only in specific areas of southeast Iowa and northeast Missouri if environmental conditions were conducive. To learn more about pythium, you can visit Smells like Pythium root rot.  

Patches of stunted corn with rotted roots had to be replanted in 2015.
Dark root rot on the root mesocotyl was diagnosed as pythium.
Pythium is an oomycete or fungal-like organism. All oomycetes need water for infection to occur.  Previously, it was thought that pythium infections only occurred in cool conditions, but now we know that pythium can favor both cool and warm conditions, depending on the species.  Pythium is also more often found in soils with compaction, poor drainage, heavy soil types, or fields without tile.

Since the 1970's, the seed industry has relied upon the fungicide metalaxyl within their seed treatment mixtures to combat oomycetes such as pythium.  In 1996, Mefenoxam, another form of metalaxyl, was used. The problem was that since the 1970's the same chemistry was being used year after year within corn, soybean, wheat, and other seed treatments. Thanks to the latest in ag technology, new pythium species are being discovered at a rapid pace.  

Unfortunately, some of these new species appear to be "insensitive" or tolerant to metalaxyl or mefenoxam.

Burrus is excited to announce that we will be one of the first seed companies to add ethaboxam to our current PowerShield® corn seed treatment at no extra cost. Ethaboxam has the active ingredient, Thiazole carboximide, and was approved in the US and Canada in 2015.  It is a unique mode of action that is active only against oomycetes.  

By adding ethaboxam, in combination with metalaxyl or mefenoxam, we not only are adding a new active ingredient with a different mode of action, but we are providing a more consistent protection of corn seedling against a broad spectrum of pythium species. Ethaboxam stays in the seed zone; whereas metalaxyl/mefenoxam moves to the upper part of the plant.

In the past three years, when 49 replicated research locations were analyzed, it was found that on average, by adding ethaboxam, plant stands were increased by 174 plants per acre as well as an additional 2.9 bu/a. (65% wins) over the current PowerShield.  That additional 2.9 bu/a. equates to a 5:1 return on a $5 investment, at no additional cost to our customer.  This is why the Burrus standard is another’s extra mile!

Herbicide System Comparison: Liberty® and XtendiMax™ with VaporGrip™ Technology

Burrus has a history of providing high yielding Hoblit and Hughes Brand LibertyLink® soybeans within our lineup, and now we are offering a Power Plus® Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ soybean variety as well.  We know the genetics that we have chosen are competitive, but how do the herbicide systems compare for these two very different trait technologies?

1.  XtendiMax™ with VaporGrip™ Technology was the first "over the top" dicamba herbicide approved for use with Xtend™ soybeans, but only for two years.  DuPont’s FeXapan™ herbicide has also just granted a supplimental label.  It is similar to XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology.  Both contain a DGA salt to reduce volatility.  BASF’s Engenia™ is also approved and their BAPMA salts may further reduce volatility risk. 

2.  These dicamba based herbicides are considered to be more volatile when compared to glufosinate (Liberty®). While the DGA and BAPMA salts reduces volatility, it is not less likely to drift. The reduction of drift will be dependent upon the spray operator following the herbicide label, which is the state/federal law.

3.  Glufosinate is a nonselective, contact herbicide, which means coverage of weeds is key.  Dicamba is a broadleaf, no grass control, systemic herbicide, with off target movement as a concern.  The weed spectrum controlled can vary between these two very different herbicide systems.  See the table below:

4. Stewardship is important for both herbicide systems. Diversified weed control strategies should be implemented within the same growing season to help deter the selection for weed resistance.  Multiple herbicides with different sites of action and overlapping weed spectrums should be used.  The use of a pre-residual herbicide product is recommended for both herbicide systems.  Dicamba may offer more residual properties when compared to glufosinate, but is very water soluble.  Rain can eliminate dicamba's presence in the soil. 

5. Both of these herbicide systems should be applied before soybeans bloom, although the XtendiMax label restrictions will likely result in fewer days favorable for application when compared to the glufosinate herbicide system.

6. Both herbicide systems should be applied when weeds are small (below 3 to 4 inches; see each herbicide label for details).  While the Liberty label consists of approved herbicide tank mixes, we anxiously watch each of the websites to for approved tank mixes for the dicamba based herbicide systems.

This raises concerns about grass control with the dicamba based products and if needed, will need to be made in a seperate herbicide application until approval is given.

8. No products with ammonium salts, such as AMS, can be applied with the dicamba based herbicides because it could cause negative affects and increase drift potential.  Adjuvants such as AMS are required with Liberty to aid with coverage.

9. The biggest difference between these two herbicide systems is that XtendiMax will require a downwind buffer, 110 or 220 feet depending on the rate of application.  Engenia will require a 110 foot downwind buffer.  So, a buffer consisting of roads, corn, dicamba-resistant crop, prep fields, or man-made structures will need to be used if wind is blowing towards soybeans without dicamba trait.  No application of XtendiMax or Engenia can take place if winds are blowing towards a sensitive crop such as grapes, tomatoes, or fruiting trees. 

10. Overall, with both herbicide systems, spray timing will be important, and there will be tank clean out concerns and water needs.  However, with the XtendiMax and Engenia herbicide system, there will be more risk, importance of wind speed and direction, and need for buffers.  Ultimately, the applicator is responsible for drift.

Some additional considerations will be seed genetics, seed cost, retailer availability of herbicide product, as well as application, generic herbicide availability, herbicide guarantee and rebates offered by chemical companies. 

Stay tuned for more information DuPont's FeXapan .