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Managing the back half for maximum yield


By Darrin Holder, Agronomy Manager, WinField United 6/26/2020

It’s the time of year when soybeans are determining a great deal of yield, and growers should take a couple of extra steps to promote more yield and protect it. This begins with applying fungicides and insecticides at the right time. The past two years of internal Winfield United research trials have shown fungicide applications — even in low-disease fields — can return a statistical and economical benefit. 


Many research trials during the last couple of decades have shown that the best, most consistent time to apply those products to soybeans is during the R3 growth stage, which is beginning pod development. On the law of averages, I agree with that. Depending on the maturity of the variety and whether it is a determinate or indeterminate variety, R3 can last up to four to five weeks with good weather. Most fungicides and insecticides will give roughly three to four weeks of protection so spraying at the beginning of R3, the protection from diseases and insects will have run out by the time the last pods are formed on the top few nodes of the plant, which is late R3 to early R4. 


To eliminate protection running out, scout your fields before you pull the trigger. Walk fields at late R2 or early R3 and look for insect pressure and disease presence. Keep up with the university extension websites from Tennessee and surrounding states to see what insect and disease levels are doing around each location. Use all that information to determine when the most efficient time to spray your fields. 


Don’t forget to use the appropriate deposition and drift adjuvants to ensure your spray gets to the target, which helps the insecticides and fungicides do their job while having minimal impact on the environment. The same adjuvant discussed last month with corn fungicides should be used with soybean fungicides and insecticides, MasterLock® by WinField® United. MasterLock optimizes droplet size to reduce drift potential and helps ensure more product penetrates into the canopy. Effective disease and insect control depend on good fungicide and insecticide coverage. It’s not about the ounces of product per acre that is sprayed — what’s important is that the active ingredient is actually reaching the target. Much of the initial contract research done on MasterLock was in soybeans and showed economical bushel gains above the fungicide and/or insecticide alone. 


The other step to consider in maximizing soybean yields is the nutritional status of the fields. Even the most advanced genetics can’t deliver a payback without the nutrients to thrive. Adequate soil levels of all nutrients must be the starting point for any crop plan. Often our crops do not have access to all the nutrients in the soil because factors like too much or too little moisture, compaction, and other environmental conditions. Over the past few years, nearly 80 percent of all soybean tissue samples have been deficient in one or more nutrients. MAX-IN® helps address those deficiencies, especially the secondary and micronutrients, with well-timed foliar applications. MAX-IN nutrients are available in precise formulations to help crops hit each growth stage with exactly what they need to achieve their full genetic potential.


MAX-IN products include patented CornSorb® technology, which greatly increases movement of nutrients through the leaf cuticle to internal leaf structures (figure 1). This makes the applied nutrient more available to the plant. CornSorb technology increases droplet spread, droplet coverage, and humectancy, meaning more of the nutrient is available for plant metabolism and is less subject to loss through evaporation and other environmental forces. It also offers flexible applications by mixing easily with other crop nutrients and most crop protection products, including glyphosate-based herbicides. 





FROM THE FIELD: Mark Davis • Sparta, TN


Sparta native Mark Davis grows almost 3,000 acres of soybeans, corn, wheat, and canola spread throughout White, Putnam, and Van Buren counties. Mark, along with his father, Wayne, and two brothers, Matt and Andy, use fungicide across all their crops but see the real difference on the 1,400 acres of soybeans. 


“We work closely with White County Farmers Co-op and David

Simmons to determine the best plan for our crops each year,” says Mark, a third-generation farmer. “David is the first call when we have crop questions. We’ve shopped with the Co-op since the early ‘70s.” 


Mark applies fungicide during the middle of the R3 stage to help extend the application protection into the early R4 stage. Applying fungicide at this time allows the last pods to form on the plants’ top nodes resulting in a higher yield. 


To maximize the nutritional state of his fields, Mark rotates his crops from year to year. To maximize bean yields, he will plant soybeans

behind corn to ensure each crop receives proper nutrition.  



“While we try to maximize our fields the best way possible, we also rely on MasterLock adjuvant to help boost the effectiveness of our fungicide application,” Mark says. “MasterLock seems to help the fungicide stick to the plant and allows it time to utilize the full potential of each application,” Mark says. 


 
 
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