By Darren Hefty
Brian and I get a lot of questions throughout the year about what we are doing on our farm. After all, you can give all the advice in the world but it doesn’t have much credibility if you aren’t using it yourself. We farm about 2800 acres and try lots of different things each year. Here are some of the noteworthy things for this season.
Let’s start with our pre-emerge herbicide strategy. We have some foxtail pressure but also lambsquarters, pigweeds, and a variety of broadleaf weeds. On some ground, we simply use a full rate of Harness and have been impressed with the grass control, as well as early season small-seeded broadleaf suppression. On other fields, we use a combo product like TripleFLEX for additional broadleaf help. The recent price drops in HPPD herbicides may alter our plan since Resicore is a great value for the money, but keeping the option open to use HPPDs post will likely win out. Our advice is to only use an HPPD once per season, in most situations.
We’ve been working on better seed treatment protection, and on Hefty Brand Corn it comes pre-treated with QuickRoots, so we don’t have to mix that in the box like we have for years. QuickRoots is beneficial fungi and bacteria, and we have averaged about an 8 bushel gain by using it. Our Hefty Brand Corn also has 4 fungicides, insecticide, and even a nematicide on the SmartStax varieties. Early planted corn typically yields best, but there is a lot of risk in terms of diseases and insects, so having a good seed treatment package is essential. In terms of the genetics, I’m excited to plant some of the new corn hybrids I’ve been picking from breeders over the last couple years.
In-furrow, we will continue using Pro-Germinator and Sure-K to get our plants out of the ground quickly and with excellent plant health. We have used Capture LFR in the past but will be switching to Capture LFR + VGR this year. If we plant early, we’ll use Temitry LFR instead. Also in-furrow we will be doing some broader work with Nutri-Cycle. We’ve seen 2 years of very positive data on our farm with this product. We also plan to do more work with the new Myco Apply Endo Prime that contains 4 strains of mycorrhizal fungi to help get more phosphorus into our plants.
With soybeans, we will continue using the 3 pre strategy, with a yellow, metribuzin, and Authority or Valor. We will have 90% of our acres in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend for the third year in a row.
When it comes to seed treatments, we like multiple fungicides along with inoculant (and extender), insecticide, and QuickRoots. We call our package Hefty Complete. It took us a few years to find the right formulations so the seed didn’t bridge, so now we’ve got something that dries quickly and flows well in the tender and planter.
In terms of fertility, soybeans actually need quite a bit. Over the last few years we’ve had to fix potassium, copper, and zinc shortages, so now we’re on to a couple more obscure micronutrients in manganese and molybdenum. With lower prices on fungicides and insecticides (our early applications will run as low as $3 and $2 respectively), we will recognize a lower economic threshold for treating than we have in the past. Speaking of fungicide use, we’ve seen nice gains and a higher level of disease protection utilizing foliar fungicides all the way to R5 the last couple years. This is something we’ll be looking more at once again in 2017.
Hopefully you read this article and felt like it was a compilation of all the things we have discussed on Ag PhD TV… because it is. If there are specific topics you’d like more information on, you can look back on previous Ag PhD TV and Radio shows for your areas of interest. The Ag PhD Field Day is coming up July 27, 2017 as well where you can see all of these practices in the field to determine for yourself how they are performing. Also, you can call Brian or me and visit each weekday between 2 and 3 PM Central during the Ag PhD Radio show on SiriusXM 147. Our number is 844-44-AGPHD (844-442-4743).