Federated Co-ops Ag News

  • Picture These: In-Season Tips & Reminders

    weevils on alfalfaalfalfa weevilsLeaf-eating weevils (pictured at right) are showing up on alfalfa (Senior Federated Agronomist Kevin Carlson started seeing them on June 2). Check your alfalfa for these yield-reducing pests. Talk to your Federated Agronomist to discuss treatment options. Don't wait to treat until it's too late.

    waterhemp seedlingThe weeds are coming up -- all kinds, and primarily in soybeans, according to Carlson. Scout your fields. Know what to look for. Waterhemp (seedling pictured here) is spreading fast throughout Minnesota; watch for it everywhere. 

    As for other weeds, "if the herbicides didn't kill it, the weed is resistant," said Carlson. Talk to your Federated Agronomist to determine your best options for weed control. "We will help you identify the weeds," said Carlson, and find products to help you control them.

    4-collar cornCounting corn collarsIt's time to be staging corn -- count the collars. (see photo at right; shown at left: 4-collar/ leaf corn. At this stage, it is almost ready for fungicide and/or Stoller products, and foliar nutrient application. (Learn more at the Early Season Discovery Plot Days next week.

    Now is a good time to soil sample for fall applications of P, K, and lime so you have the latest soil info available when you need it. Federated recommends sampling every 3-4 years. Grab your probe, bucket, and some sample bags, or call Federated to help.

    As the growing season progresses, don't hesitate to contact your Federated Agronomist with any question or concerns. 

  • N is Essential: It's Time to Top Dress

    "We are reaching a critical point in the life of a corn plant," said Brian DeVries, manager at Federated's Ogilvie location, adding, "Corn does not use a lot of nitrogen (N) between emergence and V5, but it becomes very important around V6. The largest portion of the total nitrogen taken up by corn happens during the V8 to the VT (tasseling) development stages."  

    While corn still uses N after pollination, most of the uptake is done prior to that point, which is why it is critical to apply N before V8. According to DeVries, research has shown that if N is applied around V6, yield loss due to N stress is rare. 

    Another key reason to apply N by V6 is that both kernel rows and kernels per row are being determined between V6 and V8. 

    Top- (side-) dress applications should be done by the V6 stage; timing can be delayed only if there was N applied pre-plant that did not get heavy rain. 

    DeVries pointed out that "top dressing N is both an economical and environmentally friendly means of application, and N is always a good yield booster." Adding Factor® to any top dress application can help protect against volatilization. Mixing urea with SuperU® can also help keep N available for the plants when they need it most. (See article below.)

    Federated has the equipment and service people ready to custom apply nitrogen on corn, or Federated has spreaders for growers to use. Talk to your local Federated Agronomist about the different options that will work best for you.

  • Quality Products Protect Against N Loss

    Nitrogen (N) is essential to corn production (see article above), and feeding the plant additional nitrogen at top (side) dress time is always a good agronomic decision, according to Russ Overaas of Rosen's, but protecting against nitrogen loss is also very important.

    Nitrogen can be lost on the surface, through volatility, and in the soil through denitrification and leaching. Two products recommended by Federated help help reduce N loss in these areas.

    Factor® -- This urease inhibitor prevents N from volatilizing off the surface before the nitrogen gets worked in or rain pushes it into the soil profile. Factor is applied to the urea and will protect N on the surface for up to 14 days. (See Factor info sheet.)

    Super U® -- This fertilizer puts two nitrogen management products on the urea granule, providing both surface and in-ground N protection. Its uniform granules also promote more even spread patterns.

    As Overaas said, "N makes yield," so talk to your Federated Agronomist to determine which nitrogen protection product fits your application preferences -- to maximize your yields.

  • Early Season Discovery Plot Days: June 20 & 21

    Come to at an early season Discovery Plot Day! Get in on the info-rich presentations offered by Federated Agronomists at 10 a.m., June 20 or 21. Lunch follows. Please RSVP to your local Agronomist.

    Monday, June 20, at the Craig Gustafson farm in Osceola, WI.  Discovery plot sign

    - or -

    Tuesday, June 21, at the Brian DeVries farm in Ogilvie, MN

    Both meetings will cover the following topics.

    • Topera® and Topera Plus fungicide/insecticide on corn at planting trial.
    • Stoller BioForge®
      and Stimulate® on corn at planting trial.
    • Yield opportunities with Stoller products on soybeans.
    • Foliar nutrients on soybeans.

    Contact your Federated Agronomist with any questions, and plan to join us in Osceola or Ogilvie.

  • It's All About the Cows. Or is it?

    Cow up close

    One local dairy product manufacturer touts that "It's the cows" that make the difference in their products. While the cows likely do make a difference in the quality of the ice cream made with their milk, there's no denying that the ultimate source of dairy product quality and satisfaction lies in the farmers who milk, feed, and care for those cows!

    Behind every good dairy cow is a man or woman tending to her needs.During this month of June, Dairy Month, Federated salutes the farmers who rise up early and work late to tend to the many and varied needs of dairy cows. Thank you for all your hard work. We appreciate the important role you play in the agriculture economy, and we are grateful for your significant contributions to the quality of life enjoyed by many -- both cows and people!

    Thank your local dairy farmer this month. Because it's not just about the cows.

  • Top Dressing Alfalfa Promotes a Good Stand

    "Alfalfa establishment is very costly," said Craig Loen, Federated agronomist at the Osceola location. Maintaining a quality alfalfa stand, and prolonging the life of the stand, "depends on good management practices . . . and good management depends on maintaining, not mining, your fields' soil nutrient levels, controlling weeds, and insect management," Loen added.alfalfa

    The first 2016 crop of alfalfa is being harvested in some areas and, said Loen, "it's time to think about top dressing your alfalfa fields for maximum yield potential" in the remaining cuttings of this season.

    For every ton of alfalfa yield, the following nutrients are removed, and need to be replenished accordingly.

    • 51 lb. actual/ac. of nitrogen (N), which requires 111 lb./ac. urea to replace lost N.
    • 12 lb. actual/ac. of phosphorus (P), which requires 26 lb./ac. DAP to restore depleted P.
    • 49 lb. actual/ac. of potassium (K), which requires 81.6 lb./ac. potash to replenish K.

    Boron is also crucial to alfalfa yield. For "lush, highly digestible alfalfa," said Loen, "don't forget about adding boron to your broadcast application at a rate of 3-5 lb./ac. When alfalfa is deficient in boron, the growing points shut down, and the alfalfa will eventually die (if deficiency persists). Alfalfa lacking boron will also appear bushy, with yellowing or a reddish color on the tops of leaves.

    Just as soil testing -- the frequent cry of every Federated Agronomist -- reveals what's in the soil, tissue testing is the best way to determine deficiencies in alfalfa plants. Loen said, "Tissue sample at early bud stage" as part of good alfalfa nutrient management to determine what needs to be broadcast on the crop.

    Additionally, fungicides are valuable on alfalfa to promote faster and healthier regrowth of the next cutting.

    Talk to your Federated Agronomist to work out your alfalfa nutrient management plans.

  • Improve Plant Health While Controlling Weeds

    Versa Max® AC helps plants access vital nutrients when it is added to herbicide applications. It can also help crops through early stress -- such as that from the recent cold temperatures. Versa Max AC can improve plant health and maximize yield potential with its enhanced blend of macro and micronutrients (N, K, S, Fe, Mn and Zn), according to Russ Overaas of Rosen's.

    "The addition of Versa Max AC to the herbicide will keep it wet on the leaf longer and allow more of the nutrients and the herbicide to be utilized, and it will also aid in tank mix capabilities," said Overaas. While Versa Max AC will not meet all the plant nutrient requirements, it is a valuable part of an effective fertility program.

    step by step

    In 60 corn tests, Versa Max AC-treated acres averaged an 8.8 bu. advantage vs. untreated acres. In 59 soybean trials, treated acres averaged a 3.3 bu. advantage over untreated acres.

    Versa Max AC can be tank mixed with Flexstar GT 3.5 (see article at left) to help soybeans in their critical early growth stages. The mixing order is important to successful use of Versa Max AC with any herbicide, and is as follows:

    1. Fill tank half full of water.
    2. Add AMS-based adjuvants and other adjuvants as needed, agitate.
    3. Add Versamax AC, continue agitation.
    4. Add herbicides per label, continue agitation.
    5. Finish filling tank.

    Contact your Federated Agronomist with any questions about Versa Max AC and herbicide tank mixing.

  • Control Weeds While They're Still Small

    Flexstar GT3.5

    Weed control options are an important consideration as the soybean crop gets planted in Minnesota and Wisconsin. While there are 

    many acres yet to be planted, for soybeans already coming out of the ground, Flexstar® GT 3.5 is an effective herbicide choice on Roundup Ready soybeans (not on conventional beans). It is labeled from pre-plant to pre-emerge to post-emerge.

    Flexstar GT 3.5 offers multiple sites of action, which helps with resistance issues. Flexstar GT 3.5 is effective on broadleaves, even the resistant ones, according to Tim Stelter, manager of Federated's Osceola Country Store, adding, "but you have to spray early, when the weeds are small."

    "Whatever [herbicide] you are spraying, you need to have multiple modes of action," said Stelter, "so you kill the weeds twice - once with glyphosate, and once with fomesafen [which is in Flexstar GT 3.5]." Glyphosate alone offers no residual, and no help for resistant weeds.

    "You will see some crop response -- such as leaf bronzing, crinkling, or spotting on soybean leaves," said Stelter. Those issues can be minimized by spraying before it's too late, but soybeans will still outgrow any adverse effects and develop normally. Flexstar GT 3.5 controls:

    • black nightshade,
    • pigweed,
    • common ragweed,
    • waterhemp (partial control),
    • giant ragweed (partial control, but better than glyphosate alone).

    Rates vary with Flexstar GT 3.5, based on geography, from 2.68 to 3.5 pt./ac. (and can only be applied in alternate years). Talk to your Federated Agronomist for specific recommendations and/or custom application scheduling. As always, read and follow label instructions.

    If the beans are not out of the ground already, Federated recommends Enlite® or Ledger® pre-emerge herbicides, but either way, spray while the weeds are small. Contact your Federated Agronomist with questions.

  • Drift: Avoid it. Always.

    With the increase in organic farms, local vineyards, and the long-standing need to preserve lakes, streams, and rivers, it's even more important to protect nearby plants, crops, waterways, and property from chemical drift during application. It can also be costly -- through fines and potential lawsuits -- to ignore the risk.vineyard

    Craig Peterson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location, pointed out that whether it's the wind or temperature inversion (when the ground is colder than the air and fine [chemical] droplets easily travel long distances, even in calm conditions), it's imperative to pay attention to the wind and weather. Spraying downwind near sensitive features can mean death to unintended crops and plant materials -- not just the weeds for which the chemicals were intended.

    Incorporating the label-required (and enforced) buffer zones and/or waiting until ground temperatures rise and winds calm down are two key ways to control drift. Peterson outlined the additional ways to help control drift:

    • selecting the right nozzle for the product being applied (air induction nozzles, for example);
    • using lower spray pressure;
    • keeping the spray boom lower;
    • using the proper spray height, based on nozzle selection and spacing; and
    • controlling application speed.

    Peterson added that "there are many products on the market to help control drift" (see article at left). Talk to your Federated Agronomist for help with the right product for the chemistry being applied.

    Remember to read and follow label directions -- and always record what you plant and where it's planted.

    Peterson offered this reminder, too: "Always wear proper safety equipment so you have a safe and successful spring." Give your Federated Agronomist a call with any questions.

  • Just Keep Scouting . . .

    emerging corn

    Every spring Federated Agronomists start their seemingly neverending season-long refrain: Keep scouting your fields. As any one of them will be quick to say, you can never scout too much.

    Scout for corn emergence. Federated Senior Agronomist Kevin Carlson said that monitoring fields for corn emergence is critical because "we had some corn planting that was done before the rough stretch of weather." Check to see if the corn survived the cool, wet weather.

    Scout for weeds. It's very important to start clean. "It's time to apply pre-emerge herbicides before the weeds come up," said Carlson, adding, "We only have a few days," so communicate with your Federated Agronomist if you want the herbicides custom applied. Early weed control is critical for optimal yields."

    Scout for insects. "The monitoring stations in Minnesota have already been picking up black cutworm flights," said Carlson. "As the corn gets to 2-3 leaf, you need to watch," adding that there are some corn traits that do not cover black cutworm control, including conventional corn, Roundup Ready® corn, and VT2 Double Pro® and VP3 Triple Pro®. (See this link for more BT corn trait info relating to insects.)

    It's close to time for black cutworm to start to emerge. "If you start to see some cutting of the corn, then contact your Federated Agronomist to go through the control options," said Carlson, and then the fields can be sprayed with a post-emerge insecticide.

    It's the agronomists' mantra, all season long: Just keep scouting. And call with questions. "There's no such thing as an irrelevant question," said Carlson.