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Super U® granular fertilizer includes a nitrogen (N) stabilizer that provides protection from three forms of nitrogen loss: "volatilization, denitrification, and leaching," according to Rod Gustafson, manager of Federated's Albertville agronomy center.
Wet soils in the spring -- especially in an earlier spring, such as this year -- are ripe for denitrification; Super U performs really well in those soils, according to Gustafson, adding that "it protects your investment in nitrogen."
Better than applying urea alone, Super U supplies nitrogen protection in one 46% N product. "It's a ready-to-use product," he said, and it is especially good for pre-plant application (see Super U fact sheet).
Super U is an "agronomically and environmentally sound fertilizer choice," according to Gustafson, because it helps reduce the level of nitrates that get into groundwater. In Minnesota, a Clean Water Act is under legislative consideration and may require growers to pay even closer attention to nitrate levels (in keeping with ongoing efforts towards sustainable agriculture -- see article above).
Good nutrient management programs include nitrogen stabilizers, and Super U is a good fit. Talk to your Federated Agronomist about using Super U in your crop nutrition plans this year.
The Department of Agriculture now requires growers and/or applicators to present their certification card at the point of sale for every restricted use pesticide transaction. Retailers are no longer allowed to verify certification online; they must see the grower/applicator's actual card at the time of purchase.
This link has additional information relating to this change.
The site states [emphasis added]:
"To purchase Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) you must present your certification card. To be qualified as a Private Pesticide Applicators you must be performing pesticide applications
- to farmed agricultural commodity land that is owned, rented or managed by you or your family or
- if you are one of two or fewer employees working that land
- pass application and certification requirements provided by the University of Minnesota Extension
- hold a certification card from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA)"
Federated Co-ops, Inc. is committed to upholding these regulations, according to Mike Meelberg, Federated's operations manager. Growers/applicators who keep their certification cards readily available will avoid delays in purchasing restricted use pesticides. Contact your Federated Agronomist with any questions.
"Sustainable agriculture" is regularly in the news headlines, and for good cause. The facts are real:
- By the year 2050, the earth's population is estimated to increase by two billion people. That translates into needing two times more food than is produced today to feed the world.
- Consumers increasingly demand to know more about their food, how its grown, and what is used to grow it, in addition to caring about the effect food production has on the environment.
Sustainable agriculture is defined by three factors:
- increasing productivity to meet future food and fiber demands;
- improving human health; and
- protecting the environment.
Craig Gustafson, Federated's eastern division agronomy manager, reported that during a recent agronomic workshop for the Federated agronomy staff, the question was asked, "What is Federated doing to support sustainable agriculture?"
After good discussion, the staff compiled a list of activities and objectives that reflect Federated's commitment to sustainability. The list included, but is not limited to, the following:
- nutrient management planning;
- grid soil sampling;
- using variable rate application of crop nutrients;
- using nitrogen stabilizers;
- protecting phosphorus availability;
- promoting conservation and no-till practices;
- promoting cover crops to capture carbon and protect the soil from erosion.
- recommending seed and seeding practices to maximize yield.
Reviewing this list, said Gustafson, it's fair to conclude that "Federated is actively engaged in supporting sustainable agriculture with our customers." Maximizing production, increasing quality, protecting the environment, and being willing to change is part of Federated's commitment to sustainable agriculture.
Contact your Federated Agronomist with questions or concerns about sustainable agriculture as it relates to your crop production plans.
With glyphosate resistant weeds continuing to plague growers, a new pre-emerge herbicide from Syngenta offers one more choice in the fight against tough weeds. Acuron® offers four active ingredients and three modes of action to fight over 70 broadleaf weeks and grasses in corn, including giant ragweed and waterhemp. Acuron contains:
- Bicyclopyrone (for burn down plus residual to fight large-seeded broadleaf weeds),
- Mesotrione (for burn down and residual control of broadleaf weeds),
- S-metolachlor (for residual control of annual grasses and small-seeded broadleaf weeds),
Alternatively, Acuron® Flexi herbicide is a premix combination with the same first three ingredients as Acuron but does not include atrazine; it does, however, include a corn safener (Benoxacor). This combination allows Acuron Flexi to be tank-mixed with atrazine, or glyphosate, depending on grower preference. (See Acuron and Acuron Flexi fact sheets.)
Talk to your Federated Agronomist about the best way to fight glyphosate-resistant weeds in your fields with pre-emerge herbicides.
"One of the more important considerations at planting time is the choice of starter fertilizer," said Matt Kurtz, manager at Federated's Rush City location. For growers with older planters, dry starter fertilizer is the only option, but even growers with newer planters often choose dry over liquid.
You can put down a lot more acres between fills [with liquid]," said Kurtz, "but you can't put down as much product [as you can with dry]."
Dry starter fertilizer puts down more pounds, right next to the plant, and since early seed and root development is dependent upon phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), the dry option "makes sure there is food available for the plant early on," said Kurtz. "The cool ground means the microbes are not up and running to mineralize and make the P and K available to the little corn or bean plants right away," he said. Starter fertilizer provides what the plants need until temperatures rise and the microbes and fungi start working, and what's banked in the soil becomes available to the plant.
Dry starter fertilizer can also be blended with micronutrients (see article below), bumping up the starter blend to get essentials incorporated closer to the plant. Dry starters are also a good option for rented ground where the best investment is in the crop, not necessarily in the soil.
"Even with corn prices down, it's not a good idea to skimp on early plant health. Set yourself up for good yield down the road," said Kurtz. Get crops off to a good start to avoid unhealthy plants that won't recover.
"Make sure you are in contact with your Federated Agronomist now," said Kurtz. Even if crop plans are still in flux, "let us know your numbers so we can plan how many tons we are going to need. Give us a ballpark to be better prepared," he said.
Zinc. Alphabetically at the end, but agriculturally at the start, Zinc (Zn) is one of the first elements crops need. This important micronutrient is essential for plants and, when deficient, is the one most commonly limiting yield, according to Duane Droogsma, Federated agronomist at the Rush City location.
"Zinc deficiency happens due to earlier planting of corn in cool and damp conditions," he said. Zinc is heavily involved in enzyme systems that regulate the early growth stages, and zinc is vital for root system development; it is also required in protein synthesis and growth regulation.
"Zinc is a team player with nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in many plant development processes," Droogsma said.
Federated recommends Racer™, from Rosen's (see fact sheet), to be mixed with dry fertilizer (see article above) at 6.3 lbs./ac. to provide 1 lb./ac. of zinc on corn.
Alternatively, MicroEssentials™ SZ (12-40-0-10S-1Zn), by Mosaics, is a granule created through a fusion technology process to get N, P, S, and Zn into one "nutritionally balanced granule" that creates a single source of nutrition for the crop (see fact sheet).
MicroEssentials SZ provides:
- uniform nutrient distribution,
- improved nutrient uptake (especially of phosphorus in diverse soil conditions, as are typical in the early part of the growing season), and
- season-long sulfur availability (with two forms of sulfur - sulfate and elemental sulfur - in every granule).
Contact your Federated Agronomist to discuss the best fertilizer and micronutrient options for your crops this year. Plan now for great yields this fall.
Federated's Soybean Grower Workshops get underway later this month, and as spring plans take shape be sure to attend one of these informative meetings. Get the latest information on these important topics for 2016:
- Xtend® 2 Soybean Weed Control System, and Related Genetics
- Enlist® Soybean Weed Control System, and Related Genetics
- Winning the Fight Against Weed Resistance
- Using Biologicals and Growth Promoters in Soybeans
RSVP to your Federated Agronomist to reserve your space at one of the free workshops listed below. Meetings start at 10 a.m. with lunch to follow at noon.
- Mon. March 21
- Albertville - Albertville City Hall
- Tues., March 22
- Rush City - Rock Creek Town Hall
- Wed., March 23
- Isanti - Captain's on Long Lake
- Thurs., March 24
- Ogilvie - Northern Lights, Pease
- Fri., March 25
- Osceola - American Legion, St Croix Falls
The main purpose of in-furrow liquid corn starters is to get nutrients to the plants from the get-go. Readily accessible nutrients give corn a faster, healthier start, from the roots up, as they pave the way for better yields.
PMax Plus® (emphasis on the "plus") is a premium liquid starter fertilizer for corn that provides the standard macronutrients, N, P, and K (7-20-3) along with chelated micronutrients, namely, copper, iron, manganese, and zinc.
The PMax designation (without regard for the "plus") indicates that the fertilizer has "an additive that reduces soil fixation of applied phosphate for maximum crop availability," according to PMax informational literature.
XLR-rate™ is another high-quality choice for liquid starter fertilizer, and is an effective and affordable option. It offers the same macro nutrients (N, P, K -- 7-23-5) as PMax Plus but without the enhancers and micronutrients (see XLR-rate fact sheet).
According to Tim Stelter, manager of Federated's Osceola Country store, either PMax Plus or XLR-rate on corn will help alleviate some of the stress from cold or compacted soil [common in Minnesota and Wisconsin springs]. Additionally, "the lower salt content of liquid fertilizer is safer on the seed itself," he said.
Stelter said that aside from the advantages of starter in general, in-furrow liquid fertilizer has a lower use rate of 3-5 gal./ac., "which means you can cover more ground with less product." Dry fertilizer, with its 100-400lbs./ac. use rate, needs to be refilled more frequently during planting.
He also noted that liquid fertilizer provides a more precise application of nutrients; dry fertilizer offers a less exact range of nutrient levels in every application.
Stelter said, "Research shows it pays to use starters even on soils that test high in fertility because important nutrients may not be available to young crops due to cold soils, compaction, or improper pH."
"Typically corn is 1-2% drier at harvest with the use of starters," said Stelter, and that contributes to profitability.
Plan now to get your corn off to a good start. Contact your Federated Agronomist to discuss your fertilizer options.
Because wheat is planted early, and the soils are generally still cold and wet, seed treatment has become a fairly common practice among wheat producers in east/central Minnesota and western Wisconsin. The cold and wet soils can contribute to poor germination. Research has shown a 10-12% increased emergence rate and much healthier roots when treated seed is used.
The treated seed also helps prevent diseases common to this area, according to Craig Peterson, Federated Agronomist at the Ogilvie location, including:
- rhizoctonia root rot,
- common root rot,
- septoria, abd
- seed-borne fusarium.
Federated recommends Raxil® MD for wheat seed treatment. "It will control these and many other diseases," said Peterson, adding, "Raxil prevents fungal diseases on the seed, in the seed, and also in the soil."
Peterson noted that starting with quality seed that is treated will get crops off to their best possible start, "which results in a healthier stand that can increase yields."
Federated Coops has also made a commitment to providing excellent seed treatment options in its recent investments in new seed-treating equipment -- some of "the best and fastest in the industry," said Peterson. Talk to your local Federated Agronomist to line up your wheat [or soybean] seed treatments for spring. It's coming soon!
It's old news that agriculture goes in cycles; glyphosate eliminatedsome of the cyclical weed issues -- until recently. Last year many areas of Federated's trade territory experienced a new issue, according to John Swanson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location. "Coming off the prevent plant year , weeds seemed to explode and a new weed showed up."
Most Minnesota and Wisconsin growers have never had to deal a weed as competitive as Waterhemp. "And it took us by storm," Swanson said. Waterhemp is a prolific seed producer and can germinate all season long. Many growers discovered this weed didn't need to develop resistance; it came that way.
Waterhemp is resistant to glyphosate (and other chemistries), so now what?
This is where the cycle comes into play. As glyphosate moved the corn and soybean market away from pre-emerge herbicides, waterhemp and other tough weeds are bringing them back.
Pre-emerge herbicides are not only the new trend, but they are the best currently available way to fight these tough weeds. "This will be extremely critical for protecting our current technologies -- the glyphosate resistant crops," said Swanson. And, he added, "We also need to protect our future technologies -- the 2,4-D resistant and dicamba resistant crops -- so we will be able to use these technologies in the future.
A good foundation of pre-emerge herbicides will provide an additional mode of action, which will help break the resistance cycle, but will also "decrease the weed population by killing the seeds before they ever have a chance to germinate," said Swanson.
The downside -- and more experienced growers will recall this fact -- is the narrower window of application for pre-emerge herbicides. Most of pre-emerge products need to be applied before the crop cracks (roughly within three days), which adds to the stress and labor of planting season, but this timing is extremely critical. Pre-emerge herbicide application is critical to our weed control success in the future.
Pre-Emerge product options include (but are not limited to):
- Sonic® (by Dow) + Blanket® (a great waterhemp and giantragweed combination program),
- Blanket (one of the best waterhemp products on the market),
- Ledger™ (reasonably priced combination of Dual and Sencor),
- Enlite® (by DuPont, a combination of Valor®, Classic®, and Harmony®, also good for waterhemp),
- Afforia® (also by DuPont, Valor withExpress® and Harmony -- good in no-till since Express helps with dandelions and white cockle),
- Dual® II Magnum® (by Syngenta, offers a wider application window as pre-emerge or early post, and can be applied and incorporated with fertilizer).
Talk to your local Federated Agronomist for rates and more details. Plan now for effective weed control this year -- starting with pre-emerge applications to break the tough weed cycles.