Federated Co-op’s custom application services are fully dependent on having the right information from growers. “When a farmer calls in and says he wants the ‘back 40’ sprayed, we need to know where the ‘back 40’ is!” said Rod Gustafson, Federated agronomist at the Albertville location.
This is where field maps come into play. When the fields are clearly named, applicators know where to go, and mistakes are avoided. Getting it right requires answers to specific questions.
1. What are the field names? “We want to know the names the growers use for their fields,” said Gustafson, as opposed to a more formal label (though GPS coordinates are beneficial). When the grower calls in an order to spray “the Johnson farm,” for example, “we want it named that way [in Federated’s records] so we are all on the same page,” said Gustafson.
2. What crop is planted in each field? What trait(s)? Conventional corn or Round-up Ready® corn? Conventional beans, Round-up Ready beans, Enlist beans? Gustafson noted that this information is an even bigger deal with beans now, with Enlist® beans.
Take note: Federated now requires growers to show a seed tag for fields planted with seed that was not purchased from Federated, “so we know what traited seed they bought -- because things can easily get mixed up,” said Gustafson. He also noted that Federated will not spray dicamba on Xtend® soybeans, as outlined in the Product Service Policy (PSP).
Spray sheets, such as the one pictured, are done with the Surety® software. Each field has its own sheet with field names and grower information. Applicators complete the sheets with all product and application information, including EPA registration numbers, field locations application rates, date sprayed, what chemicals were used, total amounts of chemicals used, spray tips used, and more. This information is kept on file for five years as protection for growers and Federated should an issue arise.
“In the heat of the battle [the spring rush], preplanning makes things easier. It helps you out, and it helps us out, and it reduces error,” said Gustafson.