Information Management to Maximize Your Yields

Save the Date: MaxYield Seed/SciMax Plot Tours

September 5th
MaxYield Seed Emmetsburg Research Plot
5-8PM

September 6th
MaxYield Seed Fostoria Research Plot
5-8 PM

September 7th
SciMax Plot Tour at Irvington Learning Center/Research Plot
10AM-Noon
1700 170th St Lu Verne, IA
Click here to see a PDF of the location.

Spray Mixing Best Practices

By Brian Thilges
Customer Development Manager, Winfield

After the past 2 weeks and 4 calls about cottage cheese like product in the bottom of the tank, I am sending out some information on how to handle/avoid it. With some of these tank mixes these days you can’t help but have slime forming in the tank. Here are a couple of tank mixing sins that people don’t think about.

1) Not following the proper mixing order. When growers and applicators follow this correct mixing order, we tend to have very few problems.

2) Not enough water in the tank before they begin to add products. These new formulations (especially Flexstar GT, Flexstar (and generics) and Halex GT) love to combine with water. If you have a high ratio of herbicide to water and/or the water is cold then tank mixing will be more difficult. If you are having a problem, START with half a tank of water before beginning to add products…. and AGITATE between products.

3) Making a new batch when the spray tank isn’t fairly close to empty. For example, a farmer starts with a 1000 gal load. He doesn’t want to run out so he heads to the well with 100+ gallons of fully formulated mix in the tank. He mixes ANOTHER 1000 gal load on top of the remaining 100 gal. Now he has a 110% mixture…. and does it AGAIN. After the fourth load he has a ~130% strength mixture and that’s when the problem ruins his day. Not only that but on average he’s paying 20% more per acre to create this mess. Either he needs to empty the prior load or only mix for just the ADDITIONAL 900 gal added to the previous remaining portion of a load.

4) Still got a problem or want to prevent one? Add one gal of compatibility agent to the load or if you don’t have compatibility agent on hand use 1 gal of Preference to the load.

Dont hesitate to contact your local MaxYield Agronomy Specialist or SciMax Specialist with any questions.

Two hybrids, one planter

Rodney multi-hybrid planterSciMax Solutions(R) continues its evaluation of multi-hybrid planter technology this spring, conducting trials again in the Emmetsburg and West Bend areas.

Data from last year’s trial indicated a 5-7-bushel-per-acre advantage for soybeans planted with the multi-variety planter. Corn showed a 3- to 8-bushel advantage.

The April 2016 issue of Wallaces Farmer featured a front-page story that detailed last year’s trials and gives a preview of whats in store for the SciMax research this year.

The entire story can be found by clicking here.

To learn more about multi-hybrid planting solutions, contact your SciMax Solutions Specialist, any MaxYield Cooperative location, or by clicking here.

Planter Check-Up Tips

As the planting season approaches it is important that we take the time to make sure our equipment is working correctly. Achieving a great stand starts with making sure the planter is set correctly.

Here is a list of suggestions for planter setup and maintenance. Be sure to talk to your equipment dealer about what else might be needed.

1. Check meters on a test stand in order to visually inspect parts and evaluate performance.
2. Inspect all mechanical drive components and look for any excessive wear including down pressure springs, parallel linkages and bushings.
3. Check seed tubes for any wear in particular the bottom section that can wear or become damaged. Replace if damaged or has excessive wear.
4. Check size, wear and spacing for opening discs; always replace disc openers in pairs.
5. Inspect gauge wheels and ensure opening discs are making proper contacting with the discs. Adjust the shims for each gauge wheel arm to ensure the correct contact with the disc.
6. Inspect closing wheels or discs and ensure bearings are in good shape and that the down force spring is properly set. Replace wheels if worn excessively.
7. For vacuum planters, check all lines for damaged tubes. Check hydraulic motor for leaks and make sure fan is clean.

Once at the field here are four important items to check:
1. Planting depth – Check periodically since seeding depth can be influenced by soil and field conditions. The planter row unit must have sufficient weight so the gauge wheels operate firmly on the soil surface.
2. Row cleaner setting – make sure the row cleaners are not tilling the soil. They are for biomass removal and only need to function or rotate when excessive biomass is encountered.
3. Closing wheel pressure – need sufficient pressure to close the furrow but adjust to the soil conditions. In general, higher pressure is needed in dry soil and light pressure in wet soil to avoid over-compaction.
4. Gauge wheel pressure – there should be sufficient contact pressure in order to firm the soil surface at the specific depth setting but not so much contact pressure that the depth wheels excessively compact soil adjacent to the seed zone.
Do not hesitate to contact your SciMax Solutions team with questions.

 

 

Save the Dates!

December 16th
SciMax Solutions and MaxYield Seed Meeting
Knights of Columbus Hall
Algona, IA
3-6PM

February 5th, 2016
SciMax Learning Group Seminar
Des Moines, IA

December/January
Stay tuned for SciMax Learning Group Meetings

Meet Chris Warren: SciMax Product Solutions Specialist

20150617_maxyield_477 (681x1024)With his analytical mind and ag in his blood, Chris Warren is excited to help SciMax Solutions clients find new ways to maximize their results and add more value to their farming operation.

We recently caught up with Chris, who joined SciMax in mid-June and is based in the West Region, to learn more about his diverse background and how he’s helping clients find the right solutions for their acres.

Q: What’s your farm background?
A: I grew up in Fairmont, MN, but spent a lot of time helping on my family’s farm near Ringsted, where my dad, Dan, raises corn and soybeans. My family’s roots run deep in the Ringsted area. Some of my ancestors came to this area before the town was founded in 1899 by Danish immigrants. I’ve always enjoyed coming back in the spring and fall to help on the farm, because agriculture means a lot to me.

Q: How does your diverse work experience add value for SciMax clients?
A: I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2008 with a bachelor of science degree in construction management. I had worked a lot of construction jobs and like working outdoors, but then the 2008 recession hit. Since the construction industry was hit hard, I looked elsewhere for work. I became a financial advisor at Ameriprise Financial for five years. I learned a lot about business and building relationships with clients.

Q: What do you enjoy about SciMax?
A: I’m an analytical person, so I like how SciMax is focused on information management. I enjoy helping clients put data in a usable form to create an action plan to help them manage nutrients better and improve efficiencies.

Q: What excites you about the future of SciMax?
A: I look forward to seeing the results from our multi-hybrid planter, which we used to plant approximately 1,300 acres this year. Our goal is to help clients find new ways to use cutting-edge technology to manage information, make smart decisions, and consistently boost their yield potential.

I also look forward to working with more SciMax clients. If you’d like to contact me, call me at 712-260-9564.

Editor’s note: Chris moved back to Ringsted in 2013. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, spending time with friends at the lake, and traveling, especially to the western United States, including Colorado.

Higher Yields Ahead? MaxYield Puts Multi-Hybrid Planting to the Test

20150504_maxyield_285 (1024x681)Any farmer knows that not all fields—or even areas within a field—are created equal. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all corn hybrid or soybean variety that’s right for each management zone, multi-hybrid planting offers the chance for higher yields.

What was once science fiction is becoming reality in 2015 as SciMax Solutions puts this promising technology to the test in clients’ corn and soybean fields.

“We tried multi-hybrid planting last year, and the results whetted our appetite,” said Peter Bixel, SciMax Solutions’ team leader. “We think multi-hybrid planting can bring value to our clients and want to take a closer look at it.”

Multi-hybrid technology provides farmers with the ability to change the seed hybrid they are planting as the planter moves through the field. Instead of selecting an average seed variety for use across an entire field, seed hybrids can be selected and automatically planted to suit different field management zones.

In 2014, MaxYield and SciMax used a six-row planter for multi-hybrid planting on 90 acres. DeKalb also used multi-hybrid planting last year with a prototype 16-row planter on 1,000 acres farmed by SciMax clients.

This spring, SciMax Solutions Specialist Rodney Legleiter used a John Deere 1770 center-fill planter with vSet Select multi-hybrid planting technology from Precision Planting on nearly 1,400 corn and soybean acres on 10 SciMax clients’ farms. The vSet Select technology can plant two hybrids in the same row, switching back and forth as environments change to plant the hybrid that will produce the most in each management zone.

“The vSet Select meters we used on the planter were just released in December of 2014, so this is cutting-edge technology,” Bixel said.

Does it pay?
While a few companies have experimented with multi-hybrid planting in the Midwest, the technology is still in its infancy.

20150504_maxyield_196 (681x1024)SciMax is partnering with WinField® on multi-hybrid planting research in 2015. “This is something SciMax and MaxYield Seed have wanted to do for a long time,” Bixel said. “We have the information to know where specific hybrids should go, based on SciMax and MaxYield Seed data, the Answer Plot® database, and expertise from partner companies.”

The technology doesn’t come cheap. It costs approximately $30,000 to add the multi-hybrid equipment to a 12-row planter. “We want to find out if the technology is worth the investment, especially in these times of tighter margins,” Bixel said. “Past research has shown a yield advantage of nine bushels on corn and three to four bushels on soybeans.”

This spring, the SciMax team worked with MaxYield Seed specialists to write the multi-hybrid planting recommendations. The recommendations can include two hybrids or two soybean varieties. These “prescriptions” told the monitor which of the two planter boxes to draw from as the planter rolled through each field. Getting the data entered into the monitor was an important part Legleiter did before planting.

“It’s all about placing the right hybrid or variety in the right management zone to maximize yield potential,” Bixel said. “There’s no need to plant a defensive hybrid in the high-yield environment of an A zone, for example, but this hybrid would be a good fit for the C zone, where the soil tends to be lighter and sandier.”

Technology requires more management
While SciMax is interested in multi-hybrid planting for corn, the technology might be especially useful to boost soybean yields. “With the pH, disease, and soybean cyst nematode issues we have throughout northern Iowa, we think multi-hybrid planting might have a significant impact on soybean yields,” Bixel said.

While SciMax’s 2014 multi-hybrid planting trials generated promising results for corn and soybeans, the technology isn’t for everyone. “It requires more attention to detail, so you need to be willing to manage for higher yields,” Bixel said. “We’re here to help you combine the technology, seed selection, and information management to help you get the job done.”

Few companies offer this level of service. In addition, SciMax will share the 2015 results from the multi-hybrid planting trials during grower meetings this winter. “Our goal is to stay two to three years ahead of the competition and see more in your fields,” Bixel said. “Stay tuned for more details.”

V5 Fungicide Applications – More than just direct yield benefits

Foliar fungicides have proven to be an effective way to protect corn yield by managing foliar diseases such as: Gray Leaf Spot, Common Rust, Southern Rust, Eye Spot, Northern and Southern Leaf Blight, and Northern Corn Leaf Spot when timed and applied correctly. Many studies show that the optimum time for fungicide application is from tassel (VT) to R2. But what about an early season application? Can they replace VT applications? Through a better understanding of fungicide products, it has been discovered that the use of a foliar fungicide will benefit more than just crop yields. They are proven to better the overall plant performance. The correct use of a foliar fungicide can improve stalk integrity, improve health of high yielding hybrids, reduce stalk lodging, decrease harvest losses, and reduce harvest time.
Capture• Early season fungicide treatments at V5-V7 can be applied at a lower cost, and thus have a lower breakeven yield response. 2014 SciMax trial data indicated a 12.8 bu/ac increase with V5 fungicide on responsive hybrids.
• Tank-mixing with a post-emergence herbicide and MAX-IN ZMB from Winfield  allows a fungicide to be applied without any additional application costs. 2014 SciMax trial data indicated a 4.3 bu/ac increase with MAX-IN ZMB application at V5.
• Fungicides can be very effective at managing diseases and protecting yield, but the profitability of an application is by no means a certainty. Many times the most yield limiting diseases like Northern Corn Leaf Blight and Gray Leaf Spot occur much later in the season and the amount of active ingredient remaining from an early application is too low to provide effective control late into the season.
• V5 applications are a good complementary way to prevent early season infections and establish a healthy, uniform stand late into the season. If additional disease pressure arises, a VT application may still be needed for maximum yields.
It is important to remember to check the response to fungicide rating of your hybrid before deciding to make an application, check with your Agronomist for more information.

 

Maximize the Benefits of Grid Sampling

20131009_maxyield_110 (681x1024)There’s a good reason why grid sampling has been called one of the most important management practices for modern crop production. Accurate grid soil sampling is the first step to getting the most economic return on your precision farming investment.

“I’ve soil sampled ever since I started farming in the late 1990s and began grid sampling shortly after that,” said Eric Marchand, a SciMax Solutions® client who farms near Britt. “It helps me put the right nutrients in the right place.”

It’s important to update grid samples every four years for best results. Thanks to advances in technology, today’s grid sampling is much more sophisticated and can provide more useful results than the soil tests of yesteryear. All grid sampling services aren’t created equal, however. That’s why MaxYield Cooperative and SciMax Solutions took the process in-house in 2013.

“Quality is the key with soil sampling,” said Rachel Amundson, a SciMax Solutions specialist. “While SciMax partnered with other soil sampling companies in the past, we now run all our samples at a private lab to provide the highest quality service and data.”

MaxYield and SciMax have been working with Dr. Rick Vanden Heuvel of VH Consulting Inc., to provide this attention to detail since 2005. “Dr. Vanden Heuvel made everything easy to understand,” said Marchand, who was one of 20 growers who participated. “I was surprised by how much care he takes from start to finish to provide the best results possible.”

Put your soil to the test
The grid sampling process starts when trained SciMax professionals pull soil samples in the spring and fall using the latest technology. Samples are pulled every 2.5 acres using GPS technology, although the SciMax Solutions team is also testing 1.6-acre grids.

“We’re looking at this to address variability and help SciMax clients manage nutrients better,” said Rodney Legleiter, a SciMax Solutions specialist.

All of the samples are pulled according to SciMax Nitrogen protocols so nutrient recommendations can be made from the Illinois Soil Nitrogen Test (ISNT). This soil-based system promotes sustainable agriculture, offers growers increased profit potential, and enhances environmental stewardship.

The samples are then sent to Vanden Heuvel’s certified lab, where they are thoroughly analyzed. This can be a time-consuming, detailed process, Legleiter noted. Because heavy clay soils are common throughout MaxYield’s trade territory, the soil samples need to be dried properly for best testing results. Since heat drying samples with heavy clay content can tie up nutrients and lead to false readings of fertility levels, Vanden Heuvel air dries the samples.

SciMax tour participants viewed the various equipment and data entry systems Vanden Heuvel uses to provide the most accurate results possible. “This isn’t a huge lab that’s focused on volume,” Marchand said. “It’s clear that careful research and quality are very important to Dr. Vanden Heuvel.”

Feeding your high-yielding crops of the future
Once the grid sampling results are in, the SciMax team compiles maps for clients’ fields. These are the start of a customized fertilizer recommendation plan tailored to zones throughout each field.

“Increasing yields starts when you know how much variability is in your fields,” Amundson said. “Understanding your soil conditions will help you better manage nutrients so you can apply the right amount where they are needed and ensure that they work together most effectively.”

Amundson is pleased that the number of grid-sampled acres continues to grow through SciMax Solutions. She encourages more growers to take advantage of this opportunity. “Grid sampling is another time we’re out in your field, learning more about your acres, soil types, and fertility levels. Also, we hold the soil samples for one year, which gives you extra time to decide if you
want to utilize SciMax Nitrogen®.”

Grid sampling is one of the most cost-effective nutrient management solutions available.
It’s also a key to better stewardship of Iowa’s natural resources. “It’s a win-win, because it helps you make the most of your input dollars and yield potential while protecting water quality,” said Peter Bixel, SciMax Solutions’ team leader.

SciMax Solutions plans to host another trip to Wisconsin in the months ahead so more clients have the opportunity to see the level of expertise that goes into the grid sampling results. “Dr. Vanden Heuvel has studied nitrogen management throughout his career, and his expertise is helping us provide more sound agronomic results,” Amundson said.

Marchand is even more convinced about the value of grid sampling after visiting Vanden Heuvel’s lab. “Better fertilizer management makes sense for so many reasons, especially as margins get tighter. It’s good to know that SciMax and Dr. Vanden Heuvel put in the extra effort to make sure their clients receive the best solutions available.”

For more information on grid sampling or SciMax Solutions, log on to www.scimaxsolutions.com/soil-sampling.

SciMax Clients Experience Tropical Agriculture of Belize

Over 30 SciMax Specialists, clients and spouses returned last week from a week long educational trip to the Central American country of Belize. We arrived in San Ignacio, Belize on Thursday, February 26th. From there we were fortunate enough to tour the agriculture in the Cayo district of Belize including Spanish Lookout, Valley of Peace Farms and Cayo Agro. The tour began with a drive through Spanish Lookout which is a Mennonite community. The Mennonites in this part of the country were the main agricultural producers beyond the sustenance farming that many natives practice until recent years when others have been joining the face of Belizean agriculture. The crops that we saw on our driving tour were corn, soybeans, red beans, kidfarm tour groupney beans, black eyed peas and many other small crops. Valley of Peace Farms currently farms 1,200 acres of corn and edible beans in Belize, MaxYield Coop and SciMax Solutions have known and worked with the owners on their American farming operation for many years. We traveled through many of their farms and were able to see they process of tearing down trees and underbrush, burning, cultivation and planting, ending at field of red kidney beans that had just flowered. They also had a root pit dug so we were able to see they forest soils that they are planting into. Cayo Agro is the grain setup and farm of Valley of Peace Farms. This was an amazing thing to see since it was all built to stand up to hurricane strength winds.
The next few days included cultural tours and travel to Placencia in the southern Stann Creek district. We toured BAL, Belize Aquaculture LTD which is a large producer of farm raised shrimp. BAL is committed to sustainable aquaculture with their inland ponds. The tour included a look at the production facility, microbiology labs, shrimp ponds and the shrimp hatchery. Along with the farm and shrimp tours, the group experienced many cultural activities of Belize including Mayan ruin, cave, wildlife and rainforest tours. A special thanks to Valley of Peace farms, Cayo Agro and Rosens for making this trip possible.
Look for more information on the 2016 SciMax Client Trip coming soon!