Information Management to Maximize Your Yields

2019 SciMax Trip to Savannah, GA

Join SciMax Clients and Specialists on this trip to Savannah, GA from Wednesday, February 27th through Sunday, March 3rd.

Secure your spot on the trip ASAP!

Contact Rodney Legleiter  515-320-1678 or rlegleiter@scimax.com

Annual Learning Group Seminar

Please join us for the SciMax Annual Learning Group Seminar. The SciMax Annual Learning Group Seminar will be held in Emmetsburg this year instead of Des Moines. The layout of the meeting will be diffrent than in years past to try something new. We look forward to a fun and informative day!

January 29th
10am-4:30pm
The Shores at 5 Island
14 North Lawler Street, Emmetsburg

SciMax Regional Meetings

East Area
January 9th, 2018
Location: Duncan Ballroom
2337 Nation Ave, Duncan
9:30-1pm

Central Area
January 10th, 2018
MaxYield Cooperative Service Center
310 4th Ave NE, West Bend
9:30-1pm

West Area 
January 11th, 2018
Milford Community Center
806 N Ave, Milford
9:30-1pm

Mark your Calendars: Randy Dowdy Presentation

Randy Dowdy presentation

Thursday, February 15, 2018

9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Shores at Five Island – Emmetsburg, IA
14 N. Lawler St.

 

Contact your SciMax Solutions Specialist today for more details!

SciMax Learning Group Seminar – January 26th, 2018

SciMax Learning Group Seminar
West Des Moines Marriot
January 26th, 2018

Below is the agenda for our annual SciMax learning group seminar.

Please RSVP by January 15th to your SciMax Specialist.

10:00 a.m. SciMax Welcome and Introductions

10:20 a.m. Robert Miller, PH.D – Potassium Importance and Nutrition

10:20 a.m. Women’s Session – Ellen Frank

11:45 a.m. Iowa Ag. & Government Update

12:15 p.m. Lunch in West Des Moines Ballroom

1:15– 3:00 pm Breakout Sessions ( Pick 3 during time)

1. Tire Tech Information: Brad Harris – Firestone
2. Nozzle Design, Weed Resistance Control Methods: Travis Legleiter, Assistant Ext. Prof University of Kentucky
3. Crop Modeling, Future Scouting Tools: John Jansen and Dustin Potts – The Climate Corporation
4. Fertility Update: Jon Zuk – Winfield United Agronomist

3:45 pm Panel Discussion

4:00 pm Ryan Raguse, Co-Founder and Chairman, Myriad Mobile

4:45 p.m Wrap up

5:00 p.m. Social Hour

6:00pm MaxYield Seed and SciMax High Yield Contest Awards

6:45 pm Dinner

7:30 pm Evening Entertainment: Casino Night/Outdoor Games

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!

Improving water quality with variable rate N applications in corn

R.M. Vanden Heuvel, Ph.D., CPSS
VH Consulting, Inc.

January, 2015

Over the past ten years, VH Consulting and Max Yield Cooperative (SciMax N) have been promoting variable rate N applications (VRT-N) for continuous corn and corn in rotation with soybean. Over 60,000 acres have been sampled for this program in northern Iowa. The goal of the program was to refine N recommendations and optimize N rates. A growing university database across the Corn Belt has clearly shown that producers have been over applying N for corn production. It is also very clear that N needs vary across individual fields, but VRT-N programs across the Corn Belt remain in their infancy. Recommendations for SciMax N have reduced N rates by an average of about 35-40 lbs/a thus far, compared to standard farmer practice. While unusual, some fields have seen average reductions of 100 lbs/a. With these improvements, questions are being asked as to the anticipated water quality improvements that should result from the program. Such water quality data from universities are not common as the measurements needed to be taken are very time consuming and expensive. This article hopes to provide some estimates water quality improvements with improved N application rates from data that does exist from our area.table 1

Recent water quality data from the University of Minnesota at Waseca, MN measured nitrate that moved out of the soil profile with various N rates under field conditions (Table 1). The soil was a
Webster clay loam, typical of the area and also of northern IA. Nitrogen application rates were from 0 to 180 lbs/a in 30 lb increments. Yields were determined and nitrate-N (measured with special instrumentation to extract samples of the soil solution) is given as the total amount measured for the growing season. The red colored value of 135 lbs/a was the calculated Economic Optimum N rate (EON), not an applied N rate.

The first important item to note is that when no N was applied, 28 lbs/a of nitrate-N was lost over the growing season. This is not unusual as mineralization occurs with tillage. It also points out that a corn crop is not 100% efficient at using N in the soil profile, even when no fertilizer is applied. Some losses are always going to occur.

As the N rate increases it can be seen that nitrate-N also increases, reaching 51 lbs/a at the 180 lbs N/a, the highest application rate. The EON was 135 lbs/a, which produced an estimated 189 bu/a of grain. Ideally, this would be what a farmer would optimally apply at this site. But how well does this rate do for the environment by minimizing nitrate leaching? At the EON, the nitrate-N rate would have been 41 lbs/a, a value that is only 13 lbs/a above that of the 0 N application rate. So, moving from 0 to 135 lbs/a of applied N only increased nitrate-N by 13 lbs/a (28 to 41 lbs/a, Table 1)! This is important to note as it illustrates that optimum N rates serve to minimize nitrate leaching in a high production environment. Over application above EON will only serve to increase the rate of leaching. This is shown in the last column of Table 1 as nitrate-N increased to 23 lbs N/a above the check, at the highest N rate of 180 lbs/a. Using an optimum rate of N (the EON, of 135 lbs/a) reduced nitrate-N leaching by over 40% (from 23 lbs/a to 13 lbs/a). This degree of reduction is significant!

A nitrogen program that zeros in on optimum N rates for your fields will minimize environmental contamination. It won’t eliminate leaching, but it will minimize it. Over application of N accelerates the loss of N, costing farmers money and unnecessarily degrading water resources. The 180 lb N/a rate in the university study can be viewed as a reasonably common rate used in our region in traditionally managed fields. SciMax N has reduced N rates to below this number. In many cases, well below this amount of N. If the leaching data in the study above is an indication of what is happening in northern IA, then VRT-N recommendations in SciMax N are having a very significant impact on reduced nitrate-N levels.

As we continue to improve our recommendation system, only more improvements for reduced nitrate loads will occur. Optimum yields are required for profitable farming, and fortunately the N rates required to achieve them (EON) will go a long way to improve water quality.