Information Management to Maximize Your Yields

Meeting the Challenge: Riggert Brothers Rely on SciMax Solutions

MaxYield Seed & SciMax SolutionsThis is the second installment in a new My Solutions magazine series featuring Mike and Brian Riggert of Whittemore. Like many growers, the Riggerts are seeking new ways to unlock plant potential and take their farming operations to a higher level through SciMax Solutions. We’ll update you on their crops throughout the 2013 growing season to give you a behind-thescenes look at SciMax in action.

Ask Mike Riggert about the 2013 planting season, and he doesn’t mince words. “This was one of the worst springs we’ve ever seen. We’ve never been through anything like this.”

A late-spring storm dumped nearly 10 inches of snow in the Whittemore area on May 3. After the brothers started planting corn on May 12, heavy rains began falling and didn’t quit. As fields stayed wet, planting became almost impossible, said Brian Riggert, who noted that he and Mike finished planting soybeans around July 1.

“We had a whole month delay due to rain,” said Brian, who noted that the brothers had to take some prevented-plant acres.

While the Riggerts had gone into the 2013 planting season with a detailed plan developed with their SciMax Solutions team members, things changed quickly. “We’d have about one day each week to get fieldwork done, so our plan was changing constantly,” Brian said. “We’ve been talking to our SciMax specialists, Dan Stokes and Eric Goodman, at least once a week since April to deal with this.”

Finding new solutions

These conversations have changed the situation from “What are we going to do now?” to “Here’s what the next steps need to be.”

The Riggerts switched to some earlier-maturing corn hybrids, for example, and re-evaluated their crop protection plans.

“While we were able to get our pre-emerge herbicides on the early-planted corn, we ran out of time on the calendar to get everything done,” Brian said. “We didn’t get any pre-emerge herbicides on the soybeans, so we worked with SciMax to find some alternatives.”

The Riggerts value the broad perspective that SciMax offers. “Since the SciMax team works with a lot of farmers throughout the area, they can explain what options have worked well for other growers,” Mike said. “They give us more solutions than we might come up with on our own.”

As the Riggerts have scouted their crops this summer, they’ve also been working closely with SciMax to assess fertilizer options and pinpoint where nutrients should be placed for maximum returns. “There’s no way around it—without the right nutrients, productivity will go down,” Mike said.

Tissue testing helps determine the proper micronutrient uptake in crops and provides information that can’t be gathered through soil samples. SciMax data has proven the value of micronutrients, said Eric Goodman, a SciMax Solutions specialist who works closely with the Riggerts. Max-In® Boron, for example, assists in nitrogen and phosphorus utilization within the soybean plant. In 2011 and 2012 field studies, Max-In Boron boosted yields by an average of 2.14 bushels per acre.

Max-In Ultra ZMB® with Sulfur also boosts yield potential. It maximizes leaf and vascular growth, increases root growth for improved nutrient uptake, enhances water-use efficiency, and is essential in high-pH and high-phosphorus soils, Goodman noted. “Through SciMax, we look at everything we can to help our clients protect their yields, and micronutrients are an important part of the equation.”

Tiling and protecting water quality

To create a more conducive environment for crop growth and promote higher yield potential, the Riggerts planned to add more tile to their fields this summer to ensure adequate drainage.

“Tiling is almost like a crop input because it boosts production,” Mike said. “It also reduces runoff, which controls erosion and protects soil and water quality.”

As professional stewards of the land, the Riggerts are interested in implementing eco-friendly solutions, from tiling to precision agriculture, that make sense from a business management perspective. “We’re constantly thinking about ways we can do a better job of farming,” Brian said. “SciMax helps us sort through the data so we have the knowledge and confidence to try new things.”

SciMax can be especially useful in a year of extremes like 2013, Goodman added. “We’re all learning a lot, and the SciMax team will continue to provide guidance through the harvest season and into 2014 as growers plan for next year’s crop.”

Editor’s note: Mike and Brian Riggert farm north of Whittemore near the Lotts Creek area and have participated in SciMax Solutions for six years. They each farm more than 1,000 acres, for a total of nearly 2,400 acres of corn and soybeans. They utilize grid sampling, yield monitoring, and variable-rate technology for planting and fertilizer applications, including nitrogen.

Watch for the next update on the Riggert brothers’ experiences in the upcoming edition of My Solutions magazine.