News from Your Federated Agronomists | May 8, 2018
safety first sign
Spring’s Here but Soil Temps are Slow to Rise

As temperatures rose this past week so did the urge to get in the fields but, said Rob Reinking, Federated agronomist and bulk fuel manager at the Albertville location, “even with the warm temperatures during the day, growers do need to worry about imbibitional chilling.”

What is imbibitional chilling? It is the chilling effect seeds may experience when they imbibe (absorb) water, especially when soil temperatures are less than 55 degrees F for an extended time, according to Reinking.

“Brittle shoot cell membranes rupture in soils,” he added and then further described how seedlings may “corkscrew” and not even emerge when exposed to these cool soil temperatures.

This may also happen when there are rapid swings in air temperatures. Consequently, if these plants do emerge, they will not likely be productive.

Check soil temperatures. As of Monday, May 7, soil temperatures averaged 54 degrees F in the fall plowed heavy soils, and 62 degrees F in the sand. Reinking said, “Check temps with a soil probe at about two inches depth.”

Got questions about soil temps? Contact your Federated Agronomist.

Get a jump on weeds, too. If weeds are actively growing, a good option is a burndown herbicide; those applications are best done midday (assuming the nights are still cool). Pre-emergent herbicides are another strong option – “but make sure no weeds are up yet before you apply,” said Reinking.

More questions? Your Federated Agronomist is ready to take your call.
Palace Herbicide: Flexible, Reliable, Affordable
Earlier this year in the Agronomy Update , Federated Senior Agronomist Kevin Carlson introduced Palace™ herbicide, the new name for a private label premix of Dual II Magnum® plus Calisto®.

As planting gets in full gear, Carlson reminds growers that “from the stand point of the flexibility for application timing and flexibility,” the benefits of Palace make it a solid choice for conventional corn, Roundup Ready® corn, and Liberty® corn. Carlson added that it can be used “pre-emerge on anything” because of its corn-safener, benoxacor . (See pre-emerge and post-emerge fact sheets.)

Because corn doesn’t like competition it’s important to control weeds early. On RR corn fields, Palace can be tank mixed with Buccaneer Plus® for early post-emerge application.

In a late spring, and with tight budgets, growers won’t jeopardize weed control with Palace and its competitive price point. Palace provides:
  • Dual modes of action
  • Good activity on waterhemp and Palmer amaranth
  • Soil residual and foliar applied weed control
  • Control of 50+ broadleaf weeds and grasses

Talk to your Federated Agronomist with any questions about Palace and early season weed control.
Don't Miss the Boat on Boron
boron element symbol
“If you’re not using boron (B) as part of your alfalfa fertilizer program, you probably
should be,” said Bob Marquette, Federated agronomist at the Albertville location.

“Adding 1-2 lbs./ac. B to your potash/sulfur application will improve root strength and elongation, which can add to stand life,” he added.

Soil organic matter is the primary source of boron, so overall availability is low in
coarse-textured (sandy) soil. Leaching is also greatest on sandy soils because of low organic
matter, which makes plant response to boron very good.

Marquette reminded growers that boron should never be applied directly in contact with seed because of resulting toxicity. Consequently, broadcast application is recommended on existing alfalfa stands.

Of course – as Federated Agronomists frequently say – do a soil test first . Boron is an essential micronutrient in balanced alfalfa crop nutrition, but a soil test is the best way to determine how much boron (or other micronutrient) your alfalfa needs.

Contact your Federated Agronomist with your alfalfa nutrient questions. 
Federated Focus: A Service, A Person
PSPs Help Agronomists Serve Growers Better
When Kevin Johnson joined Federated Co-ops in 2012, he knew full well what the Product Service Policy (PSP) meant for his job as an applicator: Without a signed PSP, he couldn’t spray a field – even if the grower was standing there, waiting for the application to begin.

Now, in his second growing season in agronomy sales with Federated in Osceola, Johnson has even greater regard for the service policy. The PSP gives both agronomists and applicators vital information about every field they scout or spray. “We know when it needs to be sprayed, and if anything else is going on in the field,” said Johnson.

Johnson spent ten years moving houses – yes, whole houses, jacked up for new basements or transport – but today he’s moving soil as he scouts fields for Federated growers. “As the new season [gets underway] it’s more than likely that it’s weeds we need to watch for.” And that only happens when fields are well scouted.

Growers can choose to sign up for Federated’s scouting services in conjunction with their PSP. “If someone has an issue, we go look at the fields,” said Johnson. When there is a weed issue that growers find during their own scouting efforts, “they can still give us a call and we will get out and look at it as soon as we can,” he added.

The agronomy team understands the need to keep track of weed height and to make sure fields get sprayed in a timely manner. Unfortunately, Johnson noted, glyphosate is no longer “the cure all and the weeds get bigger and then things get really ugly.”

Even with the late spring, there are burndown situations, such as no-till fields, that need attention. “There’s going to be some preplant and pre-emerge burndowns, as well as hayfields that need to be burned down to put in corn or beans,” he said.

Johnson, raised on a Wisconsin dairy farm, understands what farmers deal with today, and as an agronomist, he strives to help growers meet the challenges. For example, “the PSP says growers need to scout their fields within the first 10 days after spraying and report anything right away.” He understands the time demands of this requirement, but he also knows that if something goes unreported – or unobserved – it can’t be fixed. And that’s contrary to Federated’s service goals.

Even though everyone wants to be in the fields, a sentiment he appreciates (“I don’t want to be cooped up inside,” he said), it’s still very important to get the PSP signed. Federated cannot spray a grower’s field if the signed PSP isn’t on file.

“Please get that taken care of,” said Johnson, and you can talk to your Federated Agronomist to do that.