News from Your Federated Agronomists | June 12, 2018
June 2018 corn
Follow the Trend: Top Dress for N (and S, too)
It’s a trend that’s been “growing by leaps and bounds,” according to Craig Peterson, Federated Agronomist at the Ogilvie location: top dressing nitrogen (N). In wet springs, the N from early applications doesn’t remain available later on, but even in springs such as this year’s, the capacity for soils to hold N varies between soil types.
Top dressing N at this point in the season makes good economic – and agronomic – sense.

“Corn will use a very small amount of nitrogen as a young plant,” said Peterson, adding that “the majority of N is taken up between V8 and VT (tassel).”

The V5 to V6 stage is an ideal time to apply the remaining N, but Peterson noted, “If you had very little to no nitrogen applied pre-plant you may want to start around V3 to avoid nitrogen stress to the plant.”

To protect N from volatilization if there is no rain or cultivation within a few hours, add Factor to the N application. Factor® is a urease inhibitor that protects the N in applications of urea or UAN. Federated offers urea impregnated with Factor to keep more N available to the corn crop.

Factor is an environmentally sound option to protect against volatility for up to 14 days (see Factor fact sheets). Thanks to the late spring and warm temperatures recently, the possibility for N loss due to volatility has increased; higher soil temperatures also provide favorable conditions for N loss.

Sulfur is another product that can be very leachable. “Adding some ammonium sulfate with the urea will help to keep sulfur available full season,” said Peterson. “Just about every year we will see some sulfur deficiency at some point.”

Top dress twice with N and S since regular rains will leach nutrients rapidly. “A ‘spoon feeding’ approach will keep N and S available to the plant as needed,” said Peterson. Even in heavy clay soils where ponding occurs, denitrification can take place; split applying [the N and S] can boost yield and, Peterson noted, “it’s a best management practice.”

When time is of the essence or to minimize tracks in the field, Federated has six highboy application machines ready to serve grower needs. Contact your local Federated Agronomist to determine your best approach for nutrient application.
Micronutrient Blend Gives Crops a Boost
Plant health is largely dependent upon the nutrients available to the crops when they are most needed. Versa Max® AC, a blend of enhanced micronutrients, is a foliar nutrition product that can be applied along with most herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides.

Versa Max AC is designed to feed the plant trace elements that promote growth and help the plants overcome stresses. It has a unique delivery system that gets the nutrients into the plants more efficiently to boost plant health and yield potential.

Versa Max AC offers a combination of these elements: nitrogen (7%), potassium (1%), sulfur (3%), iron (1%), manganese (2%), and zinc (2%).

Additionally, according to Russ Overaas of Rosen’s, Versa Max AC can be mixed with Triad, a plant growth hormone, to maximize yields. “Federated test plots of this combination yielded over 9 bu./ac. better than the untreated check,” said Overaas. (Read more on these three fact sheets: Versa Max AC, Versa Max AC all crops , Versa Max AC + Triad .)

Talk to your Federated Agronomist to learn more about crop nutrient options.
Federated Focus: A Service, A Person
Good Feeding Makes for Good Production
Duane Droogsma
If the cows produce good milk, the dairy farmer knows they're being fed well – and farmers have the ability to check the end product, the milk, twice a day. Crop farmers, on the other hand, can’t check their final product until harvest.

“One of the most important factors affecting crop yield is the nutrient status of the plant,” said Duane Droogsma (pictured), Federated agronomist at the Rush City location. As a former dairy farmer who understand nutrition, he recommends tissue sampling as an easy way to check the flow of nutrients to plant tissues throughout the growing season.

“Nutrient status is an unseen factor in plant growth,” he said, until the deficiencies show up visually. By then it is typically too late to do anything about the problem.

How can a crop’s nutrient status be determined?
A “precision lab analysis of plant tissue” can determine the status of nutrients in corn plants. Just as the cows Droogsma milked for more than 15 years (the herd he bought from his parents) wouldn’t produce sufficient milk when their feed was off, corn won’t yield well without these key elements to feed the plants: nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, iron, manganese, boron, copper, zinc.

Droogsma’s dairy farm experience – born and raised – prepared him to speak authoritatively on nutrition, and his work at Ralston Purina in the late 70s further added to his skill set. Droogsma also worked at Mille Lacs Ag Service (now owned by Federated Co-ops) in Pease for a decade and a half. He joined Federated in 2009.

Where and when is a tissue sample best taken?
Before tasseling, take a corn tissue sample from the first fully developed leaf from the top of the plant . Between tasseling to silking, take a corn tissue sample from the leaf below and opposite the ear. Samples require 25-30 plant leaves total. Take leaves from plants throughout a field.

For soybeans, take the tissue sample from the youngest mature trifoliate leaves from the top of the plant; samples require 40-50 plants leaves. Again, take leaves from plants throughout a field.

Where are samples tested?
Droogsma recommends working with a Federated Agronomist to get the samples tested. Federated uses Midwest Laboratories; the agronomists can help interpret test results and make recommendations to address nutrient deficiencies.
young soybean plants
Battle Weeds in Soybeans with Battlestar
Battlestar is “a straight goods concentrated option” for tank mixing with Buccaneer [generic glyphosate] for Round-Ready soybeans post-emerge, according to Kevin Carlson, Federated’s senior agronomist.

Whether growers are looking for a cost-effective and flexible option for controlling weeds, or they already have Buccaneer in the shed, Battlestar is a solid choice. “You have more freedom to use a variable rate of Battlestar with Buccaneer Plus (to get more glyphosate) when preparing your own tank mix,” said Carlson.

He added, “Battlestar is a user-friendly custom tank mix option.”

Battlestar can also be used on conventional soybeans to control broadleaves, post-emerge.

For more information on Battlestar or other weed-control options, talk to your Federated Agronomist.