News from Your Federated Agronomists | March 27, 2018
You are invited to Federated's Annual Meeting, Wed., April 11, in Hinckley.
Annual Meeting 2018
Important Reminder:
Renew RUP Certification

The planting season is much more enjoyable when there are no delays in the spring. You can minimize potential delays by double checking your Private Pesticide Applicators license expiration date now!

Craig Gustafson, Federated’s eastern division agronomy manager, said, “A current license must be shown at the time of any restricted use pesticide purchase, during the transportation, and application of restricted use pesticide (RUP). If your Private Pesticide Applicators license has expired, you still have time to renew.”

Check the following websites for more info on renewal.

White Mold: Get Serious About This Disease
white mold collage
“White mold is a serious and significant yield robbing disease,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s senior agronomist, and it “has been increasing more every year . . . conditions for the disease have been almost perfect.”

Cool and moist soil conditions have led to large outbreaks throughout Federated’s service areas in recent seasons and, said, Carlson, “it’s time to get serious about controlling the problem with more than just the traditional, marginally effective practices,” which have included:
  • selecting a soybean variety that has tolerance to white mold (a “must,” said Carlson),
  • wider row spacing,
  • lower plant populations.
While these practices offer a good start to controlling white mold, they haven’t proven to be sufficient.

“Even applying foliar fungicides have not been enough to control white mold the last few seasons,” said Carlson. He described the challenge of spraying fungicides on time:

The key to effective application is to layer the fungicide to protect the plants from infection during the flowering period, which keeps the disease from entering the soybean plant. The disease gets into the plant through the flower, and beans flower for a whole month – and therein lies the problem – there’s an entire month when protection is needed. 

Federated agronomists have found Aproach® to be their best recommendation for controlling white mold. At a rate of 9 oz./ac. applied at R-1 flowering, Aproach has shown to be effective – but still not a stand-alone cure.
The longer-term solution, according to Carlson, is to treat the problem at its source by killing the resting spores that germinate and create the infections in the soil. Federated recommends Contans® WG.

“Contans is a soil applied biological fungicide that breaks the cycle of sclerotinia (white mold) disease by destroying the sclerotia (the source of white mold) in the soil. Contans . . . will reduce the sclerotia in the soil and reduce the potential for white mold in future crops” (see Contans FAQs ). Contans:

  • attacks and destroys the sclerotia fungus that causes white mold;
  • reduces sclerotia in the soil up to 80-85% each year it is used;
  • breaks the disease cycle; and should be
  • soil applied pre-plant, at planting, after cultivation or post-harvest with traditional spray equipment or irrigation (see Contans fact sheet).

Contans is “another effective tool that works,” said Carlson. Contact your Federated Agronomist to discuss options for white mold control early in the season. (Also see this white mold scouting guide .)
White mold discussion at grower meeting
Soybean Grower Workshops Wrap Up
with Valuable White Mold Discussion
John Swanson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location, led a discussion on white mold at last week's Soybean Grower Workshops. Contact your local Federated Agronomist if you missed the workshops and need to catch up on the info.

Thank you to the growers who attended the meetings! We look forward to serving you throughout the 2018 growing season.
Racer DSA Puts Crops on Track for Better Yield
“Understanding the role and importance of micronutrients is the next chapter in unlocking yield potential in corn and soybeans,” said Patrick Kopesky, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location.

Federated has been experimenting with micronutrient mixes to find the best recommendations for growers in Federated’s service areas. Racer™ DSA is one such mix; it is a dry starter additive (DSA) that can be blended and incorporated into pre-plant dry fertilizer mixes along with N, P, and K. 

Racer is a 100% sulfate-based nutrient, which will allow for immediate plant uptake and use, according to Kopesky. Racer is a homogeneous granule that is uniformly comprised of the six key secondary nutrients necessary for higher yielding crops.

  • 16% Sulfur - Building block for proteins; essential for nitrogen fixation.
  • 16% Zinc - Essential for early growth; used in protein formation and hormone production.
  • 8% Manganese - Aids chlorophyll formation; enzyme catalyst for carbohydrates and nitrogen transformation.
  • 5% Iron – Essential for chlorophyll formation, cell division, and growth.
  • 1% Boron - Necessary in conversion of carbohydrates into protein.
  • 0.5% Copper - Component of enzymes involved with photosynthesis and energy production.

Racer has a low pH of 4.5, which increases nutrient availability for the crop and decreases nutrient tie up in the soil due its chelation, or buffering affect.

“The recommended use rate for Racer,” said Kopesky, “depends heavily on soil tests but ranges from 3-9 lbs./ac. Depending on tillage practices, Racer can be banded or placed in strip till applications.

Talk to your Federated Agronomist to see if Racer DSA is right for your crops in 2018. 
Federated Focus: A Service, A Person
Meeting Grower Needs at Ground Level with Precision Ag
Andrew Usher
Tasked with delivering grower input and designing precision ag programs to meet individual grower needs, Federated’s new Agronomy Task Force consists of agronomy sales staff from each of Federated’s locations. Andrew Usher, agronomy sales rep at the Isanti location, is among the eight members of this task force.

“This [task force] was established . . . to address emerging interest in precision ag platforms,” he said, adding that precision ag has many advantages for Federated growers.

The task force is charged with helping growers leverage the benefits of grid sampling and variable rate (VR) applications of fertilizer and crop protection products. Precision ag allows growers “to save on input cost vs. uniform applications while addressing areas of concern in the field more appropriately,” said Usher.

As an Iowa farm boy, Usher did the “typical work that kids do during the spring and summer – pitching hay, picking rocks, and detasseling” all the while learning the ropes of farming. When his family moved from Iowa to Wisconsin in his senior year of high school he “joined FFA and became immersed in dairy farming.” His initial studies in dairy science and finally in soil and water conservation at UW-River Falls gave him a degree that translates well into serving with the Federated precision ag task force.

Usher described his first growing season with Federated in 2017 as one of building trusting relationships with Federated patrons. He is committed to ensuring their success and satisfaction, and he has seen how precision ag can help as the technologies help “farmers make focused, data-driven decisions to maximize their ROI.”

In addition to building on the strong base of grid sampling and VR services that Federated has built in recent years, the task force is focused on answering questions, communicating solid info, and gathering insight from growers who have already employed precision ag technologies in their farming operations.

As Usher learned in his role as an engineer officer with the Wisconsin National Guard, it takes training and preparation to effectively use the tools available for any given task, and precision ag offers a great set of tools, such as Climate Fieldview, which “a ims to help farmers sustainably increase their productivity by monitoring inputs, in-season variabilities, and much more,” he said.

Usher spends his days at Federated doing multi-faceted agronomy-related tasks, which he has quickly discovered lead to “learning something advantageous” every day. Likewise, Federated’s precision ag task force is committed to providing tools that give growers the advantage in the fields and on the farm.

At the end of the day, when Usher goes home to his wife and little girl, he knows growers are finding ways to maximize their farming operations with the valuable tools Federated has to offer. Contact Usher or your local Federated Agronomist to learn more about the task force, and precision ag.
Fertilizer + Dual II Magnum® SI = Better Weed Control
For early season control of grasses and small seeded broadleaves, Federated recommends Dual II Magnum® SI to help create a wider window for post applications, according to Rod Gustafson, Federated Agronomist at the Albertville location.

Dual II Magnum SI is a Group 15 herbicide with no known resistance and it offers another mode of action to control weed resistance on all types of corn and soybeans. It helps control annual grasses such as foxtail and crabgrass, as well as small seeded broadleaves such as tall waterhemp and pigweed. At a use rate of 1.5 pts./ac., it can be applied pre-plant, pre-plant incorporated (worked into the top two inches of the soil), or pre-emerge. (See label. )

Dual II Magnum SI can be impregnated into bulk dry fertilizer of 200 lbs. or more per acre. As part of a planned two-pass weed control program, Dual II Magnum SI is a “free ride because you are already applying the fertilizer,” said Gustafson. Contact your Federated Agronomist to learn more.