News from Your Federated Agronomists | February 13, 2018
Corn Grower Workshops Feb. 19-23

Join us at a 2018 Corn Grower Workshop! Topics of discussion include:

Introducing Palace Corn Herbicide | Early Season Discovery Plot Results in Corn
2017 Discovery Plot Results for Corn Hybrids
Managing Corn Inputs for the Best ROI | CFA and Credit Options

Each workshop begins at 10 a.m. sharp, with lunch to follow. RSVP to the Federated location near you.

Osceola - Monday, Feb. 19 - St. Croix Falls American Legion
Rush City - Tuesday, Feb. 20 - Chuckers Bowl & Lounge
Ogilvie - Wednesday, Feb. 21 - Northern Lights
Albertville - Thursday, Feb. 22 - City Hall
Isanti - Friday, Feb. 23 - Captains on Long Lake
Let's Talk Groceries
grocery bag with corn
Talk around Federated lately sounds more like chefs making their grocery lists than agronomists making their recommendations, but the analogy is a good one. What groceries are to a chef, nutrients are to a crop.

So, start with the appetizer. Starter fertilizers – pop-up fertilizers, aptly named for the way they make a crop pop up out of the soil – are the first part of the meal. It’s important to get the crops off to a good start with a “snack,” said Tim Stelter, agronomy manager at Federated’s Osceola location. Starter fertilizer pays off with good ROI, “even in challenging times,” he said. “It gets the corn off to a faster start with better roots.”

Additionally, the early nutrient applications help reduce environmental stress to the crop, such as from cold, wet, or compacted soils. Then, at harvest, corn planted with start-up fertilizer is typically 1-2% drier. However, Selter said, start-up fertilizer “is not the full meal the corn needs. Corn needs lots of groceries.”

Start feeding the crops a good meal with a consistently high-quality fertilizer such as XLR-rate™ (7-23-5), by CHS, and then deliver the main course through an effective nutrient management plan. XLR is safe, effective, affordable, easy to handle, has a low salt index, and is compatible with additives such as zinc and root growth enhancers (see article below).

Talk to your Federated Agronomist about the “grocery list” for your crops soon. 
More Grocery Options to Feed the Corn
Starter fertilizer on corn
The choice to apply start-up fertilizers – the appetizer in a corn crop’s nutrient meal – comes down to three options: orthophosphates (orthos), polyphosphates (polys), or a combination of the two.

Federated stocks a 100% ortho 6-24-6 start-up fertilizer, and XLR-rate, which is 80% ortho and 20% poly, as good sources of in-furrow phosphorous that are very seed safe and have a low use rate of 3-5 gal./ac. Craig Loen, Federated agronomist at the Osceola location, noted that plants take up phosphorous in the orthophosphate form – and they require moisture, proper pH, and the right soil temperature to work well.

“Orthos work better in-furrow,” said Loen. “Polys can be used in furrow and two-by-two placement, but they aren’t seed safe; they require low use rates and more moisture in the soil. Their salt content is higher and can cause seed burn, which reduces germination.”

Loen said, “If it’s a dry spring and it’s warm, [the polyphosphates] will try to suck the moisture from the seed” and kill the germ.

Federated carries a very common polyphosphate, 10-34-0, which is 60-65% poly and 35% ortho. Polyphosphates are higher in nutrient content and in two-by-two situations can be applied at a rate of up to 15 gal./ac.

Under ideal conditions, both orthos and polys will work well; environmental conditions, equipment availability, and cost are often the deciding factors.

Federated can also create custom blends with either polys or orthos, depending on crop and field needs, with 10-34-0 UAN and ammonium thiosulfate. These blends bring home the nutrient meal analogy: “You are putting out more groceries for your crop,” said Loen, “in the close band to the seed.”

Talk to your Federated Agronomist soon to determine the perfect “meal options” for your 2018 crops. 
Federated Focus: A Service, A Person
Setting the Table for Custom Application
Ryan Peterson
While Federated Agronomists parody “groceries” and how to “feed” every crop the right nutrient “meal,” Ryan Peterson (pictured) is determining how to actually serve up the meal, as it were.

Now, and through the rush of spring fertilizer application, Peterson, Federated’s custom applicator manager at the Osceola location, will be making sure all the crop “groceries” are delivered to the right places, and applied to the right fields.

Said Peterson, “I’m the one who takes all the orders for custom application [at Osceola]. I dispatch all the sprayers or spreaders to the fields.”

Peterson joined Federated in March 2000, at the start of the busy spring season, which meant he was on the job for long hours in his first role as a sprayer/spreader operator. After several years out in the fields every day, Peterson moved into the office and began dispatching applicators. Today he’s doing dispatch, and also works with the agronomists and growers on field mapping.

Carrying the grocery/meal analogy one step further, field maps are to spraying and application what recipes are to cooking. Without a good map (a.k.a. recipe) it’s easy to add the wrong ingredients – and consequently ruin a good crop (a.k.a. meal).

Federated does field mapping with the Surety® mapping program. Working with Peterson or one of the Federated Agronomists, growers can go through all their fields with the mapping app and select, highlight, label, and make notes (sensitive areas, waterways, tiling, etc.) for all their fields.

The Surety program makes it easy to mark fields and keep things straight. For example, Peterson said, “We can split a field in half and put the north side on soybeans and the south side on corn and label it two different ways,” he said. Then, when it comes time to dispatch the applicator, the directions to “Spray the Johnson south half” are very clear. Errors are minimized. Crops get sprayed correctly.

Peterson and the application managers at every Federated location highly recommend field mapping to “put your mind at ease” for accurate applications . “It makes the whole world go a lot smoother with a proper map,” said Peterson. And the crop “groceries” get delivered properly! Contact your Federated Agronomist to get maps compiled before the spring rush begins.
Add Crop Protection to the Grocery List
notebook and  receipts
Once crop nutrient decisions are made, there’s one more item to add to the “grocery” list: a good crop protection plan, starting with a solid pre-emerge herbicide.

Panther® SC, a post-plant/pre-emerge herbicide is a “smart and effective chemistry” to utilize when combating waterhemp in soybeans, according to Jake Hansen, Federated agronomist at the Rush City location. Panther® SC is a private-label version of liquid Valor,® which is one of the active ingredients found in another popular soybean herbicide, Enlite.® (See Panther fact sheet and label. )
Like most pre-emerge herbicides, Panther SC is not a stand-alone product even though it has a strong residual on many broadleaf weed species; it needs to be part of a planned herbicide program.

Hansen recommends using “multiple modes of action to combat weeds, especially in fields . . . with accumulating weed pressure.” Panther SC can be tank mixed with Tricor® 4F or Prowl® H2O for additional residual activity on waterhemp, and other broadleaf weeds. Hansen added that it is also common to tank mix glyphosate with these chemistries in order to get excellent control of already emerged weeds.

Panther SC must be applied after planting, but before the crop emerges, within three days of planting according to its label. Hansen noted that communication and timing are key to successful and properly timed applications when using Federated’s custom application services (see article above), so talk to your Federated Agronomist soon to finish your grocery list.