When disease threatens yields this season, farmers have reliable data to help them decide if and when a certain treatment will benefit their potential bottom-line profits. Key insights from the 2014 Answer Plot Program by WinField show that fungicide applications increased yield and improved late-season plant health for most Croplan corn and soybeans in 2014.
In 2014, corn fungicide trials spanned 28 locations with 91 percent of the sites showing an average yield response of 5.2 bushels per acre. Results also showed that even when disease was not present, some genetic types responded favorably to fungicide.
Discovering ROI Potential
Disease can greatly reduce yields, and disease stress intensifies when soybeans are planted in the same field for two or more years. “Even though some varieties have built-in tolerance to certain diseases, they are not immune to yield loss under heavy disease pressure,” said Kevin Eye, vice president of agronomy and product development, WinField.
For example, in soybean trials, 82 percent of Answer Plot Program locations had a positive yield response by adding fungicide. One trial comparison between two corn hybrids with different genetic backgrounds showed a 5-bushel-per-acre yield variation in response to fungicide. “Knowing how each hybrid will respond to treatment can help farmers decide when they will receive the greatest return potential on their fungicide spray investment.”
Additional Management Insights
Other key insights identified during analysis of 2014 Answer Plot data also presented significant financial implications for farmers across the country, including:
- Starter fertilizer provides a hedge against environmental stress at planting. In 37 corn trial locations, 77 percent of sites with cold temperatures at planting had a nearly 3-bushel-per-acre yield advantage with starter fertilizer that included 10-34-0 plus Ultra-Che Zn 9% plant nutrients.
- Tissue sampling helps identify when it’s beneficial to make plant nutrient applications. Answer Plot data showed that up to 23 percent more sites had a positive yield response when tissue sampling showed a manganese deficiency compared to sites that had sufficient manganese.
- High management practices help increase quality and yield with new Croplanspring wheat. Trial results showed that higher levels of management such as using seed treatments, fungicide applications, higher populations and increased nitrogen helped new wheat varieties yield an average of 8.3 bushels per acre higher than traditional management practices.
Helping Identify Opportunities
In its 17th year of operation, the Answer Plot Program has become one of the industry’s premier research and demonstration programs. Following rigorous protocols and strict analytic standards, Answer Plot data is evaluated at local, regional and national levels, distilling millions of useful data points to help bolster return on investment potential. Information from the program helps fuel cutting-edge ag technology tools from WinField and customized recommendations for each field.
With nearly 200 Answer Plot locations nationwide, farmers get a firsthand look at how products and management practices work in all types of conditions. Answer Plot events include demonstrations and advice from WinField agronomists on local crop production issues, including pest management, plant nutrition and more.