Prep for success in 2021

Farmers can use information from seed guides to inform management practices later in the season

By Jackie Clark
Staff Writer
Better Farming

Once your crop is growing in the field, it’s up to Mother Nature and your agronomic management decisions to try to capture the full yield potential of that seed.

In 2020, farmers “who decided to apply a fungicide in corn and soybeans will be rewarded,” Todd Woodhouse told Better Farming. Even though many crops in the field looked good earlier in the year, late-season mould and disease can cause yield loss.

Woodhouse is a marketing development agronomist at Bayer CropScience.

“If you have a good-looking crop going into July, you should put a fungicide on” to protect yield, he said.

Seed companies strive to provide growers with information so they’ll have a better idea of how certain varieties and hybrids will perform under specific management practices.

Looking down a corn row
    Oleksandr Yuchynskyi/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo

For example, some varieties and hybrids have a better response to fungicides than others, explained Marijke Vanderlaan. She’s an agronomic service representative at Syngenta.

Scores or ratings for that response are “something we’re seeing more and more in seed guides,” she said.

WinField United Canada is one such company that publishes response scores. Company representatives rate “each hybrid’s tested response to fungicide, nitrogen and plant population,” said Kaitland Miller. “Basically, this (information) helps the farmer make in-season decisions.”

Miller is a market development manager at WinField United Canada.

Producers can use these ratings to assess if they’d likely get a good return on a management activity, like applying a fungicide, on a certain hybrid. Alternatively, farmers can select hybrids based on how they like to manage their crops, Miller added.

“We really hope that farmers can make decisions based on data as opposed to knee-jerk reactions to what their neighbours are doing,” she said. BF

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