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WinField’s ‘Greater Acre’

By Staff | Aug 2, 2014

THE OUTSIDE ROWS of this corn stand appears that these plants will bring more than one ear to maturity. It’s part of WinField Solutions’ Greater Acre plot north of Sioux Center along U.S. Highway 71.

SIOUX CENTER – WinField Solutions has several new programs this year in their Answer Plots, including the Greater Acre program, which they think will get many farmers’ attention.

According to Joel Leusink, a master agronomy advisor for WinField, overseeing an Answer Plot north of Sioux Center along U.S. Highway 71, the Greater Acre is a demonstration using the general farming practices of the northwest Iowa area and adding a variety of yield-enhancing products.

Other Greater Acre programs are being run throughout Iowa and the Corn Belt, all based on each region’s traditional row crop farming practices.

The idea, Leusink said, is to compare yields, ear size and kernel counts from the Greater Acre plots, with those from a standard acre plot using a mixture of inputs, but fewer than the Greater Acre.

“We plan to hand-harvest the corn,” Leusink said, “and to show the value” of the two plots.

It’s anticipated the Greater Acre will produce a larger yield, Leusink said, but the test is to see if farmers can get their return on investments with the extra inputs and practices.

In addition, WinField will then determine through these comparisons the new products it will take on for the 2015 growing season.

The two plots, he said are both conventional tillage. There was no attempt this year to compare no-till or strip-till, although reduced tillage may be a future focus, Leusink said.

“The Greater Acre,” he said, “is a systems approach using split- and variable rate nitrogen applications, adding starter fertilizers and growth regulators, using soil and tissue samples to determine additional fertilizer needs “and feeding the plants when they need it.”

The program is also trying a variety of modes of action against weed to prevent resistance problems.

As late-season approaches, Leusink said, “we’ll try fungicide and pesticide combinations and compare (yield impacts) with treated and untreated plots.

“There’s no silver bullet out there. You need the whole system to make the Greater Acre.”

QR codes

Leusink said WinField is also working on developing quick response codes for a customer’s field that will store the data of the hybrids and other information, such as soil type, plant population and nitrogen responses, in the code.

A farmer with an iPhone can scan the QR code in the field and get immediate information back on what products can be used, where results of products have been better than other areas.

“It’s to provide a higher level of placement” of inputs, Leusink said.

Alfalfa trials

Leusink said WinField “is a major player in Round-up Ready alfalfa.”

It hopes to show a high feed value in alfalfa with enhanced management.

“Alfalfa can be managed more than corn,” he said. “Because you take multiple cuttings, you can play with and manipulate yields.

“Barring weather of course.”

Nitrogen on soybean

Although it may seem strange, WinField is also testing the yield response in soybeans with nitrogen applications, even though soybeans provide much of its own nitrogen.

“But studies have shown,” Leusink said, “that at 60-plus bushels per acre it’s hard for soybeans to maintain nitrogen.

“So we are testing that theory.”

The Answer Plot is looking at staging its soybeans and applying different nitrogen applications as in a corn plot – foliar, side dressing or urea.

The Greater Acre, alfalfa trials and nitrogen on soybean trials will generate hundreds of thousands of bits of data, Leusink said.

This information will be collated, calculated into the overall precision ag formula.

The results are then passed onto its partner cooperatives, and then onto growers.

“It’s all geared at looking at yield responses in view of a return on investment,” Leusink said.

Leusink said the Sioux Center Answer Plot is scheduled to hold a field day on Aug. 8.

Presenters will provide a review of the growing season to date, discuss the new hybrids, products and how they were placed “and discuss what worked and what didn’t,” he said.

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