Federated Co-ops News

  • Giant Ragweed: Another Battle in the Field

    In the last Agronomy Update, this series on herbicide-resistant weeds looked at waterhemp; now the conversation moves to giant ragweed.

    "This herbicide-resistant weed is showing up in [our] area," according to Bob Marquette, Federated agronomist at the Albertville location, and "without proper management [giant ragweed] will find its way to other parts of Federated's trade area, if it already hasn't."

    Giant ragweed resistance was first found with Group 2 herbicides (ALS-inhibitors) in the late 1990s in the "I" states (IL, IN, IA) and Ohio. "You probably know [Group 2] herbicides as Pursuit and Raptor," said Marquette.

    "Resistance with giant ragweed is not new," he said, but "what is new is its resistance to Group 9 (glyphosate/Roundup®)." Resistance to what has become the go-to herbicide started showing up in the last few years, and is now confirmed in 11 states across the Midwest and southern U.S.

    Resistance was built through repeated use of glyphosate year after year, first in soybeans and then in corn. "We found problem fields in both crops in Albertville this past growing season," said Marquette.

    Giant ragweed is a "huge problem because of its competitiveness" and the fact that it produces a "massive number of seeds," Marquette noted. The battle with these weeds will intensify if growers don't take action. And the answer lies in modes of action.

    As discussed in previous articles in this series, multiple, layered modes of action are being touted as the best option for achieving the desired level of weed control. And multiple, layered modes of action translates as "pre-emerge treatments followed by a solid early post-emerge program, and possibly a second post application," said Marquette.

    "The new Roundup-Ready 2 Xtend® (dicamba) weed control system looks like it could be one piece of the puzzle" to get or keep control of giant ragweed, "but it needs to be used in conjunction with a good pre-emerge program to get the results we're after," he said, emphasizing that RR 2 Xtend is not a stand-alone product.

    The battle rages with herbicide-resistant weeds. Talk to your Federated Agronomist to determine what products and programs should be in your weed-control arsenal.

  • Liquid Corn Starter Adds Value Early On

    All across Federated's service areas, a pop-up, in-row starter is recommended to get corn off to a fast and strong start, according to Tim  Stelter, Federated agronomist at the Osceola location.

    "We have a clear liquid that is 100% ortho," said Stelter, "and we have XLR-rate™ that is 80% ortho and 20% poly, which is a high-quality, seed-safe starter fertilizer (7-23-5) that mixes well with other micronutrients, especially zinc, the critical nutrient for corn development." (XLR-rate can also be used later in the year as foliar feeding.)

    XLR-rate, a CHS product, can be combined with USA500, a Rosen's product, for complete pop-up nutrition on corn. It has four active ingredients, including zinc, that help release the phosphate tied up in the soil. USA500 also increases the availability of nitrogen, sulfur, and other important nutrients in the soil.

    "These products are easy to handle, environmentally friendly, tested, and reliable," said Stelter. Whether it's applied in traditional two-by-two placement or in furrow, there's good value in start-up fertilizer.

    Liquid fertilizer starters will be part of an in-depth discussion at next week's corn grower meetings (see info at right). Talk to the Federated Agronomists at the Corn Grower Workshops.


  • Beating the Problematic Weeds

    Federated recommends herbicide programs designed around the problematic weeds, and "more often than not, we are seeing waterhemp and giant ragweed together," said Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist.

    Carlson said, "From a pre-emerge standpoint, we have to ask what works on both [waterhemp and giant ragweed?"

    Bryan Thompson of Rosen's said, "Blanket® 4F is a liquid straight goods sulfentrazone product that's one of the best pre-emerge active ingredients on the market for waterhemp." In the fight against giant ragweed, Blanket 4F tank mixed with Sonic® or Authority® First can be an effective choice. Thompson said this "agronomically sound" tank mix offers "considerable savings to the grower" when both weed species are present.

    "Blanket 4F is comparable in formulation to FMC's Spartan® 4F, and it works well as a supplement to Sonic and other popular pre-emerge herbicides," Thompson said.

    A tank mix of 2 oz./ac. of Blanket 4F with 3 oz./ac. of Sonic or Authority First offers about the same amount of sulfentrazone as 5 oz./ac. of Sonic, but at a lower cost -- and this mix offers residual control of both waterhemp and giant ragweed. Thompson said, "As a rule of thumb, every 1 oz./ac. of Blanket will add approximately one week of additional residual control." Carlson added that there "is no additional benefit to go with the higher rate of Sonic for giant ragweed."


    For a broader spectrum of control -- in the absence of giant ragweed -- growers can choose Blanket 4F on its own, or with a variety of other combinations, such as Blanket 4F tank mixed with Sencor, Dual, or Outlook (or their generic/private label versions). These options provide "two modes of action to control waterhemp and many other small-seeded broadleaves," said Thompson.

    The photo at right, taken by last summer by Thompson in St. Peter, MN, shows soybeans (in a field with waterhemp and giant ragweed pressure) 50 days after a pre-emerge application of Sonic plus Blanket 4F at 3 oz./ac. each -- with no post treatment or burner product applied.

    It's not too early to discuss tough weed control options for 2017. Contact your Federated Agronomist to design a program that fits your specific weed issues.

  • Corn Grower Workshops Start Feb. 20th

    Federated's 2017 Corn Grower Workshops start on Mon., Feb. 20, and continue through Feb. 24. Each workshop, beginning at 10 a.m., will focus on the theme, Corn Economics and Agronomics, and will conclude with a free lunch. Contact your nearest  Federated location to RSVP and for details on specific venues for each meeting.

    Workshop topics:

    • Economics x Agronomics
    • Liquid Fertilizer Starters
    • Biologicals
    • Gypsum
      • Monday, Feb. 20 -Osceola
      • Tuesday, Feb. 21 -Rush City
      • Wednesday, Feb. 22 - Ogilvie
      • Thursday, Feb. 23 -Albertville
      • Friday, Feb. 24 - Isanti
  • Another Herbicide Labeled for RR 2 Xtend Soybeans

    Another herbicide label has been approved for use with the Roundup Ready 2 Extend ®   soybean system (dicamba tolerant soybeans).

    Engenia herbicide, a BASF product, has been given a supplemental label for 2017 and 2018.

    To learn more about this newly labeled product and how it can help in the battle against problematic weeds, contact your Federated Agronomist.

  • As Resistant Weeds Spread, the Challenges Increase

    "Two things are happening at the same time in local corn and soybean fields in the Federated service area," said Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist, "the spread of waterhemp, and the development of herbicide-resistant biotypes. Both are very problematic for our growers."

    The issue of herbicide resistance in waterhemp can be narrowed down to two main challenges.

    Challenge #1: Waterhemp has spread significantly in the last several years, caused by waterhemp seeds being moved by equipment, birds, wind, and other environmental factors, all of which are very difficult to control. How can anyone keep the seeds out of a combine, or geese out of the fields?

    Challenge #2: Once waterhemp is introduced into a field, controlling it becomes an issue because, according to Carlson, "most often it is already a herbicide-resistant biotype of some kind." And, if it is not, he added, "it will quickly become resistant to one in particular: glyphosate (Round Up®)."

    To address these challenges and start to take control of waterhemp, growers need to think differently, first about the weed's characteristics, and secondly about the nature of the biotypes that have become resistant and how to select the right herbicides.

    Waterhemp is a dioecious species, and thus cross pollination must occur to make seed (male plants + female plants = mixing of the gene pool.) Also, female plants are capable of producing large amounts of seed  (photo at right shows small but prolific waterhemp seeds).

    Other Midwest states have been dealing with the waterhemp issue longer than Minnesota and Wisconsin; Illinois has documented waterhemp to be resistant to six different site-of-action (see article below) classes of herbicides to date.

    1. ALS (e.g., Pursuit)
    2. Triazines (e.g., Sencor)
    3. PPO inhibitors (e.g., Flexstar)
    4. Glyphosate (e.g., Roundup)
    5. HPPD inhibitors (e.g., Callisto)
    6. Auxinic herbicides (e.g., 2,4-D)

    Choosing the right herbicide, or combination of herbicides, becomes increasingly complex with one additional factor, according to Carlson: "These six different herbicide resistances that are known in waterhemp can also be stacked in the biotypes that become resistant." In other words, a grower could conceivably spray all six herbicides in a field at the same time in a tank-mix and not kill some or all of the population of waterhemp in a field.

    Thus, said Carlson, "It comes down to management. Herbicide management." And it is no simple task.

    Federated Agronomists are ready to help growers face the challenge of waterhemp and other herbicide resistant weeds. Call with your questions and concerns. Also watch for more information on this important topic at the Soybean Grower Workshops.

  • Multiple Modes of Action Fight Herbicide Resistance

    Herbicide-resistant weeds often bring conversations around to modes or sites of action. The mode of action is "the way in which a herbicide controls susceptible plants," while the site of action is "the specific biochemical site that is affected by the herbi­cide."* These two terms are often used interchangeably.

    John Swanson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location, recently attended a presentation by Kevin Bradley of the University of Missouri. Discussing modes (and/or sites) of action, Bradley tried "to help those of us in Minnesota and Wisconsin to avoid the situation . . . in Missouri," said Swanson. Herbicide resistant waterhemp and Palmer Amaranth are taking root in an extremely high percentage of their acres.

    Bradly reported that Missouri growers are seeing resistance to two modes of action, and they have as high as five modes of resistance in one weed species. What can Minnesota growers learn from them? Swanson outlined several facts, based on Bradley's presentation.

    • Continue -- or increase -- use of pre-emerge programs.
      • There is currently no resistance to Group 15 herbicides. Weeds that don't germinate and emerge are significantly less likely to become resistant to herbicides.
    • Rotate modes of action, but more importantly, mix modes of action.
      • According to Bradley, using multiple modes of action in tank mixes during a single crop year has been more effective than merely rotating modes of action.
      • The more modes being applied, the better the chance of killing weeds and not allowing a resistant population to survive and/or explode.
    • Layer residual products.
      • Missouri growers have found major success with residual products because hard-to-control weeds can germinate for long periods of time (the trait that makes them hard to control).
      • It is important to lay down a pre-emerge herbicide as part of a base program, but then add a residual product with a post application "to continue to help prevent these weeds from germinating later in the season, when we can't go back and spray," said Swanson (Dual® is a good example).

    "We have some very hard-to-control and resistant weeds coming our way," said Swanson, "and we need to learn from others and not make the same mistakes they did." Following these basic guidelines will set Minnesota and Wisconsin growers on the right path.

    Contact your Federated Agronomist to further discuss modes of action and application programs for 2017.

    *See this link for a more complete discussion of the terms, as defined by Dr. Joe Armstrong of the University of Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. 

  • Staunch II™ Pre-Emerge Herbicide Option

    As the need for pre-emerge herbicides resurges, Federated recommends Staunch II™, a private label version of Dow's Surestart II®. With the active ingredients acetochlor (with a safener), flumetesulum, and clopyralid, Staunch II can be applied pre-plant, pre-emerge, and early post, and offers an excellent value in the fight against common weeds in Minnesota, including foxtails, crabgrass, barnyard grass, yellow nutsedge, pigweed, waterhemp, nightshade, annual morning glory, and common ragweed.

    The common use rate on field and silage corn in the Federated service area is 1.5-2.0 pt./ac.

    Staunch II is one strong option for growers wanting to include pre-emerge herbicides in their crop management plan. Talk to your local Federated Agronomist to determine which product fits your needs. 

  • Corn Grower Workshops Dates Set

    Federated's 2017 Corn Grower Workshops will focus on the theme,Corn Economics and Agronomics. All meetings start at 10 a.m. and conclude with a free lunch. Watch for your invitation in the mail. Plan to attend one of these valuable workshops. 

    RSVP to the Federated location nearest you.

    • Monday, Feb. 20, Osceola
    • Tuesday, Feb. 21, Rush City
    • Wednesday, Feb. 22, Ogilvie
    • Thursday, Feb. 23, Albertville
    • Friday, Feb. 24, Isanti
  • Battleground: Controlling Herbicide Resistant Weeds

    "A weed that never germinates, emerges, and produces seed can never develop resistance to a herbicide," said Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist, "and this is a key point to remember when we talk about the issue of weed resistance in general."

    Two definitions are important to remember.

    • Herbicide control: The mechanism in the plant that the herbicide detrimentally affects so that the plant succumbs to the herbicide.
    • Herbicide resistance: The herbicide no longer works on the mechanism in the plant, and it lives, producing seed for the next generations.

    "This is another key point: Once herbicide resistance is in a population of a weed species in a field, it never leaves. Ever. Especially the pigweeds (amaranths, such as waterhemp)," said Carlson.

    The development of herbicide resistant crops, such as seen in corn and soybeans, has led to a overdependence on herbicides. It has also led to changes in agronomic practices both good and bad.

    Unfortunately, bad practices have led to new problems. For example, using the same herbicide over and over in a cropping system puts pressure on the weeds to overcome the herbicide. Thus, without proper management practices and herbicide stewardship, herbicides exert high selection pressure on weeds. The end result is a shift in weed species, changes in population and density, and the development of herbicide resistance. 

    The challenge in today's crop and weed environment is to think differently, according to Dr. Aaron G. Hagar, a weed expert from the University of Illinois. Hagar's message, Carlson observed, was clear: Growers must think differently about amaranths (waterhemp, Palmer amaranth). Carlson added that giant ragweed should be added to that list as it appears to be glyphosate resistant in some of Federated's service area.

    Without a change in thinking, more weeds will become resistant to herbicides and the cost of weed control will rise. Growers must learn to "use the management tools available today, and use them correctly," said Carlson.

    The next several editions of the Agronomy Update will focus on ways to think differently about weed resistance, and why it matters. Federated's winter grower meetings will also explore this important topic. Talk to your Federated Agronomist about weed resistance -- anytime.