Federated Co-ops News

  • 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.

  • Circling Back to Soil-Applied Crop Protection Once Again

    They say history repeats itself, and weed resistance to glyphosate (in particular) is sending growers back to the "old" way of managing weeds with pre-emerge herbicides.

    Two decades ago, well before Round-Up Ready® (RR) corn  or soybeans hit the  market, pre -emerge herbicides ruled the day. With RR seed, it became easy to kill the weeds with glyphosate post -emerge, and the trend moved away from soil-applied herbicides.

    But today, with weed resistance issues, "there's a better chance of winning the battle," said Rod Gustafson, Federated agronomist at the Albertville location, "when we control the weeds before they even get up out of the ground."

    In some cases -- as with water hemp -- pre-emerge control may be everything. "We need to keep [waterhemp] from getting out of the ground," said Gustafson, who recommended layering herbicides, starting with a control layer, a pre-emerge with residual. New weeds, such as Palmer amaranth, are moving into the area, and they also demand pre-emerge control.

    In Federated's Albertville service area, according to Gustafson, many growers start weed control by impregnating dry fertilizer with a pre-emerge herbicide (such as Dual Magnum SI). "We can get a free ride on the fertilizer," said Gustafson, saving a pass through the fields and getting the ever-important multiple modes of action.

    Farmers need to be proactive, not merely reactive, in the battle to control glyphosate resistant weeds. "It will become a bigger deal if farmers ignore it," said Gustafson. "It's not going away."

    In the quest to beat the resistant weeds, new herbicide programs must be used with care. It is predicted that without proper management, weeds could develop resistance in as little as four years to dicamba and 2-4D (as with RR Xtend2® or Enlist E3™ soybeans, for example).

    While there is resistance to post-emerge herbicides, "there is not a lot of resistance to pre-emerge chemistries, yet," said Gustafson, "so pre-emerge is a very good tool that farmers need to use."

    "Be proactive, not reactive," said Gustafson. Talk to your Federated Agronomist to determine your best pre-emerge options for this coming spring.

  • Acuron ® Fights Tough Weeds

    As glyphosate-resistant weeds expand (see article above), many weed control options -- especially for tough broadleaf weeds -- have become less effective. One strong option for controlling giant ragweed, waterhemp, and Palmer amaranth is Acuron®, from Syngenta®. In 2015, the National Agri-Marketing Association named Acuron as product of the year.

    The problem of glyphosate resistance is pushing growers to use more pre-emerge residual herbicides at higher use rates and with more than one mode of action and active ingredient.

    Acuron offers three modes of action and contains four active ingredients: bicyclopyrone, mesotrione, S-metolachlor, and atrazine. It has shown itself to provide broad-spectrum control of 70+ broadleaf weeds and grasses, including the following, in corn.

    • Giant ragweed
    • Common ragweed
    • Palmer amaranth
    • Waterhemp
    • Marestail
    • Cocklebur
    • Morning glory
    • Russian thistle

    Acuron can be applied in a one-pass program at a rate of 2.5-3.0 qt./ac. (actual rate dependent on soil organic matter), from 28 days pre-plant to 12-inch corn. A two-pass option is also effective in combination with other herbicides. For those who cannot use atrazine, Acuron Flexi offers a combination of S-Metolachlor, mesotrione, and bicyclopyrone without the atrazine. This can be applied from 28 days pre-plant to 30-inch corn at a rate of 2-2.25 qt./ac.  View Acuron label.

    Talk to your Federated Agronomist to discuss your particular weed control challenges and how Acuron may fit your needs.

  • It's 2017: Time to Renew PSP

    Federated Co-ops, Inc., requires growers to annually update or renew their Product Service Policy (PSP) before crop protection can be purchased or applied each spring. Craig Gustafson, Federated's eastern division agronomy manager, explained the key reasons why this is required.

    First, change is continuous and the demands of agri-business are increasingly complex. Federated understands these changes and is here to help you -- our growers -- navigate the challenges the changes create.

    Secondly, the Product Service Policy is a communication tool. The PSP allows growers to clearly convey their plans to Federated, which in turn enables the Federated team of agronomists, applicators, and suppliers to provide their best level of performance and service.

    Thirdly, understanding crop protection products and their proper use is extremely important. Knowing more about the product prior to application is the first defense against misapplication.

    The product labels include valuable information, including but not limited to:

    • which weeds are controlled by the product,
    • application rates and timing,
    • soil types and textures in which the product performs best,
    • crop rotation considerations,
    • groundwater and grazing restrictions,
    • required setbacks, and
    • re-entry intervals.

    Additional crop protection product information is available online at this link.  Go to product search and enter the brand name of the product; from the list provided, you can download or view any label, according to Gustafson.

    Fortunately, the PSP has not changed this year (as compared to 2016). "However," said Gustafson, "there are new crop protection products available for 2017 with new label requirements."

    Gustafson added this reminder: Always refer to the product label for all directions. "The label is the law," he said.

    View (and/or download) Federated's 2017 Product Service Policy.

    Members of the Federated agronomy team will be contacting growers throughout January and February to update PSP forms. Your Federated Agronomists are always ready to discuss crop protection options for your farm in 2017.

  • Learning & Success in 2016, Partnering Together in 2017

    It is hard to believe 2016 is coming to a close. I have now been in my role for just over a year and it has been a year of learning. I have met many growers this past year at various events, such as Discovery Plot Days, Customer Appreciation Days, and out on your farms.

    I can't thank everyone enough for your time and patience as I learn your business. I am proud of the progress we have made as partners, and I am confident the partnership can continue to grow together.

    The end of 2016 finds your co-op having a successful year in all three aspects of our operation: agronomy, energy, and retail. On the agronomy side, our spring business was very solid, and our focus on fall fertilizer really helped us finish the year strong; about 40% of our growers took advantage of this fall opportunity. We had very competitive prices, and the feedback I received indicated our service was very good.

    As we move into 2017, we are laser focused on cost, service, and growing our business. We will continue working very hard to earn your trust across all of the co-op's service areas. The more business we have, the more leverage we have with our suppliers. So, if we haven't yet earned all your business and you need a bid on any parts of your business -- from agronomy, to energy, to your retail needs on items such as power equipment, feed, auto repair, or parts -- we are here to serve.

    On behalf of all the Federated associates, thank you for your patronage in 2016. We look forward to our partnership and I look forward to seeing you in 2017.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Mike McMahon  

    CEO, Federated Co-ops, Inc.