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Crop roundup: soil analysis

A new collaboration promises the ability for growers to more accurately plan, place, and manage nitrogen applications on a real-time basis; growers will have more corn hybrid choices for 2014; U.S. soybean crop-quality survey shows less regional variation in protein levels; and a new fungicide receives EPA registration for disease control in rice.

DuPont Pioneer, University of Missouri, and USDA-ARS announce collaboration to increase grower productivity and sustainability
In a three-year exclusive agreement, DuPont, the University of Missouri, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) have announced an innovative new collaboration to pool soil-mapping resources, predictive technologies, and expertise to help growers more sustainably improve crop yields through better nitrogen application management and other field input planning.

The public-private effort aims to enhance sustainable crop production through field and crop modeling that targets the specific soil, climatic, watershed, and production conditions within producers’ fields with real-time information.
The enhanced soil maps build on public soil survey data and will support Decision Agriculture Services provided by DuPont to help crop producers make timely decisions to more sustainably improve yields and per-acre income. Soil analysis procedures will better identify unique land areas called Environmental Response Units (ERUs). These ERUs can then be used to develop a variety of management zones. A Pioneer adviser will assist growers in tailoring input and management plans to fit their goals of the best possible per-acre yield.
This University of Missouri and USDA-ARS collaboration will provide improved soil mapping resolution.
“DuPont Pioneer has long been dedicated to providing our customers with products and services that bring the greatest value to each acre through sustainable field management,” said Paul E. Schickler, president, DuPont Pioneer. “This public-private collaboration with Missouri and USDA-ARS takes that effort to a higher level, helping growers increase yields while being better stewards of the environment. We are building these tools in the U.S., but intend to expand Decision Services offerings into other international markets over time.”
“Management decisions strongly depend on how crops respond to the soil and landscape,” said Brent Myers, agronomist, University of Missouri. “Public soil maps are very valuable, but we can now track differences in fields at a much higher resolution than previously available. ERUs identify smaller areas within fields that can be similarly managed. This collaboration provides opportunities for connecting innovative soil and landscape science with decision-making for millions of acres in the U.S.”
While nitrogen is one of the most important crop inputs, it is also among the most complex and uncertain aspects of modern agricultural production. In addition to being susceptible to environmental losses, its effectiveness is impacted by soil type and day-by-day weather conditions.
By using high-resolution elevation data and landscape watershed information, producers will have a tool to help them better determine water and nitrogen movement on the section and county levels. Together with soil and productivity information, growers can more accurately plan, place, and manage nitrogen applications on a real-time basis.

DuPont Pioneer expands corn hybrid choices for 2014
Pioneer is advancing 111 new Pioneer brand corn products, featuring 32
new genetic platforms, to better meet growers’ needs now and in the

The new group of products includes 20 new Pioneer brand
Optimum AQUAmax products, developed to yield in water-limited
environments and now available in an expanded range of maturity zones.
The Pioneer brand Optimum AcreMax Xtra and Optimum AcreMax XTreme
products featuring proven and trusted above and below ground insect
control traits will include 33 new products for growers to choose from
in 2014.

“The DuPont Pioneer management concept of ‘right product
right acre’ describes how we develop, test and position products with
local information from IMPACT (Intensively Managed Product Advancement
Characterization and Training) trials,” says Bob Heimbaugh, DuPont
Pioneer North American director of corn product evaluation. “Product
performance is only meaningful at a local level. And to meet that goal,
Pioneer leverages global resources to develop local solutions.”

addition to the integrated refuge products available in the Optimum
AcreMax product portfolio, Pioneer advanced three new brown midrib (BMR)
silage hybrids and a new technology segment featuring a powerful
pyramid of insect protection traits called Optimum Leptra hybrids.

the industry-leading Pioneer silage genetics research program, three
new BMR silage hybrids are being introduced to growers with a maturity
range from 102 to 111 CRM and are unlike any other BMR hybrids available
today.  The BMR gene contributes increased fiber digestibility, while
the base genetics provide superior yield, starch and agronomics that
growers have come to expect from a Pioneer brand silage hybrid. Growers
will also benefit from the Herculex XTRA insect protection for above-
and below-ground corn rootworm protection on continuous corn acres used
for silage production.

Pioneer is introducing four new Optimum
Leptra products for the 2014 planting season. These products provide
three traits to deliver multiple modes of action and superior protection
from a broad spectrum of above-ground corn pests. The Optimum Leptra
product pyramid of protection combines the proven Herculex I, YieldGard
Corn Borer and Agrisure Viptera traits with locally developed and tested
Pioneer corn genetics. These products are targeted for southern U.S.
growing environments that can require control of infestations of corn
ear worm and fall armyworm with a maturity range from 113 to 117 CRM.

AQUAmax corn products, planted on 7 million acres in 2013, continued to
perform rain or shine. Based on consistent performance in over 42,000
on farm comparisons in the last three years, demand for Optimum AQUAmax
hybrids in 2014 is expected to exceed 10 million acres. With the
addition of this new class, the Optimum AcreMax family of products with
integrated refuge is estimated to comprise about two-thirds of corn unit
sales in 2014.

Quality of U.S. soybean crop even higher as
 checkoff-funded crop quality survey shows less regional variation in protein, oil levels
The average protein and oil levels in the 2013 U.S. soybean crop ticked upward, according to the soy-checkoff-funded Crop Quality Survey. Average oil levels jumped to 19 percent, a 0.5- point increase from 2012 levels, while average protein levels grew by 0.4 percentage points to 34.7 percent.

U.S. soy’s biggest customer, the global animal agriculture sector, takes note of the protein content in the soybeans it uses, says Laura Foell, chair of the United Soybean Board’s Meal Action Team.

“Our customers buy our soybeans for the components: protein and oil,” says Foell, who farms in Schaller, Iowa. “The animal agriculture sector uses protein to feed animals, and the food industry uses the majority of soybean oil for human consumption and the rest for industrial-like biodiesel. The more protein and oil we have in our soybeans, the more product we have for our end-customers. And more demand could lead to a better price for our crop.”

The study found less regional variation in protein and oil levels in 2013 than in previous years. These typical regional differences result from climate events and other factors outside of farmers’ control.
 Foell says farmers should talk with their seed representatives about soybean varieties that will produce higher levels of protein and oil without sacrificing yield.

The U.S. soy industry provides its customers with a total quality experience: high-performing products delivered by a reliable, consistent and sustainable soy supply chain. And the checkoff’s international arm, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), will use the results of this year’s crop quality survey to help build and maintain a preference for U.S. soy products in the international market.

The 70 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.

Sercadis fungicide receives EPA registration for disease control in rice
BASF announced that Sercadis fungicide has received full U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration. Sercadis fungicide provides rice growers with a solution for resistant sheath blight in rice. Since 2012, Sercadis fungicide has been available to Louisiana rice growers through a Section 18 emergency exemption.

“Sercadis fungicide is a tool to help rice growers control the problematic rice disease sheath blight,” said Brianne Reeves, D.P.M., technical market specialist, BASF. “With a new mode of action available to growers, Sercadis fungicide protects crops against this economically damaging disease.”

Sheath blight typically infects the culms at the water line between the late tilling and joint elongation growth stages, and can progress rapidly, causing tiller lodging and collapse. It can spread from tiller to tiller within a rice field. Growers commonly rotate rice with soybeans, which can also carry the disease, known in soybeans as aerial web blight.

Sercadis fungicide contains the active ingredient Xemium fungicide. It provides consistent performance and longer-lasting disease control. Xemium fungicide is also an active ingredient in Merivon fungicide for specialty crops and Priaxor fungicide for corn and soybean crops.

Other fungicides in the BASF portfolio received expanded labels. Priaxor fungicide is now labeled for sorghum and sugarcane. Merivon fungicide’s label was expanded for use on tree nuts; including almonds, pistachios and walnuts; strawberries; select vegetables; and pome and stone fruits.

Priaxor fungicide, which provides another mode of action for row crops, delivers continuous protection and consistent performance against a broad spectrum of diseases. Growers can apply Priaxor fungicide to their soybean acres, as well as corn acres, early in the season, pre-tassel. Merivon fungicide provides long-lasting and consistent protection against detrimental diseases in specialty crops.

“As an industry leader, BASF is dedicated to providing resistance management solutions, technical support and educational tools to growers,” said Reeves. “Sercadis fungicide will be another tool available to help growers get the most out of every acre.”

Sources: United Soybean Board, BASF, and DuPont Pioneer

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