• Agronomic Insights

6 Ways to Unlock the Next Level of Production

Combine unloading into a grain cart while harvesting.
Season’s end is a great time to reflect on successes and missed opportunities to develop a solid plan for 2022. As you look for ways to unlock the next level of production, it’s helpful to have clear goals in mind. Where do you want to take your operation in the next three to five years? Where are you hoping to find efficiencies? Are there new management practices or products you’d like to try? These are questions you should be asking yourself as you craft your production plan for next season. Here are six tips that can help take your operation to the next level in 2022.

Overcome fertility challenges.

It’s no secret that fertility costs are on farmers’ minds. The USDA reports anhydrous ammonia prices reached $857 per ton in October 2021, nearly double the cost farmers paid last year at this time. Exponential increases in fertility costs mean you should be reassessing your plant nutrition plan to optimize yields while effectively managing cost-per-acre production expenses for next season’s crop.
If you have recent grid soil sampling data, use it to build variable-rate fertility prescriptions. A targeted in-season application could result in significant fertility savings next season. Supply chain issues could affect fertilizer availability through the spring, so a contingency plan is a must for 2022.

Reevaluate soybean management.     

If fertilizer prices have you considering more soybean acres in 2022, you’ll need to take steps to optimize their productivity potential. For fields that haven’t had soybeans on them in the past three to five years, inoculating seed with rhizobium bacteria is recommended to promote adequate nitrogen fixation in the soil.
If you’re planning a continuous soybean rotation next season, acknowledge the plant health implications and invest in products to safeguard seed. Warden® CX seed treatment can help protect soybeans against early-season diseases and insects. It also helps promote stronger, more even emergence. Taking tissue samples can help you identify any in-season nutrient amendments that may be required to optimize yield potential.

Tackle weeds before spring.

Weed control is low-hanging fruit when it comes to boosting productivity. Cleaning up fields with a fall burndown  puts you in a good position for establishing a strong crop. Winter annual weeds often get a jump-start on growth compared to a crop, giving them a distinct advantage from the get-go. As the season progresses, it becomes harder to control larger weeds, and unpredictable spring weather could make it challenging to make timely herbicide applications.
A fall burndown application doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive to be effective. Provided you’re planting an herbicide-resistant crop next spring, you should achieve effective weed control with glyphosate, a growth regulator like 2,4-D, or dicamba to target glyphosate-resistant weeds and the appropriate adjuvant package. Your WinField® United retailer can help recommend effective fall burndown products for your most troublesome weeds.

Protect plant health.

Tar spot is becoming a more significant threat for farmers and is expanding its reach. To protect corn in 2022, it’s essential to plan now to support season-long plant health. Tar spot, in particular, may require multiple applications for adequate control. As with other crop protection products, fungicide availability could be limited. Premium fungicides that work well against tar spot could be hard to come by, so if you can secure purchases for vulnerable acres ahead of time, you may save yourself headaches next summer.
Make the most of your fungicide application by adding MasterLock® adjuvant to enhance spray coverage. MasterLock adjuvant helps increase adhesion, reduce bounce and improve canopy penetration to keep more active ingredients on target. Adding MAX-IN® nutrients with fungicide applications is another way to optimize plant health benefits.
You can also help mitigate risk and maximize ROI potential when making fungicide applications with the Impact Rx Prescription Service. It uses the quality data and insights from our Answer Plot® program to deliver customized fungicide recommendations through your local retailer that are backed by a service warranty covered by WinField United.*

Use tech to support profitable seed decisions.

Harvest data is your friend when it comes to improving productivity potential. Today’s equipment enables the collection of many data points that can turn into insights for your operation. Comprehensive hybrid management information, including response-to-nitrogen scores, will be helpful as you adjust your fertility program for next season. If you’re not sure what data is relevant, your retailer can offer support for making the most of the information you’ve gathered.

Set realistic expectations.

If you plan to try out new production practices or products next season, be sure to have a purpose in mind and set realistic expectations. Do your homework ahead of time to understand the benefits and limitations of new production products and practices. Identify goals, set performance benchmarks and track progress throughout the season to measure success. The Advanced Acre® Rx Prescription Program by WinField United delivers customized agronomic recommendations that can help mitigate risk when trying new practices on your farm.
Rebounding commodity prices may provide some extra margin you can use to unlock more potential from your acres in 2022. Contact your WinField United retailer to get personalized recommendations to take your operation to the next level.   
*Agreement is required, and conditions, restrictions and service fees apply. Only available to corn and soybean farmers who enroll a minimum of 250 acres of an individual crop in the program. The WinField United delivery of this service, and growers’ participation in this service offering, are subject to the terms and conditions provided in the grower participation agreement.
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© 2021 WinField United. Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years and to be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results. MasterLock, MAX-IN, Warden, Answer Plot, Advanced Acre, Impact Rx and WinField are trademarks of WinField United. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.