• Agronomic Insights
  • Feb 26, 2021

Top 5 Takeaways from the 2020 Answer Plot Program

Answer Plot Signs

Even with all of the challenges of 2020, the Answer Plot® program forged ahead, with WinField United agronomists leveraging virtual tools to convey in-field information. Clinics and training events turned out to be very effective and rich data was generated — just like it has been for more than two decades.


Here are the primary learnings and opportunities that were revealed during the 2020 Answer Plot season.


1. Holistic management pays.

The systems approach employed by the WinField® United Advanced Acre® Rx program is proving its value in corn, with an average yield increase of 17.7 bu/A.1 The average soybean yield increase was 3.9 bu/A.1


Results show that a combination of comprehensive upfront planning, choosing the right seed for the acre based on characterization information, executing on recommended in-season management practices and managing the crop all season long aided by ag technology tools is key to success. Following a systems approach — using different products and practices put together in the right way — can help you get more potential out of every acre.


2. Each soybean trait platform has varieties that perform.

Developing an agronomic system for soybeans that works for each individual field and managing early stress with a quality seed treatment is important. So is choosing the right trait platform to combat weed resistance issues.


Top-performing soybean varieties drove yield across platforms:

  • The average yield for Enlist E3™ soybeans in 2020 Answer Plot testing was 66.7 bu/A2

  • The average yield for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans across 2020 Answer Plot locations was 67.1 bu/A2


When managed the right way, each trait platform can help drive yield goals. Effectively combining a germplasm, a herbicide system and a fungicide will produce optimal results. Be sure to consider agronomics first when deciding on a trait package.


3. An early fungicide application enables flexibility.

In testing conducted at 35 Answer Plot locations in 2020, fungicide applications made in corn at V10 showed a 10.4 bu/A response,3 giving farmers a wider window for fungicide response.


Historically, many fungicide applications on corn were made at or around the R1 growth stage (post-tassel) and done aerially. However, with some new products and chemistries with multiple modes of action, fungicide applications can be made prior to tassel while still receiving good disease control and response. This earlier timing can enable operational flexibility, with some farmers able to avoid hiring an airplane or helicopter to spray a fungicide on corn that is too tall to clear a ground sprayer.


4. Response-to scores can help prioritize input investments.

Corn hybrids continue to respond differently to fungicide, nitrogen rates and plant densities. Evidence suggests that interactions between these three components appear to be stronger than previously thought.


Understanding a hybrid’s response to these variables, or response-to scores, can help better match selected hybrids with your intended management style and farm environment. Farmers can allocate input budgets more precisely by using the most effective amount of nitrogen, the most effective seeding rates, and the most appropriate fungicide (or maybe none at all, depending on a hybrid’s response score).


5. Southern rust responded big to fungicide.

Fungicide applications to combat Southern rust in corn at four Answer Plot locations produced an average yield increase of up to 34 bu/A,4 proving the value of fungicide investments as this disease expands and moves north.


Fungicide trials to combat southern rust in corn were conducted at Answer Plot locations in Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri, producing yield increases of up to 34 bu/A.4


Southern rust may not occur every year, but when it does, it can have a devastating yield impact. The disease is pushing into states including Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana; and along the I-29 corridor into Missouri and Iowa. Historically in the South, applying a fungicide may not have paid off, and fungicide efficacy can vary significantly by hybrid. Even in the absence of disease, plant health benefits are generated by a fungicide application; however, in these cases, using a premium product may not be necessary.


Work with your local agronomist

For a majority of farmers, a total-acre management solution is the optimal way to farm. Tailoring inputs and management to each hybrid or variety and to each field is critical to help achieve optimal ROI and yield potential. Work with your local trusted advisor to formulate a season-long management strategy as well as contingency plans to successfully deal with changing in-season conditions. 


1. Testing conducted at 21 Answer Plot locations in 2020.
2. Testing conducted at 95 Answer Plot locations in 2020.
3. Testing conducted at 35 Answer Plot locations in 2020.
4. Testing conducted at 4 Answer Plot locations in 2020.


All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.


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 be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results.


© 2021 WinField United. Answer Plot®, Advanced Acre® and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.

Enlist E3® is a trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC.

Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® is a trademark of Bayer Group.

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