Better Placement + Better Management = Higher ROI

May 15, 2019

Better Placement + Better Management = Higher ROI
Have you ever heard of a Response-to Score? A Response-to score indicates how likely hybrids will respond to different planting populations and nitrogen rates. Response-to scores help growers better match their management styles and farm environments to their chosen hybrids.

“They give us hybrid specific information to help us with better product placement, in regards to seed, nitrogen and fungicide applications,” Mark Hoekstra, UFC Brownton Agronomist.

For the last eight years, Winfield United has measured and recorded the response of various hybrids to population, nitrogen and continuous corn. In the last four years, response to fungicide has been added to the mix. UFC agronomists have been able to evaluate and assist with this research firsthand in the Le Suer Answer Plot® location along with numerous other farm trials.
What you need to know:
  1. Knowing the Response-to score of your hybrids can significantly improve the ROI spent on seed investments
  2. Split applied Nitrogen has proven to be effective in boosting and preserving yield on high performance hybrids
  3. In-Season Fungicide application efficiency can vary by field and can help you determine where and when to put your fungicide to see a maximum response
Local Testings Stats:
In 2018, Winfield United, along with the agronomy staff here at UFC, field-tested 240 hybrids from Croplan®, Dekalb®, NK®, Mycogen® and Pioneer® for response to population (RTP), response to nitrogen (RTN) and response to continuous corn (RTCC). We also tested 225 hybrids from the same manufacturers for response to fungicide (RTF). The yield response ranges highlight the importance of understanding how different hybrids react to different management practices.
2018 Answer Plot® Response-to Insights Summary
Response-to test                                                                   Yield response range
Response to Population¹                                                       -3.8 to 20.8 bushels per acre
Response to Nitrogen²                                                          58.4 to 119.4 bushels per acre
Response to Continuous Corn³                                             6.9 to 29.8 bushels per acre
Response to Fungicide?                                                         -3.5 to 39.5 bushels per acre
Planting a hybrid with a high RTN score, for example, yielded up to nearly an additional 120 bushels per acre when managed accordingly. Those are bushels farmers may be leaving in the field. Here are some practical ways you can use response-to scores to your advantage.
Response to Population (RTP)
Some hybrids respond more favorably to being planted at high populations than others. For example, if you are planting on your home farm that has good tile drainage and adequate fertility, and you want to experiment with high management and pushing populations, planting a hybrid that tolerates high populations can potentially offer a larger yield potential response and more plants per acre.
If you have another farm that’s a long way from home, is on rented ground with lower fertility levels, has sandier or rockier soil that’s droughty and where corn plants usually dry up in August, planting a lower-population hybrid makes more sense. This allows you to maintain yield at low populations and in a low-yield environment. But if decent rains come in August and some good mineralization occurs to boost fertility, even a lower-population hybrid could flex its ear more and generate some top-end yield.

Response to Nitrogen (RTN)
If you are planting high-RTN hybrids this year, make sure to apply in-season nitrogen or a top-dress application to those hybrids first. Applying the majority of nitrogen prior to or at planting may not be enough for the year. If a pre-sidedress nitrate test or tissue sample indicates low nitrogen, make sure you are applying additional nitrogen in-season on their high RTN hybrids first.
Conversely, for those of you who are planting on rented ground with low natural fertility and low organic matter that doesn’t supply as much nitrogen naturally through mineralization, selecting a low-RTN hybrid is a better choice

Response to Continuous Corn (RTCC)
With low commodity prices and a 2017 that was particularly bad for white mold, many fields that in a normal corn/soybean rotation would be back in soybeans in 2019 may have better luck with corn. If the you have made an economic decision to plant corn-on-corn, a hybrid with a high RTCC score that can tolerate the added disease potential of that environment is a good choice. Hybrids with a higher RTCC score also tend to tolerate colder soil conditions better than those with a lower RTCC score and have better emergence potential, even in tougher environments.

Response to Fungicide (RTF)
When spraying a fungicide, as much of that fungicide as possible needs to get deep into the plant canopy where it can be effective. The problem is, many nozzles generate smaller droplets, and some of the very small ones are so light they can drift away or evaporate before they reach a leaf.
Making sure there’s an adjuvant like MasterLock® in the spray tank can help improve spray coverage to the target. Particularly with tasseled corn or soybean plants with many leaves and branches, using MasterLock is a great way to dramatically increase the percentage of spray droplets that ultimately hit the mark. Research has shown a 5.7-bushel-per-acre average yield increase in corn when MasterLock was used in the spray tank along with a fungicide, compared to using a fungicide alone.

Take advantage of response-to data
WinField United invests a substantial amount of time, energy and resources into testing for and determining response-to scores. They take pride in the quality of our data, how it’s collected and analyzed, and that they’re representing a large portion of the seed industry by testing multiple brands. UFC is happy to share this data with you, so be sure to use it on your farms to help improve yield and ROI potential. This also helps you plan for the appropriate crop inputs to use, along with the right seed. For more information about response-to scores, talk with your UFC agronomist.

  1. Regional average yield difference between 30,000 and 38,000 plants per acre.
  2. Regional average yield difference non-limited and limited nitrogen applications; rates varied by soil type and location.
  3. Regional average yield difference between first-year and corn-on-corn rotations.
  4. Regional average yield difference between fungicide application at V5/R1 and untreated control.
  5. Winfield United, 14 studies, 8 states, all fungicides, 2012-2017.
© 2019 WinField United. Answer Plot®, CROPLAN®, MasterLock® and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.
DeKalb® is a trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC.
NK® is a trademark of Syngenta Group Company.
Mycogen® is a trademark of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow.
Pioneer® is a trademark of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company or its affiliates.

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