How to Make your Seed Decision for 2020

Aug 30, 2019

How to Make your Seed Decision for 2020
Jesse Wiant:  Welcome back listeners! Today, I guess we got a couple of things we want to cover. A lot of times we always like to look at or talk about the current events. I think honestly for today's episode we're going to skip that part, we've got a couple other things we're going to dive right into. First thing being just our 2020 seed decision making process and what goes into that, whether it's corn or soybeans. Today we have Pat Shaffer, here with us today to give us a little insight on, the 2020 seed decision making process. Pat is a Winfield associate that has been working with UFC for the last year, maybe a little over a year now. So I guess with that Pat, maybe, I know you've been on here before, but maybe just give a little background on where you went to school, that kind of stuff.

Pat Schaffer: Okay. Yeah. I went and graduated from North Dakota State University and majored in ag economics with a minor in crop and weed science.

Jesse Wiant: That's the Jack Rabbits?

Pat Schaffer: No we're the good football school up in NDSU.

Jesse Wiant: Oh, alright. Sure.

Pat Schaffer: This is my second year of my Winfield associate program. Been with UFC, like Jesse said, a little bit more than a year now. During this whole process, a lot of what I've been doing is helping out with some of the technology platform. I'm also going out, building some customer lists, prospecting customers and just kind of other day to day tasks, that the co-op needs.

Jesse Wiant: So you had a big task this summer.

Pat Schaffer: Yeah I spent a lot of this summer doing some of the side dressing in our spinner box. That was also going hand in hand with the United Insight program that UFC puts together. We use a field forecasting tool to figure out how much nitrogen we should put on as a side dress application. So a lot of my spring/summer was spent in that side dress rig.

Jesse Wiant: So you're saying you had a lot of windshield time?

Pat Schaffer:  A lot of windshield time. Absolutely.

Jesse Wiant: And now you're prepared to help us walk through the decision making process for 2020 crop, correct?

Pat Schaffer:  You bet

Jesse Wiant:  Alright, let's dive into this thing. So as we like to talk about corn a lot, we're actually gonna flip that and start with soybeans. That, alright? I like soybeans, they're kind of the forgotten crop. So, let's dive into that. When we look at soybeans and what you're going to do different for next year, maybe you're not going to do anything different, but what are some of those decision making processes that you see growers make Pat?

Pat Schaffer: So when I start talking with the grower about next years seed decisions, the one thing I like to start out with is asking him about, what is his limiting factor on his farm? Is it weed pressure? Is it dealing with soybean white mold? Or is it IDC? All different farmers, they see on their farm what they're dealing with and what they need to handle, number one. So when we're dealing with that and say they say weeds, maybe they've been dealing with the Xtend. I know that it's got some kind of harsh deadlines that they're not a fan of. Maybe, maybe that we need to go down the Liberty path with them, it's a little bit more forgiving on the date and you can get up there at a longer time to get on that acre. If they're dealing with IDC or white mold, maybe we then bring them to the Xtend platform. What we've seen in some of the Answer Plots and when we grade some of these soybean varieties is that the Xtend beans typically have a higher disease tolerance to some of these, white mold and IDC. And it's just because we've been able to breed these genetics longer and more in depth than the Liberty platform. So that's one thing that I like to go down that route with the farmers, find out what limiting factor they're dealing with on their farm.

Jesse Wiant: So I think that's solid points. I mean, I guess one, when I look at that as a whole picture, not just in Minnesota but, Liberty spiked, maybe eight years ago, something like that and then we've kind of seen that start to fall off. Especially when the roundup 2 soybeans came out. When we went from Roundup 1 to Roundup 2, we gained a significant amount of yield. The Liberty beans have always been high-yielding beans if you don't have any stress or disease pressure. Right? So now as we look at what's available for that 2020 season, I agree with you Pat, that the Xtend system is probably the best from a genetic standpoint to be able to tolerate the stresses and diseases that you know are present, especially in our area. However, I don't think we can completely rule out Liberty or even the straight roundup system. There are still some growers that Roundup is still working for them. It may be doesn't work quite as good as it used to, but I think for the most part it's still working for them and then the Liberty, the last couple of years, growers in our area have had really good success with Liberty when beans are managed and placed correctly. That's the biggest point, just like you said, right?

Pat Schaffer: I think it's so important that you just need to have those discovery questions to find out what that grower is struggling with. You can't just go out there and be a fan of one of the platforms and push it on a grower. You need to find out exactly what they're looking for to help them on their operation.

Jesse Wiant: Yep. And from obviously from UFC standpoint, it's going to be potentially, and maybe a year from now, it could be two years from now, but it's going to be a custom application nightmare, I'm afraid in some of these cases. So let's maybe touch on that quick here. For this next year there was some limited supply for 2019 crop, but for 2020, there's going to be the Enlist beans that will be available. There again supply will be limited of course, but what's your thoughts on that Enlist system? Obviously it's new so we're all not real familiar with it, but I mean what have you heard from some of the suppliers?

Pat Schaffer: I think it'll be very interesting. I mean I know growers are always interested in finding out what's coming down the pipeline. When we did have roundup and that was working, it was kind of an easy button and growers are looking for another option that might be that easy button. I don't know if we're going to get another easy button like we had with Roundup, but it's always something you can try out and use. I know right now they're not thinking that Enlist is going to be, as regulated as Xtend is, but we don't know that for sure. It might have some of the same regulations that might have less. It's just something to try out on your farm when there is supply and it also depends on what your limiting factor is. We need to look at these beans, find out how good is their disease resistant, like do they do well against IDC and I know different varieties will be different, but we need to look at them more before we go crazy with it to find out and make the best recommendations for the farms, if we start switching platforms like that.

Jesse Wiant: So in the last two weeks or a week and a half, something like that, we've done some Answer Plot trainings. Also had some growers through the Answer Plot, whether it was a VIP tour, or our plot day that kinda got rained out. We got a few tidbits of information out there before the rain but, one of the common themes or common questions that I've been getting is why not go 100% Enlist, right? Like you say, as of today, it's not regulated. So as an agronomist, we know some of the reasons maybe why not to go that route. But as a grower, which I'm not, but if I put myself in a grower shoes, it's a no brainer, right? It's given us maybe a longer window. We maybe don't need the 20 to 25 gallons of water that you need with Liberty. Maybe, spraying around your yard, right? Killing dandelions or killing fence rows using 2-4D, it works pretty good. And it doesn't necessarily have to be a hundred percent sunny, not a cloud in the sky like Liberty, right? I think we understand that 2-4D, system is working better than straight Roundup and again, no restrictions as compared to the DICAMBA system. So sitting here thinking, if I was a grower looking at all this information, bringing it all in and sorting through it, it sounds like a no brainer. Now my two watch outs and you covered one right? Is we don't know what those beans are really going to be.

Pat Schaffer: It's kind of a trust me bean right now.

Jesse Wiant:  It's exactly a trust me bean, because the breeder data is breeder data. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but a lot of times it's in small plot type settings, maybe even greenhouse settings where it doesn't necessarily get exposed to the same conditions that it would in a full field basis. So I think that's something to keep in mind. Prime example, Corey Evans, right? Croplan does all their IDC testing at the Murdoch Answer Plot. I think the lowest pH up there is like 8-3 so it's hot up there and one of the Enlist beans that they had up there testing this summer of 2019 was considered above average from the breeders. So in in a Croplan book based out of one to five, it would have been like a strong three, maybe even a two on IDC. Cory rated it and he said it's a lot more like a four. So we just said Enlist is the route, right? We got to go Enlist because of the lack of restrictions. Well, if I'm getting data back that's saying wait a second, pump the brakes here, these beans aren't quite as good as what we first thought, I think now's when you would go back to, okay, here's our four different platforms that we have available today. What is truly our limiting factor? A second thing on Enlist is going to be supply, right? So I think it's somewhere around 20 million units of Enlist beans across the nation. Each seed company will, not all of them, but the ones that are going to participate in the Enlist platform, they are going to have a small percentage of actual supply. So I don't think it's something to, like you say, maybe runaway from. But at the same time, I don't think it's something to go hog wild on. Right? I think once the data comes in, once the yield comes in and then we can kinda start reassessing things.

Pat Schaffer: So we don't want to go out and push this train so hard right away, and then all ofa sudden realize, well we made a bad decision, maybe this bean we back up really hard right away and the IDC is tolerance is not good at it. We don't want to make a mistake like that. So I think we need to, go into it a little bit and really look at the data that we get from this coming year to make a more educated recommendation for years forward.

Jesse Wiant:  Alright, we've spent quite a good time here on beans. Let's jump to corn. I guess kind of just to sum up the bean talk, so figuring out what your limiting factor is. Is that IDC? Is it white mold? Or is it weeds? Figuring out which platforms are going to work best for you based on the limiting factor on your farm. Pretty simple, especially once we get yield data in, it'll help drive those decisions. So let's jump to corn. There's a lot more information on corn. We'll try to not go too far into the weeds here. But, Pat as you're talking with growers or you're thinking about the 2020 season I'll ask you the same thing like we did with beans, right? What is going through the decision making process or what kinds of things are you looking at for the 2020 corn?

Pat Schaffer: So I guess kinda same thing when we're going and talking to growers about what they're wanting to do for the next season. I think the main thing that we need to try to do is ask those questions to figure out what they're looking for. What kind of management they're willing to put towards this crop that they're putting in. We need to find out as much information as we can so we can make the best recommendation for that grower. There's so many different things with corn that we're seeing through Answer Plots, systems through grower plots, through grower data that hybrids are so different from one another. Some hybrids you can plant it, you can forget it. Other hybrids, when you sell the seed, you should basically sell the fungicide with it just because we know later season, it needs that added bump of fungicide to carry it through the season. We know it's going to protect the bushels there. So I think what we need to do is figure out what they're looking for and what they're willing to put towards that crop throughout that year.

Jesse Wiant: So I think you hit it right there. I think, I mean simply put, you're looking for low management or high management hybrid, right? I mean it can't really get more blunt than that.

Pat Schaffer: And I think, not saying the whole farm has to be high management. Field by field basis, the home farm maybe, maybe that's pattern tiled. Maybe they're right there. It's easier for them to put money towards that field. Okay, now we know which hybrid we're going to be putting there. Maybe they've got a farm 10 miles away, not patterned tiled. Let's put a low management hybrid there. We can plant it, keep an eye on it, but kind of forget it until harvest. We need to kind of make a field by field plan for that grower.

Jesse Wiant:  Yep. I totally agree with that. I mean, utilizing RT scores that we get from the Answer Plot really drive hybrid placement. Right? Just like you say, if you've got a field that's close to, home pattern tiled, fertility's probably higher there too.

Pat Schaffer: Absolutely.

Jesse Wiant: If I were growing corn, I think I would put something there that's maybe, with a little bit of management we're really going to drive yield versus something that, I would consider a safe hybrid. I don't think there's anything wrong with a safe hybrid. It's all about placement and driving the decision. Like, okay, this one we know has a high RTN score. It loves nitrogen. If you put that on that wet farm that's tiles is maybe mediocre at best, you're probably going to have a poor experience with it. And if you have a poor experience with it once, you're probably not going plant it on your farm again, even though it could be the best hybrid as long as it's placed right. So I think those are the key things to keep in mind. We look at RTN, response to nitrogen, RTF response to fungicide, and RTP, response to population. We also look at corn on corn, right? Is it corn on corn or is it a rotated acre. I mean, there's so many different factors that go into it and I think now's the time to start trying to plan. Right? I understand there's acre swings, you don't necessarily know if the market will drive the acres that get planted. I get that, but if you can start getting the plan put in place like, Hey, the home 80 this year, right next to the bin site or for the 2020 season, we know that's going to be corn, it's right next to the bin site. Maybe that's where we want to push yield or potentially maximize our yield. So maybe that's where we look at instead of comfort levels a hundred day corn, right? Maybe that's where we go 105 day, right? It's right next to the bin site. So your dryers going to be set up right there. I think sometimes we get too caught up in maturities as well where we potentially can leave some bushels at play. So I think we've got to get that plan in place now, so when we're getting the seed booked for next year, we can start to put a plan together instead of saying, well, I had this hybrid last year and I liked it. Or maybe you got lucky right? Maybe that hybrid just so happened to get placed on a farm that, more or less had for lack of better term, an unlimited nitrogen. Where it wasn't getting tied up due to water stress. I think those are the things to keep in mind. We talked about high management versus low management. So what have you seen between high and low management hybrids? What kinds of differences?

Pat Schaffer: So the differences that we kind of see on that is just how they react to each added application of something, whether that be starter, whether that be fungicide. I know times are tough in the agricultural industry right now so growers are not going to go all in on everything. They wanna push yield, they want to preserve yield later in season. So they don't want to go out and spend money on everything when we can be more educated about what we should spend money on. So to answer your question, for example, Croplan 4203, it's more of a high management crop, more of high management hybrid. So what we're seeing on there is we're seeing added value when we're putting on a starter, when we're planting. We see a higher ROI when we're putting on fungicide later season compared to say 5146 that's more of a plant and forget. We don't see the value of necessarily always using a starter with it or putting up a fungicide late season. Sometimes we're not seeing any bump of yield when we're putting on some fungicide late season with 5146. So there's so many differences and we need to know what hybrids are going to respond to this verses 4203 is gonna have a higher response. So each hybrid acts differently to each added product added throughout the season. So that's kinda how I'd answer that question.

Jesse Wiant: I think that makes sense, like I say, I mean we've been able to physically see, well heck yesterday at the Answer Plot when we dug up 4203 Croplan hybrid that we're pretty sure is going to have high management. You could tell the difference in plant height, which not always, but it's the same hybrid, right? So typically if you plant the same day and you have one treatments, or in this case it was 10-34-O, zinc and Ascend in-furrow and that plant was, I dunno, it was about a foot taller, probably something like that. A lot of times that means that came up out of the ground faster, especially when it's the same hybrid planted the same exact day.

Pat Schaffer: Well then even going down, because in that block we had, the starter packages and later on we had a side dress too. And you could just tell, with a starter it was taller. With the added side dress, we weren't seen as much firing. It's got a high response to nitrogen, you could see that in the firing of those leaves.

Jesse Wiant: And I think just like you said, those are the key things that as we think about that 2020 crop, what hybrids are going to make sense on your operation, right? If you, for whatever reason, if you're, 50-50 split corn and beans and for the 2020 season, all your cornfields are going to be far away from home. You're maybe rented acres that fertility's maybe not there, you're probably not gonna want that racehorse hybrid, right? So, I think that kind of sums up that the RT side of things. I guess the last point that I would keep in mind is your trait package, right? Obviously corn seed is not cheap. We understand that there's a lot of technology that is driven into that bag of corn. So we understand that a lot of times, economics overrule agronomic, right? So I think the last thing to keep in mind is what, what's your trait package gonna look like? I haven't seen quite as many root worm beetles this year as I've seen, I would say even the last two years, but mostly what I've been in has been on a rotated acre as well. So still finding a few, but I think that's something to keep in mind too. Last two years we've really had a lot of beetles. We thankfully haven't really had an issue. So a lot of times the double pro route or the conventional corn seed route, it's looked okay because we haven't had that pest. Which makes sense, right? I mean if you don't have the pest, the traits not going to help you or benefit you.

Pat Schaffer: One thing that also you can also do with this is if you have some soybean fields that do have volunteer corn, go look at some of that corn, pull it up, see if you can find beetles there. Cause that's a good telltale. If you've got beetles there, obviously you can't make your entire decision on that, but it gives you a little bit more peace of mind if you're seeing beetles there, because if that's the only host in that soybean field, if you're seeing beetles there, you might not want to go back to double pro that following year because you know they're there already.

Jesse Wiant: Right. So like I said, that'd be the last point in my eyes, looking at the corn RT scores, and then follow that up with what your trait package is. So let's sum this puppy up here. Soybeans. What's your limiting factor? I think that's your decision making process right there. What is truly your limiting factor? and then decide what trait platform you're gonna run down with that, right? Corn, use the RT scores. It's the easiest way to not miss-manage or misplace a hybrid, use the scores that we've got available to get the most, or maximize those hybrids. And then again, identify what your trait package is going to be. Where economics are, if you can mix some double pros in and have confidence that you're not going to have a root worm problem, do it. It's the same genetics as what the smart stacks is in a lot of cases. It's just you're giving up that root worm trait. So I think that's something to keep in mind as well. If you truly have confidence that you're not going to have a problem. I mean just like insurance, that's what the traits are they're insurance. So, I appreciate your time today, Pat. I think, as like I say, as we look at, look at 2020 and beyond, I think now's the time to plan. I know it's August, we've gotta get a little ways to go yet before that corn crops made, before the bean crops made too. So it's hard to start getting in that process for next year. But I think now's the time to do it. I know plans don't always go as planned. If that makes sense. But if you have a plan in place, it's a lot easier to follow your plan that's in place than to wing it. So, I appreciate it. Thanks again.

Read More News

Aug 22, 2019
The 2019 Fantasy Seed Draft has arrived! You don't want to miss the line ups!
Jul 10, 2019
Kaite Henk is talking with Jesse about the tools from Winfield United and how they can help manage your fields in-season
Apr 03, 2019
So again, Corey Evans here with us part one of this episode podcast series, we talked mainly on corn. This time, it's all going to be about soybeans.

Related Topics