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CropTalk: Pattern Ag: Field Experiences

September 2021

Published on Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Have you ever wondered how much profit you could add to your farm if you were able to identify yieldlimiting factors before you planted the seed? As farmers, we often deal with some of the more obvious challenges, such as poor drainage, compaction, excess moisture or lack of timely rainfall, weed control, and soil fertility or plant nutrition-related challenges. But, have you ever asked yourself any of the following questions:

  • Do I need to engage in additional management practices against soybean cyst nematode (SCN)?
  • Do I need to choose a higher level of seed treatment to protect against sudden death syndrome (SDS)?
  • What is the risk for corn rootworm (CRW) larvae pressure in my fields… do I need to spend money for protection?
  •  Do I need to supplement my soil fertility with microbial products?

 

These are questions that Pattern Ag’s soil DNA testing can help answer. In 2019, Beck’s partnered with Pattern Ag to perform post-harvest soil analysis for over 50 corn and soybean pathogens in the Practical Farm Research (PFR)® long-term tillage and crop rotation study. Results from SCN and SDS screening, in addition to other pathogens, revealed valuable information for making management decisions for the 2020 crop.

 

In the fall of 2020, Beck’s Field Agronomist Travis Burnett and I were given the opportunity to work with Pattern Ag to continue validating and “ground-truthing” this tool with a dozen farm operations totaling more than 2000 acres. The results were valuable and helped us identify some potential yield-limiting factors prior to 2021 planting. More specifically, the results helped guide hybrid and variety selection and placement, as well as management decisions on soybean seed treatments. For the fall of 2021, the screening capabilities have been expanded (Figure 1).

 

 

Soil sampling is conducted as soon as possible post-harvest on a 10-acre grid pattern, which is less intensive than most soil fertility sampling. Soil samples are then processed and screened in the laboratory. Reports are generated by field for each pathogen detected. Figure 2 shows an example summary report for six different fields and screening results of four pathogens, including CRW, SCN, SDS, and Pythium.

 

 

A Risk Map of each field for each identified pathogen is also generated to help identify areas that could require zone management. A good example of this is illustrated in Figure 3. There are zones in the western one-third of the field that have a high risk for CRW, while the eastern two-thirds of the field has a lower risk, however; it is still an economic threat. A grower may choose to use a granular or liquid CRW insecticide at planting, along with a CRW-traited hybrid on the western one-third of the field. On the eastern two-thirds of the field, the grower could save money by not using the granular or liquid insecticide at planting, but still using a CRW-traited hybrid.

 

 

If you have interest in this tool to gain additional management insight for your fields in 2022, contact your local Beck’s representative to learn more.

 

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Author: Chad Kalaher

Categories: CropTalk, 2021

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Chad Kalaher
Chad Kalaher>

Chad Kalaher

Beck’s Hybrids team sales agronomist for 22 counties in NE ¼ of IL and 7 counties in NW IN. Raised on grain and livestock farm in southern IL. B.S. Agronomy 1995 – University of Illinois, M.S. Weed Science 1997 – North Carolina State University. Previous positions in seed industry as researc

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Full biography

Beck’s Hybrids team sales agronomist for 22 counties in NE ¼ of IL and 7 counties in NW IN. Raised on grain and livestock farm in southern IL. B.S. Agronomy 1995 – University of Illinois, M.S. Weed Science 1997 – North Carolina State University. Previous positions in seed industry as research agronomist, district, and regional sales manager.

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