Welcome to the 2019 BASF Innovations in the Field. This yearlong program is designed to showcase four progressive farmers and their use of technology and agronomic practices to enhance their return on investment and profit potential. Check back each week as the farmers share their experiences and crop management decisions throughout the growing season.
All or nothing. That's the way it was for central-Arkansas farmers this year. If they got their crops planted, they turned out pretty good. Unfortunately, lots of fields didn't get planted.
That was especially the case in Jackson County. It had the largest number of prevented planting acres in Arkansas, with more than 108,000 acres unplanted. In addition, the county's farmers reported nearly 12,800 acres in failed crops, mainly rice.
Brent Lassiter of Newport in Jackson County was one who didn't get a crop planted. His 400-acre farm along the Black River was underwater until June 11. By the time it dried, it was too late to plant.
Prior to the rains, Lassiter and area BASF Innovation Specialist Virgil "Dooby" Moore were planning to run field trials on early planting soybeans -- as early as March. Those trials didn't happen. But Lassiter, who is also a crop consultant and owner of the crop consultancy ProAg Services in Newport, worked with Moore to put out a field trial on client land.
SOYBEAN FIELD TRIAL
That trial evaluated Revytek, BASF's new soybean fungicide that utilizes the new active ingredient Revysol®. "I'm anxious to see how it works," says Lassiter. The trial was in later planted soybeans, and yield results weren't available at this writing. However, in mid-September during a very hot, dry period, Moore says the Revytek-treated soybeans looked much healthier than the trial's untreated soybeans.
While hot, droughty conditions relieved disease pressure on soybean plants, it also put a lot of stress on them. "I think the healthier-looking soybean plants at the time were likely due to the plant health component of Revytek relieving plant stress," says Moore.He warns area farmers not to get complacent about soybean plant disease in hot, dry weather, especially on irrigated land. "Target spot is our number one soybean disease concern," says Moore. Irrigating a crop that's canopied can create a humid microclimate under the canopy, which is ideal for the disease. "Even in hot, dry spurts, target spot can become a problem in this situation," says Moore.
"We haven't seen target spot pressure in our Revytek field trials," says Moore, adding that "typically once you spray Revytek, you've got three to four weeks of disease control." He recommends spraying soybeans at R3.
Many of the prevented planting fields in Lassiter's area were to be planted to rice. Some fields were planted on time, some late and some not at all. In early September, Lassiter says he had some clients harvesting and others with rice just starting to head. He points out what was planted seemed really good as far as yields and test weight.
Flatsedge has been a troublesome weed for rice farmers in Lassiter's area. "For the most part, we had good luck this year with flatsedge," says Lassiter, noting, however, that they used Sharpen® herbicide in their heavy pressure areas.
Using Sharpen to control flatsedge didn't come by guessing. Lassiter and Moore developed a control system in previous years using field trials. "Those trials," says Moore, "are really paying dividends now because Brent implemented it into his system. He's doing a great job managing flatsedge."