Welcome to the 2017 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 for new blogs and videos from the farmers as they share their experiences and crop management decisions throughout the growing season. Here is a brief overview of our four participants.
A very mild winter it has been here in western Illinois and I believe we are all getting the itch to begin some fieldwork. Our landscape has certainly gained some color these last couple of weeks including the fields that were seeded with a cover crop. Were currently implementing cereal rye on approximately 50% of our acres and the growth has been tremendous these last couple of weeks, I can only imagine the underground growth that we have gained. The cover crop practices have helped us continue to increase yields to maximum levels, every time we have a conversation about organic matter, fertility, soil health, and even weed mitigation it seems our conversation always turns towards cover crops and how they create avenues and opportunities to fix these issues. If managed properly we feel this tool can be extremely effective and rewarding, especially on varying soil types, fertility levels, and CEC levels.
Once again we preordered our BASF fungicide products to utilize the rebates that are offered. We plan to implement Priaxor on both corn and soybeans, as well as Headline AMP on our corn at tassel. The last two years have paid huge dividends on the acres that we have treated vs the acres of non-treated corn and beans. The mild temperatures raise a question as to whether infections will be present at a sooner date in the 2017 crop. Heavy infections two years in a row and mild temperatures put every acre at risk, including those in a crop rotation situation. I'm also a believer that Priaxor applied with our post chemical programs increase metabolism and increases photosynthesis on a young corn plant, a much more crucial time leading into ear girth determination stage. Some rough numbers, but if we could add another set of rows around and increase yields approximately 12.5% that makes for an awfully good investment.
Looking forward to the 2017 growing season we have decided to make the change and include Xtend soybeans on a large portion of our acres. We would have liked to witness another year of yield data prior to selecting our hybrids but we feel extremely confident with our seed representatives as well as the information we have gathered from a third party to make those hybrid selections. Herbicide programs are becoming more important with the troubles that have been posed via Water hemp and giant ragweed, in particular. Engenia will be used on our Xtend soybeans acres in conjunction in with glyphosate and Zidua pro for strong pre-emergence protection as well as season long residual. The biggest struggle we have noticed in our herbicide program, and I think it is safe to say for a lot of operations, has been spraying "4 inch" tall weeds. These products offer a strong enough residual, but we need to be in our fields immediately when we find pressure. Remember, water hemp can grow over an inch a day! Yield drags have been seen from 8-10 bushel in these high-pressure areas.
With the weather, I mentioned earlier its giving everyone the itch to get in the field and get started, some anhydrous has been applied locally, as well as some spring tillage work. I think it's safe to say as a whole industry we're happy 2016 is behind us and ready to start #plant17.