Enlist E3™, LibertyLink® GT27™, Roundup Ready 2 Yield® and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® – Which to Choose?

In addition to our mainstay Xtend and RR2Y lines, this year Renk Seed is launching Enlist E3 and Liberty GT27 varieties in larger scale quantities. Enlist E3 allows for the spraying of Enlist herbicide (a 2,4-D choline), glufosinate and glyphosate while Liberty GT27 allows for the spraying of glufosinate and glyphosate. Adding these products will provide a full gambit of weed control options. 

So, which is the right option for your farm? To know, you are going to have to weigh several factors.

Let’s start with the disease package, as this might potentially be a large differentiation. The breeding data is heavily slanted towards states on the western side of the Mississippi. This could be somewhat problematic as states like Wisconsin and Michigan face a far higher threat from white mold and Phytophthora exposure. Without data from these states, it makes tolerance scores for these diseases a bit soft. This is not to say that their response to these diseases is going to be poor, but rather unproven and should signal caution.

Next, we look at yield potential across the platforms. At this point we do have head to head yield data. We are seeing an overall yield gap between Enlist and Xtend. The tables below compares Enlist versus Xtend. It also compares Liberty GT27 to Xtend. The Liberty GT27 fair much better compared to Xtend.

Keep in mind that these are overall averages and there are some significant swings in competitiveness by region. A general rule is that Enlist show better between Interstate 35 and Interstate 29 (Des Moines to Omaha). Results can be easily found on our website for those wishing to dig deeper into the data.

How about spraying programs? Pricing for our own farm for both Xtend and Enlist options was about the same this year. While the Xtendimax is slightly cheaper than Enlist One, Xtendimax requires a rather expensive water softener for it to work properly. The cost of this should be offset by the Bayer Plus Rewards program, which rebates money back as long as you use Bayer herbicides. The other nice feature of the Bayer Xtendimax herbicide program is the $15 per acre spray guarantee if you have weed escapes. But be aware, we have heard rumors that the Enlist herbicides might be priced higher, which may significantly change the price of their spraying costs. 

Application of both sprays will be much more crucial than what we have grown used to in spraying Roundup. The spraying of Xtend soybeans received a lot of bad publicity when sprayed under temperature inversion conditions. This occurs when warmer temperatures are found above the ground than at the ground level. The outcome is that the spray stays in a cloud and does not sink to the ground until wind begins to push it – often drifting off target – causing damage to sensitive crops. Enlist herbicides can just as easily locate offsite if they are sprayed under a temperature inversion scenario. Properly following instructions on the label is very important for both herbicides. 

I hear various claims on buffer strips for both Xtendimax and Enlist herbicides. Xtendimax only requires a downwind buffer strip of 110 feet if there are sensitive crops within that distance; there is no requirement to put it around an entire field. Enlist has a 30-foot buffer, but again, only if a sensitive crop is downwind of it. Please note these are what the labels specify and that there may be local restrictions. We have been spraying Xtendimax for three years now and have had no issues with Dicamba moving off target. 

There is a Liberty herbicide option for both Enlist E3 and GT27. Liberty herbicide can be used to control problem weeds but keep in mind that the cost for Liberty herbicide, at the higher rates which these weeds may need, looks to me to be roughly double the cost. 

I don’t think you are going to be disappointed using Xtendimax or Enlist herbicides for problem weeds. If you don’t have this issue then the traditional RR2Y soybeans or Liberty GT27 soybeans should work just fine. 

My advice is if you don’t have any problem weeds, choose between the higher yielding genetics of Xtend or RR2Y. These are known genetics with proven track records. If you do have weed problems, you will need to weigh your options. Again, I would lean towards the Xtend genetics unless there are issues applying Xtend herbicide. My second choice is Enlist E3 followed by Liberty GT27.

The good news is you have lots of options to choose from. Hopefully this will help you make a more informed decision on which path to go.

The Importance of Correct Planter Settings

As I am writing this, there is still snow on the ground throughout most of the Midwest.
And while it may seem that spring planting is not anytime soon, it will be here before you know it. Are you ready? Is your planter ready? Here is some information regarding the importance of taking the time now to get your planter settings optimized for getting the most from the seeds you plant.

Uneven corn emergence and uneven distribution of plants can result from poor planting conditions, improper equipment settings or improper planting speed. Each of these, or a combination of them, is guaranteed to reduce yield significantly. Later emerging plants lack the ability to compete with the other plants for water, sunlight, and nutrients. Waiting for “fit” soil conditions and resisting the urge to increase planting speed are things you have control over during the planting season. Adjusting the planter properly is one thing you have control over now so that you can increase your odds of maximizing seed-to-soil contact, which can in turn contribute to a more even emergence of plants.  

The Monmouth Learning Center for Bayer has conducted a multiyear study evaluating the effects of having seed firmers and row cleaners and having them set properly.

Here is a summary of their findings:

1) Not having seed firmers or row cleaners on the planter reduced final yield by 14 bu per acre.

2) Using poorly adjusted firmers and row cleaners reduced yield the same amount as not having them at all, 14 bu per acre.

Conclusions from this study:

• Seed placement, good seed-to-soil contact and a clean seedbed are important factors in enabling corn seedlings to establish quickly and begin growing vigorously.

• Seed firmers can help improve seed-to-soil contact leading to better stand establishment and more even emergence.

• Properly set row cleaners can also provide an environment that promotes even emergence and a uniform stand.

You will only get one chance to do it right when the time comes to plant. So take advantage of the time available now to set up for maximizing the probability of an even distribution of uniformly emerged plants.

2019 Corn Disease Awareness

Last season Tar Spot, Grey Leaf Spot and Northern Corn Leaf Blight infected corn fields earlier than normal, which impacted yields in the hardest hit areas. In addition, dead fields were susceptible to stalk rots, especially anthracnose. Ear rot, specifically giberella, could also be found last fall. The areas most impacted by giberella have vomitoxin in the grain and there are even reports of problems with silage. No one in the affected areas is eager to repeat these problems, so implementing some management strategies will help alleviate issues if they occur again.

2018 experienced record late season rainfall that created conditions where tropical diseases such as Tar Spot had the opportunity to thrive. The best management strategy here might be “watchful waiting”. If the weather pattern is more normal, I predict that Tar Spot will be difficult to find this fall. Unfortunately, here at the home office, March rainfall is currently more than 3 times its normal amount so this weather pattern has not yet changed.

There were differences in hybrid susceptibility with late season hybrids being healthier than early season varieties. Because there are no completely resistant products, I believe the better strategy is for growers to focus on yield and treat with fungicide if Tar Spot is a concern. A peek at the long-term weather early in the fungicide application window would help growers in the decision process. If the long-term forecast is wetter than average and you’re growing in an area affected the previous season, you should strongly consider fungicide.

There are now multiple fungicides available with a 2(ee) label for Tar Spot on corn. I’ll focus on Delaro® from Bayer since they were the first with the supplemental labelling. In addition, we are currently offering a promotion through Bayer to use their product in conjunction with our hybrids in the affected areas (northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin). Contact your dealer or DM if you’re not aware of this promotion. Delaro®, as well as the others with supplemental labelling, has two active ingredients and is considered a “premium” product in the fungicide chemistry product family.

Northern Corn Leaf Blight (NCLB) and Anthracnose Stalk Rot rarely affect final yield, but standability was highly impacted last season. Anthracnose is favored by saturated soils, cool nights and warm days. Newer hybrids with the ASR gene, which resists Anthracnose Stalk Rot, were much healthier last fall and much easier to harvest as the season dragged into November. Please refer to the Renk Seed catalog and locate the “Anthracnose Stalk Rot” column heading in the chart near the bottom of the page (see example below). Hybrids with this gene have the ASR designation along with a numerical rating.

If your preferred hybrid is not available with the ASR gene, fungicide could also be used to treat Anthracnose. The benefit of course is that you would be controlling all fungal diseases with an application, including NCLB. Carefully analyze local and unbiased data on the use of fungicides in your area to see if they are justified. For those of you in northern locations that are on rotated ground with disease resistant hybrids, you may not break even on the application. Assess your risk by observing the long-term forecasts for wetter and warmer weather patterns which would favor disease development. Last season the crop was mature ahead of schedule and in position for an early October harvest. Unfortunately, weather conspired against us which delayed soybean harvest and pushed corn harvest into November.