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Monday, January 5, 2015

Can You Save Money on Crop Protection Products?

Much like yesterday's soil fertility question, the answer is maybe.  The first thing to look at is disease resistance.  If you seed is already bought, and it should be, in order to take advantage of discounts, you may past that.  Even if you have seed, know what you have.  For example, is your corn resistant to gray leaf spot?  You can avoid fungicide applications if you panted resistant hybrids. 

Crop rotations are another way to reduce the need for crop protection products.  On average, corn soybean rotations yield better than continuous corn.  Getting a third crop into the rotation is even better.  Especially avoid planting the same crop as last year in fields where you had a lot of insect or disease pressure last year. An example would be to avoid soybeans where you had SDS last year. 

Scouting and integrated pest management will assure that you only use crop protection products when needed.  If you don't have time to scout yourself, a scouting service can be a bargain.

Treated soybean seed pays for itself and then some most of the time.  You could cut it out thinking you used to grow soybeans without treatment, but be sure and think it through.  

I can't finish this entry without saying that cutting rates is not the answer.  The efficacy of many crop protectants depends on applying them at the recommended rate.  If you are going to cheat on the rate, it might be better to just not use the product at all.

With weed resistance and increasing weed pressures, you need to think your program through before cutting back on weed control.  If you start with a soil applied residual herbicide, you may want to scout to see if you can avoid additional applications of post planting products.  

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