Research Farms Help Grow Our Knowledge Base

October 24, 2016

Seymour Soybeans

Every year, growers learn about new agricultural insights and recommendations for improving their operations and getting the most out of every acre. But where do these innovative ideas come from? The hard work and discoveries behind the future of agricultural innovations are summed up in two powerful letters: R&D.

BASF’s research and development teams use each growing season in the field and in the laboratory to find answers to important agronomic questions. The discoveries made inform future product development and help create better tools for the agriculture industry.

This summer, researchers at the BASF Midwest Research Farm in Seymour, Illinois, explored various contributors to yield. Data from their trials will not be finalized until late November, but here’s a quick preview of preliminary findings.

Planting dates

The timing of planting can have a significant impact on yield potential. Soybean trials looked to identify which maturity groups and seeding rates worked best at various planting dates. Researchers planted different combinations of maturity groups and seeding rates as early as March 21 and continued through June 5.

Corn trials evaluated planting dates and fungicide performance. Researchers planted from April 1 to June 5, but kept corn hybrids and fungicide treatments constant. That way, any in-season variation of fungicide performance could be attributed to different planting dates. Researchers can use this information and determine how to maximize the benefits of products like Headline AMP® fungicide.

“By understanding these ‘planting’ pieces of the puzzle, we can focus on other factors contributing to yield,” said AJ Woodyard, BASF Technical Crop Production Specialist and researcher at the Seymour farm.

Plant nutrition and fungicides

Trials were conducted to measure how nutrient supplies affect fungicide performance. Researchers established corn and soybean plots in dryland, irrigated and fertigated systems and manipulated the amount of fungicide and fertilizer applied to each. Through this approach, they were able to explore the relationship between the fungicides and fertilizers in various situations to help identify optimum growing conditions.

“We studied whether maximizing nutrient uptake would increase the benefit of products like Priaxor® fungicide or Headline AMP fungicide,” Woodyard said. “We’ve seen some positive responses in both soybeans and corn.”

Uniformity of emergence

Following the trials conducted on early planting times, researchers turned their focus to emergence. The initiative was twofold; identify the implications of late emergence and evaluate how Xanthion® In-furrow fungicide affects uniformity. Researchers created a visual tracking system in corn (some plots were treated with Xanthion In-furrow fungicide and some were left untreated) by inserting colored golf tees into the soil at the time of emergence.

“The first plants out of the ground got one color tee, and every 12 hours we’d mark newly emerged plants with differently colored tees,” explained Woodyard.

At the end of the season, about 500 tracked ears of corn were hand-harvested to review the yield impact of those that emerged earlier against those that emerged later. Researchers found that the acres treated with Xanthion In-furrow fungicide showed improved uniformity of emergence, a plant health benefit complementary to the product’s disease control efficacy.

Innovation never stops in agriculture, and BASF’s research farms help build a knowledge base growers can use season after season. For more information on other BASF crop protection research, visit


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