Grow More Experience Sites Highlight Effective Production Solutions

Demonstrations and trials combine the latest technologies with local agronomic expertise to help customers improve farm management.
Brent Lackey, Syngenta product lead, discusses the benefits of Talinor wheat herbicide with visitors at the Colfax, Washington, Grow More Experience site.
Brent Lackey, Syngenta product lead, discusses the benefits of Talinor wheat herbicide with visitors at the Colfax, Washington, Grow More Experience site.

As agriculture constantly evolves, growers, resellers and others in the industry may find it challenging to keep up with the latest innovations. Through cutting-edge research and local agronomic insights, the Grow More™ Experience sites address this challenge head-on.

Since their inception, these sites—managed by Syngenta agronomists and technical development leads—have acted as local laboratories for thousands of visitors, who have seen firsthand how Syngenta products can help maximize crop productivity. Heading into 2018, nearly 50 Grow More Experience sites, serving prime production areas from Washington to Florida, are maintaining this momentum.

Research That Matters All Season Long

Research is the foundation of the Grow More Experience sites. Through trials and demonstrations featuring seeds, seed treatments, crop protection chemistries, cover crops and more, visitors have the unique opportunity to walk around, dig up proof and see the performance of plots featuring the Syngenta product portfolio, in comparison with competitor products and untreated crops. Many of the early-season visitors are focused on seed performance.

“One of the first, most critical decisions growers make each season is seed selection,” says Bruce Battles, head of agronomy for Syngenta Seeds. “At the Grow More Experience sites, visitors view hybrids and varieties side-by-side to see how they perform against each other. Growers don’t have to make their own investments to test different seed in their fields. We make that investment for them.”

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Choosing how to keep the seed protected once it’s in the ground is also important, notes Jim McGill, a sales agronomist at Midwest Farmers Cooperative in Waverly, Nebraska. The trials he observed at the York, Nebraska, Grow More Experience site in 2017 reinforced this belief.

“Stand establishment is the basis of growers’ success for the whole year,” McGill says. “For me, the soybean seed treatment trials were eye-opening, because they demonstrated how the right seed treatment can dramatically improve early-season vigor, disease protection and early stand establishment.”

Of course, the work and worry don’t stop for growers after they plant their seed. They rely on effective crop protection products for season-long plant vigor. As Grow More Experience site attendees visit the locations at different times throughout the season, the featured crop protection trials change to highlight the most important pest issues for the region at that time.

“That is what’s so valuable about the Grow More Experience sites,” says Jeff Laufenberg, Syngenta technical development lead. “Early in the season, visitors learn about seed and seed treatments. As they come back for events throughout the season, they can see crop protection trials, receive pest-management education and learn about innovative agronomic best practices before harvest. No two events are the same, because the topics and technologies are constantly evolving.”

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Local Expertise

Because of the broad range of crops grown across the U.S., an even wider variety of potential pest issues are inevitable. Fortunately, local Syngenta agronomists know how to help mitigate these pest issues and help growers streamline production to maximize yield.

“Members of our agronomy team are rooted in agriculture,” says Mike Moss, Ph.D., Syngenta head, technical development. “Many grew up on farms, hold advanced degrees in agriculture and have experience managing farm operations. The agronomists not only have the training and education to help combat these pests, but they also have the hands-on knowledge to help growers improve farm performance.”

Their local expertise makes Grow More Experience sites valuable resources for visitors. Each year, Syngenta hosts internal training days for its agronomists, so they can stay up to date on the latest agronomic techniques and technologies. The agronomists, in turn, share these insights with their customers during events.

Jason Baumberger, a Crop Production Services lead in Moses Lake, Washington, says he appreciates the insights he gained from Syngenta agronomist Don Drader at the Ephrata, Washington, Grow More Experience site.

The Grow More Experience sites reflect actual field conditions and challenges, including pests like this Japanese beetle feeding on untreated foliage at the Kinston, North Carolina, location.
“Potato psyllids and aphids are a problem in our area, and Don is in tune with what’s going on in our region,” Baumberger says. “During the last few years, he has invited growers and consultants to the Ephrata site. He had us pull out the leaves and look at them to see how different product applications and agronomic practices help combat these pest problems.”

Each agronomist’s knowledge of his or her region’s pest issues helps visitors navigate these growing season challenges year after year.

Business Impact

The Grow More Experience sites also aim to support local agribusinesses in the communities where they’re located. This means helping resellers become better resources for their growers by providing product recommendations and agronomic solutions that are backed by results.

“Growers can be very apprehensive about switching crop protection products,” Baumberger says. “The sites are a great opportunity for us to bring growers out and look at the demonstrations together to develop a plan for using different products that can help boost crop performance on their farms. When growers see the results for themselves, it helps them overcome the apprehension of changing products.”

“I appreciate Syngenta making the investment in our local community and the individuals who are in agriculture. When they invite me to a Grow More Experience event, it means something. Not a lot of companies do that anymore.”

Jason Baumberger
While the sites provide a platform to educate growers, they also provide hands-on training opportunities for resellers’ internal sales teams. McGill brought his sales staff to the York, Nebraska, Grow More Experience site because it offered a unique learning environment that encouraged participation.

“We’ve visited the site as a smaller group with our agronomy staff, rather than having three busloads of people there,” he explains. “When you’re in smaller groups at the site, you get to ask more questions, which provides a more personalized experience for our staff.”

A Look at 2018

In 2018, the Grow More Experience sites will continue to invest in research, education and local businesses, with the ultimate goal of improving the agricultural communities they serve.

“I appreciate Syngenta making the investment in our local community and the individuals who are in agriculture,” Baumberger says. “When they invite me to a Grow More Experience event, it means something. Not a lot of companies do that anymore.”

For more information about the Grow More Experience sites, contact your Syngenta representative.