Forecasting a Better Farm

When extreme weather threatens yield potential, innovation can lessen the impact and reduce grower stress.
Forecasting a Better Farm
The harsh conditions at the Syngenta Managed Stress Environment Site in LaSalle, Colorado, make it an ideal location for testing the water-optimizing capability of Agrisure Artesian corn hybrids in managed irrigation trials.
Frustrations with extreme weather events are as old as farming. No amount of planning prevents drought, excessive rain or heat, untimely frost, or the lasting economic impact these weather events can create when they devastate yield.

Fortunately, new programs and technologies are available that help lessen economic blows when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

The Limitations of Preparation

Jeremy Goyings, a fifth-generation operator on Goyings Farms in Paulding, Ohio, knows that there are limits to the ways he can proactively hedge against unexpected weather.

“We can do a lot to try and mitigate the risks involved with weather,” he says. “We can practice tillage that promotes deep banding of roots so they suck up as much water from the depths as they possibly can, but in the end, Mother Nature has the final say on whether we get enough water to produce a crop.”

Nearly 50 miles north of Goyings Farms, Nathan Baker of Border View Farms in Waldron, Michigan, echoes this sentiment. With weather as a prominent profit driver, he notes that drainage tiles help mitigate the impact of heavy rains, but they don’t help during drought.

Risk Partnering

Cost-share opportunities, like the Syngenta AgriClime™ weather protection offer, can minimize in-season risk when nature doesn’t cooperate. New to the U.S. market in 2020, AgriClime rolled out to Midwestern corn growers and has since expanded to include soybean, potato, wheat and sorghum in select geographies.

To enroll, growers submit their farm coordinates, select premium seed and crop protection products for their distinct needs, and receive a personalized risk protection offer based on 20 years of weather history. Knowing that their geographies are sometimes too wet in the spring and too dry in the summer, both Goyings and Baker enrolled in AgriClime.

“AgriClime helps spread your risk out,” Baker says. “And any time you can spread your risk as a farmer, it’s a huge benefit.”

There’s a theory that fungicides don’t pay if it’s dry because disease needs water to grow. But we found that fungicides are beneficial even when it doesn’t rain.

Nathan Baker
Waldron, Michigan
Growers invest in high-quality inputs to give their crops the ability to withstand extreme weather, but when Mother Nature is particularly unfavorable, Syngenta shares the risk by providing a percentage of cash back on AgriClime-enrolled growers’ purchases at the end of the season.

Optimizing Available Water

With varying weather patterns across the U.S., growers also can take steps to optimize available resources. Perhaps the most precious agricultural resource is water.

Agrisure Artesian® corn hybrids feature multiple genes to pull more water and nutrients out of the soil to fight plant stress induced by hot and dry weather throughout the season. Corn naturally has native genes that fight off stress when it gets dry, similar to humans fighting off a cold. But, Agrisure Artesian takes it a step further. Water-optimizing hybrids protect genetic yield potential in both normal and drought conditions, maximizing yield potential when it rains and increasing yield potential when it doesn’t.

For growers in a low-yield environment, selecting genetics focused on those needs and expectations helps manage risk and drives consistent performance, says Todd McRoberts, U.S. agronomy manager for NK® seeds at Syngenta.

“Agrisure Artesian takes out the hills and valleys throughout the year and provides a more consistent pattern of corn growth,” McRoberts says. “It protects you from catastrophic loss, and you’re not sacrificing anything from a performance standpoint.”

Premium Agronomics, Premium Results

The extreme weather patterns Baker and Goyings experience influence their selection of both variety and crop protection products.

“There’s a theory that fungicides don’t pay if it’s dry because disease needs water to grow,” Baker says. “But we found that fungicides are beneficial even when it doesn’t rain.” Those benefits can include slowed water loss during dry conditions, quicker canopy closure depriving weeds of sunlight, reduced lodging from increased stalk strength and prolonged grain-fill periods when crops don’t die down early because of disease or environmental stressors.

Both farmers agree that AgriClime supports their agronomically sound crop protection plans.

“AgriClime helps us put our trust in a higher-quality product that may cost a bit more upfront, but the improved yield results take the sting out of the cost,” Goyings says. “Ultimately, I hope that it does rain, and I don’t need the payout of the weather protection offer, because at the end of the day I’d rather have the moisture,” Goyings explains. “It gives me the confidence to apply the best products for my farm regardless of how the weather pans out.”

To learn more about Agrisure Artesian corn hybrids or AgriClime, reach out to a local Syngenta retailer or sales representative.

When extreme #weather threatens #yield potential, innovation can lessen the impact and reduce #grower stress.

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