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BASF: treatment programs key to top soybean yields

Ever wonder what it takes to set a world yield record? Record-holder Kip Cullers has some answers and those attending the recent field day at his Stark City, Mo., farm had the opportunity to hear about them.

“Kip’s set two yield records, now,” said Jared Chastain, a BASF business representative in central and southern Indiana. “In 2006, he had 130-plus bushel soybeans (followed) in 2007 with a yield of over 154 bushels.”

Another fact: Kip’s typical soybean yield averages more than double the Missouri state average.

“One thing that Kips does to start fields off right is to use a foundation of residual herbicides.”

Every year presents unique challenges, pointed out Dan Westberg, BASF tech manager for herbicides. “This year, across much of the Midwest (there was much rain). Even down here in southwest Missouri, (Kip) said he had something like 52 inches of rain” by early August.

Cullers starts with a residual applied pre-emergence. “That provides time to come back with a post-emergence with an in-crop application.”

With today’s grain prices, “we need to get every bushel we can off a field,” said Chastain. “One of the other things Kip’s been doing is implementing an insecticide in with a fungicide treatment. He’s been using Respect, a very broad-spectrum insecticide from BASF, active on key pests. It’s easy to mix and highly compatible with all the different tank-mixes we might need to use. He uses that on all his corn and soybeans, as well.”

Cullers “starts strong” with a residual herbicide like Prowl H2O and then “finishes strong” with Headline fungicide.

“Headline helps protect yields and maximize yield potential by controlling diseases and minimizing crop stress. Headline controls all key soybean diseases — anthracnose, septoria, ASR, brownspot. It does that by controlling those diseases but also reducing stress in the crop.”

Headline is the most researched fungicide BASF has, said Westberg. “It’s on the market today. We have over 2,500 on-farm trials. On average, in those trials, Headline has outyielded untreated areas by 4 to 8 bushels across the Midwest and South.

“Another way to think about it is, in Kip’s terminology ‘a healthy plant is a happy plant, one that wants to make yield.’”

Is Respect a pyrethroid?

“Yes, it is,” said Chastain. “Kip typically puts it out with a Headline application at around R-3 soybeans. That takes care of any bugs on the leaves and pods and the Headline extends control of diseases and minimizes crop stress.”

In contest fields, Cullers uses at least two Headline applications at 6 ounces per shot.

Is Extreme a tank mix?

“It’s a mix of Pursuit and glyphosate. Kip is (also applying) Prowl — which is a good, different mode of action on grasses and small-seeded broadleaves. Those are the first things that come up in the spring. He’s keeping the fields clean that way and coming back a couple of months later and hitting them with Extreme.

“Extreme is very flexible. In Indiana, we use it predominately as a burndown product. It differs around the country. A lot of people use it in a burndown program and others use it in crops.”

For more on Culler’s farm and work with BASF/Pioneer, see: Delta Farm Press.

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