Protecting against corn rootworm larvae at planting didn’t slow down Bill Voorhees on his corn-on-corn acres this spring. With one fill of the FMC 3RIVE 3D system attached to his planter, he was able to plant 480 acres — encasing every seed in every furrow with a foam formulation comprised of the same effective active ingredient as Capture LFR.
The minimal water use system comes free to farmers in exchange for a commitment to buy the insecticide, Capture 3RIVE 3D, or another foam blend that mixes biological fungicide with Capture, Ethos 3D. Many FMC insecticides, fungicides and herbicides also qualify for the commitment and can be put forward to make up for not meeting the acreage minimum required of the system, says Brandon Schrage, FMC technical service manager.
Both Schrage and Voorhees, a Farm Progress Show host farmer in Decatur, Ill., have been using the product through a beta phase that started in 2013. Now 3RIVE is fully commercialized, with two foam products on the market and about five planned for release over the next couple of years.
“Many companies have a lot of good chemistry, but the problem has often been application: How do we get it where we need it so that it’s going to be most effective?” Schrage asks, noting foam expands to 50 times its size as a liquid and touches every seed in the furrow.
“The insects have no choice but to go through that layer to get to the seed, and that’s where the control is going to take place,” he adds.
Minimal water requirements keep the 3RIVE system from weighing down planters. While a jug of insecticide would normally require about 5 gallons of water per acre to get a decent carrier volume, the foam in the 3RIVE system uses 40 ounces per acre.
It takes farmers 10 minutes to fill 130 gallons of water and 30 gallons of product. Ounce mounted to a planter, 3RIVE pushes everything to proprietary manifolds that create the foam.
“The reason I started using 3RIVE was because I wanted a different mode of action from what we’ve been using for insecticide,” Voorhees says, recalling a tough year with corn rootworm in 2014. “We were using Aztec and stuff like that, and wanted to go with something that was a little simpler to use. Less bulky on the planter, something you could come and load once every morning, or before going home.”
FILLED: Bill Voorhees only has to fill up the 3RIVE 3D system once per day during planting.
While Voorhees only uses 3RIVE on his corn-on-corn acres for now, he’s eager for future blends that may deliver fertility, inhibitors or micronutrients in foam. He sprays all his corn with fungicide to fight foliar pathogens but wants to try Ethos next year to fight early-season pathogens such as phytophthora.
FMC research shows a yield benefit to in-furrow fungicides. Ethos 3D boasts an average 9-bushel advantage over an untreated check, thanks to early protection against insects and fungi.
“As we saw this year, the hardest part is sometimes just getting a crop up. This allows us to have a better start, so you get a stronger initial plant stand,” Schrage says.
When asked how he’s seen the 3RIVE system evolve as he’s been the “guinea pig” for FMC over the past five years, Voorhees says kinks have been worked out to make a “trouble-free system.”
“You’re still going to have a plugged tube here and there, just as you would have with any other system. But it’s basically a trouble-free system now,” Voorhees concludes.