With growers turning their attention to early post-emergent herbicide and other foliar applications in corn and soybeans, Agricen's Scott Lay spoke with Dennis Michelsen of WITY Radio to discuss Terramar, a new option for mitigating the effects of weather-related stress and helping crops realize their yield potential.
Dennis - WITY Radio: Tell us a little bit about Terramar.
Scott - Agricen: Terramar is not only a new product, but also a new practice that can now be employed in farmers’ growing systems: the practice of minimizing weather-related stresses. Weather plays a tremendous role in determining yield, and weather stress may present itself through the months of May, June and July in the form of heat, drought or other challenges. Terramar helps to minimize the stress impact that crops experience and allows them to realize more of their potential.
Dennis - WITY Radio: I understand it's derived in part from kelp.
Scott - Agricen: It is. Our colleagues in California who grow fruit and vegetable crops have been using kelp for some time. They recognize that plant extracts from kelp help crops with stress. It doesn't take the place of moisture or precipitation, but it does allow that plant to continue more of its normal physiological growth processes and minimize the impact of heat and drought.
There's also a carbon component to Terramar. Even in the absence of stress, that carbon provides needed energy for the plant, which is then translated into a plant that can pull more water and nutrients into the cells as it needs them. We saw some tremendous positive yield results last year when Terramar was applied in corn and beans.
Dennis - WITY Radio: There's a lot of different kinds of stress that Terramar can help fight.
Scott - Agricen: If we apply this technology early in the crop's growth process, we're preparing that crop for whatever may come. While we can't predict whether there will be any heat or drought impact on that crop, we do know that if we can improve specific metrics in the plant with Terramar, for instance, increased chlorophyll production or increased water transpiration, that will result in a better performing plant, regardless of weather circumstances.
Dennis - WITY Radio: Terramar is applied with a foliar application and I understand it mixes well with other crop inputs growers are already going to be using. How late into the season can we apply Terramar?
Scott - Agricen: It can be applied even as late as reproductive stages in concert with fungicide applications. In corn, that’s shortly after pollination or tassel time. In soybeans, those fungicide applications may take place well into the reproductive stages into late July or early August.
Dennis - WITY Radio: I like to think of a product like Terramar as sort of like an insurance policy. Could we benefit by using it twice, one run with the herbicides and then maybe later with the fungicide application?
Scott - Agricen: Last year we saw evidence of that, where multiple applications turned out to provide a greater return in terms of increased yield. You could think of it as a practice that allows the plant to perform more closely to its potential. And in the absence of stress, pulling more nutrients into that plant—which the carbon based component provides—is a very critical yield enhancing practice.
Dennis - WITY Radio: What sorts of results have you seen when you look at the return on investment?
Scott - Agricen: Last year, the average response in corn was 7 to 8 bushels. In times of severe heat and drought stress like we had in the Western Corn belt, those yield responses were even greater, oftentimes in the 12- to 15-bushel range. In soybeans last year, the average yield response was right at about 4 to 5 bushels. Under today's commodity price environment, that’s a very handsome return.
Terramar is available from Nutrien Ag Solutions.
This interview was edited for length and clarity. You can listen to the interview below or on Agricen's YouTube channel.
Learn more about Terramar by downloading the Terramar product booklet.