Brandt Senior Agronomist Ed Corrigan (right) leads an InfoAg pre-conference tour of the company’s 100-acre research farm at Pleasant Plains, Ill. This year’s research farm includes about 600 various corn trials and 220 to 230 different soybean trials.
Brandt Senior Agronomist Ed Corrigan (right) leads an InfoAg pre-conference tour of the company’s 100-acre research farm at Pleasant Plains, Ill. This year’s research farm includes about 600 various corn trials and 220 to 230 different soybean trials.

PLEASANT PLAINS, Ill. — What looks good on paper or in greenhouse trials doesn’t make the cut until it hits the dirt and proves its value to the farmer.

One example is Brandt’s extensive research farm trials where it closely examines performances of corn hybrids and soybean varieties using a variety of agronomic practices.

The Brandt research farm was among the stops for the InfoAg pre-conference tour. The tour included national and international visitors on hand for the three-day conference in Springfield.

Hundreds of trials at the research farm are taken to yield each year, and the results are reported in a Brandt’s plot book publication.

Trials over the last several years have included stress mitigation trials evaluating Bt corn borer, Bt rootworm and Roundup Ready corn traits; processor preferred hybrid responses to tillage, crop rotation, nutrition and fungicides; nutrient application timing and placements with different tillage, hybrids and herbicides; micronutrient trials comparing soil and foliar applications; soybean response to seed treatment, fungicides and micronutrients with various tillage; and hybrid response to crop rotation and tillage practices.

Brandt has added more trials demonstrating the Nutrazone system approach of increasing yields and nutrient efficiencies by matching the nutrient rates to population rates within each field.

This marks the second year of Brandt’s pipeline development with trials that include N-Boron, Brandt Smart Trio at different rates, Manni-Plex B Moly, N-Boost and competitive products and fungicides applied at intervals from in-the-row at planting through the R2 growth stage.

Populations vary in the tests from 30,000 to 39,000 plants per acre with varying nutrient applications and tillage systems. Precision planting seed placement demonstrations also are evaluated.

“We can help our growers by doing side-by-sides, give them information and demonstrate some of the technologies,” said Ed Corrigan, Brandt senior agronomist.

“We started eight years ago with a lot of the traits — the Roundup Ready system and the rootworm — and it’s progressed beyond traits. Now, it’s using all of these chemistries.”

Corrigan gave an example of one plot that tests Roundup and other modes of action such as a PPO or ALS.

“What we’re looking at is not weed control. We’re keeping the weeds out. We’re really looking at how that affects the plant differently,” he said.

“Every time you take Roundup and now in our area we’re getting into a lot of marestail resistance to Roundup and waterhemp that’s resistant to Roundup, so they’re adding more modes of action and going to the maximum rate and it’s really putting a load on these plants.

“So we’ll add those products and then we try to find other products, stimulants if you will, that will help mediate that stress. We’re really focused on yield.”

He said the test plots include continuous corn and a soybean-corn rotation.

This year’s 100-acre research farm includes about 600 various corn trials and 220 to 230 different soybean trials, according to Corrigan.

All of the data points collected from these tests with one primary goal.

“We take the information from these test plots and put them into a booklet and hand that out to our customers every year after harvest. We also post it on our website in a PDF format,” Corrigan said.

“We want to visually understand what’s going on and what to watch for, and we also want to get those in concert with our fertility, population planting date, get everything working together and be able to best utilize the information of how that product is going to work to get the most out of it for each of those growers.

“We don’t want the grower to buy something and then not be able to get the value of out of it.”