Wow! What a growing season! 2020 has proved to be as challenging as ever – unexpected weather events, variable commodity prices, changes in herbicide regulations and so much more, all of which made growers examine every aspect of their production to ensure success in areas under their control. Choosing a reliable, trusted company that helps you choose seed varieties and herbicide programs based on individual farm needs is a must for our farm. Corteva Agriscience and Pioneer Seeds have been trusted family farm partners for the last 30+ years. I am excited to walk you through our farm decision on growing Pioneer® brand Enlist E3® soybeans this past growing season.
About Epperson Farms
Residing outside of Vandalia, Missouri, our farm has been growing Pioneer brand seed since 1972. Primarily rotating corn and soybeans each year on our row crop operation, we also raise hogs and kiddos, so keeping busy isn’t any trouble for us. Not being raised on a farm, I ventured back to our farming operation in 2014 after marrying my husband, a fourth-generation farmer. Jordan and I took over our row crop operation in January of 2019 and both 2019 and 2020 have kept us on our toes, with many adverse challenges outside of our control. Farming is our way of life and we enjoy the values, dedication, risks and rewards of the lifestyle.
With that being said, before planting Pioneer® brand Enlist E3® soybeans this season, I paid very little attention to our soybean seed and herbicide program selection. Historically, our farm relied on Pioneer® brand Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans, making the switch to Pioneer® brand soybeans with the LibertyLink® gene in the 2019 growing season. In 2019, we also began spraying our own row crops for weeds, and making this switch made our seed choice and herbicide program selection even more relevant. When making the change to the Enlist™ system for our farm, there were three main questions that had to be answered:
- How does/will the Pioneer® brand Enlist E3® soybean yield compare to what I am currently planting (and frankly, satisfied with)?
Yield is one of the most important driving factors when we make any decision on our farm. After the grain is in the bin, the combine and other equipment are washed and tucked away in the shed, we evaluate our yield by farm and as an overall operation. Frankly, yield is king. Using the yield totals, we are able to confidently market our grain and plan for the year ahead. So, when making a big switch, particularly to the Enlist™ system that we were not familiar with, the first question we ask is regarding the yield potential, with direct questions about plot and research data. Our local Pioneer and Corteva teams were able to assist us by providing yield data from comparative field conditions, thanks to both Corteva research facilities and local field trial data. Additionally, our local team also helped us choose the right variety for our soil type, which as we all can relate, the soil type can be very different from field to field in our neck of the Midwest.
- How does the Enlist™ system compare to the herbicide system I am currently using? (Effectiveness, spray windows, volatility, product flexibility etc.)
We take great pride in having clean, weed-free fields throughout the growing season. Tough weed pressure can affect yield and make harvest tough. Each year that we use the same herbicide program, the weeds on that field become more resistant to the chemical being applied. Thus, being open-minded to change herbicide programs is relevant for our farm to continue to suppress and beat the ever-changing weed dynamics. The Enlist™ herbicide system offers flexibility in spray windows and in product selection. Having the ability to choose from the two Enlist™ herbicides, Enlist Duo® or Enlist One®, and pair them with other tank mix partners based on weed pressure, weather conditions and overall agronomic situations, is very valuable to our farm – again, we do live in the Midwest after all.
- How confident am I that I will get support regarding the major change I am making on my farm?
As mentioned above, we have been planting Pioneer® brand seed for generations of Epperson Farmers. Seed and chemical selection are at the forefront of important decisions made on our farm. There is something to be said for a continued partnership between two businesses that has lasted for 30 plus years. We contribute the success of our relationship with Pioneer and Corteva to their incredible customer service, our knowledgeable local team and their continued dedication to research and sustainability. When a company that we respect and trust with a major part of our family business recommends a new-to-us product, we listen. It was an easy decision to work with our local seed dealer and local agronomist to choose the right Pioneer® brand Enlist E3® soybean variety and pair it with the right Enlist™ herbicide to take control of the tough weeds on our farm.
Our Enlist Experience Was a Success!
So, let’s get down to it, what you’re all dying to know: after growing the Pioneer® brand Enlist E3® soybeans and utilizing the Enlist One® + glyphosate herbicide mix, I can confidently report that we saw even, consistent growth among our soybeans during the entire growing season. There was little to no weed pressure after applying the postemergence pass, and our fields looked clean for the rest of the summer. Even the difficult-to-control waterhemp wilted until being snuffed out from the canopied beans. Our overall yield for our Enlist E3® soybean field was 62 bushels to the acre, 10 bu/ac better than other Pioneer® brand soybeans with the LibertyLink® gene planted within two days of the Enlist field plant date. I can confidently contribute the above average yield to the appropriate timing and application of the Enlist™ herbicide, recommended and guided by our local Corteva team.
Will we plant Pioneer® brand Enlist E3® soybeans again? The simple answer is yes. As we approach the time of year for seed selection for the 2021 growing season, we will likely include both Pioneer® brand soybeans with the LibertyLink® gene varieties and Pioneer® brand Enlist E3® soybean varieties, growing our Enlist presence by a few hundred acres next year. We were very pleased with the Enlist™ system and reassured of our continued, successful partnership with Corteva Agriscience and Pioneer Seeds.