What is the Field Forecasting Tool and How Does it Help You?

This summer we have been making use of Winfield’s new Field Forecasting Tool (FFT) to help producers make better input decisions for this year’s crop. The Field Forecasting Tool takes Nitrogen rate calculators to a whole new level. Not only does it calculate Nitrogen within the model, it calculates Potassium as well. Other inputs the calculator takes into consideration are previous crops, tillage practices, soil type, soil nutrient levels, planting dates, planting depth, plant population, and seed variety. Events that affect the in-season adjustments of the model include growing degree units, growth stage updates, weather patterns, irrigation, fertilizer applications, and tissue samples.

As the crop is growing in the field it is also growing within the model based on the above factors. Growing degree units and weather patterns the tool puts together by itself but the other inputs must be entered by the agronomist so crop scouting is very important. Whenever a fertilizer application is made the model gets updated with that information and calibrated accordingly. While crop scouting we update the growth stage to help keep the model as up to date as possible and pull tissue samples.

Tissue samples are very important to the Field Forecasting Tool and are used to calibrate the system and keep the model accurate so we can use it to make fertilizer application decisions. There is a tab within the tool where we can set up a table with the type of the fertilizer being applied on a range of dates and application rates to determine the most profitable rate and day of application based off of fertilizer cost, application cost, predicted grain price, and change in bushels per acre. Another helpful tab within the model is the water management tab. Within it we can see rainfall and irrigation events that have already taken place and a prediction of rainfall based on the short and extended forecast, and a historical average. It also shows us if the field has experienced any water stress yet this year and predicted water stress so we can make irrigation decisions if there is a pivot on the field.

The Field Forecasting Tool is immensely helpful in assisting agronomists in their data calculations and predictions to help you, the producer, get the most out of your crop and your inputs. This tool really keeps the customer at the forefront, with improved predictions and models that will help you make economic and agronomic decisions beyond this year, but in the years to come.

Photo depicting a 2nd Over the Top application of fertilizer. Note the growth stage at the top (V12) and the predicted stress days.

Photo depicting Potassium levels across the growing season. In red, there are predicted potassium stress days.

Photo tracking urea applications. In dark green are days when applying urea is most profitable. In bright red, days when urea application would do no good. Also note the tool bar on the left side for calculating cost to the producer.

Photo depicting data taken from an in-field tissue sample. On the bottom you can see the growth stage the field was in at the same spot on June 14th, and then the progress in growth on June 25th. You can also see exactly how this area is doing in terms of nutrients listed around the middle circle. If the periodic symbol is green, it’s doing good. Yellow and red symbolize a deficiency.


Finally, here’s a look at the water predictions. It’s divided into soil available water, and outside source water (rain or irrigation) and predicts when the crop will be water deficient.

Put Crop Inputs Where They’ll Do Most Good

Mike Christensen, Agronomy Division Manager

Are you ready to try variable rate planting (VRP) this spring? Your Countryside sales agronomist can write a prescription using your soil types, past aerial and satellite images, and the data your yield monitor gathered last fall.

We’re writing most VRP prescriptions using WinField® United’s R7® tool. We’re seeing good repeatability from what the satellite imaging is showing and what last year’s yields were.

Part of the reason for the interest in VRP is that there are so many differences in soil types and yields within a field. As the economy tightens, growers want to make sure they are spending money where it will do the most good. They want to treat zones with high yield potential differently than zones with low yield potential.

Take corn, for example. Your VRP planting population may vary by as many as 1,000 seeds between zones. If your seed costs $300 a bag for 80,000 kernels, you could save up to $4 per acre between two zones. If your field contains five zones of variability, you could save up to $16/A between the zone of lowest potential and the zone of highest potential.

A Word of Caution: If you vary your population that much, make sure you feed the corn in the better zones enough groceries (nitrogen and sulfur) to reach its potential.


Try our new field forecasting tool

The other piece of technology you can try this season is WinField® United’s R7® Field Forecasting Tool (FFT) Once you’ve planted your seed, we can use this tool as a barometer to tell if we’re doing the right thing in-season.

At the beginning of the season, we’ll load data like variety, population, soil type, and fertilizer application into FFT. Then, using live weather data, the tool will help you and your Countryside sales agronomist understand if nitrogen and potassium levels are sufficient or deficient. If deficient, we can apply more in season to reach the crop’s yield potential.

            Call your Countryside sales agronomist and ask them about VRP and the FFT.

Fungicide Shows Huge Return for Countryside Grower

It may be difficult to pull the trigger on applying a fungicide this year. However, your time and investment may pay off like it did for a Countryside grower in 2017.  Tim Mares, a Master Agronomy Advisor that works with Countryside, has seen huge returns from a fungicide application on many occasions.  He worked with this grower last year and saw 30+ bu/ac increase.

“The farmer wanted to spray half the field with a fungicide to see if it would make a difference. At harvest, the grower couldn’t believe the yield response he had.  He wished he would have sprayed the whole field,” said Tim Mares.

The yield map below shows the difference. The fungicide was applied via aerial application at tassel to the left side of the map.  The field had DKC52-84(High RTF) planted on the left and DKC 53-56(Low RTF) planted on the right.  “It had soybeans in 2016, which usually means less disease pressure.  There were a few rows in the center of the field with DKC53-56 that we usually don’t see as much of a response from fungicide (due to the Low RTF rating).  However, we still saw a dramatic increase in yield,” said Tim Mares.

The grower also applied Masterlock and Max-In Boron. The Masterlock helped reduce drift and boron helped elevate the boron deficiency.  These products along with the fungicide gave the grower the best chance at increased yields.

Contact your Countryside agronomist to learn more.

Don’t Just Hope When it Comes to Fungicide

There’s no doubt that when commodity prices are low, the late-season expense of fungicide applications can be difficult to justify. But sound in-season management is what makes your yield goals attainable. The right decision on fungicide applications requires a calculated approach. Response-to scores can help farmers manage the variability found in every field. This leads to clearer picture of how to allocate their resources and obtain a higher return on your investment.

Response to Fungicide (RTF) scores are key indications of your potential return on a fungicide application.

The Answer Plot® program tests around 240 varieties every year. Some varieties have a very high bushel response and others do not.  Below is a chart that shows all the variety results in 2017.


When conditions favor disease growth, use RTF scores to evaluate the potential ROI of fungicide application. Contact your Countryside Agronomist here to learn more about Response To Scores on your varieties.


It Pays to Check Fields Early and Often

We all have seen fields with high yield potential devastated by disease. The only way to stop disease is to catch it early or prevent it altogether.  The two primary diseases for corn in our area is anthracnose and northern corn leaf blight.  It’s important to check your fields early and often.

Anthracnose Identification

It appears as leaf blight and may occur anytime after emergence. In early corn, it will appear as water-soaked round spots and blights on lower leaves.  The spots and legions will grow up to mid and late corn development.  The legions will look yellow, red or brown depending on the situation.

The key is to catch it in early corn development. It can appear as top die-back after tassel and eventually lead to stalk rot.  Both symptoms can have extreme effects on field performance and harvestability.

Northern Corn Leaf Blight Identification

It appears as oblong lesions that look like a cigar which may be tan or gray in color. The size of the legion ranges from 1 to 7 inches and typically appear on lower leaves first.  Northern Corn Leaf Blight usually appears late in the growing season.  The disease requires temperatures from 64-81 degrees F, cloudy, and humid conditions to spread.

Both diseases survive on crop residue overwinter and spread by wind and water. Managing anthracnose and northern corn leaf blight can by done by hybrid selection, scouting early and often, fungicides, and other cultural practices.

(pictured: Northern Corn Leaf Blight)


Contact your Countryside Agronomist for further information. If you are not a Countryside customer, contact a member of our team here.

Exciting Updates At Our 4 Corners/New Richmond Location

Introducing Our New Location Manager - Ben Sand

Ben Sand is the new manager at our New Richmond/4 Corners location, which supplies agronomy, grain, and energy products and services to customers in an approximately 50-mile radius. This location also receives corn into a 1.1-million-bushel storage facility which is a joint venture between Countryside Cooperative and ACE Ethanol located in Stanley.

Ben was born and raised in the Menomonie area where he and his wife, Haily, now live.  Growing up in the country, he states, “I always had a strong passion for the outdoors and an interest in agriculture.  I took just about every ag class I could at Menomonie High School,” Ben recalled, who was also a member of FFA.

After high school, Ben earned Associate Degrees in Agriscience Technician (2012) and Landscape Plant Turf Management (2013) from Chippewa Valley Technical College. In 2015, he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Management (with a Human Resource Emphasis) at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

His experience outside the classroom also prepared him for an agricultural career. Ben worked as a field intern for Chippewa Valley Bean/Doane Ltd., an Environmental Technician for 4 Control, and, finally, an agronomy intern with Countryside at 4 Corners in 2014.

In 2015, at the summation of his internship, Ben was offered a full-time position as a Sales Agronomist/Precision Ag Specialist at 4 Corners. He advanced to Operations Manager/Sales Agronomist at Milltown and, finally, in October of 2017, he was named the new Location Manager at 4 Corners.

“My job is to make sure we have the staff to operate our facility, run all our equipment to serve our customers, support our sales staff, and make sure everyone goes home safe at the end of the day,” says our new manager.

“I’m very excited about working with the staff we have right now at New Richmond,” adds Ben. In total, that location employs 20 full-time and 20-25 seasonal workers.

Making everything click is the most exciting part of his job, but Ben acknowledges that he wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for our loyal customers and exceptional employees.


Mike Christenson, Agronomy Division Supervisor

You’ve heard the words “big data” repeatedly in 2017. These words are exciting, but can be scary. Machines you operate generate all kinds of data—so do the machines we operate. But how do we pull all this data together to make better decisions?

Well, I have good news. Countryside Cooperative has adopted a new technology called FieldAlytics which can talk to the software in each machine and pull everything together—automatically.

With this technology in hand, we’re introducing for the 2018 crop year a program called Precision Ag Cropping Solutions (PACS). We previewed PACS with small groups of 18-20 growers before the end of 2017, and they were all pretty excited.

PACS rolls all your data and our data into one place so it can be utilized by you and your cooperative. It simplifies the whole process of collecting, storing and analyzing data from your planter and combine, and our sprayers and fertilizer application equipment.

This allows us to make more timely recommendations, and you to make more informed decisions with the potential to increase your return on investment. With PACS, we can layer in our soil sampling information and your yield information, and you can do what is best for your farm.

PACS also allows us to make recommendations for farming your land by zone, based on satellite imagery, soil type, yield, and the general information you contribute about your land—from personal experience.

The goal of PACS is to help you spend your money more wisely, which, in this economy, is crucial to your survival and growth.

If you farm, you know that success starts with the soil, right? PACS begins by offering you three soil sampling options: 1.0-acre grid sampling, 2.5 acre grid sampling, or 5-acre grid sampling.

Then, you pick from two packages of services: PACS Base or PACS Plus.

Finally, you pick any additional services you want us to perform.

Your Countryside agronomist has all the details on our new Precision Ag Cropping System. Call them today and say, “Tell me about PACS.”

Receive Our Newsletter

and stay informed on news, events and special offers.