With the start of 2019, it’s an opportunity for growers to set goals for the coming months, and with increased pressure from low commodity prices, many growers are hoping to maximize their return on investment from inputs for the coming year. Tackling that goal, however, might seem like a daunting task.
Michael Langemeier of Purdue University, Mitch Blair of BASF, and Eric Totemeier, a corn and soybean grower from Iowa, shared some helpful insights growers should keep in mind on maximizing ROI when using inputs like fungicides.
Start with a plan: The importance of partial budgeting
We all know about budgeting, but what about partial budgeting? According to Professor Langemeier, “A partial budget can be used to analyze a possible change in the operation involving one or several enterprise budgets. It provides a formal and consistent method for calculating the expected change in profit from a proposed change in the farm business with an emphasis on ‘changes’ in revenues and costs.”
To help identify those changes, it’s important for growers to ask themselves four questions, answering them on the basis of what would happen if the proposed alternative was implemented:
1. What new or additional costs will be incurred?
2. What current costs will be reduced or eliminated?
3. What new or additional revenue will be received?
4. What current revenue will be lost or reduced?
Once those questions have been answered, and additional costs and revenue have been identified, it’s time to put partial budgeting into action. Using Professor Langemeier’s tool, growers can fill out the partial budgeting form to identify their net profit change, also known as the possible benefit received based on their decision.
Consistency helps maximize ROI
“For growers, the consistent performance and return of their fungicide investment is critical to getting the most out of their inputs,” shares Mitch Blair, Product Manager at BASF. “BASF Plant Health fungicides, like Headline AMP® fungicide and Priaxor® fungicide, help mitigate biotic stress (disease) and abiotic stress (environmental) to optimize growth efficiency in the plant.”
So how does consistency help growers maximize the ROI of fungicides?
According to Blair, management of biotic and abiotic stressors help drive ROI of fungicides. When evaluating whether or not a fungicide application should be made and whether it will provide a return on investment, growers should keep in mind the following:
1. Analyze which acres will respond best to a fungicide application.
2. Choose the right fungicide for their operation.
3. Leverage the benefits of proactive fungicide applications.
4. Look at the long-term weather forecast.
5. Invest with intent.
In all on-farm trials of Priaxor fungicide from BASF, the product has consistently provided a yield advantage 92 percent of the time*. When using a product whose results you can count on, coupled with Plant Health benefits, growers can sleep easy knowing that they’re investing with intent by using a product that will benefit their bottom line.
The proof is in the pudding
From Columbus Junction, Iowa, Eric Totemeier believes that BASF Plant Health fungicides have truly provided him with a return on his investment. Totemeier farms 1,800 acres in Iowa, of which about 50 percent are corn and 50 percent are soybeans.
“When we start out planning, a good majority of our corn acres get a fungicide which is called Xanthion in-furrow fungicide from BASF. This goes on with a starter fertilizer early on in the spring and gives us really good protection up front,” said Totemeier. “As the season goes on, if we have good weed control, good growth of the plant and nitrogen is not a limiting factor, when we come into pollination time we make a decision about what to do as far as getting Headline AMP on corn. On the soybean side, we’re looking at about flower time whether or not to apply Priaxor.”
When determining when and if to apply a fungicide, for Totemeier it comes down to how the crop is progressing and what the stresses have been on the plant.
“No matter what, if you’ve had a cool, wet season, you’re obviously open to more disease,” said Totemeier. “If you’ve had a dry and hot season, those fungicides actually help the plant cool down and hold on a lot longer. For example, if you’ve been in a high-stress situation, coming into harvest that increased plant health will actually equate to increased standability of your plant and that will help harvestability. It makes it a lot easier on an operator in the combine and you can also save yield as the plants are standing upright and you’re not having harvest losses.”
Reflecting on the 2018 season, Totemeier attributes his great season to fungicides. “We got into some corn that was very drought stressed, and on the outside edge of the fields it took the heat the worst. When we started out I thought, ‘Boy, this is going to be a rough season,’ with corn that was sub 100 on some end rows,” he said. “When we started getting out in the field [at harvest], we were seeing tremendous yield and with that we ended up with 230-bushel corn yield average on all 900 acres and even on beans we ended averaging with 75-bushel on all 900 acres of soybeans. 100 percent of my corn acres and 75 percent of my soybean acres had a fungicide on them and I attribute those high yields back to a fungicide application that helped protect that yield.”
As growers set their financial goals for the upcoming year, it’s important to consider what should be done to help maximize their return on investment when using inputs like fungicides. To learn more about how growers can maximize ROI with fungicides in 2019, listen in on the conversation we had with these growers at the end of 2018.
Always read and follow label directions
Headline AMP, Priaxor and Xanthion are registered trademarks of BASF.
*2012–2017. BASF sponsored. Summary of all on farm trials. Priaxor fungicide 4 fl oz/A. Applications
R1-R4 with the majority at R3. Consistency = % of trials when the Priaxor fungicide treatment out yielded the UTC.