February 25, 2021

Know More, Grow More: Riggerts Partner with SciMax to Produce Results

SciMax Solutoins

SciMax Solutions’ Eric Goodman visits with Mike Riggert and Brian Riggert.

Legendary track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee noted that “It’s better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.” Mike and Brian Riggert share a similar philosophy about farming.

In a year like 2013, the need to prepare goes hand in hand with the need to be flexible. “It quit raining around the third week of June,” said Mike, who added that some of the brothers’ fields near Whittemore were hit by hail on Aug. 22. “Everyone around here was begging for rain this summer.”

The dry weather wasn’t all bad, though. The brothers continued to add tile drainage on their prevented-plant acres. Also, the extreme weather didn’t stop the brothers from experimenting with new products to boost their crops’ yield potential. They included a number of strip trials to test FORTIX™, a new fungicide that protects plants from yield-robbing disease all season long with a single early application.

“I appreciate how the guys are willing to try new things,” said Eric Goodman, a SciMax Solutions specialist who works closely with the Riggerts.

The right time to apply FORTIX is around the V5 stage, which meant late June this year, Goodman noted. “When we checked their fields, you could clearly see that the corn that had been sprayed with FORTIX was definitely healthier. The untreated corn had more disease.”

In addition, the Riggerts’ corn was treated with Ascend®, a growth regulator designed for corn and soybeans. Ascend improves plant health, which contributes to bigger roots and stronger stalks, Goodman said.

Insect pests weren’t a major problem this summer, with one exception. “We had big-time challenges with aphids,” Mike said. “You’ll have terrible beans if you don’t try to control aphids, so we figured that spraying saved us at least 10 bushels per acre.”

SciMax SolutionsSpring soil tests offer advantages

While the Riggerts worked with SciMax early on to map out their summer 2013 management decisions, these plans functioned more as guidelines than rules.

“Our plans changed a lot this year, sometimes every day or two,” Brian said. “Still, it’s best to have a plan in place and then be flexible. We talk to our SciMax specialists often to decide the best course of action.”

By early fall, the Riggerts were working with Goodman on their variable-rate fertilizer and variable-rate nitrogen plans. “This means the next steps can start to take place after the combines have rolled,” Goodman said.

Since the Riggerts have their soil samples pulled in the spring, SciMax can review the results through the summer and have a plan in place for fall. “Spring soil sampling also saves you $1 per acre, compared to fall soil sampling,” said Goodman, who added that the Riggerts and SciMax are experimenting with smaller grid sizes to see if this helps boost yield potential.

To give plants an even bigger boost, the Riggerts have been working with SciMax to compare strips where anhydrous had been applied with strips containing ESN® SMART NITROGEN®. This enhanced-efficiency fertilizer uses a flexible, micro-thin polymer coating to control the release of nitrogen into the soil. This allows the plant to increase its uptake of fertilizer while reducing the potential of nutrient losses to the environment.

As they monitor the results, the Riggerts appreciate the guidance they receive from the SciMax team. “We’re growers, not researchers,” Mike said. “It takes a lot of time to analyze these comparisons. It’s much easier to track the results with help from SciMax.”

Having real-world data to back up anecdotal evidence also gives the Riggerts greater confidence in their management decisions. The opportunity to learn from other SciMax growers is also an advantage. “The interaction, communication, and sharing between the SciMax group about what works and what doesn’t is helpful,” Goodman said. “Plus, a lot of friendships have developed along the way.”

Both Goodman and the Riggerts were looking forward to seeing the results of the 2013 crop this fall. “The weigh wagon doesn’t answer everything, though,” Brian said. “We’re always trying to learn more and are glad to work with SciMax.”

Editor’s note: Mike and Brian Riggert farm north of Whittemore near the Lotts Creek area and have participated in SciMax Solutions for six years. They each farm more than 1,000 acres, for a total of nearly 2,400 acres of corn and soybeans. They utilize grid sampling, yield monitoring, and variable-rate technology for planting and fertilizer applications, including nitrogen.

The next issue of My Solutions magazine will recap the Riggert brothers’ 2013 harvest results and preview their plans for 2014.



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