Harvest is the time of year when you get to see the results of the experiments you did during the year. One of those experiments this year was understanding the impact of Plant Growth Regulator (PGR) in the field. To be scientific about it, so as to measure a field, with the same precipitation, soil health, growth units etc. a test strip was left out from the application in the field of Tisdale wheat (https://www.secan.com/varieties/aac-tisdale). To be sneaky (aka scientific) about it to make sure we couldn’t tell just by picking out the pass without sprayer tracks, the sprayer still did the pass, just with the booms turned off.
Just prior to harvest we measured the difference in height between the test strip and the wheat with PGR applied. Between 8-12 inches of stalk is what we were able to determine in multiple measurements. The benefits to yield aside, in the plant not having to use it’s energy growing taller, the benefits of PGR include reduced lodging and less stress on your combine as it thrashes and chops your straw.
We first started hearing about PGR from the Brian and Darren Hefty of AgPhD a few years ago. Here is a link to the earliest mention we could find in their newsletter. http://www.agphd.com/ag-phd-newsletter/2016/06/30/soybean-fungicide-insecticide/. This is not the first year we have used PGR on the farm, but it is the first time we have been diligently scientific about our approach.
With any trial, the proof will be in the yield monitors, and in the midst of harvest we have yet to fully analyze all of the JD Operations center data. We will provide an update in a couple of months once we have finished the analysis for the fall. Since the results were so noticeable, the benefits are more so than just the yield in terms of ease of straight-heading, harvest speed and stress on the machinery which all impact the profitability of the operation, we wanted to share that PGR might be a worthwhile test on your fields next year.