Grow More Experience site trials showcase new crop protection and seeds technologies for a variety of crops to provide a tailored experience.
If you have been farming long, you’ve probably been asked, or perhaps even told, about the slow, relaxing pace of farm life. And of course, you’re aware that’s a myth. There are new challenges every day. New products can help meet those challenges, but products need to be tested in local soils for you to really know how they perform. Across the country, Grow More™ Experience (GME) sites are bringing needed testing to your backyard.
Cully Brumwell, a grower attendee at a 2020 Yarmouth, Iowa, event, appreciates the different trials, different chemistries and different tillage programs the GME sites showcase. “The value that the GME sites provide is endless,” Brumwell says. “Every year they’re trying something new. You have to keep up with everything that’s changing, and this is one of the best ways to do so.”
With locations in 29 states, GME sites demonstrate how products perform in local environments. Corn and soybeans are tested in the Midwest and throughout the country. Potatoes are tested in the Pacific Northwest. In the South, cotton, peanuts, and vegetables are tested. Permanent crops, such as tree nuts and grapes, show up in GME sites in California. Wherever crops are grown, there’s a good chance of finding a GME site nearby.
“Many Syngenta employees grew up around farming ourselves, so we’re passionate about understanding the newest technologies on the market each year,” says Jami Loecker, Syngenta agronomy service manager. “When you know the soil, weather and pressures of the region, you can make better recommendations about what’s going to work for the growers in that area. Our team is personally invested in the sites we oversee. We want to make sure we’re able to provide our attendees with information they find useful on their, or their growers, farm.”
Pest and disease pressures vary widely from site to site and crop to crop, so each site is equipped with experts with a deep understanding of how these issues have impacted the area from year to year. Before each season, Syngenta agronomists attend internal training days to discuss the latest agronomic techniques and technologies. The agronomists combine their historical knowledge with the year’s new products and can then share these insights during events.
Mike Moss, Ph.D., head of technical development at Syngenta, recognizes that GME sites must match the growing situations of each region and be staffed with the appropriate specialists.
“We have agronomists with decades of combined experience in their particular territories,” Moss says. “They can make specific agronomic recommendations for each grower and are able to show them the actual tests and the data that contributed to the specific recommendations.”
At the edge of a field, the yield impact can be severe – up to 100% because they can completely kill plants – but then as you go further into the field, it’s typically less severe. It really depends on the year and the field size/shape.
Dean Grossnickle Technical Development Lead at Syngenta
GME sites are rooted in local research and showcase much more than just Syngenta technologies. Farmers often want to learn about the efficacy of new products but don’t have the time or money to test those products themselves. The featured products at GME sites vary from place to place and year to year. Updated trials reflect grower and retailer feedback from the previous season. Participants are free to engage with site managers and provide input on practices and products that would be valuable to test in the future. Conversely, Syngenta experts learn from site attendees which comparisons attendees are most interested in seeing, including competitor products.
Efforts at the GME sites are made to showcase crop trials with product combinations that growers would use on the farm. The GME sites allow attendees to compare products and make informed decisions for their own fields. In a year where a lot of new products hit the market, this approach is especially helpful because it allows growers to see new products tested locally and saves them time so they can concentrate on their current crops.
Site attendees are encouraged to return for multiple events and see the trial results through to harvest. As the weed, insect and disease pressures change, the trials being featured change, too.
“These trials aren’t just simulated situations during one period of the season, and that’s why they are so incredibly valuable,” says Marshall Dolch, a Syngenta district marketing lead. “We often talk with growers during the preseason about product selection, but there aren’t always opportunities to follow through and actually show the performance.” The GME sites provide an opportunity for Syngenta reps to discuss product performance with the same growers throughout the season.
For years, site visitors stepped into the fields to see, touch and dig and gain deeper understandings of the tests they saw. Faced with the challenges the pandemic posed in the past year, the GME team found innovative new ways to let growers get close to the action and stay safe.
On-site events with smaller groups and enhanced safety measures still occurred, but as in-person visits necessarily decreased, many sites also added a virtual component. Hosts began filming the trial results and placing them on the Know More, Grow More blog. This valuable innovation during the pandemic will stay in place to serve growers or retailers who can’t attend sites they would like to visit.
“We saw an opportunity to bring the GME sites to our visitors no matter where they were,” says Ann Vail, Syngenta customer event and trade show lead.
“By taking the sites online,” Vail says, “we help our agronomists and growers continue their discussions outside of in-person events.”
GME sites bring a lot to the table. The sites provide opportunities to see new products and practices, to hear from researchers familiar with the local land and to build relationships with industry peers. Now some sites even provide the ability to see the latest trials from your computer screen. After all, Vail says, what drives GME sites is innovation at the local level.
For more information about the Grow More Experience sites, contact your Syngenta representative.
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