A new twist on talc

Apr 05, 2021


A rare Arctic weather system dipped into the deep South in mid-February, plunging temperatures into historic lows and covering much of West and Middle Tennessee in a dangerous layer of snow and ice. While most Tennesseans hunkered down in the safety of their homes, farmers like Gibson County row-cropper Ryan Sims headed for their shops, preparing their machinery and planning for the upcoming planting season.
“Sometimes, we need weather like this to help us focus on future plans,” says Sims, whose family has been farming some of the same Dyer-area fields for nearly 100 years. “For me, it means that it’s time to get the planter ready.”
Sims says that for the second consecutive season, he will be using Verdesian’s Seed+Graphite in his John Deere 1795 planter. Released in Tennessee in 2020, Seed+Graphite replaces the standard talc farmers use to keep seed lubricated as it moves through the machinery in route to the soil. Verdesian account manager, Andy Ulmer says Seed+Graphite provides a clear advantage over plain talc.
“Talc accomplishes only one thing — to keep seeds from sticking together which results in either doubles or skips in the row,” he explains. “Seed+Graphite, on the other hand, accomplishes three things: replaces the lubrication job of talc, provides micronutrients for plant growth and development, and uses Cytozyme proprietary technology to protect the seed from abiotic stress. That includes things we can’t control, like weather that’s too hot, cold, or dry; disease pressure; and bad pH level in the soil.”
Ulmer says that independent studies show that Seed+Graphite can increase corn yields by as much as 2.4 percent, soybean yields by as much as 3 percent, and winter wheat yields by nearly 8 percent. Sims adds that in his own field trials in 2020, he experienced similar results in corn production. In one field, he compared standard talc versus Seed+Graphite by using both simultaneously.
“My John Deere 1795 planter has two hoppers,” he explains. “On one side, I used John Deere talc; in the other side, I used Seed+Graphite. The seed variety was the same in both, but after the corn came up, the difference in plant growth and health was pretty obvious. I took some drone photos of the field, and there was a big contrast in color and vigor. When I pulled them up, the root systems in the Seed+Graphite rows were much stronger as well. The Seed+Graphite rows clearly contained better plants.”
Sims says that stronger plants equated to increased yields. In replicating his trials 40 times over the 2020 growing season, Sim’s application of Seed+Graphite resulted in an average 3.4-bushel-per-acre advantage over neighboring fields treated with standard talc.
“The company data is a great place to start, but it’s always better to conduct your own trials and see the difference with your own eyes,” says Sims, who serves as president of the Gibson Farmers Cooperative Board of Directors. “Across our 3,100 acres, a 3.4-bushel advantage is a big deal.”
Gibson Farmers Co-op’s Dyer store manager Brandt Jercinovich adds that, at current corn prices, Sims’ yield increase would result in a seven-to-one return on investment.
“Ryan is an innovative farmer who is not afraid to try new products or ideas if they are proven to increase income,” Jercinovich says. “There are no shortcuts in his farming operation — only sound ideas.”
For more information aboutSeed+Graphite, and to schedule field application with participating locations, contact the agronomy specialists at your local Co-op or your local GreenPoint Ag representative.
 
 

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