Planting and seeding efficiency, residual herbicides and precision agriculture were among the highlights of the 2014 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa.

A contingent of Strip-Till Farmer editors descended on the recent 2014 Farm Progress Show to learn about the latest machines and inputs that could help boost yields and profits for strip-tillers.

The focus with many exhibitors was on high-tech, fuel-efficient equipment, planter setups to handle variable field conditions, and new fertilizers and herbicides to help growers maximize yields and keep weeds and plant pathogens at bay.

Below you’ll find a summary of what editors learned at the 61st annual event, held this year in Boone, Iowa.

  • Valent USA Corp. featured its Intego suite of seed treatments for controlling pythium and phytophthora pathogens in corn and soybeans. The product was registered earlier this year.

    The active ingredient in Intego, ethaboxam, is the newest chemistry introduced to fight these pathogens since metalaxyl debuted more than 30 years ago, says Trey Soud of Valent.

    “As we learn more about pythium and phytophthora, we find that once metalaxyl goes up the plant it’s not protecting the seed zone, where our product stays down below pretty well,” Soud says. “The whole premise beyond Intego is using a dual mode of action to control a broader spectrum of pathogens.”

  • Yetter Farm Equipment showed a new feature for its popular drag-chain kit allowing growers to roll up and lock the chains in place when they’re not being used.

    “Some no-tillers say they don’t want to run the chains in certain field conditions, or they want that rib of soil in the center, so now they have a way to lock the chain up,” says Andy Thompson, an area manager for Yetter.

    “Some guys were shoving baling wire through the chain and tying it around the handle, which is fine. But here we have a little hook there to hook the chain in place.”

  • DuPont Pioneer unveiled Afforia, a pre-plant herbicide providing more pre-emergence weed-control options for growers with diverse rotations that include soybeans.

    Registered in the U.S. this summer, Afforia has two modes of action and three active ingredients — tribenuron, flumioxazin and thifensulfuron — to fight glyphosate-resistant ragweed, waterhemp, marestail and winter annuals. It can be tankmixed with glyphosate and 2,4-D, and has a recommended rate of 2.5 ounces an acre.

    “It’s best for places where you have cooler conditions or higher-pH soils,” says Jenny Goodman of DuPont Pioneer. “A lot of soybean pre-emergent products have restrictions on crop rotations and/or soil pH, so this really fits areas that have been outside the core corn-soybean rotation and have alfalfa, beans, sugarbeets or other crops.”

  • For the first time, Kinze Mfg. unveiled its 4900 multi-hybrid planter. Using a mapping and planting prescription, the unit can plant two different corn hybrids in fields according to soil conditions and drainage quality.

    Farmers can choose an aggressive hybrid for high-producing fields, while opting for a less aggressive variety for lower-producing areas, says Kinze’s Luc Van Herle. Testing of the technology for 3 years showed a 5- to 9-bushel-per-acre increase in corn yields.

    “We will be more broadly releasing the system this year, working with four different seed companies who are bringing the early adopters to us,” Van Herle says. “Then we bring in our Kinze dealers to work out the details with the customer.”

  • BASF made its entry into the U.S. nutrient-management market with Limus, a urease inhibitor that protects urea and UAN fertilizers from ammonia volatilization.

    Containing two active ingredients, Limus blocks the urease enzymes from breaking down into ammonia, resulting in a nitrogen form that’s readily available to plants for a longer period of time, says BASF’s Nick Fassler. Limus is registered and will be available for the 2015 planting season.

    Research conducted at North Carolina State University in 2013 found Limus reduced volatilization to less than 10% within 11 days after application, compared to the 35% nitrogen loss from urea that did not contain an inhibitor.

  • Raven Industries debuted its new Hawkeye Nozzle Control System, an expansion of the company’s application product line.

    The technology is ISOBUS compatible, allowing for individual nozzle control through pulsing valves that maintain consistency at higher speeds.

    “Our system is unique in that with a regular nozzle system, the spray pattern window is 4 to 5 mph,” says Raven’s Gary Esselink. “We’re able to maintain accuracy and the spray pattern from 4 to 20 mph.”

  • Schaffert Mfg. showcased its new “Chicken Track” closer that can replace press wheels on Case IH planters when running in wetter conditions.

    The closer — which applies pressure at two points at all times on the tracks — is designed to mulch soils over the seedbed and firm soil over the row, rather than possibly smearing the soil with a press wheel, says Schaffert’s Dennis Renfro.

    “It won’t gum up with dirt, or split open down the middle as bad as with a rubber wheel,” Renfro says. “And it helps stitch close the top of the furrow.”

  • Featuring pneumatic airbag down pressure instead of the coil-over spring, Monosem unveiled Monoshox Air, a new version of the Monoshox system.

    Monoshox Air still uses the same heavy-duty linkage and shock absorber as the original downforce system, which prevents the row unit from bouncing through the field. Monoshox Air can apply up to 400 pounds of down pressure, and the system is adjustable from the cab in 1-psi increments from 1 to 100 psi.

    “Without compacting the seed trench, Monoshox holds the row unit at a consistent depth,” says Don Niehs of Monosem. “Just like a race car going around a dirt track, the shock is holding the tires on the track — we’re holding the unit in the ground at the proper depth.”

  • Ag Leader launched its new Hydraulic Down Force 8-Section Control, with row-by-row sensing to measure down force on variable soils and adjust seed depth accordingly.

    Unique to the system is the stress minimizing accumulator, which serves as a cushion to accept 100% of the actuator’s fluid capacity.

    “This acts as a shock absorber if the operator hits a rock in the field and reduces the stress on the row units for a smoother ride,” says Alex Lundgren with Ag Leader.

  • JBI Enterprises of Bruning, Neb., debuted its new 40 Series Double-Fold Magnum Toolbar for sidedressing. The model allows for high-speed application of fertilizer and is equipped with Yetter 2987 NH3 Magnum coulters.

    JBI owner and strip-tiller Jerry Baysinger designed the 40-foot bar to fit the growing need for a narrow transport units.

    “Farmers are concerned about transporting larger, mounted model bars and this gives them a more compact option,” Baysinger says.