Tennessee family strikes back against pigweed

Scott Kay revisits the Grills family to look back on 2018 trials and triumphs


With another year almost in the books, reflection on the season’s trials and triumphs are top of mind for growers as they begin to plan for 2019. In an industry where there are 35 to 40 chances to get things right, a farmer knows to use everything they’ve learned and every tool in their arsenal to do the job and do it well.


Scott Kay, BASF Vice President for Agricultural Solutions, U.S., recently had the opportunity to revisit the Grills family’s 3,000-acre corn and soybean operation in Newburn, Tennessee to check in on the 2018 season. Hunter and Rusty Grills run the operation with their brother, Cody, and their father, Jack.


When Scott spoke with the family last, they were in the midst of comparing economical options to manage resistant weeds while protecting their bottom lines. Since then, Mother Nature has thrown them a few curveballs that they’ve needed to address head-on. A wet spring that delayed planting transitioned into a dry summer, and with a spray rig out of commission, pressure from pigweed was mounting.


“We don’t want to see it,” Hunter said. “That’s our ultimate goal. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case because rain gets in, and you can’t get in the crop to apply another pre. Fortunately, we have a product like Engenia, where it gives us an option to come back in and clean up the crop.”


The plan from the beginning was to put a residual down, then come back with Engenia® herbicide, which they had used in 2017 with good success. And it worked again.


Rusty added, “You know, those pigweeds that are an inch, two inches tall, it cleaned their clock. I kind of like that. I like to see those babies wilting.”


Hunter described their stewardship process: “I talked to all of our neighbors in the area, made sure to know what kind of crops they were planting, where they were, any time that we were going to make an application. We made sure that the wind speed and direction was correct, and then let the neighbors know ahead of time. We didn’t have any issues. We had a very successful year with that.”


In preparing for another year and sustaining a legacy that only continues to grow, Hunter states that having options with proven success are key.


“Engenia, Zidua, you know those are probably  without a doubt, our two most important chemicals or chemistries that we’re using now as far as crop protection is concerned. The more options we have, the more profitable we can be, and the more profitable we are, the more sustainable we can be.”


Though harvest occurred later than expected due to weather, Rusty is still optimistic about their end-of-year yields.


“In all honesty, we were a whole lot more blessed than I thought we were gonna be as far as our crop and the yields we’ve received this fall,” Rusty said. “I’m optimistic that next year’s gonna be a good crop. I love what I do, and I love being able to get out and work with our family.”


To learn more about the Grills’ journey and their plan for a sustainable future on their land, click here.


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Zidua Pro and Engenia are registered trademarks of BASF.


About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division

With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work – for farmers, society and the planet. In 2017, our division generated sales of €5.7 billion. For more information, please visit www.agriculture.basf.com or any of our social media channels.


About BASF

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The more than 115,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of €64.5 billion in 2017. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at www.basf.com.