Undercover is not just for spies.

Undercover is not just for spies. from Central Valley Ag on Vimeo.

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by Keith Byerly

A few weeks ago I talked about Y-DROP from 360 Yield Center. For those of you that don’t remember, it’s a system for applying liquid fertilizer near the nodal roots of our corn plant from V5 until we can no longer drive a high clearance machine through it. We generated a fair amount of interest earlier this summer with the Y-DROP, so now it is time to introduce a sibling.

UNDERCOVER from 360 Yield Center is a system for applying Chemicals and Fungicide below the canopy. The cool thing is that they are simple to use. They install on the same drop tube we use for our Y-Drop, so it is just a manner of changing the hose attached to the manifold, and you are ready to go. But what is the real purpose of the UNDERCOVER?

UNDERCOVER is designed for one thing, and that’s to get our application of product where it belongs. Let’s focus on fungicides for a minute. In the case of Corn, for a disease to become established in a plant, it needs a way to enter the plant. In the absence of physical damage from insects, the wind or a storm, the only way in is through the stomata on the bottom side of the leaves. But when we spray fungicide, either by plane or ground rig, we apply all of our product above the canopy. This does a great job of covering the upward facing surfaces of the plant but is somewhat limited on covering the bottoms of the leaves. When the UNDERCOVER goes through, it applies product upward and covers the bottom of the leaves where the stomata are.

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As we look at the tassel application of fungicide, the UNDERCOVER is being run through the field and targeting application at the ear leaf. On each UNDERCOVER, we have a place to install up to four nozzles. One angled up; two angled up and to the sides, and one angled back. The nozzle angled back gives us coverage back and down towards the ground and the lower leaves, to help with the soil born diseases climbing the plant.

We can use UNDERCOVER for herbicides, insecticides, as well as fungicides. Anything that is rowed is a candidate for this sort of application. If we were to have a bad run of Western Bean Cutworm and needed to target that application around the ear, this would be a great choice. There are times when they work great for a fungicide application in wheat as well.

At the end of the day, UNDERCOVER can be successful for anybody, but I think it is a great fit for the grower doing their acres. The reason I say that is, fungicide and insecticide applications can be very time specific. This lets us get the product exactly where we need it when we need it there. And for those of you who considered adding Y-DROPs this season, a good portion of the investment you need for the Y-DROP is the same hardware we need for UNDERCOVER. In fact, on some Haggie machines with split tanks, we can apply UAN with the Y-Drops at the same time we are applying fungicide. But I caution that post spraying in corn this late isn’t for everyone. If the idea makes you uneasy, talk to us and Central Valley Ag. We may not have many or any machines set up with these this summer, but if demand is there, I am sure you will see them on our machines in 2017.