As a former athlete, Joe Schweigert understands the value of teamwork, training and setting improvement goals.
“The guys at Schweigert Family Farms are a close-knit crew that operates as a team. They’ve always got my back, and I always have theirs,” he says. “We are a farmer-first team and really push new technology. They’re always trying to figure out how can we capture that extra bushel.”
It’s often the small changes that build on the farm’s strong foundation and enable the incremental yield increases that improve profitability.
“It’s about asking what can we do better while making sure we are always taking care of our ground,” says the 30-year-old who has been farming corn and soybeans on his family’s Cuba City, Wisconsin, farm since he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. His two brothers are also active in the family’s farming operation.
Whether it is a hunting bow, a farm truck or crop protection technology, Schweigert believes in testing for reliability before heavily investing in anything new.
“With Enlist E3 soybeans, we started off with 40 acres to see how they would perform, and they did really well. Last year, we increased to 750 acres, and they kept winning. Now we’re up to 1,200 acres,” Schweigert says. “We’re hoping they keep winning so we can eliminate some other genetics.”
Any potential production changes are tested in multiyear, side-by-side comparisons on the Schweigerts’ farm. Testing technologies side by side in the same field is beneficial because fields often experience varying rainfall amounts, moisture levels and soil types.
“Some of our fields have the Green Bay Packers effect right now, with the yellow and green stripes,” he says. “Putting different varieties and products side by side in our fields maximizes our trials.”
Planting multiple varieties in the same field helps determine which soybean varieties should be further investigated on additional acreage the following year.
“We always like to start small and try not to make rash decisions. We take a lot of pride in collecting the data and making sure we eliminate all the noise with a true side-by-side test,” Schweigert says. “Then, when we actually make a switch, we are fully committed.”
The Schweigerts have tested several weed control systems on their farm and believe the Enlist® weed control system offers advantages over other herbicide-tolerant systems.
Enlist E3® soybeans make for better relationships with neighboring farmers, he says. Competing technologies, he says, come with more application timing, temperature and wind speed restrictions and required buffer zones.
“With Enlist, we monitor the wind direction before making an application and don’t [always] need a buffer zone -- you can spray from fence line to fence line. That’s money in the bank. You want to make sure you can always control your edges where the biggest weed banks are,” Schweigert says.
While application flexibility is crucial, Schweigert says, his first priority in choosing a variety is yield potential.
“We knew with that first pass of the combine these could be something special,” he says. “We could tell these beans were quite a bit better than our side-by-sides. As soon as we saw the numbers, we had to put them in the calculator twice just to make sure, and they came out on top. I would definitely recommend Pioneer Enlist E3 soybeans.”
With much of the Schweigerts’ land in a three-year crop rotation, the Schweigerts’ continuous soybean fields present the greatest weed control challenges on the farm.
“That weed pressure itself is a huge reason we choose to plant Enlist E3 soybeans,” he says.
Schweigert’s most problematic weed is waterhemp, which emerged as an issue about six years ago and has increasingly become more difficult to control.
“If it’s not controlled properly, you can end up having a disaster pretty quickly,” Schweigert says. “We run a two-pass approach with a pre and a post to tackle waterhemp. Enlist herbicides give more of a knockdown punch than other products. If you come back in a couple hours, you can already see the weeds wilting. It’s a good feeling to get that instant feedback.”
“Enlist is a game-changer for us,” he adds. “Yields are great, and we get a lot better weed control. As long as we can control waterhemp, we are 100% happy.”
No-till, side-by-side planting
The transgenic soybean event in Enlist E3® soybeans is jointly developed and owned by Corteva Agriscience LLC and MS Technologies, LLC. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your area. Enlist One herbicide is the only 2,4-D product authorized for use in Enlist crops. Always read and follow label directions.
Pioneer® brand products are provided subject to the terms and conditions of purchase which are part of the labeling and purchase documents.