We recently discussed the importance of soil sampling and what growers learn from testing samples from their field. Now we want to look more at what the results can tell the grower and how it can help them improve their next crop.
As growers receive information regarding organic matter, soil pH, Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), Nitrate-N and extractable macro and micro nutrients from their soil sample results, they will be able to make more informed fertility decisions, and address potential issues in advance or during the early stages of the plant’s growth cycle.
The results also provide a holistic view of the health of the soil, and can help provide growers with an indication of success for their fertility philosophy by determining if the following are needed:
Grain bin hazards aren’t limited to entrapment or engulfment. Other, equally-hazardous situations include augers, bin collapses, Power Take-Offs (PTOs), fires and explosions, toxic atmospheres, electrical components and even ladders.
Identifying and understanding bin hazards is vital to keeping you and others safe. Learn more about some of the more common and hazardous situations that can occur when working with grain bins.
A man unloading a grain bin was trapped for nearly five hours when his foot became caught under the side of a sweep auger motor and he was buried in grain above his waist. Courtesy of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, this report illustrates how this type of incident could occur at other grain-handling facilities, and provides safety guidelines that could help other elevators avoid grain bin entrapment or react more positively.
Initiated by Nationwide in 2014, Grain Bin Safety Week is an annual campaign recurring the third full week of February to promote grain bin safety on farms and commercial grain-handling facilities.
A collaborative effort with industry leaders like CHS and agricultural professionals, Grain Bin Safety Week was created to raise awareness about grain bin dangers, provide education and share best safety practices. Together, we hope to reduce the number of preventable injuries and deaths associated with grain handling and storage.
Lower commodity prices and compressed planting times are encouraging growers to plant their crops earlier and in uncertain weather conditions.
There are advantages to planting early if done correctly, including more time to get the crops into the ground and increased time for crops to grow to their full potential. There are also risks, including cooler air temperatures, colder soil temperatures and unpredictable weather that can often leave crops more vulnerable to potential disease and insect problems.
With these advantages and disadvantages in mind, growers are continually looking for ways to help their plants emerge quicker and stronger, even in less than ideal conditions.
The following are two tips growers should consider when planting early.
1. Nutrient Management Practices
Using effective nutrient management practices to give plants the best chances to maximize the genetic potential of their seed.
Effectively maximizing the nutrients available to plants at each stage of their growing cycle is an important way to increase overall yield and maximize profitability. It is especially critical that the appropriate essential nutrients are available to the plant at the beginning stage of their life cycle.
First, the key to ensuring a healthy level of nutrients available for uptake to the plant is to focus on the balance of all essential nutrients. In order to maximize crop production growers need to provide all key macro and micronutrients at the appropriate time.
To help achieve this goal, it’s recommended growers make sure they understand the nutrient makeup of their soil and ensure that the appropriate nutrients are available to the plant in the optimal amounts and at the appropriate time that plants need these essential nutrients.
A couple things to focus on include phosphorus management and the advanced chelate technologies that are available to growers.
Phosphorus is an essential macronutrient already present in the soil and is an important part of phosphorus-based fertilizers.
Having the appropriate amounts of phosphorus available to the plant at the optimal timing can have a huge impact on increasing a grower’s overall yield.
The good news — phosphorus is an important energy-producing molecule with extremely limited soil mobility, so it will not leach from the soil.
However, phosphorus is notorious for easily getting tied up in the soil and becoming unavailable for uptake by the plant.
This is where chelates can help. Chelating technologies are not new, but have made significant advances. There are also several different types of chelates.
West Central has been working with chelate technology for more than 14 years. They developed a superior ortho ortho EDDHA chelating agent called Levesol™ which helps unlock the nutrients it’s applied with, unlocks nutrients in the soil and keeps nutrients mobile in the plant all season long.
In addition to the original Levesol, West Central also offers a dry fertilizer compatible version for growers called Levesol DFC™.
The superior chelating agent in Levesol is also an important ingredient in their other fertilizers, including their newest addition SoyShot™ and their industry leading IDC fertilizer Soygreen®, plus their starter fertilizer Redline® and their foliar cereal fertilizer Copper-Field™
2. In-Furrow Application
In-furrow application of crop protection inputs is another great way to ensure peace of mind that the crop is protected from the beginning, and is another way growers are helping their crops have a quicker emergence and develop stronger and healthier over their entire growth cycle.
Here are the different ways in-furrow application helps protect the crops when planted early.
Promotes the solubility and uptake of essential nutrients, including phosphorus when using an effective nutrient management program as discussed above
Ensures an increased solubility of phosphorus and other nutrients – which helps the plants grow stronger and results in increased yield
For growers, smart investments and knowledge on best practices, along with using the new or improved technologies available could make all the difference for a successful early planting season and a more profitable year.
Iron Deficiency Chlorosis (IDC) is a common soil issue in some areas of the country. IDCtends to occur in soil with high pH levels, which can prevent plant roots from reducing iron to a soluble state that can be used by the plant. The problem isn’t necessarily the lack of iron in the soil, but more importantly the type of iron that’s available in the soil for plant uptake.Iron is commonly in a ferric (FE3+) state when it’s in the soil, but the plants’ roots need to reduce the ferric iron (FE3+) to ferrous iron (FE2+) to make it soluble for uptake by the plant.
Why is Iron important?
Iron is critical to the development of chlorophyll within the plant. When iron gets bound up and is unavailable to the plant, it creates a chlorophyll imbalance and causes the characteristic yellow leaves in plants with IDC.
There are three indicators that help determine Iron Deficiency Chlorosis:
High levels of calcium carbonate in the soil can cause IDC. The calcium carbonate particles can come in contact with the crop’s roots and neutralize the excreted acid (which helps with iron uptake by the plant), and can result in the plants’ inability to have access to adequate levels of iron.
Salinity is another indicator of IDC. Soils with a high salt content should be a major concern for any grower trying to predict and combat IDC since IDC conditions are the most severe in saline soils.
Thethird indicator is soil pH. The pH of the soil also has a major impact on the availability of iron for the plants’ uptake. When the soil pH is more than 7.5 it is considered alkaine. When this happens, plants have a difficult time reducing the iron to the soluble form (Fe2+) that they are able to use the to develop into a healthy and high yielding crop.
The Best Way to Combat Iron Deficiency Chlorosis is by Using Soygreen®
West Central Distribution developed an iron fertilizer solution called Soygreen® that uses the most effective iron in agriculture and was specifically developed for soybeans, dry beans, sugarbeets, sorghum, sunflowers and cotton that suffer or are at risk of suffering from IDC.
Soygreen is chelated with Levesol™, the purest and most concentrated ortho-ortho EDDHA chelate on the market. This is what makes it Soygreen the most effective IDC product in agriculture. As an industry leader, Soygreen’s ortho-ortho EDDHA chelate helps keep iron in its soluble state (Fe2+) for maximum uptake by the plant. In addition, Soygreen also makes other essential nutrients in the soil more available to the plant.
The following are some recommendations for using Soygreen to fight back against IDC and maximize your soybean yield:
Use the highest yielding soybean variety along with Soygreen to get the best yields. IDC resistant varieties may have lower yield potential, so you might be sacrificing yield, which can negatively impact your profitability.
Just because your beans are green, doesn’t correlate to higher yields at harvest. Soygreen increases and protects yield potential keeping beans green and healthy all season. Imitators can spark an initial green-up, but fail to deliver the same yield results.
Soygreen increases and protects yield potential, throughout the season. Even mild cases of IDC can rob your yield by up to 50%.
There are imitator products are out there, so don’t be deceived.
Soygreen has been successfully battling IDC for fourteen years.
As the industry leader, Soygreen contains the highest percent of chelated iron (5.41%) and the highest percentage of water soluble, stable iron in the industry (80%).
Beware of imitators who claim to be as effective. Imitators only have 2.92% or less chelated iron and only 47% water-soluble, soil stable iron. They may even claim to be less expensive, but actually cost more because they need to be applied at higher rates.
Read more about how a grower in Cottonwood, Minnesota used Soygreen with in-furrow application on his farm to achieve a great yield and maximize the return on his investment.
The phrase “work smarter, not harder” is popular for a reason – there’s truth behind it. For an industry that requires non-stop hard work, any break given with a more efficient strategy can make all the difference. Smart farming decisions helps growers reduce costs; increase yield and maximize profits while being extremely efficient. We have offered suggestions on agriculture apps before and thought we would start the year by suggesting a few more apps for you to consider.
Here are four apps, recently recommended by CropLife Magazine, that growers should consider implementing into their management process to help make smarter and more efficient decisions.
The web-based ROI calculator, released by PotashCorp’s eKonomics incorporates spatial variability, which provides growers with a more accurate reflection of expected nutrient response in production-sized agriculture.
The Pocket Rain Gauge, developed by Agrible, is an app that provides growers with a accurate, location-specific rainfall measurements delivered instantly. Growers can log into their free Morning Farm Report account to get rainfall totals for all their fields tied to the account. The app also includes feedback functionality so growers can let Agrible know how accurate its measurements are. App is available using an iPhone, iPad and Android.
Sirrus Premium Upgrade, developed by SST, helps agronomists and growers collaborate on farming decisions by making field data accessible and easy to collect. The app is available using an iPhone and iPad.
Descartes Labs provides weekly yield forecasts for states and counties in the U.S. through its Descartes Crop app. The app allows growers to see their county’s end of year yield, now. They can add additional states and counties to see their forecasted yield as well. The app is available using an iPhone and iPad.
Mobile apps have become a game changer for growers and ag retailers who are constantly on the go. These and many other apps available today will allow them to perform critical tasks and make crucial decisions wherever and whenever.
As growers look for ways to survive and grow in the current agricultural economy, their efforts go hand-in-hand with trying to produce better yields and increase their profitability. Smart input decisions are a way growers can improve their operation’s efficiency to ensure a high-quality crop that results in increased yield and profitability for their overall operation.
Below are some of the inputs every grower should consider as they make smart and strategic purchase decisions for the benefit of their operation.
It all starts with selecting the appropriate seed for your geography and for your farm management practices. There are a number of factors to consider when selecting the appropriate seed, including its maturity rating, yield potential, plus pressures from disease, weeds and insects.
It’s crucial plants receive the necessary nutrients from the moment the seed is planted, so they can have a quicker and stronger emergence and maximize their genetic potential. This is why using an effective starter fertilizer as part of an overall crop nutrient program is so beneficial.
For a starter fertilizer to be the most impactful, it needs to help make the nutrients in the soil and in the fertilizer, available for uptake to the plant. An ortho ortho EDDHA chelating agent used with the starter or as a key ingredient in the starter fertilizer is a proven way plants start off stronger and result in a better yielding crop at the end of the season. Levesol™ from West Central is the purest ortho ortho EDDHA chelating agent on the market today.
Applying a fungicide can help growers increase yields by preventing disease and providing additional plant health benefits like improved seedling emergence, enhanced growth efficiency and better tolerance to hot temperatures. But it’s not good enough for growers to get any kind of fungicide, choosing an appropriate fungicide is essential. Before deciding what fungicide to purchase, growers should ask themselves some key questions, starting with “what spectrum of disease control are they looking for?”
Insecticide is another critical component of a successful crop protection strategy. Growers need to protect their plants from insect pressure, so they can take advantage of all the nutrients, soil conditions and environmental conditions to produce as much yield as possible.
Once a plant starts growing, they still need additional protection throughout their lifecyle. Weed resistant management is a huge concern to many growers and ag professionals. New trait and herbicide technologies are being approved, and there is a growing need for the appropriate adjuvants to work alongside the new technologies to combat resistant weeds and help these herbicides be as effective as possible. It’s important for growers to pick an adjuvant that is compatible with the new herbicide technologies and one that will still work with conventional herbicides. The new Elite adjuvants contain water conditioners without any ammonium sulfate so they will not increase the volatility of the herbicide and will not affect the pH of the herbicide solution.
To further discuss how growers can overcome today’s low economy, we caught up with Steve Roehl from West Central Distribution during our LIFT Summit in June 2016 to get his thoughts. Check out a clip from our conversation below.
In today’s [agricultural] economy we always have to be careful about [and encourage] buyer beware. There are a lot of different products out there and I alluded to this in my presentation. There’s a lot of information and different people trying to solve high yields and profitable crop production. That’s why we have important meetings like the one we had today. There are a lot of intelligent people here, and Dr. Below does really do a great job of pulling all of this stuff together. So, try to think about how you’re going to compete which is the real ticket here. You have to compete within the next 10 to 20 years, and you have to make money to survive, and we’re all doing this to try to feed the world and make a living. We need to carefully examine all of these inputs and try to figure out which ones as Dr. Below alludes to are going to have the greatest impact on your particular farm.
It’s that time of year again, cooler mornings, frosted windows, which means it’s time to winterize your stored diesel fuel. If No. 2 diesel cools during colder, overnight temperatures, it may reach “cloud point,” when wax crystals develop in the fuel. The fuel will look cloudy and crystals can plug the fuel filter, resulting in poor starts, engine hesitation, stalling and even engine damage. Use the below guidelines to winterize fuel left over from harvest.
Know When to Blend
The cloud point for No.2 diesel is approximately 14 degrees F. A good rule of thumb is to switch to a winter blend 15 degrees above cloud point. When overnight temperatures begin to dip down near 30 degrees F, it’s time to blend in No.1 diesel with additives for winter. For every 10 percent of No. 1 diesel added, the fuel cloud point will drop by 3 degrees F.
Don’t let cloud point surprise you – crystals can quickly accumulate in the fuel during a cold snap but may still run fine. Even if the fuel is blended after reaching cloud point, those crystals will remain and can clog your equipment. An engine that runs well on a chilly Friday could leave you stranded on a warm Monday. For this reason, an early-season move to winter-grade fuel is always recommended.
Factor in the Heel
When blending fuel, don’t just pour No. 1 diesel on top of stored fuel. First gauge the heel – or the total volume of No. 2 left in the tank before you begin blending winterized fuel – and reach the proper blend before bringing in the first delivery of winterized product. If No. 1 diesel is added to the storage tank without proper blending, farmers will actually dilute the winterized product and negatively impact the fuel quality.
When done correctly, fuel blending will improve diesel engine performance. But since it’s a scientific process that can vary based on expected regional temperatures and your specific operation, you may have a few questions along the way. Your local Cenex® dealer can help answer your questions and help you achieve the right winter blend for your equipment. Our cold weather diesel fuel, Cenex® Wintermaster®, offers operability to minus 30 degrees F with a cold filter plugging point of minus 55 degrees F.
An early switch to a winter blend diesel fuel will help keep your operation and equipment running smoothly this winter.