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  • Gene Witte

Redefining Success: The Moving Target

One year later and I think my system can get more efficient and manage crop nutrient application even better.

In my previous post I talked about my investment in an air cart and tool bar to inject fertilizer in a band right under the planted row. This was performed with P and K the fall before the crop was planted. With harvesting, cover crop seeding, and the fertilizer application it was a lot to get done in the fall especially if it gets wet.

Now my new best solution! After being exposed to the idea of applying all crop nutrient inputs in season when the plant is ready for uptake I came up with “THE” idea. I ran my theory by my soil testing lab and my hired crop consultant. Both said “THE” idea had validity. One caveat could be soil test levels that are below critical levels. That presents the question as to why certain areas remain low.

In a corn and bean rotation and starting with corn, the planter will carry a mix of 13 GPA of 28-0- 0, 5 GPA of 10-34- 0, 1 GPA of K thiosulfate, and 1 QPA of zinc. This would be a 2 by 2 placement. Yes I’m back to a little bit of phos beside the row. The next application would be a mix of urea (46-0- 0) and 11-52- 0 this is made as a blend at 1.25 to 1. This application is variable rated according to crop nutrient removal of phos within grid zones. Timing is at early side dress in growing corn. Than the last nitrogen application done at V8 to V10 with the sprayer and y drops will even out the nitrogen needs according to soil type, yield capability, and amount of N applied at early side dress.

I am moving the potash (0-0- 60) application to the spring after the corn crop but before the current crop of beans is planted. Reasons being beans use more potash and the corn stalks left from the previous crop until decayed are still holding nutrients contained in the stalks. This would be a surface applied application with the spinner buggy. Weather permitting this could be done after corn harvest in the fall and injected with the same side dress equipment. This 0-0- 60 application would also be based on crop removal within grid zones. As of now potash isn’t as critical to timing or method of application.

“THE” idea uses the approach of applying nutrients in season when the crop will take them up quicker, while injecting the nutrients under the soil surface to prevent runoff. It also spreads my work load to times that I can manage efficiently.

Here’s my road map for the path I’m following!!! 1 PLANT THE CROP NOTILL OF COURSE 2 FEED THE CROP really feed the soil that feeds the crop 3 HARVEST THAT BUMPER CROP 4 GET THAT COVER CROP PLANTED Which feeds microbes that feeds the soil that feeds the crop 5 Go somewhere warm and sunny for the winter start over next year!

This is my yearly update of issues that are important to me and my farming operation.

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