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  • Gene Witte

The SMARTer Way

My comments here are just meant to stimulate one's thought processes when it comes to how and why farmers farm the way we do.

Is it the way we grew up? Is it the way everyone else does it? Is it because of being afraid to make a mistake? Is it because of perceived profitability or lack thereof?

How do we learn? How do you learn? Do you seek light bulb moments?

I get that adrenaline rush when that light bulb turns on. For example, I have an idea that I’ve tried and failed at, i.e. less yield, but it had merits such as less labor or less equipment.


That’s good because now you’ve learned something. Now start asking questions. What went wrong or right? What could I do differently? Now take action. Talk to successful peers, specialized conferences, university data, NRCS and SWCD, maybe online resources.

If the idea has merit, now make a new approach from what you’ve learned and try again. We need to be doing this on a small field scale and repeated for 3 to 5 years to get a trend analysis.

Now its scale up time if results are positive. Or its back to the drawing board. Nothing will stick with a person more than making and learning from one’s own success and failure.

“LEARN smartER”

The SMARTer way

The title broken apart is always start SMART!

The ER stands for environmental resources! We can use them. That helps our emotions become an engineered reflex. This leads to stability.

Now we as farmers can show the public a positive earthy response!

It seems that the number one issue in the St Mary’s and Maumee watershed leading into Lake Erie is a phosphorous issue. Nitrogen also garners some concern. Soil runoff or sedimentation carry these nutrients with them.

Now is the time to learn smartER. Or we could end up in the ER. The emergency room. Now that’s a scary thought.

Every successful farmer has a system in place to follow. What about a system for No Till, Cover Crops, in season and in crop fertilizer application as the crop needs it, soil testing, and recommendations based on crop removal?

Start your own SMARTER system on a field on your own farm. Sometimes you can teach that old dog some new tricks.

Here are clues to start the wheels turning.

Apply dry npk at side dress time for crop removal. Apply more nitrogen at planting both sides of the row. Apply more nitrogen and Sulphur as a Y drop early, late at tassel or both. Spoon feed nutrients rather than a fall before or all upfront approach and use less. Or no till, cover crops and longer crop rotation. Can cover crops build soil nutrients in a longer crop rotation? You could prove it for yourself on your farm.

FARM SMARTER not harder!

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