Wednesday, May 30, 2012


There is a lot of science in farming. I have always been interested in the science end of it. This morning our Michigan, Ohio and Indiana ABM sales rep met with me and we dug corn. We were looking for why corn in the same row varies in heighth so much. My question was did the trichaderma in SabrEx seed treament not get colonized on some seeds for some reason?

ABM has a microbiologist so Bruce offered to have her look at my corn roots to see if they were colonized. They can't do this for farmers as a service as they are not equipped to but Bruce offered to find out for me since we are both curious.

The bigger plants are going into vegetative stage V8 and look well colonized to me. When we pried the knee high plant out with a spade, a big long tap root came with it 20 inches long or so. I should have had my camera with me. The smaller, yellower, shin high plant did not have the tap root or it broke off. The sickest little ankle high plant, what we would call a weed in a corn field, had barely any roots but they did look white and healthy.

The seed treatment should give the plant 21 days or so protection and by then the trichaderma should be well colonized for season long control of pythium, fusarium and rhizoctonia. These are the major plant diseases. I think the Cruiser Maxx seed treatment washed off in the heavy rains and I didn't get 21 day control until the trichaderma colonized. I am not sure if every seed got colonized, so now maybe we will find a clue to "what happened?"

I got a test back on my 28% urea ammonium nitrate. It was a little shy of the advertized product. It came back at 25% so I was shorted 3% which would add up over a lot of acres. I have a little bargaining power now with the vendor I bought it from. If you are ever in doubt, I would send a sample to a trusted laboratory and we have one within 25 miles of our farm. They only need a cup of 28 to test but I usually take several samples from one load in a 2.5 gallon jug. I mix the remainder with water and put it between my sweet corn rows or other plants.

There are 7 terminals where 28 or 32 is picked up near the river in Cincinnati. If you buy 28 and they received 32 they add water and the process is pretty precise but mistakes are made. Most terminals induce the water into the tanker before the 28 is inducted and it mixes on the way to your farm or the fertilizer plant. Intentional mistakes are criminal and that's the job of the Ohio Department of Agriculture to handle that sampling and investigation. They are under staffed of course so a lot goes unnoticed and a lot is taken for granted as the system is built around trust. A bad skunk is flushed out pretty quickly and taken care of.

Mostly everyone is trying to get their work caught up, no matter what it is and hoping for a rain. If this weather persists the corn will be well ahead of last year but the soybean crop won't be much farther ahead.

I leave you with the big trees at Fort Salem. I am still thinking about that place and the trucker just reminded me because he lives near there. Tractor pulling season is here, too.


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