Sunday, December 16, 2012

Soil Sampling In December?

This weather makes me wonder what it is going to be like 6 months from now.  Friday is the winter solstice and in 6 months it will be time for the summer one.  I hope to have soybeans blooming that day, at least that's my goal.  You have to have a goal, you know.

The probe went in easily and it wasn't so wet that the plugs didn't fall right out into the bucket!  I can't remember many Decembers like this.  I am splitting the sample and sending half to my lab and half to Perry Labs in Missouri for the Morgan test.  I want a second opinion on what I do with my wheat soon as far as fertilization goes.

I am going to have to get some weed control out there soon.  The winter annuals are spotty but too thick where they are.  I swear the spreader operator banded my nutrients too as I have 3 greener streaks across that field.  Maybe he was just spreading what he had left over but it sure looks like 3 spots the wheat should all look like and the rest of the field looks a little puny in comparison.  I know I am going to ask questions this week.  In fact I am going to stop and send an email right now.

I quote Dr. Arden Anderson from this weeks classes.  "What are you not doing in your operation today, but if you could do it, would fundamentally revolutionize your business?  My answer 35 years ago is continuous no-till.  20 years ago it was tissue testing to fine tune micronutrient needs and overall nutrient balance.  "Get your tissue test results all in the Satisfactory category or slightly higher."  10 years ago it was crop rotation to a greater extent.  5 years it ago it was cover crops.

All the while I thought I was getting enough calcium on.  The more I learn the more I see my crops are deficient in calcium.  Calcium in the soil forms the channels in the cell walls that make xylem and phloem work.  My channels are as good as anyone's I have seen but after this summer they are not strong enough.  My crops didn't quite take this year's stress as well as I would have liked them to.

I only found one man's crop I thought was better than mine but his crops are so much better I must work harder to speak with my fields.  He has 17 years of gypsum application on his best soils and I don't.  He doesn't have straight gypsum, either.  His is loaded with electrolytes from burning.  I can come close to this with lime and gypsum mixed.  I have to find a way to get this done every year not every now and then.

There is so much to do after I start doing this but I think everything else will come along with it.  The link above gives you some clues how much can be done once the "oxygen pump" is working at better efficiency.

To answer Dr. Andersen's question for my operation today I would say my answer is calcium, via gypsum.

What one thing would revolutionize your business?

Ed Winkle

3 comments:

  1. Simple answer...We must learn to speak the plant language. Right now I just notice them, but I don't know what they are saying yet.

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  2. No kidding, Mike, no kidding. I have been talking to plants all my life with my work and listening and the older I get the more I think I missed!

    "We must learn to speak plant language." That is a keeper. I can't even speak the soil language yet, let alone the plant!

    Thanks,

    Ed

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