Saturday, April 27, 2013

Questions

It's getting late to start planting and farmers have questions.  This the best notill corn crop I ever grew but I have had others that really did better because growing conditions were not as perfect.

"we have some 125 to 160bu APH timber soil that we would like to Notill, but not had very good luck. It takes for ever to dry out and then it is hard. we did plant some peas and radish last fall with plans of notill corn this year. how is the best way to get to notill without giving up bushels. the ground is not tiled. thanks"

My answer is "I have not invested in much tile, mainly tile repairs but mine is mostly rolling to flat ground which had tile blowouts. I repaired all of those and keep repairing them.  Surface and sub surface drainage is key to any farming activity, especially notill planting.

I lime and fertilize according to a Midwest soil test and tissue test. I probably fertilize a little heavier than some but I know I have put on as much micronutrients as anyone has, probably approaching 10 lbs of actual boron, manganese, zinc and a little copper. This came from my tissue test and from talking to my mentors and seeing what they do.

I think the Martin system is key to planting corn the first day the ground is ready. Last year that was March 18, the year before was June 1 and the year before was early April. It varies that much around here and nothing is really planted in my area yet so we are looking at least May again this year. Another thing is you can plant quicker after it does rain without waiting for a coulter to cut a slice or tillage to dry it back out.

I think if you talked to Jeff Littrell at FHR or John Haggard or someone like that, you could raise your yields on low yielding ground. What these guys are doing is amazing and I talk to them often. Just adding that calcium nitrate U trough to a planter could give you 20 bushels as I have seen on so many farms. I see guys going away from RR back to non GMO and raising yields 20 bushels. Many of these are strip till setups others are more pure notill like I prefer. I can't say cover crops have increased my yields but they have controlled my Marestail which made bushels and my soil structure keeps improving which helps my corn under stress.

There is no easy simple way to grow more corn but it is very possible and many on here are doing it. I think you can too."

I see all these crops and crop pictures of crops grown in soils that are not oxygenated.  Good soil has at least 25% atmospheric air in it which is mostly nitrogen.  C, H, O is the basis of all life on earth and it takes so little oxygen to provide life to plants and animals.  Cut that down just a bit, and you have less than thriving plants and animals.  Remember oxygen is two parts oxygen one part carbon for the gas plants thrive on.  If they are not running at maximum efficiency we don't get the yields we should have and humans don't get the air they need.  Just think of the oxygen you feel in a long term forest.

Gypsum oxygenated Midwest soils as well as anything I have seen.  It's growth has been tremendous in 10 years but we still have barely scratched the surface.  There should be a good home for every ounce of coal we burn to scrub the stacks to clean our air and oxygenate our soils.

Ed





6 comments:

  1. Nice post Ed. Does the U trough with calcium nitrate seem to improve your yields even with your applications of lime and gypsum? Seems like there would be a diminished response relative to soils without tons of calcium carbonate and sulfate applied.

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  2. So if your soil test doesn't call for any gypsum do you still apply it?

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  3. In my 50 years of farming, I've never seen a soil test recommendation call for gypsum. I've seen it from other labs.

    50 years, dang, am I that old? I was just a kid in 1963. I watched a whole lot of water go under the bridge but observed it, too.

    Calcium sulfate gets soil in shape. Calcium nitrate boosts crop yields. I will keep pounding on this until you and I figure this out and make more money.

    I know I won't go broke doing it.

    Going by the fertilizer dealers recommendations? Now I just might go broke doing that but even there I don't think so.

    I can't get enough calicum and fertilizer on. We over nitrate and under feed everything else.

    Ed

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