Monday, July 8, 2013

Refuge Corn Twice As Tall

My friend John sent me pictures of corn in his area where the refuge strips and blocks are twice as tall as the traited corn. Amazing? Some farmers have been noticing this for years, others since traited corn first came out.




Why is this? We have discussed this in depth on this blog. Some say GMO corn is literally falling apart. This seems more noticeable in stress type soils but I saw it vividly the last few years on the richest soil in this country where Herman Warsaw used to farm and over in Iowa where my friend Keith Schlapkohl does now.



John is more concerned about soil nutrition, he thinks liquid fertilizer is a waste and all of his clients only use large amounts of ammonium sulfate and urea fertilizers, phosphate when needed and lots of potash. His program is all built around calcium though and more and more people have gotten on the calcium bandwagon. Most still say however, base saturation doesn't work because the land grant universities have proved it doesn't work. It's funny that many of them use soil tests based on CEC and base saturation of nutrients. Their replicated plots have not revealed to them these basic principles of soil nutrition and plant health through non GMO.



John also uses lots of micro nutrients. The Hefty boys pulled hundreds of tissue tests and found micro nutrients short also. I have used more micro nutrients in the last nine years than I have my whole life. Local dealers actually stock them now but they are often out of them because they can't anticipate the demand for them.



My studies show the problem is complicated and GMO trait insertion may be as much to blame or more than the lack of fertilizer. Most farmers use the mainstream approach though that traits are worth the huge extra cost and so are liquid fertilizers. $6 per gallon for the cheapest liquid blends and $400 per ton for liquid nitrogen will buy a whole lot of lime and granular fertilizer.



This is what I have learned and this is what I think.



What do you think?



Ed Winkl

3 comments:

  1. As you can tell I had problems with blogger today, wouldn't let me type text or arrange paragraphs. I guess that's what you get for free.

    Excellent email response here;
    "GREAT Topic ED,
    It is usual to be able to see the Refuge Corn Rows in a field. HERE it is not as pronounced as you mention but it can be seen from the road. The Seed companies finally got smart with their refuge in the bag system.

    John's opinion of liquid fertilizers is a result of long observation, not necessarily a prejudiced observation. That said I also believe his findings are valid for his working area, the Eastern Corn Belt.
    Would John's fertilizer program transfer directly with no changes to Mule Shoe or Seminole Texas?
    Probably not, but his methodology would. John's quest for optimal soil fertility and soil health is very valid.

    Is dry always better than liquid? No.
    Reasoning:
    Oklahoma has a fertility program for alfalfa. Alfalfa with a 6 season life.
    Their program has 100 lbs/A P2O5. Some applied annually, or applied every two years, or a full 600 lbs broadcast prior to planting. For them the one time application of 600 lbs/A will out yield, for the duration, over the annual or semiannual applications.
    Then they also applied 600 lbs of liquid in deep bands. Oklahoma found that the added total yield for the deep banded phosphate was more than enough to pay for the added application cost and the added cost of ( 10-34-0 ) material. I asked that John Caddel if that would work for my soils. The answer was not for this calcareous soil. Here I would end up with Rock Phosphate.

    John also uses lots of micro nutrients. John's stated agenda is to produce better yields with better net income for his clients. He probably has a better FEEL for the Critical Nutrient Concentration for his crops in his soil, and his climate, using advanced management methods,
    Our friends at the universities tend to look at specific nutrients and not the whole mix together.
    They do not look for the all optimum plant essential elements with their interactions. Does not work well on a spreadsheet!
    I doubt if any of the Soils Departments know that the absolute optimum levels for all the essential elements are. There will also be an optimum level for Aluminum, Selenium, and Sodium. Each will have it's own unique bell curve, with a yield drag for low plant levels as well as their yield drag for above optimum levels. Little different than for N, P, K, &c.
    Try to find the Critical Nutrient Range for Cobalt.
    The school solution for a crops N/S ratio is usually 10/1 probably as the easiest to look at.
    Look at the Nitrogen range published by A & L and at the highest "normal" and lowest "normal" levels for both N & S and you will see some interesting ratios. It is very possible to have both the N % and the S % in thie golden ranges and not have a "good" N/S ratio.

    I have not mentioned the findings published by the Liquid Fertilizer Institute. Are they only seeing what they are predisposed to witness, or are their findings accurate for their Soil, Crop, Climate, and Management Style?"

    Thanks,

    Ed Winkle

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  2. I was looking at the corn yesterday as I was driving along. Those that got their corn out early have fields over a man's head, except for the wet spots. I couldn't help but remember the old saying "knee-high by the Fourth of July." It's a whole lot better than that these days.

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