Thursday, October 9, 2014

Treat Your Soybeans Like Alfalfa

Jim Dandy, not his real name, made a Jim Dandy of a post on Crop Talk today.  He said treat your soybeans like alfalfa.

" don't grow soybeans every year, but when I do I treat them like I treat my alfalfa hay fields ( both legumes ). 35 years ago, the clay sidehills grew good alfalfa, but the bottoms and tops of the hill grew midget alfalfa.

Tried adding Boron and suddenly all acres grew good alfalfa. Then as the air was cleaned up, sulfur was added to the fertilizer mix and the crop was greener and better quality. Sulfur and Nitrogen like to work together.

Then less than a decade ago I discovered Midwest Bio-ag, and I started using Bio-cal. A mix of varying availability Calcium with Sulfur and added Boron. Calcium is the trucker of the soil, but it is only one way trips so and adequate trucks ( Calcium ) are needed. Good results on all crops, so I feel available Calcium, Sulfur, and Boron are needed in adequate levels along with your P & K.

Somewhere around this time I had a field of soybeans which turned out to be the year of the aphids. While most other farmers in the area averaged 20-30bu., my beans went 43 bu/a. Insects don't like healthy plants because they can not digest complete sugar and protein strings.

So feeling I was on the right track, I started using a complete fertilizer from Bio-ag on my alfalfa and yields went up 50% from good to excellent And 50 dairy cows went from a free choice mineral usage of 50 lbs every 5 days with a bag of salt to 50 lbs every 20 days and 2 bags of salt. Minerals from plants are much more available than mined minerals in animals and us. Bio-ag's micro nutients are homogenized with some carbon so if a root hair feeds from that complete nugget, it is like a TMR ( total mixed ration) helping the plant to do it's best with the least amount of energy expended to resist pests and add to yield.

Tissue tests certainly can help pinpoint issues, but what I have done fertilizer-wise has worked wery well for me on my farm. I wish you good luck in your quest for better efficiencies of your cropping program.


  1. Treating a seed production legume like a forage production plant will not add to yield in my career in farming. They are two totally different plants with different results.

  2. They are much similar but yes they are different. In general, they are very similar. To be specific, you can tweek seed production over mass forage but the principles are similar. I know I better not be short of B or K like so many fields are.

    Ed Winkle