Showing posts from September, 2022

Fall Nutrient Management

  Crops flourish and grow quickly in the spring. The first cutting of hay may be 50% higher than any other cutting. It’s not just due to more water. Increased spring growth comes from plant available nutrients (PAvN) from dormant microbes. Usually, this spring flush lasts 30-45 days, but with good management, this growth (and yield) flush may last all summer. However, it starts with fall nutrient management. All soil nutrients are part of a biological system. Each element is like a component or part in an engine. If one component is lacking or missing, the engine may not run as well or even stop running. Soil nutrients, especially micronutrients, are the activators to many biological processes. Over the winter; microbes release nutrients when they die, are consumed by others, but also when they are active. Plant available nutrients (PAvN) include many elements. The major positive charged elements called cations include ammonium (nitrogen), potassium, calcium, magnesium, and even sodium

Striving for High Crop Yields

  Everyone likes to follow a winner! Top farmers develop a suite of management practices that allows them to achieve higher average yields than their neighbors. High crop yields usually come from doing several things right and usually the weather has to cooperate. The world record holder on corn, David Hula, recently shared several of his high yielding management practices. Hula holds the all-time world corn yield record of 616 bushels set in 2019, on an irrigated strip till farm in Charles City, Virginia. Strip-till is a system where a 6-inch ban is tilled (fall or spring) before corn is planted. About 80% (24 inches in a 30-inch row) is left as no-till. The six-inch ban warms up quickly in the spring and allows corn to get a quick start. Cover crops can be planted between the tilled strips to add carbon and to improve soil health. Hula says getting corn off to a good start is a major key to high corn yields. The strip till section is usually a little drier and in a wet spring, much w