So last week, Senior Sales Manager Galynn, SAM Rob and I went down to Hopkinsville, KY to visit the Security Seed & Chemical Research Farm. It is a large facility where fertilizer plots are established each year to test different program, both old and new. Fertilizer Agronomist Lang French met us at the plots to show us around. AgroLiquid has been a standard program there for quite a few years now. But that is challenged each year. They do have really good looking corn down there.
The corn is in the silking stage now. Here is a plot that received a preplant application of dry fertilizer (9-23-30).
And right next to it is a plot that instead received a planter application of Pro-Germinator + Micro 500. Notice that the silks are turning brown indicating that it is farther along in maturity.
Lang said that they often see tassel emergence at least seven days earlier with AgroLiquid compared to dry treatments. One of the many features explaining the high performance of AgroLiquid. Go to their upcoming field day if you are in the neighborhood.
And if you want to see a video discussion of these plots (and who doesn’t?) go to @DrJerryCropDoc on Facebook.
So how fast does corn grow anyway? I recently read an article in a Pioneer update that told about spraying a stalk with paint and then checking it the next day. I shared this my friend Chris Cook who farms in SE Wyoming and thought it would be a good project for his young boys Brady and Matt.
And it was! I got this pic right back from them showing the amount of growth overnight. Pretty phenomenal. Of course this corn had the advantage of using AgroLiquid. But I’m pretty corn with other fertilizer would grow at least some in the same test. Maybe.
So one more post from the Palouse in SE Washington. We have a field trial with a grower and Eric and I walked it last Wednesday. This is soft white winter wheat and it is looking good.
The heads are filling grain now, and grain protein is being made now too. Yield and protein determine payment to the grower. Outside of weather, one thing that can affect yield is insects like aphids.
And here they are. I believe these are Russian Wheat aphids. (Someone will tell me if they are not.) I just happened to get this picture that is interesting. I believe that larger brown one is what is referred to as a mummy, having been stung by a parasitic wasp that laid eggs inside. The insect world isn’t pretty. These aphids are sucking leaf juices and can cause the leaf to turn yellow. And this is the flag leaf, the energy leaf of the plant.
So there is a threshold. It is an average of 20 aphids per plant at this stage. This according to his crop scout. So this field wasn’t there. (I read where other experts say as many as 50 is threshold before damage exceeds cost of control.) But the grower was nervous about not spraying. Then there is the cost of the product (Dimethoate) and a plane. A good yield is on the line, but wheat prices aren’t the best. The field was pretty slick with aphid juice. Too bad the wasps didn’t do more. Not sure what he ended up doing. No one said farming is easy. And if they did, they are wrong.
So are you ready for some more almond updates? Let me answer “Heck Yes” for you. So I was back in CA last week and here is how the trees look now. The blossoms are all gone.
The bees did their job as we see loads of almonds growing now where there were flowers before. And we did not see any obvious frost damage which was a big concern on an earlier visit.
Remember when Dylan held a small almond blossom pistil in his hand a few weeks ago? Well now he’s holding the developing almond nut. That almond is going to need some added nutrition to make it to harvest in the fall. And that is where AgroLiquid comes in.
Almond watchers SAM’s Dylan and Armando, plus Chemist Chris discuss all things almonds with the ranch manager and researcher. Now AgroLiquid fertilizers are used in a number of commercial operations, but we wanted to design an experiment to prove the value of AgroLiquid’s different nutrient options. Well that is the objective anyway. I’m confident. It’s time for some plot fertilizer application.
This tractor is applying liquid fertilizer treatments to a plot of almond trees. Several replicated treatments are applied in this long row of trees.
Fertilizers are normally applied in the irrigation water, through that small sprinkler there coming out of the black water line. To simulate fertilizer application, the fertilizer treatments are sprayed on the ground with the nozzles. The nozzles are positioned to apply over the irrigated area. To be realistic, the nozzles ran some earlier to wet the ground. Then the sprayer applies the fertilizers in a high application volume of 200 gallons per acre. This is to evenly spread the fertilizers over the zone. Then after application, the water is turned on again to thoroughly incorporate the treatments. I’m convinced that this is as realistic as you can get for treatment application. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny. And no wind.
It helps that AgroLiquid fertilizers are all compatible with each other and can easily be applied all at once instead of in separate applications as is necessary with some fertilizers. The researcher was impressed with AgroLiquid’s product compatibility. There are a number of applications left, but that should hold them for now. It takes well planned applications of a complete nutrient package to get best response. So we will be following progress, and I plan to re-visit the test to keep you all posted. There were some other interesting sights seen during the week, so stay tuned.
As the order for the potash, phosphate, sulfur, and micronutrients is submitted, what are the reasons, or goals, for applying that fertilizer? Why fertilize alfalfa? Some reasons would likely include increasing or maintaining yield or avoiding “mining” the soil.
There is another reason that AgroLiquid customers are discovering, and it ties in with the industry’s understanding that the digestibility of a ration’s forage component has a large impact on a cow’s milk production. That is why cut timing is carefully managed, weather conditions are closely monitored, weeds and insects are controlled, and the bunks are filled and packed quickly. Recently the dairy industry is also paying more attention to alfalfa fiber digestibility.
For several years dairy customers have been saying that AgroLiquid fertilizers were doing something to their forages that went beyond more tons. They were getting more tons and more milk/cow/day when the AgroLiquid treated alfalfa was fed compared to their conventionally fertilized alfalfa. Then, last year, these personal accounts were put to the test when Poplar Farms Sales and Service near Manitowoc, WI, in cooperation with their Dairyland Seeds representative, decided to split north/south an alfalfa variety plot which was planted east/west. The field split compared conventional dry potash top-dressed against AgroLiquid’s Sure-K applied foliar at 6”. They tested each variety on each treatment for quality and digestibility in addition to dry matter yield. The results were significant, with markedly better Neutral Detergent Fiber Digestibility (NDFD), protein, Relative Feed Quality (RFQ), milk/ton and milk/acre on the Sure-K side. AgroLiquid Field Agronomy Manager for the upper Midwest, Dan Peterson, took note of these results and conducted an additional 11 alfalfa field and test plot trials across Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota during 2016. He discovered the results were indeed repeatable, with all 11 trials showing positive results for the AgroLiquid treatments versus the conventional fertilizer treatments. This level of repeatability is unusual in agronomic testing, and provides strong evidence that AgroLiquid foliar products are doing something unique in the plant, something that other liquid foliar and dry fertilizers are not doing.
The 11 field splits and test plots were across several different conventional dry and foliar treatments and were compared side-by-side to various AgroLiquid foliar treatments. The average of the results across all fields and cuttings showed remarkable results from the AgroLiquid treatments:
37.3% more dry matter/acre.
2.6 more lbs of milk/cow/day (per NDFD).
Over 20% faster digestion rate (per the Dynamic NDF kd).
5% more protein.
40.5% more milk/acre.
The trials were from new seeding through 4th year stands, across different cuttings, soil types, soil fertility levels, and geographies. The AgroLiquid treatments were compared to conventional dry fertilizers, top-dress manure, and competing foliar products. Although the results varied, in every trial the AgroLiquid treatment resulted in a large ROI over the other treatments. In addition, in every trial the AgroLiquid treated side reached maturity between cuttings three to five days quicker than the conventional fertilizer or manure side of the fields. This may allow an additional cutting for the season. Dairy producers who participated in these trials noted not only the faster regrowth but more and larger leaves and less of the typical leaf yellowing below the canopy.
The question is how do AgroLiquid’s plant nutrient products achieve these remarkable tonnage and digestibility improvements in alfalfa? The answer is likely their unique Flavonol Polymer TechnologyTM. The flavonol organic polymer facilitates better nutrient uptake and utilization within the plants with less metabolic energy expended. Review the individual alfalfa trials at agroliquid.com/research.
Calcium is the third most important element in a plant. And, calcium is the fifth most abundant element on the planet. It makes sense that traditionally, growers don’t apply much calcium, because they assume the plant will get what they need from the soil. But, calcium is usually found in a form that is not easily taken up by plants.
In an apple tree, the leaves, new shoots, and fruit all take calcium and the nutrient will be found in the tissues and the root, but, the fruit cannot compete with the other parts of the plant hence why the fruit often doesn’t get enough calcium. That is why calcium deficiencies are evidenced on the fruit, rather than the rest of the tree. In apples, a calcium deficiency causes a disorder known as bitter pit. Bitter pit is a physiological breakdown of the cell walls in the fruit that occur below the skin of the fruit. For that reason, when scouting for calcium deficiencies, it is important to test the fruit, rather than relying solely on leaf or soil tests.
In this particular trial, Horticulturists were testing for fruit firmness, how many apples produced on each tree, and how much the fruit weighs. At the North Central Research Station High-Density Apple Orchard, researchers test approximately 10 apples per experimental plot for firmness. They use a pentameter, which measures the pressure needed to break the cell part inside the apple. They test four spots on each apple, as research has shown there is a difference in firmness between the side of the apple exposed to sun, versus the shade-side. The average fruit firmness is reported.
A trial of the effects of LiberateCa™ in 2015 at the NCRS High-density Apple Orchard in Michigan showed that the apples treated with LiberateCa™ fall close to the preferred range of 14.5 lb – 17.5 lb for fruit firmness, while the untreated trees’ fruit firmness was significantly higher than desired. In addition, the treated trees had more apples per tree, and overall yield per tree increased as well. These trees were planted at 3 ½ feet between trees, 11 feet between rows, with a planting density of 1,100 trees per acre.
“If you can hang two more apples per tree, with 1,100 trees, you have 2,200 more apples – and that means more money in your pocket.” Horticulturist Jacob Emling
Potatoes use more potassium than any other nutrient – including nitrogen. Potassium (K) is required for nutrient movement in the potato plant. It is essential for the makeup of over 40 different enzymes and is involved in more than 60 different enzyme systems in plants. Potassium is also important in the formation of sugars and starches in plants. All crops that produce a large amount of carbohydrates (sugars) such as cotton, almonds, alfalfa, grapes, cherries, peaches, and especially potatoes, require large amounts of potassium. Specifically in potatoes, potassium influences tuber size, specific gravity, susceptibility to blackspot bruise, after-cooking darkening, reducing sugar content, fry color, and storage quality.
Potassium is crucial in quality potato formation as it promotes synthesis of photosynthates and their transport to the tubers. This enhances their conversion into starch, protein and vitamins. A deficiency of potassium affects many metabolic processes, like the rate of photosynthesis, the rate of translocation and enzyme systems. At the same time, the rate of dark respiration is increased. The result is a reduction in plant growth and in crop quality. K influences on quality can also be indirect as a result of its positive interaction with other nutrients (especially with N). Potassium is also used by plants to regulate the process of opening and closing the stomatal openings of their leaves. That process influences water use efficiency and carbon dioxide use in the plant. Potassium’s influence on cell turgor pressure and water relations in the plant helps the plants resist the effects of drought and temperature extremes, and aids resistance to many plant diseases
Depending on soil type, 90-98% of total soil potassium is unavailable. Feldspars and micas are clays that contain large amounts of potassium, but plants cannot use the nutrient if it is trapped between the layers of those clays. In persistently dry soils, potassium remains unavailable, as there is no water film surrounding the soil particles. Over time, these minerals break down, and the potassium is released. However, this process is too slow to provide crops the amount of potassium needed for optimal yield.
Typically only 1-2% conventional potassium fertilizers applied to the soil is available at one time.
Plants lacking in potassium often display various signs of deficiencies, the most common being discoloration of the older leaves on the plant as compared to the younger leaves on the plant. The stem on affected tissue usually appears weak and is slender in size compared to healthy tissue. Other deficiency signs include inward curling of leaves, discolored leaf tips and marginal scorching. Another common sign of potassium stress is abnormally short internode length. A crop deficient in potassium may also display signs of various crop diseases.
As an essential major nutrient for crop production, potassium needs to be available to the plant at all stages of growth. Most potassium found in soils is unavailable to the plant, therefore the nutrient may need to be supplied to the crop via fertilizer.
The need for potassium can and should be determined from soil and plant tissue analysis. Management recommendations for potassium in potato crops vary by region and specific soil conditions. It is often beneficial to split applications of potassium to match the optimal times of plant uptake in order to increase yield potential and quality. Proper potassium management can increase disease and pest resistance. In addition, this management practice can improve soil quality for sustainability, resulting in an overall increase in productivity.
You can provide the potassium your potato crop needs, when it needs it, by using the most efficient potassium nutrient products on the market: Kalibrate and Sure-K. These products provide available potassium to the plant at the right times in the growth cycle.
Kalibrate applied at planting time or side-dress is taken up from the soil along the length of young roots, particularly by root hairs. Potassium is transported in all directions between plant organs in response to metabolic demand. Kalibrate also contains 6% sulfur – also an essential nutrient for potatoes.
Sure-K as a foliar application or fertigation enables the flexibility to provide available potassium, which is actively taken up by plant tissues. Sure-K enters the plant more effectively than conventional potassium fertilizers and has excellent crop safety. Once in the plant, Sure-K is rapidly transported and redistributed to areas of greatest metabolic demand. Sure-K can also be mixed with crop protection products, reducing the number of passes on the field.
To determine yield response for fertilizer placed either 2×2 or in-furrow during corn planting.
The table below summarizes four locations across the North Central Research Station were Pro-Germinator, Sure-K and Micro 500 were applied either in-furrow or 2×2 at planting. Within each experiment the fertilizer applications were the same and applied according to soil test recommendations and all treatments were sidedressed with the same rate of nitrogen. Nitrogen only applications were done to show the benefits of planter time fertilizer. Experiment and average overall yield appear on the table below.
At all four locations, the nitrogen only treatment yielded lower than the other treatments. An average of over 11 bu/A was achieved with the addition a 2×2 planter applied fertilizer.
At half the locations, in-furrow applications yielded much higher than 2×2 fertilizers. In the other locations there was little difference between the two methods of application.
On average over all locations, planter fertilizer applied in-furrow yielded almost 5 bu/A higher than 2×2.
Evaluate the yield effects of the different AgroLiquid program components.
This experiment is intended to follow similar fertilizer programs over time in a corn-soybean rotation. Based on soil test, a corn fertilizer program of 180-30-60-2 Zn was implemented for a 200 bu/A yield goal. This is a very productive soil, where yields the past two seasons have exceeded expectations. As such, and based on previous results, the recommended 215 lb-N/A recommendation was reduced to 180 lb/A. Within this experiment there were program source comparisons. It should be mentioned that due to a fast and heavy rain event on May 7 that two of the replications of plots were damaged from water runoff and not harvested. However, the
remaining two replications were unscathed and provided good data.
In this part of the experiment, the yield of the total AgroLiquid planter program of 3 gal/A of Pro-Germinator + 5 gal/A of Sure-K + 2 qt/A of Micro 500 was compared to that of the Pro-Germinator or Sure-K alone (although still with Micro 500). These were all compared to a nitrogen only treatment. It is hoped that the highest yield is obtained with the whole program, but research will find out. Treatment yields appear in the following chart.
The highest yield was obtained with the total program.
The single component treatment yields were closer to that of the total program than perhaps would be desired. But there was a numerical additive effect none-the-less.
The yields of the individual components still out-yielded that of either conventional complete program (see that report).