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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Should You Split Your Nitrogen Application?

Emerson Nafiziger discussed likely changes in removal rates for P and K at this year's crop management conference. Removal is not a good way to make fertility decisions.  You need to know what you have.

He also briefly discussed return to Nitrogen Dollars.  At least in 2016, split applications did not pay. Maximun return to N was at relatively low rates.  Check out his comments on nitrogen.  I would not change my application method because of this research, but you might want to look at the Nrate calculator to help in your rate decision.  My recommendation would be to go to the high side of the chart.

If you are applying Nitrogen right now you should be treating it as a fall application and use inhibitor.  A warm wet March would denitrify a lot of N.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Cover Crops and USDA.

In past years, using cover crops and crop insurance had sometimes been in conflict.  These issues had been addressed, but USDA recently came out with new guidelines that clear things up and seem to fit into most management situations.  It you go to the USDA cropland page  and look on the left side of the page to click on the Cover Crops Termination Guidelines, you will get a download that tells you all the rules.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Climate Change

At the crop management conference, we heard from Jim Angel, Illinois Climatologist.  Angel presented some compelling evidence that our climate has changed for the  warmer over the past 100 years.  His opinion is that some of this change is man induced.  That is not  a huge stretch considering that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has tripled since the beginning o the industrial revolution.  Not all of that has been from burning fossil fuels.  Farming more land than ever has contributed  too, because of the breakdown of organic matter.

I did not get to discuss the issue with Mr. Angel, but I have not heard from anyone as to how much carbon dioxide we need to sequester to reverse the trend.  I also have not heard. What is the cost?

It  seems there are some positive developments from climate change.  Carbon dioxide may be increasing crop yields.  It may be an advantage that the corn belt is moving north.

Global Temperatures since 1900.  

Monday, February 6, 2017

No-till Challenges

Everyone who No-tills faces challenges that their neighbors don't face.  Finding what works for you can require a good deal of experimentation.  In the modern world, covercrops can be a part of the formula that works.  A Wisconsin farmer overcomes some of his challenges with 4 keys to success.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Seed Emmergence

Yesterday we attended a program put on by Linco-Precision.  They put together one of the top one day meetings I have been to.  One of the presentations was on seed emergence in corn.  They presented data that suggests that the closer together in time that corn plants emerge for the soil, the better the yields.  The research numbers were more than significant. One of the biggest factors controlling emergence was the evenness of soil moisture.  They did not arrive at the same conclusion that I did, but they do tell you  how to achieve results.  It looks to me like you would be most likely to encounter even moisture conditions under No-Till or stale seedbed.  Prairie Farmer entitled their article, No Ear Left Behind.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dicamba Use in Soybeans

Last week Dr. Hager discussed the use of Dicamba with Xtend soybeans.  He cautioned that the Dicamba will not be a silver bullet, but it may be a good tool in the toolbox if used properly.  He says Dicamba was never rated excellent on Water Hemp, but it is very good for now.  You should use the Dicamba according to its very restrictive label.  Beware of too much and too little wind.  There is only one approved nozzle.  If you mess anything up you could be in violation of label restrictions.  More on Dicamba Stewardship.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Weed Control

Last week we attended the Illinois Crop Management program in Springfield.  They seemed to save the best speaker for last.  Dr. Hager discussed weed control in the resistance era.  He continues to call for multiple modes of action in the same application.  He showed us why herbicide rotations are not really effective in keeping resistance at bay.  His discussion of Palmer Amaranth took up a big part of the program.  He says we need to have zero tolerance.  That means if soybeans are too tangled to walk through, you need to get in the truck or 4 wheeler and go get the plants.  The destruction of crop will be minor in comparison to the problems created by the Palmer amaranth.  Evena few weeds should be removed.  More on resistance here.