Newsletter by Arden Andersen
Please note there are a few differences between what Dr. Arden Andersen describes in this well written description of Reams testing and the terminology used with the Morgan test here at International Ag Labs.
- When Dr. Arden Andersen refers to Phosphate and Potash, he is referring to Phosphorous and Potassium.
The Morgan test results give a Phosphorous to Potassium ratio of 1:1, whereas Dr. Anderson describes a Phosphate to Potash ratio of 2:1. For grasses the ratios would be 2:1 and 4:1 respectively. The actual ratio is still the same but the terminology has changed over time.
New terminology measures ERGS in mircosiemens—not micromhos.
Soybean production is becoming more challenging and difficult each year. I don't know whether weather patterns are changing or disease and insects are more prevalent, but as I watch farmers attempt to improve yields and profits it certainly seems that what may have worked one year doesn't work very well the next.
For the past 15 years I have studied a number of different soybean management practices and have yet to see one stand out as a consistent winner. I have observed numerous planting and ground preparation methods and have yet to see one that works every time. I have seen ridge no-till, conventional till, solid seeded, drilled, 24" rows, 30" rows and 36" rows and have yet to find one consistent winner.
Fall is a good time to carefully watch your crop mature, study your moisture reserves, crop health, shape, size, thickness of stalks and leaves. One of the important points is watching the way a crop dries down. Corn and soybeans should have the ears and pods dry before the stalk and leaves dry down. If the stalk and leaves dry down first the grain cannot dry out properly. You end up with grain that doesn't keep. Sometimes the plant and grain doesn't dry at all. This is generally due to excessive nitrogen and not enough calcium, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium.
Lack of available phosphate to plants
One of the biggest problems I see in crop production today is lack of available phosphate to plants. Phosphate is the key to unlock the path to true crop quality. Dr. Reams taught that all plant food should go into the plant in colloidal phosphate form in order to have nutritious strong healthy plants. This means we need phosphate that becomes available to the plant worked upon by the soil micro-biological system. It's true that a lot of elements can enter the plant and cell in non-phosphate form, but you end up with plants that are subject to insect damage and disease .
Growing a quality tomato without the use - or with limited use - of herbicides and insecticides is a very challenging and difficult task
I recently visited with a tomato grower who had potato beetles in his tomatoes. The set plants came already infested with the beetle eggs. Once we got-enough energy in the soil and the brix reading high enough in the plants, the potato beetles marched right out of the field.
This approach to pest management is completely different from the spray insecticide approach. One of the main things that I emphasize in the winter seminars is monitoring the soil energy to keep the plants strong enough to resist pests and diseases. The test used to measure soil energy is called the Ergs test. This test involves taking equal measures of soil and deionized water, mixing them together and then taking a reading with the probe of a conductivity meter which determines the micromhos per centimeter.
Why change my current farming fertility practices?
Every once in a while I am asked why should I bother to change my current farming fertility practices. I used to get pretty excited about a question such as this and would really light into a person. Then I realized they simply did not understand the consequences of their fertility practices. Now I like to take the time to explain the long term consequences of their actions. I also encourage them to start with small changes.
The need for reconsideration of fertility practices is best explained by the following case history. A friend of mine recently visited with a German farmer. He was spreading a lot of manure on his land which the American could not understand. The American asked how he could afford to do this. The German replied we cannot afford not to.
In my area of the country corn and soybean harvest is progressing very rapidly. Yields are all over the board with corn running anywhere from 23 to 200 bushels per acre having essentially rainfall.
I know of four different fields of corn nearby that were alfalfa last year and corn did not even make 30 bushel. Yet corn on bean ground in the same area has had highs of 160 to 200 bushels per acre. Normally the alfalfa sod ground would have the better yields. This year however, sub soil moisture was greatly reduced because of the alfalfa roots.
An example of this is a local dairy firmer who for several years has been getting 170 bushels on his alfalfa sod. This year it yielded only 23 bushels, while his other ground yielded 100 to 120 bushels.
What does this word have to do with agriculture?
For an old farmer like me, this sounds like a foreign language. Being an old farmer isn’t always bad. I have taken many things apart just to see how it works. That is what compelled me to sneak up on this word and do some investigation.
A zwitterion is a hybrid
That’s a word we farmers understand. Now we know it can’t be all bad. If it is a hybrid it must be a mixture of something and that is true. A zwitterion is an ion that carries both a positive and negative charge. Make a mental note of the last statement because this is the most unusual thing about a zwitterion.
We at International Ag Labs have always stressed the importance of putting a mixture of different products together in our nitrogen solutions to stabilize them. This has been very successful for our producers that do not farm organically. We have been able to lower our nitrogen requirements for corn from 1.2 lbs per bushel to .6 to .7 lbs per bushel. The products in this nitrogen mixture have always been dictated to us by the results of a soil test. It also determines the ratios of products in the mixture. Our goal in making this mixture was always to end up with a simple amino acid solution.
Inside This Issue
- Enhancing Soybean Yield
- Employee Spotlight
- Soybean Staging
- Scripture Moment
- Soybean Insects
- Fertilizer Brokerage
- Soybean Roots
Inside This Issue
- It Pays to Decompose
- Plot and Yield Data
- Residue Decomposition
- Is Your Corn Shrinking?
- Symptoms of Goss' Wilt
- WayAhead 7X
- Corn Residue
Inside This Issue
- Residue Decomposition ...A Foundation for Success
- Principles For Crop Residue Management Success
- How Healthy Is Your Soil?