On Farm Testing
We believe that the evaluation of products, crops and tillage methods needs to be done, when possible, by us on our farm. All of our trials are evaluated for visual differences and most are compared using yeild data. With the aid of Global Positioning Systems (GPS), variable rate controllers, and yield monitors, we can applying varying rates of crop rotection products, plant nutrients and determine their influence on yield. It is our goal in our evaluation to determine which varieties and plant nutrients work best for our climate and cultural practices. Ultimately leading to the highest return on each dollar spent for landlords as well as our farm.
Our current test plots contain trials with different nitrogen fertilizer forms and nitrogen stabilizing products to determine their effectiveness for our farm. The products range from Nutrishphere (Specialty Fertilizer Products, LLC), Agrotain Plus (Koch Agronomic Services, LLC), and Instinct (Dow Agrosciences) nitrogen stabilizers for liquid fertilizers, to a dry polymer coated urea based fertilizer ESN (Agrium Advanced Technology). These products are advertised to reduce the nitrogen lost to volitilization and denitrification. If we can indeed reduce these losses, we will save money by keeping the nutrients where the crop can utilize it.
Throughout the growing season we hire other professionals to help us complete vital tasks. Aerial application, crop dusting, is one of those operations. These agricultural aviators are able to apply a wide range of products over hundreds of acres as day. They also can make these applications when the soil surface is too wet for conventional equipment or when the crop's maturity would cause serious economic loss from our conventional applicator.
Dryland Timothy Hay
In the recent years, we have dedicated some of our conventional field crops into dryland timothy production. The export market has increased its demand for high quality timothy grass hay. Crop diversity makes sense for financial reasons, but it also is an good agronomic practice by rotating various crops.
The key to premium quality dryland timothy hay is deep green color and low stem moisture. During our haying season in early July, we usually benefit from low soil moistures, high ambent temperatures and low humidity. This helps the windrows dry quickly with less hay discoloration.
Soil tests taken 3-20-2014 on lentil gound planted to Coda soft white winter club wheat in September 2013.
NH4 and NO3 levels represent totals from top two feet of soil
All applications included 80 lbs of applied nitrogen and 17 lbs of sulfur.
Liquid application made with a John Deere 2410 chisel, 12 inch spaced, 6 inches deep with Kile fertilizer knives.
Dry products applied by Primeland Cooperatives with custom applicator.
All plots cross cultivated with John Deere 2210, 6 inch spaced, straight points
Plots seeded with John Deere 455 with 4 gallons 10-34 pop-up fertilizer applied with the seed