Today is World Soils Day!! To most, soil is thought of as DIRT, but soil is critical to LIFE and is full of life. In each tablespoon of soil there are millions of microorganisms, most of whom are essential for plant life. Like humans, improving the “house” that these microorganisms live in is important for their maximum performance. Soil Solutions is dedicated to working with producers in “home improvement” for these microbes. Like our name implies, we provide answers for improving soils like the picture shows. Increasing air in the soil is most important.
Research completed over the last four years shows corn, soybeans, alfalfa and wheat consistently responds to sulfur fertilization. In a study by Iowa State researchers, responses in corn to sulfur were observed at 3 of their 6 sites in Central Iowa and North Central Iowa in 2017. In 2018, they had responses in corn to sulfur at 5 of their 6 sites. At one location, corn treated with sulfur from gypsum yielded 108 bushels more than the untreated. Over the 12 site years, the study revealed gypsum treated corn averaged 13 bushels over the untreated. Some of the responses were in soils with organic matter levels greater than 4%. The researcher commented that “predicting sulfur responses from soil test levels is difficult”. “Also, given the increase in nitrogen use efficiency with the use of sulfur, farmers should consider sulfur in many soils and environments especially if soils have been eroded”. Sulfate sulfur sources gave greater and more consistent responses than elemental sulfur sources.
Central Iowa Corn Response to Gypsum
Treatment Yield, Bu/A
Check 209 193
Gypsum 214 214
Iowa State researchers have also consistently seen sulfur responses in alfalfa over the past seven years. They have noted that corn following alfalfa is very responsive to sulfur, since alfalfa often depletes soil reserves of sulfur.
Purdue University did sulfur research in soybeans. They found sulfate sulfur sources gave the greatest yield response with a 12 bushel yield response in 2016 and a 10 bushel response in 2018. Sulfate sulfur sources gave greater responses than products containing elemental sulfur. Research shows that later season sulfur uptake is greater with higher yielding varieties which could support the use of a slower release sulfate sulfur product like gypsum.
Treatment 2018 Soybean Yield, Bu/A
Lastly, researchers in North Dakota revealed 6 to 9 bushel yield responses in spring wheat to the application of sulfate sulfur.
We promote PRO CAL 40 gypsum as a soil amendment, providing calcium and improving infiltration and biological activity through better air and water management, however, it is a good source of sulfate sulfur that is needed in most soils. At the rates of PRO CAL 40 gypsum used as a soil amendment, the soils will have adequate carryover sulfur for multiple years.
Below are two pictures of one of our customer’s fields from this spring. He wanted to show his tenant the benefits of PRO CAL 40 gypsum so he had us apply a strip across his field. The application of 2 tons per acre was done in 2018 ahead of the soybeans. This picture was taken about the first of June in 2019. The green strip was where the PRO CAL 40 was applied. Many of our customers have expressed how much more uniform and greener their fields are where they apply PRO CAL 40. We credit most of this to better soil conditions and more pore space where the gypsum is applied. This results in more microbial activity and better root growth. The benefits of PRO CAL 40 applications can be realized for multiple years as this picture demonstrates, which means realistically the costs should be amortized over four years. With this consideration, the real cost of PRO CAL 40 applications are generally less than $10-15 per acre per year. A great return on investment when you consider the increase in yield.
Our recommendation is to apply 1/3 of a producer’s fields each year. With this plan in place a farmer can cover all his acres over a three-year period. After that, soil sample the fields and see if the rate should be adjusted for subsequent years.
Wow, where does time go? I didn’t blink, but here it is the middle of October already! Years ago, before Farmers Lung kicked me off the Family farm, we were filling silo one fall and at noon break I was visiting with one of our Great neighbors, Dale, who helped with this task. I made the comment that the year had blurred by, and Dale asked me, how old are you. I was 26 that year, he proceeded to share this bit of wisdom with me. ” I am 52 years old, double you’re age, if you think time is going fast at 26 , 52 is doubly fast” Well, Dale was right! I wish I was 52 again! Wait, what am I saying? Being blessed with the continued education I have received, going back to 26 sounds even better!
But, even though 2019 was a tough year, it has passed in a blink, and now it’s time to plan for the 2020 growing season. With the wet year, our soils have taken a hit. Surface tension has increased and microbial activity has decreased in our water logged soils. What makes yield? Air and Water Management is key. We need to GET OXYGEN INTO THE SOIL so we can grow our Microbial Herd! None of the huge amount of nutrients that are in the soil profile can be utilized without the presence of microbes. So, as many of our customers can attest to, Pro Cal 40 Gypsum will help flocculate our soils, allowing oxygen down into the soil profile letting our Microbial Herd come back to help release nutrients! So, as you plan for 2020, consider applying Pro Cal 40 as your Major nutrient source for the year. Over the years, this has proven very beneficial to increasing yields. Remember, Improve your Soils and the Yields will follow!
Soil Solutions LLC
Many fields in Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa showed yellowing and/or premature senescence this fall. To the left you can see an alfalfa field that I took a picture of this last week in northeast Nebraska that is stunted and yellowing on the hillsides and hill tops. Where applications of PRO CAL 40 have been applied, these areas were eliminated and both alfalfa yield and quality were greatly improved across the field. To the right you can see a soybean field nearby the above alfalfa field, that is maturing unevenly. The plants on the hill tops and hill sides are yellowing more quickly. This field could be evened out with an application of PRO CAL 40. The soybeans would yield more in those areas making the overall yield of the field much better. The same is true of corn fields that showed these same pre-mature yellows. There are many reasons for this occurring. One reason is that these areas are the more stressed areas likely due to poorer root growth. PRO CAL 40 does improve root growth and improves soil health.
I have seen these fields for years and yet some farmers are not making any effort to correct these areas. Many farmers want higher soybean yields, but don’t change any of their practices to realize these higher yields. Call us today to get your application of PRO CAL 40 scheduled and to discuss practices to increase your yields. 712-433-0000. Improve your soils and the yields will follow.
After Day 1 of the PRO FARMER crop tour it was noted that some fields had significant disease pressure and given the current moisture conditions, it is anticipated that the diseases will continue to spread. This could spell stalk quality problems at harvest if not treated plus lighter test weight.
Two bacterial diseases were observed. These were Bacterial Leaf Streak and Goss’s Wilt. (Picture of Goss’s Wilt to the left) Fungal diseases present were Grey Leaf Spot and rust.
Fungicides will not have any activity on bacterial diseases. However, PROCIDIC is an effective tool in managing each of these bacterial diseases. It is best to apply it early to keep the disease from spreading. Give us a call to learn how PROCIDIC can be an effective tool in managing your diseases.
With the growing interest in cover crops, growers need to remind themselves of the potential for injury from residual herbicides they may have used this spring. This is especially true if herbicide applications were delayed due to the wet spring. The breakdown of some herbicides can be affected by pH so be aware of your field’s variability in soil pH. Even some post-emergent herbicides can have residual activity that could injure cover crops. Call us at Soil Solutions if we can help you with your cropping decisions.
Look at the two pictures. Can you tell me which one is Grey Leaf Spot and which one is Bacterial Leaf Streak? It takes a pretty sharp eye to be able to tell the difference and even then, there could be some degree of uncertainty in your mind. Northern Corn Leaf Blight, a fungal disease and Goss’s Wilt, a bacterial disease can also look similar in their early stages.
Both, Grey Leaf Spot and Bacterial Leaf Streak are present in Nebraska corn fields this year. The problem is that if mis-diagnosed, you may spray a fungicide and if it is Bacterial Leaf Streak you will not see any control since bacterial diseases are not controlled by fungicides. PROCIDIC does have activity on Bacterial Leaf Streak and most fungal diseases as well. You could consider using PROCIDIC or combining PROCIDIC with your current fungicide to give several modes of action. If you have questions about the use of PROCIDIC, please give Gene a call at 712-433-0000.
The correct answer is that the picture on the left is Bacterial Leaf Streak and the picture on the right is Grey Leaf Spot. Were you correct in your identification?
Each year when plants begin their rapid growth stage producers notice leaf striping on the newest leaves that causes concern. Most commonly this is due to a shortage of magnesium in the plants. Unless you have soils that are sandy with a magnesium soil test less than 100 ppm, this will be temporary and will soon grow out of it. Reasons for this temporary shortage can be due to any of the following:
- Soil Temperature: Soil temperatures less than 60 degrees reduce magnesium uptake.
- Transpiration rates: Magnesium is taken up by mass flow. If soils are wet and humidity is high the plants won’t transpire as much. Reduced transpiration affects magnesium more than other cations.
- Nitrogen rates: High nitrogen rates will reduce magnesium uptake especially in soils that have high K levels and/or low pH soils where aluminum levels would be higher.
- Form of nitrogen: Higher amounts of ammonium nitrogen is antagonistic to magnesium uptake. Nitrate nitrogen will enhance the uptake of magnesium.
- High Rates of Moisture Causing Nitrate Leaching: With less nitrate available, more nitrogen may be taken up as ammonium nitrogen which again is antagonistic to magnesium uptake.
- Plants Growing Rapidly: When Corn plants are in the rapid growth stage it is not uncommon to see low levels of plant tissue magnesium. This is short term and usually does not affect final yield.
Research over the years have shown only mixed responses to foliar applications of magnesium at this stage. If you are in soils with low magnesium levels, you may want to consider a broadcast application of 100# of K Mag even at this stage to improve magnesium uptake. If you have any questions about plant nutrition or foliar application please give us a call.