Written by Greg Ervin, MS CCA, Regional Sales Representative
Achieving high yields consistently is the ultimate dream of most growers. As we look ahead to the 2010 crop year, it is important to take time to identify potential yield robbing factors and establish actions for offsetting these negatives as they arise. With plans in place, growers maximize the highest yield potential under their control.
What are some of the looming yield robbers farmers face in 2010?
The following are three concerns I heard from growers this winter:
Emergence problems associated with residue management. If last year’s residues are only partially broken down and look to present a problem in consistent seed spacing and depth placement , consider creating a more conducive seed bed . This can be done through the use of light tillage and/or the use of Calcium in the forms of Gypsum (for higher pH soils) or Calcium Carbonate (for lower pH soils). This added soluble Calcium leaches away soil toxins, leaving a soil structure that does a better job of managing moisture and providing more air to soil micro-life. It also frees tied-up key nutrients from residues and soils making them more available to plants throughout the growing season.
Soil micro-life is important to the efficient breakdown of plant residues. With current herbicide technology involving Glyphosate, much of the beneficial micro-life in soils has been reduced to levels where efficient residue breakdown is not occurring (Huber 2010). Spring and Fall residue treatment programs aimed at enhancing soil micro-life may be logical steps for growers to implement as means for reducing residues and reclaiming plant available nutrients from residues and soils.
Gypsum is a good fit when considering residue management. The soluble Calcium aids in creating improved soil characteristics, while the 17% soluble Sulfur in Gypsum acts as an excellent readily available food source for plants and also for expanding micro-life in the soil, accelerating the breakdown of residues. Calcium Products, Inc. SuperCal S04 is an excellent source of Gypsum for these applications.
Plant Micronutrient tie-ups associated with herbicide use. Current herbicide programs involving the use of Glyphosate are creating severe Micronutrient tie-ups in plants and in soils (Huber, 2010). These tie-ups lead to nutritional deficiencies of plants, starving them to the point of reduced standability, reduced yields and inefficient dry-down of harvested crops.
With today’s understanding of the compounding effects of Glyphosate on soils and plants, I am advising growers to ensure plants have adequate micronutrients available to build strong plant immune systems to fight-off fusarium energized in soils by Glyphosate (Huber 2010). The addition of Calcium to soils in the Spring or Fall assists plants in building strong cell walls from readily available plant food nutrients released in soils by soluble Calcium.
Plant tissue testing is an excellent analytical tool available for insuring adequate nutrient availability throughout the growing season. Taken ahead of Glyphosate applications, Micronutrient levels can be monitored through plant tissue testing and corrected by adding needed Micronutrients with Glyphosate at herbicide application times.
Growers should not underestimate the importance of Micronutrients to sustaining plant health in the quest for more consistent higher yielding crops. Calcium Products, Inc.’s SuperCal 98G Calcium Carbonate Liming product is an efficient and cost effective way of meeting Calcium needs of plants, soils, and correcting lower testing pH areas in farm fields.
Compaction from wet soils. For many areas of the country, wet Spring and