Calcium Products - Glen Howell
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Glen Howell

Glen Howell

What is Your Spring Outlook?

I admit it, I am a weather junkie.  If there is a weather event going on in the Midwest (or other places), I usually am aware of it.  With all of my background in agriculture, I am also constantly looking for signs of the upcoming season & what it may bring.

What weather do you expect this spring?  If you are hoping for an early warmup this year, you may be disappointed.  Mike Palmerino from DTN, is looking for a repeat of the last several years with saturated soils & cool temperatures (http://www.dtnprogressivefarmer.com/dtnag/view/blog/getBlog.do?blogHandle=weather&blogEntryId=8a82c0bc25987ff10125fa799fd80477). 

At a recent meeting, Elwynn Taylor from ISU (http://twitter.com/elwynntaylor), explained his observations that April precipitation in Iowa has been increasing since the 1940s.  As a result, soil moisture has also increased, leading to wetter spring conditions and difficulties in getting crops planted on time.

Will we have a repeat of the Midwest flooding from 2008?  I hope not! 

Will you have time to get your lime spread before spring?  If not, we need to talk about SuperCal 98G!

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Teaching corn how to fix its own nitrogen?

The importance of nitrogen to profitable corn production has been widely recognized for many years.  Since corn is a grass crop, additional nitrogen is often added to increase yields & profitability.  However, excessive nitrogen application is very expensive-both in terms of cost & environmental impact.  Dr. Kaustubh Bhalerao, agricultural engineer at the U of Illinois, believes that it is possible to "teach" corn how to fix its own nitrogen, through the use of synthetic biology.

Synthetic biology is a new area of research that combines science and engineering in order to design and build or "synthesize" novel biological functions and systems. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_biology). 

Dr. Bhalerao is looking at how to design a system that enable nitrogen fixing bacteria to communicate with the root systems of corn plants.  Article link: http://www.illinoisagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=191

I believe this possibility has enormous potential consequences.  What do you think?

 

Yield Starts Here is a blog for farmers, focusing on increasing yield and profitability by focusing on the soil. It is managed by Craig Dick, a Blogronomist and Sales and Marketing Manager at Calcium Products. Find other articles by Craig and guest writers at http://blog.calciumproducts.com/ .

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The Ugly Duckling?

Growing conditions have stymied crop development in the Midwest recently.  Some of the neighboring corn fields have been planted for nearly 4 weeks, & are just starting to poke through today.  Getting the crop off to a good start seems to be a problem in recent years. 

Bob Nielsen, from Purdue University, explains why corn seems to experience this every year.

"During this important transition from dependence on kernel reserves to dependence on the nodal root system, corn seedlings are easily sidetracked when growing conditions are not adequate for maximum photosynthesis and rapid development of the nodal root system. Consequently, the appearance of corn seedlings during these early leaf stages can be downright ugly during extended periods of cloudy, cool weather. Throw in some excessively wet soils plus a little soil compaction plus a pinch of frost damage and you have a good start on a recipe for "crappy" stands of corn. The best remedy for most fields of yellow-green corn seedlings suffering from the effect of "crappy" growing conditions is the return of ample sunshine and warmth."

The entire article can be found at: www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/UglyDuckling.html

Here's to hoping for sunshine & warmth!

Yield Starts Here is a blog for farmers, focusing on increasing yield and profitability by focusing on the soil. It is managed by Craig Dick, a Blogronomist and Sales and Marketing Manager at Calcium Products. Find other articles by Craig and guest writers at http://blog.calciumproducts.com/ .

Read more...
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