I as I drove across Iowa last week I couldn’t help but notice that there was a lot of silage being chopped. In some areas the corn was extremely good with yield estimates in the 220 range, while others areas yields were estimated at 70 bushels.
This fall will you treat the fields chopped for silage like the fields where just the grain was harvested? Will you adjust fertilizer rates in the sections of the fields that were chopped?
When 200-bushel corn is chopped for silage the following nutrients are removed.
Phosphate 120# Potash 260# Calcium 42# Sulfur 32#
When 200-bushel corn is harvested for grain the following nutrients are removed.
Phosphate 70# Potash 52# Calcium 4# Sulfur 14#
Chopping generally requires that the extra nutrients removed be replaced with increased fertilizer rates. Removing the stover removes 10x as much Ca, 5x as much K, 2x as much S, and 2x as much P. In addition to the nutrients lost, removal of up to 6 tons of stover can lead to a decrease of organic matter since it is not returned to the soil.
Please do not misunderstand; I am not against chopping corn for silage, there are many great benefits to it as a feed source. I am against poor soil. Soil that is low in nutrients such as calcium, sulfur, phosphate, and potash grow poor crops.
Low organic matter is the main cause for many other problems; compaction, poor structure, poor nutrient holding capacity, poor water holding capacity, erosion, crusting, diseases and carbon dioxide release. Crop residues are about 40% carbon. Residue turns into organic matter that releases CO2 throughout the growing season.
Having poor OM can short your corn crop the number one nutrient needed for growth (we’ll get into this more this winter).
The bottom line is SuperCal 98G is the best source for lime, and a great source of carbon dioxide. 100 pounds of 98G will supply all the calcium removed by chopping and supply some carbon that is removed as stover. SuperCal SO4 is a great source of soluble calcium and sulfur.
The Blogronomist is maintained by Craig Dick, head blogronomist and VP of Sales and Marketing. Here you will find a wide array of blog articles from Craig and expert guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!
There are 16 nutrients required to grow plants. Knowing these nutrients required to grow plants is only one aspect of successful plant development. Optimum production also requires knowing the rates of application, method and time of applications and the source of nutrients to use. Each of these nutrients is equally important to the plant, yet each is required in vastly different amounts. These differences have led to the grouping of these essential elements into 3 categories: primary (macro) nutrients, secondary nutrients and micronutrients. 3 of the Nutrients are taken up from either Air or Water; those are carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O). The remaining 13 nutrients are taken up from the soil.
- Necessary for formation of amino acids, the building blocks of protein
- Essential for plant cell division, vital for plant growth
- Directly involved in photosynthesis
- Aids in production and use of carbohydrates
- Affects energy reactions in the plant
- Involved in photosynthesis, respiration, energy storage and transfer, cell division and enlargement
- Promotes early root formation and growth
- Improves quality of fruits, vegetables, and grains
- Vital to seed formation
- Helps plants survive the harsh winter conditions
- Increases water-use efficiency
- Hastens maturity
- Carbohydrate metabolism and break down and translocation of starches
- Increases photosynthesis
- Increases water-use efficiency
- Essential to protein synthesis
- Important in fruit formation
- Activates enzymes and controls their reaction rates
- Improves quality of seeds and fruit
- Improves winter hardiness
- Increase disease resistance
- Utilized for continuous cell division and formation
- Involved in nitrogen metabolism
- Reduces plant respiration
- Aids translocation of photosynthesis from leaves of fruiting organs
- Increases fruit set
- Essential for nut development on peanuts
- Stimulates microbial activity
- Key elements of chlorophyll production
- Improves utilization and mobility of phosphorous
- Activator and component of many plant enzymes
- Directly related to grass tetany
- Increases iron utilization in plants
- Influences earliness and uniformity of maturity
- Integral part of amino acids
- Helps develop enzymes and vitamins
- Promotes nodule formation on legumes
- Aids in seed production
- Necessary in chlorophyll formation
- Essential of germination of pollen grains and growth of pollen tubes
- Essential for seeds and cell wall formation
- Promotes maturity
- Necessary for sugar translocation
- Affects nitrogen and carbohydrate
- Not much information about its function
- Interferes with P uptake
- Enhances maturity of small grains on some soils
- Catalyzes several plant processes
- Major function in photosynthesis
- Major function in reproductive stages
- Indirect role of chlorophyll production
- Increases sugar content
- Intensifies color
- Improves flavor of fruits and vegetables
- Promote formation of chlorophyll
- Acts as an oxygen carrier
- Reactions involving cell divisions and growth
- Functions as a part of certain enzyme systems
- Aids in chlorophyll synthesis
- Increases the availability of P and Ca
- Required to form the enzyme “nitrate reductas” which reduces nitrates to ammonium in plant
- Aids in the formation of legume nodules
- Needed to convert inorganic phosphates to organic forms in the plants
- Aids in growth hormones and enzyme system
- Necessary for chlorophyll production
- Necessary for carbohydrate formation
- Necessary for starch formation
- Aids in seed formation