One of the bigger projects we’re doing on the Blank Slate is with fertility. Specifically, we’re looking at higher rates of fertilizer in-furrow. This field is a perfect place to do trials like this because:
1. It’s a highly erodible piece of ground (HEL designation).
2. I don’t want to do the full scale tillage that broadcast fertilizer requires.
3. The organic matter levels are very low.
4. It’s a little further away from home, so making less trips to this field is good.
We’re using a blend of Sure-K and Pro Germinator for my potassium and phosphorus needs. We’re adding Micro 500 for the micronutrients. For most of the field, we’re running with 5 gallons per acre of Sure-K, 5 gallons per acre of Pro Germinator, and 2 quarts per acre of Micro 500 for a total mix of 10.5 gallons in-furrow. We’d never dream of using that high a rate in-furrow with most products, but these products have an incredibly low salt index and the crop safety has been great.
It wouldn’t be an experiment if we didn’t test the limits. We put a 15 gallon rate and a 20 gallon rate of this blend in-furrow to see if we’d get a yield response (and to watch for potential injury). We’re also going to side dress another 10 gallons on some strips where we did 10.5 gallons in-furrow to see if splitting the applications of fertilizer gives a benefit in this trial.
Yesterday, we had a couple guys out doing some stand counts in the trials to see what differences we could see. The west end of the field had some crusting issues, but we got about a half inch of rain overnight that may help with that. On the east end of the field the stand was nearly perfect. Other than the crusting, there didn’t seem to be any discernable difference in stand when comparing the various rates of fertilizer applied with the planter.
We’ll continue to monitor things and let you know how the crop does throughout the year. We’ll begin taking some tissue samples next week if all goes well. I need to figure out how best to keep track of that on our FarmPad systems.
FarmPad has been great so far, and much easier to handle than a stack of papers. I still have to learn how to use more of the features besides just record keeping.