Alright, I’ve kept you in suspense long enough. It’s time to reveal some final yield numbers and begin the observation (a.k.a. 2nd guessing)that inevitably follows such cold, arbitrary numbers.
Yield = 151.7 Bushels Per Acre
Harvest Moisture = 13.6%
Test Weight = 55.7 Pounds Per Bushel
There. I said it. It’s out there. 151.7 Bushels. I didn’t really say what my yield goal was before harvest. It was 160 bushels per acre, but I didn’t set that in my mind until part way through the season when we were getting plentiful rains. Let me explain.
When I first bought this farm about 14 months ago, I thought that 150 bushels had never been raised on this piece of soil before. Wouldn’t it be nice to do that? The other fields around here look better than this one. They’re yielding more. Maybe they’re treated a little better. There were soybeans on the field at that time. They didn’t look nearly as good as the beans on the rest of our farm. I was anxious for the tenant to harvest them so we could get to work.
Then we took some soil samples. I knew they were going to be bad. You can look back on previous posts to find out the actual numbers, but they were beyond bad. I didn’t have much to go on. 1.5% organic matter and 1 ppm of Phosphorus?!? The observations about the topsoil were a little disheartening. In some places it was just gone. My brother’s favorite line was that “not only was the topsoil gone, but some of the subsoil had eroded as well.” Thanks, Brian! These are the reasons I decided to call the field the Blank Slate. There’s nothing out there unless we put it out there and build it up for the long term.
Over the winter there was time to think and plan. My dad has been giving me a hard time, too. He wasn’t sure that Brian would pile it on enough, I guess. Of course they both know that’s the kind of stuff that motivates me to work a little harder. I was working primarily with Rob Fritz, who is one of our key agronomists specializing in fertilizer. Rob tolerates my crazy ideas because he has plenty of his own.
Rob and I have been looking at Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizer on our farm for a couple years and the performance has been fantastic. However, we haven’t used Liquid as our total program on whole fields until this year. In the past, we’ve been loading up with dry P and K because it’s typically cheaper and we own or long-term rent all of our ground. The dry isn’t tremendously available (although we’ve had good luck using Avail in recent years on the MAP with our Phosphorus). We figured we’d eventually pull that fertility out, but it could take many years.
The ACLF Liquid approach is intriguing. The Blank Slate offered virtually no native fertility. It looked like a great place to give a very difficult but fair trial. In my mind, ACLF gets high marks. We had a few fertility trials using different rates and timings. I’ll share those results another day.
A majority of the field we fertilized for 150 bushels and got it. The crop looked great all year long. I haven’t had time to put the dollars, cents, and return on investment information together yet, but 10 gallons of a 50/50 blend of Pro Germinator and Sure K along with a half gallon of Micro 500 appeared at first glance to be the best. That was all done at planting time in the furrow. Pretty easy to execute fertility plan if you ask me.
So there you have it. 151.7 bushels on the Blank Slate for 2010. The new baseline yield is set and all future targets will be higher than 151.7. More information to come as we analyze the results.