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Soil-by-Soil Nitrogen Planning

Maximize fertilizer return and protect water supplies by understanding your soil types

Nitrogen’s elusive behavior makes it challenging to produce top yields while minimizing the escape of nitrate. But understanding how soil influences the presence or absence of nitrogen during the growing season will make your fertilizer program more cost-effective while safeguarding water quality. The good news is you already possess much of that knowledge from farming fields for many years.

Starved Soil Kills Yield Potential

You’re always pushing for better yields, and all the pieces finally fell together in 2016. Record or near-record yields across the country not only topped off grain bins but also depleted soil nutrients. As you plan for your 2017 crop, it’s important to replenish soil nutrients so yield isn’t held back from reaching its potential.

What They Learned From 92,775 Plant Samples

According to WinField United, the company has taken and analyzed 410,000 plant samples over the years, including 92,775 samples in 2016. The company says it has spotted several crop-specific deficiencies through this effort.

WinField collected these samples through its NutriSolutions 360 program, which it says can help farmers make corrective actions in-season rather than accept a yield loss from nutrient deficiencies.

Magnesium Magic

Problems can be avoided, or easily fixed, once you understand this secondary nutrient

Sometimes soybeans can look like 70 bu., combine like 70 bu. but only yield 55 bu. per acre. Sometimes magnesium deficiency is to blame.

“I’ve seen studies showing a loss of 3 bu. to 5 bu. per acre in soybean fields with magnesium deficiency issues,” says Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie. “In our own studies, the loss has been as high as 10 bu. in soybeans and 7 bu. to 15 bu. in corn.” 

Farmers Narrowly Dodge Environmental Storm

Narrow escape only emphasizes the importance of sound nitrogen management

Now would be a good time to thank Mother Nature. She saved many farmers from an environmental black eye by preventing what could have been a perfect storm of nitrogen pollution this past spring.

Next time we might not be so fortunate, warns Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie. The perfect storm that wasn’t shows how critical it is for farmers to be the best possible nitrogen stewards.

Hurricane Matthew Could Complicate Florida Fertilizer Contamination Cleanup

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Hurricane Matthew's heavy rains are predicted to soak much of Florida, and that could complicate efforts to manage the pollution flowing into a sinkhole that opened up beneath a fertilizer plant's massive pile of toxic waste.

The plant's owner, Mosaic Co., is pumping out water through a well while preparing to plug the huge hole under one of its gypsum stacks. But millions of gallons of contaminated water have already drained into Florida's main drinking-water aquifer.

Farmers, Now is a Good Time of Year to be Transparent With Landlords

One of the biggest things farmers are talking about on Twitter, according to Market Rally host Chip Flory, is fungicide application and if it paid off this year. Chris Barron of C&B Farms and Ag View Solutions gives his rationale on how to tell if the application was worth it or not.

CBC News: Why Farmers Should Pay Attention to the Agrium/PotashCorp Merger

As the Bayer/Monsanto merger dominates the news, it’s easy to miss the impact of smaller deals. But in a year of tight budgets, it’s important for farmers to pay attention to even the smallest buyout.

One such merger is between Canadian fertilizer giants Agrium and Potash Corp. The companies have a combined 20,000 employees and nearly $21 billion in annual revenue.

Iowa Supreme Court Mulls Water Works Farm Drainage Lawsuit

The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday and must now decide whether to weigh in on a federal lawsuit that pits the water supplier to 500,000 central Iowa residents against upstream farmers accused of contaminating rivers with nitrates from crop fertilizer.

The case was filed by Des Moines Water Works, which is asking the court to decide whether agriculture drainage districts have immunity from lawsuits and whether the water utility can seek monetary damages.

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