Crops & Soils Featured Topics
Questions of Organic Matter Article
Soil organic matter is one of the oddest components of soil. Although it comprises a small percentage of total soil volume and weight, it completely changes the color, nutrient transfers, cation exchange capacity and water holding capacity.
- August 9, 2019
Soybean Insect Scouting Article
After seeing a soybean field nearly stripped clean from garden webworms, it’s obvious that the crop pests are building up their numbers this summer. We have a number of pests to watch out for and each has their own methods and habits.
-July 11, 2019
Nitrogen: A Farmer's Analysis in Soil Nitrogen Chemistry Article
In previous articles we have talked about (P) Phosphorus), we have talked about (K) Potassium, but now we continue on this journey to talk about the big one, (N) Nitrogen. This is good timing because nitrogen losses in corn production is currently a very relevant topic.
Aquatic Plant Control Article
As summer draws near, many people find themselves drawn to cool and refreshing water. Often, this is either a swim at the lake or just sitting back and casting a line in their favorite fishing hole. Not only are mosquitos a pest, but it just isn’t near as fun to swim or fish when you are constantly fighting aquatic weeds. This time of year, aquatic plants begin to flourish in local ponds and water systems.
-April 22, 2019
Potassium: A Farmer's analysis in soil Potassium Chemistry Article
A couple of months ago there was an article in Farm Talk about phosphorus and its chemistry in the soil. To continue on the soil nutrient journey, this time we are going to talk about phosphorus’ sister nutrient, potassium.While the two have similar aspects in the soil, they are certainly not the same. Understanding the function of potassium in the plant and its forms within the soil can help producers make long range soil fertility decisions. Focusing on the “why” of soil fertility, rather than the “how much.”
-April 18, 2019
Understanding Soil pH Article
Many producers are curious about the conditions of the soils they farm. Does the North 40 need lime? Is the Old Home Place low in phosphorus or potassium? Does the alfalfa look poor due to the soil or is it another factor? Soil sampling can offer many benefits to better understanding the condition of the soil, but when the results come back, they may be hard to understand. Soil pH and buffer pH, in particular, can be difficult concepts to grasp.
Corn Planting- Timing and Rates Article
Corn planting is nearly upon us. However, this year has been much colder and wetter than usual and a delay to planting is expected. Last year, the year before, and on the five-year average, corn planting begins in the southeast the last week of March. However, last year the soil temperatures were a littler warmer and it was sure a whole lot drier. Regardless, corn planting should ideally follow soil temperatures more than calendar dates.
-March 20, 2019
Phosphorus: A Farmer’s Analysis in Soil Phosphorus Chemistry Article
Agricultural producers know their soil fertility. They know how much of what to apply and when to achieve the production yields they desire. Of course, the large part of yield is left to nature’s whims, but the capability of soil fertility is there. While there are some definite improvements that could be had, most crop producers have a good basis of their field soil fertility. Agronomist like myself often never get into the gritty details of soil chemistry with producers. We often focus on the “how much,” rather than the “why.” We don’t get into the gritty details of why because they are not really important to producer yields…but maybe we should. Farmers are smart enough for it and maybe something can be found in the finer details.
-Feb. 20, 2019
New 2019 Dicamba Regulations on Soybeans Audio
Dicamba. A complicated word with lots of possibilities but also frustrations, implications, and regulations. Dicamba has been around for a long time (under the names Banvel and later Clarity) but it wasn’t much of an issue until Xtendimax, FeXapan, and Engenia resistant soybeans and cotton came on the market and were The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a few years ago. While it seemed that Dicamba was less of an issue last year than in 2017, many sensitive crops were still damaged.
- Jan. 23, 2019
Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS). This dramatic sounding disease can quite possibly warrant the name as SDS can really hurt yield and leave large areas of your soybean field black and withered. Sudden Death Syndrome is fairly common and can be problematic in wet years during the flowering period, especially in river bottoms and low areas of the field. The higher the yield potential of the soybean the more likely SDS will be an issue.
Dec. 27, 2018
Proper Forage Sampling Procedures Audio Article
Hay bales can be an effective and reliable feed source for livestock as the weather turns cold and dreary. When it comes to feeding or selling hay through the winter, one thing that should never be neglected is to get the hay properly tested. The information gained from forage sampling will help to better determine the hay’s market value and ration formulation for livestock.
- Dec. 4, 2018