KIC gearing up for 2013 growing season
Farmers will need advice to help them use fertilizer more efficiently following a tough crop year, agronomist Dan Schaefer told crop advisers last week. We have his comments.
Published: Sep 4, 2012
Schaefer, the nutrient stewardship director of the Illinois Council for Best Management Practices, discussed on-farm nitrogen rate trials and other efforts by the Keep it for the Crop (KIC) by 2025 program.
“Make sure your customers maintain their soil tests this fall,” Schaefer advised.
This year’s growing conditions and crop yields will impact soil nutrient levels, and soil tests will be important to assess nutrient levels, according to Schaefer.
KIC is focusing its efforts in the watersheds of Lake Bloomington, Lake Vermilion, Lake Decatur, the Illinois Basin of the Vermilion River, Salt Fork Vermilion River, and Lake Mauvaissee Terra.
New watershed plat book maps have been developed for the watersheds. The detailed information will help identify fields within the watersheds and help with the collecting of information on fertilizer practices and other related information for the watershed.
“The biggest thing we need is baseline data. We need to take credit for what (nutrient management) we’re already doing ... Many of you already are doing split (nitrogen) applications and we need to take credit for that,” Schaefer said.
KIC continues to encourage on-farm trials of different nitrogen rates. Yields and other data will be compiled for several trials conducted in each watershed.
Schaefer also encouraged crop advisers to test soil samples this fall for soil nitrate levels. The information will provide data on the conversion rates of ammonia to nitrate, which can be lost through leaching and denitrification.
Schaefer told the group he had collected in-field data in early this year and was able to refute some environmentalists’ assumption that most fertilizer already had been lost because it had converted to nitrate.
Soil test data “will help us defend ourselves against innuendos about what form fall nitrogen is in in the spring,” Schaefer said.
After harvest, KIC will offer farmers in the watersheds an opportunity to conduct fall strip-till trials and deep placement of nutrients in corn and soybeans. John Deere donated equipment for comparison trials.
An Illinois-based nitrogen calculator is available as an application for smart phones. The app already is available for Droid phones and soon will be available for Apple phones.
Schaefer demonstrated how the app allows someone to calculate the costs of fertilizers, additives, and their application costs. It also allows comparisons of one-time fall applications vs. split applications. The calculations may be emailed to a farmer and crop adviser for their records.
Permalink: Click here