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Fluid Journal : Fall 2011
9 The Fluid Journal Fall 2011 • Sprayers • Applicators • Combines Tractors. Regarding tractors, it is important to relate tractor power to wheel slip, to soil compaction, to fuel economy and so forth. Planters. We have made great improvements in our planters, much with respect to their increased size and improvement in efficiency. Planters do, however, require maintenance and attention to detail to maintain optimum performance. Losses in potential grain yield can be significant due to skips, doubles, and poor stands. Follow strict guidelines regarding wear tolerances on coulters, seed openers, tubes, seed meter brushes, as well as proper tire inflation. Other yield factor enhancements involve slower planter speeds (4 to 4.5 mph), and proper seeding depths (2 to 2.5 inches). Remember, stand uniformity is the key to producing high yielding corn. Maintain your equipment to assure success in this area. Everything we do to a crop later in the season reflects on starting right! Combines. And what about the combine? Sadly, the combine often gets forgotten as a machine that can be made more efficient. Many are able to drive a combine. However, few understand combines well enough to operate without higher than necessary grain losses. A productive combine requires adjustments throughout the harvest season. Inputs Inputs are much more involved that just seed and pesticides. Inputs include seeding rates, row spacing, fertilizers, as well as adding herbicide and insecticide traits to them. Fertilizers include not just the formulation, but also the type and timing. Considerations of fertilizer loss due to volatilization and denitrification as well as through surface runoff may encourage producers to apply their fertilizer in different forms and at different timings to more effectively match crop needs. Matching crop yields to fertilizer needs plus application timing may also encourage the use of starters, in-season sidedress application, as well as adding micronutrients to soil, or via foliar sprays. Herbicides. What about them? We know that glyphosate is the standard, but with the threat of weed specie shifts and/ or potential resistance issues we may need to revisit the need to use a variety of modes of action to maintain weed- free fields. Likewise, it is important to understand the activity of any herbicide class, plus any additives in the mix, to understand how the crop will respond. Hidden yield losses are always possible. Fungicides/insecticides. Use of foliar fungicides and/or insecticides is a hot topic. Are they necessary? Do we spray in the absence of visual symptoms and spray for plant health? Accurate answers include the use of crop scouting and understanding the impact of your crop. Closing tips Do not forget the soil. All crops require 16 essential nutrients--however, at different levels. Yet, even in a soil with good fertility levels a soil with low or high pH may not provide a proper level of available nutrients. Finally, our skills reflect on our ability to pull it all together. Are we innovators, adopters, or followers? The category we find ourselves in can determine our levels of success. A skilled operator knows how to produce profitable grain! Knowledge counts So, it may be a gross exaggeration to say farming is simple when we know better. Modern grain production is an expensive business that requires high-tech inputs in the hands of knowledgeable people. If all that was required would be to grow 100-bushel corn, most could do that with their eyes closed. In the future, the level of expectation may be to produce 300- to 400-bushel corn. To produce corn at that level will involve close scrutiny of every aspect of a producer’s operation, not just those on the surface. Dr. Maloney is a Production Research Agronomist and owner of Agri-Tech Consulting in Whitewater, Wisconsin. “Are we innovators, adopters, or followers?” To enroll, call 785/776-0273 or email email@example.com ACT NOW! JOIN IN THE SUPPORT OF THIS ORGANIZATION THAT DIRECTLY BENEFITS YOUR BUSINESS! The Fluid Fertilizer Foundation • 2805 Claflin Road, Suite 200, Manhattan, KS 66502 Write, call or e-mail the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation Phone: 785-776-0273 • E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Research and education for efficient use of fluids. We need you to join hundreds of other growers, dealers, fertilizer manufacturers and other supporting industries The Fluid Fertilizer Foundation