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Fluid Journal : Summer 2014
18 The Fluid Journal Summer 2014 Mr. Lankford is an agricultural consultant at AgriMeasures, working with fertilizer manufacturers, and Dr. Lichtner is a product development consultant for several companies involved in irrigation, as well as an agronomy consultant for agricultural commodities risk management firms. far are hard to ignore and inspires us to continue our work. Small changes in fertilizer use (not what is applied) can have large yield increases. This means that improving fertilizer use efficiency (FUE) will have a bigger impact on total yield than water management alone. However, nutrient efficiency increases are not possible without observing and reacting to crop-driven water management data. A recent study at the irrigation Research Foundation (Yuma, CO) gave some very interesting insights to nutrient management. Many projects there involved measuring soil water content at several depths, often up to 1.5 meters deep to be sure we are measuring all the resources available to the crop. Some of the best yields (corn, sugar beets) have been with low amounts of applied water. How is this possible? Tests showed that plots of corn with high yield had higher concentration of total N than in plots with lower N levels. Since research has found that water uptake by the crop brings dissolved nutrients close to the roots so that they can then take up the nutrient ions, it makes sense that if the water contains 60 ppm of total N, the crop in a plot with lower concentrations of total N would need to take up more water to bring the same level of nutrients close to the roots. This is a simplified way to explain these results. Other data have shown that over-watering soil (above field capacity) reduces air (oxygen) in the soil water, and, in turn, reduces water and nutrient uptake by plant roots. Coupled to this is that over-watering also reduced the N concentration. So, is the critical dominant factor for better yield “more water uptake” or “higher nutrient concentration”? Certainly more tests are needed; the good news is that we have new tools in the tool box to help unravel this dilemma. Summing up There are many fertilizer products developed to help resolve problems of plant uptake and NUE. Some contain additives to increase nutrient availability. Others reduce nutrient migration. Management approaches include using smaller amounts of nutrients directly to the crop as foliar treatments, bypassing soil application. Kugler Company P.O . Box 1748 McCook, NE 69001 1-800 -445 -9116 www.KuglerCompany.com www.KQXRN.com KQ-XRN Slow Release Nitrogen from Kugler is the proven way to beat current corn prices. Ideally suited for foliar application, 2-gallons of KQ-XRN results in an average +20 bushel yield increase. Apply KQ-XRN along with Kugler low salt starters to give your crop a yield advantage from the start. The bottom line, don’t make a pass through your field without taking the opportunity to boost the yield potential of your crop with KQ-XRN Slow Release Nitrogen. It ’s the proven +20 bushel/acre yield bump you need with $4.00 corn. Demand your custom applicator include KQ-XRN for a +20 bushel yield increase . Or, simply apply with your own sprayer. Have your spray pilot apply KQ-XRN to improve performance of insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. THE +20 BUSHEL/ACRE YIELD BUMP YOU NEED WITH $4.00 CORN Apply KQ-XRN through your pivot or linear irrigation system for a +20 bushel/acre inc rease. Using fluid fertilizers allows nutrients to be immediately available to the plant. All of these approaches have merit and, when applied to problems correctly, can be very successful. The new era in water and nutrient efficiencies will be pushed to levels once thought impossible by using effective data collection and sound analysis techniques. The future is bright for keeping the American farmer profitable by higher yields and using fewer resources. We are grateful to have been involved in seeing a true Precision Ag revolution--in water and nutrient management possibilities!