Friday, August 13, 2010

Up In The Air

So I was in Sterling, CO, which is in the NE part of the state, earlier this week and stopped by to see Darrel Mertens of Aero Applicators. Darrel, along with running his aerial application business, is a long-time Area Manager with Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers. When I visit during this time of the year, Darrel is kind enough to give me an aerial tour of the surrounding area for a crop survey. We rode in his 1953 Super Cub, seen below. It is a great plane for looking around and taking pictures. Recall the big rain storms that occurred last week when I was in the Texas Panhandle? Well the night before my plane ride, there was a big rain storm again while we were out to dinner. It had all the looks of producing a tornado or at least the "H" word (hail). But fortunately, neither happened, but they did get about an inch of needed rain from it. Some of you may remember a picture that I took last year showing circles of corn all planted with 9-24-3 fertilizer, but one was from a different manufacturer and it was all yellow, and the others were from Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers, which were all green. Well the yellow one from last year is still yellow this year, although I am told it had 10-34-0 this year. See for yourself. There is probably much to the cause of the yellow corn, and a good understanding of the soil test and proper application of phosphate and micronutrients, as Micro 500, would be a good start to the correction of this situation.
The picture below further illustrates how localized soil extremes can cause yellowing. We are not sure what the fertility program is here. Look how the top sections of the adjacent pivots have a definite yellow streak. I remember it looking exactly like this last year. But this is where soil testing and application of the proper nutrients and rates can help. Often the yellow spots are alkaline with high pH. Such conditions greatly restrict solubility of soil micronutients. The synergistic effects of Micro 500's five micronutrients can go a long way to correcting this. So you really shouldn't treat the whole field the same when there are obvious differences present.

The picture below is a good illustration that you can't hide your mistakes, such as leaving your fertilizer pump off for a pass. But you can use them to prove performance. This grower used Pro-Germinator and Micro 500 at planting, but when showed the picture, thinks he left the planter pump off on the top in the pass towards the center of the pivot. And the yellow strip on the lower half was where he thinks it was left off during sidedress. Although these are potentially costly mishaps, I think this is a good test to show what the fertilizer is doing, and maybe should be done by all growers, although on a smaller scale. And then let your friendly pilot and photographer show you what the effects of no fertilizer are.

While Darrel and I were flying, he saw one of his pilots making an application for spider mite control. So we positioned ourselves over him and I caught this picture below. I thought it was pretty cool.

So those are some of the pictues I took, and I have many more that I may drag out in the future. I want to thank Darrel and all of the Aero Applicators staff for a great visit. Now I am back to the NCRS. I was able to bring rain to the places I visited on this last mission, but no luck here at home. We could use some. Stay tuned....