Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tuesday was VIP day at the NCRS!

So we have had many visitors to the North Central Research Station this summer, but on Tuesday we had our most important group yet: growers. Many had used Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers before, but many had not. And most had never been to the NCRS before, so the pressure was on for us to do a good job. Now if you are going to host over 150 growers, you had better feed them well. The meeting started with a meal, and no one went away hungry. Our visitors came from a wide area including Michigan, Ontario, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, and probably elsewhere.
We have learned that no one doesn't like 2-cylinder ice cream.

Our new design for the van trailers was on display. Actually the saying there is from the winner of a contest for this. Of course I like the fact that "Research" is the start of this great saying that describes ACLF nutrition.
After lunch and a few words by the Senior Research Manger, and also from our vice president Mr. Nick Bancroft, it was time to load up the wagons and head out on the farm tour. Now it was terribly hot for Central Michigan on that day, with temperatures in the 90's. But there was a breeze and everyone had a bottle or two of LIQUID water. The first stop was on one of the irrigated farms, Farm 3, and showed our Nutri-Till corn plots. Nutri-Till is a strip till option where different fertilizers can be dual placed: Pro-Germinator + Sure-K + Micro 500 in the seed zone and nitrogen several inches below where the seed is planted. Various combinations of placement and timing were compared. Next we stopped for a look at our Navy Bean plots. Below, Stephanie described the rates and timings of fertilizer applications, including foliars.

On to our new Farm 7, which is not irrigated. Once there we broke into smaller, more manageable groups. Below we see a table of corn roots and ears of different fertilizer treatments. Whole programs were compared: total Liquid placed in the seed furrow with the planter compared to total dry and conventional dry and other liquids. Additionally, the effects of different liquid formulations as a "pop-up" were seen.

Below class is in session around the root and ear table.

Below Doug Summer shows different liquid fertilizer placement options on our 6-row Monosem planter. There were two different in-furrow options and the 2x2 option. He showed how placement and different fertilizer combinations affected root growth.

Below we see a happy couple from Ontario. However, it was learned that she agreed to come to this "farm tour" if he would take her shoe shopping next weekend. That's right, "eh Ashley?"

Stephanie shows differences in different corn nitrogen programs by having participants count kernals to determine yield estimates. The corn was collected from border rows of actual research plots, but results were recorded and we will see how accurate they were when the plots are harvested.

After being out in the hot sun, it is nice to take a break in a hot tent. Actually there was a breeze and fans, and it wasn't bad getting out of the sun to have some refreshments. While there, we had some people that did some tiling work at the NCRS as well as the vendor from whom we got our gps guidance systems talk briefly to the group. There were demonstrations of this at the end of the tour.

We also had some stops about soybeans on Farm 7, but sadly I did not get any pictures of Cory Schurman and Phil Dush talking to the group. But they did a good job.
Towards the end, back on Farm 1, Brian Levene did a demonstation of how fertilizer programs can affect taste of fruits and vegetables. I took the challenge, and there really was a noticeable difference, especially with the cantaloupes and watermelon. (LIQUID was sweeter, otherwise it would be a crummy demonstration.) Additionally, he had some cantaloupes that had been picked several days prior, and the LIQUID melons stored better and remained fresher. Food for thought there, it was a good demonstration.
We had our Farm 3 tiled last April, and it already shows improvement on what was wet and muddy areas. But part of the farm was too wet to finish then. So it was decided to finish the job during our grower tour so others can see the tiling rig. This ground is in grass because it is too wet in the spring for crops. Even with record dryness this month, the holes at the tile juctions had water in the bottom. So it will be good to get this dried out so it can be farmed.

So after a hot afternoon of LIQUID knowledge and excitement, this tired group heads back to their trucks and hope the air conditioner is still working for the ride home. Thanks for coming one and all.
In addition to thanking the groups for coming, I want to thank everyone who helped get the farm ready for this show, plus the PLFP last week. It takes a lot of hard work to make it look so good. So Thanks! Already I am off on a short fertilizer mission, so stay tuned.