Thursday, August 4, 2011

What's Happening in Arkansas?

So again the blog has been missing in action. Well I have been busy with fertilizer missions of late, and will try to get caught up. But first we have to go back to last week. I made a visit down to Arkansas. It gave me a chance to catch up with some long missed aquaintances and see some new things. Every year is different in agriculture. Sales Account Manager Jacob picked me up and we went over to Marvell to long-time Liquid dealer Farmers Supply. We visited with the staff there and then Chris took us for a tour. One stop was to a corn field with some different fertilizer strips, including Liquid vs dry. Below Jacob and Chris count kernal rows from sampled ears. We did find a number of ears with 18 rows in the Liquid corn but only 14 and 16 rows in the dry. It's not too far from harvest, so time will tell. Later we went to see a long-time Liquid user near West Helena right on the Mississippi River. They got a peanut contract this year and are growing over 600 acres of peanuts for the first time. No small venture. But the peanuts look great, having received Pro-Germinator + Sure-K + Micro 500 at planting. They were sure to innoculate the peanuts at planting too. I have never seen peanuts in Arkansas before, but these really look nice.
They are producing lots of peanuts and are just starting to peg which will produce even more peanuts. (I'll be you didn't know I did a research project with peanuts for my Master's Degree. Well I did.)

This area of Arkansas was extremely wet this spring. Many growers had to replant a number of times. But this growers corn looked very good in spite of all the water that stood. He said water blocked access to some fields for the first time in memory. In fact, some fields had to have ammonium nitrate flown on because it was too wet to run side-dress rigs. So to have corn that looks this good just weeks from harvest is a blessing and a reward for persistance. Like the peanuts, this corn had Pro-Germinator + Sure-K + Micro 500 applied at planting.

The next day we went and visited some cotton fields where Liquid was used. Again, it was very wet this season. Some fields showed a need for some foliar application to replace potentially lost nutrients or something. Below the cotton in the foreground recently received a foliar application of fert-Rain + Sure-K, and looks good and green compared to the cotton in the back which wasn't sprayed, but will be.

I am always on the look out for oddities, and found some. I have seen this before in cotton and some other crops. I am told it is a genetic thing, but it sure looks odd.

Sodium in irrigation water is a concern here. In fact, sodium in these soils is thought to possibly block some uptake of potassium, since they are both similar in size and charge. So foliar application can be an important approach to getting potassium into the leaves without going through the soil where it could be blocked from uptake. Anyway, we saw an example of sodium in a field where a wheel drive gear broke and the pivot stayed in one spot for an extended period. So you could see the effects of the high-sodium from the water. The cotton was lighter in color there. These growers do use gypsum to try to tie-up the sodium, which is a good idea.

In most other irrigated fields there was evidence of sodium. The picture below was from a furrow irrigated field, and so there was no water going on the leaves. But sodium that was taken up through the roots was flushed out of some leaves through the xylem due to root pressure (known as "guttation".) The salt accumulates at the margins and is washed down onto the leaf surface with dew. Or so I think that is it.

But none the less, the cotton looked very good and has potential for high yields. We did not see any evidence of flower or square shedding in the fields we were in, indicating that the cotton is retaining it's fruiting structures. So that is what I did last week. Tomorrow I hope to tell you the tales from this week.