Monday, September 5, 2011

Crunching Numbers

So here it is September already. And here I go again talking about the weather. This is Labor Day, and so the farm was closed today. We were so hot for much of the summer, but lately we have had some nice days in the 70's and 80's, but one warm day in the upper 80's or 90's still shows up on occasion. Saturday was one of those hot and humid days. Doing anything outside made you sweat, and I did. Then today, Monday, it only got up to 62 for a high. Much of the day was cloudy and in the 50's. What gives? And I looked at the weather around the country and it was cool down in Oklahoma. I called my parents in Stillwater this afternoon, and it was in the 70's after roasting in the 100's just two days ago.

So anyway, with the late planting of some of our corn, and the cold start of the season, one wonders how much longer till the ears reach maturity. Fortuntely, Stephanie does a great job of keeping track of things like this, so that when I ask, she delivers. We planted much of our corn the first week of May. So from May 10 through September 1, we have had 2216 Growing Degree Days (GDD). (We normally can start planting around April 24th or so, but not this year.) We planted mostly 103 day corn this year, which takes 2575 GDD to reach physiological maturity, or black layer. So we still need around 359 GDD to reach black layer. We think we should get around 14 GDD per day, so that means we should be able to reach black layer by the end of September, which is good. As long as we don't get a frost. But what about the corn we planted in June??? We planted some 96 day corn on June 1. So from June 2 to September 1, we received 1933 GDD, and it takes 2410 GDD to reach black layer. So we still need 477 GDD for that. So if we can average 14 GDD per day, that leaves us 34 days, or into the first week of October. We have usually had some frost by then, but hopefully not a killing frost. So there will be plenty of thermometer watching and nervous pacing in the farm office.

Well since I made you read through all of that, I am going to take a chance and break one of my journalistic rules, again. I generally don't like to show a bunch of plot picture stuff and get excited about it, only to be dashed by harvest numbers that don't support what I thought I saw. But harvest is a ways off and no one will remember anyway. So here goes....

In preparation for one of the recent farm tours, we picked some ears from one of the corn experiments to see if there were any visible differences. This was a corn experiment comparing applications of all of the different ACLF sulfur fertilizers. This soil has only 6 ppm of sulfur, which is quite low. One of these sulfur additive was the new fertilizer product accesS. Currently we do not recommend in-furrow application of accesS, as it lowered yield on coarse soil last year. It should be placed 2x2 or with N at sidedress. But this test was in heavier soil. For in-furrow on corn, eNhance has shown to be an effective sulfur treatment in combination with combinations of Pro-Germinator, Sure-K and Micro 500. Anyway, in the experiment we applied a number of sulfur treatments with 3 gal/A Pro-Germinator + 7 gal/A Sure-K + 2 qt/A Micro 500 through the planter. These ears were picked from one replication and are in the picture below. Three consecutive ears were picked and the two most unifrom ears were in the picture. And this corn was one of the late-planted plots, inserted into the ground on June 1.

On the left, labelled 3-1 was 2 qt/A of accesS in 2x2 placement. Next was 2 qt/A of accesS with in-furrow placement (3-2). Next was 2 qt/A of eNhance with in-furrow placement (3-5). And on the right is in-furrow planter fertilizer with no added sulfur (3-9). So it was apparent that the ears that received sulfur were bigger, and at the time of picking, were darker yellow indicating advanced maturity. But again, harvest will tell the real story, more so than two picked ears from one replication. But a guy can dream, can't he???

So it was nice to see some visual differences anyway. Something to tide us over till harvest I guess.