Sunday, June 9, 2013

Last week in MI, er...that's Michigan

So after being in the Delmarva last week, it's hard to break the state abbreviation habit.  But while I was away, they were plenty busy back at the NCRS.  Stephanie took these pictures of the field crop activities.  (Sorry veg fans, I didn't get any from the specialty crops corps.)  Anyway, we are working with a new application device in cooperation with Ag Xcel of Kearny, NE.  (Remember the mystery box over this in an earlier blog this month?) It is for soybeans and would enable a planter in 30" rows to apply 3 gal/A in the seed furrow, and additional fertilizer in a surface band behind the closing wheels.  Or in planter lingo: 0x1 placement, as it is 0 inches deep and 1 inch over from the seed row.  This is because we do not recommend in furrow fertilizer rates in excess of 3 gal/A due to seed safety concerns.  But that can leave the crop short of nutrition.  So this is a new approach that we are trying at the NCRS.  The Ag Xcel folks are still working on improvements and easier ways to regulate the desired flow, but we just used orifice disks to put 3 gal/A in the furrow and 7 gal/A behind the wheels.  They had to calibrate with stopwatches and cups, the old fashioned way.  But the delivery was perfect.
And here it is making an application to plots.  I am excited about this as it would also have application in other sensitive crops like cotton and dry beans.  The nice feature is that you wouldn't have to do anything different with the planter.  If you want it all in furrow, like on corn, you just shut off the back door delivery.  What could be easier?  We will be showing this at the Research Field Days, and the developer from Ag Xcel will be there too.  Now that's a draw if I ever heard one.
In other news, I have reported how cold and cloudy it has been so far during planting and early growth.  We have observed some purpling of corn.  Now purple corn can mean several things, like phosphorus deficiency.  But that is not the case here, although sometimes slow root growth can reduce P uptake.  It can also mean slow growth and sugar accumulation in the leaves, as anthocyanin which is purple. Or it's a genetic effect, as is likely the case here since it is all that way.  We are doing some work with longer than normal day corn to see if we can advance maturity.  The corn below is a 114 day corn that I smuggled in from Oklahoma.  We normally plant around 100 day corn.  But I guess that Southern corn wasn't prepared for the cold conditions, and is showing purpling.  It was growing out of it when I saw it Friday.  But this is the only corn on the farm that showed this much purpling.  In fact I don't recall seeing any.
There were other soybean experiments to be planted such as this drilled plot on Farm 7.
And it is time to be sidedressing the corn.  Here it is already 30 days since planting and time to apply nitrogen.  This is how it is being done this year, with the Hagie Nitrogen bar attacments.  We have a 12 row unit, but removed the outer bars for our 6 row plots.  It will be much faster than before because we have 6 tanks that can hold different treatment mixes vs the old one tank system.  The application went great according to Tim and Stephanie.
Many plots and threat of rain meant long days.  This was Saturday evening. 
So that was that.  And another exciting week is just ahead.