Sunday, March 31, 2013

More Wheat Tales

So to refresh, I was in Oklahoma last week on a fertilizer mission.  Part of that was to visit some plots we have with a contract researcher West Central OK.  Below are some of the topdress plots there.  This was late-planted wheat, on Novemeber 8.  The plot in the middle was topdressed 5 weeks ago with 20 gal/A of 28-0-0-5/eNhance.  This is a common topdress in this area.  To the right is 20 gal/A of straight 28%.  There are a number of treatments that we will follow through harvest.
I wouldn't dare go by myself to see all this.  So I was happy to have Area Manager Parker Christian and Sales Account Manager Jacob with me on this mission. We had alot to see in this area.
I noticed a lot of canola fields this year.  Canola has come and gone many times in Oklahoma.  I guess this is a come year.  The field below had Liquid: Pro-Germinator + Micro 500 + some 28-0-0-5/eNhance in a surface band at planting last fall and topdress streaming of 28-0-0-5/eNhance in February.  It is in 30 inch rows as it is easier to plant in no-till wheat stubble and also due to moisture management.  That is, there isn't much moisture, so plant in wide rows.
Like much of the plains, drought was a big issue last year.  Here is a field that was planted to cotton last year, but was not harvested due to drought.  So wheat was planted last fall.  It has been topdressed and is looking good now.  But some rain would help.
Here on the headlands, we were curious if there would be any effect of last year's surface band of Pro-Germinator.  If you look hard you may see that the wheat is bigger around the stalks where the fertilizer was banded last year.  There was no fertilizer applied with the wheat. So hopefully it will still be usable to this crop of wheat.  We visited several fields that had the same situation. 
And there were plenty of fields of good looking wheat that had Pro-Germinator + Micro 500 through the drill and topdressed with the previously mentioned mix.  It was interesting to see that all of the AgroLiquid treated fields had good uniformity, color and size.  They stood out compared to the conventional fields.
Back at Jacob's home, brother Ben called and asked if he would bring down a nurse tank to where he was planting corn.  So he brought the trailer of Pro-Germinator + Micro 500 down to where he was.  They have a new 16 row planter that even has the row shut offs for feritlizer and seed on point rows and headlands so that you don't overlap.  This has already saved seed and fertilizer.  But they said all of the equipment is so complicated that they pray every day that it doesn't break down.
As I showed in the previous post, it was exceptionally cold this week.  In fact, it got down to 20 degrees a couple nights prior to this picture.  You can see some frosted wheat tips, but I don't think it got down into the stalk where the head is developing.  It had warmed up by the end of the week.
Here is a field from the Nowakowski Farm near McLoud.  It looks good.  But like all fields, it could use a drink.  Well on Friday night there were scattered thunderstorms.  Up by Todd, he got from a quarter inch to over an inch.  Jacob didn't get any rain, and it was light in Parker's area and at the plots. Such are thunderstorms.

So I made the long drive back to Michigan.  I do hope everyone had a nice and meaningful Easter.  Can't believe tomorrow is April.  Field work is close here in the land of NCRS.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Checking OK Wheat

So this week I made the trip down to Oklahoma, my former home.  I took a quick visit to the campus of Oklahoma State University, which has the most beautiful campus in the world, to see what was going on.  Below I am outside my old building of Ag Hall, where I used to have an office up on the 4th floor when working on my Master's degree.  I'm sure they haven't dared to alter it since I left a few years ago.  OK, a lot of years ago.  It was way cold this week.  Didn't expect to be wearing a coat.
Today I spent with Area Manager Todd Woods of Perry, OK.  He grows wheat himself and also has a number of growers in the area who have used AgroLiquid on their wheat.  Todd is smart in understanding that Liquid (and all) fertilizer works best when the pH is correct.  He has promoted liming to his customers and they are seeing the benefits.  Here Todd is checking the pH with a portable probe. 
We looked at a number of fields around the county that had Liquid fertilizer on them.  They really stood out, like this one here.  They usually applied 4 to 5 gallons per acre of Pro-Germinator with Micro 500 through the drill at planting.  Some also applied Sure-K where needed. And most were topdressed with 28-0-0-5 with eNhance.  We are working on a newer faster acting nitrogen in research trials that should give a quicker response with nutrient balance for the future.  Here is one of Todd's own fields.
This grower switched from anhydrous and dry a number of years ago and has seen big improvements in his wheat pasture.  The pH has mellowed and the balance of phosphorus and micronutrients has fed more cows than before.  He's kind of embarrased to relate how much more he is netting on the cattle operation since paying better attention to the wheat nutrient program.  Don't even joke about switching back with these happy cows.
We saw a couple of these fields where OSU had what they called "N Rich Strips".  I'm not sure of the rate here as it didn't say, but you couldn't see a difference at this time between the strip and the rest of the field.  You probably can later, we will see.  I went to the web site and I think it's for calibration of the Greenseeker, maybe.  Or just to compare high rates of N with farmer practice.  I will have to find out more about this, maybe.
Here is another good looking field fed with AgroLiquid.  I will say that as good as these look now, some rain would sure help.  This is a common observation around the Midwest and Plains states.
Later on Todd picked up his 16 month old son to help with the field check of the last field we visited today.  I sure would buy fertilizer from him, wouldn't you? 
Well there is plenty more to come this week, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Glad It Will Be Spring Tomorrow... that we can put the winter of today behind us.
And it seems like just the other day there were Robins at the NCRS and wheat was being topdressed.  Oh wait, it was just the other day.

Friday, March 15, 2013

And So It Begins....

So yesterday Stephanie was out at the farm and snapped this pic of the first Robin of the year at the NCRS.  Thus sighted, we can begin work.  Fortunately we are not having a repeat of last year when temps were in the 80's for several weeks leading to disaster in the fruit tree and vine industry.  No, it is still cold in the 30's.  But the Robin sighting signals warm weather ahead.  (Trivia: What is the state bird of Michigan???  OK, it's the Robin.)
One experiment in the works is top-dress timing for Liquid N programs like High NRG-N.  This was yesterday, and it was rare to be able to get a sprayer out in the field this early. Here is Tim D making the application in the plots. This was on Farm 4 which has lighter soil.  Farm 5 which has wheat on it is heavier ground and was too muddy.  Normal top-dress time is in early April by the time the soil has thawed and you can drive without rutting up the ground.
Plenty to do and it is nice to get started.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Now This is Really East!

So three members of the Research Staff here at the NCRS have headed East, but didn't stop till they were half way around the world.  Stephanie is just back from spending a week in Israel on a trip with members from her parish and diocese on a tour of the Holy Land.  Dan is in South Sudan till the end of March on a return mission trip to a village there.  He is helping them with sustainability on how to raise crops and animals.  I imagine it would help to have some Liquid fertilizer there, but that's a long drive for a tanker.  And Tim B and his wife, Pauline, are on another trip to Africa with Faith Tech International Bible School.  This time they are in Kenya after a similar trip to Tanzania in 2010.  They will provide lessons from the Bible and how it is applicable to daily life.
I'm sure that such exposure to other parts of the world will give them all unique perspectives on life here.  After they all return I may try to get a picture or story or two for the blog.  But wish them luck.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Go East, Young Man (Huh?)

So maybe not really young these days, but I did go out East this week to see about setting up some research trials with our favorite fertilizer.  Sticking with my policy of not revealing new research details until they are in action, I will only say that there are now plans to establish a corn fertilizer test down in this field in a state in the Eastern U.S. of A.  I hope to show a pic from this same point later in the summer and be able to give more information then.
But I can talk about the great supper I had that evening.  I was looking for a place to eat and was lead by Miss Garmin to a restaurant called Chianti International Cuisine in the small town of Salem, VA.  I like the unusual and unique.  It was kind of late when I got there and I was the only one there. I sat down and saw all these framed newspaper and magazine articles on the wall about a chef and all the celebrities he had cooked for and cooking and restaurant awards from around the world.  Well that chef came over to take my order, and we visited and he said he would cook me a  meal of veal with tomato, pepper and artichoke sauce that would be very good.  And there it is in the picture below.  And it was.
There was a framed certificate naming him as America's Outstanding Chef in 1990.  Plus articles of how he cooked for stars like Madona and a picture of him with Luciano Pavarotti.  He has cooked in famous restaurants in Italy and California, plus was an instructor at the C.I.A.  (That's the Culinary Institute of America).  Somehow he ended up here a few years ago.
He was happy to let me take his pic.  So you ever find yourself in Salem, stop in for a great meal.
The next day I went up to Salisbury, Maryland to meet with Sales Account Manager Benjy and Ron Mulford.  Ron has been featured in this blog a number of times.  He is retired from the University of Maryland now but still active in research plots there and elsewhere. We have had plots with Ron for a number of years there on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  That would be the hangy down part of Maryland east of the Chesapeake Bay.  As we always do, we met at our favorite restaurant, Brew River, for plot planning.  We got there early to get a table by the window looking out on the Wicomico River which runs to the Bay.  Anyway, we have a number of good tests planned this year.  Unfortunately, they were very dry last summer, but like always, we are optomistic this year.
At lunch I had my traditional Maryland Crab Cake.  Delicious but not too filling.  Have to keep the mind on research after all.  I don't think they have a Chef of the Year there, but it is always good.
After that meeting, Benjy and I drove up to Seaford, Delaware to see one of the Area Manager dealers for AgroLiquid.  That would be Aurora Agronomy.  I am somewhat amazed at how much cropland there is on the Eastern shore of Delaward and Maryland.  There are pivots all over the place.  Anyway, it was late afternoon when we arrived and Benjy talked some business with Bob and Bob there. They came to the Research Field Days last year with some of their growers. We walked through the warehouse and the lights were already off, but you could still see.  Like the indoor tanks filled with fertilizers.  Ready to move to the field soon. 
And there were lot's of totes and twin packs.  So for all of your AgroLiquid needs, see Aurora.  I'm sure they would even be happy to sell you a full tote.
On the way back to Salisbury, I bought a truck for the NCRS.  It will fit right in.  We put a sign on it to advertise the Research Field Days on the drive back to Michigan. 
Well I thought about it anyway.