So just like that and they're gone. Research Field Days for 2014 are but a memory. Hope you had a chance to join us. There was certainly plenty of opportunity with 16 scheduled tours. And last Thursday (August 29) was the last one. The NCRS looked good and fresh the whole time thanks to the ample rainfall through the summer. We didn't even have to add water to these sunflowers on the Demonstration Farm. The first RFD tour week was shown earlier in a blog post. This is to tie up loose ends and show more stuff.
Well they got it figured out as the first bus rolled in and passengers debussed to start the demonstrations tour.
There was a schedule to be followed, and Phil sounds the rotation horn to make sure we stick to it.
Here we see Kalvin showing a group the winter wheat demonstration. It was planted several weeks ago so that you could see fertilizer effects on this tour. You could. (And I missed Kalvin last time too.) School had started for the other interns, but Kalvin arranged his schedule so that he could be here for the last day. Unless all of his teachers are reading this. And why wouldn't they be?
Here is something Brian sets up each year. Taste and see if you can tell differences in fertilizer sources for watermelon, cantaloupe and green pepper. Summer work crew members Josh and Nick mind the store.
And here was something I thought was interesting. Well since I talked about it for two weeks. But it is a research plot on fertilizer sustainability. Like what happens to yield and soil test after years of different fertilizer usage? Well this is a long-term corn-soybean rotation of the same fertilizer programs in the same replicated plots each year under dryland conditions. This is the fourth year. For corn, a 180-30-60 plus micros program is followed for conventional liquid and dry fertilizers. And of course there is an AgroLiquid recommendation as well with those reduced rate nutrients. Two other treatments were nitrogen only (using reduced rate 28% with eNhance) and a treatment that applied the same actual rates of nutrients that were applied with AgroLiquid, but using conventional products. (Note: In the conventional treatments, two years of potash is applied after the previous soybean crop to feed the next corn and soybean crops.) Below we see ear (three consecutive) and root samples from the plot border rows of Rep 3, where we are.
The ears from the full rate conventional treatments and the AgroLiquid treatment are larger and darker yellow than the low rate conventional and especially the N only ears. Similar with the roots, although the AgroLiquid roots covered more area. Now this is a simple single sample, but it is telling. Certainly there is a P and K and micros response vs N only (trt 4). Treatments 1 and 5 have the same pounds per acre of applied nutrients, yet the AgroLiquid is much larger in ear and root size. But yield is what matters, and the AgroLiquid has the highest 3-year average yield by a good bit. This difference is more than was expected, but this is what it was. Also of note was the high average to date with the low rate conventional treatment (trt 1). It was high the first two years, but dropped off to be 10 bu/A less than the full rate conventionals last year. And based on appearance this year, it doesn't look sustainable here in year four. But time will tell, and time is running out.