Wednesday, April 30, 2014


So in the last blog episode I announced that AgroLiquid would be the featured on the always popular TV show Rural America Live on the RFD Network.  It would be from the Northstar Studios in Nashville, TN.  I had been there several times before and was excited to be selected for the show again, along with sales manager Galynn.  Believe it or not, we don't just walk in and start the show. There is quite a bit of prep work.  Senior Marketing Manager Lonny put together an outline, and we all sat down in the afternoon to put the show together.  That's host Mark Oppold and production manager Becky Hirsch between Galynn and myself.  Lonny took the picture, so he was really there.
After that it was the pre-show meal.  One dilemma: baked beans, eat or not eat?  Well I love those, so I had some.  No problems.  There's Lonny on the left and RFD TV network Chief Revenue Officer Brian Hughes at the head of the table.  He is so happy because viewership and revenue are sure to spike when we go on the air.
After dinner and a change into our on-air attire, it is time for makeup.  Makeup is again applied by Cherokee.  It's in my contract that only she can do my makeup.  (And during commercial breaks she kept coming in and patting my head with something.  I wonder what that was all about?) Here we see the challenge of making Galynn suitable for viewing. Fortunately I went first because she ended up having to use all the makeup she had on him.  
It's almost time.  Here is the production room.  All those people and all those monitors just for us?
And Action!  In case you missed the show, we decided to wear the colors of our respective universities in Oklahoma:  Orange for OSU, and red for that other school in Norman.  (My fingers are incapable of typing "OU".  Oops.)  Fortunately things did not get out of hand and Mark did not have to move between us.  What was the show about?  Among other things we discussed in-season options for fertilizer application such as side-dress (more than just nitrogen), foliar feeding crops and pastures.  Plus there were calls on a variety of topics from listeners.  And as always, the hour flew by. I thought it was a good show, but I haven't seen a playback yet.  But in my mind: fabulous! 
It should be posted on the website before too long if you want to watch it. (And who doesn't?)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tonight's The Night!

So I hope you don't have plans tonight.  Other than watching Rural America Live (formerly known as RFD Live) that is.  If you don't have Dish or Direct TV, call at once or invite yourself over to someone that does.  Because tonight has a show about in-season fertility options.  I know you are already daft with anticipation.  But gets better!  
Your panelists will be none other than ME and GALYNN.  Now Galynn has probably forgotten more than most people know about in-season options.  Some of them will even make sense.  And I, of course, will make sound statements that are research-based.  If we haven't tested it at the NCRS, it's probably not worth doing.  So gather up the family and tune in for an hour of solid fertilizer knowledge and sure-to-be witty banter on: Rural America Live!!! 
 As if that weren't news enough for one blog, here are a few highlights from last week.  We have a new tool at the NCRS: a Krause vertical tillage tool, that is.  This will be primarily useful in breaking up corn stalk residue for 15" row soybeans.  It will certainly help with uniform stand, which is extra important in plots.  But it breaks down the stalks with only minimal soil disturbance maintaining near no-till conditions.  Here it goes last week on Farm 3.
Remember in the previous post about concerns of freeze in Oklahoma and potential effects on our wheat plots there.  Well at the plots near Hinton, the plots were unscathed.  Here is a sliced open stalk showing that the head is still green and fleshy.  It is about one or two inches from emergence.  The flag leaf is fully open however, but was not frozen.  I think it's partly because this is high ground and there is a canyon, Red Rock Canyon State Park, just beside this field.  So maybe all of the cold air fell into the canyon.
 Here we see SAM Clint and a researcher there examining the plots up close.  Nice and green.  Although needs water.
 But not all fields were so lucky.  The low ground seemed to take it the worst.  You can see the upper ground in the background.  Plus this poor grower had this under a pivot so he was ready for drought.  But not a late frost.  Very sad.  But there is time to get it declared a loss for insurance and plant it to something else.

So that was a week, but the start of this one will be good if you watch the show Monday Night.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Oklahoma Wheat Tour - Day 2 (and 3)

So I can't believe it has been a week since the blog of Day 1 of my Oklahoma wheat tour.  And I said that there would be a quick follow-up to Day 2.  Well there were a couple of excellent blog posts about Michigan activity in the mean time.  And this past week was crazy busy getting ready for field work. So anyway, I was in OK on Monday, April 7 which was Day 1 in a previous blog post, and now here is a report on Day 2, or April 8.  I met Area Manager Parker at a contract research farm in Central OK where we have some winter wheat plots.  That's him on the left with the researchers.  We are looking at some winter wheat plots there.  You can tell it's a research farm by the flags in the background.  We use lots of flags at the NCRS.
 This wheat was planted late, on November 21.  It was a cold and wet fall last year.  It didn't have much growth in the fall but has come on good now.  Here is a plot that had a drill application of Pro-Germinator + High NRG-N + Micro 500, and was topdressed on February 19 with a blend of High NRG-N and 28-0-0-5/eNhance.  We were not able to see much treatment differences there.  However, I was talking to them on the phone yesterday and they had some really cold weather over the weekend. Like down to around 20 degrees.  That can be lethal to the developing heads which are down in the stalks.  So if it's not drought it's freeze out.  I'm not sure right now if there is any damage to our plot wheat, but will need to check soon.  Give these poor farmers a break!
 So after that Parker and I took a look around the country.  You could tell the fields that had Pro-Germinator + Micro 500 + High NRG-N at planting and topdressed with 28-0-0-5/eNhance.  They had the best color and uniformity compared to other fields.  Still not sure why there isn't a line of farmers outside the AgroLiquid dealers all the time to get their hands on the best wheat fertilizer around.
 Parker showed me this wheat field which had received an Exactrix application last fall, which is a co-injection of anhydrous ammonia (gas) and 10-34-0 (a liquid).  Not sure how that exactly went, but you can sure see streaks now.  I have not ever been around this type of fertilizer application, and I guess it does give good results sometimes.  But this is peculiar.  Note the windmills in the background.
Because just up the road a very short distance was a field that received the common Parker wheat fertilizer recommendation of Pro-Germinator, Micro 500 and High NRG-N through the drill, and then topdressed with 28-0-0-5/eNhance.  Look at the dark color, and the uniformity of wheat growth. Definately no streaking.  And there are those same windmills in the background for reference.
Actually this picture below would be on Day 3.  Remember Jacob?  We had lot's of fertilizer adventures over the years, some of which were reported right here in this blog.  Well he is a full time farmer now and I stopped by to see him on Wednesday before heading back to Michigan.  Here we are in a field of his recently planted corn.  It has sprouted and there is decent soil moisture for now.  (He is East of Oklahoma City, which has had more moisture than the previous days which are West of Oklahoma City.)  It received Pro-Germinator + Micro 500 at planting.  But this in that same field where we did some great research plots on winter wheat several years ago that I still use as reference in meetings.  We had our own plot drill and sprayer and everything.  Those were some fun times that produced some very useful results.  We also looked at some of his good looking wheat, that I hope wasn't messed up by cold weather.
 Now here is something that you don't see every day.  How about a pet feral hog?  These creatures in the wild cause millions of dollars in crop damage every year in Oklahoma and Texas.  And they are hunted to reduce the populations, but it is a losing battle.  Well it seems that someone got hold a baby last fall and gave it to Jacob's Dad, who often takes care of wayward animals. Like the injured fawn that lost one of it's front legs in a combine accident several years ago. But he had a vet patch it up and took care of it, as a 3-legged deer they named Peggy.  (As in peg legs. You had to be there.)  I can't remember if this one has a name, but it lives in this old cotton trailer. Now I have seen feral hogs on TV, but never as a pet.  It actually was friendly and liked to be petted.  The hairs are really tough.  Jake said that his Dad lets it out some, but they don't leave it out because they don't want it to get pregnant. Taking care of a bunch of feral piglets, now that's just plain goofy.  But one sow, that's ok.  I guess.
So I would call this trip an adventure and successful fertilizer mission.  Hope you learned something too.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Liquid's Gazelle Girls. Don't Get in Their Way!

So while all us Liquid dudes were hanging around doing regular weekend stuff, it seems that the Liquid ladies assembled in Grand Rapids for a charity race this morning.  It was called the Gazelle Girls Half Marathon and 5K.  There were four charities that were the beneficiaries of the funds raised.  Below is the Liquid contingent.  It looks like most of the women of Liquid showed up.  And they are certainly dressed for the occasion.  I certainly would have gone if not for that pesky Y chromosome that I have. Stephanie sent me these pictures to document this charitable endeavor. 
I think that Eustaquia was the recruiter/organizer for this out of town road trip.  She loves to run and actually ran the half marathon.  The rest did the 5K which is still pretty far... especially on foot.  I'm not sure when this pic was taken.  So I don't know if she is smiling because she looks so swift in her gear before the race, or after the race because she is done.
Here we see BFF's Stephanie and Tracy.  I knew that Stephanie's race "skirt" would be pink.  If she had her way all of the tractors and equipment at the farm would be pink.
Time for the start of the big race.  Pretty good turnout I would say.   
So I guess that they had fun too.  Did you know that Liquid is sponsoring a 5K race out at the NCRS on August 30?  But it is open to both sexes, so choose carefully.  And I don't know if you have to wear running "skirts" or not.  But Eustaquia is in charge, so you never know.  Details forthcoming.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Meanwhile Back At The NCRS....

So before continuing with the saga of my Oklahoma wheat tour, let's see what happened with NCRS wheat last week.  It seems that last Wednesday the field crops crew was able to get the wheat plots topdressed.  And the production wheat too.  I was surprised to get the call about this as I thought it would still be awhile before this would happen since there are still diminishing patches of snow around.  But pictures don't lie, especially ones on the internet.  Here are Tim and Stephanie navigating the plot Hagie sprayer around a wheat trial on Farm 3.  You will recall that some of the seed tubes on the drill are plugged where the sprayer tires go.  So this leaves tram lines and no tracks on the harvested plot rows.  They are using stream nozzles.  
And because we don't discriminate, we applied some urea for comparison.  In case you are a new reader, this is our air spreader for dry fertilizers.  It was originally designed and built by Doug years ago, and has been renovated by Phil and Tim.  And probably Jeff too.  We have it accurately calibrated for the different types of dry fertilizers used around here.  It works very well for this.  That's Jeff at the helm.
And this is the Farm 3 field after treatments were applied.
Now Grow!!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Oklahoma Wheat Tour - Day 1

So earlier this week I was in Oklahoma on a fertilizer mission.  On Monday I met up with Area Manager Todd near Perry, in North Central OK.  It seems like on each visit to my home state I am reporting on the need for rain.  Well it is the same this year.  Some areas are in better shape than others, but anyplace would sure benefit from a good soaking.  Here is a shot of a field of some of Todd's own wheat.  It looks really good, especially compared to wheat in the area with non-Liquid fertilizer.  This wheat is following corn, which makes for a good rotation.  Plus there is residual N left over from the corn which didn't yield to full potential from last year's drought.  On this field he put on 5 gallons of Pro-Germinator + 1 qt of Micro 500 per acre with the drill.  Then he topdressed with 18 gallons of a 60/40 blend of 28-0-0-5 with eNhance / High NRG-N.  On close inspection, it needs rain, but looks really good. 
 Remember that on-farm trial that I reported on during my visit here last October?  (Well if you don't, it was posted last October 26.)  Well here it is now.  The area to the left of the left of the left stick received 6-24-6 with the drill, the middle area received no fertilizer at planting, and the wheat to the right of the right stick received Pro-Germinator + Micro 500 + UAN with the drill.  (Rates in next pic.)  They were all topdressed with equal rate of 28% UAN.  This field is really dry and the wheat is smaller than in should be with good moisture, plus it was a cold winter and spring.  But my unbiased eye thought the right side looked more uniform with even color.
It was tough to dig these up.  But we saw that the wheat with the Pro-Germinator was taller and darker green.  This was also what we saw last October soon after emergence.  There were bigger roots then with the Pro-Germinator.  The roots don't necessarily look bigger now, but maybe they stuck in the ground as that particular spot seemed drier than the others.  It's only a one spot shovel sample, but that wheat was noticeably taller.  Unfortunately if it doesn't rain soon we will not be able to measure the effects on yield as the wheat won't make it.  So send positive brain waves to the sky.
In another field North and West of Enid there was a field of wheat after wheat.  This is common out here.  Below Todd makes an unfortunate discovery.
This field had a pretty bad infestation of aphids.  Unfortunately, they were the dreaded cherry bird oat aphid.  Now that's a mouthful.  They were very prevalent throughout this wheat on wheat field, and on a variety that yields well, but is seemingly susceptible to aphid infestation.  (They were in the picture, but are too tiny to see.  Look it up for a picture.) Why is this particular aphid a problem?  Well they are a vector of Barley yellow dwarf virus.  This is a very serious yield-robbing disease of which there is no cure or control.  It is characterized by yellow and reddish leaf tips leading to more yellowing of leaves.  You can see it in the wheat below.  That's why crop rotation is a good idea. But this grower, who incidentally did not use Liquid through the drill, uses wheat for pasture and needed the wheat acres.  But this field is in trouble, and is droughty besides.  It shows the importance of scouting fields so that pests can be controlled before causing more problems.
Later we saw another field that had an interesting comparison.  This grower wanted to add some zinc to his topdress of UAN solution, and had a field comparison.  Can you see the divide?  I have looked at many on-farm comparisons over the years, but have rarely seen one with this much visual difference. The dark green wheat on the right had 1 qt/A of Micro 500 in the topdress application.  The wheat on the left had 1 qt/A of straight 7% zinc from another company.  And there is only 1.8% zinc in Micro 500, but also 4 other micros.  Plus it was much cheaper, I mean less expensive. (I don't want to say who the other company is, but the name is in a well known saying just before the word handbasket.) Again, hopefully they get some rain so that the wheat will grow to maturity for treatment yield determination. 
You see all kinds of odd things as you drive through the country.  Like in the field below.  I really don't know what was going on here to cause that.
Wheat pasture is very common in Oklahoma.  For non-ag folks, this is where wheat is planted and used through the winter and early season for wheat pasture for cattle.  It is usually planted early to enable faster development so cattle can be let out to graze.  If you want to have it develop into grain for harvest, you need to pull the cattle off by March 1.  There is a yield penalty for pasture, but it is a good feed source for cattle.  Some keep cattle out all season because the wheat is more important for pasture instead of grain.  Anyway, some cattlemen do not use drills to establish wheat pasture, electing to mix some MAP and urea fertilizers with wheat seed and broadcast spread it with a spinner spreader. Then it is lightly cultivated in.  Now a drill would give a better stand, but for pasture many like the broadcast method for speed and ease.  It usually works well, except in a cold and dry fall and winter. Like the field below did not get any wheat to grow from the broadcast application.  What you see is weeds...and no cattle.  We saw several fields like this.  Too bad.  A drill and Liquid would have given a good pasture as we have seen.
So it was quite a day and I learned a lot.  Thanks to Todd for the tour.  I did feel good that AgroLiquid is still producing better looking crops, in this case, winter wheat.  But this was just the first day.  The next blog outlines Day 2.  Guaranteed to please.