Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Poplar Farms Research Field Day

So I can't believe it's been a year already since the First Poplar Farms Sales and Service Research Field Day in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  But on September 8 it was time for the Second one.  It was held at their impressive Research Center where they have a large amount of plotwork on fertilizer and seed research.
On the day before, several of us met to plan the field day.  So like another late summer field day that I have been involved in, it poured.  While standing under the tent listening to the rain, we see Steve Kuenstler and Bill Brunner of Poplar Farms, Retail Partner Steve Darrington, Doug of Terra Max, Regional Sales Manger Bob Baxter and Field Agronomist Dan Peterson.  Many ideas were hatched, and some were even good.  Everyone was hopeful that the rain would go away for tomorrow.
Rain had been an issue for much of the growing season here near the banks of Lake Michigan. Although it did stop for the field day, you could see from the drone's view what happened to some of the corn from excess rainfall.  The left part of the block had all of the nitrogen fertilizer applied around planting vs in-season with Y-Drops.  Split or in-season applications give a better chance of nitrogen retention for the crop.  Same amounts, just different timing.
There was plenty to see and discuss.  Patrick Brunner shows some of the nitrogen plots.
Bill Brunner announces that the root pit has been converted to a swimming hole.
There was a variety of field equipment on site set up for accurate and easy application of liquid fertilizer.
Agronomist Dan talks about higher alfalfa hay quality with foliar applications of Sure-K vs broadcast potash on this variety plot.  And he had the numbers to prove it.  Most of these guys are from dairy farms, so it should hit pretty close to home.
There was a morning and afternoon session with lunch in the middle.  Tent monitor Bob keeps order. It was all good and food was eaten, not used for a food fight.  How wasteful would that be?
Dan, white hat in the middle, leads a lively discussion on soybean fertilizer options.  It's still a little muddy, but after lunch no one cares.
Steve K leads the variety tour.  Lot's of choices to see and consider.  Fortunately all of this corn was sidedressed with High NRG-N through Y-Drops, so it was good and green in the sun that finally broke through.  (Now that is a nice picture with all of the signs in a row.  And the crops all fertilized with AgroLiquid makes it even nicer.)
Now no one was going to escape without listening to me talk about planter fertilizer options for corn, and I've got the ears to prove it.  On the ground I mean, from the plots behind me.  Pro-Germinator shamed 10-34-0 and 6-18-6.  Additions of Micro 500, Sure-K and experimental carbon/biological product C-15 were also evaluated and produced big ears.  I was especially happy to see a baby in attendance there at the feet of his mother.  You can't start too young to learn about corn fertility. Although I had to keep waking him up, but I think he got most of it.  
So that was a fun day, as are all my trips across the lake.  Looking forward to my next visit.  And if you are in the area next September, or even if you're not, come to the Third Research Field Day.  No rain and good food are guaranteed.  And plots too.