Crop Management News
Get Started with Cover Crops in 2015
by Dr. Jim Ladlie, ProfitProAG President
Cover crops allow farmers to get more from every acre. Why? Because cover crops help recycle and retain plant nutrients as well as build biodiversity and soil organic matter. Additionally, cover crops help suppress weeds, insects and disease.
The bottom line is, cover crops build healthy soil, and healthy soils improve overall productivity and profitability.
Use these four basic principles to improve soil health:
1. Keep the soil covered as much as possible.
2. Disturb the soil as little as possible.
3. Grow plants throughout the year to feed the soil.
4. Diversify as much as possible with crop rotation and cover crops.
Cover Crop Options for 2015:
• Plant after a short season crop like sweet corn, peas or cereals.
• Mid-season cover crops can be done in conjunction with manure application.
• Aerial seed into standing corn or soybeans during late August.
• Plant a winter hardy cover crop, like winter cereal rye, after fall harvest.
Remember, soil health is the key to profitable crop and livestock operations. Cover crops and crop rotation are necessary practices to improve soil health and water quality.
The most important step is to call ProfitProAG and let our cover crop experts lay out a plan and strategy to meet your objectives.
by Dennis Klockenga, ProfitProAG Crop Management Consultant
Many of the leading crop producers use foliar feeding as a way to increase their yields. According to fertility expert Phil Wheeler, foliar feeding is a no-brainer. Foliar is 8-20 times more efficient than broadcasting dry fertilizer. Michigan State University, in conjunction with the Atomic Energy Commission, proved this nearly six decades ago. They used radioactive phosphate and potassium so they could follow it in the plant to measure foliar feeding efficiency. They proved that nutrients could enter the leaf much faster than they could through the root system.
There are many reasons why foliar feeding can produce mixed results.
• The pH of the solution should be between five and six for adequate leaf absorption. If the pH is too high or too low, it can affect leaf absorption.
• Apply foliars at the correct time of the day. Foliars should be applied in the cool part of the day, not when it’s blazing hot. If the plant is hot, it won’t uptake the foliar material. A good rule of thumb is to forgo foliar application if the combined temperature and humidity is 150 degrees. Sometimes this is impossible, so it may be best applied before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
• Start with a good foundation! Good fertility levels are imperative for successful foliar feeding. Without it, foliar feeding may give the plant a boost, but it will be unable to sustain it without the fertility to support the extra bulk. The plant is always checking its fuel tank to see how much it can produce. It will only produce enough for the amount of fertility it has.
• Apply foliars at the correct growth stage. It’s important to think like a plant and apply the foliar at key growth stages when the plant really needs it, and not when it’s convenient for the applicator.
• Apply the right product. It’s very important to apply the right product at the right time. The atomic size of the foliar should be small for efficient uptake into the plant. Plant cells are 300-500 microns in size, so a foliar must be this size as well. Otherwise, it’s like trying to fit a basketball through a screen door.
If foliar feeding has been a struggle at times in the past, what does ProfitProAG offer that is different and successful? We have several foliar products that are very efficient in getting into the plant. They are 300-500 microns in size and can be readily absorbed. BioMineral 75 combines a mineral powder and a liquid solubilizer. It contains 75 minerals that are essential for the plant and a liquid solubilizer that will release the nutrients into solution. The solubilizer will also shrink the minerals so that they are small enough to get into the plant. BioMineral 75 is mixed on the farm by combining 10 lbs. of mineral powder and 10 gallons of liquid solubilizer in 1,000 gallons of water. The mixture is then applied at 15 gal/A. While it can be applied with herbicides, a compatibility jar test, before mixing, is recommended.
Foliar feeding can be a great addition to a solid fertility program.
Livestock & Manure Management News
Benefits of Forage Fermentation
by Chris Chodur, ProfitProAG Consultant
In a forage fermentation program, the main objective is to help boost the return on investment (ROI) with increased roughage intake and enhanced feed quality for energy and nutritional value through the pre-digestion of high moisture forages, roughages, corn silage and grains. Properly preserved forages can help reduce the cost of feeding concentrates and supplements. One of the major benefits of fermentation is that it preserves the food as well as breaks down nutrients into a more digestible form for ruminants. Fermentation creates new nutrients, improves bio-availability of minerals and removes toxins from the food source.
ProfitProAG Forage Enhancer & Fermentation Minerals
• Contains numerous groups of beneficial anaerobic microbes that improve the quality of fermentation.
• Breaks down and reduces the complex carbohydrate structures to utilize for easier digestion.
• Reduces pathogenic populations to aid in animal health.
• Helps prevent mold, improves palatability and improves nutrient availability in feed.
• Allows high moisture content during the forage process without spoilage or mold and is approved for organic operations.
• Minerals stimulate the fermentation process as well as enhance and assist in proper digestion.
• Is very cost effective and will return feed nutrient value.
Please contact a ProfitProAG representative to further discuss the benefits of making your operation more successful.
Poultry Litter Conditioner Plus
by Chris Chodur, ProfitProAG Consultant
With the recent ongoing Avian Flu outbreak, producers must be very cautious with bio-security to assist in the prevention and control of any health risks. To support a healthy immune system, a dry, clean and sanitary environment must be provided in these barns. Ammonia levels in poultry barns are very detrimental and can affect both birds and employees. A reading above 10 ppm of ammonia (NH3) can influence respiratory bird health and weaken the immune system for secondary risks. PLCP contains all-natural, drying agents to help diminish excessive moisture in bedding as well pathogen-reducing microbes to target the reduction of E.coli, which promotes healthier bird performance. PLCP was found to be very beneficial for a number of reasons.
Below is test data on PLCP.
Pen #1 – 15 broilers, no litter treatment;
Pen #2 – 15 broilers, 3.5 pounds litter treatment;
Pen #3 – 15 broilers, 7 pounds litter treatment; (see photo below)
Pen #4 – 0 broilers, no litter treatment.
1. Pen conditions in 2 and 3 are much drier, thus birds were cleaner with less fecal matter on feet, legs and feather coats.
2. With the (pathogen reducing) microbial activity stimulation in the litter, bedding temperatures were slightly higher in pens 2 and 3, which provided warmth to young
birds with the added benefit of utility savings of +2.5 degrees F.
3. With the combination of both actions listed above, the birds in pens 2 and 3 seemed more content and bedded distantly from one another (didn’t crowd on top of each other).
4. Ammonia levels were significantly lower in treated pens at the 0, 3 and 6 foot levels. Up to a 5 ppm NH3 reduction reading from non-treated pen to treated pens.
5. By locking up ammonia, the biological compounds readily converted the litter to be more valuable to crop farmers and composting enthusiasts.
Join us for our Thursday, June 18th teleconference call featuring:
ProfitProAG Consultants Dennis Klockenga and T. J. Kartes will discuss the “Benefits of Foliar Plant Nutrient Applications” and “Getting Started on Cover Crops,” respectively, while Chris Chodur will discuss reasons to use Forage Enhancer and PLCP.
Unsecured and Secured Financing Available for 2015
Contact David Widman (who has over 30 years of bank lending experience, mostly in agriculture, and grew up on a family farm) about either input or operational financing for 2015 from AgriSpan. With qualified credit, an UNSECURED loan can range from $10,000.00 to $250,000.00; secured financing limit based on your operation. Call 507-640-1095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details or to apply.