How to Manage Crop Residue

Managing crop residue is pivotal to lowering cost, improving yield and profitability.

Farming is all about managing resources, including money. You can be a low-cost producer and maximize profits by Controlling the Controllables.

Proper crop residue management is such a controllable. That’s why ProfitProAG puts crop residue management as number one in the “Recipe for Success.” We call crop residue management the “Second Harvest.”

Crop production is all about energy availability. Forty-five percent of the plant’s mass is made up of carbon. Glucose is made up of 45% carbon. It takes 100 lbs. of carbon to produce one bushel of corn and 300 lbs. for a bushel of soybeans. Thus, harvesting the crop residue and sequestering the carbon in the soil, enhances the availability of carbon to the plant through soil respiration and the release of carbon into the plant canopy during the growing season.

Top producers know that managing crop residue offers a proven way to cut their fertility bill, control diseases/insects/weed pressure and boost the yield potential of their next crop. Did you know a 250 bu/A corn crop contains approximately $180.00 worth of nutrients and 8,000 lbs. of carbon in the residue per acre?

Often, the missing link in effective residue digestion is the lack of fungal activity in the soil. We need a bacterial to fungi ratio of 1:1 minimum, but preferably 1:4. The use of soil and foliar fungicides dramatically reduce beneficial fungal populations.
Consider these benefits of the Crop Residue Digestion Program that reduce costs and increase profit potential:

  • Faster warm-up – less residue allows faster soil warm-up for earlier planting
  • Easier tillage – soils that are alive and more aggregated require less horse-power and fewer tillage trips
  • Easier planting – less residue means less hair-pinning and less risk of plugging
  • Lower fertilizer costs – recycling nutrients in residue can reduce purchased inputs
  • Build organic matter – accelerated residue breakdown means more carbon (organic matter) in the soil
  • Retain nutrients – organic matter helps keep nutrients in the soil and protects water quality

Managing crop residue at a higher level starts with solid information and proven results. If you’re interested in this overview of ProfitProAG’s “Recipe for Success” and Crop Residue Digestion Program, let’s continue the conversation. Please contact us and we can custom design a program/system that will allow you to quickly capture the value of your crop residue.

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