Plan Ahead: Observe Crops During Harvest
Posted on October 20, 2020
Make the “windshield-time” in your combine cab as profitable as possible. It is an excellent time to make overall field observations and think about plans for next year’s crop. For many growers, judging the performance of different hybrids may be the only observations typically made, but there are many other aspects of crop production to think about including crop fertility.
Proper crop fertility management is important for healthy soils and increasing profitability. Growers are removing significant yields, but putting few nutrients back. This negative balance of nutrient replacement versus crop removal could lead to lower yields in the future.
Positive responses from starter fertilizer applications are seen especially when planting into cold and wet soils. PureGrade® starter fertilizers encourage early growth, more uniform flowering, and earlier maturity. This is especially important when unplanned stressors, such as abnormal weather, affect crops for weeks at a time.
PureGrade starter fertilizers contain three essential nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Fully-formulated PureGrade starter fertilizers like Season Pass® with MicroCarb® and First Pass® liquid fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, plus micronutrients.
Nitrogen is important because it drives nutrient absorption, protein formation, and plant growth.
The first 10-15 pounds of applied phosphorus should be banded in or very close to the seed furrow for best crop production. Phosphorus is an immobile nutrient and needs to be placed where roots can find it quickly. Adequate phosphorus is needed for top yields and improved grain quality. PureGrade fertilizers improve uniformity of growth and encourage drier grain.
Potassium is required in a starter fertilizer for best growth when growing conditions are less than optimum. Potassium deficiencies can show up even in high-testing soils where there are restrictions to root growth such as cold soils or compaction. Potassium is important for good stalk quality and translocation of nutrients within the plant.
Think of the combine cab as a moving observation point from which to view the crop. Keen observations on which to base decisions will lead to a more profitable crop next year.
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