Update from the Field: Refuse to Let Your Trash be a Problem
Posted by David Dyson, Agronomist on November 06, 2017
Stalk residue, or “trash,” can be a major source of problems to farmers in the spring during planting. Corn stalks especially can cause havoc to planters or drills. The excess cellulose and stalk residue can puncture tires, create voids in the seed trench, restrict soil to seed contact, hamper ground work, and just be plain destructive to machinery. Crop residue not only causes issues with next year’s seed bed, it can also tie up nutrients that may not be released until after the crop’s needs are satisfied. If The Andersons could offer a product that would accelerate the breakdown of the previous crop’s residue and release the nutrients contained in the residue, without adding an additional trip across the field, would anyone be interested? I believe the answer to that question is yes.
The Andersons developed UltraMate® LQ liquid humic acid to address the issues outlined above. We are engaged in a multi-year study of mixing UltraMate LQ, UAN 28%, and fall herbicides together and applying that mixture on residue in the fall (see below). Most of our clients are already applying a fall burndown program on their corn stalks or soybean residue. So why not also incorporate a stalk degradation agent into the mix while we are already going over that acre? The combination of UltraMate LQ liquid humic acid and UAN 28% will encourage the microbial population to increase and accelerate the breakdown of the corn and soybean stalks, releasing the stored nutrients which they contain. The fertilizer value of crop residue is well documented and can be easily calculated per ton of stover (figure 1). The nutrient content of every ton of corn residue can be up to 4 pounds of P2O5, 22 pounds of K2O, and 1 pound of sulfur.
In conclusion, we can apply a product to the corn and soybean stalks that will help degrade residue. UltraMate LQ liquid humic acid can be applied with fall herbicides to avoid additional application expenses. This will not only help with equipment maintenance and planting preparation, but will also increase the availability of nutrients that are normally tied up in the stover.
- Add UltraMate LQ at 1 gal/ac and 28% at 3 gal/ac to crop residue
- Rapidly breaking down stover will release nutrients for next year’s crop
- Reducing residue will help with the planting pass next year
Figure 1: Nutrient values in corn stover (https://igrow.org/up/resources/03-2000-2011.pdf)
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Dave Dyson is a regional agronomist for The Andersons’ Farm Centers which are located throughout Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. He is an Indiana native and grew up on a dairy farm in Miami County. A graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Crop & Soil Science, Dave has a deep knowledge of various agronomic topics and is committed to helping growers improve their crops. If you have any questions, Dave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UltraMate is a registered trademark of The Andersons, Inc.