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Agronomy Update December 2018

Posted on December 10, 2018

The Andersons Agronomy Update: July 2018

By: Jessica Stacy, Product Specialist

Cool and wet weather during October and November has resulted in the nation’s slowest soybean harvest on record since 2009 (USDA Office of the Chief Economist WOAB). Soybean harvest is 94 percent complete, 4 percent behind the 4-year average (USDA Crop Progress Report). This fall has been especially challenging considering the sluggish harvest and minimal days suitable for fieldwork (figure 1), causing much fieldwork to be delayed until spring. Delaying fieldwork such as fertilizer applications, manure spreading, tillage, and/or planting cover crops to spring poses possible threats to the 2019 crop. 

Figure 1: Map from the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin posted by the World Agricultural Outlook Board outlining days suitable for fieldwork by state. 

One potential obstacle may be a lack of nutrient availability due to spring-applied bulk dry fertilizers. When applications are made in the spring, there is little time for these nutrients to breakdown. 

In addition, compacted soils could be a threat while we are racing to complete fertilizer applications and/or tillage ahead of planting due to saturated soils. Compacted soils limit root growth and their ability to reach nutrients, which could result in yield loss. As shown in figure 2, it should be your goal as a farm manager to maintain 25 percent air space and 25 percent water space in your soils to optimize root growing conditions (University of Minnesota Extension). Other negative effects of spring fieldwork include smeared soil and reduced pore space, limiting water infiltration and air exchange.

Figure 2: This image illustrates the effect of compaction on pore space and water infiltration. The air and water spacing on the right shows conditions under compacted soils.

Cover crops may not get planted this fall if conditions are not suitable, affecting soil and crop health. Cover crops help to slow erosion, enhance water availability, control weeds, and increase soil organic matter. In a survey conducted by SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) in 2012, corn yields increased 9.6 percent when planted after a cover crop, in comparison to fields planted without. 

Finally, a delay in fall fieldwork usually leads to crunched time windows in the spring. This means added stress and may provide a higher risk to operator safety. Long-term sleep deprivation results in lack of concentration, weakened immunity to viruses, high blood pressure, poor balance, and poor memory. A combination of these factors makes operating farm machinery extremely dangerous to you and those around you. 

We encourage you to be proactive and outline your spring management program. A key part of this program can be to place early-season nutrients near the root zone to allow uptake. Be sure to utilize the correct nutrient package to allow for your planting conditions and crop nutritional needs. Consider a low-salt row starter such as Season Pass® with AVAIL®, First Pass®, or one of the PureGrade® base grades – Diamond, GoldStart®, or Premium. Also, don’t forget about the add-ons – zinc, sulfur, and/or a bio-stimulant. The addition of a bio-stimulant to in-furrow low-salt row starter will help to offset many of the hurdles previously outlined and alleviate early-season crop stressors. A bio-stimulant assists in nutrient uptake, increases nutrient use efficiency, and assists the plant in overcoming stress. MicroCarb ZMB™Sweet ‘N Eezy™, and Korrect™are products from The Andersons portfolio which serve as bio-stimulants.  

Lastly, be sure to take breaks and practice stress management when needed this spring. If there is anything we can do to help, please contact us or your local dealer.  


MicroCarb ZMB includes three key micronutrients, zinc, manganese, and boron, along with the bio-stimulant fulvic acid. Zinc governs auxin production, which determines leaf size. Zinc also helps regulate energy production for protein synthesis and grain formation. Manganese is essential for chlorophyll development and regulates nitrogen use efficiency. Finally, boron is important for plant growth and development, including sugar balancing, pollination, and seed production/grain fill. Supplementing these nutrients is vital because zinc is the most deficient micronutrient in the world, with boron coming in a close second. MicroCarb ZMB, when added to in-furrow row starter, consistently boosts yield due to the benefits of the fulvic acid blended with these three essential micronutrients. In the following two trials, MicroCarb ZMB applied at 1quart/acre with GoldStart 6-24-6 at 5gal/acre produced yield advantages of 9.79 and 11.8 bushels/acre. 

Sweet ‘N Eezy is a proprietary liquid sugar solution that serves as a food source and bio-stimulant to soil microbial communities, whose microbes help to free up more mineral nutrients for the crop. Sweet ‘N Eezy is a more rapidly-burning carbon than humic or fulvic acids, meaning it provides a quick energy boost to the crop. The following corn research trial was conducted in Ohio in the year 2014. Sweet ‘N Eezy was applied at 1quart/acre with Season Pass Plus with AVAIL at 3 gallons/acre. A yield advantage of 14.3 bushels/acre was observed. 

Korrect is a highly-available mild form of potassium. The need for early-season potassium is often underestimated. Agronomically, early-season potassium needs outpace nitrogen or phosphorous needs. Potassium applied in dry form may become tied up or in a form not available to the crop during planting season. Korrect offers the benefits of being immediately available to the plant and includes a natural organic carbon carrier to enhance receptivity for maximum nutrient uptake. In our trials, we have seen positive early-season response in soybeans (figure 3), when applying Korrect in-furrow at a 1gal/acre rate. A more developed root system and increased nodulation were observed. 

Figure 3: The treatment (right) received 1gal/acre of Korrect in-furrow compared to the untreated check. The treatment demonstrated greater root development and increased nodulation. 

The below trial was recently harvested in 2018 in Indiana. Korrect was applied at 1 gallon/acre in-furrow alongside Season Pass with AVAIL at 4 gallons/acre to a corn crop. A yield advantage of 21.64 bushels/acre was observed compared to the check. 




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©2018 The Andersons, Inc. All rights reserved.

FirstPass, PureGrade, and GoldStart are registered trademarks of The Andersons, Inc. MicroCarb ZMB, Eezy, and Korrect are trademarks of The Andersons, Inc. AVAIL is a registered trademark of Verdesian Life Sciences.

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