Healthy Plants: Keys to Making Sure Plants Have Only “Good Days”

I no longer qualify for the “early career professionals” demographic or the much-catered-to Millennials club. However, as a Baby Boomer, my “senior” perspective does provide an opportunity to observe what in fact stands the test of time across the decades, whether for social issues or for basic principles of crop management.

We live today in an age of performance indicators intended to guide our management decisions, and to also communicate to consumers about how food and other agricultural deliverables are produced. The array of indicators include factors such as nitrous oxide emissions, that a few years ago were not even on our radar screen.

Yield Success in 2015 Is Dependent on Nutrient Levels


As growers in the Midwest pulled planters across their acreage, many were calculating what types of yields are needed to give them the return they’re hoping for. The slumping commodity market has brought about a heightened awareness of crop input selections and price points, but it’s important to

Assessing Supplemental Nitrogen Needs for Field Crops


Having an adequate supply of nitrogen (N) is vitally important to a crop for two reasons: First, crop plants need N to form chlorophyll in leaves, and if there is a shortage of chlorophyll, the crop will not be able to effectively harness energy from sunlight to photosynthesize and form sugars that

Case Study: Indiana’s Fairholme Farms


Both Kim Drackett and Randy Bales describe 1,850-acre Fairholme Farms as “a typical eastern Corn Belt operation,” but their management approach is, and long has been, anything but typical. For example, the operation began as a 2.5-acre grid sampling in the 1950s. At the time, they variable-rate-applied

Managing Leachable


While rain is usually a welcome sight in the spring, too much rain is always a concern. Not only does it delay planting, but it can cause severe damage to winter crops like wheat. In areas around the country that have had a wet spring, some wheat fields are yellowing, an indication of nutrient

Risk Management Begins with the Soil


Volatile prices, changing foreign markets and weather events represent some of the uncontrollable factors facing farmers every year. As you look to limit that risk by eliminating yield-inhibiting factors, you may want to start with the soil beneath their feet. Making sure your soil is up to the

Drought, Nitrogen and Water Quality


Mother Nature pummels farmers across the U.S. year-after-year. In drought years, crops wilt and collapse, soils become parched, and some streams fade to a trickle. Important nitrogen (N) management questions faced by farmers who suffer through drought are: How much of my applied N is left in the

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