The research and technology that drive agriculture production are advancing at a rapid rate. Through The Agronomy Blog, Mosaic experts help sift through the most current information affecting crop nutrition, and provide their take on pertinent, timely tactics to help maximize production in a sustainable setting.
The From the Field icon indicates additional available information that explores the on-farm implications of the latest research and trends in crop nutrition, straight from the minds of leading farmers and retailers.
The 17 Essential Nutrients: Don’t leave your field without them
Sulfur deficiency in corn can masquerade as nitrogen deficiency. Boron deficiency in soybeans may remain hidden — the only sign being a yield below optimal. Liebig’s Law of the Minimum sums up the whole concept of balanced crop nutrition.
Soybean Aphids Flourish Where Potassium Is Deficient
Have you ever seen a soybean field where aphids infested some areas more than others? There’s a good chance the pattern might follow potassium (K) availability. Research conducted around ten years ago in Wisconsin and Michigan studied this phenomenon in detail.
McLaughlin wins 2015 IFA Norman Borlaug Award
To raise the crops to feed the world, first you need to feed the crops. Dr. Mike McLaughlin, an expert on phosphorus, potassium and micronutrients, recently was named the recipient of the 2015 IFA Norman Borlaug Award.
Unmanned Aerial Systems for Agriculture
Interest and excitement continues to grow around the potential uses for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in agriculture.
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.
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 are needed as energy sources to power plant growth, as well as form carbohydrate starches in grain or other storage organs (e.g., tubers in potato); secondly
Growing Corn: Can We Do Better?
Well, let’s face it: This is a rhetorical question. When it comes to corn, or any crop for that matter, of course we can do better. We can always improve upon what we do. But it’s also important to recognize that we have been doing better, and for some time.
Chloride Nutrition: An Opportunity Worth Exploring
Chloride (Cl-) was first generally recognized as a plant nutrient in the mid 1950s; however, its value as a fertilizer supplement was not appreciated until the 1970s when work in the northwestern United States and elsewhere showed that crops do indeed respond to Cl- fertilizer application. Since that time, there has been a great deal of work investigating crop response to the addition of Cl-, and determining optimal management practices for Cl- fertilization.
Potash: Still Important in Bermudagrass Forage Production
Bermudagrass is an important summer perennial for both grazing and hay production, and has been a part of southern agriculture for at least 250 years. Its desirable characteristics include high yield potential, drought resistance, and a degree of soil acidity tolerance. Hybrid bermudagrass is generally more productive than common. Coastal, introduced in 1943, has been the standard hybrid over much of the southern US; however, other hybrids such as Tifton 85 have made significant inroads over the past few years.
What is Potash?
Fertilizer potassium is sometimes called “potash”, a term that comes from an early production technique where potassium was leached from wood ashes and concentrated by evaporating the leachate in large iron pots (“pot-ash”). Clearly, this practice is no longer practical and is not environmentally sustainable. In food production, potassium is removed from the soil in harvested crops and must be replaced in order to maintain future crop growth.
New Year’s Resolutions for Better Soil
Every January, millions of resolutions are made to eat healthier, get organized, or stop bad habits. But New Year’s resolutions can be made on the farm, too – especially when it comes to improving your soil fertility.
Nitrogen Nutrition for Winter Wheat
Managing nitrogen nutrition makes a big contribution to the yield and quality of winter wheat. Choosing the right source, rate, time and place of nitrogen application improves not only your own profit, but also, food and nutrition security for people around the world.
Feeding a Growing (and Growing … and Growing …) Population
A variety of expert sources expect that by the year 2050, farmers across the globe will be responsible for feeding nine billion people. And still, farm acres in the United States are harder to come by each year. So the obvious answer to a very tough equation is that more food will need to come from each acre — in other words, yields need to keep increasing for the long term.
Using Science to be Sustainable
One of the social requirements of farming today is to run a sustainable business. But that doesn’t mean science should fall by the wayside. Just the opposite, in fact. For several years, agriculture has been adopting scientific principles for sustainable cropping called the 4R’s <http://www.nutrientstewardship.com>. The 4R’s help farmers achieve environmental, economic and social responsibility, all while improving the soil they rely on.
Preparing Fields for Soybeans Following a Record Corn Harvest
Despite record corn yields in some parts of the country, low commodity prices may increase soybean acres in 2015. Rotating crops from corn to soybeans is a common practice; however, with the record yields comes record nutrient removal.
My Soil Tests Are Complete. Now What?
A soil test is considered one of the first critical steps in good nutrient planning and management. But once the test results come back, what’s next?
Finding Spring Flexibility in Fall Fertilization
After wrapping up a successful harvest, deciding on a fall fertilizer plan is fast approaching. With commodity prices lower than in past years, the decision becomes even more complicated than usual. However, it’s important to remember that with record yields removed from the field this fall, record nutrients were removed from the soil as well. In order to replicate high yields in future years, those nutrients must be replenished.
Variability in Soil Test Potassium
When we make a fertilizer recommendation for a farmer, what is it based on? It is usually based on a composite soil sample representing the average fertility of the entire field. When we do this, we fail to address the spatial variability of nutrients in the field resulting from changes in soil type, topography, previous cropping history and many other factors. Even precision farming strategies such as management zones fail to account for all of the spatial variability found in agricultural fields.
Follow Along During Our #60DaysOfSoil to Learn and Win!
If you’re watching the yield monitor reveal higher numbers than ever before, it means this planning season you will need to pay more attention to what nutrients are left in the soil than you may be used to. As we celebrate harvest, it’s an opportune time to also celebrate soil fertility — the most important contributing factor to yields this past year and in years to come.
Annual Phosphorus Application and Long-Term Soil Productivity
Many of the soils in North America, and around the world, have available phosphorus (P) levels that are at less than the optimum level — where crops will respond immediately to applied P fertilizer applications.
Drip Fertigation: The Future of Higher Yields?
New research from the University of Illinois is revealing the impact of drip fertigation systems.
Preparing for a Hefty Harvest...And Beyond
Record yields mean record nutrient removal.
Banding Phosphorus as a Bandage for low-pH soils?
In certain climates, banded P is a more economical choice than lime for low-pH soils in wheat.
Phosphorus Fertility for Winter Wheat
Planting wheat? Dorivar Diaz shares how phosphorus helps to increase yields.
Direct and Residual Fertilization in Soybeans
Fertilizing based on crop rotation may bring higher yields.
Nutrient Removal and Chemical Resistance: How Weeds Are Damaging Your Field
Managing resistant weeds is a challenge in and of itself. Knowing that weeds rob crops of key nutrients makes it even more important to control them.
Expanding the Nutrient Management Toolbox: Using Tissue Sampling
Tissue sampling alone doesn’t provide all the answers. Get the most out of your data.
IPNI Guest Blog: Keeping Nitrate out of California Groundwater
Nitrogen fertilizer management practices are under intense discussion in California.
The Gap Between Macros and Micros Is Smaller than You Think
Do you know the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients? There are fewer differences than you may realize.
Scouting Soybeans for Deficiencies and More
Soybean problems may look alike, and require good scouting to diagnose properly.
Managing Leachable Nutrients
Wheat crops in wet areas may be suffering from nutrient deficiencies due to leaching. Find out why and how to best supplement those nutrients
Reducing the Continuous-Corn Yield Penalty
Continuous-corn systems require intense management, as the yield penalty can be as much as 25 bu/ac.
Nutrient Management Is a Journey, Not a Destination
Soil temperatures continue to rise; unfortunately, the commodity markets are not showing similar trend lines.
Soil Fertility Important in Managing Soybean Cyst Nematode
Did you know solid soil fertility can limit damage done by soybean cyst nematode?
Boron: A Micronutrient that Requires Micromanagement
Boron is a critical micronutrient for many crops, but its potential for leaching must be considered.
Risk Management Begins with the Soil
The key to risk management is controlling what you can.
Cover Crops: Type Makes a Difference
Do you know what type of cover crop will work best for your fields?
Weather’s Impact on Nutrient Management
Balanced crop nutrition is essential for plants to withstand the stresses of changing weather patterns.
Plan Now for Effective Fertilizer Management
While fertilizer decisions may start with soil samples, other insights and considerations can help build a strong crop nutrition plan to ensure higher yields.
All About Phosphorus
Phosphorus is one of the three macronutrients essential for plant growth. It is required for the photosynthesis process, converting the sun’s energy into food for the plant.
Cover Crop Considerations
Cover crops can help farmers manage their soil and nutrients from year to year. But not all cover crops work for all purposes. Knowing what cover crops need, and what they give back to the soil, can help you in your decision.
Boron’s Importance in Plant Development and Growth
One of the micronutrients that is essential for crop health also happens to be one of the most deficient in the majority of fields: boron.
It’s Time for Some Crop Nutrition Decisions
There’s certainly a value to working proactively to avoid stresses before they’re apparent, especially when it comes to soil fertility.
Did the Cool, Wet Spring Cause a Head-Scratching Harvest?
Farmers all over the Corn Belt saw striped and pale corn this spring and into summer. How they addressed these signs of nutrient deficiency may have been reflected on their yield monitors this fall.
Thinking Small — With a Focus on Zinc
In farming, little things can add up to make a big difference. This is certainly the case when it comes to balanced crop nutrition.
Nutrient Balance Plays Big Role in Balancing Land Value
With land prices the past few years skyrocketing, balancing nutrients in the field is more important than ever.
Fall Potassium Applications: Consider Crop and (Soil) Characteristics
Required by all plant life, potasium (K) plays a major role in photosynthesis, breakdown of carbohydrates, protein synthesis and disease resistance. Most importantly, it can activate at least 80 enzymes that regulate the rates of major plant growth reactions.
The Soil Fertility Checklist
When it comes to crop nutrition and your soil fertility plan, you need to make sure you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s.
Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome
With a name like sudden death syndrome (SDS), this soybean disease certainly demands our agronomic attention. But, while it’s serious, understanding SDS might actually make it less intimidating.
Evaluating a Soybean Fertility Program
Historically, many soybean fertility programs are based on the philosophy of “make do with what’s left.” But progressive growers are finding it’s important not to forget this crop’s primary job is to pull nutrients out of the soil, and that those nutrients need to be replenished.
Plan Now for Your 2014 Fertility Program
Even before the 2013 crop is in the bin, growers should begin putting thought into how they will proactively manage their 2014 fertility programs.
Good Options, Better Options: A Look into Soil Sampling
Soil sampling has adapted and evolved over time. As genetics, crop nutrition, equipment and precision ag technologies have matured, so has the need for more advanced soil sampling in the field.
The Sulfer Solution
Farmers and retailers who have been in the business for a while probably find themselves wondering why so much attention has been paid to the past several years. After all, sulfur used to pretty much take care of itself, supplied to plants by organic matter and deposited by rainfall.
Tips for Managing On-Farm Trials
While there certainly is no shortage of information available on how different crop inputs and solutions perform on research test plots around the world, there is no substitute for seeing firsthand how a new seed, chemical, technology or input will perform on your own land, with your management style.
Boron: A Key Consideration in High Yield Systems
As yield levels increase, so does the demand for nutrients not often considered as standard practice. This means that a high-yield system requires more attention be paid to micronutrients.
Is Population Growth Demanding More Aggressive Nutrient Replenishment?
Population dynamics, the impact of biofuels and land use and productivity are all a part of the equation in determining future fertilizer nutrient requirements.
What Your Next Physical Can Teach You About Corn Care
When an agronomist visits a field to diagnose a problem, it’s not unlike a doctor attempting to uncover the source of a patient’s discomfort.
How Plants Show Hunger
The relationship between soil chemistry and nutrient uptake can fluctuate just as much as the weather from year to year. With today's seed genetics, you may find some hybrids are great at optimizing a certain nutrient but wasteful with others.
Three Scouting Tips To Improve Yields Now
With all the technology and tools available to assist in scouting efforts these days, it might be too easy to say it’s easy. Truth be told, we all still make the occasional mistake...
New Study Offers Insight Into Phosphorus Availability
Australian researchers recently studied the reaction of both liquid and granular phosphorus (P) fertilizers in soil that was either dry or wet (at field capacity). They measured the movement of P from...
4R Nutrient Stewardship: Important Inside and Outside Our Industry
Virtually every grower I talk to understands the importance of 4R nutrient stewardship. In fact, I would offer that, by and large, the industry has been following these scientifically proven principles for decades...