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    Fertilizing for High Yield Soybeans

    Mosaic Senior Agronomist Ron Olson discusses nutrient requirements and fertilizer applications for high-yield soybeans with Ag PhD radio.

    Brian: All right, let’s get back to the phone lines here. And we’ve got kind of a cool guest coming on next, I’m gonna put a little pressure on him. This is Ron Olson. He’s with mosaic. He’s the senior agronomist for North America. That’s pretty cool title.

    Ron: Good afternoon. Well, thank you for that compliment. I have a lot of fun and that responsibility of working with our technical sales managers out in North America as we work to supply information to our retailers and to farmers.

    Brian: When we’re talking about fertilizing soybeans, one of the big things that I think guys don’t realize is that soybeans per bushel are actually pulling more potassium out of the ground and leaving the field with that crap than corn is, is that a surprise? For most guys?

    Ron: I think it is a surprise, they haven’t been paying attention to that. And that’s really a new area of focus that the farmers who want to grow high yield soybeans need to be paying a real focused amount of attention on that right now. And the other part that’s new is that soybeans are pulling as much phosphorus out high yield, soybeans are pushing it pushing as much force for pulling as much phosphorus out as corn. And so that’s been, that’s the story that’s developing from some of the research that we’re doing the last two years.

    Brian: Okay, so when is the best time to get the P and K out there, we we’ve had a few guys talking about foliar. But our results, honestly round from foliar have been kind of hit and miss some years, we get really good results. And it’s usually when we get plentiful rainfall. And on years where it’s, you know, really dry, like last year was for us. We didn’t see that much from the foliar. We’ve had better luck on the soil program. Which way do you like guys to go?

    Ron: Well, I have to agree with you. This soybean plant wants to be fed all season long. From right from the time it germinates and goes goes through to maturity soybean plants are have a consistent pattern or a consistent way that they’re taking up phosphorus all season long. And it really starts to increase about 40 days after planting about to be seven is when we start to see the big increase. And from there, it’s a straight line curve on up until we are really starting to see the plant start to change color, the leaves change color. So that’s a straight line curve. And then we could look at potassium having the same situation. But soybeans have a larger K uptake than corn. And they read mobilized potassium a lot more efficiently. In other words, they move it around in the plant more efficiently than corn does to both both of those crops remobilize potassium, but soybeans are just a little bit more efficient. So we like to say, and in my experience over the years is we’ve got to get it out there. And so it’s ready for the craft to be using as soon as it before it gets to the seventh. So you have to be having a good balanced nutrition program in place early in the season.

    Brian: I like that, that comment there about remobilized in the cage, just get it into the plant, and the plant will move it around as it needs it. I think that’s a pretty good deal. No wonder think about dry P and K application. How long does it take for those products to become available for the plant where we can actually pull them out of the soil? Is it totally dependent on moisture? Or is there a time factor involved to?

    Ron: Well, it’s both but you know phosphorus and potassium, the fertilizer products that farmers are purchasing today from any of their retailers, those are going to be water soluble materials. So they’re going to be able to what was adequate moisture they’re going to be in soil solution within a matter of probably three to four weeks. And but if so, if you can get them into soil solution, the sooner the better, the sooner a fall application on potassium is certainly okay. But you have to watch your soil, your soil type levels, you know, if I’ve got sandy soils, I don’t want to put my potassium down in the fall because potassium can tend to move to the soil quicker than phosphorus does. So you want to pay attention to if you’re working with a sandy loam or a silty clay loam, silty clay loam can hold holds water a little bit tighter and it needs drainage of course. And so you want to watch your timing let’s let’s say we want to apply the for our nutrients stewardship strategies, you know the the right product applied at the right rate at the right time and in the right place. We’ve got to really put those four principles in place when we’re fertilizing any of the crops that were growing.

    Brian: Alright, let’s talk about where we’re placing these nutrients. Because honestly, here’s what we like to do, Ron, we like to do strip till in front of our soybeans. So we’re building that seed berm in the fall. But at that same time in a, you know, probably early to mid November application, we’re putting on dry P and K down about eight or 10 inches deep right beneath where that soybean plant is going to be. What do you think of that approach? Are we too deep or do you like that deep placement we’ve got medium to heavier soils.

    Ron: So medium to heavy soils, your CCS are going to be in that 15 to 18 CCS and probably I’d say 17 to two only five, you’ll get most of our soils. And you’re well drained. I’m assuming all tiled

    Brian: Yep. We’ll talk more about that at another show round. But yeah, we like good drainage.

    Ron: Alright, so I would I see that as being a good practice, if you were able, that’s something that we’re gonna see more of as farmers are looking to get more efficient. And as we’re looking to make sure that nutrients are applied in the right place. That banding application, it’s are you in 30 inch rows?

    Brian: We’re in 30 inch rows. Yep.

    Ron: Okay, so certainly, if you’re in 30 inch rows, and banding it at that age level, I wouldn’t go any deeper than that I don’t see a need to go deeper than that shallowing it up. I think that six to eight inch depth is a good place to be. And from the Mosaic companies position, we’re spending more time in this in 2013. We did a lot of work to evaluate that, so that we can talk more openly about it. We just, we see that as a trend. And someday we want to be better educated ourselves and we can talk to our dealers and growers about it.

    Brian: We’ve got about 30 seconds left. Just one quick thing on phosphorus. I’m real concerned about especially putting it on top. I’m worried about it being lost if we have any kind of erosion or anything. What are you advising for growers just to reduce our environmental footprint?

    Ron: Well, banning phosphorus fertilizer is going to become a more accepted practice for the very reasons that you mentioned that so I think farmers need to be gearing up and looking at how they’re going to be putting their phosphorus fertilizer, how they’re going to be placing it.

    Brian: All right. Well, thanks a lot, Ron. Really appreciate your time today. Love to talk again.

    Ron: Good look forward to it. Thanks.