California farmers deal with complex irrigation and fertilization requirements of "specialty" crops within diverse rotations. Some of these so-called specialty crops have a farm value of more than $4 billion per year. These high-value crops demand careful management of both water and nutrients to achieve high yield and consistently high quality.
A recent study from DuPont Pioneer outlined the continuous-corn yield penalty, and the causes for that penalty. Over a six-year period, the study found that continuous corn yields, on average, 25 bushels per acre fewer than corn that follows soybeans.
Potassium nitrate (KNO₃) is a soluble source of two major essential plant nutrients. It’s commonly used as a fertilizer for high-value crops that benefit from nitrate (NO₃-) nutrition and a source of potassium (K+) free of chloride (Cl⁻).
Liquid fertilizer solutions and fluid fertilizers are popular in many areas because they’re safe to handle, convenient to mix with other nutrients and chemicals, and are easily applied. A solution of urea [CO(NH₂)₂] and ammonium nitrate [NH₄NO₃] containing between 28 and 32 percent nitrogen (N) is the most popular fluid N fertilizer.
In the 19th century, the German scientist Justus von Liebig formulated the “Law of the Minimum,” which states that if one of the essential plant nutrients is deficient, plant growth will be poor even when all other essential nutrients are abundant.
Midseason scouting is a best management practice engaged in by every farmer who wants to pursue the best possible outcomes for his production, year-in and year-out.
A variety of coatings have been applied to fertilizer particles to control their solubility in soil. Controlling the rate of nutrient release can offer multiple environmental, economic, and yield benefits.
By understanding how nutrients work together, farmers can optimize production and investment in fertilizer while minimizing the opportunity for excess nutrients to negatively impact the environment. Potassium (K) and nitrogen (N) are two vital nutrients that create greater benefits working together than alone.
Potatoes are grown in nearly every state in the U.S., with sales in excess of $3 billion. Yield, tuber size and specific gravity (dry-matter content) influence quality factors such as frying properties and flavor. Fertility management decisions can influence these as well as storage properties.
Sulfur deficiency in corn can masquerade as nitrogen deficiency. Boron deficiency in soybeans may remain hidden — the only sign being a yield below optimal.
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.
Some growers are considering a shift from a corn and soybeans rotation to continuous corn. More nitrogen (N) will be needed since soybeans will no longer provide some residual N. Other nutrient needs will also change, especially phosphorus (P). Corn, unlike soybeans, is planted early in soils that are more likely to be cool, moist and with a heavier residue cover. These conditions can suppress the uptake of P by corn and increase the likelihood of crop response to fertilizer P. Research shows that P, with some N, applied in a band two inches to the side and below the seed, boosts seedling access to a readily available supply of P.