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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. One of the most important investments made in a crop season, a fertility program should be looked at holistically, and involve preparatory steps and decisions long before winter’s downtime.


Straw Burning: Gains and Losses

Straw removal by burning improves seedbed preparation and seedling establishment. Burning also helps to reduce nitrogen (N) tie-up, as microbes decompose the straw residue, and it results in nutrient release from the combusting straw. However, burning can result in loss of most of the N and sulfur (S) contained in the residue and it can create concerns regarding environmental quality.


Nutrient Placement in Reduced Tillage Systems

According to the Conservation Technology Information Center, conservation tillage has replaced a significant portion of conventional tillage acres. Does conservation tillage change the way we need to manage phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilizers?


Understanding Zinc Deficiency

Zinc (Zn) has been put to work on farms for decades. Fencing wire and nails are galvanized with zinc to prevent rust. Metal buckets are coated with Zn to last longer. However, Zn’s most important job is in the field, as one of the 16 essential elements in plant growth.


Soybean Nutrient Recommendations

Soil test calibration research conducted by Dr. Antonio Mallarino with the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State University has produced new data for potassium (K). According to Dr. Scott Murrell, for soil tests to have meaning, they must be calibrated to yield response. Much of the calibration data for soybeans was collected decades ago, when varieties, tillage and other management practices were much different than they are today. Using outdated interpretations of soil test levels can lead to misapplications of nutrients for current and future soybean production. Consequently, the need for updated information is ever-present.


Unlocking the Secrets to Higher Yields

World demand for food, feed, fiber and fuel is increasing. Dr. Fred Below and researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are assessing new technologies and designing management practices to unlock the secret to higher yields. Here he shares details of this effort.


Phosphorus Stratified Soil Management

Reduced tillage systems teamed with surface applications of fertilizer phosphorus (P) often results in an accumulation of P in the surface soil and depletion of available P deeper in the soil profile. Research workers at the University of Kentucky and Kansas State University conducted a three-year study of tillage and P nutrient management on soils with a stratified level of available P. Four P management methods were studied with three tillage systems.