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A Better Way to Farm Podcast

Aug 23, 2021

Today is another episode of practical tips for all our committed listeners over time. The A Better Way to Farm family has always been here to find better ways to support our co-farmers and owners even through the good and the bad times, not only in farm productions but also in concrete farm tips and life hacks.


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Now, be ready to listen and learn again! Let’s go right in and gain better ways indeed to make our farm management skills better every time… 😉 😉 😉



Episode 62 Transcripts


Rod: [00:00:17] Hello, and welcome to the podcast from A Better Way to Farm. We appreciate you taking time to tune in and count as an honor to get a little bit of your time. Today, we want to talk about late season tissue testing, why we would, why we wouldn't? And then what do we do with the information we get? There's a lot of people who've called me or texted me or messaged me and they have said, Hey, should I be tissue testing this late in the year?


[00:00:43] A part of it has to do with how late the slate is because we have people who are already into that R two R three stage. We also have people who are just hitting the VTE stage and everywhere in between. And so, consequently, let me just give you some ideas that perhaps you could consider some things that we take into account when we're looking at, why do we want a tissue tests?


[00:01:07] If we are tissue testing earlier, obviously, you know, when we're still at V8. On something we're going to be looking at doing a complete foliar feeds saying let's address everything that we can, everything that needs addressed in the way of micros, secondaries, and macro nutrients. Once we get into that VT stage, then what are we probably looking at?


[00:01:28] We're probably looking at an application of our 26% nitrogen, half a percent boron in conjunction with your fungicide. But let's talk about why we would tissue tests late. Once we get to say R two, what are we going to do? Are we going to come in there and apply things? Why would we tissue test it?


[00:01:49] Well, the answer is this. A lot of tissue testing done at R two or R three is planning for 2022. A lot of the tissue testing at that stage is done to say, here's what we did. Well, here's how it worked. And here's what we need to do better. We also might find some kind of a glaring deficiency that we could still address.


[00:02:11] Based on the data that we have accumulated. Based on the experiences that we have. We don't have a reason to consider pushing you towards putting on anything other than nitrogen, boron, and sulfur. Those are the only three nutrients that we see make a significant financial difference for you when applied that late.


[00:02:36] And so I say that to say, okay, let's tissue test. Let's take a look and see, could we benefit from those three? You know, obviously they all work together, boron and sulfur help with nitrogen utilization. Boron also helps with, uh, as you well know pollen and silk, but we're beyond that now. So when we look at that sulfur and that boron and that nitrogen at that stage, what we're really looking at is saying, can we pack more test weight? Can we pack more into those kernels? Can we get those kernels bigger? Because here's the fact of the matter, a lot of times when we're out measuring the projecting what our corn is going to yield, we go out and we use the divider. We figured it all out. We divide by 90,000 kernels per bushel. So what happens if we can knock that back down to 80?


[00:03:23] What if we can get the kernels big enough and heavy enough that it only takes 80,000? I can share with you that one of our great friends, the first year he went over 330 bushel, it only took 54,000 kernels to make a bushel. That makes a huge difference. And so what is it that we can do just to take that divisor from 90,000 to 80,000?


[00:03:45] How is it? That's just like getting an extra, what 11 or 12% basically. Is what's going to happen there. It's like, God just dropped 11% yield increase into your hands because you did the right thing and you pushed it. What else are we going to look at when we're doing that tissue testing? We would like to say, okay, we want to be very specific and know what stage it's in. Because there should come a time in that corn plant's life when it's really starting to cannibalize and take the nutrients out of the stock and pour them into the grain. And so we want to say, okay, where R1, this is what we've got. R2, this is what we've got, R3. And then we want to factor that in and say, okay, next year, we need to do these things differently.


[00:04:28] How is it that we're going to make sure that we're not this low in this one, or the other thing that we want to look at is, do we have something that we're way too high in? Do we have something that we have put on way too much of? And because of that, we are not in the ratios that we need to be. For instance, one of those ratios, I talked about it on a, on a live last night.


[00:04:51] But one of those ratios that we can take a look at is, what is that nitrogen to sulfur ratio? Because while we may be excessive in one and sufficient in the other, or vice versa, that ratio needs to be about 10 to one. We need about 10 parts available nitrogen for each one part sulfur. And so we want to be very cautious about over-applying any one nutrient. Guys, we are very suspect of people who come and they say, you know, just do it with this. The only thing that matters is that you get your calcium right. Do I think calcium is important? Absolutely. Do I think that getting your base saturation rate to 85% is going to trump everything else, and nothing else is going to matter.


[00:05:33] Probably not. Do I think that nitrogen is important? Yes, it is. Do I think that putting on 500 pounds of nitrogen and neglecting zinc and phosphorus and potassium and sulfur and boron is a good idea? Absolutely not. Why is that? Because we know we need those nutrients available in the right ratios. It is very, very important that we have that corn plant have the best day, every day that it can have.


[00:06:03] And our goal is to see that hopefully you've tissue tested throughout the year, and that would be something to implement in 2022, if you haven't. We have guys who are tissue testing every week or every two weeks and logging those, putting them in a book and we're following along and seeing what they do and what is it that they need to do to take corrective measures. Travis up in South Dakota, I know he does a great job of this and every year he catalogs that and then he goes back and reflects on it and they've made a lot of changes in their operation based on what results they're seeing with the tissue test and then based on what did they do after they got that tissue test and then they tissue tested again.

[00:06:45] And so it's fun to see those things and see all the ratios of the different nutrients, but it's more than just fun. It is an educational experience because we don't want to be over-applying a nutrient at the expense of others. And we definitely don't want that plant out of balance because that's going to merely cut our yield. The very thing we're trying to avoid is the thing that we create. Again, the late spray, we only find three nutrients that we would consider. I'm happy to let you try some others. I'm happy to see you give an experiment, but our experience indicates it's nitrogen and sulfur and boron, nothing else.


[00:07:19] And so that would be the only late spray that we would be looking at. Guys, I appreciate your time. I appreciate you taking the time to tune in, and if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at 6 4 1 9 1 9 1 2 0 6 or feel free to send us a text or hook up on the Facebook page and get us a message there at A Better Way to Farm.


[00:07:41] If you find value in what we do, we would really appreciate it if you'd give us a rating on the platform that you're listening on. We would also sincerely count it as a favor if you would share this with a friend or two and let them know about us. Guys, I really hope you're having a better day.



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Missed the previous episode? Here you go:


Can Fungicides Take Your Operation to the Next Level? Ep61