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A Better Way to Farm Podcast

May 27, 2019

One of the issues that bothers me in America today is that our 24-hour news service has taught us lots of bad habits. They give us a headline and they talk about something that’s really sensational to reel us in.  Then they talk about it, but they don’t really tell us anything. The problem is, bad information makes us as farmers make bad decisions.

Today, specifically, I caught an article, and the title of it was “Micronutrients’ Macro Impact on Plant Health.” I was so excited when I saw the article I thought the university’s finally had something positive on micronutrients however, after reading two pages of information,  I was left frustrated.

Since 2012, five universities have been spending tax dollars in five states with 200 field trials reviewing micronutrients. The first thing they concluded was there’s a potential problem with the interpretation of soil test and tissue test results. That’s possibly true if we’re using the wrong lab, but if we use Midwest Labs, there’s no question. MidWest Labs knows how to interpret their work, and they know how to take that and make recommendations specifically for our micronutrients.  The article went on to say if we don’t apply things we don’t need, that adds to our bottom line and saves us money….Well, yes obviously that’s true. That’s why we here at A Better Way to Farm are not going to push you to ever do a micro mix. We don’t believe that everything that you need is in one jug. We’ve got to take each part of each field, treat it separately, and do exactly what it says because we don’t want to put something on that we don’t need, but we also can’t afford to be deficient in something and miss it. Such as Boron.  Which has a major role in cell wall biosynthesis and membranes, and therefore, we don’t want to be deficient in it. It also helps with root elongation and pollen germination and growth. There’s some good information that way. It talks about the different ones and what they do.

Guys, here’s the deal: If you want to grow 50 bushel soybeans, there’s probably not much I’m going to do for you because you’re going to grow 50 bushel soybeans. I think that if we’re content to grow 65 bushel soybeans, we could be in trouble. The majority of our clients are saying, “Rod, we’re growing 80 bushel beans, but that’s not paying the bills. That’s not doing the job. We’ve got to get to 90 or a hundred. Help us. Show us what to do.”  What will work to get you to a 55 or 65-bushel is probably pretty simple. It’s kind of like how can I grow 165 bushel corn? It’s not that hard, but if we want to move up the yield curve, if I want to get into that 95 bushel range on beans or 300 bpa corn we gotta do things differently.


They talked about for max effectiveness, apply foliar manganese as soon as deficiency symptoms appear. Wrong answer. The time to cure a manganese deficiency is before we see it, before it’s visually detectable because when it’s visually detectable, we have already given up a great deal of yield. That’s expensive, so what do we do?

There is a calibrated soil test that will tell us about manganese and what we need to apply in furrow to beat that first rush. We know that using our product, 100% chelated manganese co-applied when you spray glyphosate helps to reduce yellow flash and increases yield every time. We know that. We know what it does. We trade $3.60 worth of manganese for 3-15 bushel of corn or beans. That seems like a good idea to me. That’s good information. That’s statistical information. That’s 15 years worth of working information by growers all across the United States, not by university, not by somebody who’s trying to prove anything, growers coming to us and saying, “Look at this. Look at what this did. This is exciting.” What we want to do is apply manganese as per the soil test, and then apply it when we spray glyphosate, and then if we need further based-on tissue test, we want to foliar-feed it. My goal is you never see a manganese deficiency because if you do, it’s already too late. We’ve already wasted money, and it’s down the road.


Want to continue the conversation? Call Rod at 641-919-1206