Revisiting And Improving In-Furrow Fertility
15 Aug 2321 min 45 sec

Matt Swanson used to apply fertility at time of planting in furrow. But then he stopped, for various reasons not the least of which was ineffectiveness. Now he’s dabbling back into in-furrow with a 40 acre experiment in conjunction with AgroLiquid. The results won’t be in until the combines roll but already the corn is withstanding weather stress much better than Matt's non-treated acres. That, along with agronomic advances and the very real prospect of regulations on fertilizer application is why you should consider in-furrow fertility to spoon-feed your crops for profitable results.

Presented by Advanced Drainage Systems

00:00 Is your fertility program at time of planting, helping you get through the toughest weather conditions your farm faces? That's what we're talking about today with Matt Swanson. 00:12 Welcome to Extreme Ag Cutting the Curve podcast where you get a guaranteed return on investment of your time as we cut your learning curve with 00:21 the information you can apply to your farming operation immediately. Extreme ag, we've already made the mistakes so you don't have to. 00:31 Managing your farm's water resources is a critical component to a successful and sustainable farming operation. 00:38 Advanced drainage systems helps farmers just like you increase their yields up to 30% with their technologically advanced water management products. 00:48 Visit ad ss to see how they can keep your business flowing. Now here's your host, Damien Mason. Hey there. 00:57 Thanks for joining us for another fantastic episode of Extreme Acts. Cutting the Curve. It's Meet Damian Mason, 01:01 but you knew that you heard that in the introduction. Now we're talking about in furrow fertility at time of planting and its benefit because you might be facing some very stressful weather right now. 01:12 We are recording this on July 12th. Much of the country is seeing some pretty, uh, tough situations. We've got some high winds, we've got hail. 01:21 We're hearing about, you know, lots of drought issues. Matt Swanson is in, uh, Western Illinois and he, uh, was in the tech stream of extreme Ag about, 01:29 uh, last week and he said, man, I don't know what the yield's gonna look like, but the response and the way this stuff is holding up is really impressing me. 01:37 What he's doing is he is putting infer fertility at time planning from agro liquid in a plot. 01:43 And this is an experiment that Matt is doing because he wants to see what the response is and what he's seen so far is kind of impressive. So anyway, 01:50 tell us all about the experiment and why you're excited about it. Yeah, 01:53 so we did a basically a four-way infra trial with our grower standard practice, um, agro liquids infra program that they wanted to trial, 02:04 and then two additional ones. And this field is a field I drive by every day, multiple times a day. And due to the drought conditions that we were, 02:12 we had been having and and still kind of are, although it started to rain now finally, um, we had really poor nutrient availability and what we, 02:21 what I saw was you could find the agro liquid plots or the repetitions, um, from the road easily. Yeah. So that's a drive we did wasn't, by the way, 02:34 that's a drive by and a lot of people are gonna say, okay, great. So he drove by and this area looks better than others. Yeah. First off, 02:40 you can discount that as being true analysis and we will get deeper into it. You will actually run it analytically and, and diagnostically, et cetera. 02:47 But the reality is a windshield, a windshield analysis is also not a bad first pass. The fact is you've got some real crummy weather, 02:55 you've got some really tough situations and it's obvious that this looks different than the rest. Yeah. 03:00 Oh yeah. It's completely obvious. It's probably six inches to a foot taller. The root development is better. 03:05 And you could say that the level of stress between, as we talk a lot about on extreme ag, the level of stress that that plot under that plot, 03:14 the agro liquid plot is undergoing, is significantly less where we had the inferral fertility. Yeah. So tell us what you did versus what you normally do. 03:24 You are not big on, you said before we hit record, you're not big typically on doing, uh, at time of planting fertility treatment, inferral 'cause you haven't seen, 03:36 uh, much of a response. That's right. That's something we started doing about 2012, uh, say 20 16, 20 17. 03:44 We moved the fertility out and just concentrated with the fertility itself on the two by two. Now we still run inferral, 03:51 we still run insecticide and and and C C A and other things like that in the furrow, 03:56 but specifically we had stopped running what I call N P K or the ma macro fertility in the furrow. Now we still run some micros, 04:04 things like that, but, And you still run micross in the furrow or you run everything, everything on fertility was going on the two inch by two inch. 04:11 So we would run a little bit of some of the micros in the furrow and then some of the ones that don't play well with seed, 04:17 we run in the two by two and then we'd run our N P K in the two by two. So you did 40 acres and the experiment involves what products from agro liquid? 04:26 Yeah, so the agro products, Aquid products we used, we used a half a gallon of micro 500. We use their calibrate, which is their K product, potassium product. 04:37 We use pro germinate and which is a N P K product. And then we use liberate calcium, which is something that Kelly has talked about a lot, 04:46 but it's just a calcium product By the way. Uh, liberate ca is to Kelly Garrett as boron is to Chad Henderson. Yes. Uh, they both, uh, they kind of, they kind of get a little bit, 04:56 they kind of get a little bit whacked on this, uh, on this subject. Alright, so the point is you did this and it's different than normal practice. 05:03 You put it out on 40 acres and you're seeing, did you see a response at time of emergence or did it all just happen when you went out there and said, man, 05:11 everything else looks really bad because of the weather and this looks good. Um, so you could see a a, a slightly, a slight difference in, 05:18 in timing of emergence, but where it really started to show is as it continued to stay dry and the other plots slowed down, this one never looked like it had a bad day. 05:29 Um, now tissue wise I'm sure it did, but it never got bad enough where you could see it visually. Right? And we talk about during plant diagnostics, 05:40 if you can see a nutrient deficiency, you're already way past, you know where you should have been tissue wise on the tissue test. 05:47 We can pick those up when you can't see them. So in this case, as it continued to stay dry and got drier, 05:55 the agro liquid plot with the infra fertility and that available fertility right under the plant, um, made a world of difference enough, 06:04 it wasn't visible. Alright, so I'm gonna play the devil's. I'm gonna play the skeptical viewer, I'm gonna play the skeptical listener right now. Um, 06:10 if you're not getting adequate precipitation, which much of the country was struggling in June, including where I live, what the hell difference does it make if you ain't got water fertility's worth 06:19 nothing? Answer me that. Well, Yes and no. So on the corn side, on beans, I would somewhat agree right? On beans, you're doing, uh, vegetative growth, 06:27 but you don't have a lot of reproduction except for setting nodes, right? Right. And the bean to a certain extent is still gonna set those nodes. 06:36 Corn wise though, we are setting yield potential basically V three and on. Okay? 06:43 So if that plan is nutrient deficient when it's setting yield potential, now we can, I wouldn't say make it up, 06:49 but kind of compensate for it by putting more weight on things later. But if you can't get the rose set, if you can't get the kernels around set, 06:59 those are, those are things you're not gonna get back, right? Mm-hmm. And we're setting those early, so that's why we want them. 07:04 And essentially this comes back to what we're trying to do with our planner fertility program anyway. We're not trying to feed it for the entire year. 07:11 We're trying to trick that plant essentially into setting really big potential and then fill it the rest of the year. Okay? 07:18 We're not putting enough fertility on with the planter to make it the whole year. Right? But we're trying to tell the plant, 07:23 here is all the available fertility you need, set a 22 round and a 50 long and then we can fill it later. By the way, we've talked about it a lot. We, we covered a commodity classic. 07:34 We've covered it in different episodes here, but I think that bears, uh, revisiting about the art of spoonfeeding. You know, even Matt, uh, 07:42 miles talks about until a few years ago, until he really started digging into this and, and getting with the extreme man guys, 07:48 he was throw a whole bunch of fertility out there and you know, the reality is his soil, his soil leeches out by the time you need it, 07:56 it's gone well, where you are, you got good soils, you don't have the best Illinois soils, but you got better than Arkansas soils, frankly. Yeah. You don't have to spoonfeed it. 08:07 You could put a bunch of fertility out preseason or fall even and probably be okay, but you're still probably losing, 08:14 you're probably losing yield potential. That's right. So the grower standard practice here is probably 200 to two, 180 to 250 pounds of pre-plan hydrus in the fall. 08:24 200 and 300 pounds dry spread of dap and potash. That's kind of a grower standard, right? There's gonna be variations on that, but it's gonna be very similar 08:34 If I call the co-op up in your part of the world and say, give me the standard stuff on grandma's farm over here, 08:41 they're gonna bring out that mix. Yep. Something like that. Yeah. Yep. 08:46 So what we're doing, what our program here is that, but we still have challenges, you know, like we have soils that have high reserve of fertility, 08:54 but a lot of that fertility is not plan available. So we're doing two things with our planner and in-season applications we're adding soluble fertility that's available and we're adding products like, 09:08 uh, some of the solubilizers and things we've used to make what we have more available because we could have, I mean, 09:15 we literally have thousands of pounds of potassium in our soils. Yeah. But once it dries out, we're not gonna get it out. 09:21 Yeah. Isn't that, isn't there something didn't, maybe you told me this. Uh, you know, the old way of thinking is do you have enough potash out there? Well, 09:28 probably, probably like 10 times what you need. But doesn't, it doesn't move. Isn't that, isn't that the one that doesn't move? Like it, 09:33 like if it's eight inches off of your roots, you're never gonna get it. So phosphorus doesn't move. Um, 09:39 the potash side will leach if you have ample water, but the clay content in the soil will lock that potash away. So, 09:49 Um, answer me then about the availability. You still do think there's gonna be a time now you're convinced at time of planning, 09:57 put in stuff in furrow and then come back again and do a couple more passes. Are you now gonna start doing more, more fertility, 10:05 more regularly with less quantities each time? Well, I think that's the trend. I mean, we're, there are things we're gonna do pre-plant that we are fairly con Sure. 10:15 Is are gonna stick around. Um, like we can go out like Kelly does and and run 70 to 120 pounds of anhydrous in the fall and be really confident that that's gonna be 10:26 around because of the soil types we have. Yeah. It's not, it's not gonna go away between October and and April. No. Um, but we can't go out on, 10:34 especially on all of our soils and put 200 on there's places we can. Mm-hmm. Um, but I would argue that at least some of that fertility is being, 10:42 is still being lost, but then replaced with the soil itself providing nitrogen back. What about then from, and this is, we don't cover as much as we probably should. 10:53 Obviously the guys pick on temple roads about the environmental issue and the Chesapeake Bay region. You're in Illinois, 11:00 a state that is obviously very agricultural, but also very regulatory. Are we gonna get to where our old practices actually are going to be 11:09 regulated out? Like Yeah, you can't go out and put excessive amounts of fertility on in October when obviously then it's on frozen ground come December and it could, you know, 11:18 be washing into our waterways. I think that day is coming Your thought I think it's coming faster in Illinois than it is in Iowa For sure. You know, 11:27 and, and there are several Illinois groups that are, are trying to proactively say, well look at all the stuff we're doing. Which I mean, kudos to them as a way to stave that off. Yeah. 11:38 But, and the re and the reality is if we don't do it, you know, if we can continue to do some of the things we're doing, 11:44 it's going to be a problem. Right. Right. You mean This. And quite honestly, economics wise, it doesn't make sense either. But that's a, that's a cultural practice you have to change. 11:53 Yeah. When economics jives with environmentalism, it's actually a good thing. But sometimes that's, uh, it doesn't, 12:00 isn't enough for the environmental groups because they wanna win. They want to win in Springfield at the State House, 12:05 whatever that thing should be. I think that day is coming. I think it's probably much faster than most people think where there's going to 12:11 be, uh, a lot more scrutiny on us. When you said that the groups that we're talking about, like the Illinois Corn Growers or whatever, 12:17 they're talking about buffer strips and the C r p and, and reduced tillage and all that stuff, which is all great. Uh, but let's face it, there's lots of places that ain't happening. 12:25 No. And and to be honest, you know, farmers are, are just as guilty of being the problem here as, as the environmentalist is. I mean, 12:34 farmers can be incredibly stubborn and if they've done a something a certain way for a long time, their initial reaction, 12:43 at least a lot of them, the initial reaction is gonna be, well, you shouldn't tell me how to do this 'cause I've been doing this forever. 12:50 That may be true, but the fact you've been doing it forever doesn't mean it's the best course of action. 12:55 I'm so glad you said that because I get, I get sometimes people lashing out when I say that because what you just said is very accurate and very true. All right, so about the, the, the results. 13:06 When were we, what, what do you think we're gonna see from here? You're at tassel, obviously your, your corn's not your corn's full. 13:12 Well, we're all, I mean, we're all over. I've got stuff that's approaching tassel or at tassel. I've got stuff that literally just emerged in the last two weeks mm-hmm. 13:20 Because we finally got enough rain to get it to come up. So, Okay. Take me from here. Now forward, we're recording this on July 12th. 13:25 What's the fertility program from here? Forward to Jive With what on that 40 acres? On that 40 acres plot with agri liquid? 13:33 You've already got four products or five that time of planting now what? Yeah, so we're got, 13:39 we're gonna break that plot up into three different sub trials essentially. Yep. To try some of their other products in the Y drop application. We're, 13:49 we're gonna start that probably next week at this point. Um, at v I think we're V six, V seven on that plot. And, 13:58 you know, some of the things we're gonna do with them is we're replace our potassium source, excuse me, replace our potassium source, 14:08 uh, with their calibrate product, which we use at planning. We're gonna also try replacing our sulfur source with their access product. 14:16 We're gonna do some trials where we're add some more calcium. Um, and I think there's one more. Let me look and make sure. 14:24 So you're breaking the 40 year plot into four subsequent then tests on how you do July or August, uh, treatments. 14:33 That's right. So how we do our two wide drop applications, we're gonna change the products and those from our grower standard mm-hmm. 14:38 To three different versions of, of the, of something similar with an agro product. We're recording this mid-July. Your next treatment's coming up in the next week. 14:47 Yeah. Week. Yeah. Yeah. And then, and then, uh, late August, Uh, we'll probably do, let's see, it's, it'll be the, 14:55 call it the second week or third week of July. We'll probably hit it again in two or three weeks. Yeah. So beginning of August and then the, uh, hope that you, uh, like what, 15:03 what does excite you? What do you think? Okay. You know what, this is something I'd be excited to bring 'em out here and show 'em my property 15:09 in Illinois because I'd wanna say, man, look what we learned. What is, uh, what is like what's success look like for you? 15:15 Well, I mean, success looks the same every year for us. It's at the end of the day, you know, it may look pretty, but does it return dollars? And I would like to see, you know, 15:23 two x Now if we don't, if it's one and a half, but it's a big number, that's fine. But at the end of the day, 15:30 it has to pencil minus the cost of product. And that's Two, two x meaning you'd like to at least get whatever you spend on this, you'd like to get double that in way of revenue. 15:38 That's right. If I spend $50, I wanna see a hundred dollars. We sometimes we get there, sometimes we get 150, but it just 15:44 Depends. Yeah. Right, right. Yeah. Some point, you know, to go, even if you say, well, you know, I spent 50 and it made me, uh, maybe 51. Well, 15:53 not if you also had to spend a lot of time, because a lot of times farmers, uh, the other thing that they do is they don't sometimes think about the, the time. 15:59 What about then, uh, any problems or any concerns? Like, is there anything that you looked at and you're like, Hey, there's one thing. 16:06 Since we've never done it this way, I need to be concerned about. Is there anything like the person overusing, did you cut back? 16:14 You cut back other places, right. So you don't have a Yeah, you definitely could. I mean, we're, you could definitely, and we're still moving pounds around and moving dollars around, right. 16:21 So we're trading a less expensive, I don't wanna say dangerous, but more prone to crop injury source in a different location to 16:31 a more expensive, safer source. So there, there's a thing there, but in this case, you know, adding stuff in furrow, we're already making that pass. Right. 16:43 And we're already doing the inferral, so we're not changing anything there. It's just a matter of changing products. So yeah. Honestly, if this works, 16:50 you know, it's, it doesn't change my world a whole lot other than where we're spending some money 16:55 Removing something more dangerous. Uh, everybody winced a little bit. I assume you're talking about anhydrous. 17:00 Well, no, in this case, what I'm talking about is, is a high salt, fertilize fertility next to the plant, dangerous to the plant itself. Not to. 17:07 Okay. Okay. I thought it was dangerous to you. So dangerous meaning the salt, which is something that we never thought about. 17:12 I never heard about salt being salt, saturating, uh, you know, saturation points, et cetera, et cetera. 10 years ago. That's more of a new, uh, 17:21 new thing on our radar. Am I right? Yeah. And, and, and the all fertilizer, well, I wouldn't say all, but most fertilizers in some way, shape or form are salt. Right. 17:31 The danger is not the fact that it's a salt, it's a concentration thing. All right. So Mr. Swanson, um, the experiment, 17:37 you're excited about what you're seeing so far. We're, we're not to the finish line yet. Uh, take me, take me down the road and, uh, tell me what you're, uh, 17:45 what you're hoping to see and also what excites you and also the, the big pullback on man. Uh, I'm, I'm, I'm the only, my only concern is this. 17:52 So kind of tell me your excitement and also your concern. Yeah, so I mean, we're taking a, 17:57 we're taking a practice that we tried abandoned and now we're trying it again in a different formulation, and we're seeing at least some success in it. 18:05 Obviously we wanna see yield results, and then we wanna see whether those yield results generate a return on investment. That's gonna be the end all be all here. Um, but, you know, 18:14 for this particular trial, we're not changing or adding a pass or doing anything like that. So all we really need to see is does the product return the investment we have 18:23 in, um, in this case it certainly looks like it's going to, but we'll, we'll have to see that when the combine rolls. Um, 18:33 again, I think this just, you know, it, it highlights the idea that, you know, we've tried things in the past, we try things every year. 18:40 Sometimes we go away from practices that don't, that aren't successful for us, but it never hurts to go back and revisit it, 18:47 which is exactly what we're doing in this case. And, and see how that turns out. So 18:52 I mean, I, I know that we said that, that everything that's old is new again, but that's not necessarily true because we improve it. You know, uh, 18:58 maybe that's not true with fashion. Everything that's old comes back again, what's in style comes back, you know, from afros to bell bottoms to whatever. 19:04 But the thing is, we actually improve the, the fashion here. I'll go with a soybean population. 19:10 It's been one of my favorite things since joining Extreme Ag. You know, it used to be throw more soybeans out there, help drill soybeans go out there, 19:17 which Chad Henderson calls a controlled spill. Drill is a controlled spill. And now we're learning cut back population, give 'em more space, they do more. 19:25 I mean, there's a lot of these things that we went, we went a different direction and we're going back to sort of a, a, a previous, a previous practice. 19:33 Well, and it is just a matter of like, as genetics change, as fertility change, you know, the, 19:37 the things that we do in furrow now as a group that are very similar kind of across the group. 19:43 Those are things that five years ago we weren't even really thinking about. Or it was something that, wow, it would be great if we could do this, 19:50 but nobody makes that product. You know what I mean? Right. In some cases, we had to build that product and in some cases something came along. So it's, 19:57 you cannot be afraid to revisit something that you've previously discarded because you're in a new situation with a new product. 20:05 I think that right there is where we're gonna leave it. So you are experimenting with something and you are revisiting, uh, an old practice, 20:11 which is actually a new practice and it's been a modified practice. You're doing that with a bunch of products from Agro liquid, 20:16 which we're excited about. Keep us posted. By the way, if you are an extreme ag person, you've been paying attention to what we do here. We do this all the time, 20:23 literally hundreds of episodes of cutting the curve. Also, hundreds of videos that guys like Matt Swanson and me with the other guys have 20:29 produced it's Extreme Ag Farm. You can access all this for free. Share it with them, somebody that can benefit from this. 20:35 Our entire intention here is to help you up your farming game, and maybe it's time for you to try something that you used to do, 20:42 but come back and do it a second time. Do it better this time with some new technology. It's what Mr. Swanson's doing on his plot over there in Western Illinois. 20:50 Stay tuned for more stuff. Thanks for being here, Mr. Swanson. Yeah, thank you, Damon. By the way, he went and put on a hat if you're watching this, 20:57 he insisted on wearing a hat, and it looks like this thing has been like, shot with a 12 gauge and ran over by a semi. 21:03 So I'm really glad he put that on because he wanted to, you know, have the right appearance. Anyway, so the next time, one, one got burned, 21:09 so it wa yeah, the other one got burned in the truck. Alright, till next time, thanks for being here. Extreme ag cutting the 21:14 Curve. That's a wrap for this episode of Cutting the Curve, but there's plenty more. 21:19 Check out Extreme where you can find past episodes, instructional videos and articles to help you squeeze more profit 21:27 outta your farm. Cutting the curve is brought to you by Advanced Drainage Systems, the leader in agriculture, water management solutions.