Early vs. Late Fertility Applications: Finding the Right Time for Optimal Crop Growth
3 Apr 247m 45s

Temple Rhodes champions a farming approach that prioritizes efficiency, especially given the upcoming year's challenges. He's adopted a strategy of distributing fertility more towards the later stages of crop development, contrasting with traditional methods that emphasize upfront nutrient application.

00:00 Hey guys, temple Rose from Extreme Ag here. Here we are. Commodity Classic. Again, it's 2024. And uh, Galen's here with me from Agri Liquid 00:09 and we're gonna sit here and I don't know that we're gonna argue Galen, but I take a different stance on fertility, 00:16 my stance on fertility, especially in this upcoming year, right? So I'm about efficiency. We have to be in our area. 00:24 One of the things that I learned a lot last year and in years previous is I'm starting to drag some of that fertility out of the beginning. 00:31 And I'm putting it further into the end. I'm gonna tell you what you're doing is like, you might have more of a, 00:36 what I would consider a blow and grow method. And I know that that's terrible to say 'cause you're really not blowing and growing, 00:42 but you're putting a lot of fertility up front. What I'm finding is, is I'm trying to follow the stages of the crops as we go along 00:49 and what their nutrient needs are. And I feel like I've got, I've become a lot more efficient by doing that. 00:56 Yeah. Temple, I understand where you're at, kind of the microscope you get under from, uh, the, the public. And I went to your field day last year 01:04 and you've talked about those late applications. It makes me a little uncomfortable because for me, I always think that you need to get 01:11 that phosphorus out there early, get those micronutrients. I feel like how you start is how you finish. 01:16 And you're saying how you finish is how you finish, you know, Start good, but you know, 01:21 I mean you have to finish really strong. And what I found is, is like when you take the crops requirements 01:26 and let's use corn for example. Phosphorus in the beginning. To me, we only need about 20% of our available phosphorus 01:34 into that plant from the beginning. So in my mind it's somewhere around six to eight pounds. I need to figure out how I can get six 01:40 or eight pounds into that up until V six and from V six till tassel. There's not a big utilization 01:47 of phosphorus if we're just gonna talk about phosphorus. And then I have this big upswing in, in our stages. 01:54 I feel like it's done a better job. And it, one of the things in my area is, is like phosphorus in every soil really gets tied up very easy. 02:04 So if I front load all my phosphorus, is that immediately tied up pretty quick? Well, and that comes back to management practices. 02:15 I think there's things farmers can do for one, keep their soil in balance. And I realize that can be unrealistic at times. 02:21 I think that helps keep nutrients available. But I also think that, you know, putting phosphorus in a bandit application Yep. 02:28 Even if it's early in the season, I do think it helps. I think the thing that makes me a little uncomfortable and I get why you're doing it, 02:35 but, uh, I've, I've been around ag long enough to know that the best laid plans don't always go the way they're supposed to. 02:42 So if I sit there and say I got 40 uh, pounds of phosphorus that's due in a V eight and it rains 02:49 or something goes against me, what, how are you gonna manage that? That That's, that's tough and that's tricky. 02:54 I mean you could always add a little bit more, but you hit on something and I'm really big on that. You know, I don't know that we can actually, 03:03 and you may argue with this, but can we actually balance our soil? I am more into, I know 03:09 that I have extremely unbalanced soil. I know that I can't build my soil. Yeah. I know that it's spent millions 03:15 of years becoming what it is. Can I actually make a difference on my soil? Right? Because I feel like I can't make the difference, 03:21 but what I can make the difference on, I can make a certain application and give the plants its needs 03:27 and I can balance that nutrition. Now that is a struggle if you don't make that rain event. How do you overcome that? What, what's your suggestions? 03:35 'cause I haven't been in that situation yet, but it could be up till then. Yeah. And I think that's what worries me a little 03:41 bit is phosphorus. We've seen some movement in some crops of phosphorus in through a foliar feed, 03:47 but I just don't know how much we can rely on that. So I think if guys are gonna manage phosphorus and move it to later stages, I think they need to plan three 03:56 or four times they can get it out there. Maybe that side dress, maybe that wide drop, that's where, and then maybe if they need to some foliar late, 04:03 but don't rely too heavily on that foliar late. Yeah. So what I'm doing is, is I'm, I'm putting some up front and on planter applied 04:11 and then I'm coming back and my first sidedress pass and I'm putting a little bit and then my, my last wide drop pass, it's heavier out towards that 04:18 because I know I'm ramping up to probably get around 60% of my phosphorus needs in the end. 04:23 So I'm gonna try to get it in that plant then. And then that late season application that we made, you were standing there at my field day. 04:31 Yes. Airplanes flying over and Gale and you were like, what are you doing? That's right now that was a little bit 04:37 of a send it situation. Yeah. Maybe I'll be in a little more of a save it situation this year instead. 04:42 But we found a tremendous res, you know, we had a tremendous response with that. But what we're finding out is we're digging down further. 04:51 Instead of staging the crop and knowing what the requirement is now, now we're digging down into gdu so we can time the GDU 04:58 and get exactly the right time. What we found last year, and I don't know why, and maybe you could explain this with late season, so 05:07 at 2,250 gdu, that was the sweet spot. But if we went out to 2,400 gdu and this particular corn that we were standing in that day, 05:19 that black layered at 27 20 I think, yeah. When we got out over 2,450, we had a decrease in yield. Why is that? 05:29 Man, you're asking the question that can be hard to explain. And I, I think that's uh, one, one of the lessons 05:34 that we still learn by, uh, some of these applications you're doing as far as that diminishing returns. 05:40 I don't have an easy answer for you. Maybe it did cause some sort of leak season stress. It's a fine line between feeding that plant 05:47 and then maybe doing something that it's not prepared to handle at that late season. And you made a good point on not being able 05:54 to balance your soil 'cause it's been around forever. And I would agree with you there. I always tell guys, you can balance any soil, 06:01 but can you balance it and be profitable? And so what you're saying is, is you've come to the recognition that you're not gonna get your soul 06:08 perfect, but you're learning to manage around that and that late season application is one way to do it. How late? I think 06:15 that's a question you're gonna have to answer. Well That's kind of what we're diving into. We're trying to find the exact timing 06:20 where we can make these applications and it's all, it all goes back to efficiency. We have to, in this marketplace that's coming up, we have 06:27 to be efficient 'cause we don't have anything else. Right. And the other reason that I'm dragging it on through to the end, the reason we wanna do that is 06:34 because I don't know, I can spend the dollars throughout the season as I see the season going. 06:41 So if the season looks good, let's say the commodity prices come up a little bit. Let's say that we have a weather event. Mm-Hmm. 06:47 I can either turn on or turn off. So that's gonna help me economically. Absolutely. I mean it, you're making an informed decision 06:56 every day is new information. Right? My crop looks good, I've got good yield potential. And the other thing you can do that I will give you credit 07:03 for in that situation is you delay that expense in today's world of higher interest rates. That matters a little bit too. 07:11 It really does. So if you can drag that out. So we're not talking about nutrient efficiency, we're talking about nutrient use, efficiency 07:20 and efficiency of finances. Yes. And I'm not saying you're wrong with those late season, uh, applications. 07:26 I'm just saying it makes me a little uneasy because I know that things can go wrong Sometimes you have to push the limit 07:32 before you find out the truth. So that's kind of where I'm at. So your limit, my limits might be a little different, 07:37 but uh, I'm glad you're out there doing it. Well Guys, there's a lot to learn here today. Come on out and visit us.

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