Read proyield pub fall 2004.qxp text version

· The industry leader for Root Zone Building · Operating depth from 8 to 22 inches · 39 inches of under frame clearance · Auto-reset shanks with 16 inches of trip height · Models available from 3 to 12 shanks · New for 2004 ­ 6, 8, 10 and 12 shank pull-type models

The Brillion Zone Commander lets you remove compaction, place fertility and prepare the seedbed. Optional available equipment includes: Disc Closers, 20"Baskets, Row Markers and Hitches. Get the industry's toughest tillage tools by calling 1-800-409-9749. Or visit 8 4 9 for your local Brillion dealer.

ProYieldTM Quarterly

FALL 2004 -- VOL. 1, ISSUE 3 -- IDN 900_062_13


COVER STORY: A Comprehensive Look at Combine-Preventive Maintenance


ProfitPro, LLC

408 S. 1st Ave., Albert Lea, MN 56007 TOLL 1-888-875-2425 8 8 2 PHONE (507) 373-2550 2 FAX (507) 373-2520 2

According to Kuchar, farmers only have to spend a few days each year and minimal dollars to better maintain their combines, improve harvesting, save repair bills and make more money from their crops. by Loren Manthey Find out how you can save thousands of dollars this harvest.






Anhydrous Ammonia: "Overused, Misused and Abused"


Soybean Aphids








EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Economics or Agronomics?

Choose your nitrogen source wisely this Fall. Anhydrous ammonia may be more detrimental than you think.

by Faye Rudsenske

One May Be Too Many

The newly arrived pest is now firmly settled throughout the Midwest.

by Dr. Walker Kirby




ADVERTISING: OVERVIEW 2 New Seed Coating System is a Winning Formula . . . . . 3 The Benefits of Biologicals . . . . . by Dr. Walker Kirby

by Dr. Jim Ladlie CONTACT THE ADVERTISING DEPT. AT 1-888-875-2425 / (507) 373-2550 OR EMAIL AT [email protected]

SOIL SCIENCE 4 Pro-Active Soil Fertility Management (SAPNC) . . . . . by John Oolman VERTICAL TILLAGE 5 Traffic Control in the Field . . . . . by Lorn Manthey NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT 14 Managing Soil pH for Improved Crop Performance . . . . . by Dr. Walker Kirby and Vince Wertman PLANTING 18 Fall Prep for Vertical Tillage . . . . .

by Lorn Manthey and Faye Rudsenske



EMAIL US AT [email protected], MAIL US AT


EQUIPMENT 20 Liquid Fertility Program . . . . . by John Oolman and Lorn Manthey 22 Fall Banding Compliments Vertical Tillage System . . . . . by Dennis Klockenga DOLLARS & SENSE 24 Major Cost Savings Realized with Conservation Tillage Methods . . . . . WEATHER 25 Increase in Crop Growth is Changing Our Weather . . . . . by John Madura WEB & TECHNOLOGY 26 The Search Is On: Using the Internet Wisely . . . .

by Frank Soukup III © 2004 ProfitPro, LLC. All rights reserved. by Lorn Manthey

This publication, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from ProfitPro, LLC. The ProYieldTM Quarterly is published four times a year by the ProYieldTM Vertical Tillage Coalition. Articles in the publication should not be considered legal interpretations or actual recommendations for specific practices on your farm. Neither the Publisher or the Coalition are responsible for any loss or damage as a result of reliance on material or information described in this publication. SUMMER 2004, VOL. 1, ISSUE 2 IDN 900_062_12

GROWER PROFILES 27 In Their Own Words: Dave Henning of Lakefield, Minn. Q&A 28 with Dr. Jim Ladlie

. . . . by John Madura

ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004



These corn seeds have been coated with seed emergence aid, bio-stimulants and bio-fungicides with inoculants on the soybean seeds. Seed coating not only provides early seedling stimulation and improved health, but can also pro-size small seeds into uniform size. Seed coating translates into convenience, less labor requirements and less down time at planting.

Pythium, Rhizoctonia and Fusarium. It colonizes roots from germination and continues to grow throughout the season. University researchers have evaluated T-22 for many years and determined that additional benefits associated with this product include:

Improved stand establishment by protecting emerging seedling roots from damping off diseases. Lower at-harvest moisture levels for silage and grain crops. Greater root exploration for increased nutrient uptake Increased yield potential because of healthier plants

arming as a system is sometimes a difficult concept for some to grasp. However, growers who use the ProYieldTM Vertical Tillage System know that high yields and crop quality are the result of a system rather than an individual disciplines. A vertical tillage system optimizes and complements each component. Now, with the addition of ProfitCoatTM, a polymer seed coating system, ProfitProTM offers growers the option of even more enhanced productivity for their 2005 corn and soybean crops.

Multi-fold Benefits The benefits of using coated seed are multi-fold. First, coating the seed provides a method to conveniently deliver specific amounts of products to promote early plant growth and health. Coating technology can also produce a consistently uniform seed by ProsizingTM.

As a natural extension of the traditional pesticide, fungicide and nutrient applications, seed coating is basically a one-stop shop. Dust-free and stable against abrasion, the encapsulation protects the seed and the physical stability of the active ingredients. The benefits of lower dosage levels translate into lower input cost and a safer work approach for both the operator and the environment. The ideal placement of an added nutrient coating targets the root at the crucial early growth stage, which stimulates earlier emergence and healthy growth from 2 ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004

T-22 supplements chemical fungicides because it lasts longer - up to 50 - 60 days © ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved. and acts as a bio-barrier to pathogens. It can work as a bio-stimulant and increase germination on. Another major advan- root and stock mass, as well as protect tage is crop uniformity. Uniform seed size roots hairs, which is where the plant's translates to a uniform stand and nutrient uptake occurs. emergence because uniform seed size ABM 127 for soybeans contains the plants more consistently. beneficial fungus Gliocladium virens and With an Ag industry estimate that a has been shown to enhance root growth grower's time is worth approximately by colonizing the roots and the $1500 an hour during planting season, rhizosphere (the soil around the roots). It seed coating makes good business also enhances microbial activity and sense. It translates into convenience, promotes healthy roots and plants. A less labor requirements and less down healthier plant can better survive the time at planting. affects from undesirable pathogens such as Phytophthora, Pythium, and Customized Seed Coating Deleterious Rhizobacterium (DRB) root Beginning next winter, ProfitPro will offer rots; not to mention adverse weather growers the opportunity to customize conditions. In recent replicated trials, ABM their corn and soybean seed coating with 127 has been found to be adaptable to several options including seed many different types of soils. emergence aid, bio-fungicide, bio-stimulants, nitrifying bacteria and These are just two abbreviated exseed-applied calcium as well as amples of available seed coatings. inoculants on soybeans. The seed Watch for more information on seed emergence aid package replaces the coating in the December issue of the need for a starter or pop up fertilizer ProYield Quarterly. Call ProfitPro at although a pop up starter can be used in 1-888-875-2425 now to obtain additional information on ProfitCoat. addition if the grower chooses. The standard seed coating package for corn will cost approximately $8.00/Acre and $10/Acre for soybeans. Inoculants and additional seed coating options to build on the standard soybean package will be available to the grower. For example, T-22, which is for corn, is a patented, EPA-registered biofungicide consisting of a hybrid strain of Trichoderma harzianum. T-22 colonizes corn roots and protects against seed decay and damping off diseases like CORRECTION:

An incorrect source for a modified diagram of the internal anatomy of a corn plant at the NCIS 10-leaf stage was shown on page 9 of the Spring 2004 ProYield Quarterly. It should have been attributed to the R. Kent Crookston of the University of Minnesota Extension Service. The magazine and its staff apologize for this oversight. The following is used with permission from the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

Vertical Zone Tillage Study: Effects of In-Slot Biological Treatments and VZT - June 2003

Biologicals applied behind the shank and in the slot, Fall 2002


Soil Compaction (PSI)

Biologicals: Balance LEB at 9 oz/Acre + Balance ME at 9 oz/Acre

Root Growth Restriction Begins @ 300 PSI

The Benefits of Biologicals

compiled by Dr. Walker Kirby ver the past 50-60 years, farming practices have made a dramatic shift away from soil management to soil dominance. The increasing reliance on chemicals to subdue every uncertainty has resulted in a tremendous reduction in microbial life and a concomitant increase in fractious fragipans. Progressive farmers have now become cognizant of the need to

Vertical Zone Tillage Study: Effects of In-Slot Biological Treatments - June 2003

Biologicals applied behind the shank and in the slot, Fall 2002


Depth to Compaction Zone


Sampling Depth (inches)

Graph 1 (above) presents a comparison of soil compaction readings (PSI) for two treatments, no VZT/no biologicals and VZT/biologicals. The graph clearly shows the benefits of the two treatments with respect to depth of soil compaction. The lower line represents the treated area while the upper line is a control or no treatment. The compaction zone was lowered from approximately 10 to over 29 inches, a gain in rooting depth of 20 inches.

Soil Compaction (PSI)

Graph 2 (right) shows a comparison of VZT alone and VZT with biologicals. The combination treatment increased the working depth of the soil by an additional 10 inches from compaction at 19 inches to a new depth of 29 inches. Graph 3 (below) shows a comparison of three sampling areas-in the slot, 6 inches from the slot and in a non-VZT area. The lower line is the preferred treatment, combining the VZT system with biologicals. Although the biologicals were applied in the slot, it is apparent that they have moved outward by the reduced compaction readings 6 inches from the slot. The control treatment of no biologicals and no VZT had the highest compaction readings to a depth of 36 inches. Use of biologicals is not limited to the slot alone. They can move into adjacent soils both laterally and vertically and improve soil tilth.

Biologicals: Balance LEB at 9 oz/Acre + Balance ME at 9 oz/Acre

Root Growth Restriction Begins @ 300 PSI


Depth to Compaction Zone


Sampling Depth (inches)

Vertical Zone Tillage Study: Effects of In-Slot Biological Treatments On Soil Compaction In the Slot and 6" From Slot - June 2003

Biologicals applied behind the shank and in the slot, Fall 2002

improve the "soil balance," a term that refers to microbial life, soil tilth and proper fertility. ProfitProTM researchers conducted an experiment to evaluate the benefits of adding biologicals and vertical zone tillage (VZT) for improving soil structure. Two products, BalanceTM LEB (Liquid Enzyme Blend) and BalanceTM ME (Microbial Energizer) were applied behind the shank in a vertical zone tillage system in the fall of 2002. These biologicals are composed of compounds that provide stimulation as well as a food and energy source for existing soil microflora. The objective of the biologicals was to stimulate the growth of beneficial micro-organisms that provide positive effects. Note the difference in the graphs using biologicals within the vertical tillage system. ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004 3

Soil Compaction (PSI)

Biologicals: Balance LEB at 9 oz/Acre + Balance ME at 9 oz/Acre

Root Growth Restriction Begins @ 300 PSI

Depth to Compaction Zones




Sampling Depth (inches)


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Based on the SAPNC data, ProfitPro can supply several specialized and unique products as well as other major nutrients and micronutrients that can be blended to meet the crop-specific needs of corn, soybeans, small grains, legumes and vegetables. A tailored fertility and soil amendment program based on the SAPNC analysis can be customized for a specific crop and soil type. For example, a grower with high magnesium soils may need an amendment of gypsum. Reducing the magnesium level will allow the soil to become less tight and sticky, and it will be easier to till, be better drained and less cold and wet in the spring for planting. Recommendations for soils with high or low pH, OM, N, P, Mg, Ca, Na, K, S, Zn, Mn, Fe, Cu and B can also be made.

ifty years ago, it was impossible to envision all of the technological advances that would impact every sector of the agricultural industry. From the size and horsepower of modern day farm equipment to GPS navigation systems, biotechnology and computers, the face of farming is changing forever. While modern day technology has helped stack the odds in their favor, many farmers still face a multitude of uncontrollable factors that influence crop production.

efficient manner. It is the first step in implementing the vertical tillage system and a complete analysis will point growers in the right direction.

This powerful crop management tool was designed to help farmers make intelligent decisions on plant nutrient requirements and the appropriate application timing for optimum growth during the plant's life span. Using Growing Degree Days (GDDs), the calculator determines the Plant tissue samples analyzed by SAPNC NPK and other nutrient needs at various also show sufficiency levels of all the major and micronutrients, timing applicagrowth stages. tions, application amounts and rate.

SAPNC Function

Until recently, soil type was considered In brief, the SAPNC: one of those uncontrollable factors as Converts raw soil, plant tissue and well. Every farmer knows that all soils irrigation water data into specific were not created equal. Producers who recommendations demand top yields often become Balances soil fertility levels for frustrated when, despite their best efforts, optimum output the quality and yield are less than ideal. Defines plant nutrient requirements at Now, thanks to modern technology, key growth stages dealing with a myriad of soil types has become easier than ever to manage. Suggests specific nutrients and pinpoints

For irrigation users, water samples can be analyzed for sodium and other salts and modifications made to correct current and future problems.

The Soil Amendment and Plant Nutrient Calculator ProfitPro's Soil Amendment and Plant Nutrient Calculator (SAPNC) is a software program that simplifies the fertilizer selection process with easy-tounderstand choices based on economic alternatives. It analyzes soil, plant tissue and irrigation water testing data and makes recommendations based on type of fertilizer or amendment and application rate in the most effective and cost4 ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004

Benefits With the assistance of ProfitPro's crop management specialists and soil testing, tissue analysis and irrigation water information analyzed by SAPNC can optimal nutritional and application rates for a wide range of crops provide amendment needs for crops. This service Recommends precise application timing can be accomplished in-person, mailed, for greatest effectiveness faxed, by phone and/or by e-mail. In Calculates exact cost per acre based on summary, the SAPNC simplifies the products used and application rates fertilizer selection process. It's just one If a corn plant needs more NPK and more technological marvel that puts micronutrients at certain phases, the growers back in the driver's seat. SAPNC determines those requirements based on GDDs that covers its entire life cycle. If a high amount of nitrogen is needed at a certain time, the SAPNC establishes quantity, timing and the most efficient method of delivery.



ield compaction created by heavy equipment is done primarily twice a year--when tillage or planting equipment is driven across fields that are too wet or, in the Fall, when combines loaded to the gills traverse the fields, often pursued by large grain carts that fill on the go. Some operators are switching their combines to super large flotation tires, duals that better distribute the weight, or even track systems and oversized rear tires.

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2 Deep vertical tillage in the Fall should be done so shanks operate between the rows of standing stalks. In most cases, the residue remains attached to stalks and covers more than 70 percent of the surface area of the field. Drive on the stalks with the shanks and closing wheels blackening a thin zone of soil for spring planting. When the tractor and the deep till machine drive on the rows, the stalks act as a "cushion" to carry and evenly distribute weight. 3 3 Residue mounds around standing cornstalks are a common sight in fields that have been deep tilled in a special wheel pass/shank pattern. Driving on the harvested stalks while shanks till the area between the stalks holds compaction to a minimum if harvesting and grain handling equipment also maintain traffic patterns on the rows rather than between them. 4 4 In the ideal vertical tillage production system, standing stalks that carry the wheel weight in the fall remain during the growing season since corn is planted in the zones that were tilled the previous fall. Nutrients are placed in the zones so roots can reach directly into the banquet of rich soil. Although driven on, the residue remains intact to provide food for soil microlife while protecting the soil from wind and water erosion.

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5 In an active soil biological © ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved. system, the crop residue will de-compose, release plant nutrients and build soil humus. Decomposed crop residue will leave channels for gas exchange (CO2 and O2), water and biological movement and root growth.

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Standing stalks left behind when vertical tillage implements travel between the rows in the fall protect the soil from wind and water erosion, retain moisture for growing plants the following year and provide valuable food for soil microlife. In the spring, planting equipment travels on the residue and the new crop is 5 © ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved. seeded into the fall zones. 6 Traffic control in a vertical tillage system continues during the growing season since spraying equipment uses the old stalk or stubble rows as a roadway to absorb and distribute weight. This field pass is the final burden for the old crop rows. During harvest, the combine, grain cart and vertical tillage equipment should all travel on the crop 6 © ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved. just harvested. ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004 5


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ombine specialist and performance parts supplier George Kuchar of Carlinville, Ill., has spent the better part of 35 years working with combines and combine operators in the United States and Canada. His seminars help combine owners better understand their machines and improve performance.

Sickle Timing

Time the sickle in the center of the platform, not on one end or the other. The center section on the head should always stop in the center of the guard. If done properly, the sickle will cut uniformly and not tear plant stems or shatter the heads or pods, which can leave one to two bushels per acre on the ground.

Auger Setting

Slowing the auger speed will help it feed material evenly off the sickle. If it runs too fast, the material is thrown back toward the sickle and won't move evenly into the auger and the feederhouse. The best speed is about 130-140 rpm; 170-190 rpm is too fast. Change the chain sprocket to set the speed. On many machines, the auger moves more material to the sides of the feederhouse rather than to the center. It should feed evenly across the width of the feederhouse. To improve infeeding, Kuchar suggests removing three fingers from each side nearest the edge of the feederhouse to make it feed more evenly. On rotor machines, remove the same number of fingers.

Reels are often set too fast or too slow. Either way can shatter grain or cause the platform auger to reject material. Kuchar's rule of thumb is to set the reel speed slightly faster than ground speed. "The According to Kuchar, farmers only have to reel should look like it's pulling the spend a few days each year and minimal machine through the field," he advises. dollars to better maintain their combines, Also, locate the reel as far forward and improve harvesting, save repair bills and as high as possible for crop conditions. make more money from their crops. His The fingers should gently tip the crop advice is to go over combines like a toward the auger, not lift it or throw it on doctor gives a patient a thorough top of the auger. physical. "Start the diagnosis at the front of the machine where the sickle meets the grain," he recommends.

Kuchar's advice is to go over combines like a doctor gives a patient a thorough physical.

Reel Setting

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Paint wear patterns on a new head are an indication of performance. On many machines there isn't any wear on the center of the auger, which is not a good sign and means the material is feeding too much to the sides and not enough to the center.


ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004


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Auger Flighting

The main auger should NOT be sharp to the touch like a knife--smooth on top and sharp on the edges. If it's sharp to the © ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved. touch, it could damage grain as it feeds rear sprockets sooner than normal. If into the machine. Kuchar recommends there's more than 1/8-inch slack in the grinding the top edge of the auger flat and chain, plan on replacing it. removing any bends. Operators should also check to be sure Another area to check is the length of the the feederhouse chain is correctly auger flighting, which should never installed. The leading edge of the chain extend more than three inches past the feeding into the machine should be the opening of the feederhouse. If it does, taller part of the slat. In his travels, Kuchar cutting the flighting back will improve has seen many machines with the chain material inflow. On pickup headers, the installed backwards, which reduces length of flighting isn't as critical because capacity and can damage grain as it the material is already in a swath and not feeds into the cylinder. feeding from the sides. Operators should also be careful not to run dirt into their machines. Excessive dirt can cause auger damage in as little as 150-200 hours. Normally, auger wear wouldn't occur until 1200-1400 hours. Rasp bars and the leading edge of the concave are also subject to abnormal wear when dirt runs into the machine.

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damage an engine that sits all winter. His preference is to leave the old oil in the machine over winter and change it in the spring or summer. If any condensation has built up over the winter, changing it before harvest will not only remove the old oil, but get rid of the condensation. Before changing the oil, always warm up the engine to normal operating temperature.

Lubrication Records

Keep an annual record of engine and separator hours and the hours when regular maintenance and lubrication took place. Good records with a used machine © ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved. justify a higher asking price when it's time A good way to check for possible engine to trade or sell. problems is to examine the oil filter. After removing a used filter, cut it in half and Cleaning look for metal particles or shavings in the Always clean your combine in the fall filter element. If present, the engine may before storing it. Use high pressure air to be experiencing unusual wear that should remove dust and chaff buildup. Don't be checked by a mechanic. wash it in the Fall. Reserve washing for warm weather when the machine has Hammer ample time to dry off and won't freeze. Check bearings, belts and hammers. Also, never point high pressure water at Hammers worn more than one-quarter the bearings; moisture will penetrate and should be turned. Any hammer that is shorten their workable life. cracked or broken should be replaced. An even number of hammers should surround the shaft in each rank. An Always grease when the machine is uneven number causes imbalance and warm or when the weather is warm, so excessive wear on the bearings. the bearings take the lubricant. If the weather is cold, grease when you finish for the day so the grease easily moves into the bearings.

Chain Tension

Make sure the chain has the proper tension by checking specifications in the operator's manual. The correct tension should allow you to slide a piece of paper under the chain and remove it without pinching. If the chain is too tight, sprockets and bearings will wear too fast. Chains should run for 2,000 hours or more, but can wear out in 1,000 hours if the machine has been taking in dirt or if tension is incorrect. A worn chain becomes longer in the pitch and doesn't fit the sprocket, eventually wearing out the


Oil Changes

Some people recommend changing oil before storage, and that's fine, but Kuchar doesn't think it's absolutely necessary. He doesn't think impurities in the oil can

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ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004



the 9000 series Deere models, the top of © ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved. Any belt that shows splits or cracks the discharge auger can wear unevenly the wooden pencil test. Place a wooden should be replaced. The feederhouse belt and cause cracked grain. pencil in the bars and if the wood sticks Sieves out from one-sixteenth to one-eighth of an Deere 9000 series sieves are generally inch, the bar needs replacing. Operating good for 3,000 hours before bearings the machine with worn rasp bars loses efficiency, uses more fuel, pulls harder and doesn't thresh as well. Bar replacement pays for itself in one season with better productivity and better capacity.


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is very important. If it becomes worn, slippage can occur and the machine doesn't feed properly. Make sure it is © ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved. properly tensioned, not too tight or too loose. It's easier to replace belts before need to be replaced. If a machine has 4000 hours or more, Kuchar says all the harvest than it is in the field. bearings should be closely checked and probably replaced. If a bearing goes out Chains Check chains for wear and stretching. If during operation, expensive-to-replace lubrication is necessary, use special chain sieve and shoe damage can occur. The 9000 has a seven-piece sieve and chaffer system and more moving parts than the STS models, which have one chaffer and one sieve.

Filler Plates for the Concaves

Rotor Machines In soybeans, use a filler plate under the first concave to keep pods out. In wheat, fill the first concave and half the second one. No filler is needed for corn.

Filler Plate

Case IH Sieves

The rotor machines have a larger sieve that needs to be checked. If the sides show signs of wear, replace the bearings © ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved. lubricant rather than engine oil. The best and bushings. time to apply lubricant is when the chain is Cylinder and Concave Wear warm (at the end of the day), which allows Although wear usually occurs in one area, the surface to accept the lubricant and typically in the center where most of the disperse it into the rollers. Never apply material feeds in, it can also occur on both chain lubricant on a cold day or when the sides and not in the middle. If the machine machine is cold. is running at full capacity and calibrated properly, wear should occur evenly across Discharge Auger Be sure that the discharge auger flighting the cylinder and the concave.

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Cylinder Machines In soybeans, plug the first two slots. In wheat, fill four or five slots depending on how hard it threshes. In corn, don't use any fillers.

Corn Heads

Check for wear at the point where the cob hits the deck plate. If these areas are wearing, replace the deck plate. The auger on the corn head should be set high enough so there are always full ears below the auger while it's running empty. This setting prevents the auger from damaging kernels. Also, a large sprocket can be installed to slow the auger speed, which causes less damage to grain.

is flat and shows even wear. Anytime an A worn concave will reduce threshing auger has sharp rather than flat edges on ability, lower the capacity and might the flighting, grain may be damaged. On damage grain. Kuchar advises operators to check the wear every fall before harvest. Reset the cylinder/concave Snapping rollers will usually show wear in clearance to the recommended specifica- one spot. Once this starts, the rollers tions every 500 acres. should be changed. If not working efficiently, trash goes into the machine, Rasp Bars which cuts capacity, since trash takes up On rotor machines, if wear shows on the space. If extra trash goes in, open up the first two feet of the rotor, adjust or replace deck plates and make sure only the ears © ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved. as necessary. On a cylinder machine, use 8 ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004


On older combines, check the injectors, which are the most neglected part on the machine. Tracking pressure should be checked every 1,000 hours. Many times the pump is not set high enough, so the engine power is low. Faulty injection pumps could lose from 10 to 50 percent of their power. On the 20 series, Kuchar says an operator can turn up the high idle to provide additional power, but not more than 5-10 rpm over factory recommendations.

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Other Machine Checkpoints

Make sure the concave is level and always adjust the concave to the cylinder. Always use the high bar on the front and the back for adjusting. Make sure belts and tighteners are not cracked or worn. Spring tighteners should be loose, not stuck in an open position. If one sticks, the belt will slip and won't slow down enough for the monitor to pick up the change, but it will cause poor performance. Sieves should be taken apart and cleaned every year with air pressure so they adjust easily. If they're dirty, they're hard to set and may be set inaccurately. Never use water to wash electronics, computer, GPS and monitor components. Use air to blow off the dust. Check wiring harnesses for corrosion. Spray an anti-corrosion product on the wiring connections to make the connections absolute so the ohms are up to spec. Top off the radiator fluid and check hoses and connectors. Replace fluid and flush the system after 1,000 hours. Clean the air filter before the start of each season and replace after 500 hours or once a year. Top off transmission fluid and change fluid and filter after 500 hours.

Pump Settings

Kuchar adds that he has seen machines improved from 2.5 to seven miles per hour. He recommends having a good "pump man" go through the pump and injectors every 1,000 hours. Although pumps can run 2,000 or 2,500 hours, preventive maintenance at lower hours keeps performance levels high.

are going in. Too much trash going into the machine can also mean the head is running too fast. Don't speed up the head intending to chop the stalks. Extra speed means extra head loss because ears hit the plate and kernels that shell off the bottom of the ear are lost. A better suggestion is to install knife rolls.

Engine and Drive Train

Change the oil filter every time the oil is changed. Kuchar recommends changing the filter at 125 hours and then change the oil at 300 hours rather than 200 for each. He recommends using a replacement OEM filter. Cut the oil filter apart every time it's changed and check for metal particles or metal filings in the fabric. If any are present, have a mechanic check the engine as there may be problems. Check the transmission fluid level and color. Replace the fluid and filter every 500 hours. On the air filter, don't touch it until the warning light comes on. Don't clean it every day--only as needed. Don't clean the inside safety filter, just the outside one. Be careful not to poke a hole in the filter since the engine can intake dirt, which will cause major problems. Drop the belt on the alternator and spin the pulley. Do the same on the starter. If there's a grinding sound, the bearings could be going.

"...combine downtime can cost from $300 to $400/hr, depending on the size of your operation."

"What most people don't understand," Kuchar says, "is that the factory has a high and low window for pump settings. About 90 percent of the machines are set on the low end, which provides less horsepower and less potential for breaking parts on the machine. Many machines are set below the bottom spec level. If they're near the top end of power range, the machine will operate more efficiently.

"A lot of farmers don't want to take the time to check and clean and examine a combine before harvest," says Kuchar. "Although doing a good job of checking, lubricating and cleaning can take three or four days, it's the best time a person can spend. Chances are you'll catch things and be able to replace or correct the problem. Time spent before harvest "If you haven't got power, you haven't got saves downtime in the field. a productive combine," says Kuchar. "Go over the motor with a fine tooth comb. "I figure that combine downtime can Plan on putting $500-$600 into the cost from $300 to $400 an hour, injectors and pump every two to three depending on the size of your operation. years. Poor injectors can kill the power If you save a couple breakdowns by curve. Injectors can wear out in the first thoroughly going over the machine before harvest, you've saved two to three year, but most last two to three years." thousand dollars. That's a lot of money in anyone's pocket."


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A special thanks to Ag Power of Hollandale, Minn., for providing us with the opportunity to shoot photos of their combines.

ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004



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espite the fact that anhydrous ammonia was used in both World War II and in Viet Nam to make emergency landing strips, and some scientists and environmentalists have long warned about its detrimental effects on the soil, its use in agriculture has become such an inherent part of the fertility package that most don't question its authenticity or side effects. Hailed as a "cheap source" of nitrogen for farmers (but very profitable for its manufacturers), commercial usage of anhydrous ammonia as a form of nitrogen fertilizer gained a foothold in the 1950s and, today, it has a stranglehold in the marketplace. Major questions arise whenever discussion centers on its use. If anhydrous ammonia is so detrimental to the soil, why do farmers continue using it? More importantly, exactly what does it do to the soil?

"While analyzing human and plant ash, the renowned chemist determined that the only minerals plants needed were nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK). If fed synthetically to plants, farmers could force plants to grow and support healthy humans. Based on this premise, he published the book Agricultural Chemistry, the founding testament for the German chemical industry (currently the richest in the world), who began to aggressively market the NPK idea to farmers and suppressed all opposition to their 'artificial manure.'" The article goes on to say: "Had Liebig known about trace minerals, fungus and microbial life, he would have undoubtedly realized what a deadly new science he was launching." 1 With stockpiles of substances used to make bombs left over after WWII that could be converted into chemical fertilizers, an "official" standard of NPK and a little American ingenuity to "sell" the idea of inexpensive nitrogen fertilizer to American farmers thrown in, the stage was set and the agro chemical industry had an immense outlet.

after the Dust Bowl of the "Dirty Thirties" and The Great Depression. Farming was a difficult occupation--mentally, physically and financially. Commercial fertilizers offered a "solution" at the time for increasing yields per acre. It was a quick fix that is now taking decades to change.

"Half of the petro-type fertilizer sold in the United States is applied as anhydrous ammonia (83% N) or as ammonia solutions (aqueous ammonia)."

- Whether that "increased yield" using artificial fertilizer was worth it is certainly open for debate. According to retired National Agrochemical Specialist and pathologist with the USDA-SCS, Dr. Gene Gilbert, cost, easy availability and yield increases were certainly the selling

The NPK Standard According to Robert and Kerrie Broe's website based in Brooksville, Fla., the NPK standard was born out of a paper presented to the British Royal Academy of Sciences in the 1840s by German chemist, Baron Justus Von Liebig, who, by the way, is also credited with the invention of anesthetic chloroform in 1831.

10 ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004

The "Killing Fields" It's no secret that American farmers were looking for a way to increase production

Anhydrous ammonia was used in both World War II and in Viet Nam to make emergency landing stripsfor cargo planes.

points. "Yields did increase for a period of time," he points out, "but then yields started to level off and are now decreasing because of the continued use of chemical fertilizers, in particular, anhydrous ammonia. There's no biology in the system to create a healthy root system, so a lot of pathogens and diseases show up in these fertilized systems."


and makes them available to the plant roots. It also helps reduce wind and water erosion. Injecting anhydrous ammonia causes the humus to dissolve and leach, which robs the soil of nutrients and eventually makes it as hard as concrete. Why is humus so important in the soil and why is it different than organic matter? Kozgro, Inc., of Middleton, Id., has the answer. "The higher the humus level in the soil, the healthier and more productive the soil will be...It is well known that humic acid controls many of the vital processes in the soil and in the plant. If the soil is too acidic or alkaline, or high in salt content, crops will not attain their full production potential. Therefore, if the soil contains enough humus, the plant is healthier and will be less susceptible to insect damage. "There seems to be a false belief among farmers today that organic matter is the same as humus. Organic matter is crop residue that is in the process of decomposition, while humus is decomposed organic matter. Experts agree that 25,000 pounds of corn stalk residue per acre, broken down with nitrogen fertilizer, increases the humus level less than one percent. They also state it is almost impossible to attain a two percent humus level [increase], even if 50,000 pounds of corn residue is plowed down every year for five years in sequence when using today's high salt index fertilization programs. With modern chemical farming practices, a humus level of two percent or more is desired by most farmers, but attained by few. "The natural process of humus production starts with crop residue. This residue can be broken down into organic matter with proper moisture and microorganism activity. However, the nutrients in the organic matter are still not available to the plant. The final stage of decomposition is when the organic matter is broken down into humus. Micro and macro organisms, such as earthworms, along with the proper climatic conditions, are essential to

"...increasing and prolonged use of chemical fertilizer leads to the deterioration of soil structure reducing its ability to hold water."

A Note on U.S. Agriculture

The tuberose website agrees. "Half of the petro-type fertilizer sold in the United States is applied as anhydrous ammonia (83% N) or as ammonia solutions (aqueous ammonia). Straight ammonia and nitrogen destroys the humus in the soil. As soil vitality declines, the stress imposed by a drought is only a catalyst to reveal the soil's inherent susceptibility." 1 Dr. Arden B. Andersen points out in his book, The Anatomy of Life & Energy in Agriculture, that anhydrous ammonia [along with potash] is being overused, misused and abused...and produces great profits for the fertilizer industry. 3 According to Dr. Andersen, anhydrous ammonia generally dehydrates the local area since it attracts the most available water it can. It causes acid-base reactions with the cell wall compounds, which weakens and destroys the cell wall, thus it either inactivates or kills microorganisms. 2 It is certainly general knowledge that microorganisms are very important to crops. So, if microorganisms are inactivated or killed in the soil, is there little wonder that crop yields and quality are declining?

Anhydrous ammonia freezes and kills microlife and earthworms as it enters the soil. Much of the nitrogen is immediately lost in the air.

The Role of Humus No one disputes that nitrogen is essential to life. Without it there is no life. However, it is also important to remember that healthy humus is also an important part of the crop production picture. The partially decomposed organic matter in the topsoil helps retain water and nutrients

© Prentice Hill Publishing

ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004 Summer 2004



Anhydrous is a dangerous resource to use, but shipping from the factory becomes just as dangerous through our nation's waterways and backroads.

intensive farming practices. The agronomic importance of any long term influence due to the sustained use of such fertilizer is self-evident, and should be evaluated thoroughly." 6

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drinking water drawn from wells. It is associated with a disease called methohemoglobenamia--a condition that deprives the brain of oxygen. Infants and small animals are known to be susceptible." 4, 5 Research conducted by soil scientists J.F. Parr and F.E. Khasawhen at the National Fertilizer Development Center in Muscle Shoals, Ala., reached the conclusion that when liquid ammonia, NH3, is injected into the soil, it is transformed into a gaseous state that severely affects the [soil] structure and its water holding and drying ability. Additionally, the tendency to dry out increases towards the center of the retention zone. They also discovered that this drying pattern persists over several months despite dry or wet (rain) conditions. Applying anhydrous ammonia drastically changes the physical and chemical properties of the soil, creating a temporary high pH that can persist for weeks. Their summary says, "Even though the changes caused by the anhydrous ammonia are localized initially, a large volume of soil in a plow layer will be affected over five to 10 years of sustained use of this fertilizer, especially under

Earthworm Count Farming is a physical, chemical and biological process--a system. There is no one single product or tillage practice that will solve everything. Each of those processes must be in sync to attain the highest degree of success. Just as vertical tillage will help reduce compaction and bring back the earthworm, eliminating anhydrous ammonia from the farming operation will also help.

Promoting a healthy soil is vitally important to crop production and earthworms play a very key role in soil health. The destruction of earthworms can significantly affect plant health since they convert organic matter into available plant nutrients like nitrate-nitrogen, ammonium-nitrogen and soluble forms of phosphorus and potassium. A three-year demo project of strip till and conventional till in row crop farming at the Ogallala Aquifer Region show some interesting results in earthworm numbers (see chart on page 13.) Note the difference in the reduced number of worms when anhydrous fertilizer was used.

complete the process of decomposition in order to produce humus. With the coming of the chemical age of farming in the late 1940s, this natural cycle of humus productions has, in many cases been totally destroyed. "The chemicals have destroyed many of the beneficial organisms needed to produce humus, while at the same time have mined the humus from the soil. Today, many of our once fertile agricultural soils have become nothing more than a growing medium. In many cases, farmers are using more and more chemicals, while producing less, at a higher cost of production. "To restore our once fertile soil back to where it was, we must accomplish two things. First, we must restore humus back into our soil, and secondly, we must restore the natural biological balance to our soil."

The Swine Connection Dr. Andersen also draws a correlation between the usage of anhydrous ammonia and the hog disease Chlamydia.

"When a farmer supplies anhydrous, he uses a tool that knifes the ammonia several inches into the soil. It effectively

The Down and Dirty of It "Chemical fertilizer does not add humus to the soil," said a lecturer in "A Note on U.S. Agriculture," (www.geog/ courses/geog103/aglect2.htm). The lecturer goes on to say that "increasing and prolonged use of chemical fertilizer leads to the deterioration of soil structure reducing its ability to hold water. The soil becomes brittle and more easily eroded. The widespread use of commercial chemical fertilizer is a principal source of non-point water pollution in the U.S. Fertilizer in water bodies such as lakes causes eutrophication-growth of algae blooms that use up oxygen dissolved in the water, thus killing fish population. Nitrates leaching into ground contaminate

12 ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004

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reduces the usable oxygen in the soil needed by the aerobic microorganisms, burns the organics that include the microorganisms, creates an ash and sets in motion the process by which formaldehyde and pathological organisms abound. Case in point: Dr. Dan Skow remembers when he first started his veterinary practice in the early 70s. Anhydrous ammonia use was as scarce in his area as Chlamydia in hogs. As anhydrous ammonia usage became more and more common, so did Chlamydia in hogs on those same farms. Today it is a serious problem requiring regular vaccination on the farms that use anhydrous ammonia. Anhydrous is a cheap source of nitrogen, though. It looks good monetarily in some programs on paper, but again, chemistry is chemistry." 3


economics, instead of agronomics, more important? Dr. Andersen doesn't seem surprised at the "solution" either. "State agencies and universities are totally sympathetic to the chemical and fertilizer industries," he says in his book The Anatomy of Life & Energy in Agriculture. "The fertilizers on the market are designed to create an increased dependency on them, and on rescue chemicals to fight insect and disease infestations. "Fertilizer labeling is a political game. Though there are some basic guidelines and consistencies, by and large, each state makes up its own rules. The basic affinity the states share is that they seek to protect the system and squelch true progress." 3 Dr. Andersen continues the train of

(continued on page 23)

industry, instead, seeks to find an additive that renders it ineffective for the illicit production of methamphetamine. The Fertilizer Industry Methamphetamine Task Force announced that Iowa State University has successfully tested the additive's efficacy and now the DEA will conduct further testing. 7 This "solution," however, is flawed in the eyes of many producers, who believe it is motivated primarily by protection of and profits for the fertilizer industry. Has a cheap source of nitrogen that generates millions of dollars to fertilizer companies suddenly been threatened? Is

Economics or Agronomics Social and economic repercussions are increasing the cost of this "cheap" source of nitrogen. Rather than advocate an anhydrous ammonia replacement that does not have environmental and ecological side effects, the fertilizer


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ne of the most important yields. Other components of the cropping Impact of Soil pH on Yield factors relating to crop producsystem that pH can affect are: Figure 1.1 tivity is pH (the relative acidity Fertilizer Availability. or alkalinity of the soil), which is measured Fertilization is affected because at on a scale of 1 to 14. Values below 7.0 are extreme pH ranges, nutrients are simply considered acidic, with increasing acidity not available. No matter how much as the number approaches 1.0, while pH additional fertilizer is added, the nutrients are unavailable or in a form unusable by values above 7.0 are considered basic © ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved. the plants due to improper soil pH. and increase as the number increases to The ideal pH is given first with the crop a maximum of 14.0. A pH of 7.0 is neutral. Biological Activity. growth range in parentheses: Nitrogen fixation is essential to proper pH affects plant growth, nutrient growth of legume crops such as alfalfa availability and the absorption of nutrients Crop Ideal pH Red Range and soybeans. Acidic or highly basic soils Corn 6.8 (6.0 to 7.5) by plant roots. pH values above 7.0 cause inhibit the nodulation process, which iron, manganese, copper, zinc and boron result in fewer nodules and decreased Soybeans 6.8 (6.0 to 7.0) nodule efficiency. ions to be less available to plants. pH Alfalfa 7.0 (6.8 to 7.5) values below 6 cause the solubility of Organic matter decomposition. phosphorous, calcium and magnesium Decomposition of organic matter into plant available nutrients can be significantly to drop. Impact of Soil pH on Yield for Corn, Crop growth is dependent on the proper pH range, which can vary slightly from Soil pH is a "regulator" of crop performcrop to crop. Not all nutrients are ance. pH levels affect much more than available at the same pH levels, but most Figure 1.2 are available at approximately 6.2 - 7.3. The chart (Fig. 1:2) on the right shows how nutrient availability varies with changes in pH.

Soybeans and Alfalfa

slowed by high or low pH values. Since this process is governed largely by bacterial action, any environment that reduces these processes will slow decomposition.

Ideal Soil pH for Corn, Soybeans and Alfalfa Yields will vary, depending on the pH of the soil. Although crop growth occurs over a range of pH values, crops produce their highest yields at a specific soil pH. Examples of the effect of various pH ranges and the percentage of relative yield are given in Figure 1.1.

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ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004

Manage Soil pH Regularly Acid soils decrease biological activity as well as reduce yields. Soils should be limed to correct any pH imbalance because:

Soil acidity affects plant growth in many ways. Whenever pH is low (acidity is high), detrimental effects will reduce crop performance. Concentrations of such elements as Al and Mn can reach toxic levels because their solubilities increase in acid soils. Organisms responsible for decaying organic matter and transforming N, P and S are affected by acidic pH levels and populations may be low in number and activity. Calcium and magnesium utilization and availability may be lower in acid soils, especially where CEC values are low. Symbiotic N fixation by legumes is greatly reduced. The symbiotic relationship requires a narrower pH range for optimum growth than plants not requiring N fixation. The symbiotic bacteria for soybeans function best in a 6.5 - 6.8 pH range and alfalfa best in a 6.8 - 7.0 range. Clay soils high in acidity are less highly aggregated. This causes low permeability and aeration--an indirect effect because limed soils produce more crop residue. The residues give better structure. Availability of nutrients such as phosphorous and molybdenum (needed for nodulation) is reduced in acid soils. If pH < 5.6, molybdenum is "locked up" and completely unavailable for nodulation processes.


Soil pH, Nutrient Availability and Plant Growth

Low pH soils can be successfully managed through the use of liming materials such as ProfitPro's pelletized lime (calcium carbonate), which will rapidly neutralize acidity and improve crop performance. Pelletized lime is a very finely ground material that works immediately. Common liming products do not work quickly. If fields contain high pH soils (sodic soils), the liming choice would be ProfitPro's pelletized gypsum. Gypsum is calcium sulfate which is more useful in high pH situations because calcium carbonate becomes less soluble when pH levels reach 7.2 and above. Gypsum will release calcium up to a pH of 8.5. Only high sulfate and HCO3 concentrations slow the dissolution of gypsum. As the pH of the soil rises above 7.0, bicarbonates and carbonates increase, raising the soil pH. Calcium from gypsum lowers the concentration of both which can help reduce the pH of the soil solution to 7.3. This helps decrease the soil solution pH in the root zone, increases nutrient availability and reduces the carbonate compounds that negatively impact plant growth, especially soybeans. A regular soil management program should always include a careful monitoring of soil pH values. Regular sampling (every three years) of fields, coupled with an intensive soil amendment program will ensure nutrient availability, improve biological balance and enhance crop health and yield.

Figure 1.3: The above summarizes the overall effects of pH changes on availability of two nutrients, calcium and/or magnesium, overall nutrient availability and plant growth. As noted previously, there is a limited range in which many nutrients are available and plant growth is optimized.

Improves soil structure, aeration, drainage and rootability of plants Reduces soil crusting and improves seedling emergence Helps reclaim high magnesium and sodic soils Helps reduce water runoff and erosion Helps with micronutrient deficiencies (Iron Chlorosis) in high pH soils Makes plants less susceptible to White Mold and other diseases

Clean spreading Almost pure Calcium Carbonite Finely ground for fast breakdown Increases soil's pH Improves base saturation Helps create soil structure Decreases high magnesium levels

Call now to place your order. We can help you with quantity requirements, shipping information, application information, price quotes and additional literature. Start managing your soil before it starts managing you.


© Used with permission by Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University

he soybean aphid is a newly arrived pest now firmly settled throughout the Midwest. It was first detected in Wisconsin in 2000, having probably been carried to the United States in agricultural or horticultural shipments from Japan or China or by an international air traveler. In any event, the aphid is here to stay and can seriously affect soybean yields if not detected and managed.

every two days, which result in 10-18 generations per year in the Midwest. In late summer, wingless females produce winged males and females that disperse to buckthorn where they reproduce sexually and the process begins for another year.

Counting Aphids How many aphids does it take to reduce yields, and how can the little bugger be counted? Yield losses depend not only on Aphids are unusual insects because the the number of aphids counted (which, females do not require male aphids for thankfully, do not move quickly), but also reproduction. Males are useful in on the growth stage and environmental promoting genetic diversity in populations, but not essential to reproduction. Females can produce daughters through a process known as parthenogenesis, which means they do not require fertilization and simply clone themselves. Females do not lay eggs in this process, but give birth to live young. The soybean aphid is the only aphid that reproduces on soybeans. Other species may be blown into a field and feed, but are not able to reproduce on soybeans.

The soybean aphid requires two hosts for its life cycle. Eggs are laid in the fall beneath the bud scales on buckthorn, an invasive shrub or small tree found throughout the Midwest. Wingless females develop from these eggs in spring and there may be four generations on buckthorn before winged females are produced. These fly to soybeans and begin feeding and producing live young. Populations build quickly and can double 16 ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004

variables. Research has shown that it is essential to detect aphid build-up early since the greatest damage is done when populations build during the early reproductive stages (R1-R4, beginning bloom to full pod). Populations can double in two to three days, so management can't wait. When aphids reach 250 per plant (25 per leaf), many universities recommend treatment to prevent yield loss. To make counting easier, a simple visual system has been developed by entomologist Chris DiFanzo of Michigan State University that makes levels easy to detect. A version is given below.

© Used with permission and modified original by Chris DiFonzo, Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University

After looking at this scale, it is easy to conclude that treatment is needed if:

1. Aphids are easily visible on the leaves 2. Plants are in the R1-R3 stage of growth (early reproductive) 3. Weather conditions favor population build-up 4. Predators (ladybugs, lacewing larvae) and/or diseases are not reducing populations 5. Bean prices remain relatively high

Remember, the economic threshold (250 aphids per plant) can be adjusted downward as crop prices increase. Higher prices for crops mean quicker treatment and still receive an economic return.

Management Options What are the management options? To protect against losses the following program is recommended:

1. Monitor fields closely, especially during the early reproductive period. Aphid populations build quickly and delayed scouting will reduce revenues. 2. Don't wait to control aphids if populations appear to be near or above threshold. It only takes seven days for populations to go from 250/plant to over 1,000/plant. 3. Use either an insecticide or a repellent. Insecticides offer a "quick kill," but may have a short half-life, the time it takes for half of the product to degrade. For some pyrethroid insecticides, this may be as short as one to two days. In addition, after treatment, populations can rebound or increase rapidly to levels above the original population since not all insects are killed by any insecticide and the few that survive has more to feed on, and they reproduce more quickly. A repellent avoids these problems by simply making the plants less appetizing or masking the normal "smell" of a field. Aphids locate soybean fields by chemicals given off during normal plant growth. A repellent that masks these odors can effectively hide a field from aphids. 4. Plant some beans early if possible. Aphid damage is far greater on late planted soybeans. This is because late planted beans are maturing when most fields are already podding and are less desirable as a food source. However, early planted beans tend to have higher levels of bean pod mottle virus, spread by the bean leaf beetle. Adjust your planting dates with consideration of which insect is most likely to damage your crop.

Soybean aphids are here to stay. Successful management depends on staying ahead of aphid build-ups through regular scouting, choosing the appropriate control measure and scouting as long as necessary. Aphid control can produce a typical four to eight bushel an acre yield increase over poor management. ProfitProTM offers AphidREPELTM, an all-natural product that "masks" soybean fields. It does not contain any hazardous chemicals, is not a pesticide, is safe to re-enter fields after the spray has dried, helps conserve beneficial insects, remains active up to 21 days, is not affected by sunlight or moisture and is compatible with foliar fertilizer. Two quarts of AphidREPEL mixed with 15-20 gallons of water will cover one acre. Contact one of our crop consultants at 1-888-875-2425 for more information.

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The second method is to dig a five to six inch hole about 24 inches into the ground. A four-inch pocket knife will help determine the compaction layers. With the blade extended, reach into the hole, thrust the knife into the sidewall of the hole and pull upward. At the lower part of the hole when the knife pulls hard, the deep compaction layer will be felt, and toward the top, another upper compaction layer will be felt. Measure the depth of these layers and set the tillage tool as described above. (See "How do I Dig a Root Pit," on page 25 of the Summer 2004 ProYield Quarterly). After the running depth for the shank is determined, set the front cutting coulter to run three to four inches deep in front of the shank. This coulter will cut the stalks and clear a path for the shank. If the machine is equipped with closing coulters on both sides of the shank, set the coulters to run about two inches deep and have the center of the coulter in line with the back of the shank. The coulters should be angled in about one inch in the back to create a slight berm of soil behind the coulter. If the machine has a rolling basket on arms beside and behind the shank, the side coulters determine the operating depth of the basket. Set the coulters so the basket rolls about an inch or two into the soil. Why such a deep slot? The slots create an ideal environment for the roots to flourish. Instead of growing in the top four to six inches of soil, the slots allow the roots to grow strong, deep and healthy. Removing the compaction returns the earthworms that are vital to plant health. The slots also allow water, oxygen and available nutrients to move freely up or down in the root zone. In a drought, the roots can uptake moisture from the subsoil and in wet years, the slots improve water infiltration and drainage.

ith $3.5 trillion in economic output on the line in American agriculture each year, today's farmers need to be wiser than ever when it comes to making tillage decisions. Developing yield and profit consistency by creating a sustainable production system is the end goal for any grower, and deep vertical tillage will move the user in that direction. Understanding the soil structure and seed bed preparation is the first step. If the soil is exhausted from poor management or conventional farming methods over an extended period of time, the structure may be damaged and need revitalization. Before higher yields can be achieved, the chemical, physical and biological properties must be in balance. Producers trying vertical tillage for the first time need to have a different mindset when it comes to fall field work. The typical fall tasks of chopping or disking cornstalks and then moldboard plowing or chisel plowing can be set aside and replaced with a single pass by a deep vertical tillage tool or a tool in combination with a fertilizer application system. Cornstalks do not have to be sliced, diced or chopped before the deep slot vertical tool goes across the field. The new process saves time, fuel, and labor while protecting soil and creating a fertile growing zone for next year's crops. 18 ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004

Placing deep vertical slots and growing zones requires a deep tillage tool that can be set up several different ways. The actual equipment and methods employed will depend on soil and environmental conditions, and whether or not dry or liquid fertilizer will be applied in the fall. Vertical tillage is designed to only lift up the entire profile and set it back down without turning the top layer over. This method reduces compaction, increases oxygen, and provides pathways for water, roots and soil life.

Basic Vertical Tillage Basic deep vertical tillage places slots between existing rows of cornstalks or bean stubble. The stalks are not chopped or disked before the slots are placed. Prior to placing slots, there are two ways to check where the compaction layers are in the field.

The first method is by pushing a 1/4 or 3/8-inch metal bar into the ground. Extra pressure will be felt at the top compaction layer (anywhere from four to eight inches down), after six to eight inches of easy pushing, another level of compaction will be felt at about 16 to 20 inches. Measure the depth of the deep compaction and set the deep tillage tool to operate just below the lower compaction level.

Slot Placement and Speed When using vertical tillage for the first time, it's important to remember that slot placement in the fall is next spring's planting zone. Most farmers set up their machines to drive on rows of stalks or stubble and place the slots between the rows. This means that planting the following year will be into the slots, exactly between the previous year's rows. Placing slots between rows means that


slower ground speed is also easier on the machine if rocks or other obstructions are encountered. ounces per acre--are recommended for fall placement. Additional biologicals can be placed at planting, on or near the seed.

Root pits can show root growth and compaction layers besides is a great way evaluate how your vertically-tilled field is doing.

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stalks, stubble and root structures will remain intact to hold the soil in place over winter and provide food for soil microlife during the next growing season. Ground speed is an important consideration when placing deep vertical slots. Some companies advocate pulling the machine as fast as possible--as much as five to six mph. Experienced ProYield Crop Management System growers suggests that 3.5 to 4 mph is the ideal speed to adequately lift and aerate the slot, but not disturb too much topsoil or "blow out" the top of the berm. The

Fall Fertilizer and Biological Placement Deep placement of fertilizer in the growing zone in the fall is the preferred method of setting up a vertical tillage cropping system. Vertical tillage machines can be equipped with a mounted liquid tank or a nurse cart pulled behind. Liquid fertilizer is typically injected about eight to 10 inches in the Fall. Likewise, a dry fertilizer tank can be mounted on the machine or on a cart pulled behind. Nutrients are "blown into" the slot about eight to 10 inches deep to create a "T" pattern that next year's roots will find as they grow down the slot. In addition to fertilizer, many growers utilize biological products in the fall to stimulate soil microlife and aid in breaking up compaction. Small rates--about 10 to 18

Second Year is a Snap Growers using vertical tillage for the second year have built in guide rows for their second pass of deep tillage. Driving on the stalks or stubble and placing slots exactly between the rows basically splits the difference from the previous year's slots. Most growers report that two years of deep tillage (creating deep slots that are 10 or 15 inches apart for 20 or 30inch row planting) are sufficient and that shallower, three to four inch, zone tillage can be used the third year.

End rows and traffic zones may need to be deep tilled every year, but the balance of the field should maintain the deep plant rootability, the water retention capabilities and the oxygen movement that deep slots provide.


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rofitProTM has developed a total liquid fertility program with the strip tiller and root zone builder in mind. Their liquid fertilizer products are formulated from high quality, water soluble, raw materials that are easy to handle, easy to store and non-corrosive.

becomes more difficult to till due to destruction of aggregation. The salts cause water to migrate away from the plants and microbes in the soil. "The higher the clay and calcium content of the soil, the more aluminum and calcium that will be available to form chloride salts when muriate of potash (KCI) is applied," continues Dr. Andersen. "The excess K+ can be fixed to form non-expandable clay, and the Cl- can form CaCl2 and AlCl3 salts. As a result, the farmer will need larger equipment to pull his anhydrous applicator, further solidifying the soil. "More pesticides will then be needed to combat the only organisms that can survive this man-created anaerobic condition, and the farmer will need to apply more of these same fertilizers to achieve a sufficient 'blasting' effect to release enough energy to raise a crop. Although farmers are told this is hightech, scientific farming, the effect to such methods is to destroy fertile soils." He goes on to say that anhydrous ammonia and muriate of potash, two of the most widely used fertilizers in American agriculture, are also "two of the most effective clay-aging materials available." To reverse the conditions of compaction, salinity, clumping, poor water retention,

KC-28 KC-28 is the only liquid potassium product of its kind on the market today. KC-28 contains 28% water soluble potassium mixed with carbon to enhance biological activity in the soil. According to Dr. Arden B. Andersen in his book, Science in Agriculture, "the presence of carbon in a mix is probably the best indicator of biological compatibility."

KC-28 is 100 percent free of chloride, whereas 0-0-60 (potassium chloride) contains 47 percent chloride. A typical application of 150 pounds per acre of 0-0-60 adds 70.5 pounds per acre of chloride salts in the zone where soil microbes are needed to flourish. By eliminating all of the salts, soil microbes are allowed to propagate unhampered. Farmers with clay soil might want to sit up and take notice. Chloride salts, especially NaCI, affect the behavior of clay soils. In addition to decreased waterholding capacity and oxygen levels from diminished pore space, the soil also 20 ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004

poor available nutrient balance, low oxygen content and sparse aerobic microflora activity, Anderson urges farmers to stop using KCl, NH3, H2SO4, excessive amounts of acids, caustics and salts. "The key components of soil regeneration are calcium, non-acid phosphate, humus, oxygen, water, microbes and energy," he states.

The Potassium Role Potassium (K) is vital to photosynthesis. When it is deficient, photosynthesis declines, and the plant's respiration increases. These two K-deficient conditions-reduced photosynthesis and increased respiration-lower the plant's carbohydrate supply. Other functions of K include:

Essential for protein synthesis Important in the breakdown of carbohydrates, a process that provides energy for the plant Helps control ionic balance Important in the translocation of heavy metals such as iron (Fe) Helps plant to overcome the effects of diseases Important in fruit formation Improves winter hardiness

Involved in the activation of more than 60 enzyme systems that regulate rates of major plant growth reactions Increases root growth and improves drought resistance (potassium has been called the poor man's irrigation) Produces grain rich in starch Increases translocation of sugar and starch Plants absorb most of their P as the primary orthophosphate ion (H2PO4). Smaller amounts of the secondary orthophosphate ion (HPO4) are taken up. ProfitPro fertilizer solutions are near neutral pH, non-corrosive, complete NPK products with nutrients in their most available form, and contain high levels of orthophosphate to insure immediate availability to the plant.


formation and growth. Phosphorus improves the quality of fruit, vegetable and grain crops and is vital to seed formation. It is involved in the transfer of heredity traits from the one generation to the next. Phosphorus helps roots and seedlings develop more rapidly and improve winter hardiness. It increases water use efficiency, contributes to disease resistance in some plants and hastens maturity-all factors important to harvest and crop quality. More crops have a difficult time getting enough P and a deficiency may be more limiting to world crop production than other deficiencies, toxicities and diseases. A recent summary of soil test information indicated that many areas have a significant percentage of soils that test medium or less in P. (See chart on right) Contact ProfitPro at 1-888-875-2425 for more information.


P soil test summary: (% med. or less)

The Phosphorus Role Phosphorus (P) plays a role in photosynthesis, respiration, energy storage and transfer, cell division, cell enlargement and several other processes in the living plant. It promotes early root

Iowa Alabama Pennsylvania Texas Nebraska Saskatchewan Ohio Ontario Oregon Montana

41 46 54 49 60 86 45 42 40 70


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anding nutrients in the Fall is not a new concept. Fertilizer efficiency is increased with the nutrients placed in a concentrated band since the fertilizer is less likely to be tied up. Fall banding also complements the ProYieldTM Vertical Tillage System since the fertilizer can be applied at the time of zone building.

Analyze Soil Prior to banding nutrients in the Fall, it is advisable to obtain an accurate soil sample and complete soil test analysis. A soil test is only as good as the soil sample, so it's extremely important to collect random samples that represent various field areas.

One of ProfitPro's coalition partners, Profit-Trac, is a professional soil sampling company. They specialize in pulling the sample correctly, at the correct depth and in a timely manner. Finding the lowest compaction layer is also critical and can be achieved by either digging a root pit or using the posthole method. (See the summer issue of the ProYield Quarterly for information on digging root pits.) Once the soil analysis is complete and the lowest compaction barrier has been determined, the amount of nutrients needed for next year's crop can be determined. 22 ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004

Banding Benefits Banding nutrients in the Fall is an excellent way to take the pressure off spring banding since fertilizer prices are usually less expensive and there is less field moisture to deal with. By creating a raised berm in the fall, a warmer and mellower area to plant into is created versus banding in the spring where growers may not have the luxury of waiting for the berm to settle.

Banding nutrients is also more cost effective than broadcasting as less

Banded nutrients can be seen (see arrow) where they were vertical-tilled below the surface last fall .

fertilizer is applied. Banding nutrients will also ensure a more favorable area for root uptake and allows the roots to go deeper. For example, a band of P, S and Zn is more available than broadcasting, especially in alkali soils. These nutrients are more likely to be tied up in high pH soils especially with a broadcast application. A liquid or dry program can be used with the product being placed seven to eight inches below the seed. This should ensure that the seed won't suffer from salt injury. Dry fertilizer is less expensive, but has a high salt content because of the chloride from the KCl. Banding in the fall allows the chlorides, which can be detrimental to the soil micro-life, a chance to breakdown. By zone building at 15-20 inches deep, fertilizer can be placed at 9-10 inches with either a dry or liquid cart. Another option is to use the Triple Coulter-Till Cart or a strip till machine either in the fall or spring. With banding, it is important to use a pop-up starter. A pop-up supplies the plant enough nutrients for the roots to grow into the band. Without a pop-up, the plants have to rely on the soil to hit the band. Banding is an excellent way to use less fertilizer and realize an increased return on investment.

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Anhydrous Ammonia: NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT Overused, Misused and Abused "The fertilizers on the market

(continued from page 13)

thought. "When a product does not fall into their (the fertilizer and chemical companies) definition of a fertilizer, it can possibly get registered as a soil amendment. The catch here is that the state's university must have first researched the product to show it has `merit,' a costly procedure that eliminates the smaller companies. Chemistry has no bearing here. A prime example is humic acid. It is a proven fact that humic acid is eminently useful for solubilizing soil and plant nutrients as any competent chemist can attest. "There are several chemical companies that can add humic acid to their herbicides to buffer the damage done to the crop it is used on, such as soybeans. Humic acid is not registerable as a soil amendment because `...our university hasn't researched it and proven its value.' The companies, then, must adulterate

are designed to create an increased dependency on them, and on rescue chemicals to fight insect and disease infestations."

- The Anatomy of Life & Energy in Agriculture -

undergraduate degree in one state and a graduate degree in another?" 3 The information is out there; the research has been done. Now it's up to each individual to make the right choice. Sources:


the product by adding a random trace element and then registering the product as a trace element in fertilizer such as calcium, manganese or sulfur. This creates a façade. "Another problem in marketing good products is that many state agencies will not recognize university research data from another state because they contend that their soil is different, as if biochemistry changes as soon as you cross a state line. Of course, the soil conditions may vary, yet the principles of biochemistry and biophysics are the same whether your study at the University of Michigan or Stanford. If they weren't, how could you get an

Broe, Robert and Kerrie,, Brooksville, Fla. Anderson, Dr. Arden B., Science in Agriculture, Acres USA, 2000. Anderson, Dr. Arden B., The Anatomy of Life & Energy in Agriculture, Acres U.S.A., 1989, 2004. Goering, Norberg and Page; From the Ground Up: Rethinking Urban Agriculture, 1993, pp. 11-15. Miller, Environmental Science, 1995, p. 331. Parr, J.F., and Khasawhen, F.E., "Plant and Soil, XXIX, No. 3; Drying Patterns in Soil Following Anhydrous Ammonia Injection." (Dec. 1968) National Fertilizer Development Center, TVA, Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Dowes Ag Professional Weekly.




5 6



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Climate Center in Champaign, Ill., reports that the average annual rainfall in Illinois, from 1970 to 2000, increased five percent in comparison to the 1900-1970 time frame. The frequency of heavy rainfall events and the amounts of rain within the heavy rainfall events also increased in the last 30 years. With more water vapor in the air, the process of heating and cooling the air slowed (less of a contrast between daily high and low temperature). According to Kunkel, average overnight lows have gotten warmer in the last 30 years. Warmer daily low temperatures coincide with the same time period as the major increase in crop production, which supports the idea that crops indeed affect weather.

nyone familiar with production agriculture knows that weather controls and affects crops, but they may not know that the opposite is also true. Crops help control the weather. Northern Illinois University climatologist David Changnon studied 50 years of weather data from Rockford, Ill., and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and determined that the evapotranspiration process in soybeans and corn increases dew points (the temperature at which condensation begins) in the atmosphere. Dew point measurements provide an indication of the amount of water vapor in the air. In the 1970s, when farmers started planting corn and soybean crop rows closer together, crop density increased. In Illinois, the corn plant density went from 18,000 seeds to nearly 30,000 seeds per acre. Changnon correlated the increased crop density to the spike in dew points in the Midwest (see chart to right). "More crops equal more water vapor released into the atmosphere during the process of evapotranspiration," he says. However, closer rows are not the only reason for higher dew points.

Changnon points out a significant increase in the numbers of new air conditioners installed in the Front Range of the Rockies in recent years. Nights are not as cool, which increases the need for acres have nearly doubled over the entire air conditioning. area during the last 50 years in the "The real trend is not so much that the Midwest. The soybean acreage has high temperatures have changed, but the increased enormously over that minimums aren't as cool," he adds. He time period." links the greater need for air conditioning One reason Changnon first thought that and the warmer low temperatures to crops could affect dewpoints relates to the increased dewpoints in recent years. Gulf of Mexico, which is a major source of moisture for the Midwest. Normally, during the summer, tropical air masses infiltrate the Midwest and aid in the development of the majority of the precipitation events. The long-term outcome of more moisture being transpired into the air from crops is still a mystery and additional studies will, undoubtedly, provide more answers. Instead of looking up to the skies as the major source of Changnon observed that areas in the climatic changes, consider looking down Midwest had higher dewpoints than at the nearest soybean or corn fields as some areas closer to the moisture part of the answer to the always source, which in this case, is the Gulf of Mexico. He decided something other than the Gulf caused the added water vapor in the air. After the study, he determined that "something" was crops. With the increased amount of water transpired into the atmosphere from crops, an increase in precipitation seemed logical.

"Initially, we thought it was all related to Kenneth Kunkel, Head the change in corn and soybean spacing," of the Atmospheric he continues. "When you total the two Environment Section [soybeans and corn] crops, the number of of the Midwest Regional 24 ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004

© Used with permission of Journal of Applied Meteorology


rom the most simple to the most complex, the Internet has become a valuable and convenient resource for finding information. From using the web functions on a cell phone to home or office computers, it is the most widely used form of communication in the world today. However, because of the millions of websites, how does one even start to sift through the mounds of information?

engine that uses web indexes is more functional because it searches all the contents of a website. These-style search engines use software programs called spiders or robots that systematically scour the Internet looking through every bit of readable information throughout the world. Index-style search engines like AltaVista and Google find website pages that match a search. They even include sites that contain only a word or phrase of the original request. Often, incredible pieces of information can be found this way. A database search looks for precise information on individual or multiple sites (depending on the database) that pertain to a similar subject. ProfitProTM provides such a site. Although many sites have similar functions, ProfitPro is dedicated to providing in-depth information on vertical tillage and conservational tillage methods as well as incredible amounts of other data and images on agronomics and new technologies. ProfitPro's ProProducers can access the complete power of this system, which includes numbers and diagrams from thousands of sources. General users are allowed to use it, but for a small annual fee, they can access the multi-functionality of the site's true power.

Creating a Great Search Search results are ranked by the number of times a search criteria appears on a page, by the popularity of "hits," importance of words or from selections others have selected when searching for similar information. The beginning of search engines dates back to the early 1940s when microfiche files were used by newspaper producers to view film from earlier issues. At that time, it only existed as an idea, but it created a need for finding data-fast.

In early computer era, a terminology of code-words known as "Boolean logic" (named after its originator) was created so every computer engineer spoke the same language. This code used words called "operators" to determine if a statement was true or false. The most used operators are the terms "AND", "OR" and "NOT." These three simple words decide how results are selected.

How to Search Online The secret to finding anything on the web is best approached by using this recipe: part SKILL, one part LUCK and a dash of ART. A controlled, targeted search will yield better and faster results. There are many available options including search engines like Yahoo!, Google and Lycos, or multifunction databases like However, each works differently. Search Engine or Searchable Database? Most search engines break down into two different categories--directories and indexes. Directories, such as Yahoo!, identify general information like businesses, tools or recipes, and then categorize them into a defining order. If looking for a specific site, simply use that search engine.

For specific information about a general item, vertical tillage for instance, a search

AND - calcium AND planting

This includes all pages containing both words on a page. Note: "AND" is usually the default for most search engines, which means that typing "calcium planting" would produce the same results.

OR -

calcium OR planting

This search performs two searches, both individually and then collaborate all the results to view the most popular "hits" of both words not used together.

NOT - calcium NOT planting

This limits the search results by telling the engine about calcium not used in planting.

Otherwise most search engines have more advanced functions available as a link on their site. Either way, finding needed information is available along with a lot of junk. Knowing how to look for it will save time. ProYield Quarterly - Summer 2004 Fall 2004 20 25


© ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved.

Labor and Time Savings with Conservation Tillage "Conservation tillage requires as little as one trip, compared to up to eight trips for conventional tillage. With conservation tillage, you can cut the time required to prepare and plant a field significantly saving you at least 36 minutes per acre over conventional tillage. On a 1,000 acre farm, that adds up to the equivalent of 60 extra, 10-hour workdays each year, giving you extra time to farm more acres or spend with your family.

"Conservation tillage also provides field accessibility for performing planting and pest control operations during prime windows of opportunity. In other words, you can perform the correct field operation at the right time rather than orchestrating several tillage trips when the seed should be planted.

rowers, who practice vertical conservation tillage crop production, know there are major benefits from reducing the number of trips across fields. Time savings, machine wear, fuel consumption and manpower add up to nearly $20 per acre in the fall and $16 to $25 per acre in the spring in comparison to conventional tillage systems (see "Cost Comparison," Spring 2004 ProYield Quarterly, pg. 17). On 500 acres of row crops, savings can amount to $8,000 to $12,000 dollars, which translates into $15,000 to $25,000 on 1,000 acres. The following information from universities and research organizations documents other conservation tillage benefits.

AAFRD Agricultural Engineering Branch. "Fuel consumption is affected by a number of factors, including equipment type, speed, depth, soil type, crop residues, soil moisture content, field shape and the number of tillage operations." "Studies have shown that fuel cost savings are substantial when a direct seeding system is adopted over a convention till system," says Green. "The fuel cost per acre pegs direct seeding at $2 per acre and $5 per acre for conventional till. But a $4 to $5 difference is quite common." When these studies were done, farm diesel fuel was $0.30 per litre [$1.14/gal.] Today's fuel prices are in the $0.40 per litre [$1.51/gal] range. "This can mean thousands of dollars in savings," adds Green. "A producer must weigh all the costs and benefits of adopting such a system, but there is no doubt that reducing tillage will reduce fuel consumption. Changes in input costs, planting rotations and timing as well as new equipment, are examples of costs that might be factored in. A farmer isn't going to adopt a direct seeding system because of fuel savings alone, but when added to the benefits of increased yield (depending on the soil zone and weather), soil conservation and reduced time in the field, it is an option worth considering.

Reduced Fuel Costs - Save 4.0 Gallons of Fuel per Acre "Conservation tillage decreases diesel fuel consumption by over 70 percent or 4.0 gallons per acre* in the soil preparation stage alone. On a 1,000 acre farm that means a savings of $6,000 per year (based on $1.50 per gallon diesel fuel*). Reduced Machinery Investment "When moving to a conservation tillage system, the amount and size of equipment needed is reduced since conservation tillage planters and drills require only half the horsepower of conventional tillage equipment. In addition, heavy tillage equipment and some tractors can be eliminated completely, freeing up significant resources to be used as you see fit. Reduced Wear on Machinery "Fewer tillage trips result in less wear and tear on machinery and lower maintenance costs. That means tractors last longer and repair costs drop drastically, which can save up to $5 per acre per year."

Still think a vertical tillage system isn't worth implementing? Watch for more information/studies on cost savings with vertical tillage in the December issue of the ProYield Quarterly.

"Fuel savings in tillage may come from not doing any, says an AgTech Centre Engineer"

- Excerpt from an Alberta, Canada online report

"The most effective way to reduce fuel costs associated with tillage is to till less," says a long-time Farm Machinery Engineer with Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD). "Fuel use varies from farm to farm," says Murray Green, an engineer with the 26 ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004


He points out that the majority of problems with his soil type (Spicer Lura) are related to slow drying after heavy rains. When Mother Nature dumped heavy rains in Southwestern Minnesota in July 2004, he says the differences between conventional and vertical tilled soil were readily evident. His fields absorbed the abundant moisture better than other fields in the same area that use conventional tillage methods. On the flip side, when the soil is too dry, Henning points out that the roots grow deeper, which helps the plants maintain moisture longer. Another benefit is reduced fuel consumption in the spring. According to Henning, he uses about half as much fuel compared to the amount he was using with conventional tillage practices.

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ongevity isn't an issue for the Henning family farm near Lakefield in southwestern Minnesota. In fact, one might say that Dave Henning's 1200-acre family farm is "deep-rooted." Listed as Century Farm and established in 1901, four generations of Hennings have farmed the same land. Until three years ago, the Henning family had farmed the same way for decades and struggled to produce 40 bu/A soybeans and 140 bu/A corn. Compaction was a major issue and although Henning can laugh about it now, the reality was not a joking matter. "You could have used our land for a landing strip; it was like a road," he says with a laugh. "I was sick and tired of not being able to get better yields, so I had to make some major changes."

The turning point arrived three years ago. After attending several ProfitProTM meetings, Henning decided to implement their ProYieldTM Vertical Tillage System. It's a decision he doesn't regret.

He also cut his insecticide rate to about one-fourth of his previous amount. Despite the drastic reduction (75%), the insect pressure is less than in previous years. "As long as I can see During the years of conventional tillage, earthworms doing somersaults behind he averaged 145-150 bushels/acre. Since the planter, that's enough," he adds making the change to vertical tillage, with a grin. his corn averages have jumped from 165 bu/A in 2002 to more than 175 bu/A He is convinced that all of the advantages associated with using the in 2003. ProYield Vertical Tillage System far He attributes part of his success to the outweigh any startup costs. increased biological activity in his soil and the reduced compaction. "Since using a Now the Henning family farm is "deepzone builder to dig slots and break up rooted" in more ways than one. compaction, and the gypsum and biological products, the soil is very mellow, which makes its tough for weeds to germinate," he says. Left: Henning plants over the slots in his field. Notice the amount of residue. Right: Henning shows the root mass and length on one of his young corn plants. Below: Note the difference in vertical-tilled field to the left in comparison to a neighbor's conventional-tilled to the right.

© ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved.

© ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved.

© ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved.

ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004


Q & A with Dr. Jim

Growers from across seven Midwestern states, Washington and Australia gathered in southern Minnesota for ProfitPro's annual summer conference. Part of the field event included a tour of Marlow Wangen's farm near Albert Lea, Minn. (Note the root pit in foreground.) For more information on how you can attend field days and seminars to learn more about the ProYieldTM Vertical Tillage System, contact ProfitPro at 1-888-875-2425.

© ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved.

At what speed should I deep till? It's best to approach deep tillage like you're a new driver with your instructor riding in the passenger seat, a clearly posted speed limit and a cop at both ends of the field. In other words, DON'T SPEED! Just as speeding leads to big problems on the road, speeding while deep tilling also leads to problems. Traveling too fast can blow open the slot, smear the sidewalls, provide excessive residue disturbance on the surface, and create a depressed, rather than a raised, berm behind the shanks. The last problem is definitely the worst. If zones are depressed rather than raised, moisture can settle the slot even further, creating a trench that won't dry as well in the spring and is difficult to plant into.

Should I soil test in the same area every year? Soil tests are recommended every other year or every third year, assuming nutrients are applied to match current soil test records, the environmental conditions, and you have a good idea of the amount of nutrients removed by the current crops. If testing according to a grid system, follow that system in successive tests. The grid may range from two and half to 10 acres.

How should I set my closing coulters on the deep vertical tool? There are a variety of suggestions from various people, including company representatives and growers, on how to set the coulters. Some advocate staggering the coulters at six to eight inches front to back with the front coulter mounted even with the front tip of the point and the center of the rear coulter aligned with the back of the shank.

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The ideal speed for deep tilling is four to four and half miles per hour. With closing coulters properly set and a rolling basket behind, you can travel at the top end of that range and, in some soil conditions, even approach five miles per hour, but never more, regardless of conditions. 25 28 ProYield Quarterly - Summer 2004 ProYield Quarterly - Fall 2004

A GPS system can align you as close as possible to the original or previous test site and provide a good benchmark for the effectiveness of your current fertility management system. Ideally, soil tests should improve from one period to the © ProfitPro, LLC All Rights Reserved. next with increased organic matter, better pH, better CEC ratios and improved In high trash conditions, that might be a levels of major and micronutrients. good option. However, setting both coulters across from each other, with the Growers in the second or third year of a hub aligned with the back of the shank, is vertical tillage management system will a better option in most conditions. This want soil tests taken within the 12-inch setting, with the coulters angled slightly in zone where crops are being planted. Be at the back, gathers any dirt that is thrown sure to sample at three to four inches and to the side by the shank and moves it into also deeper into the zone to test for a berm behind the shank. available nutrients at the 10 to 14-inch level. Conduct deeper sampling tests Coulter depth is another important setting. where roots are sure to travel when slots Once the operating depth for the shank have been opened and moisture and air is determined, set the front cutting have percolated down through coulters to run two to three inches deep, compacted soil. and the rear closing coulters to run two inches deep.

The latest in farmining technology. Precision tillage, nutrient placement and seedbed preparation with one implement. It improves production, conserves soil, minimizes compaction and reduces fertilizer needs while you build mellow, nutrient-rich growing zones and accuratelyplaced fertilizer. The TCT is constructed with a ruggeddesign and is available in sizes from six to 24-rows. For superior service, proven equipment and products, call Tim Nelson, our Equipment Systems Specialist, or e-mail him at [email protected] to place your order. He can answer all of your equipment questions, provide shipping information and price quotes.

The ProYieldTM Vertical Tillage MasterTM (VTM) is a deep tillage implement that creates slots from 12-20 inches deep while gently lifting and aerating the soil in the root zone. Residue is sliced by a large coulter that runs in front of the deep shank. Dry or liquid nutrients can be placed behind the shank at a specified depth in the growing zone. Closing coulters on both sides of the shank create an eight to 10-inch wide and one to two-inch high berm behind the shank. For superior service, proven equipment and products, call Tim Nelson, our Equipment Systems Specialist, or e-mail him at [email protected] to place your order. He can answer all of your equipment questions, provide shipping information and price quotes.

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