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March/April 2007, Vol. 35 Issue 2

Review Contributors

Jeff Kugler......Regional Manager York, Nebraska Norb Boyle ....... Division Manager Ackley, Iowa Bryan Boroughs .............. Division Manager Cimarron, Kansas Orvin Bontrager .......... Director of Education and Training Aurora, Nebraska Fred Vocasek ...Ag/Environmental Manager Dodge City, Kansas Kala Bogner ................. Marketing Coordinator Dodge City, Kansas

Servi-Tech Agronomist Receives Special Award

by Kala Bogner Marketing Coordinator, Dodge City, KS Servi-Tech agronomist Clark Poppert has been awarded the NAICC Consultant of the Year. This prestigious award recognizes outstanding consultants for their creativity, innovation and community involvement. Poppert has shown strong leadership skills, as well as dedication to his profession, which are important qualities to have as we face the challenges and opportunities of the future. The NAICC Consultant of the Year is awarded to only three consultants nationwide. The nominees must be a member of the NAICC program. They are selected by the Awards Committee and the BASF Corporation sponsors the awards. Poppert is one of three Servi-Tech agronomists that have received this fine award. He has shown hard work and dedication to Servi-Tech since 1989. He graduated from Kearney State College with a B.S. in geography and a minor in biology. He started his career with Servi-Tech in the Geneva Division. Clark became the Geneva Division Manager in October 1993, where he still holds the position. Poppert has received many awards. He was awarded Servi-Tech's 1998 Employee of the Year, received his 100,000 and 200,000 acre awards, and holds the CCA and CPCC-I certifications. Clark enjoys working with his clients and solving their agronomic problems that will help ensure their profitability. He also enjoys teaching new crop specialists and seeing them succeed. Along with being an agronomist, Poppert is a family man. He and his wife, Valerie, have three children, Megan, 10, Aaron, 8, and Ryan, 6. Clark enjoys coaching his daughter's softball and basketball teams, landscaping, camping, and NASCAR. Servi-Tech is proud to have such an energetic individual as part of their crop consulting team. Having such great consultants in Servi-Tech's network of agronomists puts their expertise and knowledge above the rest.

In This Issue:

Servi-Tech Agronomist Receives Special Award......................................................................................1 Featured Crop Consultant .......................................................................................................................2 The Value of Calibration ..........................................................................................................................2 Soybean Rust Update..............................................................................................................................2 The Reason for Optimism in the High Plains ...........................................................................................3 Zinc Fertilizers .........................................................................................................................................3 Meet Our Staff .........................................................................................................................................3 Sampling Fertilizer Bands ........................................................................................................................4

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Featured Crop Consultant

Monte Roetman

Division Manager Kearney, NE 11 Years of Experience University of NebraskaKearney Why Monte chose Crop Consulting: "I grew up with a farm and ranch background and I have always loved being outdoors, so crop consulting looked to be a great way to combine the two aspects." Favorite thing about his job: "To assist the producer in making sound decisions in their farming operation." Hobbies: Monte enjoys Nebraska football and hunting. He also follows his daughter, Natalie's, activities.

The Value of Calibration

by Jeff Kugler Regional Manager, York, NE With today's technology, is calibration worth the time and effort? The answer to this question is a simple, "YES". Today's equipment is designed to apply the correct amount of pesticide and will apply the correct amount per acre, but the uniformity of application can vary as the application equipment wears. Spray nozzle variation can be caused by partial plugging from old chemical residue in the spray system from the previous year, improper mixing of the pesticide, tip wear from hours of use, and erratic pressure cutoffs. In looking at the past two years of sprayer calibrations, I have found that 21% of the nozzles were greater than or less than 5% of the average output. Thirty-four out of 161 nozzles required attention after the first calibration run. If those spray tips went without cleaning or exchanging for a new tip, the pesticide rate would vary by more than 5% on 21% of the field, resulting in possible crop response and potentially reduced weed control in some areas of the field. Call your Servi-Tech consultant if you have questions on this subject.

Soybean Rust Update

by Norb Boyle Division Manager, Ackley, IA After a hot, dry summer with very little movement, soybean rust made its presence known in the Ohio River Valley and up the East Coast with a late season push. At the end of the season, rust was reported in 159 new counties and in seven new states (Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Indiana, and Illinois). Soybean rust has spread nearly two fold during the past growing season when compared to 2005. No rust was found in any of Servi-Tech's trade territory despite extensive scouting efforts from our consultants and other first detector personnel. What can we learn from the past summer's rust spread? Fortunately we live in a cold environment each winter and experience many hard killing freezes. These late season findings will have no impact on the chances of finding rust next season. Soybean rust still needs green tissue to survive on over the winter and we start next season from the same point we started the last, with no soybean rust in the area. Probably the most important aspect of the late season movement of rust was the information gathered about its movement and spread during the season and being able to predict its movement in the future. The rapid movement of rust is a good reminder that it can move quickly during favorable growing conditions. If rust overwinters in the Mississippi Delta region or moves to this region early in the year, it could be a bigger threat to Midwestern soybean growers next season. We will keep you posted if conditions are favorable for soybean rust this year.

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The Reason for Optimism in the High Plains

by Bryan Boroughs Division Manager, Cimarron, KS The New Year brings a heightened sense of optimism for grain producers of the High Plains. Winter moisture has been encouraging in the western drought plagued areas as soil profiles begin to fill to the highest levels in seven years. Strong post harvest grain prices and futures point to a hopeful positive income outlook for the 2007 production season. For producers and agronomists, the past few years have generally been a time of conservative management practices due to drought, high input costs, and relatively weak grain prices. The real challenge in crop planning will be to recalibrate the decision making process so that the producer and agronomist can maximize yields and net income in this more positive environment. Inputs have often been cut to the bare minimums and decisions for best weed and insect management have often been made on a "just-in-time" basis, or skipped altogether. Although your agronomist is trained to never be wasteful with your crop inputs, it can be hard to get out of the conservative recommendation mode. Weed and insect control thresholds need to be reevaluated, along with yield goals calibrated to fertility levels that may have been allowed to slip some during the downturn years. Irrigation scheduling and fuel costs need to be reevaluated based on profile moisture and more aggressive yield goals. The most important management tool, however, is clear communication between the producer and his agronomist so that both understand the production goals as they take advantage of the improving crop environment and pricing conditions.

Zinc Fertilizers

by Orvin Bontrager Director of Education and Training, Aurora, NE Independent university research has not substantiated the efficiency claims. Colorado State University research has concluded that "when comparing (zinc) sources, water solubility was the primary factor governing the performance of zinc fertilizers." The lower analysis dry zinc fertilizers or fertilizer coatings that are supposedly more efficient, have failed to increase soil test values if they are being applied at cost competitive rates to zinc sulfate fertilizers. Some growers and consultants use a liquid ammoniated zinc source in starter fertilizers to help maintain soil test levels and meet the crop needs. If one is spending the money to grid sample and variable rate apply fertilizer to build up the low testing zinc areas, Servi-Tech is recommending using the relatively lower cost per actual unit dry 18%-36% zinc sulfate fertilizers to achieve these results.

Because of the shortage of zinc chloride that is used to make zinc fertilizers, the costs of correcting low zinc soil test levels has increased dramatically this year. Prices for the traditional dry zinc sources have more than doubled since one year ago. The 18% to 36% dry zinc sulfate fertilizer is still the most economical way to build soil test levels so that yearly zinc applications are not required. Once the zinc soil test values are adjusted to over the critical 1.0 ppm DTPA- Zn level, the soil test values drop very slowly with normal crop removal. A 225 bushel per acre corn crop only removes 0.23 pounds of actual zinc per year. Lower analysis dry zinc products are being promoted and sold to meet crop needs. These products are promoted to be five to seven times more efficient than the traditional zinc sulfate fertilizers. The lower application rates of actual zinc per acre are resulting in annual zinc applications.

Meet Our Staff: Jill Bogner

· Title And Job Description: Laboratory Technician at the Dodge City Laboratory: Jill does analyses on feed, manure, and environmental samples for non-protein nitrogen, ammonia, and total Kjeldahl nitrogen. · Favorite Thing About Working At Servi-Tech: "The best part about Servi-Tech is the people. They laugh with you when you do something not so brilliant, hug you on rough days, and pray for you when life throws a lemon." · What Co-workers Say About Jill: "Jill is a joy to work with and she is always ready to lend a helping hand. She adds her own brand of humor to the workplace and we can always count on her to make us smile." · Something Interesting About Jill: Jill is a Kansas State Wildcat football fan! She says that she is a fan through even the tough seasons. She also has a passion and addiction for her horses.

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P.O. Box 1397 1816 East Wyatt Earp Blvd. Dodge City, KS 67801 800.557.7509

"The Servi-Tech Review" (ISSN No. 0884-5573) is published bi-monthly by Servi-Tech Inc., 1816 East Wyatt Earp, Dodge City, KS 67801-7707. Prepaid subscription rate is $12.00 per year. Postmaster send address change to: Circulation, Servi-Tech, Box 1397, Dodge City, KS 67801-1397. Periodicals postage paid at Dodge City, KS.

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Sampling Fertilizer Bands

by Fred Vocasek Agri/Environmental Manager, Dodge City, KS

It has always been a challenge to collect soil samples where phosphate fertilizer has been banded. New guidance system technology almost guarantees that fertilizer will be banded in the same location over several planting seasons. These bands can remain undisturbed in a strip-till or ridge-till system for several years Banded phosphorus does move outward slowly and to a limited extent from the original injection point. The diagram shows the relative soil phosphorus level for application rates of 20 and 40 lb P2O5/ac at 6 months and at 12 months after injection. The result is a zone of fertilized soil about 1½ inches across, surrounded by a large volume of unfertilized soil. This enriched zone retains a high soil test level with repeated band applications. Young plant roots proliferate in this zone of high fertility which accounts for the short-term efficiencies of banding. The dilemma for an agronomist is how to account for the band. Is the "true" soil test found in the band itself, in the surrounding soil, or in some mixture of the two? Several university research studies show that a good sample would require a combination of 100 to 300 cores taken from the band and the surrounding soil, if we know the band location. Most would agree that this is not feasible. Remember that these bands form for a reason - not all of the banded phosphorus is utilized during the season. Some phosphorus remains to develop the residual band for several reasons. One reason is that the flux of phosphorus into corn roots is greatest at about 20 days after establishment, then falls off rapidly. After 70 to 80 days, phosphorus influx rates are low, but fairly constant. Also, the banded zone as a percentage of the total root volume drops off with age as the root system grows downward and outward. One strategy for controlled band locations may be choose a standard phosphate rate (ranging from 15 to 40 lb P2O5/ ac) based on soil test history. Research generally shows little advantage for banded phosphate rates over 40 lb/ac. Use the lower range for medium to high testing soils; the upper range for low to medium testing soils.

Collect soil samples by avoiding the band. Track the soil test level of the non-banded soil. If the level stays constant, no fertilizer rate change is needed. If the level declines, apply additional phosphate fertilizer. Unknown band locations present another problem. One approach is to use a "paired-core" sampling method. Collect the first core at a location as normal. Then collect a second core from the location at right angles to the row direction and half of the row width. The final sample will have twice the cores as normal, but helps avoid erratic results.

Steve Compton, Circle C Farms...

won Servi-Tech's prize giveaway, a rechargeable lantern/weather radio, at the Scott City Coop Customer Appreciation Day on January 18, 2007 Congratulations Steve!

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