Foundations for Success

February 13, 2023

There are three things that are relatively inexpensive that farmers can do to help set themselves up for success.

The first is subsoiling if needed. Many soils are so tight and compacted that they benefit from subsoiling, even though subsoiling should not be the long term answer to fixing your compaction issues. You should not have to do that every year, but it is a way to jumpstart soil health.

Soils that are tight and compacted will need more applied nitrogen to grow the crops because they can’t utilize much of the 32,000 tons of nitrogen that are available over every acre of land. Neither can they breathe very well, which results in sluggish biology and poor nutrient release, which ultimately leads to unhealthy plants with more insect and disease pressure.

Second, a good biological program (we use the Rejuvenate program) can help to speed up the process of increasing the soils biology and keeping the soil loose and structured. It helps soil breathability, which then sets up the next step for success.

Third, a multi species cover crop can help to now keep the soil loose. The cover crop will benefit from the subsoiling by getting better rooting depth and structure, and from the increased soil breathability which equates to higher levels of photosynthesis and brix content.

Although spring is not as ideal a time to subsoil as the fall, you can still watch your chance and do it in the spring. You can also do the biological program in the spring. You can also sow the cover crops this spring for your upcoming fall crops.

Try this on a few acres this spring and then find out what a pleasure it can be to grow crops in the fall after you have set yourself up for success.

In summary, sometimes farmers hear these stories of how much photosynthesis can be increased and they try to do that only by addressing minerals. Minerals are very helpful and needed, but in my experience, relying just on minerals and fertilizers is seldom the best route to go with. You will spend too much money and the results will not be there. However, if you set yourself up for success by jumpstarting your soil with subsoiling, with a biological program, and with a good cover crop, and then follow up with foliar sprays to increase the brix levels, you will have a much better foundation for success.

In all fairness, we could and probably should discuss several more foundations for success. The fourth would be calcium to magnesium ratios, and the fifth would be carbon to nitrogen ratio in the soil. These two ratios are very helpful for getting healthy and robust crop production, especially along with using the protein or amino acid forms of nitrogen whenever possible.

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Source: Melvin Fisher | Sponsored by Keystone Bio-Ag LLC