Why pay attention to phosphorus when sowing into cold, wet soils?

Why pay attention to phosphorus when sowing into cold, wet soils?

During the fall of 2016, much of the Prairies experienced heavy rain and the ground remained saturated until winter. The arrival of unseasonably warm weather this spring is tempting many farmers to seed early, as they look to maximize yield potential and help manage the workload associated with seeding large acres. Those who have crops left in the field are even more anxious to get started, as dealing with swathed or still-standing crops will delay their seeding operation.

Farmers are seeding into cool or cold soils and often into wet conditions, which don’t allow for much availability of phosphorus, potassium or zinc, and this trio doesn’t become available until the soil temperature warms up to above 12 or 15 degrees Celsius. If they are seeding early, I believe the best thing farmers can do to get their crops off to a good start is to use a primer on the seed and a starter fertilizer in-furrow with the seed. This tactic is especially important this year as saturated soils are going to be slow to warm up.

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Product Spotlight: Starters

Product Spotlight: Starters

Liquid starters give developing seeds a boost of readily available nutrition in the seed row – providing nutrients like copper, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and zinc to aid with early root establishment, advanced crop maturity and good overall plant health. If your soil tests have indicated that you are facing a nutrient deficiency or are dealing with other less than ideal conditions, you should consider using a starter.

Liquid starter fertilizers offer a number of benefits over their granular counterparts. Unlike many granular fertilizers, every drop of liquid starter contains a homogeneous blend of nutrients, providing a balanced nutrient profile across the entire seed row.

Liquid starters also bring nutrients closer to the seed. According to Michigan State University, when using granular fertilizer, nutrients that aren’t very mobile in soil, like phosphorus, can’t get closer than the individual granule they’re contained in. But when applied in liquid form, these nutrients are better spread, making it easier for developing roots to access the nutrition they need to grow.

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Have you “fungal-screened” your seed lot?

Have you “fungal-screened” your seed lot?

Many reports over the course of the winter suggest that we can expect issues with the quality of cereals and pulses this spring, caused by the heavy rainfall and high moisture levels experienced during the summer and fall of 2016. The excessive moisture has made it challenging to control diseases and keep harvested seeds healthy.

Excess moisture also affects the seed’s ability to dry up and achieve proper dormancy, thereby affecting germination and vigor. This spring, it won’t be surprising to see farmers seeding crops with germination and vigor below normal. To make matters worse, the high level of seed-borne pathogens will limit growth and cause a wide variety of damping-off, root rot and other early-season seedling diseases, which will thin stands and set the crops back in their growth and development.

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Spray Water Quality: Hard Water vs Soft Water

Spray Water Quality: Hard Water vs Soft Water

Have you ever wondered if you have hard or soft water? Perhaps you’ve heard or been a part of a conversation regarding water being hard or soft and wondered what exactly that means. You may have also noticed scaling and deposits left by hard water on the interior or exterior of plumbing and pipes. Maybe this didn’t bother you because, after all, water is water, isn’t it? But, consider this — what if the water quality that affects your drinking and shower water also makes a difference in the chemistry of what you are spraying on your crops?

The Basics

Water in its natural form doesn’t contain any minerals and is considered “soft.” However, when it contains a high concentration of dissolved minerals, especially calcium (carbonate) and magnesium, it becomes “hard.” Water often picks up these minerals when passing through materials such as limestone. Calcium and magnesium also increase the pH of the water, with magnesium having twice as much impact as calcium.

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Primers in Action

Primers in Action

In spring of 2015, growers Connie Matson and Bernie Hullman were getting a late start to their canola seeding (May 19) and dealing with very dry conditions. I had the opportunity to work with them on a nutrient plan to get their canola crop off to the best possible start under those less than ideal conditions. As part of the nutrient plan, I recommended Primer Canola. With the help of Primer Canola, Matson said it wasn’t long before robust canola seedlings were emerging in their field.

A photo comparison of two neighbouring crops, one untreated and one treated with OMEX Primer Canola. Matson and Hullman's canola crop (right) emerged far quicker than neighbouring fields

Matson said that by June 15, their canola had caught up with their neighbours’ crops that were planted a week to 10 days earlier. According to Matson, they saw impressive root development of their canola crop. She says that their crop’s roots grew deeper into the ground than their neighbour’s crops, an achievement she credits to their use of Primer Canola.

Primer Canola includes high concentrations of phosphorus, potassium, zinc and other essential micronutrients specifically formulated for canola. Our research has shown that this combination can have a very positive effect on canola germination and emergence.

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