Air April 2 - 9, 2007
Liquid or dry fertilizer
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. It never ceases to amaze me, after 25 years on the job, that I am still regularly asked if liquid fertilizers are better than dry fertilizers. The question probably keeps coming up because someone selling liquid fertilizers has made some claim that liquid fertilizers are better BECAUSE since they are already in a liquid form, they can be taken up by the plant faster. Let's just put this myth to rest again - there is virtually no difference between the performance of liquid and dry fertilizers. Let's take the standard liquid UAN solution, either 28 or 32% nitrogen. A gallon of 32% UAN, surprisingly, only contains about 1 quart of water. SO it's not as wet as you might think it is! That UAN solution is made of urea and ammonium nitrate. Once the dry or the liquid form of either of these products is applied to the soil, they still have to move into the root zone, if not placed subsurface to begin with. Just because the liquid is applied as a liquid, does not mean it's immediately ready to be taken up by the plant. Both the liquid and the dry fertilizers have acted upon by soil bacteria and chemical actions to become plant available. If you apply the liquid to dry soil, the soil will immediately absorb the water fraction and it'll still take rainfall or irrigation to get the rest of the conversion going. Phosphate formulations are no different. Even the purest forms of phosphate have to go through soil reactions. Bottom line, choose the cheapest form of the nutrients that you need that you have the equipment, and the comfort level, to handle. And don't skimp on fertilizer because of price. This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
Heading into Burning Season
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. As we move into April we move right into the peak pasture burning season, weather permitting of course. But before you drop that first match or light the drip torch for the first time, spend a little bit of time going over your plans to make sure you have everything together and a safety plan in place. After you get that first fire started is not the time to find out that you can start the engine of your spray unit. Make sure you have enough help. Four people is probably a bare minimum and six to eight would be even better for a big fire. If you are in Geary County, make sure you have your burn permit and that you call in ahead of time to get permission and correctly identify which property you will be burning. Keep your cell phone with you so that you can call other's on the fire crew or the rural fire department if a problem develops. Make sure that you have plenty of drinking water for everyone. It's easy to get overheated and dehydrated while working a fire line. Make sure everyone is wearing appropriate clothing. Leather shoes and natural fabric clothing is your best bet. Synthetic fibers tend to melt and I don't think I'd want to be on a fire line with flip flops and shorts. A few days before you want to burn, take a few minutes to go over the pasture to make sure you remember where potential problems are and where you can safely establish fire breaks. Before you start the backfire, take some time to sit down with everyone and discuss how the fire is going to be handled. You don't need to surprise a crew working a backfire with a head fire roaring their direction. It's important to periodically burn these pastures, but let's be sure to do it safely! This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. I wish this weather would make up it's mind! Warm in late March, then a return to closer to normal temperatures but it certainly seems colder than it probably is. Most everyone has pretty well locked in their spring planting and I'm sure I saw some planter marks in a field recently. I have checked recently, but by the end of March we had soil temperatures that I normally wouldn't expect until the third week of April. Surely they've cooled down a little bit by now! Don't let variable weather entice you into planting outside of your normal window. April 20th is plenty early enough to be planting corn! The soybean rust situation really hasn't changed much over the past month, but spring planting is now going full tilt in south Texas so there will be plenty of new opportunities for new foliage to be infected in coming weeks. Speaking of infection opportunities, what do you think the wheat diseases are doing right now? I'm sure they are gearing up for a big explosion. In mid March they found leaf rust overwintering on wheat near Manhattan so I'm sure it overwintered around here too. Tan spot and powdery mildew were rolling pretty good already a week ago. I'd be seriously thinking about a fungicide especially on any field that you wanted to keep back for seed. And on certified seed fields, I think we could justify an early season foliar treatment to deal with the tan spot and powdery mildew, especially no till wheat on wheat. Back to soybeans before we close - we're making a concerted effort to check more fields for soybean cyst nematode. If you have bean fields this summer that just aren't doing well for no apparent reason, call me so we can get them sampled. This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
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