Timely Ag News from Your Federated Agronomists
Fall is the Best Time for Lime

Apply lime now; don't wait until the spring rush 
(when this photo was taken).
Post-harvest lime applications are the best, according to Tim Stelter, Federated agronomist at the Osceola location. "As soon as you get the crop off, before you till it, apply lime," he said, adding that "you'll get a better spread pattern because [the field] is nice and smooth."
 
Fall lime applications are better on the equipment and on the people who do the applications (because fall isn't as busy). Spring road restrictions also inhibit timely lime applications.
 
Fall lime applications are better for the soil because the lime has time to react in the soil - which is especially important for fields going to beans next year. Alfalfa needs even more time, Stelter noted, so Fall 2017 lime application will be great for Fall 2018 alfalfa seeding.
 
Of course, Stelter said, "Get soil samples done [before applying lime]." (See article below.)

pH nutrient chart
Lime also needs to be applied while temperatures are above 50 to enable the chemical  reaction that makes lime beneficial. "Years of fertilizer can take its toll  and the pH decreases (which ties up nutrients)," said Stelter, "so you need to add lime to get pH to the right levels (6.8 is neutral; alfalfa needs a minimum of 6.5, corn is ok at 6.5, and anything much below 6 causes trouble with soybeans)." See chart.

Talk to your Federated Agronomist for more information on fall lime application.
Fall Burndown Sets the Stage for Spring Planting

Whether it's for weed control or to prepare a field for a different crop next season, fall burndown programs will help lighten the workload when spring rolls in.
 
Fall burndown also can provide better weed control than spring herbicide applications for some of the more hard-to-manage weeds. And, if fall lingers, post-harvest herbicide applications can prevent weed seeds from germinating.
 
Jake Hansen, Federated agronomist at the Rush City location, noted that fall contact/systemic herbicides "need at least 7-10 days of decently warm weather to take effect on weeds."
 
A tank mix of 2,4-D and glyphosate "will do a decent job on hay ground," said Hansen, "and it is cheap," said Hansen. Fall burndown on alfalfa, especially Roundup Ready alfalfa, is essential if the field will be going to beans next spring.
 
For a program with residual weed control for planting soybeans next year, and for no-till ground, Afforia┬« is a great product, according to Hansen. Afforia can be tank mixed with 2,4-D, dicamba, glyphosate, or glufosinate. (See Afforia and Fall Recommendation fact sheets.)
 
Don't wait until harvest is over to discuss fall burndown and weed control options. Call your Federated Agronomist today.
Soil Sampling  Provides Good Info for Better Plans

As fall fertilizer plans take shape, it's time to make sure soil sample results are current. "If you don't have a good and recent soil sample," said Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist, "it's time to get one."
 
As repeatedly noted in this Agronomy Update, the universities recommend soil tests every four years. "But I'd recommend more," said Carlson, "especially in today's economic crop production picture."
 
 "Twenty bucks and change for a soil sample is pretty cheap," said Carlson, especially when nutrient and lime application needs are based on the results. It's time to dig out field records and see what fields have been tested and when.
 
Soil sample tests are the starting point. Carlson said, "The soil analysis is an important layer of information you need to start a nutrient management plan." The soil test analysis provides nutrient content, potential nutrient availability, soil texture and CEC capacity, nutrient balance (one in relation to another), and active soil pH levels.
 
soil probe six-inch mark
For growers who choose to do soil sampling on their own, Carlson highlighted the  need to take samples at a consistent six-inch depth. The soil test analysis is calibrated to a six-inch depth (note the six-inch mark on the probe in the photo).
For composite samples, take 14-16 samples (probes) per 40-acre field. Splitting that into two 20-acre composite samples is even better, Carlson advised. Once submitted for analysis, soil test results take about a week to get back.
 
Accurate sampling is where it all starts for making fall - and spring - nutrient decisions. Federated Agronomists are ready to help: "Our GPS composite or grid sampling is a great service that is repeatable; we can get back to the exact same spots [to test the soil] one, two, or three years from now," said Carlson.
 
Contact your Federated Agronomist for more information on soil sampling.
Harvest is Here: Be Safe. Stay Alert. Eyes Up.

Whether near the farm or while moving equipment from field to field through cities and towns, road safety is a major concern. The general public doesn't see farm equipment, and when they do, they frequently don't know how to proceed safely around the tractor or other machinery on the roads.
                                      
"Farmers need to assume this fact," said Tom Rausch, Federated's safety director, "and do everything they can to warn the drivers of their presence." Farmers need to drive defensively - and remember to keep eyes up. (Texting or using any mobile device while driving is as illegal on a tractor or in a grain truck as it is in a car.)
 
In 2014, 119 people were involved with a crash with a tractor in Minnesota alone (according to the Department of Public Safety), resulting in 12 injuries and one death. Sobering statistics.
 
Rausch also reminded growers to remain alert and employ safety precautions at all times. Shortcuts will not save time in the long run, and may even cost a life, or limb. No matter how tight the harvest season gets, always follow the rules for safe farming.
 
It's also important to discuss safety before the season starts.  Contact Rausch if you need additional information to share with family and co-workers to ensure a safe harvest. 
Farm safety logo with note
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