Test Trials

Test trials, the words that make farmers all wound for sound or the words that make them shudder.  It’s something that I think most farmers like the thought of, but execution can be daunting. It never fails, we get to rolling with the planters or sprayers and we don’t want to stop to run a trial.  ‘If things are running good, don’t stop” is the term my father used to say.  


Then there is the other side of the camp that gets an idea in their head and they want to blow it way out of the realm of “trial”.  Dropping 40% in seed rate farm wide just because someone they respect does it.  This doesn’t mean it may not be something to consider, but for heaven’s sakes, please test it first.  This is just one example. 

I was having a conversation with a friend who was baffled at the plan I had for dropping 55k population on soybeans in a specific field.  He couldn’t wrap his mind around it.  Which in all fairness, it is a low, low number. Radically untraditional.  He is planting the traditional 130-140k seeds per acre.  I told him my story of testing the lower and lower soybean populations and that I landed on 55k on this one field from lots of trial and error.  I suggested that he run two passes of 110k,  two passes of his usual 140k, then two passes of 80k, and back to his previously scheduled broadcast of 140k.  He just about lost his mind at the thought of losing the farm over 4 passes of uncomfortable population being out there in his field. 


After he calmed down some and realized that 4 passes wouldn’t cause a chapter 11 bankruptcy, he reached over, entered it in his monitor, and planted accordingly.  We kept in touch all summer and he kept hoping to see some noticeable failure in the tests. Much to his disappointment, they yielded the exact same as his 140k population once the combine rolled through the field. ‘Man I just can’t believe it. Never in all my days did I think that would work!’.  The following year he dropped to 110k because he “couldn’t bring myself to go lower”.  But hey, the cost savings on the seed reduction was significant just in that move.  This is where the value of a test comes in.  Different soil types, hybrids, fertilizer applications, the list goes on…


I’m running a test this year on a field of mine I’ve been working intensely on to get the soils in better condition.  Cover crops, humic, honing in on fertility so that I’m not being detrimental in over applications, etc.  I have a nitrogen text in my strip till application. 

My usual program is 60 units of nitrogen, 10 units of sulfur, half a gallon of humic in the strip.  I ran this, then 24 rows of 120 units of N, 20 units of Sulfur, and a gallon of humic.  The next 24 were strip tilled with the pump turned off. That’s correct, nothing was applied; only the strip tillage itself was done. Then the pump came on for the next 24 rows, and we were back to the normal application.  At planting there was humic, sugar, kelp, macros and micros along with a few other things put in-furrow, but no 28% or 32% nitrogen.

I will side dress this corn later on in the growing season and will do some more testing with those rates I’m sure.  Will there be a yield decrease on the 0 banded nutrients?  Probably.  How much?  Stay tuned! My point is to encourage you all to try new things.  Don’t go crazy year one; step one foot in and see what happens, whether it’s the right fit or if something else works better.  Be a constant student of the land.  It will tell you what works and what doesn’t work if we just slow down enough to pay attention. 

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Designed primarily as a plant starter, and for foliar application.  Young plants require high Phosphorus for proper growth; MASTERBLEND’s 9-45-15 low Nitrogen and high Phosphorus fit ehe needs of young plants very well.  This formula can also be used whenever soils indicate the need for elevated Phosphate levels

Specifically designed for use as a blossom booster for Orchids, but it should not be limited to just one plant species.  This works very well on all types of flowering material, especially when the grower requires improved bud set, bud count, and also better color and size of flowers.  Use MASTERBLEND 10-30-20 throughout the flowering stage, then switch back to the regular analysis when flowering is finished.  Fertilizer amounts need not be varied.

General Purpose formula that is designed for application with any sprayer, injector or proportioner.  This is an all-purpose formula, safe for all growing plants.  No sodium, sulfate or chloride is used in formulation.  The result is a balanced solution which will not “fall out” to clog equipment or soils.

Bio-Builder H is a Humic based formulation designed to fit the standard operation with a modest level of Catalyst and nutrients present to support most operations and scenarios.  Will blend with other nutrients and products as long as a PH level of 6.5 or greater is maintained.  Bio-Builder H can be a stand-alone product or an addition to your current starter program.  Bio-Builder H excels in most soils, however will really stand out in high PH environments.  This formulation is an excellent option for legumes.

Bio-Builder H+ is a stand-alone product.  As the workhorse of the class, it has been formulated with high PH soils, or higher salt environments in mind.  Bio-Builder H+ has also been designed with a higher level of Catalyst and salt-safeguarding components.  This formulation has shown great response in less than ideal conditions, or unhealthy soils.  However, it is not recommended to be combined with other products, as the higher concentrations of ingredients could cause blending or fall out issues.

Bio-Builder F is a companion product, designed with tank compatibility in mind.  This formulation blends very well with most products by utilizing the high water-soluble components of the Bio-Builder class.  All this is done while maintaining a high level of various catalysts to support a diverse soil biome.  Bio-Builder F tends to perform very well in high yield environments.

Seaweed extract is a natural fertilizer that can boost crop yields by providing essential micronutrients and growth hormones. Kelp can be applied through foliar spray, root drench or soil application, and has been shown to improve seed germination, growth, flowering and fruit yields.  Additionally, it promotes stress tolerance, pest and disease resistance, enhances soil structure and increases nutrient uptake.

Yucca acts as a natural surfactant, wetting agent, and plant bio-stimulant and is derived from a flowering desert plant.  Yucca has been shown to reduce plant stress from drought, heat and salinity.  It increases plant cell wall gas, and liquid exchange.  Applications to soil will assist in the infiltration and absorption of water and nutrients.  Yucca mixes well with most products. As always, jar testing is recommended before application.

Sugar’s general purpose is to supply a food source for soil microorganisms and support plant growth.  Active microbes will help to make soil nutrients more plant available.  Sugars also work in residue decomposition.  It is compatible with most products and can be used with a starter, foliar application or soil application.  As always, jar testing to ensure compatibility is recommended.