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The Agronomy Avenue - April 2018

Dear Patrons,

With another winter in the books, we are now waiting for our second winter, AKA spring, to be done so that we can turn over some fresh soil and get these winter blues away. With that being said, I want to touch on a couple of key things about the upcoming planting season.

The first being, with a later season cool temperatures paired with heavy snowfalls, you may want to think about using a starter fertilizer as this could be a good time to use it, or at least throw down some test strips. Starter fertilizer can be tricky for the simple fact that some years you will see a great response, and other years, little to no response. For example, you will see even emergence of the corn, especially in cool/wet springs. In other years, we could get a stretch of nice days with good heat, to warm the soil. This could lead you to not notice much of a difference on your yield monitor. A couple of things to look for when selecting your starter is the salt content, the analysis, and the formulation. With high salt content in the starter, it can be detrimental to your germination if you put the starter directly on the seed, especially in sandy soils on hill tops compared to the coarser soils in the low spots. Another good tip for picking a starter is if you want a polyphosphate or orthophosphate, a lot of the specialty starters are a combination of the two. They are mixed either 50-50 or 70-30, both are pretty common now days. Polyphosphate fertilizers have to break down to the orthophosphate form, and this conversion takes time. A slow conversion in soils with a cool wet spring can take a toll on the uptake and yield of the corn plant. If you are interested in starter or just have some questions, we have multiple brands and formulations that I would be happy to help you with.

With the potential of a later spring, we will be flirting with the Dicamba application deadline. We have been told that they may extend the cutoff date due to later planting dates. However, I would not recommend counting on that, so make sure you have a backup plan in place. Especially with some of the new regulations, you do not want to wait and then have weeds that are too tall to go after with conventional spray methods. With that being said, if you are planning on spraying Dicamba, we will be asking to see a copy of your Dicamba training certificate before you can receive the product. With the regulations being closely monitored, we, as a cooperative, want to make sure that everyone is using the product responsibly and practicing proper application. If you have not been to a class to receive a certificate, you can find a list of classes on the Minnesota Crop Production Retailers website, or call and I can help you find a class nearby.

In closing, we are hoping for another productive and safe spring. We will do our best to meet the needs just as we try to do every year. If you have any questions or concerns, stop in or give me a call. Thank you for the continued business, we always appreciate it.

Brooks Torke
Agronomy Manager

Agronomy Team: Reed Raddatz