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Bailey’s Bit 3.31.21

 

Bailey’s Bit About Nutrition

Bailey’s Bit | March 24, 2021

Bailey’s Bit About Nutrition

Bailey’s Bit | March 17, 2021

Midwestern BioAg Reflects on 2020 and Commits to 2021 Resolutions

Though the New Year’s Eve celebrations will look a little bit different this year, there is still plenty to reflect on. The year 2020 was challenging and no one was prepared for how this year would impact everyone’s lives. But adversity creates space for growth, innovation, and it can unite communities. We all survived this year because we supported each other. Seeing so many individuals and companies do whatever possible to make the world a better place inspires Midwestern BioAg to reflect and commit to bettering ourselves and the communities we serve in the coming year.

In 2021, we will continue improving ourselves the BioAg Way, through:

Making time for wellness – mental, physical, spiritual, environmental. This can be accomplished through exercise, meditation, getting outdoors, paying attention to mental health, and self-care. And just like our bodies, the soil also needs fresh air and consistent nutrients. This next year, in addition to taking better care of ourselves, we commit to taking better care of the earth. We are looking forward to increasing sustainability initiatives in our facilities across the Midwest to make a difference and live more sustainably as an organization.

Focusing on learning and development. Pushing ourselves to continue to grow, we plan to make learning and development a priority in the new year and beyond. Everyone can benefit from some additional learning, no matter their season of life. Midwestern BioAg wants to make learning easier and more accessible for everyone within the company, while continuing our commitment to educating others about the importance of soil health.

Lending a hand. We are dedicated to increasing our company’s community engagement. Midwestern BioAg has several locations around the Midwest, each one in a community with its own set of struggles and successes. We intend to do what we can to positively affect our local communities as well as our agriculture community, whether it be by donating, sponsoring, volunteering, or supporting mission-aligned causes to make an impact.

Thank you for supporting us while we aspire to better ourselves and our precious environment. We hope the new year brings us all growth and success.

Spring 2020 Newsletter

Click the link below to read our Spring 2020 Newsletter.

Spring 2020 Newsletter

Strip-Till & TerraNu® Fertilizer: A Q&A with Duane Siegenthaler

Where does TerraNu® fit in my current strip-till program?

TerraNu MicroPack™, TerraNu Calcium™ and TerraNu Ignite™ will fit conveniently into your dry fertilizer program. They can be used as a standalone or added to your dry fertilizer program. TerraNu fertilizers use a new technology, combining fertilizer nutrients with carbon and biological stimulants that result in improved nutrient use efficiency and better soil health. 

Can I blend TerraNu with other fertilizers that I apply?

Yes. TerraNu Ignite can be used as a stand-alone fertilizer or blended with your dry fertilizer at rates of 100-200 lbs./acre. It is a homogenized, low chloride, complete fertilizer blend that works in the root zone to maximize soil and root health while providing balanced nutrition for your crop. TerraNu MicroPack and TerraNu Calcium are excellent additions to your current P and K dry fertilizer blend. TerraNu MicroPack provides a balanced blend of micronutrients that maximizes plant uptake to get the most out of your fertilizer dollar. TerraNu Calcium provides sulfur and calcium along with boron as an essential micronutrient that works with calcium to build strong cell walls and healthy roots.

What is the bulk density of TerraNu? How does that impact application?

The bulk density ranges from 40 to 48 lbs/ft3, with Ignite on the lighter side and MicroPack on the heavier side. The TerraNu manufacturing process produces a hard granule (for good dust control) with a good bulk density for blending with other dry fertilizers. Many strip-tillers used TerraNu this year and application went smoothly.

Will using TerraNu improve soil health in my strip zone?

Yes. TerraNu fertilizers are designed to provide soil health benefits in an easy-to-apply granule that maximizes nutrient use efficiency. The carbon base of TerraNu, combined with natural biological stimulants, feeds your soil biology and promotes a strong population of beneficial soil organisms and better soil health.

What kind of results are you observing in the field?

The TerraNu products are showing good results so far this year. Strip-tillers in particular like what they’re seeing. A strip-till farmer from Indiana applied TerraNu to over 1,000 acres this year. They blended TerraNu with other dry fertilizers and reported the fertilizer flowed well and was easy to handle. Their crop has looked great during the growing season, and they are excited to apply TerraNu again on the acres they strip-till on their 4,000 acre farm.

Chad Peterson of Peterson Grain Farms in Illinois said, “We applied 100 lbs./acre of TerraNu Ignite on our corn acres in a spring strip-till refresh pass using our Soil Warrior. TerraNu Ignite was easy to load and metered flawlessly through the machine. The crop looks great, and we are excited to see the results this fall.”

More results will be coming in over the next couple of months, but if what we’re seeing in early results holds true, we’re going to have some great yields along with the added soil health benefits from the TerraNu products!

Time is on Your Side, and Biology Can Be Too

The application of CX-1 and L-CBF this fall can be the first step to help ensure success next season. There can be 7,500 lbs. of stover left behind in a modest 155 bushels per acre corn field.

Secured within are:

  • 45 pounds of N,
  • 15 pounds of P2O5,
  • 92 pounds of K2O,
  • 6 pounds of S,
  • 18 pounds of Ca,
  • 18 pounds of Mg.

These valuable inputs become plant available through the biological process of mineral cycling.

It’s a process that can begin well ahead of next year’s planting. Very different than the loss that can occur with fall application of synthetic fertilizer, a fall application of CX-1 and L-CBF advances these minerals a few steps closer to plant availability the following spring.

Yield Decline Associated with Inconsistent Germination.

Data suggests a mere three-day lag in germination can lead to yield reductions of 16% or more in later germinating plants. Three additional days and the yield reduction can be in the 24% range. (Study data showed 230 BPA in plants that emerged first reduced to 174 BPA in those plants with a six-day delay.) A fall application of CX-1 and L-CBF can ensure a more even stand which means greater yield. Partial decomposition of the corn stalks in the fall means crumbles instead of hairpins under the planter coulter. A more uniform emergence is achieved when larger pieces are not there to shade pockets of soil preventing warming or inhibiting uniform planting depth.

Bio-Sanitation

Undigested corn residue serves as an ideal place for pathogens to survive over the winter. The best defense against fungal diseases is a strong, beneficial microbial community that can out-compete the fungal pathogens. A fall application of CX-1 and L-CBF reduces undigested residue and therefore reduces locations for pathogens to overwinter.

Organic Material vs. Organic Matter

Stover on the ground is organic material, but your soil needs organic matter. Cellulose is one of the most resistant of all plant tissues, and adding beneficial bacteria that digest cellulose to begin breaking it down into enzymes and organic matter gets you more organic matter and less organic material.

If these return-on-investment reasons aren’t quite enough, this anecdotal story might convince you. We hadn’t intended to conduct this trial; we simply ran out of time and material on the last few acres of a cornfield in the fall of 2016. Forgetting this by the following spring, we were reminded when the soil finisher went through the CX-1 and L-CBF applied areas like a proverbial “warm knife through butter”. However, organic material lodged in the equipment five times in those last few acres where the fall application was not accomplished. On and off the tractor to kick off the mud? This was all the data we needed to be convinced a CX-1 and L-CBF application is the right choice on our farm every fall.

From the Desk of Gary Zimmer

It’s a nice sunny March day today. Spring must be right around the corner. Are you ready?

I have spent my career working on soil health, nutrient delivery and quality feeds and foods. Yield is minerals, sunshine and water mixed in a carbon biological base. It’s not about how cheap the nutrient is or how much I add, it’s about uptake, availability, and exchangeability. When this company first started, it was about the source of nutrients and how we delivered them. Our fertilizers were all low-salt, with balanced nutrients, controlled-pH and timed-release. We certainly recognized that loose, crumbly soils with good organic matter and lots of life supported plants that could grow huge root systems and access nutrients resulted, not only in more crop resilience, but gave us the best quality and yields. This plant health allowed the plants to express their genetic potential. It certainly wasn’t about providing a certain level of the cheapest NPK and liming to a 6.5 pH.

When it comes to nutrients, calcium is king; it’s not just about having the ideal pH. It’s about providing plant-available, soluble calcium. That’s why Midwestern BioAg developed Bio-Cal® and OrganiCal™. They are a part of our program and still are a huge part of soil health — addressing limiting factors and driving quality and yields.

We have always been blenders of quality dry fertilizers since you do get the most bang for the buck by applying a dry blend. It’s not only the sources of NPK but all the extras, including sulfur and traces and biological stimulants. How can you expect to keep plants healthy and have high yields but not address limiting factors?

A few years back we ran into QLF (Quality Liquid Feeds out of Dodgeville, WI) and started adding carbon (molasses) to liquid fertilizers. We now have a 7-21-3 stand-alone starter, a nutrient enhancer called ‘Boost’ that we mix with nitrogen, and an organic molasses based liquid fertilizer. The liquids are not a complete fertilizer program but when used as a starter, foliar or mixed into nitrogen sources, we have seen dramatic improvements. These carbon-based liquids are a no-brainer because it’s not an added cost, it’s a replacement cost. Some liquid fertilizer or nitrogen is removed and our molasses based fertilizers are added in. It’s been researched and demonstrated over the last few years, and does give good results. We will be on over one million acres this year.

Starting a few years ago, we got involved in manufacturing carbon-based dry fertilizers. Part of the nutrients are from anaerobic digesters on dairy farms, and the rest we add. These are high-quality dry fertilizers in a biological base. The results have been great. Most of the fertilizer you purchase from MBA now will have this new added technology in it. We have a base blend, a micro-pack and a calcium blend. You can also purchase these as straight materials. You don’t need to add extra cost to use these materials because, like our liquids, they work as a replacement for some of your existing dry program.

The farm economy is tight right now, so what dollars can you afford to spend on fertilizers? One option is to match your fertilizer to the yields you are getting. Another option is to try something different that can take you to the next level. I believe most farmers know there is more potential for higher yields and with healthy soils and a balanced fertility program, plant-protective compounds and other technology may not be needed. Again, it is a shuffling of dollars. In today’s economy, I see no choice. We are forced to do better, reduce unneeded costs (things that don’t make your farm better) and invest in moving to a new level. We have many skilled consultants that can help you achieve these goals. “Management is doing something about something you can do something about.” In today’s world that means farming “cleaner”, getting more nitrogen efficient, and building soil carbon. These practices will take you to the next level on your farm.

Have a great growing year,
Gary F. Zimmer