January 15, 2016
An Ontario Corn Trial with
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Progressing Through the Years
The Harvey Farm near Cookstown, Ontario, has stayed within the family for five – soon six generations – but how Peter Harvey farms on that land has constantly changed. Peter farms primarily corn, soybeans and edible beans with his daughter. He admits that he enjoys the challenge of trying something new. He has modified equipment, inputs, seed population and crop mix, and he dedicates a field every year to his own trial work. Some of that trial work is with his corn starter fertilizer.
More than two decades ago, Peter first decided to adjust his tillage practices. “We changed from a full tillage operation to a no-till,” explains Peter. “We’ve had some huge benefits in terms of labor reduction, machine reduction, reducing soil erosion. And our yields have gone up substantially.”
Peter utilizes auto-steer to plant corn and soybeans in alternating 15-foot strips on the most productive land. He bumps up seed population on the outside corn rows of each strip to capitalize on the increased sun exposure. This practice has pushed his corn yields 20 bushels higher.
Making Corn Starter Fertilizer Work Harder
Through the years, Peter has also modified his equipment to accommodate a dry starter fertilizer program in his no-till system.
“I’m a firm believer in a good corn starter fertilizer program, along with good soil structure,” Peter says. “I think it’s very, very important in no-till to give that crop a little bit of an extra boost early on. You need that root system to be actively growing, because it is what sources all the nutrients for the whole plant.”
For the first time in 2014, Peter altered his corn starter fertilizer program by adding Nu-Trax P+™ from Compass Minerals. Coated by his dealer onto the dry fertilizer granules in his blend, Nu-Trax P+ provided an ideal blend of phosphorus, zinc, manganese and nitrogen for early season growth.
“The soil we’re dealing with is high pH, so it’s often a struggle getting the crop off to a good start,” Peter says.
Satisfied with the corn starter fertilizer trial that helped increase yields in 2014, he used the product again in 2015 on half his corn acres. Even after a couple windows of stress from rainy, wet conditions, his corn yielded 250-260 bushels per acre in 2015 with his high-management approach, which included Nu-Trax P+ on his starter fertilizer, higher seed population, split nitrogen applications and fungicide at tasseling.
If you’d like to try Nu-Trax P+ with your dry fertilizer this spring, tweet us at @NuTraxP or comment on this blog.