NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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April 30, 2012 Agricultural Column

Howdy!!!!

The weather was quite cool over the weekend but farming did continue to the east and north of Devils Lake.  The weatherman was predicting more rain than what we received here but appears further to the west and southwest amounts were significantly higher.  It is wonderful being able to farm through some land that has been wet but still waiting for the lake to drop significantly lower to collect the thousands still under water or too close to the water’s edge to be farmed.  The cereal crops will likely be all planted this week and the corn acres will begin being planted in earnest.  The NDawn station on Sunday reported bare soil temperatures of 46 degrees F, and 43 degrees F on turf ground or ground that would have much cover from last year.  The soil temperatures are getting to the point of active new weed growth and good crop emergence. 

There has been some questions asked last week about the placement of Phosphorus in this spring planting season.  One question came in about the drill not placing any starter fertilizer with the seed and wondered what to do about adding additional phosphorus.  The grower wondered about spreading on 11-52-0 or placing the starter with a different application.  Phosphorus is a very different nutrient in that if placed on top you will not benefit from the spreading application.  Phosphorus does not move within the soil particles and DOES need to be placed with the seed.  Another problem placing phosphorus on the soil surface is the possibility of a rain washing the phosphorus into the low lying areas.  So, in this case the producer would be better off doing nothing and likely receive a lesser yield than what he had hoped for but the lesser yield will likely be more profitable than placing phosphorus out of the seed row.  The cost of the application, the cost of the nutrients and your time would be at risk.  The nitrogen would benefit the plant but would need to be worked into or placed in the soil with another piece of equipment.

This past weekend a very knowledgeable NDSU Ag Economist was killed on a farm accident while attending the family farm.  Dr. Cole Gustafson was a very well respected economist and person.   He will be greatly missed by not only NDSU faculty but also the citizens of North Dakota.  Just a reminder of how fast accidents can happen and in this case, with a very tragic ending.  I am not going to dwell on farm accidents but I also had a friend working on his equipment this spring and ended with a large tire falling on him, the accident broke a leg and has left him needing surgery.  The most meaningful part of farm accidents is the willingness of neighbors to step up and help get the crop in for people like this.  The unselfishness is unbelievable, in each neighborhood.    

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