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Corn+Soybean Digest

Use data to guide fertilizer application

Feed the A zones plenty

Like most in my generation, I had 4-H and FFA projects, and from the very beginning I was blessed with a gilt that ended up being a very prolific sow. My sow produced huge litters and was the perfect mother — giving

up everything she had to her piglets until weaning (a much longer period than now).  For every litter, her body weight would plummet.

Our next evolution in raising pigs was to build our own feeding stalls. It was very preconfinement, but for me it was a huge improvement. The stalls allowed us to feed each sow uniquely. My sow with half the body weight of other less-productive sows could be given a double ration. Less-productive sows that towered over my sow received less food.

I’m sure some of you “old school” folks can connect my animal agriculture example with what’s going on in your fields. The areas in your fields that are consistently the highest yielding are just like my 4-H sow. They produce so much that they deplete their soil-supplied nutrient reserves. Your data and variable-rate technology allow you to feed those A zones a “double ration!”

Notice how this data table illustrates how the highest-yielding areas are lower in fertility. Use your yield data and fertility data to guide your applications. Don’t be afraid to feed your A zones plenty!

soil test attributes by soybean yield

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