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Digital Corner

Yield Report Book Follow-up

by Dale Cowan

Following up on last week’s announcement of our Yield Report Book, I think it is important to highlight the value that can be created from Yield Maps.

The very first thing we can do is too simply look at them. There are some statistics given on the map report such as the average, low and highest yield. The legend illustrates the distribution of yield by signifying changes with different colors. Quite often the farmer knows why the variability is there based on observations over the years and understanding the inherent variability that comes from differences in soil texture, soil type, topography and drainage. What may not be evident is the interaction of nutrients based on those inherent differences. Depending on the degree of variability there will be differential removal of nutrients based on the yields obtained. This is why we include a basic crop removal map in the Yield report Book for phosphorus and potassium.

Replacing nutrients that were removed based on harvested yield replenish the supply based from where they were removed. One of the main tenants of 4 R Nutrient Stewardship is to avoid over and under applying nutrients. Crop removal is only one part of nutrient management. A current soil test is required, no older than 4 years to assess the supplying power of the soil. We use a build, maintain and drawdown recommendation system. When soil test values are below targeted level we build up with additional fertility plus crop removal. When soil test levels are at targeted levels we maintain with crop removal. When soil tests are above target we make recommendations less than crop removal to draw down the nutrients without fear of yield loss. Regardless of soil test levels, yield plays a dominate role in nutrient applications. Not all acres in the field need the same nutrient levels to optimize yield.

Additionally, soils test provides the pH, Buffer pH, soil organic matter and cation exchange capacity . These measures help to target the nutrient levels and provide other useful insights when it comes to nitrogen management, variable rate seeding and herbicide rate choices. The yield maps serves as a report card on any strategies that may have been implemented.

With the emergence of bio stimulants and biologicals to supplement traditional production programs the only way we can sort through the efficacy of these products is with on farm replicated trials. A perfect opportunity to marry “as applied” technology to record position of treatments followed by a yield map at seasons end to verify performance will make it easier to sort through programs. This is only way to determine what brings value to your operation.

One of the final benefits of a yield map is to produce a Profit Map. The Profit Map will be a function of your field yield, your selling price minus your cost of production, based on a combination of fixed price per acre of inputs and utilizing any variable rate application maps to arrive at a gross profit. A different way to look at field productivity and compare practices between your best and lease best fields in dollars and cents.

Sharing your yield data with us can be made easy by using some of the digital connecting tools on the market such as Fieldview, John Deere operations center, Agfiniti or an usb memory stick. Our digital system is color blind it does made matter what color the combine is we can most likely import your data.

Reach out to your Crop Sales Specialists to get started on discovering the Yield Report Book. 



Nutrient Replacement 

by Chris Snip

With harvest still in full swing in Southwestern Ontario there are some things we are seeing that are always changing but never seem to change. I am hearing of lots of great soybean and corn yields while also hearing of lower yielding fields and areas. Mother Nature often dictates the haves and have nots when it comes to crop yield so with extreme differences in yield sometimes within the same field or from field to field we need to take into account the changes in nutrients being removed by the grain taken from the field.

Every bushel of soybeans and every bushel of corn will remove the same amount of nutrients from the soil, 0.84 pounds of P2O5 and 1.3 pounds of K2O for soybeans and 0.4 pounds of P2O5 and 0.27 pounds of K2O for corn. What this means is that a 70 bushel per acre soybean crop will remove twice as much P & K as a 35 bushel per acre crop, when we take this into account the amount of fertilizer we need to simply replace crop removal from 1 year can be extremely variable from field to field or even within the same field.

I know most have heard this before and many are using site specific technology to apply nutrients but I feel this topic is worth discussing again because as we push for higher yields I feel our yield variability can have bigger swings as well. Utilizing yield monitor data for crop removal recommendations is one way we can ensure we are replacing nutrients from where they were removed, this in combination with current soil testing will allow for you to maximize your nutrient dollars while minimizing negative impacts on the environment.

While not everyone has all the tools available there are different approaches that can be used to variable apply nutrients on any given field, like I’ve mentioned yield monitor data and current sight specific soil testing are 2 great tools, aerial imagery and personal experience can play a role as well. It is never too late to start down the path of variable applied nutrients and if you have been applying nutrients by variable rate I encourage you to continue to do so while maybe also embracing other technologies to fine tune your approach.

As you watch your yield monitor while drivng across the fields this fall, think of the variability in the nutrients that need to be applied and remember that 4 R Nutrient stewardship is not a destination but a journey.

Yield Map:


Map Recommendation:


Potash Recommendation: 



Seed Ordering Season is Upon Us

by Dale Cowan

It is that time of year to place seed orders for hybrid corn and soybean varieties. Many farmers and some us in the ad retail find it a rushed time of year to make a very important decision. Selecting the right seed is important because it is hard to recover from a bad start next spring. This is a fundamental farming practice that can set up the whole year. Early order allows for selection of the more desirable seed solutions while quantities are sufficient. Early order and early pay discounts can provide substantial savings.

Early orders are not final sales as much as we would like them to be and most times they are, however there is time to continue to refine seed selections.

What tools douse to support our buying decisions? Often local test plot results are used to observe hybrid and variety performances. By far yield, harvest moisture and standability are long standing attributes in hybrid selection and most recently tolerance to Tar Spot and Gib ear molds and subsequent DON levels. In soybeans it is also yield, harvest moisture, lodging and disease resistance or tolerances to white mold, sudden death syndrome, soybean cyst nematode and most recently herbicide traits.

I have heard it said that test plots have limited usefulness because they are grown on the best land and yields are not representative of the general area. I can argue that we do that for good reason we want to eliminate as many abiotic factors as possible so we can look at just hybrid performances. On the flip side if we grew our performance plots on ground with poorly drained low areas, eroded side slopes and droughty knolls no one accept that data either. It would raise questions as to what influenced yields? The field performance issues or hybrids?

Test plots are meant for comparisons amongst hybrids or varieties and even better comparing performance over two more years. Consistency of performance is often as important as results from any single year.

One of the strategies we use is to encourage customers to grow a few new hybrids in strips on some of their fields to compare to their current selections. This allows for real field conditions performance evaluations.

Often the person selling the seed is as important as the brand they represent. Understanding your unique field characteristics such as fertility, texture, multiple soil types and topography can be important in selecting the right genetics to match the field. Selecting hybrids strictly on yield may not always offer the best outcomes.

We have numerous test plots currently being harvested that we share and often we have field and agronomic knowledge that can refine your seed selections.

We work hard to earn your trust and none more important than choosing the right seed solution.

We will no doubt be in touch as harvest progresses to bring an outstanding seed solution to your fields. 

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