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Corn stalks - fertilizer bill?


Fri, Nov 4th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

Jerrold Tesmer, Extension Educator for Fillmore/Houston Counties

This past week, I have had considerable conversations about how much fertilizer is going off the field when corn stalk bales are removed. The farms I'm talking about are those without livestock. If you have livestock and large amounts of manure are hauled back on the field, you have created a value added product and are in a totally different ballgame.

After checking fertilizer prices from a couple of sources, I arrived at a price of $.62 /lb. of actual P (phosphorus) and $.58 /lb. of K (potash). From the chart "Nutrient Removal by Major Minnesota Crops" for each bushel of corn raised, the stover (corn stalks) .25 lbs. P and 1.05 lbs. K are contained in the stover.

For easy math, I'm going to estimate 200 bushels per acre corn with 50 percent of the stalks removed in big round bales. First the P: 200 bushels X 50 percent X .25 lbs P X $.62 per lb. = $15.50 of P. Next the K: 200 bushels X 50% X 1.05 lbs K X $.58 per lb. = $60.90 of K. This totals $76.40 per acre fertilizer being removed.

A few years ago, Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist, estimated 200 bushel per acre corn crop produces 4.22 tons of dry matter per acre as corn residue. Once again, assuming 50 percent is harvested, we would have just a little over 2 ton of stalks removed or about four bales per acre. If your cornstalk bale weighs 1,000 lbs, each bale would then contain $19.10 in fertilizer plus baling costs.

A couple of recommendations from Jeff Coulter:

Residue harvest is best suited to continuous corn systems that consistently have high yields and utilize little or no tillage. If corn residue is harvested, do not remove more than 45 percent of the residue. Harvesting only 45 percent of the corn residue is tricky, but it can be done if stalks are cut high during grain harvest and if stalks are not chopped prior to baling. If a rake is used prior to baling, make sure that the rake is set as high as possible to avoid collecting too much residue.

Another useful idea when harvesting residue is to rotate residue harvest among fields. This ensures that residue is not harvested from the same field every year. In addition, think seriously about reducing tillage following residue harvest. Also target manure applications rather than fertilizer for these fields if soil test levels indicate that phosphorus is needed.

Winter cover crops should also be considered for fie .....
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64

Farm Service Agency News

Fri, Nov 4th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

2012 DCP Signup

Enrollment for the 2012 Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) will begin on January 23, 2012, and will continue through June 1, 2012. This is different from past years when we started signup on October 1. Producers can ma ..... 
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Grazing crop residues

Fri, Oct 21st, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

Now that corn harvest is well underway, I have started to see beef cows grazing harvested corn fields. I started to say cornstalks, but 12% of the residue is husk, 27% is leaf, and 12% cob. So there is much more than just stalks, and I'm not countin ..... 
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Fillmore County pork wagon gets new look

Fri, Oct 14th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

The Mensink family has been a big part of Fillmore County's pork production for many years. Craig Mensink of rural Preston has been farming on his land since 1977. His father raised pigs before that, and his grandfather bought the farm in 1945.
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Farm computer usage continues to climb

Fri, Oct 14th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

A recent report by the Agricultural Statistic Board reports that a total of 62 percent of U.S. farms now have Internet access, compared with 59 percent in 2009. Sixty-five percent of farms have access to a computer in 2011, up one percentage point f ..... 
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Mathison family to be honored as area finalist at State Soil and Water Conservation District Convention

Fri, Oct 7th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

The Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) has named Larry and Irene Mathison and Loren and Carrie Mathison as one of eight Area Finalists in the 2011 Outstanding Conservationist Award Program. The Mathisons will be ..... 
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Plan Your EAB Response

Fri, Oct 7th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

I believe most people in Southeast Minnesota are aware that Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed two new Emerald Ash Borer infestations. A beetle was found in a purple monitoring trap in Veterans Park in La Crescent, and another one was fou ..... 
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Become a Master Gardener- more than pulling weeds

Fri, Sep 30th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

Master Gardeners do love digging in the soil. But you may not realize the scope of their involvement in the community. Minnesota Master Gardeners assist University of Minnesota faculty with research projects and varietal trials, advice city official ..... 
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Compare your nitrogen sources by price

Fri, Sep 30th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

This past week I came across the updated version of the Nutrient & Manure Management Tables, produced by University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This jam-packed, one page, two-sided publication is loaded with v ..... 
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