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United Prairie LLC News

Data Informs Our Decisions

Our plot harvest is completed for 2017, and I’ve been busy crunching the numbers. We have gathered great data on the corn hybrids we carry as well as both Xtend® and LibertyLink® soybeans. These results and more can be found on our website under the “UP Trial Results” tab.

We’ll be discussing our research results at the upcoming winter meeting Jan. 16, 2018, at the I Hotel in Champaign. Watch for times and more information on speakers and topics.

Plans are already in the works for 2018. We’ll be conducting intensive side-by-side studies at some new locations, one of which will be Crescent City.

Cool enough

As seen in the attached shot of soil temperatures from Data on Touch, it’s go time for fall ammonia applications. Soil temperatures are 50 degrees and lower, and the extended forecast looks good. Soil moisture is very good and will help keep soil temperatures from rising rapidly, even if air temperatures rise.

We highly recommend the use of nitrogen stabilizers like N-Serve® to keep your nitrogen in stable form through the winter and early spring months. Our recent winters haven’t been that cold, making the use of a stabilizer even more important.

Anhydrous will again be applied this fall on our nitrogen-rate time trial at the Innovation Farm. We’ll begin monitoring soil nitrate and ammonium through soil sampling throughout the winter and spring. This greatly increases our understanding of what is happening to nitrogen and feed valuable information into our Data on Touch nitrogen model.

Our findings this year were surprising, as we normally would have assumed we lost quite a bit of nitrogen in April in May. Our soil testing showed that was not the case. What we found was that although the nitrogen moved deeper, we did not lose it from the profile. That illustrates the importance of sampling at both the 0-12- and 12-24-inch depths.

This process of ground-truthing data by sampling puts our system well ahead of others that are strictly based on computer models. Based upon the work that we have done, I believe a lot of entities have made nitrogen a much more complicated topic than it needs to be. More often than not, the recommendations that come from personal experience and the maximum return to nitrogen model are good tools to get us in the ballpark. Then we can fine-tune it.

In terms of the side-by-side data we have to this point, we’re seeing very good results with MicroShield on soybeans, and a positive impact from the use of stabilizers on spring pre-plant applied nitrogen.

I look forward to sharing a lot more information with you at our winter meeting. Please plan to join us.


Jeff Brown
Agronomy Manager
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