The Cutting Edge of Nutrient Management

Sludge application, attachments, cover crops and blended nutrients contribute to success of these no-tillers'innovative fertilizer programs.

Technology and attention to detail helped three conservation-minded growers improve the profitability of their no-till and strip-till operations, and also win recognition through the 2011 Responsible Nutrient Management Practitioner’s Program.

Jeff Garman of Colfax, Ill.; Jordan Bennett of Hermiston, Ore.; and Larry Bonnell of Pittsford, Mich., were honored during the 19th annual National No-Tillage Conference in Cincinnati.

Below is a synopsis of their reputable fertility programs, which were recognized by No-Till Farmer and Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers, the program’s sponsors.

Jeff GarmanColfax, Ill.

After 20 years of no-tilling, Jeff Garman says he’s convinced of the importance of precisely placing nutrients so they’re readily available for the corn seedling roots.

When the corn plant is about 5 inches tall, that’s when the girth and the length of the ears are determined, says Garman, who no-tills 800 acres in a 50-50 corn-soybean rotation near Colfax, Ill.

“My goal is to have plenty of nutrients readily available for the corn to ‘sip’ off of,” he says. “In addition to nitrogen, I use zinc and boron pretty religiously. I’ve also included manganese.”

At planting, Garman applies about half of the nutrients the corn needs so he isn’t in a hurry to sidedress. When the corn is about 18 inches tall, he sidedresses about 20 gallons per acre or more of 32% liquid nitrogen using a coulter-knife rig.

Feed The Seedlings

 For Garman’s Kinze 3000 “splitter” planter, he designed a fertilizer attachment that bolts onto the row units.

“It places the liquid fertilizer after the gauge…

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