Crop Talk – Wheat Fertility


Hello all!

I am hearing a lot of talk around the country about wheat and where money could be saved this fall. A lot of attention is centered on phosphorous. Many people are asking if phosphorous would be a good place to save money.

To answer simply – no. I do not dispute that you could probably get away with no phosphorous for a year or so, but what will eventually happen is your soil levels will drop drastically and it will adversely affect yield.

Our soils are typically between 10-25 ppm on phosphorous. Now consider this – if your ppm drops even 1 point, it takes 18lbs of actual P to raise it back up. At current prices, that would cost somewhere around $9.00 per acre ON TOP OF what your wheat crop would need. The long-term cost isn’t worth the short-term return.

Well what about delaying the application until the spring if prices go up? This becomes an agronomic issue more than economic. Phosphorus is an immobile nutrient, meaning the root has to grow into it and make contact to take it up. The opposite would be nitrogen. Nitrogen moves through the soil in water. When the plant takes in water, nitrogen comes in with it.

So agronomically, a topdress application of phosphorus would be of no benefit to the current crop, because the roots would be below to phosphorous applied on the surface of the soil.

Farmer’s Coop has been proudly selling MicroEssentials SZ for 3 years. For those of you that don’t know about it, MESZ is a homogeneous blend of 12-40-0-10s-1zn. The sulfur is from two sources – ammonium sulfate for immediate availability and elemental sulfur for season-long availability. The zinc is evenly spread across the field to maximize the availability to every plant.

The video below illustrates the importance of evenly distributed fertilizer:

We also strive to provide our growers will clean, high quality fertilizer. A plugged up drill costs time and money.

If you have questions about anything discussed above, please call your local Farmer’s Coop agronomist.

Make it a great week!


Crop Talk – Protein in wheat

It is pretty well-known that the protein in the dryland wheat this summer hasn’t been that great. We have had numerous discussions amongst ourselves about it and I thought it might be a good topic this week to discuss.


I think the low protein comes down to about 3  factors:

  1. Fertility – Nitrogen and sulfur are the most important factors in protein content. It really isn’t enough to just apply nitrogen to achieve a certain yield goal. We should be factoring in our desired protein content. But if the plant can’t utilize the nitrogen, what is the point? That is where sulfur comes in. Without adequate sulfur, plants can’t use nitrogen efficiently. Every application of nitrogen should contain some sulfur.
  2. Stripe Rust – This summer we had the worst outbreak of stripe rust that we have seen in a very long time. While we typically associate rust with yield loss, I don’t think we can ignore it as a possible factor. Any stress put on the plant will adversely affect performance, so why should protein content be any different? It is no coincidence that the irrigated wheat is testing higher for protein. The majority were sprayed with a fungicide at the first sign of rust.
  3. Freeze damage – It is hard for me to point at this one as a definite factor. The primary reason is there were many fields that never had any signs of damage, yet the protein content has been consistently poor on the dryland acres. However, like stripe rust, it can’t be ignored as a potential factor.

Instead of focusing on just one, I would say it was likely a combination of two or three of the above factors.

If you would like to discuss plans for next year, be sure to contact your local agronomist at Farmer’s Coop.

Make it a great week!

Upcoming Event: Answer Plot Session II

Quick reminder: On Friday, July 22nd, the 2nd session of WinField’s Answer Plot will be held 3 miles south of Gering, starting at 9 AM.

They will be covering a wide range of topics including wheat seed treatments, tissue sampling, and corn hybrids, including Dekalb and Croplan. If you have never attended before, there is a wealth of information to be gained. Also of note, the Gering plot is the largest corn research plot EVER planted in the NE, WY, KS, CO, & MS area.

Below is a brief overview of the Answer Plot goal:

If you are interested in attending, contact your local Farmer’s Coop agronomist for more details. If distance is an issue, I’m sure you could hitch a ride with one of us.


Crop Talk – Is drift control really important?

Hello all! Welcome to the first entry of Crop Talk! My name is Miles Buskirk. I am an agronomist at Farmer’s Coop in Hemingford. I (and possibly others) will be posting new and relevant agronomy information weekly to Farmer Scoop.

Following the snow that fell over the weekend, I am sure the sprayers will be out in full force once the fields dry out. Since wind is a normal occurrence in western Nebraska, we use InterLock spray adjuvant to limit drift. The benefits of InterLock are not limited to drift control, however.

InterLock works by reducing the amount of fine particles, which tend to drift more easily and evaporate more readily than coarse particles, meaning your money is literally evaporating away when they don’t hit the target. These coarse particles also penetrate the canopy better, increasing the efficacy and deposition.

Another key component of drift control is selecting the right spray nozzle. I would strongly recommend taking five minutes to watch this video about spray nozzle selection: Video: Picking the right spray nozzle

If you have any questions about InterLock or different nozzle types, visit with your local Farmer’s Coop agronomist.

Make it a great week!