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View from the Cab: Soaking it in

Ken Ferree (center) talks with farmers at a recent meeting / CIFN photo.

I feel like a sponge as I continue to soak in various information from my winter ag meeting tour.

A recent visit to the Jenner Precision winter meeting allowed me to hear Ken Ferree speak. Ferree owns Crop-Tech Consulting in Heyworth, a soil testing firm that creates yield maps and makes fertility recommendations. Ferree is quite popular among those in the ag community.

“We look at planters, tillage tools, fungicides and insecticides,” Ferree told the crowd.

The company does not sell products but Ferree provides advice by hosting presentations all over the country.

Ferree spoke about phosphates. There are plenty of phosphates left out in the field from corn and soybeans but it isn’t useful until it is processed. The cycle includes soil, plants and microbes which is similar to the nitrogen cycle.

Next to nitrogen, phosphorus is the second most abundant nutrient in soil organic matter. Around 68-70 percent of residue left in a corn field is going to cause immobilization of the phosphate.

According to Ferree, starter fertilizer provides growers insurance to get through a tough time of year for the plant.

“Always keep the seed bed sacred,” Ferree said. “Keep that planter running smooth and level.”

With so many prevent plant acres last year, many growers are wondering what to do with that ground this year. Based on the calls coming into Ferree’s office, several are thinking of still putting the ground into corn.

“That’s not a bad idea,” Ferree stated.

Planting into a former prevent plant field means farmers won’t have corn on corn toxins or disease to deal with. Also, if a cover crop was grown there last year, they won’t have to fight the fallow syndrome.

More can be found at, on Facebook at: Crop-Tech Consulting or on Twitter: @CropTechInc.

(The View from the Cab is powered each week by Petersen Chevy-Buick in Fairbury)

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