This grid map shows the application rates for the Koepke farm, which in many areas are zero.

It takes many steps to find the right rate

Galen Koepke farms in Ottawa County on the banks of the Portage River just a few miles from Lake Erie.

A television crew was at Koepke’s farm within a few hours after the news broke after the Toledo water crisis in 2014. Since then, all agriculture in the watershed has been the subject of great water quality scrutiny, but Koepke is under a microscope.

In many ways, though, Koepke welcomes the attention because he knows he is doing things right according to the 4Rs with his farming practices. This has not always been easy, however, particularly for one 34-acre field that borders the Portage River. For many years, he had farmed and carefully managed the 20-acre field and then around 20 years ago he purchased a neighboring 14-acre field and combined them.

“On that 14 acres they had two large layer operations with a total of around 100,000 chickens and they had spread all the manure on that field for many years. When we bought it and soil tested, we found that the phosphorus was off the charts. It is a relatively sandy soil and it is prone to flooding,” Koepke said. “I think there is probably enough phosphorus on that field to finish out my farming career. We double-checked to make sure that there was no mistake made.”

Doug Uher is the seed and precision specialist for Luckey Farmers, Inc. Cooperative who works with Koepke on the challenging field.

“I pulled a soil sample that I think was 1,200 pounds of phosphorus. I told Galen that I didn’t think this was correct, as this was one of the first years we were doing grid soil sampling. When the next results

Doug Uher and Galen Koepke stand on Koepke’s farm near the Portage River.
Doug Uher and Galen Koepke stand on Koepke’s farm near the Portage River.

came back, we found samples higher than 1,200 — it turns out that 1,200 was the average on the 34-acre field. There was only one spot on the east edge of the field that actually needed phosphorus. I told him he wouldn’t need to apply phosphorus for the rest of his life,” Uher said. “Because this field is located right by a river, it is more of a risk environmentally. We haven’t applied P in 16 years on most of that field.”

The systematic sampling was a crucial part of coming up with a prescription for the right rate in the portion of that field with a legacy of poultry manure — zero. Koepke very clearly understands the value of the right rate in terms of the environment and water quality, but he also understands the economic benefits.

“There are a lot of different soil types from black sandy loam to heavy clay in that field. On the part that we owned before, the soil tests are still calling for phosphorus applications, which makes the variable rate applications really shine,” Koepke said. “With the soil testing we try to do each field every third year and we use prescriptive maps with Luckey Farmers. They do the samples and then I meet with my agronomist and we plan the application accordingly. When we dropped it to 0 P it didn’t change the yields any and it saves money.”

Along with using the right rate, Koepke has implemented numerous conservation practices farm-wide to minimize the environmental impact of his farm. He has a corn-soybean-wheat rotation in many of his predominantly no-till fields, but wheat does not work well in the river bottom fields because of flooding problems. He has also dramatically expanded the use of cover crops in recent years.

The Portage River borders some of Koepke’s farm just a few miles from Lake Erie.
The Portage River borders some of Koepke’s farm just a few miles from Lake Erie.

“I plant soybeans into cereal rye and in my wheat ground I have been using a mixture of oats and tillage radish,” he said. “We can’t plant wheat in our river bottom ground because of the flooding so we aerial seeded oats into the corn this year. We have been using cover crops there for three or four years now. This year I will have a cover crop on all of my acres.”

His work with the Luckey Farmers has allowed him to take his environmental emphasis to the next level.

“As individual farmers we can’t afford the right equipment for the job that Luckey Farmers has,” he said. “I have a vested interest in protecting the environment here. I get my drinking water from the lake too and this helps me to do a better job.”

Luckey Farmers starts the process of developing the right rate of fertilizer long before the actual application with soil sampling. Though there are multiple ways to strategically and consistently take soil samples, each with pros and cons, Luckey Farmers has stuck with sampling on 2.5-acre grids.

“We do 2.5-acre grids but we work with a consulting firm that does it on yield zones. That can be a chicken or the egg thing. Did that part of the field yield 120 bushels because it was fertilized for 120 bushels or because that’s the maximum yield potential for the soil type? We want to come up with the right rate based on numerous factors. When we grid sample now we fertilize based on what is there not what may be there in yield, so I am still a grid guy. In my opinion that is the way to go,” Uher said. “If you base it on soil types, they usually won’t match your yield map because yields can vary over the same soil type. In fields where yields match the soil types then zone sampling works, but that does not happen often. I think in the future it may be a combination of all three things: fertility, yield and soil types. I do

The auto-probe is mounted on an ATV and it is operated by push button.
The auto-probe is mounted on an ATV and it is operated by push button.

know the days of the right rate of 400 pounds of 4-10-46 are not here anymore. Why would a farmer want to over fertilize? We want farmers to make money so we want to put the right rate down.”

Within the grid sampling system, the next step is getting consistent and accurate soil samples.

“This last year we purchased two auto-probes that are pre-determined on soil sampling depth. It is all I-pad based and it geo-references where you pull it. You take a picture of the barcode on the bag holding the sample and that is then geo-referenced. That takes out any room for paperwork error. The traceability and accuracy of the soil samples is a really tight window now. Part of the issue we used to get when we sent an intern out to get soil samples is when it hasn’t rained for three months you can get inaccurate results because the soil was hard. This is much more accurate and repeatable,” Uher said. “That is new this year. We try to do it about the same date every year for each field. We either sample right after wheat or in the fall. We don’t like to sample in the spring. In the spring you can find different levels so that is our last resort for taking soil samples. We target anything going to corn in the fall.”

After developing the sampling plan with the farmer, the samples must be carefully collected and handled.

“The guy pulling the soil sample gets a text describing the job and he’ll go out to the field. The auto-probe is mounted on an ATV and it is operated by push button. Everything is on an I-pad and it really takes out the human error component. On a general soil sample the sampler finds random samples. On the grid, the spots are pre-determined where the probes need to be. We go back and sample the same spots where we sampled before to get a handle on what is happening over time. If it is in a bad location — headland or in a low area or swale — it can be moved. They also need to stay off the rows where fertilizer applications may have been made,” Uher said. “We work with A&L Great Lakes labs in Ft. Wayne. With our new software the results go from the lab to the software company that puts it in and I get an email that says it is ready for precision. It is all automated. Then I go in and put in the crop, yield goals and type of fertilizer used and it tells me a prescription for the field.”

Each of those factors is also important for determining the right rate, particularly the yield.

“You need realistic yields to get the right rate. Many guys have yield goals that are two low for today’s genetics, but I also have guys tell me they want 240 bushels every year,” Uher said. “We are working to do a better job of overlaying fertility with yields. We don’t want a rate for 200-bushel corn in a part of the field that yielded 120 bushels. Yield data is going to be a bigger part of the right rate in the future.”

Uher’s plans for the application include details like the location of the field entrance and numerous types of environmentally sensitive areas. Once an accurate and realistic rate prescription has been developed, it must then be properly applied.

“We create a file that can be uploaded to the application machine. We put it on a flash drive so the applicator will know to apply it like we have it drawn up. We develop the right rate based on our computer model and we make the application based on that,” Uher said. “The applicator then provides an ‘as applied’ map to show exactly how he drove to match everything up. It is a 70-foot boom so I match up with application grids as closely as we can. We are getting a lot better with automation. Now we are starting to do all of it wirelessly.”

In addition, the equipment must all be accurately calibrated to get the right rate on the field.

“We calibrate all of our equipment twice a year and every load that goes out we are spot-checking to seeing if it’s right,” he said. “If we know we are supposed to put on 1,000 pounds and we are 20 pounds off we’ll be able to tell.”

The technology is evolving and improving quickly but keeping up with the changes can be a challenge.

“A lot of the software we use is not based on agriculture and we have to adapt everything,” Uher said. “We have to find what works and what doesn’t and it can be a learning process.”

The end result of this long process, though, is a very valuable right rate.

“In most instances one of two things will happen when guys start with grid soil sampling and variable rate application — his yields with either go up or his fertilizer application will go down,” Uher said. “There is a misconception that when guys get more precision they put less fertilizer on, but that is not always the case. In some cases the grid soil sampling leads to recommendations for fertility that are actually higher and they see a nice yield bump. In the end it has to be profitable for the farmer for it to work.”

This ongoing evolution at Luckey Farmers fits right in with their certification through the 4R Nutrient Steward Certification Program.

“We have always tried to do the right thing but now we have it in black and white. Now we have a standard where we are held accountable to make sure we are doing the right thing,” Uher said. “The certification process really helped us with traceability and it forced us to do a better job with the paperwork. Before if we were asked ‘Do you have a soil sample from four years ago?’ ‘Well yes. But where’s it at?’ We have done a good job of keeping track of what phosphorus levels have done in the fields, for example, and if we see an outlier we know something isn’t right. This certification makes us keep track of things better and helps us to do a better job for our customers.”

The right rate component of the 4Rs is crucial for farm profitability and environmental stewardship, but finding it depends on a long chain of the right people and the right equipment used in the right way, Uher said.

“Did we sample right? Was the equipment calibrated right?  There are a lot of moving parts with the right rate from getting the right soil sample to getting the fertilizer applied.”

For more, visit 4rcertified.org.

 

Check Also

Ohio Hereford Futurity highlights Ohio genetics

In October, Ohio Hereford breeders gathered at the Morrow County Fairgrounds in Mount Gilead. The …

1,488 comments

  1. As I am looking at your writing, keonhacai I regret being unable to do outdoor activities due to Corona 19, and I miss my old daily life. If you also miss the daily life of those days, would you please visit my site once? My site is a site where I post about photos and daily life when I was free.

  2. I’m writing on this topic these days, keonhacai, but I have stopped writing because there is no reference material. Then I accidentally found your article. I can refer to a variety of materials, so I think the work I was preparing will work! Thank you for your efforts.

  3. Do you want to know how Can I Talk to a Live Person at Facebook if you are facing some problems and are looking for some assistance? You have to go to the official help center to do the same without any kind of hassle.

  4. A fantastic article Thank you for sharing.

    https://joinlive77.com/

  5. A fantastic article Thank you for sharing.

    https://joinlive77.com/

  6. Are you looking for a jobs in UAE ? If yes, then Skillbee App will help you.

  7. I had a lot of fun at this Olympics, but something was missing. I hope there’s an audience next time.안전토토사이트

  8. I finally found what I was looking for! I’m so happy. 안전한놀이터 Your article is what I’ve been looking for for a long time. I’m happy to find you like this. Could you visit my website if you have time? I’m sure you’ll find a post of interest that you’ll find interesting.

  9. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog. I’m hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now. keonhacai

  10. They not only restricted women’s higher education, employment, and free outings, but also made it mandatory to wear a burqa, and exposed the brutality of being stoned to death if violated.

  11. I procrastinate a lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done. waiting for your further write ups thanks once again.

  12. Great blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  13. Nice post. I was checking constantly this weblog and I’m inspired!

    Very helpful info particularly the remaining section 🙂 I maintain such info a lot.
    I used to be looking for this particular information for a very long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  14. Your post is very interesting to me. Reading was so much fun. I think the reason reading is fun is because it is a post related to that I am interested in. Articles related to 메이저놀이터순위 you are the best. I would like you to write a similar post about !

  15. This is a very useful and interesting information, i really benefited going through it, thanks for sharing. ysu post utme past question 2020

  16. 123.Hp.com printer, it is found that Hp stands perfect among all the quality and cost-effectiveness. By considering the above things, it’s perfect for a user to go for the Hp printers. The installation-related problems are here with us, with the solutions included in them. So, if you’ve not purchased the Hp printer setup, then right away purchase it and read out the below content to install its drivers.
    123.hp.com/setup

  17. Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and new initiatives in the same niche. Blog gave us useful information to work. You have done an amazing job! 메이저토토사이트 Thank you very much. Can I refer to your post on my website? Your post touched me a lot and helped me a lot. If you have any questions, please visit my site and read what kind of posts I am posting. I am sure it will be interesting.

  18. It’s really great. Thank you for providing a quality article. There is something you might be interested in. Do you know 토토커뮤니티 ? If you have more questions, please come to my site and check it out!

  19. Your post was good and the information that you giving in your post, that was really cool. I like it very much. Thanks for posting this great information with us. Please share more information and I will bookmark to my blog.The Mobile App Development Dubai provides best service you visit here site https://www.mistersaad.com/

  20. Ótima maneira de descrever e bom artigo para levar fatos sobre o tópico da minha apresentação,

    https://www.betmantoto.pro

  21. Are you thinking of how to configure your newly purchased Wavlink router in the easiest way? You are definitely on the right path. Here we have listed out how you can begin your setup and configuration through wifi.wavlink.com. Implement these tips to begin with the setup.

  22. How Do I Recover My Cash App Account By Taking Help From Experts?
    In case you don’t know about How Do I Recover My Cash App Account, it is nice to reach out to the experts. Here, these nerds furnish you with the right direction and backing using which you will actually want to get the most ideal. By executing these directions, you can get your record recuperated in the blink of an eye.

  23. Cefnogi Solutions is an Information technology-based company. We provide best services for Web applications and Digital Marketing or brand promotion.

  24. Your essay has a clear theme and rich literary sentiment. It deeply moved people’s hearts and resonated. If you are interested, you can take a look at my website.817
    온라인약국 비아그라v.

  25. Thanks for sharing this information

  26. We are looking for a lot of data on this item. In the meantime, this is the perfect article I was looking for . Please post a lot about items related to 메이저놀이터추천 !!! I am waiting for your article. And when you are having difficulty writing articles, I think you can get a lot of help by visiting my .

  27. Thanks for such a fantastic blog. Where else could anyone get that kind of info written in such a perfect way? I have a presentation that I am presently writhing on, and I have been on the look out for such great information. 메이저토토

  28. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog. I’m hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now. 먹튀검증전문

  29. Your way of working is very great and cool. This article is very informative and helpful for a lot of people. Thanks for sharing and keep sharing.
    섯다

  30. This was truly a useful publish. Thanks a lot

  31. Interesting topic for a blog. I have been searching the Internet for fun and came upon your website. Fabulous post. Thanks a ton for sharing your knowledge! It is great to see that some people still put in an effort into managing their websites. I’ll be sure to check back again real soon.

  32. Great write-up, I am a big believer in commenting on blogs to inform the blog writers know that they’ve added something worthwhile to the world wide web!..

  33. I’ve been using WordPress on a number of websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform. I have heard good things about 토토커뮤니티
    . Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it? Any help would be really appreciated!
    https://mtygy.com/

  34. Cash App may be a virtual wallet that permits users to form payments both in-store and online. Paychecks, tax returns, stimulus funds, and other funds are often placed into the Cash App account. to require advantage of the program’s features, users should download the cash app and make a Cash App Login account.

  35. your post is very impressive post similarly using Canon MX490 is a great experience Having dynamic printing features canon Pixma mx490 is not only prefer by professionals but non-professionals also use it to meet their printing purposes.

  36. ammazing work keep it up thanks

  37. it’ll ask you to line your funding source by any of the methods i.e. your Venmo balance, checking account , and debit/ mastercard . If your Venmo transaction declined it’d be some reasons behind it. you’ll take help by contacting them.

  38. its was a inspired story for me ,,thanks a lot ,,for this article.

  39. Just admiring your work and wondering how you managed this blog so
    well. It’s so remarkable that I can’t afford to not go through this
    valuable information whenever I surf the internet!
    오피월드

  40. To activate Trend micro, make sure you already have an activation code that you’ll probably enter on the trendmicro activate site.

  41. Several factors matter when you choose the Microsoft 365 subscription. Depending on your requirements on the respective productivity platforms, these products are different in price.

  42. Canon Inkjet printers are compatible with multiple devices, including Windows, Mac, Smartphones, Tablets, Linux (a few models), and Chromebook.To start the setup process, follow the guidelines shown here.

  43. I’ve been using WordPress on a number of websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform. I have heard good things about ty le keo. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it? Any help would be really appreciated!

  44. Thanks for sharing this informative blog. For further any query in the future, let’s connect with us at:System Mechanic Professional Crack

Leave a Reply to venmo transaction declined Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *