Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Great Race Part III

See Part 2
One of the reasons why double cropping soybeans is such a common practice is the fact that soybeans are legumes, and as legumes, will "fix" their own nitrogen. They do this by forming a symbiotic relationship with soil borne bacteria. The soybean provides water, and oxygen, and the bacteria provide the soybean with nitrogen. The bacteria do such a good job, though, that the soybean has more nitrogen than it needs, and so you get excess nitrogen which is stored in the soil for next years crop. So, worst case scenario, (early freeze) you still have the "free" fertilizer for next years corn crop. These arrows are pointing out the nodules which are formed by the bacterial infection.

You can tell if the nodules are doing their job by splitting them open. Since these are reddish, I know that the bacteria are healthy and happy and busy fixing nitrogen.
The other nice thing about soybeans (At least for the last 15 years) is that weed control is so easy. Just apply glyphosate, and all the plants in the field die except for the soybeans which have been genetically engineered to be tolerant to glyphosate. Nothing could be simpler or less fool proof. I decided to have an unnamed firm spray my beans, since they have a nice big sprayer. Had I planted my beans in thirty inch rows, my row crop tractor with three point sprayer would have been fine. Since I drilled the beans in 10 inch rows, however, the big sprayer does a much nicer job.
Here is the unnamed applicator who works for the unnamed firm loading the sprayer from one of the bulk tanks on the sprayer. This is very common. These commercial outfits deal with a lot of chemical, and so they usually work with it in these big refillable bulk tanks.

So, with the soybeans taken care of, I can go on vacation with no worries.

No worries at all.

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