Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Blah Blah Blah, New Nozzels! Blah Blah Blah

So one of the main problems with being a cool no-till farmer like me is how to apply my fertilizer, specifically, phosphorous. Nitrogen isn't really a problem because A. Nitrogen moves with water in the soil so it will quite naturally move into the root zone after a rain. B. The normal effect of acidifying the top couple of inches of the soil which occurs from repeatedly applying Nitrogen fertilizers to the soil surface is very much mitigated by the 7.5+ Start values of our soil pH. Potassium is not an issue because the soils in Western Kansas have like a 500 year supply of potassium preloaded. The problem is phosphorus. Phosphorus doesn't like to move through the soil. It likes to stay put. So ideally it would be applied directly to the root zone. This is not a problem in row crops 'cause I just put all of my P on in a 2x2 band (2" to the side and 2" below the seed) when I plant. Pretty simple, and the hardware necessary to do the 2x2 banding was relatively cheap. Ideally I would do the same thing when I drill wheat, but attachments to do that with drills are anything but cheap, and probably wouldn't work so well in the irrigated corn stubble we drill into. A lot of people have their wheat mixed with dry fertilizer before they plant it, but the nature of Seed Wheat is that I can't just bring my seed to the co-op and have them use the same mixing device with my wheat that my neighbor's wheat just went through. Others inject a small starter blend directly in the row with the seed, but I don't like this because A. it really shortens the life of bearings to come in constant contact with fertilizer and B. It is impossible to apply enough fertilizer in this manner to completely meet the crops demand without killing the seed you have just planted. I could have the coop use their ginormous no-till rig apply the fertilizer, but we run into serious timing issues when we are trying to drill wheat immediately after corn harvest. (blah blah blah blah blah. I can't believe any of you read this stuff.) Anyway, to make a long story just slightly longer I have decided to, this year anyway, band my fertilizer on with my sprayer. The hope is that enough fertilizer will stay in these concentrated bands on the soil surface to enable some of it to leach down into the root zone following an irrigation a rainfall event. So I got to put these nifty nozzles on my sprayer. (Also, since I now have a rate controller and accuboom, I feel confidant in not over or under applying my fertilizer with my sprayer. This is also one reason why I got my sprayer with 15 inch spacing rather than the standard 20".))

Anyhoo here's what they look like when operational (don't worry that's just water in the picture.)


betsyann said...

I read the whole thing AND I thought it was intersting. So there.

linda jean said...

i only read it because betsy did. But it was interesting.