When Mother Nature Calls — Will you be ready?
A series of decisions equate to yield
We talk about it constantly: the weather. We know how impactful it can be when it doesn’t work the way we hope it will. But, in our latest editorial we asked:
If our success hinges so much on weather — do we really know what we’re doing?
A tough question, but one we believe helps us dig into what we can control.
Here are five things we think are just as (if not more) impactful as mother nature herself.
Soil Testing & Critical Level:
Every farmer aims for better soil testing. We want to know what nutrients are available for plants and when to use them efficiently. While accuracy matters, what’s more crucial is the standard to which we compare the test results. Soil testing has improved from broad 40-acre tests to more precise 2.5-acre grids. This specificity matters, but unfortunately, the way we assess nutrient availability hasn’t evolved much. This puts farmers who rely on university or statewide recommendations at risk of missing out on yield potential. At Advanced Agrilytics, we prioritize the environmental contribution to nutrient movement, focusing on sub-acre growing conditions and understanding soil critical levels. The critical level is the point at which adding more nutrients to the soil won’t increase yields significantly (the law of diminishing returns). University recommendations consider CEC and the holding capacity of K, but that is only part of the story. Without considering soil moisture availability and spatial critical levels, even the most accurate soil tests can lead to incorrect adjustments. Are you considering moisture?
The easiest time of year to observe nutrient deficiencies is when the crop is under stress. Where are K deficiencies most commonly seen? On top of the knob — where water is limited. Now consider a more “stable” year, when rains are timely: Are you still experiencing limitations on that same acre, even if they’re not observable? Yes! While we can’t fertilize our way out of a drought, we can support limitations in moisture and nutrient availability every year. At Advanced Agrilytics, we use critical level and environmental understanding to inform those decisions at the sub-acre level — not outguessing the weather, but mitigating risk in these known environments to unlock potential.
Product Selection & Planting Population:
We’ve discussed Yield Per Thousand (YPT) previously and the importance of understanding its influence based on relative location and product selection. How do your product decisions align with your understanding of the sub-acre environments in each field? If you’re making selections broadly, are you achieving the consistency you want across every acre?
As you assess the weather conditions and crop progress, you’re making choices on application timing, but are you making application choices based on need? How are you assessing potential deficiencies — before problems occur or after visible signs have appeared?
This applies to nitrogen timing, or in-season fungicide applications — both of which can be more confidently predicted with knowledge of the environments within your fields.
At Advanced Agrilytics, we don’t believe in giving up on any acre. We farm them all, and often it’s the least productive environments that have greatest potential to build consistency year over year. Using end-of-year assessments to determine next year’s opportunities means you — and your acres — will be ready to answer when Mother Nature calls.
Want more tips on how to assess your acres during the fall / winter season? Or, interested in better soil testing?
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