David Rahe

Potassium and Soybean Production

Having spent my time as a CCA Soy Envoy writing about micronutrients, sulfur, nitrogen and phosphorus, it seems appropriate to close out the year focusing on potassium. Of the plant nutrients, potassium is part of the big 3—nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK). When I run soil tests in my area potassium is the most likely to be low, although some soils I work with can be high and stay high. Potassium helps plants withstand drought damage. It is also credited with general plant health and preventing lodging. Potassium helps the plant produce starch and transform sugars. This nutrient is [...]

By |October 31, 2019|

PODCAST: Soil Compaction Restoration

CCA Soy Envoy, Dave Rahe, looks at soil compaction caused by planting in less than ideal soil conditions and what soybean growers can do to minimize the impact on the 2020 growing season.

By |October 22, 2019|

Three Phosphorus Tests and Which to Use on Your Soil

Phosphorus was recently in the spotlight as the American Society of Agronomy celebrated Phosphorus Week, September 15-21. It seems appropriate to celebrate the discovery of one of our most important crop nutrients and focus on how to manage it better. Discovered 350 years ago, phosphorus is the 11th most abundant element on earth. Because it is so plentiful, it would seem it should be one of the easiest to manage for crop production. However, it is not evenly distributed and not always readily available for plant growth. According to Emerson Nafzinger, University of Illinois Extension, soybeans remove 0.75 pounds [...]

By |September 25, 2019|

What You Need to Know About Managing Nitrogen in Wet Years

Managing nitrogen is one of the most difficult and unpredictable things that grain producers need to do.  In a world where environmental concerns come to the forefront more and more, nitrogen management deserves attention. Fall application of nitrogen is popular among retailers and farmers in Illinois. One reason is that it spreads the spring workload out. The first caution with fall applied nitrogen is that it is not recommended south of Illinois Route 16. There have even been years when fall applied was a bad idea south of I-72. It is also not recommended when soil temperatures are above [...]

By |July 18, 2019|

Managing Micronutrients in Soybeans

There are 18 essential nutrients in plants: Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the most likely to be added as fertilizer. Water, carbon and oxygen come from air and water. Calcium, magnesium and sulfur are needed in large amounts as well, and in Illinois we generally take what we get from nature.  Sulfur now commonly needs to be added along with the big 3. We add calcium and magnesium when we lime, although in Southern Illinois we generally come up short on magnesium in our liming materials. And micronutrients are also essential, but needed in smaller amounts. Boron, iron, manganese, [...]

By |June 26, 2019|

Spring Soil Sampling

Soil sampling has traditionally been done in the fall, after crops are harvested. The objective is to know how much fertility the soil already has to produce next year’s crop. But in my business, more than half my sampling is done in the spring. We usually begin sampling when fields are planted or ready to plant and continue until crops are no more than 12-inchs tall to minimize damage to the crop. I have found ATV damage to be minimal at this stage. The photo below shows corn has recovered a day after sampling. One of the reasons for [...]

By |May 26, 2019|

Cold, Wet, Frustrating

We can sum up fall and winter, and now spring, in a few words; cold, wet, frustrating. While we still want to plant as early as possible, we need to consider the consequences, especially as they relate to soil compaction. Compaction creates all kinds of issues whether fall or spring. Filing in ruts creates extra work, whether in the fall or spring. Yield is the bottom line, and yield can definitely take a dive on compacted soils. Soil compaction is an issue whether soil is wet or dry, because it changes the air, water and plant root interactions in [...]

By |April 24, 2019|

Sulfur Needs for Soybean Growth

One of the major nutrients needed for crop growth is sulfur (S). In the past nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium were considered the major nutrients. Sulfur emissions from coal fired power plants supplied more sulfur than needed for good crop growth. But in my business as an independent crop consultant we have been recommending sulfur for many years now. I started consulting in 2006, and in those days we seldom saw the characteristic yellow striping of sulfur deficiency in plant leaves. Over the years we have seen sulfur deficiency symptoms gradually increase to the point that sulfur deficiency is a [...]

By |February 19, 2019|
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