Cans in corn field

Beer for corn?

Trying a new system that incorporates micro-nutrients.

Does alcohol lead to better yields? I’ve heard of guys stashing a bottle in the combine, especially in 2012 and 2015, but that’s not what I mean.

A conversation this spring led me to purchasing a ‘system’ to increase yields. I’m trying it on a small scale in strip trials. One of the sugar products smells like beer. Admittedly, the salesman called some of his own products ‘snake oil’. As with many of these products the details were sketchy. However they weren’t high dollar products, and the labels contained actual ingredients, not ‘proprietary blends’. I decided to try some. It helped their approach carried micro-nutrients which fit the direction we had already determined we wanted to go. Windy afternoons may be preventing me from spraying herbicides, but they have allowed me to keep up with nutrient only applications.

We are quickly determining multiple in-crop applications of nutrients is going to be very time consuming. From pulling soil and tissue samples to determining nutrient mixes to making the actual application, it all takes time. I am also going back to school so to speak. I took engineering classes in college, I guess I should have taken (and paid more attention) in my chemistry classes. When talking about foliar applications I’m trying to learn the easy way what products play nice together and which ones don’t.  I don’t need to spend a day cleaning my sprayer screens while trying to spray off a load that doesn’t mix properly or stay in solution.

A second round of soil and tissue tests was sent in this week. We are eagerly awaiting the results. We discounted the first set of soil tests because there wasn’t significant rainfall between dry fertilizer application and sampling. Tissue tests did reveal some areas to work on. I’ve spent a lot of time researching different products to meet plant needs. Costs can vary greatly from one manufacturer to another. You also have to compare product content and rates. Since farming has to pay the bills, we have to pick and choose what areas we are going to address. We want everything we do to make a return.

We have a planned application trip next week over about half the soybeans and a third of the corn crop. With rains late last week, the corn is exploding through growth stages and soon will be too tall to make any more ground applications. The rains were just in time as we had begun starting irrigation.

By the way, please don’t criticize my corn’s choice in beer, they only drink what the local teens discard before they get home.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

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