Midwestern farmers are keeping journals about their management techniques as part of the "Pursuit of 300" project. (Photo by Carrie Muehling/WJBC)
By Carrie Muehling
KANSAS CITY – Select growers from across the Corn Belt are participating in a new platform as they pursue 300 bushel corn yields.
The six growers are working with retail partners to pursue higher yields on their farms, and journaling about their efforts on a dedicated website at www.pursuitof300.com.
In addition to documenting different practices and activities, they are identifying new technologies. When it comes to crop nutrition, they are soil sampling and building crop nutrient management plans with the help of The Mosaic Company, which is the world’s largest producer and marketer of phosphate and potash products.
“We know that up to 60 percent of your final crop yield can be attributed to crop nutrition,” said Kyle Freeman with Mosaic. “So this is a very important part of how we’re going to help the world get the food it needs. So, anything we can do from an education and training standpoint around the role of crop nutrition and the importance of crop nutrition as we pursue these higher yields because we know that in the next 40 years, we’re going to have to feed nine billion people, and so that’s going to require a lot more emphasis on how we manage our crop and how we feed that crop appropriately.”
Freeman said there has been a shift not only from how much nutrient is applied and when and where, but also what nutrients are used. There is a higher demand now for sulfur and zinc as yields go up. Freeman recognizes that 2012 was a difficult year across much of the Corn Belt.
“What we’ve been saying to farmers is, evaluate what you removed this year from 2012 with your crop,” said Freeman.“How much did you actually pull off the field of nutrients? Go take a soil sample, understand what the soil still has to provide, and then have your goals set for 2013 and what you’re trying to do. Based on those three pieces of information, you’ll build a crop management plan that can help you meet those goals for next year and hope Mother Nature provides what we can do to help achieve those goals.”
Freeman participated in Trade Talk at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention in Kansas City in November.
Carrie Muehling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.