Photo Blog

Orthman Sponsored Field Research Gives Valuable Pointers

Recently some news came out of Ohio and the cooperative work that Orthman Manufacturing is directly involved with Ohio State University researchers.  The three foundational pillars that we at Orthman deem as vital to success with a Strip-Tillage Systems approach are being met with the on-going research efforts Dr. Fulton at Ohio State University and his assistants and staff have been doing.

I am including an article from the Ohio Country Journal published the last few days of December 2018, click on the link and scroll down below the picture of the awards picture to see what Mr. Trey Colley III shared at a conference with the OSU findings and ideas for Eastern Corn Belt growers.  Now many of you may not be in that part of the United States, the principles stay even for any of the rest of you and Trey’s words ring true.   https://www.ocj.com/2018/12/ohio-no-till-conference-highlights-equipment-innovation/

It is our hope that as growers move towards less tillage to help with the hypoxia issues of the Mighty Miss and the algal blooms of Lake Erie which are being found to be happening quite profoundly due to agricultural inputs along with other inputs.  Placing P&K in the soil and not on the soil surface is being found to be extremely effective to reduce phosphorus sediments moving and also nitrogen detachment into water courses.  We who strip-till across this nation are accomplishing best management practices to greatly reduce the runoff and soluble P from going into streams, rivers and lakes.

Take about 4 minutes to read what Trey Colley had to say.  It may be right what fits your management program where you live and farm.

Mike Petersen, Lead Agronomist for Orthman

Winter officially arrived. What is the condition of your fields?

Mike Petersen here post our Christmas celebration to send you a bit deeper onto the Precision Tillage website to read an article I wrote about alleviation of soil compaction.  Maybe I was a little too much on the Christmas grasshopper cream pie yesterday but please take a look at the article “…from the soilsview…”  to offer you all some words to consider how your fields shape up for the spring season.

The compaction issue has driven me to look more and more into what limits production, crop health, soils health and water.  Many of you are well aware of what compaction does and I will not start that conversation here.  Please take a look the above mentioned article and read and consider my diagram I made some weeks back when we at Orthman were discussing the next iteration of the 1tRIPr tool.  Yes we are thinking through what is good with the 1tRIPr, what is it you growers consider makes the 1tRIPr standout or needs to be better at.

I have been at this endeavor of looking at Strip-Till since 1986 and back with Orthman now to more fully understand all the capabilities of this machine for you – the farmer.  I am going into my 9th year with Orthman Manufacturing, Inc and I do realize this tool can make you the grower of Ag commodities better at farming.  We know some believe “tilling” the soil in any fashion beyond the planter is overdoing it.  In today’s world of bigger machinery, harvesting on the go to get the harvest done before the Image:Exposing the soil profile on a 1tRIPr

weather closes in and delays everything or stops it all – we induce a compacted zone anywhere from 0.2cm to 1 inches thick in one pass.  This past harvest season many growers east of the Missouri River in the United States it turned wet and ohhh boy!

 Third session with 18 growers associated with local Pioneer Seed Corn folks in East Central Nebraska

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Mike here to give you a quick lowdown on what Orthman is doing to be “in the lead” to offer training, suggestions, time to learn in regards to Precision Tillage and placing fertilizers for the crop season of 2019.  During the week of December 11-13th, in three different locations in east Central Nebraska, we stood up and discussed and answered questions on numerous subjects regarding Strip-Till System Thinking. Those were; where is the premium place to put P&K? Why there? What other products are smart moves to put in the ground with the Strip-Till approach prior to planting?  Is it okay to place a good portion of the Nitrogen up front? Why not?  How about micros?  The ideas of later applied N, S, K late in the season and what those products can and do accomplish later in the season.  And so on…

We at Orthman Manufacturing are not satisfied with lets do “farming” like we did in the 80’s and 90’s, we are striving to be better for you and with you in this adventure of growing row crops.

I would hope you are thinking more about nutrient management more and more these days.  If these kinds of sessions that you and neighbors are asking about and would like something proactive beyond its all about N; give me a call or you regional sales managers for Orthman as noted on our CONTACT tab on this website.

Cooperative Research with Ohio State University

Take a look in the Articles section of this webpage to read a first report that we have obtained from Ohio State University under the direction of Dr. John Fulton.  It is the first of a multi-part series we at Orthman are pleased to bring to you for reading and updates of how Strip-Till functions in the Eastern Corn Belt.

by:  Mike Petersen, Lead Agronomist, Orthman Manufacturing, Inc.

A Final Report on Colorado State Univ. Cooperative Strip-Till Study

Image result for strip till with Colorado State University
Study at CSU ARDEC Farm and also at the Fruita, Colorado site used the Orthman 1tRIPr

Mike Petersen Making You Aware of a Published Report                               December 2018

Throughout a three year study in furrow irrigated crop study at the ARDEC Facility north of Fort Collins, Colorado that was determined by farmer input to see how Strip-Till worked in the furrow irrigation environment; we at Orthman played a role in what transpired.  The scientists at CSU published a report that many of you have not seen or read.  I was part of what Troy, Calvin, and Eric completed and I add kudos to the excellent study and then this Technical Release Bulletin.  Please as to your reading pleasure read what was accomplished and the economics.  You may even want to download and print it off.  Click on the link URL below:

http://www.conservationtillage.colostate.edu/TR15-10_Conservation-Tillage-Furrow-Irrigation_Web.pdf

From my standpoint email me or call and I can offer thoughts, comments of the 3 year study.  The men in the field determined that the Orthman 1tRIPr was a good tool to facilitate the top notch Strip-Till System approach.

Time Restores Many Things – Little Details of Why to Strip-Till

Digging to give you the best information regarding soils as I know how.

Welcome to Precision Tillage, again!  As the Orthman agronomist (me – Mike Petersen) it is good to be part of the Orthman team where we really do desire to help many, many growers become better at what they do with their two very important resources — soils and water to grow top producing crops.  It is not only my desire but all of us who at Orthman work with people directly working in Agriculture to be proactive with your farming operation. At Orthman we not only want to assist growers, but join with implement dealers/salesmen, seedsmen, fertilizer dealers or suppliers, educators fathom the depth of the Strip Till story and what great benefits are to be had.

This season for starters, we are seeing East-Central Nebraska soybean harvest essentially complete where with positive placed by an Orthman 1tRIPr and dry nutrients prior to planting back in April yields are tipping the scales at the 88-105bu/acre mark compared to no added nutrients of 69 bu/acre. A 19-35 bushel increase truly has some impact to the bottomline even with the price down so much.   We are hearing from our strip-till growers that corn is closing in on the final few rounds in many states, then some not with the recent wet via rain and snows.

This year from my travels with Orthman Manufacturing, strip-till as a system has caught the eye of politicians and leaders in the Great Lake States on a sound method to minimize soluble phosphorus getting into the rivers and streams that feed Lake Erie.  Growers have been identified in certain watersheds that they are contributors and they are under some scrutiny.  We at Orthman are working hand-in-hand with Ohio State University to study issues surrounding the phosphorus loading and how to be proactive and offer solutions that minimize soluble phosphorus runoff.  Stay tuned and we will bring you more information.  Believe me that applies in many other watersheds than just Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, New York and others.

Newer Nitrogen Tools for We Strip-Tillers – Options to Consider!

For many of you, and for us at Orthman Research Farm near Lexington, Nebraska we are planning the pre-plant tillage operations of the spring 2013 to be underway very soon. Tillage via strip-till methods will be our way, but how about many of you as you consider the fertilization part of the puzzle? How will that be happening for you?
Just recently we attended a good set of meetings in Reno at the Western Fertility Conference to hear recent findings and interact with industry and research scientists about some gains in fertility management for row crops, small grains, and orchard/fruit crops. The issues of ground water contamination, overland flow issues getting into the major water course of the Mississippi River and major river systems of the West are challenging the way we growers must consider our operations. You all have heard about well waters reaching levels of nitrate in the water that surpass drinking standards not only for human infants but even livestock due to leaching and other contamination processes. Being good stewards now is very wise, but we are coming against issues of the past 65+ years of intensive farming with nitrogen sources.  After WWII and thoughts that “if a little is good than a whole bunch is that much more better.” Yeah bad grammar but it was an addage that numerous growers thought and employed. Now we pay for it and have to be that much more on top of our game.
The good folks I met, listened too and spoke with in Reno, NV are saying there are Nitrogen products on the market that will give better and sustained release to the crops root system over a longer period of time and resist the change from first introduction into the soil profile to convert to Nitrate and leach away before the roots have a chance to access to it in the soil solution. Products such as ESN™ being a granular urea coated with micro thin polymer, yes it is a dry product. This method of release can aid in slowed access to the urea-N product so it does not leach away, gobbled by the microbes or become mineralized so quickly that the plant root starves for N when called for by the growing above ground plant.
ESN™ is an Agrium product which responds to soil temperature and soil water content. Another product out on the market is Nutrisphere-N™ by SFP that works a bit differently than ESN™ but offers another management alternative for growers on how N releases into the soil environment. For the strip-till grower these products offer advanced ways to accomplish higher management of your N-fertility and feed the plant incrementally. Agrotain™ by Koch Industries, then there is Instinct™ by Dow are other products out there that all should be aware of so N management is not a willy-nilly part of how we furnish the corn, wheat, grain sorghum, dry edibles, cotton, peanuts, etc what is needed. As we learn more about these products from trials in each of our regions or even on a neighbors ground – we can better feed the crops we grow with the Nitrogen.
It was in the conference that we learned that especially with veggie crops N is in big demand for a short period and timing is everything. Consider maize/corn, we know it has three major calls if you will when N is in demand. Dump a hugeload prior to planting like 300 pounds per acre 30-90 days ahead of planting, do you really think it is going to sit still and not move deep or get fixed in the organic colloids or onto the clay complex or move off the surface if surface applied? Here is when these slowed release agents/products come into play to offer new solutions to our old loss problem. A little further study can really help you gain when and which product can work in your soils environment whether you have dry, wet, cold or what ever conditions.
In the strip-till system where the soils off to either side of where we strip-till 10 inches deep can be 2 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit colder, more moist if not wet and cause issues of root N-uptake and maybe even yield reductions early because the availability is just not there. You pour on N via anhydrous ammonia and expect because it is cooler that it will be there when the roots get to it, wow that could be an issue. It is a cheaper form of lots of N but is it the right one when any of it volitalizes or gets converted too soon? Cavities in the soil, shanked in and you may see it escaping, warmer than 50 degrees, dry soils – all issues and 20+% is poof, gone and that price differential just evaporated. Placing a charge of 250-300lbs/acre and then a couple-three inches of rain and the stuff will move even in clay loam soils 10-25 inches deeper than where you placed it. In some environments folks, the roots may never reach that and it is lost to never be had. Yes the same can happen to high rates of N via liquid products.

This day and age we are called to be better managers and come out of the shell the old way Daddy did it and move to spending time to educate how we can do better and wiser. Allocate time to have products be within reach of the roots when the demand for N is there will take new skills when we place it with the strip-till tool that we make called the 1tRIPr or another tool is very important. We, Mark and I at Orthman Farms are using some of the above products and getting positive responses that these products yield good results in grain and healthier crops. Check back with us or go to your agronomist or fertilizer dealer and learn about these products.

In California the watchers and monitoring agencies are clamping down on how fertility is managed, in Delaware and Maryland the environmental agencies by law demand fine-toothed control of N-P fertilization. In segments of the Central and Eastern Corn Belt states fall applications of N products are restricted and certain watersheds are being monitored and evaluated to stating growers may only apply 70lbs/acre (as an example) of N for a 200 bushel/acre corn crop. That is quite restrictive – yes? Other environments we can still be applying high amounts of N but to what cost? As a soil scientist and agronomist for Orthman Manufacturing I am going the route of top flight management with better products that will feed the plant incrementally. It has paid off and we encourage the same with the checking into the use of these good products that I named as a few of them to start with.
We will one day maybe feeding the corn we plant only half of what we have conventionally tilled into the soils and still yield 300 bushel/acre corn regularly. It has been done in the past three years in the Western Corn Belt under intensively managed irrigated corn. Instead of 300-350lbs N/acre researchers applied 140-150lbs/acre. Consider the dollars savings alone folks.

All of us who grow crops to reac a production goal know it takes fertilizers, either commercial or with use of manures.  We know our dollars stretch only so far and our water is stretching us to be better about how we grow crops.  We encourage you to place those nutrients in the soil precisely, with the understanding how much will the plant need and when.  Using the Strip-Tillage tools manufactured at Orthman is a great choice to put this all in motion.  Please contact any of us on the Sales, Marketing and/or Agronomy Team here at Orthman.

Strip-Tilling with Liquid Fertilizers for Early to Mid-Season Growth

Moisture Collection vs Moisture Lost

by Mike Petersen, Lead Agronomist

Fall Strip-Tilled into Barley Stubble

Storms are advancing from the Southwest into the Central Corn Belt with blizzard-like conditions at times but are we getting enough moisture to provide replenishment? Further west in Western NE, KS, SD and into Colorado and Wyoming, we have much less snowfall – oh my pitifully dry.
One of the wonderful details about maintaining all last year’s stalks, leaves, shucks in the field is trapping all these snowfall events. Over across the road where the neighbor fall tilled or used his “vertical” tillage or disk tool the residue was sized, chopped and free to blow from here to the Gulf. Also simply put, the taller stalks left in corn to cause movement of lateral snow to drop and stay on the ground compared to the flattened soil surfaces. Many times snow blowing around can accumulate in the standing stalks and give you another 3 to 8 inches of snow, which means harvesting water.
Even if a grower strip-tills in the fall the surface profile of the soil/field is left very rough and allows for catchment areas to have snow stop and store-up in the field. Why all this? Every inch of these snows is priceless. We know that very few of us want to plant into dry soils, irrigate up if irrigation is possible, or just hope for the next rain to be plentiful to start the planted crop.
For the conventional tillage farmer each spring tillage operation has the potential for loss of moisture, and that could be up to 0.75 inch per tillage operation. As dry as it has been that is 8-10 inches of snowfall loss in one pass. Wow, consider that and we have had so little snow since December 1, 2012, I worry about the condition of the soil profile moisture even for the Strip-Tillers. So what growers may want to consider in the Western Corn Belt is waiting until the very last week to strip-till and then follow close behind with the planter. The Orthman 1tRIPr was designed way back in the late, late ‘90’s to be a connected set up of strip-till and planter attached. This year, 2013 there is a great deal of merit to give that a long look.

Caught in action!

Caught red-handed… Mike talks about strip tilling with corn and how important it is the alleviate compaction for early, robust plant development. Video is courtesy YouTube channel “hayspringshawks.”

Watch the video here!

Orthman agronomist Mike Petersen took part in a ro…

Orthman agronomist Mike Petersen took part in a root study with DEKALB near Gothenburg, NE. Send your autograph… fb.me/1rW0FPKPY