8 Achievable Agronomic Goals for 2019
With the New Year upon us, we are all starting with a fresh slate. As is common at this juncture, many of us are asking what we could do differently this year. The team at Taurus would like to share 8 Achievable Agronomic Goals for 2019. We hope they contribute to your prosperity – and bring you greater peace of mind in the cropping year to come.
1. Be kind to your seeds!
There are many things you can do to give your crop an early leg up. The first is to use good quality seed. The second is to protect it with a high-quality seed primer that will guard the seed (and seedlings) against unfavourable stressors and environmental conditions – while providing essential nutrients required at the earliest growth stages. Next-generation seed dressings work on a molecular level to promote higher germination rates and stimulate earlier and stronger root development.
Another way to promote seed viability is to choose seed-safe fertilizers. Crystal Green® (a slow-release phosphate fertilizer) and SUL4R-PLUS® fertilizer (calcium sulfate) are two new innovative solutions that have a significantly lower salt index. By lowering fertilizer salts you can prevent seed burn and provide plants with the nutrients they demand.
2. Protect your fertilizer investment
There is nothing more frustrating than spending money on fertilizers that aren’t directly benefiting the crop as intended.
Nutrient tie-up in the soil is a challenge that is preventable thanks to new technologies. A new Phosphorus fertilizer has recently been developed with an innovative formulation to prevent the P from binding to other minerals in high and low pH soils – making it readily available to plants.
When it comes to protecting your nitrogen investment, an NBPT product can prevent nitrogen loss in urea or UAN by up to 96%. This can also save on input costs. ARM-U™, for example, is shown to reduce nitrogen fertilizer input requirements by 20-30%.
3. Use slow-release fertilizers to reduce the number of applications
Slow-release fertilizers that provide plants with access to key nutrients throughout the growing season help reduce the number of applications required. Some of these fertilizers are released according to plant demand, adding to the efficiency. And by minimizing the number of applications required, growers reduce the amount of fuel used in the farming operation.
4. Harness nature to improve plant health and yields
Healthy soil contributes to healthy crops. Ensuring adequate levels of beneficial microbials in the soil through the use of a biological inoculant is shown to aid plant growth and help protect plants against root-borne pathogens and environmental stressors.
Mycorrhizae colonize the roots of most field plants (with the exception of brassicas) – extending the reach of roots and improving the plant’s ability to absorb minerals and moisture. Meanwhile, rhizobium bacteria aid in nitrogen fixation through symbiosis in the root nodules produced by the plant. They fix the atmospheric nitrogen, making it plant-available. (If you missed it, check out our 3-part Soil Biology blog series.)
Ever wonder why the crop following canola tends to do poorly? It’s due to canola’s adversarial relationship with microbes (Learn More).
5. Target performance at key growth stages
A variety of innovative plant enhancement technologies have been developed to meet specific growth needs at various stages of the crop. These science-based solutions are pushing yield potential to new heights.
One such pioneer is Active AgriScience. On the strength of a patented molecule called Intrinsic™, they have developed a line of products that work on the molecular level, to benefit the plant at key steps along its journey: from germination to establishment to flowering to pre-harvest. Such products provide plants with a targeted nutritional boost while helping them fend off stresses that can result in yield loss at specific growth stages.
6. Choose products with an environmental benefit
As a society, we’re getting better at identifying opportunities to turn unwanted byproducts into useful products. Crystal Green® is one such success story. Canadian scientists came up with a way of extracting phosphates from municipal wastewater and transforming it into a pure, agricultural-grade fertilizer during the water treatment process. It is an example of a win-win solution for growers and for the environment.
7. Pay attention to soil health and nutrient levels
Conducting regular soil testing is vital to understanding what is happening in your fields, so you can respond with fact-based input decisions versus educated guesses that often result in misallocating resources.
Today’s soil tests go beyond revealing nutrient levels, pH and other common indicators. They can also provide insights into overall soil health – and reveal beneficial microbial populations in the soil.
8. Stay on top of innovative practices that are helping to transform agriculture
As farms grow bigger, growers are pressed to farm smarter. New technologies and management practices are redefining the way we farm – and are taking yield potential to the next level. While you don’t have to be on the ‘bleeding edge’ of innovation, you don’t want to be left behind. Do your best to stay informed. Ask your agronomist about advanced practices you can incorporate into your operations. A great place to start is to subscribe to an informative blog!
On behalf of the entire Taurus team, we wish you all the best for 2019!