B: Today, we’re going
to talk about foliar fertilizer use in crops, and
there are a couple main reasons why we wanted to
discuss this today – number one, a lot of people didn’t
get their fertility out last fall or this spring, and
then the other reason why we want to talk about it is –
quite frankly, we haven’t had the best success – or I
should use the word, “consistent” success –
spraying foliar fertilizer. So we want to talk a little
about how you can get more out of your foliar products. D: First of all, what are
some of the things that have led to foliar fertilizer
applications not working? And I think about spray pH. What’s the pH of that water
that you’re putting with the fertilizer? B: We want to
see you get that pH down into the 5 to 6 range. So
how are you going to do that? There are some water
treatment products you can use to lower the pH and
lower it pretty quickly and very inexpensively. D: One
other thing that’s led to problems is not putting on
the right nutrients. I don’t know how many farmers that
I’ve talked to that say, “Well I put this blend of
nutrients out there and it didn’t really didn’t give me
a big response.” And I say, “Well what were you short
in?” And they just kind of look at me like, “Well I
don’t know. The plant just looked a little, uh, not as
green as I would like it.” B: Alright, so what we want
you to do is do some plant tissue analysis and don’t
just do it in one day. Do it over a period of time and
then you can kind of see what you’re finding for
movement. So when the crop is really small, start then
and by the time it gets a little bit bigger you can
see, “Ok I was short, short, short – ooh, ok, now I
understand, I better get some more of this particular
nutrient on.” D: Alright, let’s talk about some of the
other things that we’ve seen help foliar applications
work a little bit better. Let’s start with a fulvic
acid or something to drive those nutrients into the
plant. B: Well, a lot of the high yield farmers that we
work with around the country are using fulvic acids. Another thing that farmers
are using is plant growth hormones, and it’s
interesting today, you will find in some of the foliar
fertilizer products there are plant growth hormones in
there and they might not even tell you there are
plant growth hormones in there, it might just be in
the inert ingredients. But you got to remember – in
order for that foliar fertilizer to really work
well you’ve got to have the right balance of hormones
and enzymes in that plant, and it’s hard for that plant
to do that sometimes when you put a big dose of
fertilizer on. So that’s why you’re going to find some of
these hormones and even enzymes going along with
foliar fertilizers more and more in the future. D: Well,
there’s also been a big difference with which
nutrients you’re choosing and what form they’re in. There are a lot of different
forms that a nutrient may come in. So maybe you’re
talking about zinc, for example, are you using a
zinc oxide or a zinc sulfate? B: Zinc chelate. D:
What kind of chelation process is in the product? There’s a wide difference of
products out in the environment. So if you’re
just looking at cost then well, “Hey I can buy zinc
the cheapest per gallon in this product,” that’s
probably not the right way to buy. B: So here’s what
we’d encourage you to do. Maybe if you say, “Boy it’s
between these two products.” Alright go spray them both
and then do tissue tests before and do tissue tests
after and then you can see which one actually got into
the plant – which one actually increased the
levels, well that’s probably the one you want to use in
the future. D: Well and you take those products to yield
as well and if you split a field, for example, you can
say “Oh, ok this half of the field where I used this
particular product yielded three bushels more.” Boy it
doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out
which product is probably the best going forward. B:
Here’s another thing you can consider – are you greening
up the plant, or are you actually helping yield? For
example, if you have iron deficiency chlorosis – yes
you can throw some foliar iron on and yes it will
green up the plant, but a lot of times we don’t see
the yield gain. We see much more yield gain when that
iron is used pre-emerge or especially in-furrow. D:
Alright we’ve mentioned quite a few things. Let’s
talk about specific products and what we’re doing on our
farm. You can do different things. In our area what
we’re using to lower our water pH is a product called
Water-Rite. So we’ll put Water-Rite in and it only
takes a few ounces, it’s not a big deal, it doesn’t cost
a lot of money to do it. But you really do need a pH
tester and if you either get some strips or just a little
testing unit, it’s really cheap, it’s really quick and
easy to do. B: Yeah and you don’t have to do that with
every load. Once you see, “Ok what’s my water, how
much does it take” of whatever you’re going to mix
in there to lower the pH. Then just do that the next
time too and you’re done. D: Ok Brian mentioned a lot of
people like to use some fulvics, we’ve been using a
product called NuTex EDA that has enzyme driven
activity to drive those products into the plant. We’ve had really good luck
using NuTex. B: In terms of a blended fertilizer
product, we’ve been using AC-97 quite a bit. That’s
got a bunch of micronutrients in there, in
addition to some plant growth hormones. We’ve had
good success with that, but there are a lot of good
fertilizer products out there too. Again, we just
encourage you – do some tissue analysis, try to
figure out and even use some common sense and say, “Ok
I’m looking at this kind of yield gain, and I’ve only
been applying a small amount of these nutrients – maybe I
should try a little more fertilizer” and especially
with certain specific nutrients. The more specific
you can get, usually the better chance you have for a
gain. D: We’re talking a lot about foliar nutrition, but
we can’t forget about weed control. We’ll show you how
to stop this tough weed later in the show.