PONTIAC, Ill. — A three-year trial at the Precision Technology Institute has found a new approach to achieving high yielding soybeans.
Jason Webster, PTI manager, started the trials three years ago using Precision Planting’s then-new Conceal system on the planter that features injection knives to apply liquid fertilizer in a band three inches from the seed furrow 1.5 inches deep.
Conceal can be utilized to put either a single or a dual band of nutrients down beside the row. Conceal is a combination of a gauge wheel which has a groove in it, and a knife running in the groove. The knife is guided by the gauge wheel so that placement is always the same distance from the seed.
“We were testing for nitrogen, sulfur and boron for corn. I got done planting corn and I had some soybeans to plant and I thought why can’t we use Conceal for our fertilizer placement program on soybeans,” Webster said at a recent PTI field day.
His next question was what should be applied on soybeans, and he called Marco N.P.K. in Clinton.
“We’ve been getting a lot of liquid fertilizers from them in the past. They actually make 10-34-0 and sell it to a lot of other companies. I said, I’m three inches away, I’m only going 1.5 inches deep, I’ve got 30-inch row soybeans, I want you to make me a fertilizer. I don’t care what it is. It can be salty. I just don’t want it to be expensive,” Webster explained.
Marco developed 14-12-4-6S, a 32% UAN, 10-34-0, potassium acetate, and ammonium thiosulfat designed for non-in-furrow applications.
Conceal is an ideal placement for this product as it’s far enough away from the seed furrow to prevent seed injury, but yet close enough to enable access to seedling nutrition.
“It’s something the soybeans love and I’m playing around with the right rate right now, reallocating our dry fertilizer and go to this,” Webster added.
The effort paid off and the trials of Conceal dual band treatment of 14-12-4-6S on irrigated soybeans were fourth among the top 10 profitability practices on the PTI farm in 2019 with a return on investment of $84.96 per acre. The top ROI application rate was 10 gallons per acre with a yield of 76.6 bushels per acre.
In the study, the control yielded 67.7 bushels per acre. A 15-gallon rate had a 9.6 bushels per acre advantage over the control, and a 20-gallon rate had a 10.4 bushels per acre advantage. The other returns on investment per acre values were $80.02 per acre for 15 gallons per acre and $75.84 per acre for 20 gallons per acre.
“That’s some big cash for soybeans. So, we’re picking up eight, nine, ten bushels by putting this product on soybeans. That’s what I want to see. That has been a big win for us, not just in 2019, but for the past three years. I think 10 gallons dual band has been the primo rate. It’s been a really good program,” Webster said.
“When Marco made this product for me it costs $1.80 a gallon. Now I think with demand and things like that it’s $2.20, it’s a little higher in price, but it’s still an pretty affordable product. It’s a clean product.
“We’re hoping to get more of Christmas tree type soybean and really drive yield with it and we’ve done it with this product. So, that’s a big component of some of my high yield attempts on soybeans, we’ve always got 14-12-4-6S.”