December 07, 2023

Program balances yield, profit, sustainability

GIFFORD, Ill. — Touted as a complete systems approach to greater yield and profit, Yield/Profit Challenge was a new exhibitor at the Midwest Ag Expo.

Trent Nicholson, owner of Yield/Profit Challenge, and Lynn Hoover, Pro-Soil national field adviser and owner of Ocean Blue Agronomics, were at the booth.

Yield/Profit Challenge works with Pro-Soil, Ocean Blue Ag, Atlantic Pacific, Calcean, Sea 90 and Kugler Fertilizer through the growing season to help growers improve soil and plant health, balance fertility and improve the whole system’s efficiency.

Yield/Profit Challenge guides the farmer though the planning process to make the best decisions for the operation, delivers the products when needed, conducts field visits at key times during the growing season to help stay on the right path and concludes with reviewing harvest data and develop a plan for the next season.

“Everything is based off of soil tests. We start with a baseline soil test, so if you need something, let’s add it. If you don’t need something, let’s save the money. We don’t want to sell anything that’s unnecessary,” Hoover said.

“We can do tissue testing throughout the season and do additional touchup foliars for any additional nutrients that are lacking, whether it’s macro or micro.”

One of the goals of the program is to reduce the fertilizer needs by getting more natural nitrogen produced in the soil and improving the release of phosphorus and potassium to reduce those needs, as well.

“Also, on the ocean mineral side of things, we are bringing all 90 elements back to the soils that are covering all of our boron, all of our trace elements, giving us some sulfur and giving us roughly 20 to 40 pounds of nitrogen. That additional 20 to 40 pounds is through feeding the Azotobacter bacteria in the soil, which is the natural nitrogen fixing bacteria that harvests nitrogen out of the air and makes is available for grass plants including crops like corn,” Hoover said.

Yields are basically driven by carbon reserves in the soil.

“One thing we are trying to do with our biological products from Pro-Soil and our ocean-source fertility products is we were sequestering more carbon in whatever crop we are growing. So, we’re trying to show that we’re maintaining our organic matter and in some cases even building and that translates to better phosphorus retention and release to the crop, the same with potassium,” Hoover said.

“Calcium is the backbone of the soil and the yield system and so we really focus heavily on calcium. We like to see 300 pounds of calcium per (cation exchange capacity) because the more CEC, the more it can hold and needs, and the lower the CEC, the less it can hold and needs. We build around that. That’s very, very important because that’s how we base everything around and so that’s kind of the basics of our program.”

Through The Season

Hoover said the systems approach begins bio stimulating the soil with Pro-Soil.

“The livelier the soil is, the more it can return to the crop because plants live off energy created by biology,” Hoover said.

“We then like to put the ocean minerals in the system like the Sea-90 products because that’s covering all of our traces and feeding that natural nitrogen cycle.

“If we then need a calcium source, our first preference is Aragonite, which is an ocean-source calcium that has three times the energy of ag fine lime. It’s a bioactive calcium, so it’s very available. It’s not a ‘dead’ calcium source.

“From there we have some foliar products that we can touch-up with in-season and some of them even help as far as having natural fungicide properties. So, sometimes we can even get rid of the need for fungicides, which is a big goal for organic growers where we have to do all of the natural stuff we can.

“We then balance nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium based off of soil tests, crop yield goals and all of that.

“We also have a nitrogen stabilizing product, Power Pro N, where we are working with enzymes and ocean minerals working in harmony with the biology of the soil to create more energy and nitrogen from natural fixation from Azotobacter.

“Also, when you tank mix it with your UAN, as we’re stabilizing the ammonia, for approximately every pound that you are dropping, you’re getting about a 1.5 multiplier out of it. So, it’s reducing the amount of nitrogen that we even need to go look for and we’re maintaining and in some cases even pushing yields even further.”

Tom Doran

Tom C. Doran

Field Editor