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Treating your soils like dirt?

March 4, 2010

The 2010 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif., kicked off at 7 a.m. with an Early Riser Production Session with Brian and Darren Hefty, co-hosts of Ag PhDTV. The meeting room gathered over 200 producers learning to improve the qualities of their soils.

Brian and Darren first discussed the importance of incorporating tile drainage in fields that receive large amounts of rain in the fall. Advantages of tile drainage include:

  • increase in yields
  • predictable growing season
  • ability to plant earlier in the spring
  • increase of soil pH
  • decrease of surface water
  • decrease in salt
  • investment is paid off within 1-2 years
Brian Hefty

Brian Hefty discusses the importance of investing in drainage tile.

Knowledge of your fields’ Cation Exchange Capacity was another important topic discussed.  The Hefty brothers provided a formula for producers to calculate the amount of Nitrogen their soil can hold.

(Nitrogen holding capacity formula is multiplying your field CEC by 10.)

The following example was illustrated:

Darren has a field with the CEC of 14.5. Therefore, he could only apply 145 pounds of Nitrogen. Point being, most farmers would apply 200 pounds of Nitrogen when only 145 pounds was actually needed. Without knowing the CEC of fields, farmers take the chance of wasting Nitrogen that was initially not required.

Darren Hefty

Darren Hefty discusses his field's Cation Exchange Capacity

The session wrapped up with the both speakers emphasizing on the importance in being stewards of the land, as farmers and environmentalists.

“Do not take it for granted,” Brian said. “You have been blessed with this opportunity.”

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