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Progressive Magazines

It's too early to tell . . . but the initial results
look promising . . .

by Leon Leavitt

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RUPERT, ID ~ Solar Farms owners Mark Sanderson and Dan Walton and their farm manager, Kenny Tolman, are excited about the initial results evident on one of their 130 acre corn fields. The 95-day corn (Pioneer 38T27 variety) uniformly measures 13.5 ft tall throughout the field.


Following ground preparation this spring seed was planted at the rate of 39,000 plants per acre in 30"rows, with plant spacing between 5 to 5.5 inches. Starter fertilizer is normally applied at planting using the 2 x 2 method (2”beneath and 2”to the side) at the rate of 12 gallons pr acre. On this particular pivot, however, the fertilizer rate was reduced to 9 gallons per acre, with an added 3 gallons of a recently-brewed soil enhancer, called Healthy Soil (Bactifeed).

Mark comments,"We've raised this crop with less nitrogen and less phosphate than we've ever put on.I believe we're at 180 units of nitrogen, whereas normally we're between 225 to 240 units.On phosphate, we've generally been at 80 units, and now we're down to 25 units.This is the first year that we've used this particular product, because this is the first year it's been available. The main objective is to stimulate biological activity in the soil to the extent that the nitrogen, phosphates, potassium and micronutrients are released and are more readily available to the plant.”


Over the years, there have been an assorted variety of products on the market purported to do this or that, and Sanderson has tried several- all with mixed results.


Mark states,“I think these (Bactifeed) products help stimulate biological but to what 一 activity in the soils extent, I don't know. All I know is that  we've never raised corn this tall, ever! The thing that I'm impressed with is that the stand visually is very consistent all the way through the field, and we're doing it with less fertilizer. I would be absolutely amazed if it didn't make 40 ton/acre.”


When silage harvesting commences in the middle of September, Mark will have more answers.

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