WORDEN, Mont. – With exceptionally dry conditions and hot temperatures over the past three-four weeks, producers in south central and southeastern Montana are glad to be able to use irrigation on some of their crops.
Marc Vogel, a young producer near Worden who farms with his dad, Dan, said they leased about seven acres to Winfield Solutions for an Answer Plot.
Vogel is growing winter wheat, corn, alfalfa, and sunflower this summer with most of it under pivot irrigation.
In addition, he planted a triticale/pea cover crop, and went right into that with alfalfa.
“The winter wheat I grew on dryland acres looked good two weeks ago, but in these 90-110 degree temperatures we’ve had, they aren’t doing well at all,” said Vogel.
He no-till planted all his crops to conserve moisture, but said a half-hour after he irrigates, the crops begin to wilt in the heat.
In fact, producers in the area are having to irrigate so much, they are not able to keep up, said Greg Walk, Winfield Solutions business manager.
“We probably would have had more producers here at the first session of Answer Plot if they weren’t behind on their irrigating,” Walk said. In spite of the heat however, Walk said he checked the plots on July 4, and the corn and alfalfa were looking great.
“We had to replant the corn around May 20, and it is still looking good,” Wald said, adding it has continued to be very warm in the Worden area. Temperatures on July 5 were in the mid-90s. “It is a different growing season than last year. We are about 250 heat units ahead of last year.”
Phil Davey, a producer about 60 miles west of Worden, said it is his first year of planting peas and they are now flowering.
“They look good,” he said, adding he is also growing winter wheat and alfalfa.
At Answer Plot, Curt Droogsma, Winfield Solutions seed agronomy advisor, said their vision for the Answer Plot in Montana is to compare hybrids, conduct herbicide, fungicide and seed treatment trials, talk about seed depth and emergence and show how the crops grow during the growing season with various applications. There will be a second Answer Plot session to be held on Aug. 7 north of Worden, right off of I-94, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We are changing over from less wheat/fallow rotations to more rotations and crops under irrigation so we need to know what applications will help us achieve high yields,” Droogsma said.
Theresa Bayrer, with Winfield Solu-tions, talked about using Nutri-solutions tissue evaluation to make sure the plant has all the right micronutrients such as zinc and boron it needs to produce good yields and perform well during the growing season.
“Farmers in Iowa and Illinois have produced 300-bushel 100-day corn. We can get those kinds of results with Nutrisolutions.”
Bayrer said Montana and more arid climates are finding a greater response applying micronutrients on wheat.
She said Nutrisolutions takes a tissue sample of the growing plant and identifies crop nutritional needs that otherwise would go unknown and which ultimately maximize return potential on producer investment.
She said zinc has been found to be important for germination and emergence, but many producers were not testing for zinc.
A Nutrisolutions study in Bozeman, Mont., on canola in the bloom stage taken on June 15 showed that crop was deficient in copper, boron, zinc, and calcium; had too much nitrogen and sulfur, and was adequate in manganese, potassium and phosphorus.
As an example, the Nutrisolutions readout for this crop suggested applying .75-1.5 pints per acre of boron and stated it was important for pollination.
Each micronutrient deficiency was also analyzed and suggestions made in the same way.
Bayrer said, however, it was important producers first “cover the basics,” or make sure their macronutrients such as potassium and phosphorus were adequate for the plant and then examine the micro-nutrients for the maximum yields. She told the producers that they were fortunate to be able to have irrigation “You guys run pivots on corn and with each rotation there’s no reason not to have nutrition included. We can do some amazing things with nutrition in pivots,” she said.
Zinc in corn is important for germination and emergence and essential for uniform maturity. Zinc is also necessary for the synthesis of proteins and auxins (growth hormones), and aids in chloroplast formation and the cell elongation in plants.
Croplan Genetics has an advanced coating zinc called Ultra-Che Zinc and a Citra-Che Zinc, and producers have seen a lot of response in western North Dakota applying zinc, Bayrer said.