Jim Porter, Jr., QLF Regional Sales Agronomist NE/SD
“The secret to change is, focusing all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
Proceed with Caution
I think we all can agree, that for the most part, change is hard, and not something that we like to do too often. However, in today’s world, change is inevitable, especially in agriculture. Technology, genetics, chemistry, farming practices, equipment… the list goes on and on. As the younger generations start to take a foothold on family farms across the country, adaption to many of these changes tends to happen at a little quicker clip, than in the past. Yet, most will also lean on the lessons learned by their parents and grandparents, so as not to jump into things that may recreate circumstances that might have hindered the farm’s ability to turn a profit in the past.
Partnering for Progress
When Sam Hajek attended an informational meeting, in the Spring of 2022, hosted by his local seed and fertilizer supplier, Upfront Agronomy, little did he know that he would learn something that day that would spark his interest, and lead him to indeed try a new product on his farm. Upfront Agronomy owner, Scott Bares, was trying something new himself. Upfront Agronomy had only recently become a retail dealer for QLF Agronomy and, by Scott’s own admission, didn’t know a great deal about the products specifically, but really felt like QLF Agronomy would have a good fit for the needs of his customers, who had been starting to knock around some talk about ‘carbon and sugars’ and how they could be used to help growers increase their bottom line, within his retail footprint. After our meeting that day, Sam and Scott continued their conversations about L-CBF BOOST and where Sam might be able to use it on the farm to ‘try it out’ during the 2022 growing season. Sam farms with his brother Tim and their father Mike on the family farm that encompasses nearly 3000 acres of irrigated and dryland crops, near Tyndall, SD. Collectively they agreed to try some L-CBF BOOST as an in-furrow application on some corn, as well as spraying some on their alfalfa after the first cutting, when they are applying an insecticide. The Hajek’s generally have not used a commercial fertilizer product in-furrow with the planter, so this application consisted of 1 gallon of L-CBF BOOST applied with 4 gallons of water. On the alfalfa, 1 gallon of L-CBF BOOST was applied with 15 gallons of water and an insecticide, after the removal of the first cutting of alfalfa.
High and Dry
We all know what a shrewd partner Mother Nature can be when it comes to farming. This area of South Dakota was hit particularly hard by drought conditions in 2022. With temps bumping into triple digits and rainfall amounts dipping to decimals, even the best of crop managers felt the effects of these, less than ideal, growing conditions, regardless of whether it was Irrigated or Dryland. Where they normally see 4 cuttings of alfalfa, this year they only got 3. Yields on their row crop acres were reduced substantially as well. Maximizing inputs is extremely critical during these types of years, and the Hajek’s felt like L-CBF BOOST helped them do exactly that!
After the Hajek’s applied the L-CBF BOOST to their alfalfa, they could visually see a difference in the appearance of the crop. Areas that were treated were greener and generally 6-8” taller than areas where no product was applied. In addition to this, they noticed that the bottom 8-10” of the plant, which normally has little to no leaves, indeed had growth in the crop on the acres that were treated. According to Sam, the most positive and telling effect to the application of L-CBF BOOST on their alfalfa was the increase in Relative Feed Value (RFV) to the crop. Levels that normally run in the area of 140 RFV were now spiking up to levels as high as 166 RFV, even with the lower ‘trial rates’ of L-CBF BOOST being applied and under adverse weather conditions.
On the Corn, Sam thought it looked to have germinated a little quicker and greened up nicely, but as the season unfolded, with its litany of challenges, it was really difficult to know, if the in-furrow application had any positive effect on yield. Upfront Agronomy kept L-CBF BOOST on hand and Hajek’s took the opportunity to try the product in some different applications as the summer went along. Sam spoke highly of using L-CBF BOOST in their row crop spray applications. Improved drift control, better coverage, and enhanced pesticide activity were some of the positives they experienced.
Taking the New and Making it the Norm
With the deck stacked against them in 2022, the Hajek’s still found their applications of L-CBF BOOST to provide them with many benefits and a positive effect on their bottom line. In talking with Sam and Mike, they are planning on increasing the amount of product they use in 2023. Programs being discussed are, possibly making a switch to using 7-21-3 MKP in an in-furrow starter application, increasing, the rate of L-CBF BOOST used on the alfalfa to 2-3 gallons/acre, and using on multiple cuttings. Other places they would like to see the product used are with all of their UAN applications at an inclusion rate of 10%, as well as continuing to use L-CBF BOOST with every spray pass and, according to Sam, will likely include an application or two to their soybeans in 2023. Sam loves the positive effects of the sugars on their crops and the ease of application. Having one product that they can use, effectively and economically, on all of their crops is a real plus too!
Sam and Mike Hajek