TSM Services Research Farm, Catlin, Illinois, USA
     Total Soil Management® Program
                                  by TSM® Services, Inc.

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In the TSM® program, growers can be in control of their fertilizer dollars budgeted. This budget is the best possible compromise between funds available and optimum fertility. To achieve this compromise, our budgets are geared to 25 pounds per acre increments.

The speed at which soil fertility balance can be achieved can therefore be controlled by available funds. If a grower wishes to achieve fertility balance quickly, simply increase the amount spent for fertilizer.

If a grower is on rented ground or funds are less available, the amount spent on fertilizer may be decreased, but understand that it will take longer to achieve balance.

When figuring a fertilizer budget in the TSM® program, remember that TSM® recommends fertilizing every crop every year. Also consider a liming program using pelletized lime as being needed on an annual basis. On all cropping programs your TSM® budget should not include the Nitrogen program because of the volatility of nitrogen prices.

If the grower does not know what the fertilizer budget should be, TSM® has over 15 years of replicated field trial data which proves that the "E" budget code provides the maximum return on investment (see Test Plots), along with a pelleted lime amount not to exceed 500 pounds per acre per year. In most cases, this also gives the highest yield.

This data is based on over 15 years of research at Catlin and data from other sources. When the TSM® program was originally put together it was built around "Budget E", and to this day "Budget E" has proven to provide the maximum return on investment. (See Test Plots)

Just to give you an idea of how exact we have our budgeting function working, let me give you some data. On the Catlin Research Farm, we have over 15 years of data all replicated 4 to 5 times. The average 15 year corn yield on "Budget E" is 189 bushels per acre (No.2 corn). On "Budget A" (100 pounds per acre more fertilizer), the 15 year average is 187 bushels per acre (No.2 corn) or 2 bushels per acre less. With an increase of 100 pounds of fertilizer per acre, we get a decrease in yield. On "Budget I" (100 pounds of fertilizer per acre less than "Budget E" and 200 pounds fertilizer per acre less than "Budget A"), the 15 year corn average yield is 181 bushels per acre (No.2 corn) or 8 bushels per acre less than "Budget E". The universities came up with 183 bushels per acre (No.2 corn). Soybeans showed the same trends: "Budget E" 15 year average yield is 64 bushels per acre. On "Budget A", the yield is 62 bushels per acre and on "Budget I", the yield is 60 bushels per acre.

When we say that maximum economic yield (MEY) is "Budget E", we mean it and have data to prove it!!

Within the TSM® program there is a coordination of budget codes and pounds-needed-to-balance (Fertilizer Index) increments. Budget codes are expressed with a letter of the alphabet. The "A" budget code is the highest cost per acre, and there are reductions per acre all the way down to an "L" budget code.

The beauty of the coordination between these two parts of the program is that if fertilizer is not needed TSM® does not make a recommendation for it even if you are using the highest budget code. The budget codes are for build-up and balancing only. When your soil becomes balanced, you receive a recommendation for only what you need. If you harvest a record yield or bumper crop, and your soil becomes unbalanced, the program will automatically kick in for build-up and balancing. You will never apply more fertilizer than you need and will receive maximum yields at the same time. See chart below:

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