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Seven Years at the Research Farm

By Randy Simonson, Ph.D.
Technical Services Manager

The year 2000 will be the eighth season for the TSM Research Farm at Catlin. The farm has served us well in providing a place where we can bring fertilizer dealers and farmers in to discuss soil fertility and to show them what is happening in the field. The farm also has provided us with a lot of fertility data. At the TSM Winter Conferences, we presented this data to the dealers in attendance.

TSM RESEARCH PLOTS
YearTotal No.
of Plots
WinsTiesLosses
No.%No.%No.%
1992191684%15%211%
1993302687%00%413%
1994413893%25%12%
1995242188%14%28%
1996393487%00%513%
1997736589%11%710%
1998393590%25%25%
1999312890%13%26%
Total29626389%83%258%

On the farm we have two main areas with our fertility trials. One area is planted to corn and the other is planted to soybeans. Then the next year the crops are rotated. Our main treatments are three TSM budgets and the University of Illinois recommendations. The three TSM budgets are TSM A, TSM E and TSM I. TSM A is a high application of fertilizer. TSM E is what more than 75% of our growers are on and it is the budget we consider to be the most efficient program. The TSM I budget is a low budget with low fertilizer applications at a lower cost.

The soil tests show some interesting trends. The charts of phosphorus levels (Chart 1) and potassium levels (Chart 2) show all the fertilizer treatments moving in a similar fashion. The numbers on the top show the relative yields for each year. For example, in 1994, the corn and soybean yields were 13% greater than the average. In 1995, the yields were 19% less than average. From this we can see if there is any correlation between yields and the soil tests. We would expect after a high yield, like in 1994 and 1999, the soil test would go down. This is mostly true after the high 1994 yield, but after 1999, the soil tests actually went up. Another example was in 1995 and 1998, when the yields were less than average. After the 1995 low yield, most of the soil tests went up, as we would expect. However, after the low 1998 yield, the soil samples went down. Our thoughts on this are that weather and soil moisture may be making more of a difference than the crop yields.

Chart 1

Chart 2

Next we have a table with the differences between the starting soil samples and the ending soil levels (Table 1). This table is interesting because it show that the phosphorus levels and potassium levels on TSM E have gone down less than the University treatment even though more fertilizer was applied (Table 2) with the University recommendations.

Differences Between Starting and Ending Soil Levels
From Fall 1994 to Fall 1999
Soil LevelsTSM ATSM ETSM IUniversity
P1 soil level (lbs/A)-19-13-24-15
K soil level (lbs/A)-87-84-120-130
pH-0.2-0.2-0.2-0.4

Total Amount of Product Applied
For the Crop Years of 1993 Through 1999
ProductsTSM ATSM ETSM IUniversity
DAP applied (lbs/A)5363421881022
Potash applied (lbs/A)981647313792
Pre-Mix applied (lbs/A)318208105-
Lime applied (lbs/A)153016151557900

Finally, we have two tables with the corn and soybean means (Tables 3 and 4). The most interesting rows for most growers are the net profits on the bottom of the tables. In both corn and soybeans, TSM E was the treatment producing the highest profits. TSM E increased profits over the University over $3/acre in corn, and $11/acre in soybeans.

This research shows that TSM is winning on several fronts. TSM is increasing yields. It is increasing grower profits and it is even maintaining soil test levels better than the University program.

1993-1999 TSM Research Farm - Corn Means
ApplicationsTSM ATSM ETSM IUniversity
P1 soil level (lbs/A)49484555
P2O5 applied (lbs/A)49332080
as DAP (lbs/A)1077242174
K soil level (lbs/A)362338331365
K2O applied (lbs/A)89653456
as Potash (lbs/A)1491085793
Pre-Mix applied (lbs/A)543821-
TSM Blend3.03.23.1-
Amount of Blend310218121-
Costs of Fert ($/A)$46.82$32.88$18.41$27.38
pH6.26.26.26.3
Lime applied (lbs/A)192*179*191*143**
Costs of Lime ($/A)$7.69$7.17$7.63$1.32
Yield (bu/A)174179169173
Price ($/bu)$2.51$2.51$2.51$2.51
Gross Profit ($/A)$436.24$448.78$423.71$433.74
Net Profit ($/A)$381.73$408.72$397.67$405.03

* Pelletized Lime
** Ag Lime

1993-1999 TSM Research Farm - Soybean Means
ApplicationsTSM ATSM ETSM IUniversity
P1 soil level (lbs/A)52494651
P2O5 applied (lbs/A)2111555
as DAP (lbs/A)462511119
K soil level (lbs/A)349336326345
K2O applied (lbs/A)79461980
as Potash (lbs/A)1317732133
Pre-Mix applied (lbs/A)37229-
TSM Blend4.14.24.1-
Amount of Blend21512453-
Costs of Fert ($/A)$31.03$17.77$7.58$23.59
pH6.16.16.16.1
Lime applied (lbs/A)245*282*254*114**
Costs of Lime ($/A)$9.80$11.29$10.17$1.06
Yield (bu/A)57615657
Price ($/bu)$6.36$6.36$6.36$6.36
Gross Profit ($/A)$362.76$388.22$356.40$362.76
Net Profit ($/A)$321.94$359.17$338.65$338.12

* Pelletized Lime
** Ag Lime

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