Fields are Crystal Clear for Minnesota Cooperative

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Published January 24, 2014 20:21

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Drivers passing through Crystal Valley Cooperative’s trade area of south central Minnesota may do a double-take when they see two matching Deere tractors pulling Veris Mobile Sensor Platforms through the fields. Two Precision Ag Specialists drive the precision program at Crystal Valley’s 9 locations: Jason Leary focuses on VRS and yield mapping, while Kevin Jeurissen works with precision pH and variable lime applications. Jason reports that they first made a round of sales calls to line up acres for their elite precision program, hoping to book a few hundred acres to get started. “We expected growers to give us a field or two, but they wanted much more…some signed up their whole farms. We had so many acres booked we bought a second MSP3 right away.”Fields in this region can have pH ranges from below 5 to well over 7, with peat soils interspersed. These variations can wreck VRS and lime prescriptions unless correctly mapped. “When you overlay grid lines or a USDA soil survey over a Veris pH map, you can easily find a wide range of pH and OM values within those cells and polygons,” Kevin notes. “75% of the fields we’ve Veris-mapped have needed less lime than was found in grid-sampling, often paying for the Veris mapping just with savings in lime.” Reductions are due to precisely identifying pH variability, especially along gravel roads, and also precisely mapping the peat areas which have a lower target pH than mineral soils.

Kevin and Jason are anticipating other practices using the multi-layer data from their MSP3’s. Overlaying maps of heavy clay and high pH soils will pinpoint areas to apply chelated iron, a cost-effective way to address iron chlorosis problems in soybeans. With many more applications for Veris maps to follow, Crystal Valley Cooperative is helping their growers make crystal clear decisions.

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