Excel Corn Silage

08 Dec Excel Corn Silage

Test was conducted in the Las Uvas Valley of New Mexico on land that is highly calcareous, with pH ranging from 7.6 near the surface to 9.3 at 36 to 40 inches, across the soil profile. Corn yields have historically been 15 to 20 Tons per acre, despite heavy nutritional inputs. Corn crops are generally chlorotic by July and remain so until harvest. Some field locations emerge chlorotic.

A trial was set up in 2007 to determine if Advanced Liquid Fertilizer (a plant hormone product with root stimulators), could enhance nutrient uptake and reduce overall chlorosis. Advanced is a hormone product that enhances root growth, increases nutrient uptake, especially of divalent cations and increases nutrient translocation throughout the plant.

Advanced has a formulation of the natural organic acids that are produced at the root surface by the plant and rhizosphere microorganisms. These compounds make soil phosphate more available and prevent the tie-up of added phosphate. This is accomplished by the sequestering of the iron, calcium, manganese, zinc and other minerals that bind the phosphate. By protecting the phosphate, Advanced is also making the other nutrients more available to the plant, thus helping to overcome chlorosis.

After extensive soil testing, the following nutritional management program was recommended. The program was applied to 392 acres of drip irrigated and 120 acres of pivot irrigated silage corn.

Preplant application (per acre):

Nitrogen: 80 to 100 units*

Phosphate: 20 to 30 units

Potash: 100 lbs

*60 to 100 units over the rest of the season for a total of 160 to 200 units.

Popup applied in the seed furrow over or right below the seed:

12-48-8:             2 lbs

Advanced:         4 oz  (All applied in 2 to 5 gal water)

Through pivot or drip tape, 5 applications beginning June 15.

Advanced:         3-5 oz. Prevents binding of the phosphate

9-15-30:             5 lb

Micro pack:       0.25 lb. Provides Zn, MN, Ca, Mg


The pivot and drip irrigated corn was chlorosis free until the last two leaves emerged suggesting that there should have been a sixth application made through the drip lines or pivot.  Corn under this pivot has historically had low yields.  The 2007 crop yield was 28 tons per acre compared to the previous crop of 17 tons.  A photographic comparison of the two crops is shown in photos 1 and 2.  The improved growth and reduction of chlorosis is obvious.

The yields and cost comparison of the drip irrigated corn for 2006 and 2007 are shown in the following table.  Of note is that although the nutritional inputs were less, yields were up.  Costs of nutritional inputs for 2007 were more per unit fertilizer because of the price increases over 2006.  Although the tonnage increased by only 15 percent, profitability increased by 468 percent.

The increase in profitability was due in part to less pumped water in 2007 (1.885 acre feet compared to 2.71 acre feet in 2006).  Furthermore, the 2006 crop received 11 inches of rainfall in July, August and September for a total available water of 3.6 acre feet.  More efficient water use has been noted when Advanced was applied to other crops in the past, but has not been quantitatively documented before.

Summary of observations:

The addition of Advanced to the standard grower nutritional program provided the following benefits:

More efficient use of nutritional inputs. For example, Zinc, Mg and other micros had been used, but chlorosis was a major problem.  The addition of Advanced helped overcome chlorosis. Phosphate was not tied up by the zinc, manganese, iron or other micros and nutrients remained available Advanced applications.

More efficient water utilization.  The crop on the program used 1.88 acre feet    of water with no supplemental rainfall compared to 2.7 acre feet plus 11 inches of rain,   a 30% increase in water use efficiency.

Yield increase of almost 10 tons (58%) under pivot irrigation.

Yield increase of  4 tons 15% under drip

Increased profitability, from $64.36 per acre in 2006 to $281.20 per acre in 2007.

yeild chart

Farm silage production costs comparison for drip only.
2007 included Advanced App, 2006 did not

Cost $ per acre Cost $ per acre
2007 2006
Land prep + labor 85.62 113.66
Manure (cost divided over 3 years) 53.33
Preplant 7-34-7-7 248 lb/a
Preplant:  24-8-18 (204 lb/a)
Popup:  (2 lb 12-48-8, 1,5 lb ZMC, 4 oz Advanced
Drip total: 25 lb 9-15-30, 1.5 lb ZMC, 4-6 oz Advanced
Hiphos flush, 2lb Zn, 2lb Mg
32% N
65.69 86.79
Zn 2 lb, Mg 2lb
CaN 17
Seed 76.45 76.15
Pesticide 40.01 60.13
Water: 2007= 1.885 acre feet @ $77.54/AF 146.16

2006= 2.71 acre feet @54.89/AF
Harvest cost 226.47 195.07
Total Production Cost 793.82 883.9
Yield value: 2007= 28.29 T/A @ $38/T 1075.02
2006= 24.56 T/a @$38/T
Profit. $/Acre 281.2 64.38


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