Leilani Zimmer Durand: Balancing Your Soil to Maximize Nutrient Availability
This talk will focus on getting nutrients to plants: What are the best ways to get everything out of a fertilizer? What are the best ways to tap into the reserves of nutrients that are in the soil? Unlike the conventional wisdom on fertilizers, ensuring that plants get what they need isn’t just about crop removal. The application of the 200 units of N that is recommended for a projected 200 bushel corn crop, doesn’t mean all of that N gets into your crop and ignores the role soil plays in cycling nutrients. Many farmers overapply, or apply the wrong source for the soil type or crop, which can make nutrients hard for plants to access, or can lead to nutrient losses. Farmers need to choose not only the right amount of fertilizer but also the right source so that as much as possible of those nutrients bought get into plants. Plus, you want to tap into the reserves that are in the soil in order to cycle the nutrients that are already there. Leilani will talk about balancing your soils in order to maximize nutrient availability; using sources that fit your soil type and crop; tying minerals to carbon sources to maximize uptake efficiency; and using the natural interactions between roots, soils and soil microbes to tap into the soil’s natural nutrient cycling processes to get the most out of the nutrients already in your soil, while also paying attention to what your soils have to deliver so you don’t draw down nutrient levels and can keep your farm sustainable and your nutrients cycling for years to come.
Recorded at the 2017 Acres U.S.A. Conference, Columbus, Ohio, Friday, December 8, 2017.