|Soil test for top half of new acreage|
This field needs the most help to get it back into production. Lots of lime - 6200lbs per acre is what is reccomended, and needs lots of potassium and phosphorus. So how do you fix that? Well...
|Applying lime with the spreader|
|Applying lime with the nephew|
I calculated the amount of lime as about 1lb per 8x10' area; used a tarp under the spreader, collected it, weighed it, and adjusted the setting. 6 hours of tractor passes later the field is limed and ready for planting.
The fertilizer issue is a little more of a problem. First, it's expensive, and second, there's an application issue. So I'm going to apply fertilizer when I plant the corn; the corn planter will both plant the corn and deposit dry fertilizer in the row. The corn will use some of the nutrients, some will stay in the soil, and I'll do a soil test at the end of the year and see what the soil is like then. the lime will definitely change the PH.
The corn is also an indicator of general fertility. At harvest I'll be able to look at the field and tell where the problem areas are by the growth of the corn.
So the lime was $1050 ($30/ton). the fertilizer mix for the planting was another $1600. The corn seed itself was about $1000. I'll have a total for tractor time when we get it all done, but it looks like my costs are going to be something like $250/acre; that seems high, but as long as I'm under $1,000/acre I'm paying less than I would if I purchased this corn from the local feed mill, so although I hate writing the checks, the long-term still looks doable.