Todd Prinz of West Point wants to move the yield needle, but he hopes to do it in a cost-effective way that adds to his bottom line. Prinz, who farms 2,000 acres and operates a feedlot, was one of six growers in six states nationally to participate in the "Pursuit of 300" program through the Mosaic Co., a fertilizer company with a portfolio of crop nutrient products.
On 160 acres enrolled in the program this season, Prinz planted corn at 38,000 seeds per acre in 20-inch rows on one half of the field, and 33,000 seeds per acre population in 20-inch rows using his usual management practices on the other half. In addition to intensive soil sampling, scouting and monitoring during the growing season, Prinz also used Mosaic's MicroEssentials SZ formulated product on his "Pursuit of 300" acres. This 12-40-0-10-1 product is formulated to increase the efficiency of nutrient uptake in the plants.
"Being a part of the program was good for me, because I was able to meet new agronomists and meet with growers from other states," says Prinz. "My main goal was to come away with one or two practices to help my operation in the future."
"We're trying to learn from each other to move the yield needle," says Curt Woolfolk, Mosaic agronomist and product development specialist. Woolfolk, who works with Prinz and fellow "Pursuit of 300" farmer, Mitchell Baalman of Hoxie, Kan., says that Mosaic agronomists formed a team with farmers and their local retailers to help them tweak their management to accomplish their own goals. At a meeting over a year ago, their team brainstormed about what practices were working, which ones were not working and things the farmers wanted to try, he says. "Being involved in research and development, I was able to bring some experiences from that aspect to the team," Woolfolk says.
The program isn't a yield contest, he explains. "It is a program for open dialogue and pursuit of increasing yields in a sustainable manner.
"If we don't raise 300 bushels per acre, that's OK, because it all really comes down to trying to be profitable. I'm looking at the practices that are most cost-effective," says Prinz. "What was economical this year will be different next year."
If you'd like to learn more about Mosaic's "Pursuit of 300" program and the participating farmers, read a related article in the December print issue of Nebraska Farmer, or go online at http://pursuitof300.com.