Back To It

Back To It from Central Valley Ag on Vimeo.

by Mike Zwingman

by Mike Zwingman

It’s been a month now since we’ve talked here about nitrogen, so let’s return to the conversation before my eye really starts to twitch.

I wrote about the PSNT last on date and tell you, friends, that after doing it myself and fielding all the questions, it’s just not quite as straight-forward as it seems.

One unexpected effect of this is that it has made me trust models more.

Nitrogen is a tricky bird.  Putting it down in your field isn’t like filling a candy bowl with M&Ms.  In the candy bowl, the M&Ms just hang out, as they are, until they’re eaten, whether that’s in two days or two years.  When we put nitrogen down in our fields though, it just doesn’t hang out and wait like an M&M will.  If not gobbled up in short order, it has to be immobilized in the soil if it’s to remain.

Which is what happens to a lot of nitrogen and which is why our soil carries the big stick.

Models help us understand this in a way that the PSNT does not and also then suggest how the actions of our soil should affect our management of the four Rs.

What guidance models have to offer us about how timing can affect our nitrogen input has been a slowly-unfolding realization for me this season.  I’ve seen more clearly this year how systems and tools coalesce and have a new window in what an enhanced nitrogen management system might look like.  And I’m excited to share it all with you at the end of this season, when we’ll be able to use a few new insights to better evaluate our performance, and in anticipation of next season, when we can put it into play.

Because really, we’re only about 120 days away from the beginning of next season.

So watch for a postcard coming your way soon announcing our end-of-year customer appreciation events, which are the forum in which I’ll tackle all this new, cool information on nitrogen management.  Particularly if you’re considering changes for next season, the information might provide some clarity about your direction and best options.

After months buried in hard science, the applications of it are starting to present themselves and the insights it’s yielding are super-cool.  It’s definitely the nerd in me coming out, but I’m excited to share with you what I’ve learned this season and even more excited to see it pay dividends next season.