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Using Tissue Sampling to Plan Your Yield Roadmap

AgriGold Agronomist Josh Johnston has learned a lot about season-long nutrient management by analyzing his customers’ tissue sampling data. He shares his insights.

“So, at AgriGold, we’ve been at this for nearly a decade, and we’ve gathered 10,000 data points from both corn and soy on the tissue samples. And really there’s a couple of key points that we’ve gleaned from all this data; number one, beyond a shadow of a doubt, there’s definitely a correlation between nutrient concentration and yield. And number two, your corn strategy has to be very similar to a thoroughbred racehorse, you have to come out of the gate strong, healthy and fast. There’s really no exception to that.”

Johnston explains why he encourages farmers to stick with their normal fertility plan the first year that tissue samples are collected.

“This is critical that each grower implement this year one baseline strategy, you’re creating your roadmap going forward. You could just randomly grab nitrogen and throw it out there, or potassium, Patel’s may not be your limiting factors. This roadmap that you’re creating will very quickly identify all your shortcomings, and it’s a very easy strategy. You stick to what you’ve always been doing, all you implement is the tissue sampling strategy. There’s a couple of ways to go about that. If you really would like to be very, very intense. you can start tissue sampling once a week or you can follow the AgriGold protocol, which would be six key GDU timestamps that you pull throughout the course of the year.”

Analyzing the first year of tissue sampling data was the most eye-opening year in Johnston’s career.

“It really was, and I think that’s because I had an idea of some nutrition that we may be struggling with. But that just wasn’t the case. I picked two farmers that lived relatively close that I would consider the best of the best and we implemented this strategy with them creating their baseline. The most eye opening thing that we witnessed in this very first year was even the macro nutrients, we were having major problems getting our nutrient concentrations high and keeping them high throughout the entire season. It was quite the struggle, but it was also very, very fun and very challenging, drawing up these protocols on trying to figure out how to address each one of those specific needs. So, the real beauty of the second year strategy was we really didn’t have to spend more money, we reallocated the dollars, more precisely placed the nutrients to get some major yield gains at the end.”

Johnston says farmers who add the AgriGold tissue sampling protocol to their farm must be willing to shift their mindset about nutrient management.

“Success doesn’t always mean increased bushels, success becomes I applied nutrient X and it got into the plant, so that’s successful. Did that increase yield? Well, we hope so. But there’s so many things that can subtract bushels at the end, you have to retrain your mind. I added that nutrient, I got that into the plant, that did increase the yield, if it didn’t what subtracted those yields from me that are added? So, that’s such a fun time, when you’re sitting down with the growers, analyzing their yearly tissue graphs, drawing up these protocols. So, at AgriGold, all of our agronomist are well versed with this strategy, our DSMs are well versed with this strategy. If you would like our help, please reach out at any time we would love to sit down and talk with you about our tissue sampling strategies.”

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