At the 2023 Commodity Classic, Mark Glastetter, Regional Sales Manager, sat down with sixth generation farmer, Chris Weaver.
Known for his award-winning soybean yields, the Finksburg, Maryland farmer shed light on the management practices his farming operation uses to reach yield and soil health goals.
The starting point for every field, on every farm, starts with looking at a few indicators of overall productivity potential.
“When we start farming a new farm, we want our pH as close to seven as possible. We really focus on base saturations to start with and I want to really drop the mag out,” Weaver says. “I want to get my mag levels on base saturations down to about eight, and I want to get my potash numbers increased.”
Weaver says that for potash, his goal is to hit base saturation potash numbers between five and six, and he’s looking for his calcium numbers to fall between 80 and 85 ppm.
“If we’re not getting out ppms on calcium up around 2000+ on our soil sample, then we have to apply high calcium lime, some gypsum, and we need to be looking at other sources for the lime to get the calcium and potash right first and then we can drop mag out,” he says. “I’m not worried about mag as much, but I want to keep my calcium and potassium levels up and the main reason is water movement. Water movement is nutrient movement throughout the plant, and once potassium gets below three, I know I’ve already lost. If I can’t keep my calcium above one, I’m in rough shape for the rest of the year.”
The Secret to 100+ bushel soybeans
The biggest secret to growing high yield soybeans, however, has to do with the plant, itself. And it’s a secret that Weaver says is very simple in concept but much more difficult to achieve.
“Keep the cotyledon alive as long as possible,” he says. “If you can get that cotyledon to go to R1, even R3, you’re golden. I know you can get over 100.”
Glastetter shares that most producers are lucky to see a cotyledon at V3.
Weaver says that high management is the key and that starts with fungicide, sugars and humic.
“Your CarbonRX is perfect, and Sweet Success is great because we’re using gallons of that every time we’re out in the field. Every one of our passes has Carbon RX and Sweet Success in it. What we’re doing is relieving stress in those plants to keep those cotyledons alive,” he says, adding that his team starts spraying fungicide as early as V1 and doesn’t stop. “This year, we introduced BioHealth to some of our treatments and we really saw great success on frogeye, powdery mildew, white mildew. We’re starting early and spraying often. We know that a fungicide life is between 15 and 20 days, so every 15 days, we’re going to be hitting with another fungicide to keep that plant healthy.”
Nitrogen is another key component of Weaver’s high yield soybean success formula, and he shares that he adds a lot of extra nitrogen to the tune of between 50 and 60 pounds that is applied early in the season. The downside to that higher nitrogen application, he says, and what scares him, is the salt.
Enter humic and sugars— the one-two punch buffers salt and provides the mid-day “candy bar” plants thrive on. The humic removes the salt stress from the plants and the sugar creates more energy to be concentrated on growth and performance. As an added benefit, Weaver says that the combination frees up other nutrients that are bound up in the soil.“The more humic and sugar we use, the more we can increase yield because we’re providing energy and reducing stress on that plant. Those are two
key secrets and the next step after you get your soils right,” he says.
Not all humics and fulvics are created equal.
Glastetter notes that not all humics, fulvics, and sugars are created equal, even though a lot of people tend to lump them into the same arena.
“It’s just like any other nutrient, it’s where they are derived from, it’s a big deal,” Glastetter says.
Weaver agrees and says that finding Concept AgriTek was eye-opening to what he says had become a complacent outlook on humic and fulvic acids.
“We’ve tested a lot of humic and fulvics, and we thought we’d known the best, but then we met you (Glastetter) and Kyle (Shepherd, District Sales Manager), and there was one thing that really led me to Carbon RX and that was the amino acid. We were adding amino acids into our products, and when I found Carbon RX, it already had the amino acid in it. So now I had a humic product with the amino acid and that took a step out. Amino acids are crucial for what we’re doing in high yield corn and bean production, so once I got onto it, we made a full switch that first year to CarbonRX, and we haven’t looked back now for three years. It’s been a phenomenal journey,” Weaver says.
Weaver adds that complacency is an easy place to get to when it comes to humics and sugars because there are so many different options on the market. A lot of companies, he says, will quote in gallons, quarts and pints, but price isn’t a concern for his operation.
“I don’t care about the price – I worry about the quality and the mixing. CarbonRX mixes. There’s so many other products on the market that won’t mix.”
Availability should be another paramount concern for all producers, Weaver says.
“You guys have done testing. One thing we’ve found over the years with Carbon RX, because of the amino acid and the higher quality of humic that you’re starting with, it’s readily available to the plant instantaneously versus a lot of the competitors on the market.”