Temple Rhodes, Centreville, Maryland, and a member of the XtremeAg.farm team weighs in on what he calls “residue eaters” and “native biology feeders” in his recent residue breakdown comparison video for the group. The Eastern Shore farmer and (MD) Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame recipient says that not all products on the market fit every situation and finding where and when products work is the mission of the XtremeAg team.
Whether he’s managing corn stover or bean stubble, Rhodes has found that Residue RX provides the solution he is looking for to breakdown residue in the field in time for planting.
In this recent video, Rhodes talks about the variations he’s seen and the improvement in cover crop stand he’s been able to utilize for cattle forage. The wheat cover crop Rhodes planted last fall was green and lush, a credit Rhodes attributes to the Concept AgriTek Sweet Success he added to his Residue RX and 5-gallon UAN mix.
“We’re helping the soil and feeding the biology and breaking down residue on the way,” Rhodes says. “This residue is broken down, there’s not a lot left, and that’s on 300-bushel corn that had a lot of residue. We really like the Residue RX along with sugars (Sweet Success) to feed the natural biology of the soil. It all works together.”
Half a mile down the road, Rhodes notes that the results he’s seeing with his cover crop don’t compare. The cover crop was killed 10 days prior to the video because he wasn’t able to utilize as cattle forage.
“We just never had the coverage. The plant stand on this cover crop was very different. We flew it on, just like the other field, put on the residue eater, same rate, same time seeding, same irrigated crop with 5-gallons of UAN—nothing was different except for using two different products. The (Sweet Success/Residue RX) cover crop came up, was a thicker, lusher crop all year,” he says.
The mission of the XtremeAg team is to find what works on their fields, their farms and their budgets and share their experiences as a guide for other farmers looking to implement new products. And Rhodes notes that there are a lot of products on the market today that get the job done in terms of breaking down residues, however, finding the perfect combination of what works and when is the challenge, and one that Rhodes feels he has found in the combination of Residue RX and Sweet Success applied with 5-gallons of UAN.
Corn stover isn’t the only residue Rhodes has found success using Residue RX on. In an early 2023 residue breakdown video, he and fellow XtremeAg member, Chad Henderson discussed the breakdown of cover crop on bean stubble and why the timing of the breakdown is the most critical component.
Standing in a field that was not treated with Residue RX when the beans came up, Henderson says that he’s always amazed at the difference in the breakdown his southeast soils are able to accomplish in comparison to the soils in Rhode’s northeast geography.
“We just haven’t done a lot of this (trialing with residue breakdown products) because every time we shell corn, a week to 10-days later we’re seeing that stover turning black,” Henderson says. “Driving up here (Maryland) it looks like people have just shelled corn and they’ve been done for months.”
To test the efficacy of Residue RX, Rhodes mixed the product with his first glyphosate pass and says that the difference between the bean stubble/cover crop that was treated versus the field that wasn’t treated was incredible.
“When the combine hit the ground that had been treated with Residue RX it blew it apart. We cut longer, cut earlier, we weren’t dragging up. We hit this one time with a TurboTill and barely scratched this cover crop in. But the big difference was the straw: the check was strong, still intact and had a lot of integrity and the Residue RX (straw) just fell apart. There was a pretty big difference,” Rhodes says.
Henderson agrees and adds that it isn’t about the straw disappearing but the integrity of the straw that remains.
“With fertilizer prices the way they are now, we need to know how much P and K is left in this residue and how we can get it back into the next crop,” Henderson says about the use of residue management products like Residue RX, “It’s all going to be different depending on where you are and figuring out the timing of releasing these nutrients is what we all need to figure out.”