Production Blog

Nitrogen Management Tools Debut

Pam Smith
By  Pam Smith , Crops Technology Editor
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Nitrogen and other nutrients can be applied later in the season with 360 Y-Drop applicators. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

If you build it, they will come. It was a scene reminiscent of the famous movie last week with lines of farmer-filled pickups threading the rural roads near Tremont, Ill., to Gregg Sauder's field of dreams.

Three days of field days were held on the entrepreneur's farm to display new products from 360 Yield Center. Last year, Sauder and his team of agronomists and engineers launched a handful of solutions aimed at season-long nitrogen and nutrient management. Refinements of those tools and a look at what's coming in the pipeline were the focus of the 2015 field days.

"We have several new products and are giving growers a good early look at what we are working on to gain more control over nitrogen management decisions to capture more yield potential," Sauder told DTN.

Heavy rains throughout the Corn Belt this season have challenged corn nitrogen reserves and illustrate the need to understand how nitrogen moves in the soil and measure how much is left in the tank, he noted. One of the company's lead products is 360 Y-Drop, a tool that allows for mid-to-late season nitrogen applications. Both Y-Drop and 360 Undercover, a device that delivers fungicide and other nutrients beneath the crop canopy, were redesigned for 2015 to better thread the row.

Sauder announced that the company is shifting data modeling efforts to a secondary role. Instead, decision making the 360-way will increasingly rely on real-time data, he said.

That moves 360 SoilScan, a mobile soil test allowing in-field analysis of soil nutrients in under five minutes, to the top of the diagnostic chain. A new companion app called 360 Yield Patrol has been developed to determine where to pull soil samples and uses GPS-tagging to track samples. It also offers in-field visual scouting capabilities. Available on a limited basis this fall, the app will be free to 360 SoilScan users next spring.

Soil probes are so old-school when you can put a motor on the process. The 360 Cross Cut Power Sampler resembles a lightweight chainsaw with a soil blade. Still in development, the device gathers a more consistent sample by grabbing soil across the row and mixing the sample during collection.

Sauder admitted anhydrous isn't his nitrogen of choice. However, much of that reluctance comes from the fact that application systems have been inherently inaccurate, he said. The company will be marketing a new anhydrous application system called 360 Equi-Flow that uses a gas separation method and pump pressure to keep anhydrous in liquid form for more accurate row-to-row application. Available this fall and spring 2016 on a limited basis, a redesigned system is planned for fall 2016 release.

Add an aftermarket stalk roller that changes how corn residue is cut and sized as it passes through the combine to the list. The 360 Chainroll splits the stalk and partially slices or crimps it at intervals into chain-like segments of 6 to 8 inches in length. The idea is to create moveable pieces of residue that row cleaners can more easily eliminate, while maintaining multiple entry points for soil microbes to promote decomposition. The company plans to continue in-field testing and offer the new stalk rolls for sale on a limited scale for 2015.

Increasing yields doesn't do much if you can't hold onto it. A new patent-pending gathering belt design uses rubber flighting to catch and delivery kernels to the auger. The product is anticipated for fall 2016 harvest. "Just two lost kernels per square foot of ground steals one bushel per acre," Sauder said.

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Raymond Simpkins
8/22/2015 | 5:24 PM CDT
For what? So we can grow 2.50 corn again.No thanks been there done that. I say lets all grow 120 bu. corn and get something for it.