Posted on October 12, 2012
Topics: Grower Profile
Name: Kerry Baldwin - North Dakota Grower
Location: Hope, N.D.
Years farming: 35
Number of Acres: 2,500
Crops: Wheat, Corn, Soybeans
Following the family tradition, Kerry Baldwin has been farming for 35 years in Hope, N.D. His 2,500 acre operation consists of wheat, corn and soybeans. Baldwin understands setting goals and providing proper nutrients is imperative for a healthy, profitable harvest.
Using the right prescription
Every year, Baldwin sets yield goals for each crop and soil tests his fields using zone soil testing. Based on his goals and soil test results, he develops a fertility prescription for each field using a combination of dry and liquid fertilizer. He also applies fungicide on all wheat acres.
“We spread dry fertilizer in the fall according to our soil tests,” says Baldwin. “I have certain yield goals and everything is spread to meet those goals. I also sidedress corn using 28% nitrogen.”
Maximize fertility program
In order to reach his yield goals, Baldwin began looking for ways to maximize his fertility program. An agronomist and trusted friend suggested he try AVAIL® Phosphorus Fertilizer Enhancer and NutriSphere-N® Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager to improve the efficiency of the phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) fertilizer he applies.
“By using the AVAIL, we make more applied phosphate available for the plants to use,” Baldwin says. “The NutriSphere-N helps us better utilize the applied nitrogen.”
Baldwin applied AVAIL-treated phosphate on most of his soybean acres but arranged test plots on his wheat and corn ground. Where AVAIL-treated phosphate was applied, he observed a larger root mass compared to areas where untreated P was applied and noticed the corn on AVAIL-treated acres emerged a day sooner. Overall, where AVAIL treated fertilizer was applied he saw a three to four bushel-per-acre yield increase over untreated acres in both wheat and corn during the 2012 drought.
He used NutriSphere-N-treated nitrogen on the majority of this wheat and corn acres. In addition, he organized a test plot to compare NutriSphere-N’s performance against a competitor’s product. The NutriSphere-N-treated nitrogen outperformed the competitor’s product.
Throughout out his career, Baldwin believes several resources have contributed to his success. He encourages producers to learn from others in the industry. He has been fortunate to meet people with good ideas, and implement them to make his own operation more profitable. Additionally, he believes soil testing and trying new products is essential.
Farming is a family tradition for Baldwin, who began his career with his father and grandfather. He has continued the legacy with his own children, watching them grow up as they worked together on the farm. “Farming is a great job, but in life it’s not all about the farm. It’s about God, family and friends. Enjoy life.”
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