Ag-Spectrum - Maximum Farming System
The Maximum Farming System is an integrated systems approach to farming. Ag Spectrum professionals developed Maximum Farming by combining scientific research results with practical, in-field knowledge, paying close attention to what makes crops grow best.
The Maximum Farming System has proven successful over the past 30 years, but it’s not only in the traditional sense of crop yields. Maximum Farming addresses the whole production environment for a healthy crop. It starts with the soil and establishes a nurturing and nutritious seed bed for the plant to grow in. The soil can even be improved, despite a long-held belief that we will run out of rich, fertile soil in the near future. Establishing the right timing, placement, quantity and form of additional nutrients allows a growing plant to capture and maximize energy from the sun and transform it into a nutritious crop. This ultimately enhances livestock and human health.
Today’s producers need the most accurate information they can get to make good decisions about inputs. One of the most important sources of information for a producer is a complete, current understanding of the soil.
Soil testing is simply a snapshot that represents the current state at the time of testing. As we grow crops, nutrient availability decreases. And conditions will fluctuate naturally based on microbial activity, weather, and production management decisions. As a result, soil tests by themselves do not give producers a complete picture – other factors and dynamics have to be considered. However, regular testing, and good interpretation of results is a critical piece of the puzzle.
Therefore, soil testing is an important starting point. Results from testing soils tell you what nutrients are there, how favorable the root environment is, and what can be done to alter the root environment to a grower’s advantage.
We create “management zones” for each new customer and each field. We start by identifying soil types on a base map obtained from the U.S. Geological Survey. Using this map and production data, we identify specific “management zones.”
We combine zones of less than two acres, to reduce frustration since it is unlikely the customer will want to manage anything less than that separately. Several samples are collected within each area and are combined into one bag for testing.
By identifying large areas with similar characteristics, there is less need to pull many samples from large areas, which in turn provides better information at less cost. Farmers using a grid would have to obtain samples every half-acre to match the accuracy of the ST/MZ map shown here. The fields should be sampled every 2-3 years as soil changes over time.
This approach to sampling by Soil Type and Management Zone, abbreviated as ST/MZ, provides an in-depth analysis to help optimize your crop production.
Enhancing plant health and vigor is accomplished through proper timing and placement of nutrients, and begins with a healthy soil. A fertile soil environment encourages uptake of nutrients, particularly if nutrients are available at planting time. Once appropriate soil structure is established, the next priority is to awaken microbial life.
The main nutrients needed by plants are: CHO, PKNSCaFe, MG, BMnCuZnMo. Calcium is an important fertilizer because it is required for proper functioning of cell membranes and cell walls. It is specifically need in large amounts at the tips of growing roots and shoots and in developing fruits, because relatively little calcium is transported in phloem.
Another important fertilizer is sulfur. Sulfur contains the amino acids methionine and cysteine which create protein. Sulfur also contains sulfolipids, which are the fatty compounds found in membranes, especially chloroplast membranes.
Gypsum has been shown to reduce soil erosion, which allows crops to retain the nutrients that they need to grow. The key to having fertile soil is remembering that everything works best in balance, and having the right balance of nutrients will give your plant the energy it needs to grow.
Enhancing plant health and vigor is accomplished through proper timing and placement of nutrients. Once appropriate soil structure is established, the next priority is to awaken microbial life within the soil through the application of GroZyme®. Research at The Ohio State University has shown that GroZyme increases soil activity and facilitates the release of N, P, K and micronutrients. GroZyme enhances the root system, leading to greater absorption of nutrients.
A fertile soil environment encourages uptake of nutrients, particularly if nutrients are available at planting time. Specially formulated CleanStart® maximizes kernel numbers and is applied to the seed, while Nitrogen is banded next to the row at planting.
Nutritional needs remain a priority as the crop grows. Side-dressing and foliar feeding are prescribed as needed. Over the years, Ag Spectrum has funded extensive research on foliar feeding, discovering that when the proper materials are absorbed through a plant’s leaves at the right time, energy production is sustained, yields increase, and soil test values improve.
A complex interaction of chemical, physical and biological processes is the foundation for all crop production. Energy is exchanged as a result of these processes and therefore it plays a unique role - it drives the system.
We believe that if you optimize the effects of these processes, then you can maximize production efficiency. However, we must also diminish the amount of stress that a plant faces, or prepare the plant to withstand those stresses.
If a plant experiences stress, it will divert its energy to fight the stresses as opposed to creating sugar. This directs energy away from the harvestable yield, and ultimately results in lost revenue.
Maximum Farming helps you manage your energy sources to bring these processes into balance and enable your plants to focus on creating energy rather than fighting stresses.
The result is a higher yield that may even reduce the amount of additional nutrients needed to maintain an optimum soil environment.