Sure Crop

(Jim) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host. And today we’re in luck because we’re in Nemaha County, just east of Seneca in a field, a test field that is. And we’re gonna be talking with Shirley Schurman with Sure Crop Liquid Fertilizers. And we’re gonna be talking with her family members about the family operation and the test plots on both corn and soybeans. So, stay with us. We’ll be right back.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission, the Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

(Jim) Welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host and we’re in luck because we’re in Nemaha County, town of Seneca in northeast Kansas and we’re at Sure Crop Liquid Fertilizers. And with us we have the owner/manager Shirley Schurman. So Shirley, tell us a little bit about your operation here, I know you have a farm operation as well, but kind of tell us about the fertilizer business of the operation… (Shirley) OK. (Jim) …how you got started. (Shirley) Well Jim, we’ve Jim we’ve been here since 1978. I didn’t think that was so long, but it’s gotten to be a little long… (Jim) When you start doing the math, right. (Shirley) Right. It seems a lot longer…it didn’t seem like it took that long to get here. It’s a family business, our son and daughter and our son-in-law work with us. And then we have employees, good people, and they seem like family too. So, we’ve been out here on the highway west of Seneca since 1986, 1987 we moved out here on the highway. Before that we were out at the farm and we loaded trucks out there and directed them all over the place. Maybe something a little bit unusual about us is the fact that we market in about 15 states out here in the midwest. And we deliver direct to grower’s farms in a lot of instances. We also have distributors out there, but usually they arrange delivery to a grower’s farm. And then we do soil analysis with ’em and then we custom blend fertilizers for what they want for their fields. And that seems to be a service or if you want to call it a convenience, something that people really like, the fact that we custom blend fertilizers. And then you know, if you custom blend something you should get a response with it, or you won’t get repeat business either. (Jim) Right, right. (Shirley) So they do call us back. (Jim) So, what are some of your products that you… you’re basically all liquid fertilizers. So you have liquid nitrogen and some starters. (Shirley) Yea, we have liquid starters. And then usually a good… it’s a lot about balance Jim. (Jim) Right. (Shirley) It seems like… you know my husband said that years ago, it’s not so much giving a crop a whole lot of any one nutrient as giving it a balance of what it needs in the time when it needs it. And so we have the liquid starters. A lot of times we’ll blend in micro nutrients in it. We have one product called Micro-Pak that we formulated here about five years ago and that’s been a very successful product. It’s a combination of zinc, manganese, iron, copper and boron. And that seems to do a really good job too. Then we have liquid nitrogens that you put on the soil and that you also can put on the crop foliar. And that’s kind of neat to have a foliar product that doesn’t scorch and burn the crop. And then we have potassiums, also soil applied and foliar applied and the micro nutrients. And then bio stimulants and specialties. The bio stimulants and the specialties seem to have been what’s coming along in the last few years, really meeting a need out there. There’s a lot more emphasis now and understanding about how important the biology in the soil is. And how the plant functions, how it metabolizes and produces… (Jim) The various nutrients, huh-uh, huh-uh. (Shirley) Yea. And so it’s not just all chemistry providing nutrients, it’s stimulating that crop to do what its genetic potential is. (Jim) I’m gonna have to stop you here because I’ve got the sign from the camera man that it’s time to take a break. So, we’re gonna be talking more with you and some of your colleagues. (Shirley) OK. Alright. (Jim) So folks, stay with us, we’ll be right back with more of That’s My Farm.

(Jim) Welcome back folks to That’s My Farm. And we’re in Nemaha County at Sure Crop Liquid Fertilizers and we talked to Shirley Schurman a while ago and right now we have her son Shannon with us and we’re in a warehouse and there’s a big galvanized metal hopper here behind us, so tell us what we have here. (Shannon) Well it’s actually stainless steel. (Jim) I’m sorry, stainless steel. (Shannon) This is our main stainless steel mixing tank. It’s about a six thousand gallon mixing tank. It’s where we do most of our bulk blending. We make humates and any specialty products that a farmer is wanting, special blend or something like that we run it through here before we load it onto the truck to go out to them. (Jim) OK. And again it’s liquid and over here we have a little bit smaller bin. (Shannon) Yep. That’s a little smaller one. We use that for the more specialty type materials where you don’t have… takes large gallons we use it to make smaller batches so that we can get a good blend. (Jim) So will this do the smaller packaging of two or three gallon, or five gallon packaging that will go out? (Shannon) Actually not really. We still will put it in to totes and things like that. It will go into semi loads and things, but it’s where you want to be more precise on the amounts that are going in, we use that blend tank over there so we get a better, exact amounts going in. (Jim) So, tell us how you blend these materials. How you actually do the operation. (Shannon) Well most of the operation happens up in in the control room, which is just above us here. And it’s computerized. Everything is done on scales. The valves are air operated, so once we put a blend together, put it in the computer, then it goes through, hit start… (Jim) Hit the push button. (Shannon) Right, and then the computer takes over and it goes through and it loads certain amounts of each material to come up with the proper blend. That way we again, we want to make sure we get the right amounts of each material in and we don’t over run or cut anybody short. And so that’s where the automation really comes in handy. (Jim) Efficiency. (Shannon) Yes, very much so. (Jim) Well tell us a little bit about these smaller jug products that I see over here to the side. What… how are those packaged and how are those put together? (Shannon) Well we do have products that go out in 2 1/2 gallon jugs. And then we take two jugs and put it in a box. So by hand we have… it’s all set up with scales and again, you fill a jug up, put a lid on it and then we put it in a box. (Shirley) Label it. Label it. (Shannon) And out the door it goes. (Jim) So Shannon, how do you know these products actually work? (Shannon) Well we do a lot of research, a lot of testing. (Jim) On farm testing? (Shannon) Yes. On farm testing. Some through our customers, but also on our own farm. That’s where we do a lot of our first testing is on the farm. And then we also, like I said, have some of the customers do things like that. And then we also have some research that is done through universities and private… (Shirley) Independent people. (Jim) OK. Well good. I’m looking forward to seeing the test plots here in a minute. So, folks don’t go away we’re gonna be talking to you guys some more here. And you folks at home, stay with us, we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm folks. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host and we’re in Nemaha County just south of the town of Seneca. We’re with Sure Crop Liquid Fertilizers and we have Shannon Schurman here with us. And Shannon tell us what we have here. (Shannon) Well, this is one of our fields that we test different products in. It’s where we do our starter plots mainly. This plot last fall was soybeans and we went ahead and we did a… (Jim) Turbo till. (Shannon) Turbo till with also a complete product on it to help break down the crop residue and to help get it ready for this year’s crop. (Jim) So you had a blanket treatment of NPNK or just nitrogen and then you put on the different starter fertilizers? (Shannon) Yes sir. Yea. And some of the plots had different starters and then once we kind of tested those then we go into testing different micro nutrient packages and things like that. (Jim) So you have about 20 some odd treatments here. And they all have a blanket nitrogen, about 90 to 100 pounds. (Shannon) Right. (Jim) And then you have the different starter treatments. So, tell me a little bit about some of those starter treatments. You have an NPNK, just a starter. Then you start adding your other materials. (Shannon) Yea, then we’ll start adding, you know, some zinc to different types of starter to see does that make a difference? And then we, you know zinc with boron or zinc with MN. (Jim) Right. Different combinations. (Shannon) Yea, different combinations. (Jim) A little bit more about planting the crop, you have a plant population of about…. (Shannon) Twenty eight thousand five hundred is what we were shooting for. (Jim) What was dropped. OK. (Shannon) And we planted about May 3rd. (Jim) OK. Good deal So, some of these…you’ve got some pretty good looking corn here, I’ve noticed that. (Shannon) It’s been a great year. (Jim) Got some pretty good size ears here. And I think you’re looking at a pretty good crop down in this area. (Shannon) I do think so too. I think its gonna be a great year. (Jim) OK. Well thanks for sharing your test plots information with us. And we’ve got to talk about soybeans here in a minute, so we’ll see you at the soybean field. And folks stay with us. We’re going to soybean test plots here in just a second, so stay with us, we’ll be right back.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm folks. And with us we have Doug Schmelzle. And Doug’s with Sure Crop Liquid Fertilizer here in Seneca. And Doug we’re at the test plot so tell us a little bit of what you got planted here and what are some of the treatments. (Doug) What we ended up doing on that Jim, this year this was…we planted soybeans, following last year’s crop of corn. These beans were planted around the 5th or 6th of May. They were Northrup King Variety S38W4’s. We’ve been real pleased with that variety for hill ground. After the beans got up six or seven inches tall we came through with a calcium foliar product to help stimulate the soil microbes in the product. We all know soybeans are an efficient use of calcium. If there’s not enough calcium a lot of times with ag lime breakdown to efficiently give those beans enough calcium at their younger stages in life and throughout their growing season. (Jim) And you had another treatment? (Doug) The second treatment was about 10 to 12 days later, just prior to flowering. We came back with a slow release nitrogen to help with stimulating that plant for seed sack. And we were blessed on that too later on this fall with late season rains. I truthfully believe it’s made a big benefit for these soybeans this year. (Jim) So now, did you have some other starters in some of your treatments. (Doug) Yes, I plant with a Kinze 12 row 23″. We’ve got starter fertilizer that we apply in row with the beans. Plus this year I did experiment with, on the rear 12 rows of dribbling just a little bit of nitrogen beside the row. (Jim) Below and to the side or up on top? (Doug) No just dribbled along… (Jim) OK. (Doug) Up top. And I’ve been told the nitrogen to phosphate in the row plants grow on energy, as well as nutrients. But energy between the nitrogen to phosphate helps to stimulate that plant and get it up and growing quicker. (Jim) Well I think you’re gonna have some pretty good yields Some of the yields even for the drought you had in this area look pretty good. I’ve heard yields all over from 40 to 80 bushel. (Doug) We’ve been real pleased in that Jim. I harvested some of the poorest ground that I’ve got, hill ground and they went 47-48 bushel. And here where my mother lives I truthfully believe these are gonna do a lot better. (Jim) OK. (Doug) These should make 55 or 60, even more hopefully. (Jim) Doug, appreciate you taking time with us and sharing with us your on-farm research. And I think that’s really great to test your products. So, stay with us. We’ve gotta have words here from our sponsors. And you folks at home stay with us, we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer your host. And we’re in Seneca, Kansas, in Nemaha County and we’re at Sure Crop Liquid Fertilizers and we have Shirley Schurman here, the owner and operator. And in this final segment, Shirley I really want to kind of get your opinion on where we’re going from here as far as your company’s going. (Shirley) Well, we’re here on our research farm where we do a lot of the product evaluation and all and really if you think about it Jim, next year’s crop, how to do next year’s crop begins when you’re harvesting this crop. (Jim) Yea, you gotta be thinking ahead. (Shirley) Well you need to be doing next year’s nutrition right now. You’ve got all this lovely residue out here and a lot of folks look at that as a problem. What do I do with all of that residue, but the idea is to recapture all of the phosphate, potash in it and all of the carbon and hydrogen. That plant is 46 percent carbon and when we lay that down on the soil it just simply evaporates away, so you want to get it incorporated in the soil. So we begin with putting some nutrient treatments. We have a product called Complete that we put on the residue to help break that down and decompose it and get it ready for next year’s crop. (Jim) Some of these BT hybrids are pretty tough and… (Shirley) Don’t break down real well. (Jim) And don’t break down real fast. (Shirley) Right and really what you’re saying Jim is that the microbes can’t chew on it very well. It’s indigestible for ’em. So if we do some things to that residue to help make it more digestible for ’em, help stimulate them, get more numbers of them out there, then there’s more of them to work on it number one, we put some sweet on it. We have a product called Plen-T Sweet and I know that sounds kind of strange but it’s like giving them a candy bar. And when you make bread if you put the leaven in, that’s one thing, but it works so much better when you get a little carbon in it, a little sugar to feed the yeast. Well that same is true… (Jim) I’m thinking of a Heath Candy Bar and microbes together… (Shirley) Yea. (Jim) Keep going. (Shirley) Well it stimulates them and then they really go to town and multiply and there’s more of them and so they will get that residue broke down. You know as we were talking before this segment began, I have a grower in the panhandle of Oklahoma, which is a very dry, drought distressed place. He’s growing continuous irrigated corn for 35 years. And that is quite a feat I think that you can have your soil balanced enough and he’s growing 235 to 270 bushel corn.(Jim) Right. Irrigated of course. (Shirley) Yea. But when you consider it’s the panhandle of Oklahoma and the types of soils they have and they type of the weather and the wind they get down there, and he can grow continuous corn. But then the other big thing that growers have to contend with is all the residue. (Jim) Right. (Shirley) From that kind of yield. And he doesn’t bail it off and he doesn’t burn it off, but he gets it all worked back into the soil and that’s what’s letting him to continue to be a continuous corn grower is because he gets that residue managed. (Jim) And keeps the soil health there. (Shirley) And that’s so important and we’ve lost that over the years. So if we can get more structure in our soil, more organic matter. And the organic matter comes from getting this corn brought back into that soil. Or like on the wheat ground the wheat stubble… (Jim) Exactly. (Shirley) …back into the ground. And so we kind of pride ourselves on getting that accomplished. And it’s actually the most economic thing a grower can do in raising next year’s crop is recapturing that carbon and nitrogen in that residue that’s out there right now. (Jim) Shirley, I thank you for taking time and folks, thank you for being with us on this segment of That’s My Farm. And don’t forget next Friday we’ll have another segment of That’s My Farm for you to watch. So see you next week.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission the Soybean Checkoff Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

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