Category Archives: Fertilizer

Rolled Cereal Rye Field on 7/16/19 – John Viertel

Rolled Cereal Rye field on July 16, 2019

This is a general picture of the Rolled Cereal Rye field that we rolled and planted on June 4. There were no herbicides applied before or after planting. We depended on the mat of residue to help hold down the weeds until it was sprayed on July 5, 2019. This field has a history of heavy foxtail pressure because of hay brought in from Texas during an extreme drought in the early 1950s. Note the excellent job our herbicide program has done. Don’t think there will have to be another herbicide application to this field.

Here is that program (all per acre amounts): 24 oz. SOIL BOOST PLUS®, 32 oz. Landoil®, 32 oz. Max72-SRN®, 16 oz. Sugar E-Boost®, 2 gallons Foliar Opp® for legumes, 36 oz. Liberty, 10 oz. Volunteer, 2.6 oz. Hero.

Here is what the mat of rolled cereal rye looks like on July 16.

Did not have my soil thermometer with me last Tuesday, but I am going to put it in my truck, so the next time I get by this field I can get a soil temp in this field under that mat. Then get a reading in just a no till field. The last time I did that was several years ago comparing the temperature under the straw mulch vs. in bare soil in a minimum till field. The difference was significant then. Will be interesting to see if there are the same results this year. Check back to see the results.


John Viertel, CCA


Crop Progress in Central Illinois – Derek Porter

What a difference last week made in the planting progress here in Central Illinois and across many areas of the corn belt. Much of the corn in my area has been planted with a slug of beans being put in the ground much of last week through this week. Unfortunately, there are still areas experiencing wet conditions. I talked to one guy out in Ohio that’s still experiencing wet conditions and it sounded like there was a strong possibility for him to take prevent plant on all his corn acres and if conditions don’t improve, beans might not be planted either. Driving around central Illinois, I would say the condition of the corn crop has improved as we’ve dried things out but there are plenty of fields that are still riding the struggle bus compared to what we normally would expect this time of year in central Illinois. Some corn that is V3 and earlier is trying to establish its nodal root system which might cause yellowing in some fields particularly ones that have been waterlogged and compacted. Soil microbes are also starting to ramp up as conditions dry out and are tying up some of the nitrogen, sulfur, and other nutrients in the soil in order to break down old crop residues. This will cause yellowing in both corn and soybeans and is often referred to as the carbon penalty. Any yellowing seen in corn early on is likely to limit top end yield potential particularly in hybrids that flex in girth. In soybeans, this yellowing will likely go away once the soybean starts to make its own nitrogen which is at the V4 stage and shouldn’t limit yield potential a whole lot. A good way to manage this carbon penalty is to apply some nitrogen either broadcast or with your planter along with some sulfur. I had one grower apply some liquid UAN with some thiosulfate out the back of his planter and he saw a pretty good response in the early growth of his corn.

Speaking of early growth, phosphate-based starter fertilizer’s such as our Crop Choice® 3-18-18-1 or 9-18-9-1 that have a high concentration of phosphorus, push energy production and ultimately growth in the plant. Even if corn was planted late this year, I still expect to see a positive yield response if you used a phosphate-based starter fertilizer such as our Crop Choice blends. The positive yield response could even be as much or more than is typically seen when starter fertilizer is applied earlier in the season. This is due to the accelerated growth that should lead to earlier pollination and a longer grain fill period. This in turn will give about a week more of grain fill leading to higher kernel weight which will be the key to high yields with late planted corn. Usually lack of starch accumulation in the kernels due to a shortened ear fill window is why corn doesn’t yield quite as well when it’s planted late.  

I’m also seeing a lot of sulfur and zinc deficiencies throughout the area and a foliar feed of these nutrients with your post emerge herbicides might be warranted. Our Foliar Opp® contains both sulfur and zinc plus other micronutrients and our Max72-SRN® contains sulfur but can be blended with zinc and other micronutrients as needed. We’ve seen both products add 5-10 bushels in corn when combined with our Sugar E-Boost®. With cash corn at $4.50 here in central Illinois, it only takes 2 bushels of corn to pay for this application.

I’m also seeing good performance out of our Landoil® and Soil Boost spray adjuvants. Once again both adjuvants are proving to be safe on the crop with very little herbicide response being observed in fields that had a full label rate of herbicide applied to them.

I hope things are looking better on your operation as we progress through this tough growing season. If you have any questions you can call our office or contact myself or other Soil Service salesman in your area.


Derek Porter

Sales Manager



Crop response of running UAN with thiosulfate on the planter.

Crop response of using a phosphate based starter (3-18-18-1 on the left) gives a rapid growth response that accelerates corn growth by 1 week.

Corn yellowing due to the carbon penalty.

Sulfur deficiency on corn appears as yellow stripping between the veins. Zinc and other micronutrients such as manganese can look similar.      


Landoil and Soil Boost Extreme did an outstanding job controlling weeds and provided excellent crop safety. 


Starter vs. No Starter – June 1, 2019 – John Viertel

It’s been said that a “picture is worth a thousand words”. Really don’t have to say anything else with this picture!

This is from the no till field that I wrote about back on April 25. It was planted into following a burn down of a cereal rye cover crop. We did plant a test plot in this field, comparing our Crop Choice starter program with different mixes of our products. As you can see, there is a “HUGE” difference with the starter program vs no starter.

Program shown here:       5 gallons per acre 9-18-9-1, 1.25 gallons per acre Max 72 SRN, 1 pint per acre 9% Zinc, and 1 pint per acre of Sugar E-Boost.

By the way, the program corn plants are in the V-4 stage, while the no starter corn is behind at this point in barely the V-3 stage. This photo was taken on May 31, 2019.

If you are planting in to cover crops, or are thinking about doing so in the future, a Crop Choice Starter Program can help get your corn off to a great start, even in not so perfect growing conditions.

My contact info:     jviertel@soilserviceinc.com or 573-680-6951 call or text

Soil Service, Inc office:      info@soilserviceinc.com or 888-313-2360

John Viertel

Update – MO Plot

Here we are no tilling, into a killed cover crop, a CROP CHOICE fertilizer plot on April 25. Notice the dark clouds to the west? We did have a shower and had to quit for the day right after we got done with the plot. We finished the field the next day. This is going to be an interesting comparison. We used 9-18-9-1 as the base starter, then added zinc, then SUGAR E-BOOST, and then Max 27 SRN. There can be an allelopathic effect from the cereal rye, when planting corn into that cover crop. Having a good starter program with extra nitrogen should help the corn get off to a good start, not having to deal with the effect from the cereal rye. This plot should give us a good idea of how our program works.

I will be following this plot the entire season, so check back to check on its progress.

By the way, it has started raining this morning, and the forecast for the rest of the week here in Central Missouri is for 2.5 to 5 inches of rain. Field work has again come to a halt. It has been an interesting year, to say the least. A lot of corn got planted last week, now we have to deal with heavy rains on those freshly planted fields. As it dries out and corn starts to emerge, take time to evaluate stands carefully before making any replant decisions.


My contact info:               jviertel@soilserviceinc.com or 573-680-6951 voice or text

Soil Service, Inc office:   info@soilserviceinc.com or 888-313-2360

Have a safe and productive planting season!

John Viertel

Record Snow Fall in Mid MO – John Viertel

As most all of us across the Midwest, I got out last Saturday morning to start digging out from the overnight snow storm. The picture of my truck was taken at about 10 a.m. Saturday morning and the depth of the snow on the tarp was at 8 inches. One hour later, after a lot of scooping and pushing snow, there was 9 inches. According to the National Weather Service at the Columbia, Missouri Regional Airport, this was the third highest snow storm since 1900, totaling 16.9 inches.

While plowing out my driveway, I got to thinking about what the “Old Timers” use to say. “We’re getting a lot of free fertilizer from all this snow”. Some even thought it was a prudent thing to get out in the field and plow the snow under to capture that “free fertilizer”. They had observed that after a late winter or spring snow, that their grass and even their wheat crop greened up more than after a dry winter. So, the thought was that there was a lot of nitrogen in the snow.

There is a lot of nitrogen in the air (78%), but snow is made of water. While some of the nitrogen in the air will attach to the water molecules, it’s not very much and most of that nitrogen, especially what’s in the top layer of snow, will evaporate and go back into the atmosphere. A small amount in the bottom layer of snow will go into the soil, but it such a small amount that, don’t count on it for part of your overall nitrogen program.

Before the Clean Air Act took the sulfur out of auto and coal emissions that were going into the atmosphere, we did get a lot of our sulfur needs from rain and snow. But we no longer get that free fertilizer, and we must add that 15 to 20 units of sulfur regularly to our fertility programs for grass crops like corn and wheat. The biggest advantage of this blanket of heavy wet snow for most of us is the insulation of the wheat crop that is out there, protecting it from the artic temperatures which are forecast for this weekend and next week.

We hope that you have not had any problems from this past snow storm, and you have had time to enjoy the beauty of what Mother Nature provided for us. Even though it was just a little pain in the you know what!

John Viertel