This is the final installment of a four part series on Nutrient Management sponsored by FS/GROWMARK
John Musser, a crop adviser with Stephenson Service Company, has been a crop consultant for over 30 years and a Certified Crop Adviser for the past two decades. He was the 2012 winner of the Illinois Certified Crop Adviser Award for helping his growers improve their total nitrogen management strategy.
“My first direction is to make sure that we build something that’s agronomically sound,” said Musser. “That usually starts out with soil testing information to ensure that we have adequate agronomic levels to grow a crop, whether it’s corn or soybeans.” Beyond that, recommendations follow a 3-4 year cycle.
Musser says he stresses to growers the importance of keeping what they put on. “If we lose our soils, we really lose our nutrients, and we lose our value and our ability to grow good corn crops,” he said. Bottom line is that over application means lost money.
One of the biggest changes for the benefit of nutrient management in the time that Musser has been in the crop consulting business has been the use of GPS since the mid-90s. “Understanding that we can really watch change and understand change, (we’ve seen) the numbers really do work,” he said.
Moving forward, Musser says better data management will help growers continue to improve nutrient management. “Right now they’re in a collection mode,” he said. “The challenge that they have right now is there’s no consistent data collection tool that everybody’s using to start to gather some consistency.”
Listen to my interview with John here and learn more about improving nutrient management plans: Interview with John Musser, Stephenson Service Company