Corn Gluten

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by rugmankc, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Perhaps if more people took the time to understand how SOM relates to soil fertility there would be fewer arguments.
     
  2. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Kiril, care to expand? Maybe another thread?
     
  3. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,575

    As I have said many times, it's about organic matter, not necessarily "organics".
     
  4. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Barry. I love the new site. And the new slogan. "We make organic matter" is perrrrrfect for your business model!
     
  5. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    First, the OP was about Pre-M first and then about the N quantities involved in using CGM. So, any worries about the N being excessive for a spring app would be unfounded because the CGM is going to have to 'post before it becomes plant available. As to the lack of composting due to dry conditions.......It really does not matter what pre-m product you use, if it doesn't get watered in, you wasted your time. All pre-m products work better in adequately irrigated conditions. In an adequately irrigated condition, is the CGM going to take MORE than 4-5 months to become plant available N? If not, we have our built in FALL app of nitrogen with our spring app of pre-emergent. Yes, the salt indexes vary on ALL fert options and charging the customer to make 6 trips will reduce the amount of salt applied per app so that the soil will tolerate it better. Which is better? Making 2-3 apps with the same results and almost no chance of problems with the soil ecology? Or making 5-6 apps for those results with potential problems at every step of the process if a mistake is made in the application? I can spill the spreader/wheelbarrel/bucket/bag of compost or biosolids and work the material in with a rake and the worst thing that MIGHT happen is a dark green spot in the lawn. Spill even a little bit of ANY synthetic on the turf and your going to have a spot that will eventually die and fail to fill in for a very long time. You can charge less per season for 2-3 apps and make more money than you can covering the same ground 5-6 times for the same results. Yes, on a per app basis, the organics may be more expensive. On an annual basis, I think the organic program is going to be more competitive AND more "friendly" to the target crop.
     
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,816

    Exactly! So what do you do for the customer with 1.5% organic matter in hardpan? Push organics or use synthetic to get it going?
     
  7. tobylou8

    tobylou8 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,816

    We'll see how this goes. At the risk of drawing you ire, what do you mean by "friendly" to the target crop?
     
  8. tobylou8

    tobylou8 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,816

    And please don't somebody say "it depends", clients don't want to here that.
     
  9. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    I use synthetics. It would take about 5 seconds for anyone who wanted to look to find my posts about the ammonium sulfate I've applied already this year, BUT from an agronomic standpoint, the "compost does a soil good" saw that is repeated here, again and again is true. Organic sources of fertilizer are not just about NPK. They tend to be more "friendly" to the target because the are not NPK directed. The N levels in an organic fertilizer give a benchmark to compare them to synthetics. They do not really compare to synthetics. It is a different philosophy of how you treat the SOIL the target is being grown in. And, yes, I am staying vague about the "target crop", because, even though this discussion started with pre-m and turf, the concept transcends to the vegetable garden and any cultivation practices. Farmers have been moving to "no-till" and the use of bio-solids when possible for a long time here in North America, and getting away from 'artificial agriculture'. In many cultures, and even here, the organic concept has never really left, it just gets partially shelved with worship to the almighty dollar. Drive the country side, and you will still see "honey wagons" on most smaller farms. We "know" that putting the organic matter back is good for the soil and the crops. We just have gotten lazy and have taken the "easy way out" with low cost synthetics. This argument transcends just fertilization. The turf industry is full of research that is just beginning to show how badly we have destroyed soil ecosystems with fungicides and herbicides and then propped up the turf with synthetics to mask the damage. Cosmetic fixes are not long term, and I firmly believe that the only reason we haven't seen a complete crash from these cosmetic reactions is a combination of the resiliency of turf as a target and the fact that those who promote the problem the most don't last on the properties they are destroying. When was the last time you saw a property that had been with the same LCO for ten years with no changes? Now, make that a national "spray and pray" LCO chain? In golf courses, the 4 year wonders that are churned out of the university system, with no other real background in the industry, move around a LOT. The "system" keeps coming up with a new synthetic "silver bullet" for every problem and we even push "bugs in a jug" to make up for the lack of stewardship that got us to the point of needing the "bugs in a jug" in the first place. The 1.5#N/m I applied to my greens with the spring aerification is important to know in regards to future fertilizer applications, BUT the most important part is that I put down 25# product/m, not the actual N content as much. I could have put the same 1.5#N/m down with a low salt, slow release source and used 12 bags of product(50# bags). I would have had less Fe, but more P and K very easily. Instead, I used over 40 bags of product. The organic matter that went down to get that N content is much more important to the soil than the fertilizer annalysis on the bag.

    For the lawn with terrible soil structure (hard pan, no SOM), I think the jump start your going to see from a quality organic program has the potential to make your customer, a life long customer, BUT if your an honest business man, would you promise a miracle with synthetics? You can't promise that miracle with an organic program either. There is lots of talk here about building a "bridge", or "bridge programs". The organic fertilizer is going to be SLOW. Doing something short term while this transformation takes place is a must for commercial situations. The customer with the crap yard doesn't want to hear WHY the yard looks like it does. They want to hear about how you are going to "fix" it. New seed and lots of fertilizer will "fix" it, short term and cosmetically. A quality program is going to address the problem and provide a long term solution. Aerification, compost, and seed is going to provide a long term solution. A quick app of starter fertilizer or some CT to give the new seed a chance so that everything else works is a cosmetic application that gets made to satisfy the "I want it NOW", modern philosophy. We pay that price to get where we know the soil needs to be. Short term, this may be less profitable, if we stay competitive in the market, on a renovation scale, BUT, long term, a quality organic program should mean less inputs, better turf, and more profit at a LOWER cost to the customer. The biggest hurdle I see here is earning the customers trust to get to that point. Reputation and integrity will get you there.
     
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    A hardpan has always meant the subsoil that packed under the 'tilled' layer. After heavy rains those areas would be muddy till it air dried. So the 'subsoiler' was developed to tear some lines in that hardpan.

    If you mean a compacted, heavy, clay loam soil. Then aeration and top dressing with a sandy compost is about the best.

    Of course everyone will freak out about the 'sandy' part of the statement. :laugh:
    If you are scared of it just try it in a small area.
     

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