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Neal Kinsey

Neal Kinsey has 11 articles published.

Fertility Needed for Growing Pastures and Hay

in Issue 37 by

By Neal Kinsey When the requirements for life-giving soil fertility to provide abundant plant growth and robust animal health are accurately considered, far too many pastures and hay fields used for livestock production are seriously lacking. Testing the soils in pastures and meadows has sadly proven this to be true far too often, even when only the absolute minimum nutrient content for those soils is considered. To treat your animals right you have to treat your soils right. Anything less and you rob from the total potential of life-giving principles for your soil, the plants grown there, the livestock that consume them and the products that are provided as a result. When soils are not cared for correctly, it is…

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Building Life In The Soil

in Issue 33 by

“How can I improve soil biology or encourage soil life on my land?”  From organic to no-till farms, this is one of the most asked questions in agriculture today.  Before that question can be answered there are other questions that need to be answered.  Will the benefits from following a proposal to build life in the soil be profitable enough to be economically feasible?  Will such a program justify the time and effort required?  What type of changes may be needed to achieve the goal in a proper manner?  The answers to these questions will help determine what may or may not be possible under varying sets of circumstances. There are no simple one-step plans that will apply to every…

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Considering Potassium and Manganese in Soil Fertility for Potatoes

in Issue 32 by

Many growers feel that producing good yields of potatoes must involve the application of large amounts of fertilizer right under the seed row. The perception is that potato roots do not spread out much, and that they tend to grow straight down below where the seed is placed. This does show to be the case in many fields where potatoes are grown, but such limited root growth is actually abnormal compared to what should and does happen on potato fields with adequate levels of fertility. In fact, when soil fertility reaches the level it should be for growing potatoes, the plants send out roots that even spread across the middles, growing right on past roots coming from the next adjacent…

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Magnesium, an Essential Nutrient for Better Soil Fertility

in Issue 31 by

There are some important foundational principles for understanding and utilizing magnesium to achieve excellent soil fertility. It is important to correctly use this nutrient in terms of soil fertility for the most positive effect on crops and the greatest benefit to the soil where those plants will be grown. The overall concept hearkens back to the definition in agronomy textbooks concerning what makes up an ideal soil. That ideal soil is described as 25% air, 25% water, 45% mineral and 5% organic matter. Most soils fall short of the ideal in some way. Clay soils are generally too tight, and due to a lack of calcium (which can be true even on high pH soils), they contain inadequate pore space resulting in too much water and not enough…

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Both Soils & Crops Need Boron

in Issue 30 by

More often than not, the soils we receive to be analyzed for growing all types of crops are deficient in several micronutrients, but the one that requires constant vigilance to assure the greatest success is boron. Like nitrogen and sulfur, boron can be leached from the soil. So just as is true concerning sulfur, it is necessary to test for boron content and generally expect it to be required to correct the soil accordingly from year to year. Although it should be, boron is not usually considered as a necessary addition for growing most crops including corn, soybeans, wheat, vegetables and even pasture. Without adequate boron more nitrogen is needed in order to produce the same amount of growth. Consequently,…

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Considering Lime and its Use for the Best Crop Response

in Issue 29 by

There is a book with my name on it called, Neal Kinsey’s Hands-On Agronomy. And although it has been popular enough that several printings with numerous updates and small revisions have come out since the last major revisions in March, 2009, the profits from sales each month are not sufficient to pay even my telephone bill which is only a small part of monthly expenses. That is not meant as a complaint, but just to point out that making money by selling the book is not the big reason for its existence. It was written and intended to help farmers better understand the fertility issues of the soil. And also to help everyone concerned gain a better understanding about how…

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Soil Analysis A Necessity for Good Crops

in Featured/Issue 28 by

If it were possible to accomplish improvements in just one step considering all aspects of soil fertility and fertilization, where would be the place to begin? Many answers will likely come to mind depending on the past experience of each person. But all types of growers from farmers to gardeners should consider that without a proper foundation on which to build an excellent soil fertility program, it will not be possible to achieve the full range of benefits that could otherwise be available. Working with farmers and growers on fertility needs for all kinds of crops in all states of the US and many other countries, learning or obtaining the experience, knowledge and understanding concerning how excellent soil fertility works…

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Growing Nutritious Foods

in Issue 27 by

If you have seen The Other Side of the Fence, originally made as a short educational movie presented by Dr. William Albrecht many years ago at the University of Missouri, I think you will agree that Dr. Albercht’s words of wisdom on food nutrient values hold true today. Most of the authorities of the time would not accept the idea that just because the crops being grown “looked good,” it did not mean farmers and gardeners were growing nutritious food and feed. I have grown an organic garden in the same place since 1978 using no commercial pesticides and try to work from a safe, natural approach. If that means controlling weeds and grass with a hoe, to me that…

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Gettingto Know Humus

in Issue 27 by

The term humus is not used on most soil audits, but there is the designation, organic matter percent. Humus and organic matter are often used interchangeably. Humus is made up of decomposed residues which have been completely broken down in the soil by microorganisms. The organic matter or humus terms notwithstanding, when talking about a long- term reservoir for nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, boron and zinc, I am not talking about undecomposed residues. This is referring to the humus (that is, completely decomposed organic residues) — without it, the reservoir function wouldn’t happen. Why does humus hold nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and boron while clay does not? Because humus is “stronger” than clay. If you could take a handful of clay in…

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Drought Relief for Corn and Forages – Is Zinc the Answer?

in Featured/Issue 27 by

Corn growers are aware perhaps more than most crop farmers about the value of supplying adequate zinc for the crop. Among other uses, zinc is known to be needed for moisture absorption in growing plants. That is, when you don’t have enough zinc, it requires more water to grow the same amount of yield because water is lost due to the inability of the plants to take it up in time. One of the farmers attending our introductory workshop on soil fertility admitted he never had much faith in soil testing to help determine his fertilizer program. But he and all his neighbors had a persistent problem. They all had cows, and every summer during July and August the grass…

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