Alfalfa Case Study: Hobart Oklahoma

The ‘Grass’ is Greener

Below Ground Management with biological liquid fertilizers produces outstanding Alfalfa results

Top Photo: Record-breaking first harvest, dryland alfalfa yielded 222.2 tons on 86 acres of new hay — Bink Land & Cattle, Hobart, Oklahoma. Photo Courtesy Bink Land & Cattle: May, 2006

Southwestern Oklahoma — Armed with a degree in Agricultural Economics from Texas Tech University, John Bink entered  production agriculture in Southwestern Oklahoma immediately following college graduation in 1994.  He and his family have since farmed wheat, cotton, alfalfa and various types of hay all on their family-owned land.

For ten years, the Bink family followed the same available nutrient soil testing  recommendations offered by a local coop with moderate success. But farm production costs rose through the years and Bink found the program no longer worked for him economically.

“All of our input costs have sky rocketed and margins are thin,” he explains.

“Farming today is a very fluid and dynamic business compared to when I got out of college.”

Thinking Outside the Box: About four years ago I was in transition from cotton production to mainly wheat and hay when Ray Trent and Brett Porter came by to visit,” recalls Bink. “They explained about ‘Below Ground Management’ and it sounded interesting.”

“The first thing that struck me was that these guys were thinking ‘outside the box’, ” he says.

“They were talking about total plant nutrient availability and total soil reserves, calcium-to-magnesium ratios and how larger root masses can help plants uptake nutrients previously tied up in the soil.”

He remembers feeling “shell-shocked” because never before had someone taken an interest  in helping him manage his soils below the ground.

The Solution: Below Ground Management

Bink credits Pro-Soil’s below ground management system of biological farming for healthy, bright-green alfalfa plants which he says stay green all winter long.

Bink began with a 55 acre alfalfa patch four years ago and ran Foundation 1-0-1 at the full rate of one gallon per 10 acres.  He applied the product twice during the hay’s first year of production with good results and subsequently began spraying all of his hay fields.

The Results: A Night and Day Difference

46 acre Alfalfa field’s first cut yielded 120 large bales averaging 2.86 tons/ acre.

Today, Bink says his alfalfa plants have “the brightest green look to them” with leaf-to-stem ratios “a night and day greater” than his neighbor’s.

“My hay stays green all winter long and produces bigger crowns,” he says.

“Ray’s shown me the importance of total inventory testing of our soils and then getting a game plan on what inputs will be most beneficial. It has forced me to change my way of thinking,” he says.

“Now I’m having to think progressively and outside the box.”

The Bottom Line: Despite drought conditions where rainfall was nine inches less than normal for the year, Bink had a 140-acre Cimarron alfalfa crop produce nine tons of dairy-quality hay over seven cuttings — making 2006 one of his “best haying years, ever.”

He harvested 676 big squares over his first three cuttings. The seventh (and last) cut had a 286 RFV, 27% percent protein and a TDN of 70.

(pic)

John Bink kneels proudly in freshly cut Alfalfa patch.

Bink credits Pro-Soil for his success saying the program has made a huge difference on plant health and tonnage.

“The bottom line,” he says, “is that Pro-Soil has allowed me to manage our soils below the ground in a way that was impossible before. Now we have a superior advantage over anyone with a superior budget.”

Bink says the results are undeniable.

”Springtime growth is literally explosive. Our dairy guy who buys all of our hay is absolutely speechless.”

“Working with Pro-Soil has been a blessing from top to bottom. I’m excited and passionate about alfalfa again. Pro-Soil products have given me hope and have given us a vision.”

Fast Facts:

Oklahoma Alfalfa Fertilizer
Name: Bink Land & Cattle
Location: Kiowa County, OK
Annual Rainfall: 29.87 inches
Soil Type: Loam
Drill Type: 455 John Deere (Customized seeder)
Crop Rotation: Wheat and Alfalfa
Problem: With climbing farming costs, Bink’s 10-year-old fertility program was no longer economical.

Alfalfa:

Variety: Cimarron 3I
Seeded August 2005
Total Rainfall: appx. 6.89 inches

(8.5″ below avg. for 2006)

Pro-Soil Program: 1 gal Foundation 1-0-1 per 10 acres  / 3x yearly
Drill Type: 455 John Deere (Customized seeder)
Crop Rotation: Wheat and Alfalfa
Problem: With climbing farming costs, Bink’s 10-year-old fertility program was no longer economical.