January 1, 2004
First off all, I want to take a minute to thank all of you for an outstanding year. We continue to expand our business, much of that coming from word of mouth from many of you. We know that we have not been as diligent in getting our newsletter out on time as we had promised. Many times it took a second seat to something that was more pressing. We are going to try and make more of a concerted effort to get this out four times a year. If you have something that you would like addressed in these newsletters, please make it known to me. We thank you for your support and we will continue to do whatever it takes to make you successful in 2004!
This year found us working very closely with Diamond V Mills out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Dr. Vicki Bess from BBC Laboratories in Tempe, Arizona. Diamond V is documenting the impact of its product on turf. Our job was helping them select the right type of root-mix and fertilizers for this research project, and analyze the changes that took place in the soils during the project. BBC Labs' job was to document what effect the yeast had on the microorganisms in the root-mix. We have just finished up on the last of the soils and tissue reports last month and expect to have an idea of how their product is working. Diamond V is looking into marketing their product specifically for the golf course industry. We will keep you posted on the results of their testing and the progress for their marketing ideas.
There is a very good article in the latest Acres magazine written by Elaine Ingham, Ph.D., on compost teas and their effect of the soil and soil microbes. She outlines the benefits of using compost teas and what effect they have on soil microbial action. We have a few clients that have taken the step in using compost teas. I’m surprised at how ingenious some of you are at making compost teas out of some basic tools. If any of you are interested in this, please let me know and I will give you a list of clients using compost teas.
New Mandatory Test Leads to Higher Soil Testing Fees
I am sorry to announce that for the superintendents working in the state of Minnesota soil testing fees will have to be increased. That is because of the new law in effect which states that you need to have a Bray I test done in order for phosphorus recommendationsto be made. The Bray I test will be an extra test on your normal soil reporting sheets, and only the cost of the test will be passed on to you. Superintendents not working in Minnesota will not have to undergo the increase in the cost of the soils test.
Brookside Labs was trying to work with the State of Minnesota and the University on getting permission to use a calibrated Mehlich III test. The Mehlich III test is considered to be the best in the industry right now for getting not only phosphorus readings in the soil, but for the other 15 elements as well. This is according to an article published in the Communications In Soil And Plant Analysis (Vol. 34, No’s 19 & 20, pp. 2817-2838, 2003). The Bray I test begins to peter out at a pH of around 6.8, and is virtually useless above a pH of 7.2. At this time we cannot substitute a calibrated Mehlich III test for the Bray I test. Hopefully somebody will see the wisdom in that and allow it to happen. We will, however, be raising our daily fee of $50.00/visit from $350.00 to $400.00.
In the March 2003 issue of Hole Notes Mike Bohnenstingl and I are collaborating on an article on work we did for Mike on the leaching of fertilizer into the ground water. Mike and I have been talking about this for some time and we decided that now would be a good time to do it since the new law on phosphorus fertilizer is now in effect. As part of the building project for the golf course, the golf course had to bury lysimeters into some of the greens, fairways, and woods to measure leachates. Because this was a conditional use permit, any time leachates found in the greens and fairways exceeded the leachates in the woods, the county had the authority to shut down the Preserve Golf Club. After sitting down with Mike and having him share his concerns, we put together a way of being able to test the leachates that would give everyone involved an honest and clear approach as to what was happening on the course. The testing on our part covered the 2000 and 2001 season. A summary write up will occur in The Hole Notes, but the complete and thorough analysis will be posted on our web page. There simply is too much writing, graphs, and documentation to submit it all to the magazine. We hope you enjoy the article and the results. If you have any questions on that please feel free to call either Mike or myself.
And finally, we may be heading to Sierra Leone this spring or summer. We are donating our services and expertise to missionaries in Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast. Because of our work in wild rice they have asked us if we would help interpret soils reports and fertilizer recommendations to farmers growing rice. The conditions there are deplorable. The only mode of transportation these farmers have is their bicycle. They ride their bike five miles into town to pick up one bag of fertilizer and ride back with it. Needless to say, their food plots are not very big. It really gives one a huge appreciation for what we have in this country compared to what others have in other countries.
Green Expo and The National
I hope that each and every one of you has had a meaningful Christmas, and we hope that all of you will have a very good and rewarding new year. We will be down at the Expo wandering around, so we hope to see many of you. We also have our booth for the National in San Diego and hope to see many of you down there as well.
Again, thank you all for making 2003 a very good year and we look forward to working with you in 2004.