Robert Mullen Offers Five Tips For Spring

Robert Mullen, Ph.D.

Robert Mullen

Robert Mullen, Ph.D.

Nutrien

Director of Agronomy

To say Dr. Robert Mullen is passionate about agriculture would be an understatement. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in ag business from Cameron University, along with a Master of Science degree in plant and soil science and a Ph.D. in soil science from Oklahoma State University. In addition, Dr. Mullen has been published in a variety of scientific and trade journals. But it’s not just his academic accomplishments that make him unique. It’s his unwavering ability to take complex data and — in simple terms — explain how it impacts a farmer’s bottom line. Dr. Mullen delivers the kind of insightful observations that can lead to a more profitable business. As a leading agronomy expert, Dr. Mullen has a goal to further educate farmers on best management practices that improve their yields and maximize their return on investment.

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Due to a prolonged winter with cold, wet conditions still plaguing much of the country, many farmers have been forced to delay spring planting until conditions improve. Delayed planting may cause a farmer to reconsider their options, and good decisions now can pay off at harvest time.

Dr. Robert Mullen, Nutrien’s Director of Agronomy and eKonomics contributor, has prepared several tips to aid farmers in taking advantage of every potential opportunity to maximize their yield.

  • Don’t underestimate the value of starter fertilizer, especially in northern areas of the Corn Belt and in conservation tillage systems. Starter fertilizers help the crop get off to a fast start and reduce the risk associated with a short growing season.
  • Position yourself for success by implementing an effective fertility program regardless of planting date. Properly fertilize your crop initially and reap the benefits throughout the growing season, as the proper balance of nutrients will improve the potential for a healthy, profitable yield.
  • Don’t rush to plant in fields that aren’t ready. Although it is tempting to get seeds in the ground early, it is important to remember that planting in unsuitable conditions can lead to problems in a crop’s growth cycle, such as poor root development, which will ultimately decrease your yield.
  • Do not necessarily alter seeding rate. Data suggests that sticking with what you have previously planned is the best approach, but using a slightly lower seeding rate is acceptable if adjustments must be made, especially when soil temperatures have increased.
  • It is not necessary to change hybrid maturity or soybean variety to a shorter season option. This should only be considered at higher latitudes, or if the planting date is extremely late.