Farmer of the Year Incorporates 4R Practices

Grower: Danny Basham, Jr., Basham Farms, Madisonville, KY Crop Advisor: Philip Osborn, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Clay, KY

Danny Basham, Jr. and his wife, Kali, operate Basham Farms of Madisonville, Kentucky. The third-generation farm covers 5,000 acres in Hopkins County and the Bashams have been recognized twice for their commitment to proven farming practices. Basham’s grandfather, Harold, received the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce Farmer of the Year award in 1993 and Basham was awarded the same honor in 2017.

The farm includes land that is gently rolling, with a lot of trees and wildlife. Its fields are located near churches, in residential areas and near watersheds of the Tradewater River area, Kentucky Lakes, and Ohio River. After harvest, Basham reseeds ditch areas and slopes with wheat or rye for erosion and weed control. He uses no-till on as many acres as possible.

Working with Phillip Osborn and the team at Nutrien Ag Solutions, Basham incorporates 2.5-acre grid sampling to create a four-year nutrient plan. Nutrient-deficient areas are slowly built up with additional nutrients to match the crop needs. As these areas build up, yield data is used to improve all areas of a field.

“You cannot look at a yield map and dump fertilizer in a deficient area and expect results,” Osborn says. “You must first understand the problem and create a plan to solve it.”

Basham routinely plants corn trials to compare nitrogen products and with various types of applications. He incorporates Nutrien’s ESN to keep feeding plants throughout the season rather than applying all at once. Nitrogen stabilizers help control anhydrous ammonia and he uses MicroEssentials as a phosphorous source with sulfur and zinc (12-40-0-10-1).

Yields have continued to increase 5 percent to 10 percent over the last six years, and the amount of fertilizer used has decreased slightly as a result of correct placement. Most importantly, products that could potentially become pollutants in the water are not being overapplied. The 4R practices may help Bashams achieve another Farmer of the Year award in the future.

Best Practice Management

  • 2.5-acre grid soil sampling determines nutrient management plan
  • Variable-rate application puts nutrients where they’re needed and saves money
  • Yield data helps determine where nutrients will be placed
  • On-farm fertilizer and foliar trials help formulate best approach
  • Use N-Serve with ammonia application to stabilize nitrogen and reduce leaching
  • Use ESN to reduce volatilization and losses from the root zone throughout the season.
  • Wheat or rye reseeding controls erosion and weeds.
  • Minimal tillage and no-till keep soil in place.