Renewable Farming

Conklin Co. farmer data show 7.3-bu. corn yield gain for Kip Cullers “Compass”

Jimmy Ayers, an independent rep associated with the Conklin Company, sent a summary of 2015 farmer yield trials with the foliar nutrient product, “Kip Cullers Nutrient Compass.”

We’ve attached the PDF so you can see the nationwide summary of data collected from growers who provided detailed production and yield information to Conklin. 

Overall results on primary crops:

Soybeans: +3.7 bu. per acre

Corn: + 7.3 bu. per acre

Winter wheat: +5.0 bu. per acre

Download the two-page report here (you’ll need to scroll down on the PDF to see results for alfalfa, cotton, and other crops).

The summary report PDF doesn’t show numbers of trials, but that information will be shared with growers at the Conklin winter meetings. Conklin’s marketing approach is based on “farmers working with farmers” rather than the usual sales channels through co-ops and other distributors. Farmer-dealers act as independent reps. It’s somewhat of a multi-level marketing approach, but there’s a strong educational component. Through the season, Conklin organizes intensive seminars and field days for its reps and farmer customers. 

Achieving a wide array of reliable yield data from on-farm trials is a major effort. Since 2008, we’ve worked with many growers across the country for on-farm trials, and the “success” rate in completing a replicated yield trial has been about 20%.  That’s not the farmers’ lack of caring — there are simply too many variables out there which influence production in real life.

“Wind damage.”


“Disease on part of the field.”

“Somebody mowed off the flags.”

“Weigh wagon wasn’t available and a storm was coming. I went ahead and harvested.”

Our own strip trial on corn with Kip Cullers Nutrient Compass in 2015 is an example of why many sources of data are important. We chose a field which we’ve rented from a neighbor who used it many years for pasture. It’s potassium-deficient, and we thought that the foliar would provide a significant response.

We foliar-fed corn with 1 quart per acre of Kip Cullers Nutrient Compass at the 7-leaf stage.

Average yield of 18 control strips: 139.31 bu. per acre.

Average yield of 12 strips with Compass alone in 20 gal. water per acre: 134.9 bu. per acre.

Average yield of 14 strips with Compass plus 5 ounces of WakeUP Summer in 20 gal. water per acre: 136.98 bu. per acre.

Individual strip yields ranged from 173.47 bu. to 100 bu. per acre, which is a signal for wide soil variability across the harvest area of test plots, which totaled 2.4 acres.

About all we can conclude from our own trial with this product in 2015 is that some nutrient shortage prevented corn from responding to the foliar feeding ingredients in Compass.  With WakeUP Summer added to the tank mix, there was a 2-bu. gain over Compass alone.

Our friend with Conklin, Jimmy Ayers, told us that individual farmer yield reports with Compass varied widely; we were not the only test with essentially an insignificant response.  The point is: One test, one season, one location, doesn’t “prove” much because seasonal and field variables can easily overwhelm the expected yield nudge from a foliar feeding. It would be very useful for more foliar-nutrient firms to sponsor more farmer-based yield trials, like Conklin does. The company offers a cash rebate on the product for complete and accurate yield information.

We expect that with sap testing and a good understanding of what each kind of foliar nutrient is intended to accomplish, the “batting average” for foliar feeding will rise.