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The Cropwalker - Volume 1 Issue 1

Smart people always read and follow label directions.

Jonathan and Patrick’s Crop Newsletter

What are we trying to do? We are attempting to give you timely suggestions during the growing year. This means we look at the various issues and come up with strong agronomic advice. For example; white mould in soybeans. We will contact the suppliers in season for their best strategy. Our goal is to provide a timely summary of these suggestions. Your local retail will likely carry some or most of these suggestions. We also will provide timely reminders of things to watch for. We will follow sources of crop production both in Canada and the US to help keep you on top of your crop production. We will do this by taking the nuts and bolts from research, remove all the blah, blah, blah and provide you the concrete suggestions.


Killing Off Red Clover and Alfalfa

Various options. When I was a kid we used the mould board plough. Still very effective. Using hormone herbicides like 2,4-D or dicamba plus glyphosate are very effective, especially in conservation tillage fields. Hormone herbicides tank mixed with glyphosate give effective broad-spectrum weed control. You can feed forages treated with glyphosate. For forages treated with dicamba you need to wait 30 days between spraying and harvesting. There is nothing on the 2,4-D label to allow you to spray and harvest as forages. The most effective way to control red clover is a fall application of glyphosate (360 g/L) at 1.5 L/acre + either ENGENIA (200 mL/acre), XTENDIMAX/FEXAPAN (340 mL/acre) or DISTINCT at 115 g/acre. To control alfalfa, apply glyphosate (360 g/L) at 1 L/acre + 2,4-D Ester (564 g/L) at 0.5 L/acre + non-ionic surfactant at 0.5% v/v. The use of 2,4-D Amine can result in gelling with some glyphosate formulations.

Fall fertilizing Forages

It is never too late. You normally apply fertilizer for forages 1 or 2 cuts before the nutrients are used. A 5 ton per acre (dry matter) forage crop removes 70 lbs./ac P2O5, and 300 lbs./ac K2O. That is about 150 lbs./ac MAP and 500 lbs./ac 0-0-60 (muriate of potash). So, depending on how much fertilizer or manure you have already applied you should apply the remaining. Consider applying at least half of this amount which means apply 75 lbs./ac MAP and 250 lbs./ac 0-0-60. That would be something like 325 lbs./ac of 2-11-43. (Exact analysis will depend on ingredient composition)

What about Fall Application of Sulphur (S) on Alfalfa

No relevant research. But knowing something about the way S moves in the soil you may only have 50% of your S needs next year if you fall applied S.

Fall Tillage

The main reasons for tillage are to bury residue and warm the soil next spring.” (Oct. 2010) Tillage for any other purpose is expensive and unnecessary. So why do growers till ground in the fall that does not need tillage? Mainly because they have the time. Every spring we see bean stubble going to corn that was worked the previous fall and taking longer to warm up than ground not worked until spring. What about the soybean trash behind the combine? Should it be worked in this fall? Probably not. If you work it in you will delay planting next spring. Soybean stubble is best left untouched. We have had other years and other fields where we had as much soybean trash as this year. Those fields other years had no problem growing corn if the field was not fall worked in the fall. There is a bit of a community thinking that this trash should be worked in. There is no data or field experience to back up this thinking. Ideally you might want to work the 8-10-foot strip behind the combine where there is extra trash if you did not have the chaff spreader working properly. The best thing this fall to help corn yields for next year is wet weather, to keep growers from working too many acres.

Dry and Drier Soybeans – Soybeans harvested at lower than moisture of commerce take a hit at delivery. There is no concession made for too dry soybeans. What difference does harvesting at lower than moisture of commerce cost you? Selling soybeans at 8% moisture, means you lose about 5.43% of your yield; at 9% moisture, it's 4.4%; at 10% moisture, 3.3%; at 11% moisture, 2.25%; and at 12% moisture, it's 1.14% yield. For a field that's yielding 60 bushels/acre at 13% moisture, harvesting it at 9% results in selling 2.6 fewer bushels/acre. With soybeans priced at $12/bushel, that's a loss of $31.68 per acre. The solution is to harvest them before they get too dry. If beans were very dry and then received rain they will be more prone to splitting. If you have four beans per square foot on the ground it equates to about one bu/ac

Combine Spreader Settings – A pet peeve of mine is seeing unevenly spread soybean straw. It’s such a simple adjustment that growers can make. Unevenly spread residue has caused more drill issues and the resulting uneven crop than any other factor I can think of. So spend the time, get it spread evenly. Even if it means running a smaller head or having to get an after-market spreader. Yes, you might cover less acres, but you will more than save it in not having to do tillage to clean up the mess!

ROI Feature – Section Control – When I bring up precision agriculture with a certain type of grower the natural response is “it doesn’t pay, why bother”. Well this type of precision does pay. Every grower will benefit from having the ability to shut off the implement at the headlands or in sections for part widths in the field. The bonus is that there is the ability to add it to older drills and planters. In my experience most growers can expect to save between 3-10% on overlap depending on field shape and how they work the field. Another added benefit is operators tend to work “faster” as they can drop the drill or planter earlier in the headline without fear of over planting large areas of the field. And if you’re a non-GMO soybean grower, I would say this is must have technology on your corn and soybean equipment.

Eragon – how to use it, when to use it, what rate to use it at – First off, if your planning on not planting winter wheat, there are more effective products to use. If you are planning on planting wheat or require a harvest aid, here are a few reminders. Eragon works by bleaching the chlorophyll out of the plant tissue. Similar to Liberty, the more sunny the weather and the higher the water volume, the better it works. Here’s a summary of best practices;

Table 1 - Eragon Recommendations

Calculating Winter Wheat Seeding Rates – A reminder to check seed sizing. Seed size will likely be smaller than past years due to weather conditions during grain fill. Here’s an easy way to check if it’s not listed on the tag.

1. Count 1000 kernels.

2. Weight them on a postage scale in grams. (i.e. 40 grams)

3. Take your expected seeding rate and divide by 1000. (1,600,000/1000 = 1,600)

4. Take the divided number and multiple by the number of grams (1,600 *40 = 64,000)

5. Divide the total grams by 454 to get your seeding rate in pounds per acre (64,000/454 = 141 lbs./ac)

Picking a Winter Wheat Seeding Rate – I like to start with the optimal seeding rate for a loam soil and then add or subtract the number of seeds based upon other soil types. Given the calendar date and conditions most growers should be targeting 1.5-1.6 million seeds if working with a loam soil. Put the seed down now, we can adjust our management in the spring if need be, but can’t adjust our spring plant populations. I would add 200,000 seeds/ac for tougher clay soils.

Winter Wheat Fertility – A quick reminder from OMAFRA’s publication 811 on winter wheat phosphorus management. If you have a soil testing above 20 ppm, not as critical to have seed placed phosphorus, broadcast applied at some point in the crop rotation to replace crop removal is a good idea. That being said, it would pay for a pass with the spreader in the fall if you have the time.

Table 2 - Wheat Starter Response - Agronomy Guide to Field Crops Page 133

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. - Lao Tzu