We’re racing towards planting season, with field activity about to begin rocking and rolling,
Lessons from the new world wheat yield record, the value of soil and subsequent impact of erosion, cover crop management, corn planter down pressure, and more — it’s all in this week’s edition of the Word the RealAg agronomist Peter Johnson.
Don’t forget to send Peter your questions and comments! Leave a message at 1-888-746-3311, send him a tweet (@wheatpete), or email him at [email protected].
(Read highlights below.)
- The value of soil – Assuming Ontario price of $20,000/acre. 2 million pounds in top 6″soil is worth 1 cent a pound. How much does it cost to lose to wind erosion (and other forms)? Snirt — a tonne/acre (COULD be 3 tonnes per acre and you don’t really KNOW). That’s 6,600lb or $66/acre. Maybe up to $100/acre.
- World record wheat — 250 bu/ac of wheat on 29 acres in New Zealand. What can we learn? First, it’s irrigated wheat. Tissue test for micronutrients — should you follow suit? Expensive when not needed. When needed, a huge benefit. Overload on vitamins equals expensive pee.
- Wheat doesn’t like wet feet — tile drainage is one way to control. Do we underestimate the impact of excess moisture on wheat?
- Seeding rate — reduce tillering to boost yield? Did it work? Not necessarily. Durum wheat seeding rate eg in North Dakota, targeting 1.4 million live plants/ac, what’s the math to working back to seeds per ac? 32 live plants/sq ft. That’s plenty high in dry climates, can use up soil moisture by plant growth. Germination and mortality must be factored in 5% in dry soils, but can be 20-25% in wet conditions in Ontario.
- Nitrogen rates and calculating credit from previous crop and manure…
- Straw plugging and fusarium problems with airdrill in Manitoba. Derek’s wondering if fall tillage should be more aggressive. Does more tillage break down more residue? Likely not. Could cause more plugging, first of all. Need to ensure rotation isn’t contributing to fusarium problem.
- FHB in rye before potatoes — yes, rye also gets fusarium. Recommended 60 lb of N unless a hybrid.
- Moist soils and N options — 50% urea, 50% treated with ESN scenario — in wet weather, side band has higher losses than a deep band (that’s because of soil bugs are closer to surface.) How does temperature contribute to urea gassing off and role for Agrotain?
- Cover crops seeding into corn — which species? Annual ryegrass can tolerate shade from corn.
- Seeding grass into RR alfalfa — grass seed will establish anytime there’s enough moisture. Kill weeds in alfalfa stand, broadcast orchardgrass a few days later. Less competition from alfalfa, the better for establishing grass.
- Active down pressure on a corn planter — is it really that big of a deal? Flag test data shows big yield implications of having every plant come up on time. On only 300 acres, very little yield impact when seeding under reasonable conditions. Big win is in tacky areas of field, which are hopefully less than 10 percent of field.