There has been a different feeling to the air over the last week. The days are getting shorter, the evenings a little cooler, and even the whisper of frost has been heard.
That’s the mood as Shaun Haney and Trish Meyers compare notes about changing seasons and what makes it onto the fall ‘to do’ list.
Meyers, who serves as the knowledge and innovation manager for Federated Co-op (FCL) ag retailers, starts with one of her favourite tasks: soil testing is still the foundation of most production and sustainability programs.
“I am a soil scientist at heart so I would start by saying, make sure to do some soil testing. If not on every field this fall, on some of them anyway. Particularly when we just talked about having variable moisture and variable crop yield, that’s when soil testing is really important.”
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Some time invested now can give you the jump on making some decisions later, notes Meyers. “I think fall is also a great time to speak with your agronomist about crop planning for next year, starting with a look back at how this year went.”
There are also a lot of things to see in crop stubble. This type of forensics may not get its own television show, but it is very important — including sleuthing for blackleg symptoms in canola.
“Fall is a perfect time to cut some stubble and do blackleg assessment,” she says. (Here is a link to a Canola School which explains the idea a little more.)
“Fall is also a great time to do…stubble counts in your canola fields for survival estimates.” (This Canola School talks about the process of assessing survivability in the spring, but many of the same principles apply in the fall. It is very important to know actual plant stands when talking to your seed supplier about the amount of seed you need to order.)
Another important consideration this fall, probably more important than most falls, is herbicide carry-over.
It was dry in many areas last year and again this year and all season long there have been instances of crop injury. “I think growers and agronomists need to be very mindful of herbicide carry-over. Make sure that you’re planning your crop rotation, being mindful of what was applied last year.”
The fall task list is another ‘to do’ list. But getting this ‘to do’ list done now can really shorten the ‘to do’ list for spring.