The Sharp Edge: Stripper header boosts double crop soybeans

James Hammerton, who farms with his family at Sweaburg, Ont., is giving double crop soybeans a solid go, with the aid of a stripper header to harvest the preceding wheat.

On this episode of the Sharp Edge, RealAgriculture’s Bernard Tobin is joined by Greg Stewart, agronomy lead with Maizex Seeds. Stewart interviews Hammerton about his thought process behind the stripper header and how he’s making it work to double crop soybeans.

“We’ve always had a hard time getting harvest done timely enough to get double crop beans in, we’re really hoping that with this machine we can get out here three or four days earlier, get the wheat off, and maybe get beans in before a rain,” says Hammerton.

Hammerton says he and his family have tried double crop beans after wheat two or three times before, with minimal success. With the stripper header, the wheat can come off faster, giving those soybeans some extra days.

There are some pros and cons to this method — leaving straw in the field is a sacrifice for them economically, but it may improve their soil’s organic matter and will release nutrients back into the soil over time. Given the right machinery and the right day, that straw could still be cut and baled. There’s potential there.

In the video, Hammerton describes the stripper header in detail. Taking wheat at 16 to 18 per cent moisture is ideal, but in order to gain those extra days, the wheat’s taken off pushing that 20 to 24 per cent moisture mark. The stripper header can handle lodged, downed wheat really well. (story continues below)

To match up with the heat units, Hammerton chose a soybean with about 2600 heat units and close to 200,000 seeds per acre. The latest Hammerton would consider seeding soybeans would be July 20, unless there’s a hot, dry forecast after. Hammerton targets 20 to 25 bushels per acre to justify keeping the stripper header around.

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