Category: Cover crops

Risk versus reward: thinking critically about cover crops

It’s hard to find a farmer these days who doesn’t see some of the benefits cover crops can bring to their operation. From reduced soil erosion to improved soil structure, nutrient recycling, moisture retention and much more – the list of benefits is long and impressive. But how much is too much? Where and when… Read more »

Are cover crops an option for your forced fallow acres in Western Canada?

This spring has been a challenge for many growers in the northern tier of Alberta and Saskatchewan due to wet conditions continuing from last fall. As it feels like crop insurance deadlines are screaming by, growers have limited choices on what to do with these potentially unseeded acres. There are basically three options: seed a spring… Read more »

Wheat Pete’s Word, May 10: Quality forage timing, cold temp fallout, and two-pass fungicide strategy

This week’s (almost!) cross-Canada Wheat Pete’s Word is packed full of great questions, worries about cold temperatures, solid timely answers on field management, and at least one alert, alert, alert! Your host Peter Johnson tackles questions on harvesting cereal rye (soon! this week!) while keeping compaction in mind, if corn seed is going to be… Read more »

Wheat Pete’s Word, March 29: Seeing Green, Tenacious Wheat, and Replacing P and K

Fresh off the 100th episode of Wheat Pete’s Word, the questions are pouring in, as are the all-in-good-fun “Just how old are you, Peter Johnson?” comments. In this week’s word, we’re talking soil nutrients in snirt (soil/dirt mix), why you shouldn’t worry about brown-leaved wheat just yet, why geese are terrible creatures, when we can… Read more »

Tillage ‘Earthquakes’ and What Farmers Can Learn From a Forest

Mike Dorion calls himself ‘the compost kid’ and he believes farmers should think about their fields like he does his garden. The founder of Calgary-based Living Soil Solutions doesn’t suggest cash crop farmers use tea leaves to improve soil health, but he does preach the benefits of reducing tillage, banking organic matter to help increase… Read more »

Wheat Pete’s Word,March 15: Early Cereal Seeding, Clover Choices, and Too-Early Nitrogen

It may not be the Great One, but this sure is the number 99 episode of Wheat Pete’s Word. To celebrate, your host Peter Johnson answers your questions from the week that was, and there are some great ones. From how early is too early for wheat in Western Canada, to why canola is a… Read more »

Roots Not Iron – Charting a Course to Soil Health

Year-round cover crops growing in a three-crop rotation — sounds like a great idea that could create healthier, more productive soils, but can Ontario growers make it work? That’s a question the Thames Valley Soil and Crop Improvement Association and the Heartland Region are trying to determine with its Roots Not Iron project. In this… Read more »

Are Cover Crops Practical in Corn-Soy Rotations?

Ontario’s extremely dry 2016 growing conditions provided ample evidence of the benefits of growing cover crops and lengthening rotation to improve soil health and moisture-holding capacity. University of Guelph soil scientist Dr. Bill Deen shared some of that proof with agronomists attending the recent Ontario Certified Crop Advisor Association conference in London. For example, at… Read more »

Wheat Pete’s Word, Jan 25: Wheat Dormancy, Peaola, and Traveling N

Will bare fields and warm weather cause wheat to break dormancy? And if so, could we be looking at a wheat price rally for 2017? That’s where we start with Wheat Pete’s Word, and from there Peter Johnson takes us on a wild agronomy ride that covers strip-tilling dry beans into hay ground, what to… Read more »

Chocolate Bars and Bran Cereal for Your Soil Bugs

There’s a concerning trend in Ontario’s soils: organic matter is being depleted. The decrease may seem small — about 0.8% over 12 years — but organic matter is vital to soil’s water holding capacity, nutrient-cycling ability, and compaction resiliency, to name just a few roles. What’s more, replacing lost soil organic matter is a slow,… Read more »

Wheat Pete’s Word, Jan 11: Feeding Soil Bugs, Broadcast vs. Banded Fert, & Keeping it Complicated

As the winter learning season rolls forward, the agronomy questions are flooding in, and Peter Johnson, host of Wheat Pete’s Word, wouldn’t have it any other way. In this week’s episode, Johnson tackles some very complicated — but super important — ins and outs of nitrogen management. Confused about which crops leave a credit and why… Read more »

4 Questions: Two Farmers Share Their Answers on Cover Crops

Ontario’s farmers are relatively familiar with using red clover on wheat to fix nitrogen and keep the soil covered into the fall, but cover crop use has quickly surpassed a one-species on one-crop approach. Lyndsey Smith, Ontario field editor for RealAgriculture, sat down with two farmers to ask them 4 Questions on cover crops: what’s… Read more »

Wheat School: ‘Real’ Wheat Farmers — Barry and Tyler McBlain Aim for a 160 Bu/Ac Average

Ontario farmers rarely see the yield monitor hit 240 bushels in their wheat crop. But Barry and Tyler McBlain hit that number in 2016. What’s even more amazing is that it happened on the tough clay soils southeast of Brantford in Brant County. In this episode of “Real Wheat Farmers”, agronomist Peter Johnson talks with… Read more »

The Most Profitable Corn Grower, Cover Crops, & Accents Galore — SWAC ’17

The Southwest Agricultural Conference marks the official kick-off of the winter conference season, and field editors Bernard Tobin and Lyndsey Smith were there to catch all the best and brightest agronomy minds at work. In RealAgriculture tradition, Bern and Lyndsey took a few minutes at the end of the show to talk about their favourite speakers,… Read more »

Wheat Pete’s Word, Dec 28: Starter Fert on Corn, the N/Protein Dance, & All About Clover

On the eve of 2017, we wrap up the calendar year with one last instalment of Wheat Pete’s Word. From a recent land price record, to so many questions on fertilizer timing, placement, and products, and finally on to a great deep dive into single and double cut clover, Johnson tackles alfalfa discussions, the true… Read more »