Seeding/Planting
Narrow row spacing is considered the accepted practice for maximizing grain yields for the majority of crops under most circumstances. However, wider row spacing offers advantages for dealing with heavier and taller crop residues, and reducing equipment costs and maintenance. But how wide is too wide before yield is compromised?
Published in Canola
Soil characteristics like organic matter content and moisture play a vital role in helping plants flourish. It turns out that soil temperature is just as important. Every plant needs a certain soil temperature to thrive. If the temperature changes too quickly, plants won’t do well. Their seeds won’t germinate or their roots will die.

“Most plants are sensitive to extreme changes in soil temperature,” said Samuel Haruna, a researcher at Middle Tennessee State University. “You don’t want it to change too quickly because the plants can’t cope with it.”

Many factors influence the ability of soil to buffer against temperature changes. For example, when soil is compacted the soil temperature can change quickly. That’s because soil particles transfer temperatures much faster when they are squished together. When farmers drag heavy machinery over the soil, the soil particles compact. Soil temperature is also affected by moisture: more moisture keeps soils from heating too quickly.

Research has shown that both cover crops and perennial biofuel crops can relieve soil compaction. Cover crops are generally planted between cash crops such as corn and soybeans to protect the bare soil. They shade the soil and help reduce soil water evaporation. Their roots also add organic matter to the soil and prevent soil erosion. This also keeps the soil spongy, helping it retain water.

But Haruna wanted to know if perennial biofuel and cover crops could also help soils protect themselves from fluctuating temperatures. Haruna and a team of researchers grew several types of cover and perennial biofuel crops in the field. Afterwards, they tested the soils in the lab for their ability to regulate temperature.

“I was amazed at the results,” Haruna said. He found both perennial biofuel and cover crops help soils shield against extreme temperatures. They do this by slowing down how quickly temperatures spread through the soil. Their roots break up the soil, preventing soil molecules from clumping together and heating or cooling quickly. The roots of both crops also add organic matter to the soil, which helps regulate temperature.

Additionally, perennial biofuel and cover crops help the soil retain moisture. “Water generally has a high ability to buffer against temperature changes,” said Haruna. “So if soil has a high water content it has a greater ability to protect the soil.”

Although Haruna advocates for more use of cover crops, he said it’s not always easy to incorporate them into farms. “These crops require more work, more financial investment, and more knowledge,” he said. “But they can do much for soil health.” Including, as Haruna’s research shows, shielding plants from extreme temperature changes.

“Climate change can cause temperature fluctuations, and if not curtailed, may affect crop productivity in the future,” he said. “And we need to buffer against these extreme changes within the soil.”

Haruna hopes to take his research from the lab and into the field. He says a field experiment will help him and his team collect more data and flesh out his findings

Read more about Haruna’s research in Soil Science Society of America Journal. A USDA-NIFA grant funded this research (Cropping Systems Coordinated Agricultural Project: Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in Corn-based Cropping Systems).
Published in Seeding/Planting
Seed Hawk Inc. is pleased to announce that the company will officially be renamed Vaderstad Industries Inc. on October 31, 2017. The name change reflects the fuller integration of the Seed Hawk brand within the Väderstad Group, bringing precision and quality together.

“We are pleased to become a part of Väderstad. Both businesses are leaders in the development of some of the world’s most innovative agricultural equipment,” says Nigel Jones, CEO of Vaderstad Industries Inc., and continues, “the joining of our businesses will positively impact the advancement and availability of our equipment for farmers in North America and around the world.”

Seed Hawk and Väderstad have been working together since 2006. In 2013, the Swedish high quality agricultural equipment manufacturer took full ownership of Seed Hawk. The current name change reflects the fuller integration of the Seed Hawk brand within the Väderstad Group. This transition was signaled by the change earlier this year to red paint on all Seed Hawk seeding systems, consistent with Väderstad branded equipment.

“Väderstad and Seed Hawk have brought quality and precision together for the last ten years. Our name change to Vaderstad Industries Inc. reflects the long-term commitment we put behind this promise to our customers.” Jones says, and adds:

“The company name is changing to Vaderstad Industries Inc. The Seed Hawk seeder will continue to be sold under the same equipment name and by the same local people our customers know and trust.”
Published in Corporate News
The latest calculator was released in January and is an update on a tool called CROPPLAN Financial Analysis. It was designed by two farm management specialists from Manitoba, Roy Arnott of Killarney and Darren Bond of Teulon.
Published in Business Management
Winter wheat is a low-input, low-yield crop. True or False?

There’s no market for winter wheat. True or False?

No varieties of winter wheat are suitable here. True or False?

False, to all of them, answers Ken Gross, agronomist at Brandon, Man., for the Western Winter Wheat Initiative (WWWI) and Ducks Unlimited Canada. Those are just three of many myths associated with the fall-seeded, high-potential wheat. Gross runs into myths frequently among growers and at meetings – and likes to bust them with facts. For the full story, click here
Published in Cereals
Prairie potholes are usually small in size, but when farmed, these perennially wet spots on the landscape can have outsize implications for the environment and farm profitability.

The Prairie Pothole Region extends from Canada south and east, and through parts of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. In Iowa, many potholes are found in the Des Moines Lobe, an area that spans the north-central part of the state, ending around the Polk-Story county line and the vast majority of them are farmed.

These areas in crop fields habitually yield poorly and drag field yield averages down, and they are prone to nutrient loss and leaching, raising questions about the benefits of continuing to grow corn and soybeans in them. For the full story, click here
Published in Seeding/Planting
The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company, recently announced at the Farms.com Precision Agriculture Conference, the launch of the Climate FieldView digital agriculture platform into Western Canada for the 2018 growing season.

With Climate’s analytics-based digital tools, more Canadian farmers will be able to harness their data in one connected platform to identify and more efficiently manage variability in their fields, tailoring crop inputs to optimize yield and maximize their return on every acre.

In September 2016, the company first announced the introduction of the Climate FieldView platform in Eastern Canada, where hundreds of farmers across nearly one million acres have been experiencing the value of data-driven, digital tools on their operations.

Now, farmers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta will have the ability to use the Climate FieldView platform to uncover personalized field insights to support the many crucial decisions they make each season to enhance crop productivity.

“The Climate FieldView platform is a one-stop shop for simple field data management, helping Canadian farmers get the most out of every acre,” said Denise Hockaday, Canada business lead for The Climate Corporation. “Through the delivery of the platform’s powerful data analytics and customized field insights, farmers across Canada have the power to tailor their agronomic practices more precisely than ever before, fine tuning their action plans for the best outcome at the end of the season.”

Over the past year, the Climate FieldView platform had a strong testing effort across many farm operations in Western Canada, enabling the Climate team to further develop the platform’s compatibility with all types of farm equipment and crops, including canola and wheat, to collect and analyze field data from multiple sources.

“Part of the challenge with data is managing all of the numbers and having an adequate cloud system to store and effectively analyze the information,” said farmer D’Arcy Hilgartner of Alberta, who participated in testing the Climate FieldView platform on his operation this season. “The Climate FieldView platform instantly transfers the field data gathered from my farm equipment into my Climate FieldView account, which is especially useful during harvest season because I’m able to see where various crop inputs were used and analyze the corresponding yield. I’ve really enjoyed having this digital platform at my disposal, and I’m excited to see the positive impacts on my business this coming year.”

As Climate continues to expand its digital technologies to help more farmers access advanced agronomic insights, additional new data layers will feed the company’s unmatched R&D engine, ultimately enabling the development of valuable new features for farmers in the Climate FieldView platform.

In August 2017, the company announced the acceleration of R&D advancements through the company’s robust innovation pipeline, along with new product features and enhancements to help farmers manage their field variability more precisely than ever before.

Launched in 2015, the Climate FieldView platform is on more than 120 million acres with more than 100,000 users across the United States, Canada and Brazil. It has quickly become the most broadly connected platform in the industry and continues to expand into new global regions.

Climate FieldView Platform Offering in Western Canada

  • Data Connectivity - Farmers can collect, store and visualize their field data in one easy-to-use digital platform through the Climate FieldView Drive, a device that easily streams field data directly into the Climate FieldView platform. FieldView Drive works with many tractors and combines across Canada, in addition to anhydrous applicators and air seeders, helping farmers easily collect field data for the agronomic inputs they manage throughout the season. Recently, The Climate Corporation announced a new data connectivity agreement with AGCO, providing more farmers even more options to connect their equipment to the Climate FieldView platform. In addition to the FieldView Drive, farmers can connect their field data to their Climate FieldView account through Precision Planting LLC's monitors, cloud-to-cloud connection with other agricultural software systems such as the John Deere Operations Center, and through manual file upload.
  • Yield Analysis Tools - With Climate’s seed performance and analysis tools, farmers can see what worked and what didn’t at the field level or by field zone, and apply those insights to better understand field variability by quickly and easily comparing digital field maps side-by-side. Farmers can save regions of their fields in a yield-by-region report and can also save and record a field region report through enhanced drawing and note taking tools, retrieving the report at a later date for easy analysis on any portion of their field to better understand how their crops are performing.
  • Advanced Field Health Imagery - Through frequent and consistent, high-quality satellite imagery, farmers can instantly visualize and analyze crop performance, helping them identify issues early, prioritize scouting and take action early to protect yield. Climate's proprietary imagery process provides consistent imagery quality and frequency by using high-resolution imagery with vegetative data from multiple images, in addition to advanced cloud identification. Farmers can also drop geo-located scouting pins on field health images and navigate back to those spots for a closer look, or share with agronomic partners.
  • Seeding and Fertility Scripting - Farmers can manage their inputs to optimize yield in every part of their field with manual variable rate seed and fertility scripting tools. Through Climate’s manual seed scripting tools, farmers can easily create detailed planting plans for their fields to build a hybrid specific prescription tailored to their unique goals, saving time and improving productivity. Additionally, Climate offers a manual fertility scripting tool, enabling farmers the ability to optimize their inputs with a customized management plan for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and lime tailored to their unique goals.

2018 Availability and Pricing

The Climate FieldView platform is currently available for purchase in Western Canada on a per-acre basis so that farmers can begin using it on their farms in time for the 2018 growing season. To experience the complete value of the platform throughout the entire growing season, farmers should sign up for a Climate FieldView account by Jan. 1, 2018. For more information about the Climate FieldView platform and pricing, contact Climate Support at 1.888.924.7475 or visit www.climatefieldview.ca.
Published in Precision Ag
Rye’s weed-fighting skills along with its cover crop benefits make it a particularly good companion crop for soybeans.

“Soybeans and rye complement each other really well,” says Mike Ostlie, agronomist at the North Dakota State University’s Carrington Research Extension Center. “Rye adds a lot of things to soybeans that really complete a good production system. You can use rye as a weed-management tool because it suppresses weeds that are becoming increasingly resistant to glyphosate.” READ MORE
Published in Soybeans
A local company focused on robotic cutting solutions is experimenting with an ultra-high pressure no-till system. A-Cubed (Advanced Agriculture Applications) is using fluid jets in place of coulters on standard, commercially available seeding equipment they’ve modified.

The goal, according to Agricultural Business Development Manager Jeff Martel, is for farmers using no-till (planting without tilling the soil) to cut cleanly through heavy residues and cover crops using water – either on its own or potentially supplemented with inputs like lime or fertilizer, for example.

Leading development of the technology has been the South Australia No-Till Farmers Association (SANTFA) – and a connection between SANTFA and Martel brought the idea to Canada, where Martel’s employer I-Cubed Industry Innovators is now launching A-Cubed to move the technology forward.

Initial plot trials by the company last year produced intriguing results. Fluid jet-planted corn had a 20 per cent higher yield by weight than the same corn planted conventionally in the next rows. And each fluid jet-planted soybean plant held more pods than the conventionally planted soybeans and had significantly bigger and longer root systems. Germination time was a day sooner on average for the fluid jet-planted plants too.

This year, employees Matt Popper and Will Whitwell, who are also both farmers, modified a six-row John Deer planter with the technology and used that planter to successfully plant corn into hay and soybeans into corn stubble.

“The more we know, the more we don’t know and the more we need to find out about the agronomics, the chemistry, etc.,” said Martel. “What if we want to use fertilizer instead of water? We know we can inject liquid and granular fertilizer, but how do we know it’s beneficial, how do we monitor and measure?”

According to Martel, the planter and pump are available to Ontario farmers or researchers interested in working with A-Cubed to investigate some of these questions, and he’s been reaching out to North American agronomists to showcase some of their early results and seek advice. Research on the technology is underway in Australia and in China, too.

The company’s immediate goal is to develop a small liquid jet no-till system designed for research purposes that could “open the door in a thousand directions for research.” He also envisions a retrofit kit for farmers to use on existing equipment, as well as a commercially available planter equipped with water jets.

The technology could be most beneficial in moderate to high rainfall areas where the ground underneath the cover is softer and it’s harder to cut through residue.

“This doesn’t care whether it’s wet or dry. You don’t have to wait for dew to dry off, you can plant around the clock,” Popper said, adding that because the technology is cutting so cleanly into the ground, another benefit could be a reduction in tractor horsepower needed.
Published in Seeding/Planting
Soil health is the basis of successful crop production. This is why more and more growers are doing the groundwork to preserve and improve this vital part of their operations. Some, however, still avoid it because they perceive it as an economic issue – soil improvement costs money, it doesn’t make money. Not so, say Ontario soil specialists. Crop rotation trials prove if growers take a longer-term view of their operation, there will be economic rewards, yield bumps and an improved crop production environment.
Published in Soil
Ontario farmers who are thinking about growing a non-traditional crop have a valuable new tool to assess whether it’s a profitable idea. Making a Case for Growing New Crops is an online learning resource recently developed by the Agri-Food Management Institute (AMI) to help farmers engage in business planning before planting.

“This resource will help you decide if that new crop is right for your farm at this time,” says Ashley Honsberger, Executive Director of AMI. According to Honsberger, farmers are increasingly looking at non-traditional crops to meet new customer preferences, realize higher value per acre, or for crop rotation and other environmental benefits.

The resource was developed in partnership with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), who surveyed members earlier this year to gauge interest in growing new crops, as well as the best method of delivering information. “We know Ontario farmers are interested in growing new crops, and are looking for timely information on marketing a crop, finding buyers and locating processors,” says OFA President Keith Currie. “We appreciated providing AMI with industry input on a resource that will ultimately support farm business management and reduce the risk of expanding into a new crop.”

Making a Case for Growing New Crops – the new free online resource available in the Resources for Farmers section of www.takeanewapproach.ca features five interactive modules that users work through on their own schedule to develop a business case for diversifying their farm.

Through a series of videos and worksheets, users can determine whether the crop is an agronomic fit, identify customers and markets, analyze their cost of production and develop a budget. In the end, they will have a personalized and confidential report that includes a business model canvas (a one-page visual business plan) as well as an action plan to share with their team and use to communicate with their advisors and lenders.

“Whatever the reason, taking time to build a business case for growing new crops makes sense,” says Honsberger. “While we encourage farmers to take a new approach, we also want them to really evaluate the opportunity and manage any potential risks associated with growing new crops.”

Of the 402 farmers responding to the online survey about new crops – as part of the Making a Case for Growing News Crops project – about 20 per cent had tried a new crop in the past five years. The main reasons farmers chose to trying something new included: changing markets and emerging opportunities (29 per cent), crop rotation and environmental benefits (24 per cent), and reducing overall risk through diversification (24 per cent). And 27 per cent of farmers said they develop a business plan before beginning a new crop opportunity.

For growers who had not introduced a new crop in the last five years, 7 per cent plan to in the next two years, 49 per cent do not plan to, and 44 per cent were undecided. These results suggest farmers are open to new crop opportunities, but are hesitant and unsure of how successful they may be.

The survey findings also contributed to OFA’s submission for the Bring Home the World: Improving Access to Ontario’s World Foods consultationby the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Published in Seeding/Planting
HORSCH, a global manufacturer of seeding, planting, tillage, and application equipment, is proud to introduce Canola Ready Technology for its Maestro SW row crop planters.

The new Canola Ready Technology consists of a small seeds kit, including a set of stainless steel seed discs and quick-change meter components for fast conversion from row crops to canola. The kit allows producers unmatched precision seed placement and significant input savings when seeding canola.

With the Maestro SW row crop planter equipped with Canola Ready Technology, canola producers are experiencing seed cost savings of 50 per cent or more per acre versus air seeders without sacrifice to yield, due to lower seed mortality rate and improved precision seed placement.

“The seed savings alone in canola gains an extra $30-40+ per acre of margin. Features such as individual row shut off to control seeding overlap, curve compensation, and auto row unit downforce control add even more seed savings,” says Jeremy Hughes, product manager at HORSCH. “Beyond seed cost savings, the uniform emergence and consistent crop development seen in seeding canola with the Maestro is adding tremendous benefits to crop health management and harvest quality. These all have positive benefits on the farmer’s bottom line”.”

“The Corn Belt is moving north,” adds Hughes. “The changes in crop rotations are shifting more toward canola/soybeans/small grains/corn in areas such as northern North Dakota and into the Prairie Provinces of Western Canada. The past two generations of farmers have primarily used air seeder technology for seeding crops. As our producers seek more precise seeding technologies for canola along with incorporating significant acres of soybeans and corn into their rotations, row crop planters become more viable in these areas. Maestro SW’s row unit and singulation technology provides superior seed placement precision for all of these crops.”

The Canola Ready Technology is available to use on all Maestro SW row crop planter models. Maestro SW planters are available in 40’ and 60’ toolbar widths with row spacing of 15”, 20”, 22” or 30”.

For more information, contact HORSCH LLC, 200 Knutson Street, Mapleton, SD 58059; call 1-855-4HORSCH; email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; or visit www.horsch.com.

Published in Machinery
A team of University of Guelph researchers at the cutting edge of discovering how plants communicate with one another has proven the stress of “seeing” weed competition causes a plant to significantly change growth patterns and drop yield.  
Published in Weeds
Precision mapping technology is increasingly user-friendly. In fact, Aaron Breimer, general manager of precision agriculture consulting firm Veritas Farm Business Management, says some precision map-writing software is so simple a producer can segment zones or draw a boundary around a field with little more than the click of a mouse. The challenge is that the maps are only as accurate as the information used to create them.
Published in Precision Ag
A research project in southwestern Ontario exploring the benefits of strip tilling is showing promising results in better managing fertilizer and improving crop yields by ensuring the fertilizer stays where it is most needed – with the plant.
Published in Tillage
Gone are the days when canola growers dialled in a standard five pounds per acre seeding rate – or at least they should be. Today, with wide variations in seed size from three to six grams per 1,000 seeds or more, one size no longer fits all. Also, considering that many growers are cutting seeding rates to save on seed costs, hitting the Canola Council of Canada’s (CCC) recommended target plant stand may not be possible. Ian Epp, a CCC agronomist, says the long-term recommendation has been seven to 10 plants per square foot, but that recommendation is changing.
Published in Seeding/Planting
"Across most of south-central and southeastern Ontario, there’s been 50 to 100 per cent more rain than normal,” says Scott Banks, a cropping systems specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). “It’s certainly been a challenging year. There isn’t really a silver lining to all this rain: no crops like being so wet. But growers have experienced tough years before. Outside of controlling the weather, there isn’t a whole lot they can do other than trying to minimize the issues and crossing their fingers for a warm, open fall.”
Published in Seeding/Planting
When is the “right” time to put soybeans into the ground? Research in Manitoba is moving beyond the recommendations borrowed from Ontario and south of the border to develop Prairie-specific guidelines.  
Published in Seeding/Planting
It took a lot of work, but one young Manitoba grower and entrepreneur finally has the answers the customers of his short-line machinery business have been looking for.

Darren Faurschou has a diploma in agriculture and operates a family farm in the Edwin area, west of Portage la Prairie, Man. He also serves as president of the Faurschou Ag Center, which opened in April 2015 and retails air drills, precision planters and a line of independent corn headers that adapt to row spacing. Many customers question the benefits of planting corn with an air drill versus a planter, so last year Faurschou contracted with the University of Manitoba’s department of biosystems engineering to use his 125-acre field and his own machinery for an independent evaluation of row spacing and seeding systems for corn yield and rate of emergence.

Row spacing had four variations: 7.5-inch, 15-inch, 30-inch and paired-row (7.5-inch pairs, 30 inches on centre). Two seeders were used: a twin-row Monosem planter and a Salford 522 air drill.

There were eight treatments on the field; each treatment was repeated five times in the randomized experiment. The seeding equipment was adjusted to have a uniform two-inch seeding depth. Most plots were planted on May 8 and 9, 2016.

To produce the 15-inch and 7.5-inch plots, the planter drove over the field twice. The planter’s 7.5-inch plots were seeded on May 10 and 11, 2016, due to rain and time constraints.

Craig Heppner, a recent graduate from the University of Manitoba’s bachelor of science in biosystems engineering program took on the challenge of managing the 40 plots, recording data and processing the results as part of his undergrad thesis. Faurschou provided machinery, set up the field, supplied seed (Pioneer 7332) and was responsible for applications to protect the crop from weeds and disease.

“I went with the big field for plots because size is important,” Faurschou says. “If you’re out a point on a big plot, the impact is less. You are more accurate in your detail. Real machines – commercial equipment – do all the work in real-life scenarios. Things like dry spots and wet spots average out at the end of the day.”

To be sure the results were impartial, Faurschou asked the university to handle the data collection.

Results
Faurschou had expectations about the results, and some were proven. For instance, it’s tradition in southern Manitoba to plant corn in 30-inch rows with 7.5-inches between plants in the row. For decades, planters and harvest headers have been built for that 30-inch row spacing.

“I thought the paired-row on the [Monosem] planter would do the best overall. There’s a lot of research to show that, and it did beat the 30-inch single row,” Faurschou says.

The Monosem planter twin rows are 30 inches on centre; each seed row is four inches off centre.

But in each row-spacing comparison, the 30-inch row option had the lowest yield.

“I thought the 7.5-inch would be the best for the air drill, on the theory of narrow rows using more sunlight. What I found was, for the paired row, the 15-inch and the 7.5-inch trials almost filled the rows at the same time. The 30-inch never really did completely fill in,” he says.

Overall, the 15-inch spacing had the highest yield for both the air drill and for the planter.

“It ended up doing the best. I was really surprised by that,” Faurschou says.

Heppner’s detailed analysis, converted from metric, comes to this conclusion on corn yield: “When comparing effects of the seeders, average yield for the planter was 173 [bushels/acre] bu/ac compared to 161 bu/ac for the air drill. This translated to a 5.5 per cent difference in yield.”

“When comparing effects of spacing only, yield was found to be the highest for 15-inch plots at 173 bu/ac. The 7.5-inch plots were not statistically different than this at 168 bu/ac. The 30-inch and paired row plots were significantly lower at 162 bu/ac and 164 bu/ac, respectively.”

Heppner also notes the planter was much more uniform in seeding depth, as expected, and that the average seeding depth under the planter was about a quarter-inch shallower than under the drill. The rate of emergence for planter-placed corn also was faster.

Heppner concludes, “The planter provided more consistent seeding depth than the air drill, leading to faster speed of emergence, which induced a higher yielding crop. Also, 15-inch and 7.5-inch spacing produced higher yields than 30-inch and paired rows.

“The best-case spacing and seeder for south-central Manitoba in a year with similar environmental conditions would be a planter spaced at 15 inches.”

Answers and advice
The work required to run the 40 site trials on 125 acres was more than Faurschou expected. He estimates the time commitment was four to five times as much as he would have needed to plant and harvest a conventional field of corn.

However, now he has answers and advice based on science rather than experience and educated guesswork.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about planting corn with an air drill versus a planter. As for a replicated comparison in row spacing, with results for a planter versus air drill, I’ve never heard of that,” Faurschou says. “My theory was that there are benefits for an air drill in narrow spacing and benefits for a planter in wider row spacing, but there’s not a lot [of research] done on row spacing in corn in this part of the world.”

Now, according to Heppner, there is proven evidence that a planter will return more corn than an air drill and that row spacing returns more corn at 15 or 7.5 inches than it does at 30 inches.

Due to the explosion of soybean acres in Manitoba, many farms now have a 15-inch row crop planter in addition to an air drill. It was assumed – but not proven – that lifting every second seed run on the soybean planter would be the best practice for planting corn.

Still, many farms are equipped with only an air drill. Faurschou’s trials show that if the farm has an air drill with 7.5-inch spacing, simply putting a seed block on every second run can convert it for seeding 15-inch corn rows.

One caution with this, he notes, is that the Salford air drill used in these trials is a double-disc opener. Most air drills probably have only a single disc opener.

“With a single disc, you may not have the same depth control, so the results might be different,” he says.

After studying his results, Faurschou believes the evidence points to Manitoba corn being “happiest” on 15-inch spacing between rows and between plants. In this set of trials, that spacing allowed for the optimum use of available sunlight, moisture and nutrients and consistently produced the highest dry bushel yield.

The results give Faurschou some pretty clear-cut answers for anyone with questions about row spacing.

“For my customers, if they are going to plant corn with an air drill, I’m going to recommend 15 inches. If they’re going to buy a planter to use for corn and soybeans, I’m going to recommend that they buy a 15-inch planter for both,” he says.

There’s also an economy-of-scale factor. On 15-inch rows, Darren says the average yield advantage was 6.6 bu/ac in favour of the planter; the least difference was four bushels an acre.

Using the conservative numbers, Faurschou suggests the four-bushel yield advantage on $4 corn is almost enough to justify buying a planter if it’s time to replace or upgrade an air drill.

But, there’s more to consider.

“If you’re growing just a quarter of corn and you have an air drill that can do 15-inch spacing, that’s probably the way you should go,” he says. “If you have 1,000 acres of corn, then it would almost justify buying a planter.”

In all this, caution remains a good idea. Another trial conducted in another year and under different growing conditions might produce different results.

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Published in Corn
The underseeded red clover in Ontario is looking pretty good where winter wheat has been harvested. As is often the case, some fields have variable stands and others have poor or non-existent stands. If the red clover stand is poor and it is insured nothing can be done until it is released by Agricorp. If it is not insured then now is a good time to improve it. If there are some thin spots in it, those areas can be patched with another legume. Crimson clover is a good option and red clover can also be seeded at this time. Other clovers or peas are good options as well. If all that is desired is inexpensive quick cover then oats are a good option. If very little red clover exists there a wide range of options to choose from.

If no cover crop was planned after winter wheat it is not too late to consider planting one. Cover crops can help improve soil structure, protect the soil from erosion, feed soil life, suppress weeds, cycle nutrients, and provide feed for livestock and much more. Research at University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus has shown that planting a cover crop provides a benefit, even if the growth is limited. So consider the options and find a way to reap the benefits of cover crops.

Select a cover crop to meet the goals for the field. Also consider how it will fit into your cropping and tillage system and how much time there will be for the cover crop to grow. Some options that will achieve good ground cover at a reasonable cost are: oats or barley, oats and radish, and oats and peas. Combinations of a grass or cereal, legume and brassica also work well and can provide a diversity of growth and root types.

Before planting a cover crop it is important to think about what management it may require. Many cover crops are killed by frost and don’t require a herbicide treatment. Others will survive the winter and will need to be killed in the fall or spring. Some will go to seed, so they will need to be mowed or managed before then. Tillage, using a roller crimper or grazing are other methods that can be used to manage or terminate the cover crop.

Plant the cover crop as soon as possible to achieve the most growth. Drilling the cover crop in is the most effective but other methods can work. If planting is delayed until after Labour Day it is best to plant a winter cereal as a frost will likely kill off other cover crops before they can achieve much growth.

Some areas have had too much rain and parts of fields or whole fields have no crop in them. For some options for those fields visit the Field Crop News site.

New this year, Agricorp is offering production insurance for cover crops. The coverage is called New Forage Seeding and is available for a wide range of cover crops. The acreage to be covered must be reported by September 1st. Visit the Agricorp website for more information.
Published in Corporate News
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