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2009 In Review At Friendly Acres

Results from Elmy’s InVigor strip trials 2009

Variety

8440

5020

5440

5770

Yield (bu./ac.)

56.6

49.2

49.1

43.5

% of 8440

100

87

87

77

% moisture

8.5

8.3

8.1

7.9

What is normal weather? At Yorkton, Sask., the year ended up to be average, but took a weird path to get there. Mid May snow, hot dry June, wet cool July, wet warm August, and an open September. It was quite the roller coaster ride.

With Environment Canada forecasting a hot dry summer, we went to drought mode on the farm during seeding. We planned on using four-inch shovels to do the seeding using on row packing. After the snow on May 15, and seeding the first canola field a week later, we decided to go back to 11-inch shovels to mix the soil, warming it up. The first couple of fields were seeded on our lighter ground so using the four-inch shovels was still a good thing.

One positive about the snow is that it got the 28-0-0 fertilizer down into our winter cereal roots. We had 60 acres of Fridge winter triticale, 135 acres of Raptor winter wheat, and six acres of Accipiter winter wheat.

In spring, we seeded 200 acres of Nexera NX4-202CL canola along with 200 acres of InVigor, with the majority of it being 8440 with JumpStart. We also grew 280 acres of LS0028RR soybean and 280 acres of LS0036RR soybean. We finished up with 35 acres of 20 varieties of corn to continue our corn grazing trial.

We “patiently” waited for the soil temperatures to reach 8C for the soybeans before we started seeding. Once the end of May hit, we decided it should get warmer sooner or later. The second week of June turned very cool along with a light frost, and then temperatures went above normal, accumulating corn heat units (CHU) very quickly.

HAY YIELDS

After the snow, we received less than two inches of rain. Because of the mid May snow, I planned on cutting our alfalfa hay the end of June, assuming the regrowth for second cut would be better. Two days after cutting, the rains started. We ended up with three inches of rain over two weeks. After all that, we still got the hay up in decent shape.

The second cut outyielded the first cut, but our average was two bales per acre on each cut. July and August continued along with below average heat units.

LATE CROPS

By August 29, we were 220 CHUs behind normal at 1666. Surprisingly, the soybeans appeared to be only five to seven days behind in maturity. The LS0028RR is rated as a 2,425 CHU variety and the LS0036RR is rated 2,450 CHU.

The winter wheat and winter triticale both kept quite green with the good growing conditions in August. Tillers started popping up. Canola flowered longer, creating nice full pods. Soybeans bushed out and flowered for an extra week. Our only concern at that point was that the first frost would come on a “normal” schedule, but nothing was normal to date, so maybe an open fall was in order. September turned out to be our warmest month of the year, providing 600 CHUs for a total from May 1 to September 26 of 2202. Rainfall in that period was 7.5 inches, which gets us to a “normal” year — but it was a strange way of getting there.

HARVEST

Winter cereal harvest started in mid-September. Winter wheat averaged around 45 bushels per acre, so the May snowfall had taken a toll. With winter wheat at around $3.50 per bushel, it might just cover cash costs. The triticale also averaged around 40 bushels per acre, but we

received $5 per bushel in the yard. With much lower inputs than winter wheat, we will be about $100 per acre above cash costs.

Canola was variable due to timing of the canola stage with the June frost. My oceanfront field (very sandy) ran around 20 bushels per acre as a result the frost, heat blast of early June where it turned blue, and the early season dryness. In other fields, Nexera yielded 25 bushel per acre where Solo herbicide wasn’t enough to control the Russian pigweed. Where Russian pigweed was not present, Nexera averaged around

40. Our InVigor strip trial ran from 43 to 57 bushels per acre. It was on two years of soybean stubble, with 50 pounds of nitrogen,

30 pounds phosphate, 30 pounds potassium, and 15 pounds sulphur. The P and K were seed placed, and the N and S were dribble banded before seeding. See the table for results.

To the defense of 5770, which had the lowest yield, it was on part of the field with more hills. This year it translated to lower yields. In the flats, we were seeing yields in the 70+ bushels per acre. In a six-acre area where we normally grow our Select seed plots, we averaged close to 90 bushels per acre. All varieties stood well and the maturity differences were minimal.

SOYBEAN AN DCORN RESULTS

Soybeans harvest started October 14 and finished up November 5. We were fighting the weather. First year soybean ground averaged 20 bushels per acre. Where soybeans had been in the rotation the past two years, yields averaged 30. Overall average was 25. Moisture was a bit higher than we wanted so we got a bit more pod in our sample. Most of the soybeans were harvested at 17 per cent moisture.

Our experiments this year showed no response to banded phosphate and potash, and we saw a positive response to planting the soybeans in 17-inch rows. The biggest problem this year was the low podding because we ended up leaving four to 10 bushels per acre on the ground. The frost the middle of June really shortened the bottom pod height.

Our corn trial had mixed results. It was the first time using a row planter, a Kinze on 34-inch rows. We had one row that did not seed. I miscalculated the seeding rate and only seeded at 17,000 seeds per acre. And we had a considerable RoundUp Ready canola problem that 2.5 litres per acre of WeatherMaxx did not take out. Overall, we see silage yields range from 13 to 18 tonnes per acre.

2010

This year, we plan to put in about 300 acres of LS0028RR soybean, and 300 acres of a new Thunder Seed soybean variety 29002. We have 160 acres of foundation Fridge winter triticale, 80 acres of Accipiter winter wheat, 80 acres of alfalfa, 35 acres of corn for grazing on the corn stubble, 300 acres of InVigor and Nexera, and 75 acres of summerfallow that we will seed to a cover crop to seed winter cereal into next fall.

Kevin Elmy operates Friendly Acres Seed Farm, along with his wife, Christina, and parents, Robert and Verene, near Saltcoats, Sask. You can contact him at 306-744-2779 or [email protected]

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