Brad Crammond, who farms near Austin, Man., sent us some comments about a recentGrainews article on inter-row seeding (March 21, 2011 issue). The story described the first year of research conducted by the Southern Applied Research Association (SARA) which showed, in part, a considerable amount of crop was automatically seeded between standing rows of stubble, even when not really trying.
Brad writes: “I run a Trimble GPS with WAAS and have been attempting to seed between the rows for two seasons now. I had to agree with the findings from the SARA plots: even with a WAAS enabled GPS signal, I found I was getting around 75 per cent success inter-row seeding even on our rolling land. And I was happy with that.
“All I do, the year before, is write down the GPS degree heading I used to seed the field at, then, the following year, plug that number into my A heading, and away I go.
“Even with our eight-inch drill spacing, the three-inch spoons seem to want to take the path of least resistance, and that’s in-between last year’s stubble rows. In 2010, I seeded our winter wheat into canola stubble at the same heading and was very happy with the germination even with the heavy residue left over from the canola. The drill didn’t have to contend with all the dislodged canola stalks in addition to the already thick, un-decomposed chaff matt, making for far better seed placement. The stubble left over provided great cover, as well.
“I had a field of flax in 2009 that was seeded into thick winter wheat stubble, and wherever the drill ripped out of the winter wheat stubble it left a thick matt of straw that surrounded the germinating flax plants. A -4 C frost smoked all the plants that were coming through the straw, but the inter-row seeded plants, seeded into the darker soil between the stubble rows, were fine. It was a night-and-day difference. That’s what sold me.
“I know that the technology is available to get a higher degree of success with inter-row placement, but is cost-prohibitive for smaller growers. It’s nice to know that a person can get similar results with a simple, WAAS-enabled GPS that most of us have. It’s pretty cool to watch those shanks run between the rows just knowing that it is making a better job.
“Thanks for the great article, and making me feel like I was onto something.”