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The dollar value of soil, world record wheat, and down pressure decisions

We’re racing towards planting season, with field activity about to begin rocking and rolling.

Lessons from the new world wheat yield record, the value of soil and subsequent impact of erosion, cover crop management, corn planter down pressure, and more — it’s all in this week’s edition of The Word the RealAg agronomist Peter Johnson.

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Click to listen to the audio recording from Real Agriculture.

Summary

  • The value of soil – assuming Ontario price of $20,000/acre. 2 million pounds in top 6″soil is worth 1 cent a pound. How much does it cost to lose to wind erosion (and other forms)? Snirt (soil off the snow) — a tonne/acre (COULD be 3 tonnes per acre and you don’t really KNOW). That’s 6,600 lbs. or $66/acre. Maybe up to $100/acre.
  • World record wheat — 250 bu/ac of wheat on 29 acres in New Zealand. What can we learn? First, it’s irrigated wheat. Tissue test for micronutrients — should you follow suit? Expensive when not needed. When needed, a huge benefit. Overload on vitamins equals expensive pee.
  • Wheat doesn’t like wet feet — tile drainage is one way to control. Do we underestimate the impact of excess moisture on wheat?
  • Seeding rate — reduce tillering to boost yield? Did it work? Not necessarily. Durum wheat seeding rate eg in North Dakota, targeting 1.4 million live plants/ac, what’s the math to working back to seeds per ac? 32 live plants/sq ft. That’s plenty high in dry climates, can use up soil moisture by plant growth. Germination and mortality must be factored in 5% in dry soils, but can be 20-25% in wet conditions in Ontario.
  • Nitrogen rates and calculating credit from previous crop and manure…
  • Straw plugging and fusarium problems with airdrill in Manitoba. Derek’s wondering if fall tillage should be more aggressive. Does more tillage break down more residue? Likely not. Could cause more plugging, first of all. Need to ensure rotation isn’t contributing to fusarium problem.
  • FHB in rye before potatoes — yes, rye also gets fusarium. Recommended 60 lb of N unless a hybrid.
  • Moist soils and N options — 50% urea, 50% treated with ESN scenario — in wet weather, side band has higher losses than a deep band (that’s because of soil bugs are closer to surface.) How does temperature contribute to urea gassing off and role for Agrotain?
  • Cover crops seeding into corn — which species? Annual ryegrass can tolerate shade from corn.
  • Seeding grass into RR alfalfa — grass seed will establish anytime there’s enough moisture. Kill weeds in alfalfa stand, broadcast orchardgrass a few days later. Less competition from alfalfa, the better for establishing grass.
  • Active down pressure on a corn planter  — is it really that big of a deal? Flag test data shows big yield implications of having every plant come up on time. On only 300 acres, very little yield impact when seeding under reasonable conditions. Big win is in tacky areas of field, which are hopefully less than 10 percent of field.

 


Source: Real Agriculture: Wheat Pete’s Word by Peter Johnson

canada fleabane photo

Tough news on fleabane

It takes a well thought out plan to keep glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane in check.

The world of science can often provide insight into some rather grim realities. But sometimes, fortunately, it can provide more than just insight. It can provide strategic help too.

That’s the case with Dr. Peter Sikkema, who opened 2017 by making a presentation on herbicide-resistant weeds at the two-day Southwest Agricultural Conference (SWAC) at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus.

It was another chance for Sikkema to make his pitch for integrated weed management (IWM), which he and other weed experts across the country are Read more

ATV safety

ATVs on the farm

Your family is your pride and joy. Whether you are raising children, watching out for your partner, or checking in on Dad after a long day in the field, you would do anything to keep them safe, while preserving the farm experience for future generations. ATVs on the farm ATVs are used on our farm […]

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Naahii Ridge students learn about agriculture

February 16 was Canada’s Agriculture Day and the students at Naahii Ridge Public School in Ridgetown, Ontario, had the chance to celebrate the day with many volunteers from the agricultural community.

“Canada’s Ag Day was a great opportunity for us to talk to the students about why the Canadian Ag industry is so important,” says Amy Caron, Communications Specialist for Dow Seeds. “Dow Seeds was very fortunate to work with some great community volunteers to bring that message to the students at Naahii.”

Travis Roodzant from Thompsons Limited – Blacks Lane branch.

Photo from Canada Agriculture Day

Students from grades 4, 5 and 6 listened to presentations on the importance of the Ag industry and the various career opportunities this sector offers. The students then participated in the “Canada’s Ag Day Trade Show” where they travelled around the gym to various stations to talk to the volunteers about what they do in the Ag industry.

Students had the opportunity to talk to: Cara McCready, a Greenhouse IPM Specialist with OMAFRA who talked about beneficial pests and pest management; Jane Lawton from Chatham-Kent 4H about the organization and how to become involved; Janice Anderson from Pioneer about the importance of Women in Ag; Rob Reid, Dairy Education Center Manager, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus, who spoke on what happens in a dairy barn; Grace Jones, a Dow Seeds Territory Sales Rep, spoke on the importance of business and crop planning with farmers; Travis Roodzant from Thompsons Limited talked to the kids about agronomy and the use of drones in that process; Madison Trozzi, a high school senior who completed her co-op in the Dow Seeds Seed Lab showed the science behind ag industry and Eric Bastiaansen, an egg farmer from Thedford talked about how your eggs get from his farm to your grocery store.

Pictured are the Canada Agriculture Day volunteers, left to right: Cara McCready, Travis Roodzant, Grace Jones, Madison Trozzi, Rob Reid, Jane Sawton, Janice Anderson, and Eric Batiaansen. Absent from photo was Cassi Boersma.

Ag Day in Ridgetown, Ontario photo

Students from Grades 1 to 3 didn’t miss out on the festivities. Cassi Boersma, a part time teacher with Naahii and the Farm Safety Coordinator for Ridgetown, spoke to this group of students about the importance of ATV and farm safety.

Other organizations who helped support this event were FCC, Ag in the Classroom and Agriculture More Than Ever.

“We only had a couple of hours to share our stories with these students,” says Caron. “However, there were some great questions and hopefully some great conversations around their dinner table that night.”

Click for more information on Canada’s Agriculture Day.


Source: Ridgetown Independent News – 1 Main Street, Ridgetown, ON (519) 674-5205.

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Crop planning is key to learn from past mistakes or misses

Winter is a perfect time to look back at what you’ve learned, and crop planning is key.

The 2016 season has long passed and the busyness of life has taken a pause. Winter is a perfect time to look back at what you’ve learned from last year’s experiences, and apply that knowledge towards crop planning for 2017.

One of the most important ways to improve is to create a complete crop plan for how to implement those changes. Creating a detailed and comprehensive crop plan allows you to stay focused. Crop plans can allow your operation to improve on specific issues. It also allows you to try innovative concepts on your farm.

There is so much to think about. Read more

DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

UAN Fertilizers Higher Once Again

OMAHA (DTN) — A majority of retail fertilizer prices continue to push higher, according to fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the last week of January 2017. This marks the second consecutive week prices have been significantly higher, although prices have been trending higher much longer.

All but one of the eight major fertilizers were higher although only two were higher by any considerable amount. UAN28 was 8% higher compared to a month earlier while UAN32 was 6% more expensive. UAN28 had an average price of $236/ton while UAN32 was at $270/ton.

The remaining five fertilizers were slightly higher but not by a significant amount. MAP had an average price of $448/ton, potash $329/ton, urea $353/ton, 10-34-0 $439/ton and anhydrous $482/ton.

One lone fertilizer is slightly lower, but this move to the low side was not that notable. DAP had an average price of $430/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.29/lb.N, UAN28 $0.42/lb.N and UAN32 $0.42/lb.N.

While retail fertilizer prices may not be as low as they were a few weeks ago, they are still relatively low in the big picture view and university crop budgets continue to reflect this fact.

In a post from the Agricultural Economic Insights’ Blog titled “Why Soybean Acres Aren’t a Clear Winner in 2017” from Feb. 6 and written by David Widmar and Brent Gloy, the ag economists take a look at the different crop budgets from across the Corn Belt. They used crop budgets for the 2017 growing season for corn and soybeans from Iowa State University, the University of Illinois and Purdue University.

The changes in the cost of seed, fertilizer and crop protection from 2016 compared to 2013 are broken down in the post. Scroll down to find the link to this post.

Not surprisingly, fertilizer has seen large declines during this time. Iowa State estimates fertilizer will be down $59/acre in corn and $25/acre in beans while Illinois figured $57/acre less in corn and $42/acre less in beans and Purdue was at $73/acre lower in corn and $44/acre lower in beans.

“While fertilizer expenses have changed in all budgets — as one would expect given declining fertilizer prices — changes in seed and crop protection have also been impactful,” the report said.

While some may believe soybeans would hold a clear economic advantage in the 2017 growing season over corn production, the university crop budgets were not consistent with the assessments of which crop would fare better economically. The Purdue and Illinois crop budgets favored soybeans in 2017, while the Iowa State crop budget favored corn.

Differences in the crop budgets are not uncommon, the report said. It happened in 2014 when the Purdue budgets favored soybeans while Iowa State and Illinois both stated corn would be more profitable.

“When evaluating seed, fertilizer and crop protection expenses across the three university budgets, the adjustments were not consistent,” the report stated. “Inconsistencies in production costs adjustments are also likely common across farms too.”

To read the post and review the results, click on this link: http://bit.ly/…

Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers but one are now double-digits lower.

The one fertilizer no longer down double-digits is urea, which is now down 5%. UAN28 is now 10% less expensive while MAP is 11% lower. Both DAP and UAN32 are 12% lower, anhydrous is 13% less expensive, potash is 14% less expensive and 10-34-0 is 20% lower compared to a year prior.

DTN collects roughly 1,700 retail fertilizer bids from 310 retailer locations weekly. Not all fertilizer prices change each week. Prices are subject to change at any time.


Source: DTN, by Russ Quin, DTN Staff Reporter

London soybean farmers hope to match record set by wheat crop

By John Miner, The London Free Press


After harvesting a record wheat crop earlier this summer, some farmers in the London region are looking at scoring a repeat with soybeans.

“Soybeans are much better than anyone anticipated. Many people in the London area are having record yields,” Peter Johnson, a Southwestern Ontario-based agronomist with Real Agriculture, said Wednesday.

Soybeans are Ontario’s biggest cash crop with sales in 2015 at the farm gate exceeding $1.4 billion. In Middlesex County, soybeans typically bring in more than $100 million a year.

While the London region and much of Southwestern Ontario fared well, it wasn’t the same story in the Niagara Peninsula where it remained dry through most of August. Read more

Success on Great Lakes phosphorus

wheat seedlings

Can winter wheat get too big?

Source: Wheat School on RealAgriculture.com.


Ontario’s winter wheat crop is growing like gangbusters thanks to unseasonably warm fall temperatures. But could it grow too much?

“No way,” says agronomist Peter Johnson in Real Agriculture’s latest Wheat School episode. “The only thing we have to worry about is if it’s still growing on Christmas Eve, like last year.” In that case growers may have to adjust spring nitrogen rates.

The 2016 wheat crop benefitted greatly from early planting to produce a record 96.7 bushels per acre. Johnson has encouraged growers to plant early again this spring, but many have asked whether plants could get too big as good growing conditions persist.

In this episode, Johnson looks at a fast growing wheat field and concludes that the plants can still add more tillers. He says last year many plants had 10 to 12 tillers and he’s seen nowhere near that number in fields he’s scouted this fall.

“Well advanced wheat in the fall makes you money next spring,” says Johnson. “This is a an awesome crop.”

Six limiting factors in your soil that will make or break your operation

Soil, your primary infrastructure

Farms and grazing operations — organic or otherwise — are only as good as their worst resource, according to Oregon-based grazier Abe Collins.

“Soil is our primary infrastructure on the farm,” said Collins, who spoke at the recent Organic Alberta conference.

“Biologically, chemically, and physically, you need to be looking at the limiting factors in your soil.”

In the Canadian Prairies, water tends to be a key limiting factor when it comes to growing crops and forages — but there are others as well, said Collins.

This checklist covers off six other important factors that could mean the difference between success and failure on your farm. While Collins was speaking to an audience of organic producers, there’s plenty of good ideas for conventional growers to borrow too.

1. Year-long green

The first rule, says Collins, is “100 per cent covered soils 100 per cent of the time — never bare soil.

“Bare soil is a burn victim,” he said. 
 Read more