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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Weather Outlook

The big question at this time of year is whether or not we will have enough moisture to have another great crop year.  I know nothing about making those types of predictions except that we seldom string together 2 great years much less three.  A ProFarmer article quotes National Weather Service as predicting a drought in Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fuel Problems in Brazil

By Eduardo Paim
Here in Mato Grosso to Conlheita is 35% on average between cities, we can say that the production could be better, at this time we talk about 51 production average of bags in the state, we were expecting average 56 bags per hectare. In the north of Mato Grosso was no hope of a better production when to harvest soybeans that was planted last, because these plants did not have problems of lack of rain in the phases of grain filling and flowering, but production is very low, contrary producers who do not understand what happened.

The strike of the trucks is causing disorders as already missing gasoline and Diesel in some cities in Mato Grosso, mainly in the north where we first began downtime. Here in Rondonopolis is already starting to run out fuel. Even with all the disorder that is causing most Brazilians supports this move because the country is entering a hole of corruption that has ever been seen in this country. Day 15/03 there will be a national strike to be the impeachment of chairs. Nor is there buying soy because exporting companies do not know when will transport soybeans are purchased.

I made a small stock of Dieesel, gas and petrol in my house.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Applying Nitrogen to Winter Wheat

I can remember  a time when nitrogen was applied to winter wheat in February.  Researchers have found that this is not a great idea.  There is some discussion about split application in wheat.  In my mind DAP applied in the fall constitutes the first application of nitrogen.  If the DAP is applied later in the fall, cold weather will help preserve the nitrogen for spring growth.  The early boost of nitrogen can increase tillering.  It is much more efficient to apply nitrogen later in the growing season.  Nitrogen can be applied well into April, putting on the crop when it is most needed.  Pioneer Seed looks at nitrogen on wheat and refers to Illinois research.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Winter Wheat Damage

After or even during a cold winter, there is always a question as to the whether or not to replace the wheat with another crop because of winter kill.  It is really way to early to even consider in Illinois.  You need to look at the wheat after it breaks dormancy to know what is best.  University of Kentucky offers advice on stand and tiller counts.  Keep in mind that if you have crop insurance you will want to consult with the insurance people before you destroy the crop and replant.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

When to Soil Sample

The short answer is, "When you can get a soil probe in the ground." There may be other things to consider, but if you are farming "new" land, that may be good enough.

We all know that good representative soil samples give us the opportunity to make fertilizer and liming decisions based on technical, scientifically obtained data.  How do we assure that data is valid enough that we do not short change ourselves on fertilizer and lime?
  • Pull soil samples in the same season every year
We usually start in Mid-March and work until crops are too tall in Mid-June.  In fall we start as soon as complete fields are harvested and continue until Thanksgiving or shortly thereafter.  We try to do the same customers at the same time of year, year after year.  Our first customer in the spring is always our first customer in the spring.  Producers tend to have similar timing in operations year after year.  It is surprising that year after year, we tend to sample the same fields on nearly the same date.  (yes I track that) 
  • Sample under similar conditions every year
This pretty much follows the seasonal reasoning.  Soil test results can vary depending on soil moisture and temperature, so we are likely to see results following a predictable pattern from year to year.

We are able to cover more acreage in the spring-summer sampling season than in the fall.  For the most part we can cover the land we want to cover better in the spring.  Individuals doing there own sampling can time sampling on their own.  In the fall, we are captives of the speed of harvest.

The graph below reflects some of the variation we see because of moisture and temperature from year to year.  It gives you a good idea of why we sample yearly.  If you do  not have frequently collected data, you never know where you might be as far as whether the soil test is higher or lower than it "should" be.

While sampling at the same time of year is important, if it has been several years since you have sampled, and you want to switch seasons, it may be a good time to switch.  Spring sampling has the added advantage that recommendations are available before harvest. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Killing Annual Ryegrass

No-Till Farmer published 8 Keys to Help No-tillers Manage Annual Ryegrass. The article says it starts with planting, but it is still timely because it talks about things like:

  • Get the water pH correct when you spray glyphosate
  • Spray to ryegrass after it breaks dormancy
  • Use an alternative herbicide if the glyphosate does not work the first time.
Click on the link to get the whole story.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Improving water quality with wetlands

As we move toward lowering the nutrient levels in our water, I expect that we will need every tool in the toolbox.  Journal of Soil and Water Conservation published an article in September on using wetlands parallel to a stream.  Researchers were from Wisconsin and found the practice to be effective.  Read about how they used enhanced wetlands for nitrogen removal in an agricultural watershed.   The practice is not a cure-all, but their data suggests that there will be streams where it is appropriate.