• Happy New Year

    Steve Larocque - January 3, 2012

    Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were cheery and restful. Enjoying the mild temperatures on the local outdoor rink with my future NHLers was a highlight of mine.

    The other day we finished selling all of our barley and I’m pleased to say our good land went 106 bu/ac and poorer land went 82 bu/ac. Having lost 10% or more from excessive rain, we are not complaining! We’ve yet to haul in the remaining 75% of our canola but our averages look promising there as well. People ask if CTF is working for us and all I have to say is that we’re definitely on the right, um, track.

    Some interesting news on the post-CWB front are the basis levels for new crop wheat. It’s interesting to note that basis levels are roughly $0.80/bu for new crop wheat where CWB basis levels have been $1.38/bu historically. That means the former middle man cost us $0.58/bu to market our grain. To some of my clients that’s over $100,000 year in wheat marketing costs alone. Let’s turn the page on that chapter.

    This week we’ll discuss growing CPS versus HRS wheat in 2012 with tips on CPS wheat production. Next, we’ll look into crop options for 2012 with the top five most profitable crops to grow this year. Last we’ll look into boosting wheat proteins with liquid urea given the protein premiums offered for new crop wheat. We’ll finish with fundamental and technical grain market news.

    Thanks for joining me for Volume 7 of Beyond Agronomy News. I anticipate a great year ahead.

  • The last issue of 2011

    Steve Larocque - November 28, 2011

    This is the 46th and final issue of Beyond Agronomy News for 2011. This year is another one for the record books for yields, quality and extreme weather.

    The year started off wet with many producers delayed until mid-May before seeding. The warm, moist soil made crops jump out of the ground quickly and the rains kept coming until late-June. At our farm, we had 8 inches of rain before the end of June and only 6 days in June without rain. The tap turned off in July and August with just a few showers to finish the crops. September brought two weeks of awesome temperatures (high 20's and low 30's) to finish off our late crops perfectly. In fact, most of use shut down the combines each night because we were tired, not because the straw got tough! In the end, wheat yields were pushing high 50’s and low 60’s in the east and high 60’s, mid 70’s in the west. Barley yields were all over the map due to the heavy rains early on but some managed to make malt quality barley and push over 100 bu/ac. Canola yields were just above average for most with a few mega yields pushing high 70’s but most in the 50 to 60 bu/ac range. Peas were the sleeper this year with yields in the high 50’s and 60’s.

    The biggest money makers were malt barley, peas and canola, then wheat and feed barley. The biggest disappointment was the downgrading in wheat from high levels of ergot and lower proteins from two years of above average yields. As I write this, parliament just passed the bill to end the CWB monopoly so 2012 proves to be an exciting one for all commodities.

    This week we’ll recap some of the most innovative and well received articles from 2011. We'll welcome you back January 3rd with Volume 7 of Beyond Agronomy News.

    Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I wish you all continued success with your family and business.

  • Challenges we face with residue management

    Steve Larocque - November 15, 2011

    I spent three full days at AgriTrade last week and had a great visit with clients and colleagues. This year’s show was all about more horsepower, a little more cleaning capacity, more technology, and nicer cabs powered by more electronics.

    This week we’ll be looking at the results from yield measurements on rows beside the unseeded tram lines in our CTF system. We’ll also talk some more on the challenges we face with residue management in our CTF system. Last, I’ll update you on the final results of our high yield feed barley trials. We’ll finish with fundamental and technical grain market news.

    Have a  great week.


  • AgriTrade in Red Deer

    Steve Larocque - November 8, 2011

    Soil sample results have been pouring in with low soil nitrogen levels. That’s not a big surprise but what is a shocker is the money we’re spending on fertilizer this fall. Low soil nitrogen levels and a 50% increase in urea prices make for a large price tag. I had the boys from SSG West out grid sampling last week with hand probes into 6 inches of cement. Ouch. Did I mention it was dry? Hydraulic truck mounted probes are the only way to go this fall.

    This week is AgriTrade in Red Deer and I plan on being there Wednesday through Friday to walk through with clients and visit colleagues. Give me a shout if you’ll be there. My must see list is liquid injection systems for our drill, a GreenSeeker for the sprayer and an RTK base station to replace our wireless RTK system. Don’t forget to sign up for the upcoming Advanced Agronomy Conference on Nov 23-24th. Also, FarmTech 2012 registrations have just opened up so sign up for that must see event.

    In this week’s newsletter, we’ll look at how to fine tune fertility recommendations using statistical analysis. Next, we’ll look at how much seeding rates will increase in 2012 from larger seed weights. Last, we’ll look at some lessons learned from our intensive crop management field trials in 2011. We’ll finish with technical and fundamental grain market news.

    Have a great week.


  • Harvest is finally winding down

    Steve Larocque - October 18, 2011

    Harvest is finally winding down in my area with producers around Calgary south just about finished. I did notice several combines last week slowly chugging on lodged barley. They must have saved the best for last.

    There hasn’t been much action on the purchasing front but I will say now is a better time to buy equipment than later given the potential net returns this year. Farm auctions will be interesting to follow this winter and next spring.

    In this issue, we’ll look at the use of growth regulators in high yield barley production. Next, we’ll look at some wide row spacing trials in canola. Last we’ll look at the use of gypsum-compost blends to reclaim sodic soils. We’ll finish with technical and fundamental market news.

    Have a great week.