Hello ReaderA hot spell is challenging crops once again with daytime temps reaching 28-33C. Those who seeded late will welcome the hot weather although it will come at a cost of yield and grain weights. If this keeps up proteins will be higher this year. Yield potential remains at average to slightly above average.
I traveled to Swift Current on Monday where I presented our CTF experience and results to the Ultimate Yield group. I was nothing short of amazed at the yield potential in that arid region. Wheat, barley, peas and canola yields will challenge our own this year. Another success story for zero-till!
This week I’ll update you on a new foliar nutrient product that has growth regulating properties in wheat. I’ll provide an update on the value of growing faba beans in wet, saline, compacted areas. I’ll quickly provide a recap of an article on foliar nitrogen on canola as it comes out of flower. Last, I’ll show you the effects of wheel traffic on nutrient uptake. We’ll finish with technical grain market news.
Have a great week.
Pictured above: EM38 maps overlaid on Google Earth background: I’m out ground truthing and this is a great way to help.
Crop Staging(Calgary to Drumheller to Three Hills)
Seeded May 1-7 May 8-15 May 15-22
Wheat soft dough milky dough watery ripe
Canola mid pod early pod end of flower
Barley medium dough soft dough milky dough
Peas late pod mid pod early pod
Steve's tips and tricks of the week
Follow me on Twitter for in-season updates @BeyondAgronomy
- Begin sweeping for lygus bugs in canola. Bertha armyworms and diamond back moth hatching is just around the corner.
- Watch field edges for weed escapes and mow if possible. Field edges are hosts for herbicide resistant weeds.
- This is a great time to ground truth problem areas in fields and georeference for next year. Simple VR programs can be built from the information we collect now.
Update on PGR’s in Western CanadaAs the popularity of plant growth regulators continue, new products are starting to emerge in the market place. PGR’s, as they are referred to, will be an absolute game changer in Western Canada. The newest PGR to be released in 2015 is a product called Manipulator, with the active chlormequat chloride and sold by Engage Agro. This product has been formulated to activate under cooler conditions with safeners that are suited to our stressful conditions. Already, there is a new kid on the block to challenge Manipulator.
The product is Influencer, a foliar nutrient with growth regulating properties. It has 9% boron and 0.002% molybdenum with a hormone called cytokinin and is sold by Nutri Rx. The application of cytokinin signals the plant to turn its apical dominance to the roots instead of shoots. So, when applied at the beginning of stem elongation, the plant focuses on building roots instead of stems. The end result is a plant with more roots and thicker, shorter stems. If you want to read more on the role of cytokinin in plant growth go here.
The HRS wheat variety AC Muchmore is pictured in the photo above. The check with no PGR applied is on the left, beside it is the Product called Influencer applied at 1.0 L/ac and on the right is Manipulator applied at 0.7 L/ac. Both products were applied at GS32 and shortened plant height by 4 inches.
There is a serious need for PGR’s in many parts of Western Canada. I know products like Manipulator and Influencer will have an excellent fit and provide a cost effective strategy to help boost yields and improve harvestability. The cost for Influencer will run roughly $11.00/ac for a 1.0 L/ac application. I suspect Manipulator will come in close. With first production runs in 2015, you should get your name on the list for these products sooner than later. SL
Thanks to Dan Owen of Hudye Soil Services for sharing his research.
Photo credit: Dan Owen, Hudye Soil Services
Faba beans good in wet, saline soilsFaba bean production is on the rise in Alberta as producers look for a new pulse to add to the rotation. With field pea root diseases on the rise and harvestability issues, faba beans are a nice replacement or addition to peas in the rotation. My strategy with clients so far is a little unconventional as I recommend we plant faba beans in our worst, low-lying, salty, wet, unprofitable soils. It turns out they’re a great fit for those acres that produce very little.
The photo above shows a short faba bean plucked from a salty, low-lying area near Acme, AB. You can see the foxtail barley in the background for full effect. Plants in the good areas have 7 to 10 pods with 3 to 4 seeds per pod while plants in the low lying, salty areas produced roughly 4 to 6 pods with 3 to 4 seeds in each. The plants were much shorter in the saline areas but still produced pods. Straight cutting may be a challenge in these areas with the variability in height but we see that every year no matter what crop we grow.
Steve’s tips on faba beans:
- Faba beans do require roughly 120 days and should be planted first. The challenge is that saline, low-lying ground is hard to get into early because the soil is too wet to seed.
- Increase seeding rates from 4ft2 plants to 6ft2 plants to increase maturity, yield and make use of the moisture available in low-lying areas.
- A pre-plant application of Authority (sulfentrazone) is a great tool to manage flushing kochia. Saline soils with low plant competition tend to have high populations of kochia so Authority helps to hold it back. Rates vary between 90 to 118 ml/ac.
- Don’t expect miracles but do expect a better return than barley or wheat.
To learn more about faba bean production go here.
Photo source: Steve Larocque
Applying liquid urea at the end of flowering in canolaI’ve linked to this article before but I thought I would include it as canola fields are coming to the end of flowering. It’s a brief look at the use of foliar urea in canola to boost yields at the end of flower. I would love to see someone accomplish this as I’ve only heard it talked about. To find out more click here.
Impacts of wheel traffic on nutrient uptakeThe impacts of wheel traffic on nutrient uptake are largely unknown in Western Canada. Research in other parts of the world like Europe have shown that immobile nutrients like phosphorus and potassium, which move by diffusion and root interception, are hindered by soils with high bulk density. Compacted soils also have a hard time mineralizing nitrogen, sulphur and manganese due to the reduction in oxygen which mineralizing bacteria require to survive.
A few weeks ago, I took tissue tests in wheat and canola, just inside my tramlines and just outside the tramlines in the next furrow over to compare nutrient uptake. In wheat, the plants with no wheel traffic had significantly higher nutrient concentrations across every nutrient compared to the plants just inside the tramlines, only 12 inches away.
The graphs you see here show the results of tissue samples taken in wheat grown in slightly compacted soil versus un-compacted soil after 5 years of CTF. This soil has a neutral pH with sufficient to optimum level of all nutrients based on soil test results. The tissue samples were taken 12 inches away from each other. The graph on top is from the un-compacted soil and the bottom the compacted soil.
Notice that all nutrients in the compacted soil are lower, in some cases by a large amount. Phosphorus uptake was reduced by 38% while sulphur and calcium were reduced by 50% and 70% respectively. The story behind the micronutrients is the same, all lower.
When you think about the impact of wheel traffic, it’s not benign. From tractors, air carts to castor wheels on air drills and sprayer traffic, all of them compress soil to some degree depending on moisture conditions. That means close to 40% of most fields are covered by wheel traffic before the crop is even out of the ground. The end result can be a serious reduction in nutrient uptake, even when soil test nutrients show sufficient to optimum levels.
It’s interesting to see the impact of wheel traffic first hand instead of reading the research about it. It’s also good to see the benefits of reducing wheel traffic by moving to CTF. In this case, a 50% increase in phosphorus uptake and 70% increase in calcium. There’s no doubt that we will all place a stronger focus on the impact of wheel traffic as we upgrade equipment and continue to farm during these wet, compaction prone years. Food for thought. SL
The charts I use take a short and long term look at whether the market is oversold, neutral or overbought. I use charts as a way to pull the trigger, not to determine the best price.
Canola Nov 14: The long and short term trends are down.
HRS Wheat: Dec 14: The short and long term trends are down.
Corn Dec 13: The short and long term trends are down.
Soybeans: Nov 14: The short and the long term trends are down.
Canadian $: Sept 14: The short and long term trends are down.