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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Latest No-till effort

Planted oats into wheat stubble Saturday. I was never so happy to hear the low population alarm go off in my life. Actually that is not usually a really happy experience as it mostly means something is wrong. Finished up at 9:35 in a light rain. Was very happy for my FarmerGPS program. Lets me run guidance on a $60 ebay special, Fujitsu 3400 tablet computer. Oh and how I do hate Windows... but that is another story, one full of violence and broken screen digitizers...and need for self help books on tape!
Anyway here are some photos and them I'm going to bed. It poured down rain today. Think we got like an inch or so in last two days. It is unbelievable how much I have to do and how little I am getting done. Can't sleep at night and can't get out of bed in the morning.
Farming is getting more interesting. Fundumental shifts locally. Grass seed is not moving and farmers are quickly moving to commodity crops, wheat, oats, perhaps barley. Price is terrible. We are going to grow some. Have some very wet ground and I plant on planting the barley when soil temp gets close to 50 degrees. Not sure if I will no-till or not. Hope to get some radish contracts. This would work good in a no-till rotation. Goal is, grass (for hay or seed), wheat or oats, or barley, then radish, then back to grass, or might be able to plant clover with the radish. This is what I would do if we didn't have all wet riverbottom ground.
So back to the no-till. Planted oats into wheat stubble. Did two fields 10 miles apart. First was prennial ryegrass, lots of sprout and very green still, just sprayed out. Planted spring wheat, don't know variety. Next was Montezuma oats into wheat stubble. Fairly tall, some a foot hight. Very wet heavy clay ground. Kind of iffy. Was in a hurry to beat the rain so planted at 7 mph. Looks like it was disked. Hope the heavy rain does not uncover the seed. Applied 10 gallons of 10-34 fertilizer per acre. Goal was 1 inch depth for oats. 120lbs per acre or 1.1-1.4 million seeds per acre. (according to monitor don't know how this applies to actual seed per bushel/lb count)
Have had wide variation in population count with oats. So if you have really heavy oats and you go by lbs per acre you actually have a lower population than if you have little light oats. What does this mean? Obviously you have a lower plant population from what one would think of as better seed. I don't know, I have a liberal arts degree...
Ok, photos are all mixed up. First pictures with the green field are of wheat into recently sprayed prennial ryegrass. Planted 3/4 to 1" deep. Pretty good sod, didn't work the ground very much. More of a silty clay soil. Should have paid more attention. Rate was 120lbs seed, 10 gallons fert. Fertilzer was mix of 10-34 plus some 32. Not sure exact mix used. Was in a hurry must take better notes. Planted at 6.5 mph. Does a pretty good job at that speed.
Photo in the cab is planting oats into wheat stubble 10 miles down the road. Did 75 acres Saturday. Not too bad a production rate for having to drive a long ways to fill the drill, with 50lb bags. Usually 28 bags to the fill. I didn't push it much past the point when the low bin alarm goes off. Have a couple more acres after that but running out sometimes leaves a pattern.
Planting at 8 mph pretty much worked the ground. I really, really hope it comes up good. Could be a lot of problems with this field, too wet, too cold, too many slugs, mice, probably low pH. Time will tell. Good night.


  1. Interesting, more than interesting. Good demand for radish seed for cover crop, might make up for some of the lack of interest in grass seed. I give my presentation in Ada tomorrow on radish vs. ryegrass so it should be interesting. Since making some needed changes I talked about I have slept well every night for over 6 months. Do wake up early but that is my nature. Got the loan closed yesterday, took two hours! Knocking 11 years of the mortgage and keeping our best 50 acres lien free was worth it but now they claim everything else! Sleep well my friend, it is Ash Wednesday, Day of Abstinence.

  2. Hi Ed!
    Have been reading your no-till speech. One thing I have noticed how no-till works so much better on good soil, but it seems like I mostly plant for folks trying to get a crop into something marginal. Too wet, high erosion, they want to go hunting, and so on. Our farm is pretty wet riverbottom which floods. It is a real challenge to develop a no-till rotation, or to leave residue to build up the soil. Have not been all that successful at home!
    Promoting radish or ryegrass for cover would help us out here! Annual ryegrass no-tills pretty well.
    The whole borrowed money and not knowing what to grow or what will sell next year and some other things all just give me a certain stress level. And I drink too much coffee.
    And I have drank too much coffee this morning, so much for Day of Abstinence..


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