Archive for the ‘seeding’ Category

Affects of Modern Farming on the Soil

August 28, 2009

Dr. Ross McKenzie, from the Lethbridge Research Station provides comments on the affect that modern farming has had on the soil. Some groups maintain that modern farming is destroying our top soil levels and creating adverse compaction, and decreasing organic matter. Others would say that things like organic matte are rising based on modern farming methods. I asked Ross to comment on this topic so that we could get a a professional scientific opinion to base some discussion on.

Why Winter Wheat – Ross McKenzie, PhD – Lethbridge Research Station

August 22, 2009

Ross McKenzie, PhD of the Lethbridge Research Station talks about the agronomic considerations for winter wheat. Ross explains seeding dates, plant populations, nutrient requirements, specific variety considerations and seeding depth.

Winter wheat is a great crop with many benefits. Planting winter wheat is a great way to lower the amount of workload in the spring and creates a much more spread out harvest.

Serfas Farms Seeding Video

July 10, 2009

I just love the idea of farmers filming videos during the growing season.  It is a great way to showcase the pride that farmers take in their operation.  This is a great video from a great friend and one my top customers, Serfas Farms.  They are based in Turin, Alberta and grow grow wheat, barley, canola and silage corn.  Serfas Farms also has a feedyard.  The farm is managed by Herb Serfas and his two  sons Kevin and Mark.  You can follow Kevin Serfas on Twitter at @serfman76

Great video guys keep them coming.  

New Seeding Implements for 2010 Were Showcased at the Farm Progress Show in Regina

July 2, 2009

By: Garth Donald of Dynagra

The new seeding equipment was hot off the press at the Western Farm Progress Show two weeks ago in Regina. The biggest thing to come out for this next season is from Seed Hawk with their sectional control. Seed Hawk along with Raven industries have come up with a sectional controller system which will shut off both seed and fertilizer in overlapping situations very similar to most spraying systems. With savings of over 20% seen on the sectional sprayer controls, growers feel that they will see that type of savings on the drills. Raven have been making controllers for many years which will give reliability to this product which will also give them the ability to do variable rate in the next couple of years.
New Holland has just released their new version of a parallel link seeding system on their Slim platform for 2010. It is a new opener combination of seed on one side and a side band of fertilizer on the other side. The biggest advantage of this system is the transport width which is one of the narrowest in the industry with the potential of going to some of the largest seeding widths in the industry.

Bourgault and Morris were also showcasing there parallel linked seeding systems and there variable rate air carts. Both companies are using the Topcon X20 system for controlling their seeding system and variable rate systems which is very proven.

So what is the best system? Well, the one that fits your farm and soil type is the best system. There are pros and cons to every system but just make sure that it will perform the way you want it to.

Those are my thoughts,

Garth Donald C.C.A., Dynagra, Visit to inquire about DynagraVRT so that you can tap the full potential of your fields.

Do You Know What Is In Your Ground?

May 15, 2009

Will spring ever come? That was definitely the question I had to ask everyone today. With the cool weather I figured it was a good day to get my agronomy staff get ready for the scouting season so we went checking some fields for weeds and we found a little bit more that what we bargained for. As far as the weeds go, they have been very slow due to the cold temperatures but underneath the ground was a different story. In the one field we found some pale western cut worms which we don’t normally see but can do a lot of damage to the crop. But the main pest we found today was wire worms. Now a lot of growers tell me that they can never find wire worms but there is a trick when looking for them. They are usually located very close to the soil surface so you don’t want to be digging, more like flicking the dirt away. They will move up and down through the soil but this time of the year I tend to find them at the soil surface. Now the adults are a creamy yellow to orange in color an around a inch long. These are the easy ones to find but the very young wire worms are the tough ones to see. They are a clear to white in color and move very quickly in the soil. Today we found 3 adults and 2 infants in a 6 inch by 6 inch square. There is no real firm threshold for wire worms but the number that is in the industry seems to be 1 worm per bait ball (most bait balls are made from oatmeal which the wire worms seem to like to eat).

So what does this all mean? Well we would normally just say that we had seed rot or disease that caused us to have a lower plant population than normal. But without taking a look we could have wire worm damage and not even realize it. Now for all of you with seed in the ground there is no option for controlling wire worms unless you used Cruiser Maxx Cereals for cereals. Cruiser Maxx Cereals is the only seed treatment registered in cereals for control of wire worms as of today. Bayer Crop Science is working on having their product Raxil W/W registered but it looks like it will not be available until next year. You are probably saying to yourself “this is great information but a little to late to help me.” With scouting for underground pest and understanding the levels we can make a sound decision for the next year. In agriculture we are famous in just saying”Well if I found them in one field they will be in all of my fields so we might as well just treat everything!” This statement can be true but with proper scouting we can identify the fields that have a problem and treat them instead of the whole farm.

Those are my thoughts,
Garth Donald C.C.A

Seeding Update is Not Pretty

May 14, 2009

No matter who you talk to across the Northen US and Canada, seeding is behind schedule. Late seeding can lead to a multitude of challenges for the crop throughout the rest of the year. Whether it is wheat, canola, soybeans or corn many farmers are racing against father time to get this years crop seeded.

When I talked to Warren Kaeding of Wagon Wheel Seeds in Churchbridge Saskatchewan (southeast SK), he said their area is 20-25% with moist but cool soil temperatures. North of Highway 16 (Yellowhead) leads to snow every three to four days with most farmers at 10% completed.

In talking to Brent Gatzke a farmer just outside of Swift Current, he comments that seeding in Southwestern Saskatchewan is 50-100% finished depending on where you are.

In Southern Alberta the weather seeding is underway with most farms in he 20% – 40% finished. Some early planters are very close to being finished. The southwest is very wet (still getting snow) while the southeast is very dry.

Manitoba and the Dakota’s are very wet and cold. It would be tough to convince many of these growers that winter has ended.

Ontario is anywhere from 10-60% seeded in corn and 5% in soybeans while Quebec is over 60% finished seeding corn due to warm temperatures over the past 10 days. As you look over the entire midwest heavy rains have significantly delayed seeding in corn. For eaxample Illinois is 10% seeded which is much lower than the 84% average said a farmer.

All of this is leading to the enevitable question how will an already expected decrease in corn acres and the apparent late seeding affect the price of corn through the summer. Only time will tell.

Seeding Videos to Get You in the Mood

May 5, 2009

Now that seeding is sort of underway across North America I thought I would highlight some YouTube videos that different famers have put together showcasing their seeding efforts. As you watch the videos you can see the pride that each has in their hard work and most importantly the color of the equipment.

I would encourage everyone to take video and pictures through the growing season and I will post the best ones for everyone to see. Have a great spring and good luck with seeding.

Seeding by 1000 Kernel Weight Ensures a Better Plant Stand

May 4, 2009

This article orginally appeared in the Winter 2004 edition of the Haney Farms Quarterly

Traditionally farmers have always thought of planting their crop in terms of bushels per acre. Bushels have been a unit of measure that we have felt comfortable with in the past because it was a function of pounds. For example, one bushel of barley is 48 pounds and if you seed two bushels per acre, you are seeding at 96 pounds. This was the simple convenient way because it usually was the same number every year. When you seed at the same rate every year you are not taking into consideration many of the important variables that can have dramatic affects on your yield and your bottom line.

According to Phil Thomas, Senior Agri-Coach with Agri-trend, “The optimum seeding rate will vary depending on several factors such as: length of growing season, location and potential for summer drought, seedbed firmness, moisture and temperature, variety seed size, germination and vigor, soil type, texture, pH, surface residue and tillage, depth of seeding, fertilizer placement, crop intended end us, weeds, insects and diseases.”

There are some drawbacks to this traditional system, which has spawned more agronomical based calculations for planting rates.

The problems are as follows:

  • Does not consider the germination or mortality levels of the seed
  • Does not consider the actual weight of the seed (1000 kernel weight). This is important because for example, not all barley weighs the same. Therefore you may think that you are planting 150 pounds per acre but are truly planting 125.
  • There was no realization of the desired plant population

The calculation that is recommended by researchers is to obtain a desired plant population based on plants per square foot. This calculation takes into account the germination of the seed as well as the 1000 kernel weight and the row spacing of the drill. The following example will outline this concept more clearly.
Seeding rate (lb/ac) = desired plant population/ft² x 1,000 kernel wt (grams) ÷ (germination – mortality) ÷ 10.

In a Prairie Post article, Ross McKenzie of the Research station in Lethbridge states that, “the plumper and more ideal the seed, the higher the seeding rate. Because plumper seeds weigh more, a larger sample will be required to attain the desired number of plants per square foot.”
Ross continued, “once the seeding rate is determined the farmer must calibrate his drill to dispense the correct number of pounds of seed per acre.”

At, click on the calculator tab and find the seeding rates section. In here you can enter your seed information to calculate the seeding rate that is best for you according to the variables discussed in this article. Farming in the 21st century requires accurate scientific based decisions because of lack of room for error due to decreasing margins.

Canola School: Field Selection, Seeding Speed, Seeding Rate

April 22, 2009

In this segment Matt Stanford walks us through the key points in field selection, the proper canola seeding speed and obtaining the proper seeding rate. All three things are key factors in getting a great stand. In canola growing, cutting corners can cause pain through the growing season.