2018 No-Till Corn After Wheat

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2018 No-Till Corn After Wheat

Post by Bio Farmer on Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:01 am

Well, it's approaching time to plant the corn. I'm out checking last year's wheat fields and this is what the competition looks like. We have a decent population of vetch and wheat keeping the soil alive this spring. This is when I came in to chemically terminate the cover with a mix of 2,4-D amine and glyphosate.





After the combine last summer we didn't do any field operation to remove, chop, or bury the wheat stubble and straw so there is plenty of brown residue to contend with as well.

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Corrugating for gravity irrigation

Post by Bio Farmer on Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:10 am

On this particular field we didn't plant any cover crop last fall so it is easier to see the results after the planter went through. The planter did well slicing through the stubble to get the seed in the ground. However, you can see the corrugates have a fair amount of straw in them so we decided to pull our disk corrugator to help our irrigation situation on the gravity-irrigated fields.



The first problem we ran into was the standing wheat stubble prevented the corrugator from throwing the straw out of the corrugates to allow the water a clean furrow. So what we decided to do was pull our flail shredder to shorten the stubble.



This was more than a week after planting and the first corn sprouts were just emerging. We had to be careful not to run the shredder too low and damage the crop. We didn't see any damage from this operation though I'd plan on doing it sooner after the planter next time to eliminate any problems.

Shredding the stubble allowed the corrugator to perform well and really gave us nice corrugates to water.


Last edited by Bio Farmer on Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:55 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Emergence

Post by Bio Farmer on Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:12 am

Here's what the crop looks like after emergence. At this point we were fairly happy with our results with the planter and corrugator.

Sadly this was the end of the good news for this production model...


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Voles!

Post by Bio Farmer on Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:34 pm

It quickly became apparent the rodents were taking a major toll on the corn seedlings.



As it turned out, irrigation difficulty saved our bacon on this field. When the corn was germinating we could see areas that the soil was too dry to germinate the corn. Irrigation was clearly required so, as mentioned above, we tried to pull our disk corrugator to clean out the water rows. We started the water on one side of the field as a test. We quickly saw the corrugates were not clean enough to run water so we decided to shred the standing stubble to make the corrugator more effective.



After the corn had some size it was plainly evident exactly where we changed management practices. In the photo above, the left half is where we didn't shorten the stubble and the right half we did.



This last photo is of the side that had the stubble shredded. There is clearly far less rodent damage than the first picture (un-shredded). Something about the stubble height either changed the rodents' behavior or allowed our numerous predators (hawks and owls) to take their toll. Either way it seems clear we need to shred the previous year's stubble right after corn planting to protect the stand.

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Fertilizer Application

Post by Bio Farmer on Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:41 pm

One problem many people have when trying to figure out high-residue farming is how to apply fertilizer. This was the machine we cobbled together for the job:



From front to back (left to right in photo) the tools are:
1) Wavy coulter running 1.5" deep to slice residue
2) Fertilizer knife (swept back design)
3) Cultivator disk running just to the side of the knife trench and just deep enough to cover the fertilizer
4) Corrugators to clean the water rows on gravity fields

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Re: 2018 No-Till Corn After Wheat

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