Winter wheat as a cover crop for soybeans is a little different for North Carolina farmers Darryl Corriher and Tom Hall. Cover crops are just one of several factors that allow the North Carolina farmers to farm large acreages of grain and remain timely and efficient in their production practices. Darryl Corriher started farming in 1975. A few years later a farm neighbor and friend Tom Hall wanted to get back into production farming. Now, over 30 years late C&H Grain Company is one of the most productive grain operations in the North Carolina Piedmont.
According to Vigil, stripper header harvested stubble provided more moisture conserving benefits than conventionally harvested stubble. His research has found that the stripped wheat stubble reflects heat, reducing evaporation; increases water infiltration; slows down the wind, furthering reducing evaporation; traps snow and, ultimately, increases soil water storage.
“I feel like the standing stubble gives the ground more ability to retain moisture,” David said. “It shades the ground more, lasts longer (than shorter stubble) and keeps the wind off the crop growing in the stubble, which also helps retain the moisture. The taller stubble also captures more snow. Typically a lot of our moisture is from snowfall and snow melt. It’s all economics to try and save the moisture.”
“The wheat is a byproduct. We want the straw to put the corn back into it,” Getz said in explaining his decision. “A significant number of people will agree with me. If you had to pay off ground in this part of the country with wheat, you’d have to raise a lot of it. The economics aren’t there. But, we need that straw to save moisture for the corn.”
He believes the no-till is paying off, even in the extremely dry conditions the region has experienced this year. He raised an average of 41 bushel wheat in 2006, well above what many farmers experienced. His grain sorghum after wheat has also averaged higher than conventionally tilled and harvested fields during the recent drought years. The difference, he believes, lies in the straw. “One of the great benefits of the stripper header is the wheat stubble it leaves for the milo,” Hoeme said. “If there is good stubble, then you’ll get a good, solid milo stand that maintains even in the dry years.” He has compared his stripper-cut fields with ones harvested with conventional or draper heads and has found significant differences. The advantages of the stripped straw is especially noticeable when conventional and stripper heads have been used in the same or adjacent fields.
Located in Northwest Idaho is Millhorn Farms Inc, owner Seth Millhorn farms around 8,000 acres. He raises Wheat, Kentucky Bluegrass, Chickpeas, Oats and Timothy. Seth has found a niche market for wheat straw and has recently purchased two brand new 2011 CVS32 Stripper Headers for harvesting his wheat. The heads are running on a pair of CNH8010 hillside combines. The Stripper heads were purchased from Jones Truck & Implement in Colfax, WA
No-till can be a sticky issue in the semi-arid plains of western Kansas. Hard soils during wheat planting, higher operating costs that come with more intense crop rotations and chemical resistance with weeds in some areas of the state have caused some farmers to dust off the plough and bring tillage back into their cropping system.
The Kastens family near Herndon, Kan., meanwhile, has gone full no-till and hasn’t looked back. The long-term benefits of soil conservation and water efficiency, they argue, are well worth the effort.
Winter is when many producers spend time researching new techniques and new equipment.
Kent Squires, who farms just outside of Geraldine, Mont., spent four winters researching one specific piece of equipment, a Shelbourne Reynolds stripper header.
“They were originally built for harvesting rice. Because of the stiff stem on the rice it wouldn’t go through the combine, so they built a header that just combed the rice out of the head and left the whole stock still standing. After they built it, they found out it worked super good for wheat,” said Squires.
Vigil gets farmers’ attention when he tells them that storing water in just the top inch of an acre of land—an "acre-inch"—is worth $25 to $30 an acre. Vigil, ARS agronomist David Nielsen, and ARS soil scientist Joseph Benjamin—both also at Akron—made this calculation by using 10-year average crop prices in equations they developed to relate crop yields to stored water levels. Four to six tillage passes to kill weeds result in a loss of 3 acre-inches of water over 14 months of fallow. Those six passes cost $24 to $48 an acre in fuel and labour costs. "Adding that to the cost of water lost, that’s $99 to $138 from your pocket," Vigil tells farmers.
In 2009, Durand Farm, located in St. Martin Parish, La., was presented the Outstanding Master Farmer Award. In 2010, this 1,150-acre progressive rice and crawfish farm, operated by brothers, Jeff, Greg and Conery (C.J.), was named the recipient of the Rice Farmer of the Year Award, sponsored by Rice Farming magazine and Syngenta.
All three brothers completed the Master Farmer Program and have each achieved the designation of a Certified Master Farmer. Jeff, Greg and C.J. strive to increase the efficiency and productivity of their rice and crawfish operation. Following are a few examples of what they do to keep Durand Farm up-to-date and viable.
MORGAN COUNTY - Many wheat farmers across the Front Range started happily harvesting their crop this week. Most farms not hit by spring hail are producing good yields this year.
"It all kind of came together for us," Cary Wickstrom, a wheat farmer in Morgan County, said.
Wickstrom says the weather has cooperated from fall of last year on.
Developed in Great Britain and later marketed in the U.S., the Shelbourne Reynolds stripper headers have had a significant impact on harvesting for farmers who value standing residue. The technology represented a major breakthrough in harvesting options, as have the more recent draper headers for combines and windrowers.
No-tillers using a wheat/row crop/fallow rotation may find that row-crop yields in such a rotation are higher — in years with relatively normal weather — when the wheat-stubble height is taller.
Kansas State University research in western Kansas by Lucas Haag, agronomy graduate student, and Alan Schlegel, agronomist-in-charge at the Southwest Research Extension Center at Tribune, Kan., has found that corn yields increased as stubble height increased.
Camelina is an oilseed crop that can be used to make biodiesel, it also has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, over 50% of the fatty acids in cold pressed Camelina oil are polyunsaturated, the oil is very rich in natural antioxidants, the by products can be used as a very protein rich feed source for cattle.
The Ireland Brothers, of Martin, S.D., get more out of no-till by using stripper headers on their combines.
With the Shelbourne Reynolds headers that strip wheat kernels out heads and leave the straw standing upright, they can operate combines at higher speeds and in tougher conditions than when using straight cut headers that put all the straw through the combine. That increases their combining capacity.
BROADVIEW — On an afternoon when the air presses against his face like a hot iron, Mitch Auer grabs a shovel from his pickup and lumbers into an old wheat stand that hasn’t seen 3 inches of moisture this year.
It’s the last day in July and the National Weather Service has just confirmed that Yellowstone County is experiencing one of its hottest summers ever. A couple of weeks earlier, the same meteorologists were declaring the first six months of the 2012 the county’s driest on record. The misery in farm country is palpable across the southern third of Montana, with multiple counties seeking disaster declarations for drought, fire, or both, which makes what Auer unearths remarkable.
Crops such as high-value grass seed used to be a staple ingredient in the rotations on many Essex arable farms. But, as production practices were modernised, grass seed began to give way to other crops that are possibly more straightforward to grow and harvest.