Provincial Director’s Message

I think 2019 geared us up for the challenges in 2020, cause 2020 certainly hasn’t been easy! So many up’s & down’s; snow in May and 31o C a week later, frost on hay mid June. It doesn’t always cause damage but it takes some time for things to smarten up from that.

People in parts of the region are just finishing up planting while others were done a few weeks ago. There’s a lot of variability across the region due to soil type and weather, but most areas are in need of rain. I’ve recorded only 6.5” since March 1. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to have but that seems low, especially when we usually get a bunch in April.

It’s good to see things opening up a bit while infection rates stay relatively low. We’ll wait for the word from OSCIA on when we can resume in person meetings for soil & crop.

In the meantime, planning is underway for our last regional event for the soil health project to happen virtually in the early fall. Strip till is expected to be the topic so watch for more details. We are continuing with the soil health feature articles in the newsletter this year, so read the one in this edition about Matt Beischlag’s experiences with strip till as a primer.

I’ve learned that a corn planter with good trash whippers can make a good strip in the fall that mimics strip till. If you have dry fertilizer on your planter, you can put that down in the fall too, and plant into that ‘strip’ in the spring. Could be an interesting first step to changing practices without any investment.

I’m doing a corn plot on 60” rows with 60,000 plants/row. It looks a bit more drought stressed than the 30” corn next to it, but I just put the cover crop in mid-June ahead of the 2/10” rain we got. Hoping it will turn out good. Also put black beans into annual rye grass cover that was corn stalks from last year. They are in full second trifoliate & looking good.

Keep your boom tips in the air and your combine auger out of the trees!

Happy cereal harvest,

Steve

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