NDSU Extension - Ramsey County

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February 22, 2010 Ag Column

Howdy!!!

I can hardly imagine that MARCH is only a week away.  Calving season will be starting very soon, farmers are very busy thinking about planting intentions and they are also very busy working or soon be working on equipment for the upcoming planting season.  I have been to two cropping workshops this winter and the talk is a big buzz.  No one is real sure of what will be planted for two reasons; am unsure of start date as most weather forecasters are different and the other producers seem to be waiting for a commodity price jump thinking there will be “buying acres” coming up.  Well, at this point I am not sure of the buying acres mentality this spring as corn is the only crop with a small carry number and if the weather man is correct, with a late spring planting again, I cannot imagine producers planting much corn.  The other reason I am wondering about corn acres is, like most of you already know, there is plenty of standing corn left to harvest.  Most of those acres come from areas south and east of us like southern Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Ohio.  That is big corn country.  Now we know that those states will still plant corn but weather is going to play a big part in this picture.  Another factor facing producers in our own growing area is; “If we plant wheat, what will we plant, a low protein wheat with great yield potential or a higher protein wheat”.  The market this past 8-10 months would indicate a high protein wheat would be wonderful however is giving up a very positive yield advantage worth the cost.  I am not going to argue with anyone on each farming operation however I do have a comment I would like to make about protein.  Wheat varieties have changed immensely over the past 10 years; we now have varieties that will yield like Barley if conditions are right.  With that being said, we do need to rethink our Nitrogen strategies.  Are we applying enough N to accommodate a higher yield?  Or should we be thinking a different strategy of applying a foliar application at post anthesis?  Or should we stay with our old ways and grow a higher protein wheat? Or should we think of planting an entirely different crop? Or maybe we should plant a high protein wheat and a low protein wheat to diversify our wheat crop????  Whatever you come up with, for your farm management strategies, will most likely work for you. Just a side note about a very high yielding, low protein wheat, Faller.  I know of two producers that have planted Faller for 4 years and have done very well with yield but have suffered proteins like everyone else.  A couple of comments about these producers: they did rethink their nitrogen strategies and now apply enough N for a 70-80 bushel crop, more cost but higher yield and protein and they also are thinking of applying a foliar application this summer.  The other factor that could come into play is Insurance yields.  Both of these producers have very high guarantee yields.  Much, much higher than any county average farm yields. Could the benefit of a higher insurance guarantee be more beneficial in the future, even though we are taking a big protein hit for this current crop???  I am writing this not to confuse you or to change your mind but is designed to make you think about all of your planting intentions this spring.  As we move forward, into the future, crops are changing, not only yields, but also genetically modified and maturities.  THINGS ARE NOT LIKE THEY USE TO BE!!!!!!!  

Calendar

March 15           Private Pesticide training (Devils Lake 6-9 pm)

March 20           Gardening Saturday

March 29           Private Pesticide training (Devils Lake 6-9 pm)

 

 

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