NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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September 13 Agriculture Column


Well, the weather has sure turned south and sounds like a slight possibility a frost is in the forecast for the middle of the week.  I know it seems early but if we were to look at the average for our area we would be looking at September 20, for the first killing frost.  I personally enjoy this time of year but we have a pile of harvest to get done and need to get back to work at hand.  The wheat harvest is approaching completion but the northeastern part of the county has been suffering from rains, almost every week delaying harvest in that area.  Canola is wrapping up with a few late seeded acres left and the edible bean harvest has begun with a few acres harvested.    Soybeans and corn are looking pretty good but like other crops will know the final outcome until the grain is sold on the market place.  GDD’s days are currently at 2031 or 145 GDD’s ahead of the normal units of 1886 GDD’s.  I have not been out looking at any crops in the last week and half but should have corn in the southern parts of the county reaching black layer.

For those of you interested in watching and learning more about the

Saline Tiling Demo, we will be installing tile on

September 22.  This is a Wednesday and will begin at 10:30 am.  Hans

Kandel (NDSU area agronomist) and Roxanne Johnson (NDSU water quality

specialist) will be present to visit with producers about the

benefits of tiling saline areas.  This demo will take place west of

Bob Freije's farm, along hwy 17 or 3.5 miles west of Edmore.  Agassiz

Tiling of Mayville will be doing the project and expect the demo to

last about an 1.5 hours.  They will provide hotdogs at the conclusion

or about noon.  Hope to see you there.


Mark your calendar - NDCISA District Meetings set as follows:

NE - Friday Dec. 10th, 2010 - Lakota Community Center 9am - noon

Annual Meeting:  February 2-3, 2011 - Doublewood Inn, Bismarck  (to

be held in conjunction with the "Best of the Best").


Soil Sampling

Remember it is not to early to get soil sampling done.  Dave Franzen has done research that

indicates that nitrogen levels change very little from harvest to

later in the fall season.  Sampling earlier does have some advantages

to include: knowing results early enough to allow fall application of

nitrogen, testing before fall tillage gives a more reliable N test,

regrowth of volunteer grain will not hide available nitrogen, and

sampling right after harvest has a better chance of getting sampled

rather than waiting for the rush.


NDSU Cautions that Uncovered Outdoor Grain Piles Wet by Recent Rains will Deteriorate Rapidly


A one-inch rain will increase the moisture content of the top one foot of wheat by about 8 percentage points if it is all absorbed by the top foot of wheat. The depth that the water will penetrate into the pile depends on the rain intensity. A slow rain will be primarily absorbed by grain on the pile surface, while a more intense rain event will soak further into the grain. Hellevang encourages probing the grain to determine the extent of moisture intrusion and the grain moisture content. Do not walk on the pile because the indents become water collection and pile entry points during subsequent rain events.


One-inch of rain will increase will increase the moisture content of wheat from 13 percent up to 21 percent. Wheat at 21 percent moisture will rapidly deteriorate. The allowable storage time for 21 percent wheat at 70 degrees is only about 11 days and is only about 5 days at 80 degrees. The wet wheat needs to be dried quickly in a high temperature dryer to minimize deterioration.


It is frequently reported that water will run off a pile. Rain will not run off the pile until the top surface has crusted due to grain deterioration. Hellevang suggests that you pour water from a pail or a hose onto a pile without a crust and observe how much runs off the pile to check the theory of a pile shedding water.


Losing a foot of wheat due to deterioration is very expensive at today’s wheat prices. A foot of wheat in a pile that is 10 feet high and 43 feet in diameter would be about 30 percent of a 3,900-bushel pile of wheat. Losing a foot of wheat from a pile that is 40 feet tall and 170 feet in diameter is only about 8 percent of the pile, but still would be about 20,000 bushels.


Wind blowing on the surface of the pile will dry some of the wheat near the surface, but it is easier for the air to flow over the top of the pile than go through the grain, so the effect of the wind is confined to near the surface. Wheat in a swath on the ground is much more porous than wheat in a pile, has straw to help wick away moisture, and the thickness that wind needs to push the air through is small, so the amount of drying will be less in the pile.


Aeration will help control the amount of temperature increase occurring due to grain heating. Without aeration grain temperatures will increase which will increase the rate of deterioration. An aeration system will help to control the grain temperature, but will not move enough airflow to dry the grain.





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