Friday, May 24, 2013


When you hear people passionately defending Monsanto or attacking them please consider a few things.

1. They are not the only company in the entire world doing genetic modification or selling pesticides.

2. They are not 100% evil, and neither are they 100% good 

Also, do some research, find out the answers to these questions from many sources.

1. Does pesticide use increase or decrease in RoundUp Ready systems?

2. Is the health of farm works more or less at risk using conventional pesticides or Bt crops?

3. Does it cost more or less to grow a bushel of a crop using pesticides and/or genetic modification?

4. Which type of breeding (genetic vs conventional) has more risk of food allergens?

I think you'll find the answers are not black & white.  I am not defending or attacking them.  They have did some terrible things to small farmers but they also have created crops and chemicals that help many farmers.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Planting Soybeans in Alberta

We planted our soybeans May 16th.  We have a 30' Great Plains 3000 drill on 7.5" spacing.  I've had many different opinions on row spacing but since we are only doing 34 acres I figured it was not worth the hassle to block off every other run.  Also, both varieties we tried are more of the upright kind so I think they should do better in narrow rows.  We have 900Y61 from Pioneer Seeds and TH32004 from Quarry Seeds.  

Our drill does not have any extra boxes so we had the beans inoculated with a liquid treatment just prior to pickup and I added a peat product as we put them in the drill.  As you can see we got the fungicide/insecticide treatment too.  I put on lots of peat.  I wanted some to be in the bottom of the drill so that as the beans fell if they didn't have any they'd get it and some would be trickling into the seed row.  I think it worked fairly well.  We had one run plug early on but otherwise no issues.

I ordered lots of seed so that I could try a few populations.  The most commonly recommended was 190000/ac so that was the target.  I was planning some higher and some lower.  Our first pass was way off (I must have been reading the settings for a different drive setup) so we ended up at 350000.  The next few passes were at 160000.  The second variety as a much smaller seed (2900 seeds/lb vs 2500 seeds/lb).  We left the drill at the same setting so this was around 180000.  For the last few passes we had lots of seed left so we opened it up to be around 250000.

The field is one of few remaining wheel moves on the farm.  Its a half mile long by only 600' wide.  The soil was fairly dry but we (thought) we were racing to beat the rain so we didn't irrigate.  The low parts of the field that had a little moisture have germinated and have a 3/4" root but the rest of the field is just sitting there.  The rain is just starting now so hopefully we'll get enough to get the crop going.  Unless we get more than a few inches I think we'll be irrigating next week to start filling the soil profile.