Friday, October 25, 2013

Soybeans in Alberta - harvesting

After doing a post at planting I completely forgot to do some updates through the year, other than through Twitter.

We harvested on Tuesday.  The overall average was 37 bu/ac with 900Y61 soybeans from Pioneer at 35 bu/ac and TH32004 from Quarry Seeds (distributed by Fabian Seed Farm) at 40 bu/ac.  They podded very low to the ground (sometimes less than an inch) so I figure about 3-5 bu/ac were lost due to this.  Also, they had been holding up well until some Chinook winds of a few weeks ago and I'd say again 3-5 bu/ac were lost (counting the pod/sq.ft. on the ground).  I need to look into other varieties that pod higher.  I also wonder if the slow start to the year meant that smaller plants when flowering is initiated (by daylength) meant they podded lower.
These varieties don't branch much so missing plants cause yield losses more so than bushier ones.  It wasn't obvious in season but at maturity you could see the open areas more.  We need to do more work with the drill or use a precision planter.  

Overall I think there is potential with these.  We will see how the marketing goes to make the final call.  Working on variety selection and better planting I think 50 bu/ac is reasonable.  They definitely have a fit in a grain rotation to break cereal disease (and insect) cycles.  More importantly for our farm they give a chemical break where we have a year without Group 1 or 2's.  They clean up some hard to control weeds.  They also spread the workload.  They are the last to be planted (mid-late May), last to be sprayed, and the peak irrigation is July/August, which is when cereals are mostly done.  They also spread out the harvesting, as long as you don't mind harvesting in October.

I realized after we were done I only took one picture of the day!  Here it is below.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Leaves for composting

My leaf bin is full for this coming year. I got 12 large garbage bags from the United Church. About 3 years ago I was driving by and they had a bunch of leaves bagged and I asked if I could take them. They were happy someone would take them so they didn't have to haul them to the compost area and I was happy to get a truckload (literally) of leaves! Ever since I've been getting them from them.

I've offered to help but now they just have a lawn company do them with lawnmower and bagging attachment. Its actually much nicer this way as I get them shredded meaning I can stuff more in the bin and they mix better for compost.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Yearly compost turning

On the left is the compost from 2011 that was in the bin to the right. I'm now moving the stuff from 2012 into this one and then the bin from this year will move into that spot. On the far right I'll fill with leaves. I mix these with kitchen scrapes and yard waste through the year in the bin on a weekly basis. As you can see it reduces down a lot over time. This is a slower method but once you have been doing it for a few years you have a constant supply each year. It also only requires turning once per year.