Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Soybean Harvest Begins

So following Navy Bean harvest yesterday, we started on soybeans today. But first there was some PR work to do. It was decided to make nice with the neighbors of all nine of the farms of the North Central Research Station. Especially since there may have been some noise and distractions from some of the construction projects this year that may have interupted the sleepy rural setting. Since it was likely that they would not really like a bucket full of corn and soybeans, it was thought that a basket of stuff that you could actually eat would be better. So Stephanie got a hold of real baskets while Brian, Tim and Dan assembled a supply of potatoes, bell peppers, carrots, onions, watermelons, pumpkins and gourds for distribution. Tim and Stephanie then hit the road delivering the goods. It went over well. Don't you wished you lived next to the NCRS? Then this afternoon after the dew burned off, we started with the soybean experiment on Farm 6. This ground is pretty sandy and tended to be pretty dry this summer. So these reached maturity before most of the other farms. In fact most of the soybeans around still had some patches of green beans, and so we could use a good freeze to finish the job. It was my turn to ride in the grain cart and record the plot weights. Ron ran the combine and Doug drove the cart tractor.
We have never worked much with cover crops at the NCRS. Sometimes we have planted oats on some lighter ground that give some residue and hold the soil in place. Oats are killed by frost in the early winter, and so do not get very big. But this year we are working with some cereal rye planted right after harvest here on the light ground of Farm 6. This will survive the winter and will need to be killed prior to planting. You don't see much cover crop planting this far North, but we will give it a try as some growers swear by it. It could give some residue and perhaps build organic matter over time. Some think it helps with weed control from allelopathy.

We planted alternating strips of rye and will have treatments in corn next year both with and without the rye to see if there is an effect. We plan to repeat this over time, planting rye after soybeans each year. There was good soil moisture, so hopefully it gets established quickly.

If it looks cool after emergence, I'll take some pictures...as usual.