Recent crop tour reports are all over the board but the main thread is the crop is not as good as the market is bidding for and that showed in last week's grain price spike upward.
I am busy lining up next year's crop, which hybrids will I plant on what farms, how much corn versus soybeans and do I plant wheat again this fall? I will only plant wheat if I get some soybeans off early and can no-till the wheat right into the bean stubble. It takes an extra week for wheat to come up no-till since the soil is cooling off instead of warming up like it does in spring. Two weeks earlier worked out well for me this past year.
I like wheat for cover and to throw the pests out of rotation. That has great value for me. I like melting the residue back into the soil with my dry fertilizer and biological program to make the soil more fertile for future crops. Price wise, wheat is not worth considering unless I can raise 100 bushels per acre consistently. You can't depend on that here in southwest Ohio though we have been close to that the last two years. The 2011 crop was drowned out due to double rainfall.
My 50 bushel APH double crop soybeans got dinged a couple of times the past few years. They might do better when I can raise them like these.
Spreading everything evenly is a huge job few do well in my book. From residue to lime and dry fertilizer, a very even spread is critical to all operations. As SouthernOkie answered to this question this morning, "what does better growth in the chaff mean?......"
"The chaff in your wheat field is serving the same purposes as...the field wide tall rye we drill summer annuals into and then roll to form a mulch mat in plots...the same principle why we brush hog cool season plants residues to release warm season pasture (rather than let the CS residue stand and weather/oxidize)....mimicking SOME of the benefit seen by a leaf litter soil surface mulch model in closed canopy timber. The benefits are: 1) marked reduction in soil water evaporation rate, 2) lower soil temps overall and fluctuation in daily soil temps, 3) a good home for soil animals and microbes, 4) extended shallow root feeding time for plant roots during drought, 5) continuous canopy = fewer weeds, 6) etc etc
But...not all is 'a bed of roses'....the thickness of residue windrows and chaff piles may not soil compost sufficiently to preclude harboring of wheat pests afflicting the next wheat crop. A good home can have both 'good citizens' and 'black sheep' living under the same roof...not always in balance. The problem is the 20' header and a residue handler which won't throw an even 20' residue pattern back on the field.....per Dr. Dwayne Beck, the grandfather of no-till.
The strips you observe are real and good...if you read into Culler's philosophy(and many others I might add)...now you can imagine how the whole field might look if the residue were spread evenly over each acre inch rather than 'wind rowed' and baled! And WHY we broadcast and preach dry fertilizer/manure spread evenly!
The nice thing about good no-till....it makes you think (really think) about the whole farm program...not just a planter! You have to think before you can see...and think about what you do see!"
I can't say it any better than my friend just did.