Sometimes we become so absorbed in our authentic activity or action that we don’t footfall aback for a bird’s-eye view. Are we attractive at copse or attractive at forest?
That’s the bearings abounding capricious amount farmers are in, said Dennis Bulani in his video presentation to the contempo 2021 Ag In Motion event.
As one of the antecedents of capricious amount agronomics on the Prairies, Bulani is accustomed as accepting produced some of the best abreast assay on clay abundance over the accomplished 25 years.
Bulani owns Rack Petroleum with added than a dozen dealers in Saskatchewan, out of which grew Bulani Agro and the Ultimate Crop Administration Convention (UYMI).
His presentation is blue-blooded capricious amount and attention ag: anticipate about your thinking. It’s accessible on-line until the end of the year. In it, he discusses what he’s abstruse about breadth management, his successes and his mistakes. He provides a astute appraisal of the opportunities and obstacles of implementing capricious amount agronomy.
Bulani is aboveboard about the failures he’s encountered in exploring the VR concept. He begins by putting the anathema on antagonism amid mapmakers and their aerial tech products.
“All too generally aback growers are chief who can advice them apparatus VR, the chat turns to why they should absorb money on your maps and why are they bigger than the added guy’s maps. All maps layers, behindhand of methodology, are a band of advantageous advice behindhand of how they were created,” emphasizes Bulani.
“Maps should accompaniment acceptable agronomy, not acting for bad agronomy. The ambition is to ensure that every bulb has acceptable water, diet and clay structure, with acceptable administration to sustain it. None of these ambit should absolute bulb bloom and crop yield. Clay and attention ag is aloof one baby allotment of an all-embracing acceptable agronomics plan.”
Bulani advised Liebig’s Law of the Minimum butt drawing, abacus that the butt is like a alternation that’s alone as able as the weakest link.
On the Prairies, if you accept acceptable moisture, again you cannot use damp as the weakest link. You accept to attending at all the added factors to acquisition the butt avoid that’s not accomplishing its job. He adds that there are at atomic a half-dozen methods for putting calm a applicable VR system.
VR crop varieties — “Something that growers should anticipate about is capricious amount with berry varieties and berry densities. With the advanced array of abundant assay in anniversary of the crops we grow, and the commitment systems we have, you can aces assay to bout the micro-climate of anniversary breadth in a field.
“You can aerate your allotment on a acreage by agriculture altered varieties, such as a best division array on the hills and college acquiescent array in the valleys. I approved that way aback in 1996 afore we had the commitment systems we accept today. I adapted a Morris air assignment to put in three varieties.”
He put Columbus on the hills. That’s a best division aureate accepted to be drought-tolerant. He put Katepwa adamantine bounce aureate accepted for blight attrition on the chicken and adhesive blooming areas of the map. It’s college acquiescent and it’s a acceptable bout for the slopes. Again on the aphotic blooming zones he seeded a barbate array alleged Laura, which was the accomplished acquiescent array aback then.
“When the crops emerged and you could see all these altered varieties broadcast all over the field, causeless to say, my neighbours anticipation I had absent my mind. It looked like it would be a acceptable experiment, but again the acreage got hailed out, so we didn’t apprentice anything.
“Think about berry costs. Why would you put a 900 dollar bag of canola berry on a red breadth breadth you apperceive already the clay will alone abound a 30 or 40 bassinet crop? Put on a lower-cost array that matches the abeyant of the zone. That’s how you get the best (return on investment) on your berry investment.
“Our ultimate ambition is to accept every breadth of the acreage crop the maximum. Aback we attending at a airheadedness map, ideally, we appetite to get every breadth acquiescent the aforementioned by modifying the comestible and water-holding capability.”
Topographical filigree assay — In 2001 Bulani launched a activity to clay assay and map alone fields on a two-acre base in an attack to abstract as abundant advice as possible. The two-acre topo-grid may never be applied for the absolute prairie landscape, but Bultani did get a close butt on the accent of acclivity in anniversary field.
“This was appealing agitative stuff. We were able to bung all that clay assay abstracts into a computer and get it to accomplish a map that looked like the absolute field. Lo and behold, with a two-acre sample map, you’re able get a acceptable abstraction of what that acreage looks like in agreement of amoebic matter.
“That accustomed us to actualize a comestible map that authentic zinc, copper, phosphate, iron, clay pH, calcium and all the others. In those days, we concluded up with about a 30 dollar per acre bill. We had a lot of advice and a lot of maps that were fun to attending at, but we abstruse it wasn’t all as advantageous as we had hoped, abnormally because the cost.”
“The best important affair we did apprentice was that there was some admired below bake-apple in agreement of phosphorous, zinc and chestnut in this field. That map accustomed us to address a phosphorous prescription, so every time those numbers are lower than 20 (parts per million), again the decree map bliss in to add 10 pounds or 20 lb. or whatever is needed.”
Micro-environment — Bulani says the topo-grid assay did a acceptable job of accounting for nutrients, baptize and clay structure, but he acquainted there was still article missing. If he capital a solid butt on what was occurring in the field, it would absorb added than aloof the concrete and actinic backdrop of a field.
That’s aback he apparent some 30-year old assay from Nebraska that delved into the administration a abruptness faced. The abstraction looked at acceptation differences in water-holding accommodation depending on the summit, shoulder, aback abruptness and advanced slope.
Not alone that, but the ambit was additionally a factor. Water-holding accommodation was actively impacted by acclimatization north, south, east and west. This authentic acreage was called for the abstraction because the clay was agnate in all zones. That minimized the aftereffect of clay on the results.
“They begin that on a north-facing slope, there was 20 percent added crop-available moisture. East-facing slopes were the driest because of the prevailing east winds.”
VR disappointment — Bulani says he has talked to abundant growers who are accessible to accord up on VR because it doesn’t accommodated their expectations. He reminds growers that six factors affect yield. The botheration usually isn’t the VR plan, it’s the six-part agronomics plan. His Ultimate Crop Administration Convention coaches producers to appraise all six aback cerebration about their VR thinking, including:
Bulani says some guys afield anticipate of VR carefully in agreement of comestible management. They anticipate breadth maps and the ambassador will breach their problems.
“Not so” says the expert. If a agriculturalist can account aerial in anniversary of the six categories, again you can administer VR as a accompaniment to acceptable agronomy. Again you’ll be a acknowledged VR producer.
“When I allocution to growers who are aghast in their VR performance, it’s about consistently because they’re un-willing to change their acumen to administer VR appropriately or their agronomics affairs needs some work.
“Guys acquaint me they VR their nitrogen or they VR aloof one blend, and they’re disappointed. If that’s all you’re doing, again I would say your abeyant crop access is low and your abeyant amount extenuative is additionally low. Why do guys do this? Because it’s easy.
“There are a few growers now VRing a alloy of three or four nutrients. I can acquaint you their abeyant crop access is decidedly higher, I’d say it’s medium. Abeyant amount accumulation are average and the acumen for them accept now become complex.”
UYMI has a blueprint anecdotic 10 levels of complexity, anniversary with accretion abeyant for crop and abeyant for amount cutting, and artlessly an access in abstruse complexity. At the accomplished level, clay architecture ranks as the alone agency with a aerial abeyant crop increase. But it has low abeyant for acid costs and it’s actual complex. He suggests the best plan ability be to do alone one or two fields a year.
UYMI was allotment of a durum berry body abstraction at Swift Current in 2018, which was a dry year, and 2019, which was a accustomed condensate year.
The agriculture ante in both years were 18 plants per sq. foot, 24 plants per sq. bottom and 30 plants per sq. foot.
In the 2018 aridity year, 18 plants yielded 34.7 bushels; 24 plants yielded 32 bu.; 30 plants yielded 30.4 bu. The everyman and least-cost agriculture amount yielded 4.3 bu. added than the accomplished agriculture rate.
The after-effects addled in the 2019 accustomed condensate year. With able rainfall, 30 plants yielded 58.1 bu. for a 2.2 bu. advantage; 24 plants yielded 57.9 bu.; 18 plants yielded 55.9 bu.
Ultimate Crop — The AIM on-line accident provided a acceptable befalling for Bulani to appearance a assay assignment developed over the years by his Ultimate Crop Administration Convention team.
“It’s article like a Swiss Army Knife that does everything. We can do annihilation and aggregate we appetite with this assignment all at the aforementioned time. We accept anhydrous ammonia, UAN, 10-34, seed, dry fertilizer, an Alpine kit for channel adjustment of phosphate with P22, we can inject a little zinc in the mix, we can administer inoculant. This is an agitative drill. It allows us to do some absolutely air-conditioned research.”
Not every agriculturalist has a assay drill, but anniversary year added growers accouter themselves with drills with assorted tanks. Using that half-million dollar assignment in the abatement not alone stretches amortization, it additionally becomes addition VR tool.
He says an anniversary abatement VR operation should be as accepted as a abatement edger ascendancy operation.
“Use that assignment for clay architecture in the abatement aback you accept time. If you accept a three- or four-tank system, you could go in with phosphate, chestnut and zinc in the fall. That frees up some tanks so you can backpack altered blends for VR in the spring.”
The convention looks at aggregate that has a abeyant account for growers. One such new technology is Gamma-Ray Clay Spectrometry to architecture authentic arising systems. This adjustment measures the radioactive isotopes as they breach bottomward in the soil. Bulani says the technology looks promising.
Although there may be a ample cardinal of farmers who appetite to acquire the banking and ecology allowances of VR, Bulani says abundant hurdles angle in their way: logistics, abhorrence of complexity, accessories limitations, disappointment at the abridgement of absolute results, cost, time and acceptable VR specialists.
Precision averaging — Bulani warns farmers about attention averaging. VR is abased on compassionate and managing airheadedness in your soil. That airheadedness chat is the aforementioned one that appears in capricious rate.
“Here’s a archetypal scenario. A agriculturalist comes in and says ‘I appetite to attention acreage and capricious rate. My neighbour’s accomplishing it and I appetite to do it too. Accomplish me you best maps. And accomplish one alloy for all my canola so I don’t accept about-face during seeding.’
“I acquaint them you are absolutely averaging aggregate you apperceive about your clay variability. That’s not VR.”
AIM presentations are accessible at https://aginmotion.ca/.
Bulani’s assay can be begin at www.therackonline.com.
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