Intercrop Strategy - The Combine Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Intercrop Strategy

Ever since I got an accidental intercrop lentils and canola about 10 yrs ago, I have wanted to try again on purpose. This is the yr.

So I am debating how to do this. Planning 2lbs an acre canola with 1.5bu ac lentils. I though about just mixing the canola and inoculant in the small tank and letting it seed out together. Have learned in the past couple yrs that canola can come from deeper seed depth so 1.5 inch shouldn't be a problem. But then I thought I would have too much plant growth in the rows. So I then thought about broadcasting the canola the other direction first then seeding lentils the opposite way. We use spread tips so there is good soil movement so I would hope the broadcasted canola would be covered and packed, then the crops would be more separated.

Any tips?

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 01:05 PM
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Research I've seen with peas and canola says they do better in the same row. Not sure if lentils would be the same way. If you PM me your email I can send you some data I got from Scott Chalmers at the WADO in MB like 3 or 4 years ago. It's for pea/canola but there might be something useful in there. He might be somebody to get in contact with. Might have ideas with the lentils.

Try see if this link works to his research that I have.

I can PM his contact info. I don't know if it's still good but I don't want to just put it up on the forum. It may be in that linked document too. I didn't look.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 03:02 PM
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I assume the goal is to reduce fertilizer costs for the canola by getting some N from the Lentils. I am not sure if it really works like that or not.

This is my understanding of how the pulse thing works. The Nitrogen gain the year after growing pulses is not from the N that is released from the nodules like I had thought, but is just more N available from your organic matter, because it takes less N to decompose pulse straw than it does other types of straw. So I am real skeptical that you will get any N benefit from your Lentils to put towards your canola.

Now other benefits from the intercropping may be entirely useful, such as different rooting depths, different growth rates at temperature, different growing days, so one might mature sooner and quit using moisture, less disease pressure, etc.

Perhaps your goal is to have the lentils creep up the canola and have less disease in the lentils. If so, then having the canola emerge later than the lentils would be very benefical as lentils are so slow to get going.

Is the canola mixed with innoculant just to allow you to meter out the low rates of canola?

I assume clearfield canola and lentils. If not, would mustard be a better fit? Lower N requirements, yellow mustard is very shatter proof (not sure about lentils), usually pays a little better than canola.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-05-2019, 11:48 PM
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I have not done any lentil intercrops but have been in a few lentil intercrop fields and paying attention to what guys are doing. With lentils you will want both plants in the same row or else it will be too far away that the lentils won't be able to climb. Canola is likely plenty competitive for lentils, mustard is likely a better fit and I have been told flax is working really well.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-06-2019, 01:14 AM
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I grew an accidental field of Flax and Lentils. It was 2017 when we were very dry. It actually turned out alright for the year. The only annoying part was trying to set the combine to thrash both the flax and the lentils without cracking the lentils and throwing over the flax.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-06-2019, 10:15 AM
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I had a canola faba bean mistake. Clearfield we grew 2 yrs prior volunteered. It actually did very well. We purchased the big farm king rotary cleaner just because it would pay for itself in separating the 2. The mistake I made was drying both together off the field as it was a wicked wet yr as usual during harvest. Anyone who grows Clearfield knows it skins easily, and by the time the fabas were dry in my dryer the canola was super dry and cracked terribly. Lesson learned!! Cover crops and intercropping are coming to a field near you. I am not the guy who will take all my acres just yet and do this, but am going to consistently do this to a couple fields and find out for myself. Hoping to do pea barley which has been done around Yorkton with success. Then maybe a pea barley canola as well down the road. The more crop species that can be separated and mature close to one another the better I think. All 3 thresh easily as well.
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