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Ok.. Im not a new farmer, but I have only been farming about 6 years now. I cant seem to get the kind of yields I should. I think I have been putting the fertilizer a little too deep below the seed with my Conservapak. This year I think I am going to try to just get the fertilizer as close to the seed as possible without seedling burn. Last year I brought my fertlizer knife way up to where the fert was about 1.5' below the seed on the canola. I put 90N 30P 10k 15S blend down. But I put 15lbs/acre P with the seed. It was so dry ( 3/4" rain from seeding to after swathing, and record heat by 5 degrees) so I didn't get to see any gains. Canola only ran 17bu/acre.

My question is this..... is your goal to get the fertilizer as close as possible to the seed, without burn? My wheat and oats have never yielded anywhere near what I felt they should. And I think its because generally speaking the yeild is set in the boot before it gets to the hot fertilizer. My wheat has been running around 25-30 bu/acre and canola around 30-35, with similar groceries. Oats last year only ran 65 with 50-25-10-10 or so....

So, just trying to eliminate possibilities. I hired an agronomist this year as well, and she's awesome. Just want to see what others goal/approach is. Oats Im thinking putting the fert 1/2" to 1" below the seed, and maybe 25lbs phos with the seed. I am going one more year, and if I cant turn profit I have to sell my machinery and call the game. Thanks in advance for the advice. --Bob
forget about last year, nothing worked. Im in your general area and frankly nothing has worked as it should for many years. either too wet or too dry since 2015. The best year was 2018 and the forest fire smoke cooked the goose that August.
 

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What year of Cpak do you run? If it's older than 2007 ILS you should get a different drill. Your placement is fine. Fertilizer is not the only factor affecting yield. Have you eliminated other possibilities as the cause of yield loss? I know fertilizer is one of the few factors you can actually control but perhaps something else is at play.
 

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I didn't know science was geologically locked. I apologize to my northern Alberta friends, I will not reply about it again.
Of course not. But just realize that your experience may not be relevant to the discussion at hand. Yes general fertilizer science is valid. The specifics of crop type, yields, seed placement, soil type, is another matter. I know my experience would hardly serve you well down in Iowa. I had to chuckle when you brought up irrigation in NW Alberta, and when you called an air drill snake oil. You kind of gave yourself away with that last one! But by all means participate and learn and contribute. I know I have learned a great deal here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
What year of Cpak do you run? If it's older than 2007 ILS you should get a different drill. Your placement is fine. Fertilizer is not the only factor affecting yield. Have you eliminated other possibilities as the cause of yield loss? I know fertilizer is one of the few factors you can actually control but perhaps something else is at play.
Its one of the old Red and Black ones... spring down pressure. I think Christ himself may have made the first couple passes with it. That is a possibility, but the agronomist was super impressed with the stand and germination this year.... Too bad I didnt have her hired before. We have had three real bad years of growing conditions. Just want to be SURE I dont screw up any more. This year has to turn my farm around or shes time to sell equipment and tap out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Quote:

"forget about last year, nothing worked. Im in your general area and frankly nothing has worked as it should for many years. either too wet or too dry since 2015. The best year was 2018 and the forest fire smoke cooked the goose that August."

I think that is more to do with it as well. Im probably over analyzing it, as I am pretty stressed about not screwing it up. lol
 

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Super interesting. I would guess, looking back, that the fertilzer band of the bulk blend was closer to 4'-6"deep below the seed... I need to do a better job of measuring that. My agronomist felt it was really good last year with the Canola, but as mentioned we had a crazy bad drought. And yes sir. I should have soil tested this year, especially considering the cost of fert this year. Good to know, that guys dont worry quite as much with the banded fertilizer, and more with the seed placed. That makes sense to me as well. Thanks for clarifying that. Next year I will make sure I dont have the fertilizer knife too deep, and have reasonable separation from the seed. Then likely we will put 20 lbs actual phos with the seed.
20 lbs of phos would be safe if moisture is there, if your knifing in the fertilizer 4-6 inches deep then your seedbed is more than likely wrecked. three would be a good comprise
 

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What is your average rainfall up there? What are the crop insurance average yields for your crops in your area? Also I think AFSC might even be able to share with you the average fert rates people are putting down.

One thing that has me curious is that you're putting down quite a bit of groceries for the yields you are getting. I have neighbors that farm without irrigation that get 40 bu/ac wheat year on year. I'd be surprised if they are putting down no more than 70 #N. Are your soil tests showing residual N levels?

Glad you've got a good agronomist on tap. A good working relationship with a good agronomist is probably one of the best things you can pay for as far as crop inputs go. Especially when fert prices are through the roof!
 

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I think the weather is the biggest factor causing your poor crops. U can put all the fertilizer in the world down but its the rain that makes the grain. As long as the rain knows when to quit or u get the same result as the drought this year. My advice is to listen to the fella who said to forget this past year as nothing worked.
 

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Ok.. Im not a new farmer, but I have only been farming about 6 years now. My wheat has been running around 25-30 bu/acre and canola around 30-35, with similar groceries. Oats last year only ran 65 with 50-25-10-10 or so.... --Bob
I think the fact that your wheat is yielding less than your canola is a red flag about plant stress during the yield potential setting period and you should trust your instincts about nutrient proximity and either pre apply fertilizer or trade equipment. 🤷‍♂️
 

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Good lord just sign up and start a discussion on Agtalk youll fit in great.

I thank you for your innate hatred and jealousy. Really, conservapak? Never heard of it but I bet its snake oil. Put on 0-200-200 and stop jerking people off.
Curious how that came up. I dont remember talking about it but you guys can pile up on me I can take it. Came here for friendly farming discussion, this is the first time I was turned away. Thats fine.
Friendly farm discussion? Because your coming off as a real ****.

As to the OP this thread is ringing a bell didn't you post a similar thread a while back? Either that or its very similar to another fellow that had improved his yields somewhat but felt he was still stonewalled vs maybe the local averages?
Have you done any soil sampling to see where your at fertility wise? I also find it odd your wheat yields lagging the canola by that much.
 

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North western Alberta is likely grey wooded clay soil, much like what we deal with here in far western central Alberta. Low OM, shallow, packs like cement, poor water infiltration, cracks and shrinks, works up into lumps the size of basketballs?

I have found that all the fertilizer in the world doesn't help until I get some organic matter back into the soil. Mostly with copious amounts of manure, or peat moss. Putting all the straw back on, however that is a vicious circle, since the ground that needs the straw the most, doesn't grow enough to put any back on, to improve enough to start putting straw back on.

I don't have the option of changing the depth of my fertilizer relative to the seed, with double shoot openers, but if I did, I would put the fertlizer as deep as possible, with a small amount of starter in with the seed to get it by until the roots hit the fertilizer. To get the most separation possible, to give a trench for the roots to grow down through, and the water to soak in through, and to keep the fertilizer from gassing off.

These soils are also chronically short of sulfur, and copper, and potash. The copper could explain the low wheat yields.
If you have nice mellow black soil, then disregard everything I posted.
 
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In my experience 125N actual within 1" of the seed is on the edge of being noticeable for seed damage. That's with a Seedhawk twin wing. When we had Bourgault MR banders I would put up to 25N, 25P actual in seed row with no consequences based on recs from Ross McKenzie, AB Ag's nutrient specialist. P should't be an issue, just the N.
 

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I think you might be low on fertilizer rates madmax, which is hurting yields. Your agronomist should be on top of this, so sure you have heard it.

Canola needs 3.0-3.3 lbs N per bushel, so the 90 lbs of N you are applying is going to max your canola yield out around 30 bushels, which is what you said you get. Hard wheat needs about 2.1-2.5 lbs of N per bushel. If your protein is below 13.5 in HRS wheat, then the claim is your yield is being hurt by lack of fertilizer.

With current high fertilizer prices it will be hard to up rates unless you bought lots a while ago. One option might be to up rates on some acres and then grow pulses or other low input crops on other acres. Or possibly rent a few fields out for a year and heavily fertilize the rest. Depends if you have good residual moisture or are critically dry. At my farm it is so dry that it makes no sense to fertilize for any more than 70% of a normal crop.

As mentioned in other posts above, check out all your nutrients to make sure none are critically short.

Depth of fertilizer below the seed should not be hurting yield unless it is pulling up lumps and leaving a crappy seed bed or it is very dry and the deeper fertilizer ripping is drying the soil out more. If you have soils with high clay, then shallower is probably ok.
 

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Canola needs 3.0-3.3 lbs N per bushel, so the 90 lbs of N you are applying is going to max your canola yield out around 30 bushels, which is what you said you get. Hard wheat needs about 2.1-2.5 lbs of N per bushel. If your protein is below 13.5 in HRS wheat, then the claim is your yield is being hurt by lack of fertilizer.
3.0-3.3 seems high to me?
For sure 13.5% protein is a excellent benchmark for wheat max yield though.
 
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