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Going back to the initial post I think I am reading that of your total blend(90-30-10-15) you are putting down 15lbs of the P(along with bit of corresponding N) with the seed and the rest of you P, n,k,s away form the seed - so you have 2 diff ferts you filling with? I am not sure this will help your yields, but if it were me on grey wooded soils would just put all your PKS at that total blend rate with the seed and stick rest of your n down a bit deeper - keeps your blends/filling easier. Have went with rates quite a bit higher than this with the seed and not run into any issues on seed burn(even with canola). Did have a brain cramp a few years back where all my P went down the N tube so was away from the seed and actually did note significant lag in crop early.
 

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Anything more then 25-28P actual in a seedrow by itself on a narrow opener is probably thinning plant stands or at least stunting it on Canola. If you don’t believe me do some strip trials with your drill. And adding any sulfur is for sure making it hot. Cereals can tolerate more salt effect in seedrow.
 

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Different soils release different amounts of N I think. Us out here west of the fifth have to school many wet eared agronomists that use that formula for canola.
Lucky bastards, >10% organic matter!
I think that would flatten crop in your area…usually?
Think fertilizer use east of the 5th (and a bit) might be higher with the top shelf guys.
 

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Different soils release different amounts of N I think. Us out here west of the fifth have to school many wet eared agronomists that use that formula for canola.
I did forget about all the other sources of N when talking about Canola N fertilizer. It does need 3-3.3 lbs N/bushel as the plant has to take some up also. So you take your yield target in canola bushels and then multiply by 3-3.3 to get total N. Then subtract how much is left in the soil and how much might be released from your organic matter, less how much is going to be tied up decomposing last years residue. This last year there was minimal amounts of N released from mineralization of the organic matter in areas that were very dry. Could explain the lower than expected yields. A lot of areas had record yields in 2020 and that residue is needing lots of nutrients to decompose.
 

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I did forget about all the other sources of N when talking about Canola N fertilizer. It does need 3-3.3 lbs N/bushel as the plant has to take some up also. So you take your yield target in canola bushels and then multiply by 3-3.3 to get total N. Then subtract how much is left in the soil and how much might be released from your organic matter, less how much is going to be tied up decomposing last years residue. This last year there was minimal amounts of N released from mineralization of the organic matter in areas that were very dry. Could explain the lower than expected yields. A lot of areas had record yields in 2020 and that residue is needing lots of nutrients to decompose.
Nw Alberta had a lot of things working against it in 2021, big residue from 2020 was not one of them. This area had 20 plus inches of rain in the growing season in 2020 and many fields had 15 or 20 percent with zero yield.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Great replies guys. Thanks again. Soil tests in the past have shown 30-40lbs residual N. We shoot for 40 bu canola.... due to year over year risk. Had a couple good friends tell me they think its more to do with weather than anything, but even still yields seem lower than they should be. Just wanted to know others experience. Canola with its big ole' tap root seems to get to the fertilizer easy, but my oats etc didnt seem to when it was so wet. Leeching, and short roots, and putting the bulk of the fert so deep likely bit me. Just trying to reduce risk and get better at this gig. Thanks folks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
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.
Yeah, we are grey wooded and really low PH, with no economical way of getting the PH up. Im just trying to get my yields to the area averages so Id say your advice is spot on.
 

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Great replies guys. Thanks again. Soil tests in the past have shown 30-40lbs residual N. We shoot for 40 bu canola.... due to year over year risk. Had a couple good friends tell me they think its more to do with weather than anything, but even still yields seem lower than they should be. Just wanted to know others experience. Canola with its big ole' tap root seems to get to the fertilizer easy, but my oats etc didnt seem to when it was so wet. Leeching, and short roots, and putting the bulk of the fert so deep likely bit me. Just trying to reduce risk and get better at this gig. Thanks folks.
Your roots are definitely deeper than the 4-5 inches you placed your fertilizer. If they weren't they would get pulled out of the ground just from being looked at wrong. The u of m has a preserved root box showing the depth of roots on fully grown oats, they go down four feet. So going back to the original point, placing fertilizer to deep is not your problem. If your soil P tests low then yes you might see P deficiency early on, especially in cold soils, this is where in furrow P makes an ROI. If you go back to my original post and look at the data on canola, you can see that seed place P did provide a yield bump over no P up to 20lbs/acre, but was less yield increase than broadcasting or banding that P at the same amount. Remember that fertilizer is essentially a salt, so placing it closer to the seed can cause salt toxicity especially on dry years. I think to best help you pull your yields up, we need to see your soil tests and go from there. There's lots of variables when it comes to soil fertility so it's hard to make a serious comment without knowing what all you're working with.
 

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MadMax,

You said that you put 15P with the seed this year. Have you been doing that previous years also or just started this year? The low pH of your soil will make the P unavailable fast, so if the P with the seed is new this year, perhaps that is the main improvement, not the distance between your other fertilizer and your seed. As others have said, you could probably bump that 15P up a little is spring moisture is good.

Oats seem to tolerate low pH better than wheat and canola. Perhaps that is why Oats did better last year than some other crops. Certain varieties might tolerate low pH soil better than others. Isn't there a wheat variety that tolerates low pH? That info is probably widely available from tests in the Peace country and would be better sources of what varieties to grow than the Alberta Seed Guide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Your roots are definitely deeper than the 4-5 inches you placed your fertilizer. If they weren't they would get pulled out of the ground just from being looked at wrong. The u of m has a preserved root box showing the depth of roots on fully grown oats, they go down four feet. So going back to the original point, placing fertilizer to deep is not your problem. If your soil P tests low then yes you might see P deficiency early on, especially in cold soils, this is where in furrow P makes an ROI. If you go back to my original post and look at the data on canola, you can see that seed place P did provide a yield bump over no P up to 20lbs/acre, but was less yield increase than broadcasting or banding that P at the same amount. Remember that fertilizer is essentially a salt, so placing it closer to the seed can cause salt toxicity especially on dry years. I think to best help you pull your yields up, we need to see your soil tests and go from there. There's lots of variables when it comes to soil fertility so it's hard to make a serious comment without knowing what all you're working with.
Awesome information! Definitely have some head scratching to do now.. lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
MadMax,

You said that you put 15P with the seed this year. Have you been doing that previous years also or just started this year? The low pH of your soil will make the P unavailable fast, so if the P with the seed is new this year, perhaps that is the main improvement, not the distance between your other fertilizer and your seed. As others have said, you could probably bump that 15P up a little is spring moisture is good.

Oats seem to tolerate low pH better than wheat and canola. Perhaps that is why Oats did better last year than some other crops. Certain varieties might tolerate low pH soil better than others. Isn't there a wheat variety that tolerates low pH? That info is probably widely available from tests in the Peace country and would be better sources of what varieties to grow than the Alberta Seed Guide.
Last year was the first year with 15 actual P with the seed. Agronomist suggested it. So we will continue that as well.
 

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A lot of people put faith in their agronomists but I wonder how much they know. Some are excellent but others have limited practical knowledge for your situation.. I would see what is working for your successful neighbors in your area with the same type of soil. What was their yield last year?. They may be able to give you better info than your agronomist. A person that has skin in the game learns quickly from their mistakes and follows their decisions on to harvest to know if they were the right decisions.
 

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Lol, at the guy suggesting Iowa corn rates for cropping in Canada. Two completely different animals.

I'd definitely be looking into nutrient tie up in low pH soils. Phosphorus was mentioned. I also believe molybdenum is also tied up, is wheat more depending on molybdenum than canola? Is the low pH affecting micros?
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
A lot of people put faith in their agronomists but I wonder how much they know. Some are excellent but others have limited practical knowledge for your situation.. I would see what is working for your successful neighbors in your area with the same type of soil. What was their yield last year?. They may be able to give you better info than your agronomist. A person that has skin in the game learns quickly from their mistakes and follows their decisions on to harvest to know if they were the right decisions.
She (my Agronomist) is super knowledgeable. I need to soil test more, and I should have did that this year. Then she bases crop nutrition off that. I have been basically following what some of my helpful bigger neighbors do, and just haven't been getting the same yields so I want to get it better. I think the weather has been the main culprit. I like the one suggestion of the Calcium holding up the P, etc. My agronomist suggested that as well. Its tough to make the good decisions on what to do, or what to spend money on when a guys back is against the wall. It either makes money this coming season or its over. And that's fine too...but just want to reduce MY mistakes. Awesome advice from everyone. Was just really concerned I had the fertilzer too deep, and I think two years ago I did on the wet year. The roots just didnt go down to it due to the excessive rain. and, spreading half the blend on surface just before seeding might not be such a bad idea either. We will have to soil test the top seed bed soil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
So I take it you don’t know where your P levels are right now? What has your application history been?
I didnt test this year, no. But in the past they werent too bad. We applied based on the year before results. And with the crappy crops this year... I mean REAL crappy ( 3/4" of rain from seeding to swathing) and the extreme heat the crops just got torched. But everyone did in the area. So, just thought I would save some money and apply a decent blend. That was likely a mistake now with the cost of fertilzer. I think Im at $120 an acre for that fertilizerblend if the price stays where it is.
 

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I would focus more on consistency if it was me.
Soil tests are a good tool, they are not fool proof by any means but they should be part of your crop management strategy every year.
My opinion for soil tests is consistency as well. The soil test person needs to sample from the same spots in the field every year and a quarter section or field needs to have 15 or so samples across the field blended for one lab sample.
I would recommend you do soil tests every year with a benchmark yield you are looking to achieve and adjust your fertilizer requirements to what your yield goals are and leaving a decent number left in the ground at year end. Your agronomist should be able to help you with this. It's basically a math game.
Keep the data organized and you can go back yearly to see changes and determine if you are on the right track with fertility.

My own samples this fall indicated lots of carryover N in any of the dryland cereal ground as we had single digit yields in the south this past year. It varies from field to field, but it is in line with what I expected on certain fields according to previous history and crops grown there. Have purchased less N this year based on this.
Phos levels have increased since last year, but I am still putting on the maximum safe seed placed phos for our soil conditions as getting it in the ground is important every year in our phos deficient soils.
 

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Personally, I wouldn't even consider broadcasting fertilizer, especially at this year's prices. Every study I have seen indicates a very large loss in the ROI broadcast versus any other method, with higher losses. Want a dry year, you still require rain to get the mobile nutrients down into the root zone.
 

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Yes, but he’d be incorporating most of it with that independent opener deep tiller when he’s seeding. I think there’s deep tillers sitting in the grass that have never gone as deep as some Conservapacs.

There won’t be any chance of growing a huge crop and making money with $120. an acre fertilizer bill I would estimate. Spending a lot less might make a bit with a low yield target. One way is a gamble you can make as big as you can afford to lose, the other is almost a sure thing.
 

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I'm going to setup some wheat trials on my farm next season to try to work out the optimal economic target for my land and my farming practices. My soil doesn't hold much nitrogen (CEC) or water to begin with, so I'm starting at a disadvantage. I've found that just throwing fertilizer at it at seeding time doesn't always return. If I want better returns I will have to probably do more top dressing. Most of that I can do with the pivot. Anyway I'm going to try two or three seeding rates and a couple of different dry fertilizer rates at seeding time. Don't want to have too many variables, but I could adjust top dressing with the pivot as well. Clearly I've been wasting some money with my dry blend since I haven't seen the yields I'm ultimately fertilizing for. I have been soil testing every year but things haven't changed significantly there in some time. Agronomist also wonders if we're using too much ESN in the blend and it's going to waste. By the time the ESN is available, the yield has already been made. So I've reduced my ESN this time around. Previously I was putting 28% of my total N in ESN. Now I'm going to do 20%.

A while back I was talking to a company about doing remote sensing for moisture, but also they were working on a way of continuously sensing N levels. That would be very interesting from a fertility point of view. Right now I can only guess at when my N is used up or lost.
 
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