There is a quarter south of here that has a lot of sand, especially the high ridges, I know because I took a shovel out there before it sold last time, and concluded I didn't need any sand dunes. This year with rain every day( literally), those sand ridges are pale yellow, while the rest has decent color. Opposite to what I would have expected. I assume that must be leaching of the nutrients from excess rain?
We have sandy land here, grow fall rye on a lot of it, alfalfa for feed, its amazing how crazy cattle guys get when you advertise standing alfalfa for baling. When we break up that dirt though we usually grow oats wheat or canola.....albeit canola should not be grown first year after grass. As for rain, yes sandy land leaches badly, past a inch of rain actually isn't good for that soil. You don't actually need tons of rain on sandy land, you just need it more often. And that normally doesn't happen. But we've seemed to have good results, we split fert applications, never heavy harrow, and honestly we do well on that dirt. At times we have actually netted more dollars per acre on some of our sandy stuff over our good dirt. Sound crazy.....well we grew a 60 bu rye crop that was picked up in our yard at 4.75, that's 285 per acre gross. Total input was $46 per acre of fertilizer and $9 seed. Our canola that same year did 42, unfortunately I sold that for 9.85, that's $394 which sounds a lot better. Problem is I spent $50 seed, Burnoff $5, Fertilizer $73, Fungicide $20, and oh I sprayed for our friendly berthas which was $10. That is $158 per acre.....that gives me a $236 net gain with no equipment costs which will be alot more on the canola. The rye only grossed me $231, but like I said never sprayed it, never even fungicided it, cause I thought why would I dump money into that land over my better stuff. The majority of times has my better land grossing more per acre, and probably grossing more net, but in my case its the land we own, so we do the best with what we have and strive to make it work.
I agree totally grizzer, On my sandy land I broke up we seeded soybeans first for weed control and than in the late fall we seeded fall rye into the bean stubble. Fall rye has very good winter hardiness and it helped that my land had a lot of shelter from trees. The rye emerged in the spring with a excellent stand. Its also very competitive against weeds. Since I broke the land I have had beans, fall rye, beans, and wheat.
Actually the most difficult job was to break the land. I had some peat and a heavy pasture that was there for thousands of years. It was soaked with a high water table. It took draining and a lucky dry year to get it black. In fact the high part of the field had water on it. When I ditched the land the water ran for two months until the water table dropped. Now we can work half a mile up and down with ease. At the beginning I never imagined beans going 40 on that new land. I am so proud of that land I bought for 350 bucks an acre 7 years ago.
Dad said , well you sure put an end to the old expression they are not making any more land.!
Grizzer , the cattle guys are mad as h ell at the grain land conversion.! Until last year when one cattle guy begged me for wheat straw bales.!
Also the land had 30 foot trees and rocks the size of chesterfields on it so it was a challenge . We were stuck many times. I remember my hired help phoned me one morning and said he was stuck a bit. Oh I said , ok I ll be out there soon figuring not much of a problem, well our Versatile was sunken half way up the fuel tanks. Yeah , "STUCK A BIT" my a s s!
I agree with what others have said. In your area of SK Add oats and corn to those lists.. we have had 150 bu for oats on our sandy land with average rain. Our neighbour does grain corn on his Sandiest fields and he hits about 110 bu most years. You could do a lentil spring cereal oilseed winter cereal [repeat] rotation. Ive been researching covee crops for adding biomass on our sand as well - usually its short on water holding capacity.