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Precision Organics


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I shared this presentation at an organic farming conference in La Crosse, WI on 2/22/2013

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Precision Organics

  1. 1. Precision OrganicsOpportunities for improved efficiency and effectiveness of field operations Joel Gruver WIU- Agriculture (309) 298 1215
  2. 2. WIU/Allison Farm Field DayI am not an ag engineer or a techie
  3. 3. PRECISION Currently only available upon request Will soon be downloadable from our website
  4. 4. High tech precision & old school attention to detail
  5. 5. Some larger-scale organic grain farmers like Lynn Brakke are using a lot of precision technology
  6. 6. In 2012, I witnessed a new level of attention to detail
  7. 7. Sweeps were adjusted many timesthroughout the day to achieve desired soil flow into the row
  8. 8. 105 F in the shade :-<
  9. 9. Excellent article by Mary and Klaas Martens
  10. 10. Dad… just think what we can dowith RTK guidance on this farm!
  11. 11. Attention to detailis key to success inall types of farming
  12. 12. It takes a high level of skill and will to be a successful organic farmer!
  13. 13. How many of you can plant a straight row?
  14. 14. Whatever skill level you bring to the tablecan be augmented by GPS guidance technology
  15. 15. Farmers like Mike Findlay are using RTK guidance on both their planter and cultivating tractors but planting with guidance makes cultivating without guidance much easier
  16. 16. Blind cultivation is also enhanced by guidance
  17. 17. Ridge-till - the original guidance and controlled traffic system
  18. 18.
  19. 19. Most of the power required for tillage isAgriCanada associated with undoing wheel traffic Without restricted traffic, most field surfaces receive traffic each year
  20. 20. RTK-guidance/auto-steer makes controlled traffic much
  21. 21. Jacob Bolson and Roger Knutson Strip intercropping: 2010: 230 bu/ac edges-capture-more-light-reward-higher-yields
  22. 22. More light = More
  23. 23. 8 ways that your equipment may get smarter 1. Enhanced guidance and connectivity, implements guiding tractors and not the other way around 2. Autonomous machines? Eventually 3. Smarter telemetrics 4. Better sensors 5. Improve diesel fuel economy 6. Emission regs drive change 7. Small is big 8. Going electric
  24. 24. Big equipment companies are starting to design new cultivation tools for controlling herbicide resistant weeds
  25. 25. A few companies evenspecialize in precision cultivation
  26. 26. “Flexibility to satisfy all your hoe requirements”
  27. 27. The Tillet Weeder uses computer technology and a spinning blade to remove weeds. Note the disc-shaped cultivation blade with a notched cut-out to allow the blade to spin around transplanted cabbage.
  28. 28. Garford dealer – Canadian company that sells into the Upper Midwest
  29. 29. start up company – no commercial products yet
  30. 30. BRTs vision forthe future
  31. 31. The founding team is two brothers, one a large-scale dairyman from NY State and the other an engineer and environmental scientist based in Minnesota. We are working closely with a robotics team that has deep experience engineering high-quality products for start up company agriculture and other commercial products yet Robotic weeding 1 row at a time?????
  32. 32. Precise banding will probably be needed for ROI
  33. 33. What is PRECISION COVER CROPPING??? 1) Planting of cover crops with a precision planter2) strategic placement of cover crop rows in relationto other cover cover rows and/or the following cash crop rows (often using GPS guidance) 3) Strategic placement of cover crops in specific fields or parts of fields 4) Selection and management of cover crops to achieve specific objectives
  34. 34. Precision planting
  35. 35.
  36. 36. September 2008
  37. 37. Attempt #2
  38. 38. Attempt #3 Radish planted on 30” rows usingsmall milo plates in mid-August 2010
  39. 39. Corn following cover crop experiment (2011) Relative Cover crop system corn yield Volunteer oats 79% Radishes planted on 30” 99% Radishes drilled on 7.5” 91%Corn planted directly over radish rows
  40. 40. May 2012
  41. 41. Radish planted on 30” rows with RTK guidance on August 29th right before Hurricane Isaac rolled in
  42. 42. 4 days later
  43. 43. 7 days after planting
  44. 44. 10 days after planting
  45. 45. ~ 1 month later
  46. 46. Why are the inter-rows so clean?
  47. 47. We had just cultivated the radishes! +20 bu/a corn in plots w/ fall cultivation vs. no cultivation of radish in 2012
  48. 48. ~ 2 weeks later
  49. 49. December 2012 We are planning to plant corndirectly over the radish rows in 2013
  50. 50. Precision radishes w/o peas Precision planted radishes w/ peas from 5 ft of rowRadishes with peas were ~20% larger
  51. 51. Crimson Chick clover peas We are using small plots to identify cover crops that play well togetherGreen Favalentils beans
  52. 52. Sunflower OatsRapeseed Phacelia
  53. 53. Do you wantboth species to winter kill?
  54. 54. Planted with a drill in late September 2012 Precision planting may allow you to plant your cover crops later Radish Radish Radish Cereal Cereal Rye Rye
  55. 55. Littleradishescan have long roots!
  56. 56. Would you be comfortable planting a field in this condition?
  57. 57. Planting right on top of ridged radishes
  58. 58. Last fall we set up a 6 row bar with Yetter MavericksWe plan to freshen rows before planting as needed
  59. 59. Why is there rapeseed on the edge of this bean field? We ran rapeseed (2 lbs/a) through insecticide boxes while planting these soybeans
  60. 60. 40 lbs of cereal rye planted directly over soybean rows in 2011 The cereal rye and rapeseed both died when the crop canopied. No significant effect on yield, some in-row weed suppression in 2011
  61. 61. Insecticide boxes do a good job of metering small seeds
  62. 62. A little extra N can make a big difference +20 lbs N/a
  63. 63. Triple S mixSunflowers, Soybeans & Sunnhemp
  64. 64. What do youthink is in this CC cocktail?
  65. 65. You won’t reallyknow what is in a mix unless you design it.
  66. 66. Aerial seeded annual ryegrass in April 2012
  67. 67. 10’ Howard Rotavator tilling ~ 3” deep with C blades
  68. 68. Annual ryegrass after chisel plowingChiseling before rotavating worked best!
  69. 69. Planting into poorly digested red clover residues 25-50% stand loss Near perfect stands in all other corn plots on the farm this past spring
  70. 70. Organic No-till? Much less weed seed germinationRodale roller …but few options for weed termination Cultimulcher
  71. 71. Early July 2009
  72. 72. August 2009
  73. 73. Early November 2009Plot yields ranged from 51.6 to 58.6 bu/ac No significant differences between systems
  74. 74. November 2010 Significant foxtail pressure but almost no broadleaf weedsPlot yields ranged from 42-52 bu/ac
  75. 75. November 2011The NT bean plots yielded~10 bu more than the best tillage system plots
  76. 76. April 2012
  77. 77. May 10 2012
  78. 78. Double drilled with 4” offset
  79. 79. Mid June
  80. 80. All of July :-<
  81. 81. NT bean yields ranged from ~ 30 to ~ 60 bu/a 60 b/a in wet hole 30-40 b/a in well drained areas
  82. 82. Our cleanest and best yielding beans in 2012 were conventional-till but we have not been able to achievethis level of weed control every year.
  83. 83. Where are the soybeans?? Traditional organic weed management often comes up short during wet yearsA strong stand of cereal rye was incorporated ~ 2 weeks before these soybeans were planted
  84. 84. CCs affect many agronomic factors simultaneously Control erosion Feed livestock Cover Crops Adapted from Magdoff and Weil (2004)
  85. 85. Not all effects are positive Host pests Tie up N ? ? Become a weed Interfere w/ equipment performanceSuppress crop growth Cover Crops Dry out soil Prevent excessively soil drying Add cost Increase management Adapted from Magdoff and Weil (2004)
  86. 86. Greater precision in farming practices increases the likelihood of intended outcomes More positive and fewer negative effects
  87. 87. This is what we were hoping for in the field where we ended up planting our precision radish experiment in fall 2012!
  88. 88. This is what we may end up with :-<