No-Tilling When It's Only 14 Degrees

Thanks to polymer protected seed, this farmer is no-tiling on extremely cold November days 170 miles north of the Canadian border.

While the temperature may be brisk, fall seeding has definitely paid off for Saskatchewan no-tiller Gerry Willerth.

Thanks to a diversified 4-year rotation of crops and the low disturbance direct seeding system Willerth began on his 1,250-acre farm in 1987, he and his wife, Doreen, now have the time and money to the take the trip of a lifetime. Next January the Indian Head, Saskatchewan, residents will be on a warm beach in Australia as they escort a tour “Downunder.

Willerth direct seeds a 4-year rotation which includes canola, winter wheat, flax or peas and durum wheat. One of his main problems is having ground available to timely seed winter wheat earlier into canola stubble. “Sometimes excessive amounts of trash on wet soils can be a major problem in the spring,” Willerth says.

Dormant Seed Advantages

For this reason, he has tried dormant seeded canola in late fall. Among the advantages are advancing harvest by providing longer days in a usually drier season. “I can also take advantage of earlier delivery and sales at usually higher early crop prices,” Willerth says.

“One of the most obvious benefits is to advance the bloom stage to June instead of the hot days of July.”

Willerth uses a Conserva Pak seeder with 12-inch row spacing and a FlexiCoil 1720 air delivery system. His fall applied fertilizer for canola is 80 pounds nitrogen, 40 pounds phosphorus and 16 pounds sulfur per acre, which is the maximum amount his air tank will handle.

In 1995…

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