Double Acres, Double Them Again!

By saving labor, western Canadian growers are pushing up acres with direct seeding.

Up in Manitoba, a number of farmers have sharply expanded direct seeded acres over the past 5 years. With innovations coming with fall seeding, some may again double direct seeded acres.

Because of widespread adoption of air seeding equipment (which leaves 30 percent or more residue cover) in western Canada, the typical grower has expanded from 1,200 to 2,500 acres without adding farm labor.

Fall Seeding?

Don Dewar says new technology is making it possible to fall seed wheat, rye and canola. “It’s more of a geographic situation with fall crops,” says the Dauphian, Manitoba, grower.

“Winter wheat has done OK for us the past 2 years,” says field manager Jack Hofer of the Starlight Colony at Starbuck, Manitoba. “We’re seeding 500 acres of wheat into canola stubble this fall with 4-inch narrow knives on a Flexi-Coil air seeder.

“Last year’s wheat didn’t get off to a great start and only reached the three-leaf stage by late fall. While I prefer a five-leaf stage before freezing temperatures arrive, the wheat still averaged 88 bushels per acre.”


Hofer has to occasionally reseed edges of fields in the spring where wheat was damaged by cold winter winds.

“We must have stubble to catch the snow for needed moisture and to heat the crop so it doesn’t kill out over the winter,” he says.

Hofer planned to try winter canola this year. “We will seed this crop just before freeze-up so it will stay dormant over the winter,” he says. “It’s risky, but…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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