D: Hello and welcome to Ag
PhD, I’m Darren Hefty. B: And I’m Brian Hefty, thanks
for joining us today. One of the things about me – I am a
big planner. I really like to plan ahead, and the
biggest advantage I find with this is when there’s a
time crunch, I am prepared, I’m ready to go. Well, what
we want to talk to you about today is planning ahead with
your soil testing for this fall. Get everything set up
and ready to go. We want to explain how to do this and
why it’s so important coming up later in the show. D: I
thought you were going to talk about getting
pre-emerge herbicides out for fall-seeded crops,
Brian. I’m thinking about alfalfa, I’m thinking about
winter wheat, and other crops – getting a pre-emerge
herbicide could set that table for you for some great
yields coming up. B: Alright one of the weeds you may
find this fall, unfortunately on your farm,
is our Weed of the Week. That’s coming up later in
the show, but first, here’s this week’s Farm Basics. B: During our Farm Basics
today we’re going to talk a little about drain tile, and
just the basics of drain tile; what it is – so you
don’t have to be scared about it if you’re a
non-farmer. D: Well, understanding what drain
tile actually does is really important. When we think
about putting in drain tile – it’s not a new concept. This has been done for
hundreds of years. And when we look at almost every
house that’s getting built, Brian. B: Yep. D: I’d
probably say every house that’s getting built, you’re
putting tile around the foundation because you don’t
want to have water come into your basement. So what
you’re doing with that is the same thing you’re doing
out in the fields. You’re trying to control where the
water table is at. B: Exactly. The water table can
be a good thing, but it also can be a bad thing. If the
water table gets too high, what happens is there’s no
oxygen in the water table. So, if there’s no oxygen
that means there are no roots that can grow into it,
there are no – well I shouldn’t say “no soil
microbes”, but many soil microbes will end up dying
off. It’s a bad thing for soil health, it’s a bad
thing for yield, it’s a bad thing for the environment. D: What we’re trying to do
is keep that ideal balance out in our soil with 25
percent water, 25 percent air, and 50 percent dirt. The big key is if you get
too much water coming up from the bottom, now all of
the sudden it’s forcing all of the air out of the soil –
that’s bad for microbes and bad for our crops. B: The
number one reason why farmers want to put drain
tile in the ground – yes, it’s water table management,
but what it really amounts to is – if roots can go
deeper, then they have much better chance to have
oxygen, nutrients, and everything they need to
increase yield. So, ultimately it’s a yield play
for the farmer. But, a lot of people worry about, “Oh
we’re going to put tile in and then we’re going to
flood everybody out downstream.” That’s
ridiculous. The studies have shown there’s going to be
LESS water downstream long-term, and I just want
you to think about this logically for a second. Just
step back, take the emotion out of it and say, “Alright,
how is the farmer going to pay for this tile?” Well
he’s going to pay for it with yield increase, right? If a crop yields more, is it
going to take less water, or is it going to take more
water? Ok, when you think about it that way you go,
“Oh yeah, I guess a high yielding crop is going to
take a lot more water out of the soil.” Exactly. So in
the short-term, when the farmer puts the drain tile
in the ground, yes for the next couple of weeks there’s
going to water running out. After that point, and from
then until forever, there’s going to be a little bit
less water going downstream because the farmer’s raising
more yield. D: Well, the big thing that I like about it,
too, Brian, is that if you do have that water table
down a little bit it allows more rainwater to soak into
the soil rather than run off across the top, and what
we’ve seen over the last generation – this generation
of farmers has greatly reduced soil erosion- B:
Yep. D: It’s been a huge difference and drainage
tile’s been proven in study after study to reduce soil
erosion, that’s a big thing for the sustainability of
farming. B: The other big myth that a lot of people
believe is that having drain tile out there is going to
lead to dirtier water, more polluted water – also
ridiculous. Because when you stop and think about it, in
order for water to get into the tile, it’s not just – oh
when it rains, that water runs down and goes into the
tile. The only way that that tile runs is if the water
table comes up. So rainfall may go down and then the
water table may rise. It’s only when that water table
rises above the level of the tile line. Ok, well, you
think about all that time and all that soil that the
water had to go through. The soil is a tremendous water
filter. So almost all the time when water comes out of
tile lines it is drinking water quality. It’s awesome! So yes there could
potentially be a little bit higher level of nitrate in
there than run-off water, but all other contaminants
are going to be much lower, and in terms of the nitrate
usually, that level is pretty low too, if the
farmer is properly managing nitrogen applications in his
field. D: And one more comment about drinking water
quality – when we look at the water coming out of
drain tile, yeah there may be a little bit more nitrate
but the drinking water standard is 10 parts per
million. It’s not zero; there’s always going to be a
little bit of nitrate in water. B: Well once again we
just wanted to make sure you understand some of the basic
concepts with drain tile. The most important thing to
know, though, is it is about water table management. We
want to keep that water table down to 3 or 4 feet
down in the ground so roots and soil microbes have
plenty of space to live. D: And for our crops to have
plenty of space to live we need to wipe out weeds and
keep them out of the way, we’ll show you how to stop
this tough weed later in the show. B: If you’re going to
seed a fall crop, we’d really encourage you take a
look at the pre-emerge herbicide options- we’re
going to talk about some of those today. D: Well let’s
start with alfalfa, a lot of times people are putting
alfalfa in in the month of August. They’ve got a little
bit of time to get establishment here before we
get into the really cold weather in the winter. If
you want to get that alfalfa off to a good start though,
you’ve got to stop weeds. You can’t have weeds and
say, “Well I’m going to come in post-emerge to clean it
up.” There just aren’t – number one, there aren’t
very many herbicide options to clean up weeds in
alfalfa, and number two, you’re going to thin your
stand out. If you want to have a great stand that’s
going to last for quite a few years, start with the
best pre’s you can. I really like Eptam, that’s been my
favorite in front of alfalfa, but you do have to
incorporate that. So if you say, “Boy that’s going to be
a challenge for me, I can’t really incorporate a
herbicide,” well then you may have to choose something
else. But if you can go with the best herbicide Eptam,
now you’ve got grass and small-seeded broadleaf
control and it’s going to help you get that stand
established really quickly. B: Here’s the problem though
in alfalfa, Darren says ‘you have to go with something
else’ – I don’t know what that would be. Eptam is, for
me, the only option for alfalfa pre-emerge. So
that’s what I would do but again, you’ve got to
incorporate it. Here’s something Darren – let me
just throw this out at you before we talk about wheat –
how about cover crops? Do you think we need a
pre-emerge herbicide in front of a cover crop? D:
Well there’s been a lot of talk about which pre-emerge
herbicides that I used last spring could hurt my cover
crop this fall, but let’s talk about, – what if I say
“You know, I’m going to put that cover crop in-I want to
have a pre-emerge herbicide to keep weeds out of the
cover crop, is that a good idea?” Honestly, I think
it’s great! If you want to put some Sharpen out, for
example, that’s going to control broadleaf weeds
before you would seed something like cereal rye,
well I think that could work fine. The challenge comes
when you want to do a blend of broadleaves and grasses
in your cover crop seeding – there are very few pre’s
that are going to be selective enough to not hurt
anything in your cover crop mix. That’s why if you’re
going to do that- B: Yeah but- D: – you’re probably
going to plant something straight like cereal rye for
example. B: But let’s face it – cereal rye is the most
popular cover crop in the United States today, and
even if it’s not cereal rye it’s one of these grasses. Well for many of the grass
crops out there, yes you can use Sharpen like Darren
mentioned, and the reason we talk about Sharpen so much
is – it is fantastic on a lot of the Roundup resistant
weeds, plus it has good burndown activity. So let’s
say you have some marestail up or some other broadleaf
weed up right now, you can burn that down and leave
yourself good residual for not a whole lot of
money-maybe 8 to 10 dollars an acre. D: Totally agree,
Brian, and if you’re going to put in a strictly
broadleaf cover crop – that’s not a very popular
option, but it’s something you definitely could do –
well then you can potentially use something
that would just control grass. The challenge with
many of the grass killers is they do have some activity
on certain broadleaf species. So if you’re using
a Treflan type product or a group 15 that we would use
in corn, for example, like an Acetochlor – it’s going
to have some impact on some of the broadleaves in your
mix. B: Alright now let’s talk about winter wheat. We
just mentioned Sharpen, we love Sharpen in front of
winter wheat if you have a big problem with
broadleaves. Let’s say it’s kochia. Maybe it’s ragweed,
waterhemp, Palmer pigweed – something along those lines
– any broadleaf weed just about – Sharpen has good
activity on. Now there are different rates with
Sharpen, you could run one ounce, that’s really just a
slight burndown rate, a small residual rate, or the
rate we really prefer is two ounces and that’s where
again, I say that’s going to run somewhere in that 8 to
10 dollar range. So two ounces is the preferred
because that gives you a lot more residual, a lot better
burndown, and yes it is an excellent herbicide, an
excellent choice in front of wheat. D: Let’s face it
though, Brian a lot of times we’re after grasses, ‘cause
you say ‘I’ve got wheat out there’ I can kill broadleaf
weeds post-emerge for the most part pretty well. I’m
more worried about grasses and especially if I’ve got
something like one of the brome species, that can be
quite a challenge and there aren’t many choices out
there other than ALS products. B: Yeah so when we
talk about ALS products, Pre-Pare is probably our
favorite, just because it’s very inexpensive, I really
like that at .2 or .3 ounces, you’re going to
spend 3 to 5 dollars an acre, something like that. But then there is also
Olympus. Now the problem with Olympus is you are
going to have much more residual. So you have to
really look at, “What’s my rotation?” If I’m going to
spray this fall with Pre-Pare, I’m not worried
about rotation. By a year and a half from now, when
I’m going to raise another crop, I can raise almost
anything. D: Now I mentioned that most of the products
for winter wheat are in the ALS family. However, the
group 15’s are available as well and are getting more
popular. B: So by group 15’s what we’re talking about
here – the only one that’s really labeled – is Zidua or
the active ingredient that is found in Zidua, like with
Anthem Flex. Anthem Flex, for example, has that active
ingredient that’s found in Zidua, plus Aim. So the Aim
gives you some burndown but’s it’s not going to have
any residual. That Zidua, the group 15, that’s really
nice when it comes to certain grass species, the
problem with it is you’ve got to spray it very late
pre or very early post in your wheat. D: Well another
thing with the group 15’s – the group 15 portion of
those herbicides isn’t going to burn down weeds that are
up, but if you get some rain like this, it will activate
that soil residual – pull it into the shoot of that plant
of the weeds that are coming up and it will kill them
that way. B: Well once again we really just encourage
you, take a look at your pre-emerge herbicide options
for any fall-seeded crop you are going to raise – having
a pre out there can get your crop off to a good start,
give you better winter survivability, and overall
it should give you better yield. D: Well there are
certainly weeds out there we want to stop. One of those
weeds is our Weed of the Week. Can you identify this
week’s weed? B: With almost any
job on the farm, the first day or two you do it
each year, it seems like things are ridiculously
slow. Well, today we’re going to talk about how you
speed up that whole process with soil testing this fall. D: Well, first of all, you
have to make a plan and if your plan is, “Hey I’m going
to pull some soil tests myself”, great! Find your
app that you’re going to do – the Ag PhD soils app would
be a great place to start – and then get your fields set
up. You can set those fields up in advance, and actually,
you have to set the fields up in advance if you’re
going to do any soil testing out there, so get that job
done. It’s an office job, you find a rainy day like
today and you can go ahead and get it done. It doesn’t
take much time to set those field borders and set up
your map of how you’re going to do your soil testing
whether you are going to grid that or you’re going to
just pull in certain areas of the field. You can do
that all in advance. B: The next thing is make sure you
get all your supplies on hand. You want to have a
soil probe or even multiple soil probes. Maybe you have
a team that’s going to do this, maybe it’s your family
– you have kids. Get people involved in this thing and
it’ll speed that process up. But you want to have all
your supplies around. Have all the sample bags. Get
everything set up, and maybe even do a field right now,
do a tiny little field, do a 10 acre field or something
like that, so you get a little practice in and you
decide, “Oh ok here’s how I want to do this”, so you can
really go fast this fall. The whole thing is – when
fall arrives you should be able to do 500 acres per day
if you’re on 5-acre grids. Now it’s going to be a lot
fewer acres if you’re on one acre grids or 2-1/2 acre
grids, but the point is – you want to be in mid-season
mode right away day one. You see what I mean. You’ve got
to be able to go fast. Also, equip your four wheeler or
your pickup. Get everything ready to go so when that day
hits you say, “Alright now we’re rolling and we’re
rolling full speed.” D: Well if you’re going to do that
Brian, and you’re going to use a team, you’ve got to
get everybody trained. For example, I’ve really enjoyed
time spent with my kids out in the field pulling soil
tests and my kids actually do a really good job at it
too. You just have to show them how to use the probe. You want that probe to be
straight up and down and you want it going in at the same
depth every time. So if you’re pulling 6-inch cores,
make a mark on your soil probes, that’s something you
can do in advance too. So you just push them in down
to the mark, you stop, and you pull your core- it’s
that simple. B: Perhaps the most important thing when
you’re getting this all set up and ready to go this fall
is – make sure that you are going to do a complete test. We see so many soil tests
that don’t have all the information we need to make
good decisions. They don’t have base saturation, they
don’t have micronutrients on there. They don’t have
cation exchange capacity. Get a complete soil test. D:
So as you can see there are several steps here to
getting ready to do soil testing on your farm. It all
starts with setting up those fields in your app, talking
to your lab making sure you’re going to get that
complete analysis – that’s going to help you out, and
then getting your team trained and equipped to pull
the samples. B: Well whether we’re talking about
preparing for soil testing or preparing to control our
Weed of the Week, planning ahead is really important. We’re going to talk about
that Weed of the Week coming up next. B: Italian ryegrass
is a short-lived perennial, maybe a biennial. A lot of
people just look at it as an annual. It’s not the most
difficult weed in the world to control, but it is our
Weed of the Week, and we do want to show you how to stop
it in different crops. D: You know when we think about
soybeans and corn, Brian, with the options of Roundup
and Liberty to spray some of these weeds, we don’t see
this diversity of weeds that we’re trying to fight, we
just see a few species. Italian ryegrass is not one. We can control it with
Roundup no problem. B: Yes. D: But when we get crops
like wheat, we were talking about that a little bit
earlier- B: I know. D: – in our show here’s where the
challenge lies. B: Alright but before we get the tough
one of wheat, let’s talk about the other ones just a
little bit more. If you have soybeans, we really
encourage you start with one of the yellows. So that
would be Trifluralin, Sonalan, Prowl. Post-emerge,
yes you can use one of the graminicides – something
like Select Max, clethodim – those are pretty good, but
Roundup is certainly better, and Roundup’s even much
better than what Liberty would be as well. D: And in
corn we’d start with one of the group 15’s down and
again, post-emerge there aren’t as many options –
Accent’s not going to be the greatest thing in the world,
you’d have to get it really really small to control
Italian ryegrass. So we do like having that Roundup or
Liberty as an option. B: Alright, now let’s talk
about wheat. The challenge in wheat is – we are finding
some ALS resistant Italian ryegrass, well most of the
products that have activity in the non-ALS resistant
ryegrass are ALS herbicides. So let’s talk about
Pre-Pare, we mentioned that earlier in the show as a
pre-emerge herbicide. Post-emerge Everest 2.0 –
that’s pretty decent. You can use Beyond in Clearfield
wheat. So there are many ALS options for you on this
Italian ryegrass. D: However, what’s really
becoming more popular has been using a group 15. So,
if you’re using an ALS you can also use a group 15 –
something like Zidua or Anthem Flex – and now you’ve
got a couple different modes of action, if you do have
some ALS resistance out there, the group 15 will
pick-up the slack. B: Yeah, I mentioned this earlier in
the show, but I want to reiterate this. You have to
spray that Zidua or Anthem Flex very late pre. So right
before the wheat comes out of the ground or just as
it’s spiking – that’s the ideal timing for spraying
that group 15. Now, post-emerge if let’s say
your Italian ryegrass is ALS resistant. So you can’t use
Osprey or Everest 2.0 or something like that, you’re
pretty much stuck with Axial. Now Axial is not the
greatest thing but at least it will give you some
suppression on Italian ryegrass. D: As you can see,
this Weed of the Week is easier to control in some
crops like corn and soybeans than it certainly is in
wheat, but it is a weed that we do have some options to
stop on your farm. B: Well that’s it for our Weed of
the Week, but stay tuned Iron Talk is coming up next. D: If there’s still corn
growing in your area, you’ve got some homework to do. I’ll explain during today’s
Iron Talk. Getting your planter set just right and
seeing each plant emerge at about the same time
definitely sets you up for higher yields. At the Ag PhD
Field Day once again this summer, almost every one of
the corn yield champs from across the country made this
point over and over, giving all the credit to even
emergence as part of their success. It’s the attention
to these seemingly little details that sets growers
apart, and 2019 was no exception. With soil
conditions being less than ideal and planting windows
being exceptionally narrow, planter errors were
magnified like never before. Spacing (avoiding
doubles and triples) as well as how even your emergence
was will still be evident in your fields right now. So I
encourage you – get out to the fields and check. Also,
look at the consistency of your stand and the
consistency of the size of the ears and ear placement. When you see those smaller
ears out there, there’s a great chance that it stems
back to uneven emergence and an error made by you or your
planter this spring. The same could be said about
uneven plant height. You can trace it back to a planter
problem. This means you’ve got some work ahead of you
before planting your next crop. Fixing problems on
your planter is a job that will pay you back thousands
of dollars for the hours of work that it takes this fall
and winter to get it set up just right. Don’t skimp on
planter upgrades and fixing replaceable parts now. Take
them out – it will make you some money. Just get out in
your fields right now – take a look at them before
harvest. Look for unevenness and address it with your
residue management system this fall and your planter
set up and operation going into the spring. That’s all
for today’s Iron Talk and now, back to the show. B: That’s all the time we have
for today’s show, but before we go, we want to invite you
to check out the Ag PhD Insider Magazine. You can
just go to agphdinsider.com to learn more. We’ve got a
lot of agronomic information in there that we know can
benefit you on your farm. D: And don’t miss the next Ag
PhD TV Show. We’ll have another Weed of the Week,
Farm Basics, Iron Talk, and a whole lot more. I’m Darren
Hefty. B: And I’m Brian Hefty. Thanks for watching
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