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February 2nd, 2021

Countdown to the 2021 Growing Season: 83 days...

Are You Ready?

In these long winter days of winter, what are you doing to prepare for the busyness of the growing season?
Although most of us aren't taking our usual holidays, we hope that you have improvised to incorporate stay-cations or are taking other steps to relax with loved ones. Self care is so important in these unusual times and a great way to restore your energy so you are ready for when the field demands your attention.

Despite the frigid temperatures and the unending snow, there are many things to check off your 'to-do' list now.

Have you narrowed down your seed varieties for this year?  Have you mapped out those drainage paths that you didn't get to in the fall?  Have you skimmed through that stack of Western Producers piling up on the office chair?

As we plan out our trials for the coming year, please reach out with your thoughts on any you'd like to participate in. And, as always, we love discussing ideas or changes you've been considering for your acres.

We can help you be ready.

Bru & Jenn

Notes From the Field


I recently came across an article written by NDSU Extension Agent, Brad Brummond, titled “40 Chances”. In the article, Brad shares his thoughts on Howard G. Buffet's book also entitled “40 Chances”. Buffet is the son of Warren Buffet and among many other things, also happens be a farmer.

According to Brad, the concept behind the book is that a farmer has on average 40 crops, or 40 chances, to make a difference in their operation (or not). He discusses how the concepts of the book can be applied to farmers in rural North Dakota where he works as an extension agent.  He talks of the easy changes like adopting the latest varieties and also some of the tougher changes such as adopting longer term approaches to improving soil health. Making more with what you have.

If it's true that you only have 40 chances, how are you making out?

Read my full article, '40 Chances to Grow your Best Crop'.
Once tilled, even canola stubble leaves soil susceptible to wind erosion and
freeze-thaw break-down.  

Snirt: the mixture of snow and dirt from wind erosion carrying soil particles out of your field 
 

Science of Soil Health

Only the snowshoe hares seem to be moving in your fields at the moment, right? Not exactly.

With the light snow cover this year and the predictable winter winds, things are in fact moving...and moving fast! Your soil is potentially moving...off your field!

With the flat Prairie landscape, high rates of fall tillage and lack of field vegetation (think cover crops or shelterbelts), your fields are highly susceptible to wind erosion. Valuable topsoil can be easily lost if your field is left uncovered for our 6 to 8 months of winter weather. That is a lot of time for wind to be scouring your soil.

The lack of snow this year has left exposed soil susceptible to additional freeze-thaw action that further breaks down soil particles. These fine silt and clay particles (that hold most of the field nutrients) are lost with the freezing rain we've also been experiencing. Lose-lose situation. And creation of 'snirt'.

Soil loss means money loss. Loss of soil fertility, more money spent on fertilizer and potentially lower yields.

Read 'Rethink the Relationship Wind has with your Soil' to learn more. Keep your soil where it belongs! Keep your money on your farm.
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