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Black earth doesn’t equate to warmer soil temperatures

Spaces went fast for this year’s Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers SMART Day

Greg Bartley takes producers through his research plots.

Wagons were filled to capacity and then some at the Ian N. Morrison research farm near Carman late last month, as the Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers held its annual SMART Day for soybean producers and agronomists.

“Programs like this are hugely beneficial, especially for guys like myself, who are just realizing that I know enough to know that I don’t know anything,” said Rauri Qually, who is preparing to take on his family farm and is new to soybeans.

“Free days like this are hugely beneficial,” he added. “I’ve learned more here than probably what I learned in a month at university.”

Participants were able to take in sessions on soybean grading, weed management, iron deficiency chlorosis, crop residue management and other topics. They could also speak directly with researchers and tour test plots to see results for themselves.

University of Manitoba graduate student Greg Bartley shared his research on the effects of soil preparation on yield.

“It turns out black earth doesn’t really have much of an effect,” he said, explaining that soil temperatures with other tillage methods, such as strip till, or planting into short or tall stubble, or even a cover crop of fall rye, all result in similar spring soil temperatures.

Producers observe aggregate stability during a soil demonstration at the Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers annual SMART Day for soybean producers and agronomists.
Producers observe aggregate stability during a soil demonstration at the Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers annual SMART Day for soybean producers and agronomists. photo: Shannon VanRaes

They also result in similar yields, with strip till showing a slight lead, he said.

Gil Martel farms near St. Leon and said that information could change the way he plants his soybeans next spring.

“It’s helpful to know that, it certainly opens up new ideas,” said Martel. He added the crop to his rotation two years ago. This season he’s got about 1,500 acres and if things go well he may plant more in 2016.

“The most surprising information so far today was the difference in soil temperature, that it was the same for black soil as the others, that was pretty surprising,” he said.

The idea of strip tillage also caught the interest of Tim Johnson, who at 13 might have been the youngest SMART participant.

“Me and my dad were actually talking about that with my uncle,” he said. “We took some pictures of the strip till today and I think we’ll be talking about it some more.”

Johnson said he’s wanted to follow in his dad’s farming footsteps as long as he can remember, and asked to tag along on his first field day a couple of years ago. This summer he’s also working on the family farm.”

“He’s the future,” said his father, James Johnson.

Organizers were pleased with the turnout, and thanked producers for taking time out of their busy schedules to take part.

“We know that you have a lot of field days to choose from,” Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Grow­ers production specialist Kristen Podolsky told producers. “So we’re glad you’ve chosen this one.”

About the author


Shannon VanRaes is a journalist and photojournalist at the Manitoba Co-operator. She also writes a weekly urban affairs column for Metro Winnipeg, and has previously reported for the Winnipeg Sun, Outwords Magazine and the Portage Daily Graphic.



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