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One crop farmer breaks crop rotation rules
Canadian farmer Ken Rempel farms about 720 acres and it's all seeded to one crop. Every year he seeds it to the same crop and that's the way its been for 26 out of 28 years on some of the land, and for 15 to 17 years on other parcels.
Although growing the same crop on the same ground year after year generally is not recommended, Rempel maintains high crop production standards that has made it work. And he says it keeps things simple.
The majority of his barley crop is fed to the 2,000 hogs he finishes each year. All manure and crop residues go back on the land. "We've produced barley and hogs since the day we started farming," he ays. "It's an ideal mixture for our conditions. Barley grows best on the soil we have here."
His formula for success includes selecting certified seed each year, using disease-resistant varieties in rotation with 2-row barleys, working straw and stubble deep into the soil each fall, and supplementing hog manure with commercial fertilizers.
Each spring granular fertilizer is banded into all crop land along with an application of pre-emergent herbicides. In the fall, all crop residue is-till deeply into the soil with at least two passes of a field cultivator. More than 20 years of the practice has dramatically improved soil tilth and productivity, he says. Back in the 1950's and 60's, when straw was baled and removed, Rempel says the land was a lot less mellow.
He's constantly on the lookout for disease outbreaks. If he notices a problem developing, he switches that field the next year to one of his disease-resistant varieties.
Rempel's yields consistently average better than 80 bushels, with peaks of as high as 126 bu. per acre. He says he's never had a serious weed or disease outbreak and the soil is more productive than it was 28 years ago when he first decided to concentrate on barley after concluding his soil couldn't produce high-quality wheat.- (Excerpted from a report by Lee Hart in COUNTRY GUIDE)

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #6