1987 - Volume #11, Issue #2, Page #33[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Black Heat Melts Snow Off Fields"We're discovering new uses for it every day," says Randy Grover, Bear River Farm Supply, Garland, Utah, about Black Heat, the company's new product that gets rid of snow from grain fields, and can also be used to clear feedlots, birthing areas, and anywhere else snow is a problem, including golf courses, lawns, roofs, and so on.
The widest use for the product, and the reason it was first developed at Utah State University, is to melt snow off winter wheat and other fall-planted grain to prevent the onset of snow mold, which destroys hundreds of thousands of acres of crops each year. Scientists found that if the number of days the crop was under snow could be reduced, snowmold damage could also be reduced. In test plots in Utah, yields over a 10-year period in fields which were "de-snowed" every year increased by an average of 52% from 34.1 bu. per acre to 51.9 bu. per acre.
"It not only gets the crop out from under the snow and eliminates damage from snowmold. It also gives the crop an average of 20 more growing days," says Grover, noting that interest has been tremendous throughout Western and Northwestern states.
Black Heat is a dark black liquid made from coal dust and graphite that's applied at the rate of 75 lbs. per acre at a cost of about $5 per acre. Most farmers apply liquid fertilizer along with it to act as a carrier and to get more than one job done in one pass. It can be applied either by air or by a conventional ground sprayer.
Black Heat works even at below freezing temperatures. "We've melted 12 in. of snow in 3 days and never got above 20?. When you mix it with fertilizer for application you can apply it at temperatures below freezing and it won't clog nozzles," says Grover, noting that in addition to aiding the crop, Black Heat also helps cut erosion by allowing surface moisture to soak into the soil gradually. Most farmers who had a chance to use the product last year applied it late in the winter, sometime after February 1st. Grant Young, who farms near Haines, Ore., got concerned during the winter when his wheat crop was covered by 30 in. of snow and he discovered snowmold growing under the snow. He applied Black Heat by air, soon after which an additional 4 in. of snow fell. Even so he reported that the treated fields were bare three weeks before any of the untreated fields and yields on the treated acres averaged 117 bu. per acre versus untreated yields of 60 to 65 bu.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bear River Farm Supply, P.O. Box 68, Garland, Utah 84312 (ph 801 257-3341).
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