The PLAN to combat Canada Thistles is to cut and bale them as hay for the grass fed beef. Once baled, the land will be worked (two-way disc) and calcium* will be sprayed on the land. Calcium softens the soil and changes the chemistry with the idea to make an environment where thistles simply do not want to grow. Mechanical methods might rid the area of thistles for a short period of time, but it doesn't change anything in the soil.
Stay tuned to see how this works!
* GSR Dormant Calcium supplied by Back To Your Roots Soil Solutions Inc, Shellbrook, Saskatchewan
The spring of 2018 was very dry. The first rain of the season came on May 24th (one inch or 25 mm). Before working (cultivating) the ground, there was not much volunteer growth (weeds nor last year’s crop). Seeding finished on May 21st. The first rain of the season on May 24th was very timely for the wheat, but also brought the weeds to life. Since both the wheat and the weeds had the same start, the race for dominance was on.
To knock back the weeds and ultimately assist the wheat, we harrowed the fields with diamond harrows on June 17 – 19th when the wheat was about 8 inches high. And it worked ...... even though the wheat was roughed up and set back a bit, the annual weeds definitely suffered, leaving the wheat to grow. The harrowing was followed by a timely rain on June 22nd (2/10 inch or 5 mm).
This year 160 acres were seeded to Red Spring Wheat. Seeding took place from May 17 - 21, 2018
Thanks to Jim Staples of Moon Walker Spraying
Spray mixture consisted of:
GSR Calcium* 45 grams (1.6 ounces) per acre
Organic Cane Sugar* 3.7 pounds per acre
Organic Molasses* 1.3 gallons per acre
Micronized Softrock Phosphate* 4.9 pounds per acre
Fish Emulsion* 3.1 gallons per acre
All was mixed with water and sprayed at a total rate of 18.5 gallons per acre. The fish emulsion is quite stinky, and by the end of the day, everyone smelt like fish. hahaha
* product supplied by Back To Your Roots Soil Solutions Inc.
Since this wheat has a very high germination rate, it will be used in the bread making process as sprouted grains! So happy to be feeding folks with healthy chemcial-free organically grown FOOD!
3500 bushels of grain in the bins! The wheat was combined a bit tough (high moisture content), so we now have the grain under aeration to bring the moisture levels down for market and storage without spoilage.
The wheat heads have popped up above most weeds, except Canada Thistle and wild oats.
In regards to BRIX:
In most areas, wheat is now "heads above" the weeds. The wheat looks to be 4 row this year, and BRIX readings continue to register 7 - 8%, providing fungus resistance and a reasonable deterrent to insect pests .
Rusk Ranch is located near the middle of Canada in the Swan River Valley agricultural belt. The acreage is surrounded by conventional chemical farms. It is hoped that this adventure will de-risk other farms towards environmentally sound farming practices that produce healthy nutrient dense corps!