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Posts: 1,190
Registered: ‎06-30-2012

growing crops on class 4 soil with moisture holding capacity as a weakness: whats your experience?

[ Edited ]

Hello ladies and gentleman, I was wondering if any of you older guys would have any information that would be of use to me on this subject. I will start with some background information first: I do not usually farm class 4 land, but some opportunities came up to do so. I typically receive 22.5" of rainfall in the summer (here in Ontario, Canada). The soil has 4-5% organic matter, and CEC levels averaging 14 CEC AFTER fall plowing/discing (all of which has me doubting the class 4 designation, as it would appear by soil test and visually that this is a sandy loam and not a marginal soil).


I come to you guys, because the classification system is STUPIDLY vague (i.e. narrow to wide ranges of crops can be grown on this soil). Well what the heck does that mean? NOTHING; there is no specificity in this system. So I have to rely on other peoples experiences to make this thing work.

Now to my inquiries:


1. Do you think it is even remotely logical to try to grow corn? The previous crop was alfalfa, and biosolids would be applied to the property. Does 28,000 plants per acre work well, or should it be grown at a different population?

2. Should I just say, "you know what, f this I am growing soybeans at 130,000 ppa in 7.5" rows w no-till winter wheat following"?

3. Can no till corn be grown successfully on this type of land? What populations have been most successful?


4. Can continuous wheat be grown without significant yield penalties if fungicides are used at all 3 tiers on this type of land? What type of tillage is preferred in cont. wheat-- no till (to conserve moisture) or conventional tillage (to break disease cycles)? O BTW, our winter wheat yields in this province are typically 75-90bpa.


5. Is Canola a good choice for this type of land? I have 0 experience with that crop, but the proper equipment to plant to plant it.

You guys in the midwest and all over the states have had to deal with the heat and dryness all the time, I am sure you have figured this out by now scientifically and I can't figure it out yet.. just remember to keep in mind that I am considered rainfed, and not dryland in Ontario (as annual rainfall exceeds 750mm/ yr, and it total annual is 850-1000)