Tweaking Wheat

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21 Jul 2315 min 39 secPremium Content

Damian talks with Chad, Kelly and Connor Garrett about the practices they have changed to achieve different outcomes with their wheat crop. 

We're talking about tweaking wheat. We're talking about wheat in general. We're talking about changing practices from what you did a couple years ago to achieve different outcomes. Kelly Garrett, his son, Connor Garrett, and my man Chad Henderson from Aston, Alabama, standing in a field out here in uh, Iowa. That Kelly, let's face it, you said it didn't look like a crap. It was something you actually tore up part of this field, but you decided not to tear it all up. Cause you needed some straw for your cattle operation and it doesn't look bad at all to me. So tell us what you did and what changes you're making. And then we're gonna bring in Chad, cause we're gonna answer a lot of your wheat questions. And namely, why wheat goes down right before you harvest it. Where can you back off on nutrients and still get a big bang for your buck for a big yield? All those things we're gonna cover right here. Kelly, tell me about this field. It's a 210 acre field. We actually tore up 70 acres and put it to corn because a winter kill, of course, last fall when we drilled this weed in, it was so dry. It was a very harsh cold winter without much snow cover. And when it came up, up on the ridge and the higher elevations, it, there just wasn't much there. And really in a normal year, we probably would've torn it all up. But we saved it because of the straw. And we saved it as research because you needed the straw. We saved it because we needed the straw and we saved it. Also because of research, our new agronomic theories, cutting nitrogen, adding micronutrients, trying to balance the plant. We wanted to try to validate in the wheat what we were gonna do to the corn of, you know, of course the wheat earlier than the corn. And we're very excited about what we've seen. We gotta validate it with harvest. But we're excited and We're about a week or two away. Now. We're gonna go to Chad because I, first time I met Chad, I rode in a combine with him while he was harvesting wheat. So we're gonna get to him. We're gonna go to our friend Connor, sometimes known as Vern. All right, you're an agronomic guy. You went to Iowa State, you're fresh outta college a couple years ago. Um, we're doing some kind of cool stuff, but you said something interesting in a recording not too long ago. Some of the stuff you're doing here, the university still hasn't caught up. Are they doing stuff like this being done here or? We out here kind of twisting the wind on our own. Um, they're, they're looking at nitrogen rejection and stuff, but really at Iowa State, they don't teach you about weed at all. They teach you about corn and beans. Um, but yeah, we're doing some pretty cool stuff with the fuller here that, that they wouldn't be Researching. What do we do? Uh, your old man told me before we hit record normal applications, 120 pounds. You're doing that at one third level? Yeah, we cut it down to 40 pounds of nitrogen. We're working with some more plant health stuff, some more carbon micros and, um, different things to see if we can cut that. And it, it looks good out here. Didn't they ever tell you any way, whether it was Iowa State or otherwise? You can't grow a grass crop wheat's a grass crop without putting the nitrogen to It. That's what they say, but it looks good right now. We'll see what he yields. All right, Chad. Um, first off, this is bearded wheat. I told Kelly when we had to bale this growing up, very itchy. Uh, this stuff blows around. You breathe it in, makes you hack around. Uh, other than that, what do you think when you look at this wheat field? Don't, first thing I looked at was I didn't Baille it. I don't, I don't have a problem with itchy and it don't make me hack around. Cause you know, we're used to being in crops like this, you know, it's people that don't used to being in stuff like this. Like Damien, it, you know, it kind of upsets them a little bit, you know, so it don't really, they're Sensitive. They're sensitive, they're sensitive. So, so we're gonna get over the sensitivity of it and, uh, talk about this wheat. But no, the wheat looks good. Um, it's something that, that I've been looking at. Uh, you know, let's say I come across a drill. This wheat is in 10 inches. Most of our wheat is in seven and a half inches. And some people broadcast their wheat temple broadcast his wheat mm-hmm. Does a good job with us, you know, and, um, so, but I don't know what Kevin's own. I think they broadcast their wheat as well, Kevin broadcast. Yes. So, but the 10 each week does look good. I like the air gap it gives to it, you know, I think that'll help on some disease control. And I also think, you know, that helps on the lodging as well. By The way, when you talk about the broadcasting, don't they typically have to go through with a roller then to get seed to soil contact so it's not just flinging it out of an airplane, they still go over it. So you're doing seven and a half inch drill. He's got 10, 10 inch drill. Those guys broadcast, then press in, I think would be the roll it in. So one thing that I was gonna ask you, and that started this whole conversation about wheat, it's about what, two weeks before the combine runs? Yep. And this is always wind. You have a little bit of wind, you look at your window and you're like, oh, half of that field just blew down. Why does the wheat field blow down? I want everybody's answer. Why is the wheat field blow down two to three weeks before the combine runs? Well, I think if you ain't got some wheat blow down, you ain't trying hard enough. I just, it all, why does wheat, you ain't trying hard enough. Why does the wheat go down two to three weeks before the, uh, the combine runs? You know, your stems dying off. You've got a heavy old head hopefully on there. Um, if you've got high population, high nitrogen, you grew a taller crop than maybe you wanted to. This didn't turn out too tall. But, um, So you think if we have too much nitrogen, which obviously this does not, you're at one third rate is that is too much nitrogen the reason why it gets too tall and therefore it has more blowdown tendency contribute To it. Okay. What's your reason? Why does wheat go down, Kelly? I think it's an unbalanced plant. You're lacking something. You a disease persists in a plant because of nutritional deficiency. And so if we can balance this plant from a nutritional perspective, the disease is gonna stay away. The standability is gonna be here. Everything is healthier. We've achieved as good a plant health as possible, and that's gonna help with the stand in corn. We always say that, that the plant blows down easier because of a lack of K. Yeah, corn and corn and wheat are both grass crops. Yeah. You know, we're you're lacking something. I heard, I heard That. Yes. You hear that earlier, Chad. All kidding aside, you said if you don't have some blowdown, you're not trying hard enough. And here's the question. We know that this wheat, before it gets ready to harvest, it's gonna die down. These, these stems are, are green, you know, I'm looking at this, this is a green stem, it's gonna start dying down. It's gonna be like straw, like the kind you ba dry to put in your cow bedding. The point is, once it's dry and and dead, it's more susceptible to it, period. I mean, other, if it was green, you couldn't harvest it. So do we just have to accept a certain amount of it? Or is it somehow that we're accepting it and we shouldn't, you know, For, for us in the south, our problem is with growing wheated is that we don't never, we can't predict the winter. Like Kelly and them, the, the wheat kind of shuts down. They go dormant, you know, it gets cold, it go dormant. That's it. Well, if we go through it early December and even into December, and we get a warm snap where at Christmas time we're out there in shorts, I've done it a time or two, then that week takes off again. Yep. And then we get too, it gets too leggy, you know, or it gets too much vegetative and that's what, what burn's talking about. You know? So it's a lot of it is overpopulation and nitrate and then it's just luck of the winter on, on how it turned out. Well, for you, for me, we'll Never in this part of Iowa have it where it keeps growing through December, January and February. I mean, you know about climate issues. That would be a real issue if this kept growing through the winter. But now Population is yes, obviously why it goes down. But with our soil and the nitrogen being produced here, I I believe it produces excess vegetative growth, wheat, corn, soybeans. Too much nitrogen is excess vegetative growth. What about then you said, uh, population in nitrogen. Explain that a little bit Mr. Connor. Um, what too much population caused the blowdown or not enough population causes the blowdown. When you've got too much population in any crop, they're, they're competing with each other. They all want to get up and get the sun and they're gonna utilize more resources to grow up Rather than producing a seed head. They're gonna produce vegetative growth to go tall and therefore we're gonna have a fall down. So too much population equals too tall. Right. And then on the nitrogen, we already addressed that. Do you think that the answer is going to be, uh, that this, this is like, why the hell didn't we do this sooner? Why do we not cut back on nitrogen sooner? Do you think you're gonna say like, you know that for years and years Grandpa Jean was out here putting excess nitrogen on unnecessarily? Um, well now that we know more about the balancing the plant and things, I think you gotta know that to really cut back your nitrogen, you gotta know what you're gonna do instead of the nitrogen before you're just gonna cut it out. Uh, your Atlantic cattle are AV or glasses standard issue. That's something that they just, they just Give you guys PLI pouch and aviators. And then You said to you, answer me this while we're in this field. Uh, Kelly, then Chad, you're excited about this because of the back off of nitrogen, but what adjustments did you make? Because we talked about it in a cornfield. Chad says, there's gotta be compensatory, uh, adjustments made. What compensatory adjustments did you make to make up for the fact we're only putting 40 pound of nitrogen on as opposed to 120. We have some other stress mitigation products out here. We have some extra plant health products out here. We have more micros, more carbon. Can you Speak to any of those stress mitigation products? Plants? We actually spent $32 an acre. More mostly on micronutrients. Okay. So $32 more. And we said this before we hit record. 290 bucks is what you're in this crop for. Yeah, We last year was 2 62. This year's 2 94. So We're $294. That does not count. Return to land or labor. That's just, that's just fertility and inputs. Seed doesn't cost Much for weed. The seed. No. That's a negligible rounding error. Does that sound like, what is that sound like a too much? Is he gonna make this money back, Chad? Oh, he'll make That money back. Yeah. He's in good shape. I think for the most part on mine, I'm anywhere from three 10 to three 30. Mm-hmm. And that lands me in there at that 115 pounds the end like he's talking about. You know? So that's where, that's where we was at this year according to the farm. And that's input. If It were you that were gonna try and cut back to a one third ray of nitrogen where I'm assuming boron would be involved, what else would you be putting in? Oh, It would definitely be a load of carbon. Like not a little load, but like a load. Like, like make you famous load. Like, you know, it make you proud load. I mean, it would be one Of them. And that's our, that's our sugars or that's our Both senses of it. From sugars to carbon source, You know, and there's multiple sugar sources. There are multiple carbon sources. Yep. And it, and it's, and it's a, a vague variety of those, you know, not just, Hey, let's go out there and dump two pounds of sugar on it's time. No, it's, it's a, it's a system of it, you know. Um, so that's, that's definitely what we would do. And I don't know, you know, with Kelly's soil having this, that's what he's using to free this stuff up, you know, and, and to make that balance the same. Well, with my soil not having what I have and we have the reduction pieces down, you know, we can do it at a lesser rate. Yeah. That, you know, and that's a point that I wanna make sure everybody understands. Chad's putting on 115 pounds. I'm saying we only put on 40 because I'm telling you, there's more than 80 coming out of this soil. You know, temple, Matt, Chad, they, they all tease us about being an ice cream stater or an ice stater. Well, truly what the value of that is, is the soil. Yeah. And, and, and the microbial system, the biological system of the soil and the nitrogen that was here, I'm not suggesting it doesn't take 115 pounds of nitrogen to produce the wheat. I'm saying we're getting it from the soil. What if I could, what if I could do it on 80? Exactly. Exactly. And, and so we are providing too much nitrogen as a, as a grower. And we're not produ providing enough of the other things, which Is the same problem we've had with corn forever. Yes, it is. Throw the nitrogen. Throw the nitrogen, throw the nitrogen. All right. Speaking of this soil and Iowa, uh, Connor, uh, there's a reason why they teach you about corn and soybeans in Iowa State. You've got amazing soils that sells for a lot of money. Grow the wheat of a Manitoba. Why are we bothering growing wheat here? So why are we bothering growing wheat in Iowa? Oh, I can think of a few reasons about what your reasons, cuz you're the one that's doing it. Oh, we use it to kind of fix farms where we've got weed problems, different disease problems and things. You throw it out there, we've got a different crop out there. It's good for the soil health. It's good just to have biological diversity in any system. So the hippies used to sing a song, give peace a chance. Why should I give wheat a chance? Why should I give wheat a chance? Especially in Iowa, The well we have a great basis because it's not a widely grown crop. It spreads out the world. So they're gonna get really good prices because there ain't a whole bunch of it here competing with you. If I'm in western Kansas, if I'm in North Dakota, I've Got more. The cash market is very good, you know, from a basis perspective, the straw is worth $80 a ton and you're gonna produce two and a half ton per acre uhhuh. You know, so then when you add in the value of the straw, it competes with soybeans. Okay. And then the soil health benefits, the more crops you put into the rotation, the better off your soil is. Uh, Uh, that's the one I was hoping you were gonna get to. Yes. Let's talk about that Chad. I mean, you grow wheat and you've got a different thing. Climatologically, northern Alabama, you do a wheat bean and you guys always call 'em wheat beans. You and Matt, you put beans after wheat part of the acres every other year or something like that. But the agronomics of it, your ground's not as good as his. You should be growing wheat, arguably cuz it's lesser ground. But also one of the other reasons that you see coming out your farm And you know, wheat is better on tougher ground, on the tougher soil is where wheat shines at. You know, and that's why it loves Alabama, you know, but I mean, but no, to get that point, like, and Manitoba, let's go ahead and talk about our Buddies up there. So, so we're getting three crops in two years. Yep. You know, and So let's talk about for, uh, it was oh six since we've had any cotton, our CEC's organic matter, uh, the organic matter in soil is anywhere from three quarter to 1%. Okay. From there to where we are now, let's fast forward ahead. We hadn't grew any cotton and cotton's a taker, you know, so we've been wheat, beans, corn, we work it all back in, we don't take any straw. And now all of our farms are anywhere from 2.5, 2.8 to 3.2. And it's all because of the mass, what these guys was talking about, putting that mass back the soil, it's the bo biology part of it. It's getting that stove back in, getting it worked back in. Now that comes with other problems. You know, you, you've gotta get that stuff back in and get it going. It creates other issues as well. But that's what builds our ground and makes it to where we can cut back on some of this, uh, synthetic type fertilizers to get the use outta the biology part that we're putting in the Ground. I love it Chad, because it was like 11 years ago at an agricultural conference where I spoke, I listened to an alleged agronomist, uh, expert talk about the fact that he said, you cannot increase the organic matter and soil in our lifetime. And I thought that seemed like BS then, and you just told me that it Is so, so I never had a cover crop. They said I can't do that. They said I must be all no-till for 20 years. Nope. Didn't do that. So we worked all this in, we never did a cover crop and we increased organic matter. So you Increase organic matter by like, by quadruple. Sounds like here boys. Get me outta here. Well, what excites you? Uh, the combats are gonna run two weeks. Tell me what excites you Connor? Um, low nitrogen beating, change up the soil, beating temple, turning cows out here. Okay. Uh, by the way, talk about the regenerative part of it. Using this not only the straw for the cows, but then using this for a place to take the cows as a, as a part of the whole sustainability aspect. We keep trying every year that we wanna put in some wheat beans. This year we had some early wheat, uh, winter killed. We had to tear it out. We put corn into it. But the double crop we have is that we'll bring our cows here. Yeah. You know, we'll harvest this wheat July 5th or sixth. We'll bale the straw, we'll spray the plant food, we'll plant the cover crop and then we'll turn the cows out and we can take the pressure off our other pastures. So there is a regeneration here, things like that. There is a double crop for us. It just happens to be beef instead of beets. No, And that's the fun, the sustainability department. Now are they getting much out of this? They're eating straw. There ain't a whole lot of feed value, But Oh, that, you know, there'll be grass around the outside. There's grass on the terraces, there's grass in the creeks. Right. You know, and we're gonna seed the cover crop and hopefully we get a rain and that cover crop comes up And then the cows are eating some the cover crop And then the cows are eating that. So, and, and we wanna put the cover crop out here anyway, so it's a little bit of a free feed. All Right. Last question, because that's very thing we we're going on. Sustainability. We're going on regenerative, where we're going on consumers and, and everybody wants us to see being better for the environment. Will that bring wheat more into places like the ice cream states here in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois? Will we see more wheat for those reasons because of some environmental reasons? Some sustainability reasons? I think you could, I I think it'll be unlimited acres. Not a lot of people are gonna want to tackle these challenges, but they should because, And, and a lot of people up here will grow wheat where they need to do some tiling. Yep. Yeah. You know? Yep. And that way you can get the wheat crop off, get some kind of income off the, off the ground. Then it leaves you all winter to Get to tiling and get that fixed, you Know? So it's all summer. All summer, All summer. That's right. You know, you get the wheat harvesting in July, you got July and August and part of September before you go to harvest the tile crew would love that. Doubt it. All right. Connor, I'm excited. Uh, I'm gonna put you on Fillmore. I like the fact that you always do the counter between what you learned at, uh, Iowa State and what you're learning out here. So I, I don't know, man. You're probably not their favorite alumni, are you? Uh, probably not. I I don't get the letters for money anymore. Well, you know what, and, and Cheese gets a different kind of letter from that. Yeah, he does. His name is Chad Henderson. His name is Kelly Garrett. His name is Connor Garrett. My name's Damian Mason. We're talking about wheat. We're talking about tweaking wheat. We're talking about things we're doing differently and how you can do these on your farm for bigger success. And you know what, we talked about a lot of ways to use wheat in your, uh, farming operation. That might actually make a lot of sense for you. Until next time.

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