Relay Crop Tier 2 Project Update: Wheat Harvest

First harvest complete!!!

With this being the first year of our Tier 2 project on Relay Cropping Wheat and Soybeans, it has been a huge learning curve and there is still a lot to be learned.

So far, the only data that I have processed is my own wheat yields. We had 4 plots with 2 replications on my site.  We planted a check plot with 7.5 inch rows, then twin row wheat with 2 blocked runs left (to plant 30 inch rows soybeans into), 15 inch wheat and 15 inch soybeans, then we also tried 3 rows of wheat and 1 blocked run left for 30 inch soybeans. The wheat yields over the 2 replications were:

Check (7.5 inch rows)108 bu/ac
Twin Rows92 bu/ac
15 inch 50/50 split93 bu/ac
3:1 field ratio101 bu/ac
Removing the shoes from the cutterbar to more to the next test site

To harvest the wheat without damaging the beans, we purchased a set of poly skids that clip onto the cutterbar. They are meant to push over the beans and protect them from getting clipped. In the narrower rows they worked perfect, but in the twin rows, with the extra space around the skids, the beans weren’t completely protected and still got some clipping damage. 

Some of the general field observations worth noting now is that we had a slight grass issue in the bean rows. Also, the wider rows seemed to let more light through to the soybeans, which seems to be an advantage so far. The less the light got through, the taller and more spindly the beans looked.

Weed control certainly presented issues in 2018

 Following harvest, the beans in the twin rows look the beat so far. I wouldn’t guess they will yield more than 20 bu/ac. By the middle of July, all the beans looked terrible and were wilting badly. One more rain at that point would have made a presumably big difference in the bean performance.

On September 12th, I attended Canada’s Outdoor Farmshow to talk for five or 10 minutes with other farmers about the early stages of our project and what we’ve learned so far during the ‘Snack Chats’ OSCIA hosted. A few of the farmers I spoke with briefly had some experience with relay beans. There was  general interest in the project, the logistics and how we would go about harvest. There was also interest in what herbicides we used. 

Moving forward we will be focusing on the twin row setup and 2 plots have already been seeded for next year.