FIRST ON FROST CAN BE BEST IN THE BIN

FIRST ON FROST CAN BE BEST IN THE BIN

Frost Seeding of Spring Wheat leads to best yield possibilities.

With a kind smile from Mother Nature, in 2012 and 2015 there were growers in Ontario that experienced spring wheat yields in excess of 100 bushels per acre.  It CAN be done.  Admittedly, as usual, Mother Nature does hold the trump card in all crop results.  2012 and 2015 gave growers the chance to plant early in to dry March conditions and favourable cereal weather to follow.  But when we look at areas we can influence, any opportunity to get the wheat seeded earlier will pay off in yield.  2012 and 2015 gave growers the chance to plant early in to dry March conditions.  We have not had the chance to do so in 2018.  Our next chance to have early planted wheat will likely mean Frost Seeding.  If you have the right tools and ground conditions, Frost Seeding can be a very successful endeavour.  I have summarized the Top 5 comments I have heard from growers and researchers that have had success.

  • “Frozen Seeding does not equal Frost Seeding” – the preference is for the soil to have thawed completely, and then the direct frost seeding attempt can be made as the soil gets a crust on it during a cold night. Air temp of -2C should give enough firmness to carry equipment (low psi tires please) and allow drill to slice in.  Air temp of -8C will likely mean ground is too hard to slice.
  • “If it is too Tacky, GET OUT.” – as the morning sun rises the soil surface will get tacky fast. Be sure to take the drill out of the ground at the first sign of any soil glassines or mud sticking to press wheels.
  • “Seed a full 1.0 inch deep with a No-Till drill” – the soil hardness and conditions will change rapidly as you try to do this. This will require more frequent depth checks to ensure the seed is getting in the ground and not being left on surface.  Drive slow, and check often.
  • “Include seed placed PHOS” – is a must!  In cooler soils it is very important to put the phos in a place where it can be accessed by the young roots as they attempt to grow.  My preference would be 75-100lbs/ac of MAP or MESZ.
  • “Use a high quality seed treatment” – every boost is important. High quality seed treatment is always an integral part of success, but it is very important in frost seeding attempts.  The seed needs to be protected with the strongest product possible because the germination and emergence are likely going to be a slower process due to cooler soils or other weather challenges.

It is not a quick procedure, and likely will take you a combination of a few early mornings to accomplish all of your seeding, but the effort will be rewarded.  Then you can be ready to move on to seeding the rest of your crops as conditions allow.

Please find information in link at website below for detailed information shared by Scott Banks and Peter Johnson.

http://www.ontariosoilcrop.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/V3Cer8.pdf

About the Author

Tim Meulensteen is a CCA-ON certified Agronomist with C&M Seeds. He lives with his young family at their small mixed farm in Perth County. Tim has enjoyed working in the crop inputs industry since 2001. He obtained his Bachelor of Commerce degree in Agriculture Business in 2004 at University of Guelph.