Field of Dreams Update & Economics....

Field of Dreams Update & Economics....

Field Of Dreams (An Update)

For those of you who are not familiar with the field of dreams, it is a 10 acre intensive management wheat trial we are conducting set in the surrounding 120 acres of wheat in southern Grant County. This is the second year we have ran it, with the cooperating conventional till producer using his normal practices, then on top of that we increase the management on the ten acre plot.

The purpose of the trial has been to see whether with additional management and inputs in a non replicated, real life setting, will increase wheat yield significantly and if so will it pay to do so.

Last year (2010) we had a 10 bushel/acre yield increase over the balance of the field. This year (2011) we increased the yield by 21 bushels/acre.

The following is what was done and when, to the balance of the field as well as the additional inputs to the Field of Dreams.

The Balance of the Field                                                  Additional to the Field of Dreams
                                                                                   Soil sample taken 7/28/10 pH of 5.4 

                                                                                 Additional 2.4 ton lime applied 8/6/10           

75-80 lbs.Nitrogen applied by Anhydrous August                
Drilled Sept. 30th using Endurance seed                     Endurance  with Gaucho XT seed treatment


                                                                                   Grass and weed herbicide applied using Powerflex 12/1/10
                                                                                   Soil and tissue sample taken
                                                                                   80 lbs. nitrogen with 6 lbs of sulfur applied using Urea 

                                                                                   1 pt. Clorpirofos/acre applied for aphids 4/6/11
                                                                                   5 oz/acre Absolute fungicide applied 4/20/11
                                                                                                                                                                                 Yield: 37 bushel/acre                                                   Yield: 58 bushel/acre

The additional costs of inputs that were applied to the field of dreams came to $129.77/acre, which included the 2010’s crop year cost of lime/acre (prorating lime costs over a 5 year period).

At today’s cash price of $6.94/bushel with the yield increase of 21 bushel/acre the additional gross income produced by the Field of Dreams was $145.74/acre: Netting an additional $15.97 bushel/acre.

Had the wheat been sold at harvest or around $8.00/bushel the additional income produced would have been $38.23/acre. Interesting!

Acknowledgements and thanks to Farmers Grain Co., McCart Farms, Bayer Crop Science, Dow Chemical, Winfield Solutions and Metcalf Land and Lawn. Hopefully we can continue this into the future and see where it may lead.

10 comments (Add your own)

1. Brian Smith wrote:
A few questions...

1. Do you glean the ph data from the soil sample or do you use a seperate meter ?
2. Is there an immediate and measurable change in the ph following the lime application ?
3. Is the lime just broadcast or disked into the soil ?
4. How was the sulpher requirement determined ?

Thanks !


Sun, July 10, 2011 @ 10:15 PM

2. wrote:
Thanks for your questions!
1. We got the pH value from the soil samples taken. You can get a pH value from a hand held pH meter and mixing a soil solution with distilled water
2.& 3. There is hardly ever an immediate change in the pH after a lime application. There has to be a chemical reaction with the soil particles. This takes some time and is enhanced by working the lime into the soil. Ag. lime is usually applied broadcast over the surface and will move down into the soil simply by rainfall and the freeze/thaw of the soil. The process is expidited by tillage. For instance the field of dreams had lime applied the spring before and barely moved the pH. Another application of lime was applied this crop year and the pH finally moved appreciatively, jumping from 5.4 to 6.7. A pH of 6.7 is probably close to what the soil pH was in the Garden of Eden, so hopefully, no more lime applications in the near future. Normally the most acidic soil is in the top 6 inches or so and when making a tillage trip to incorporate the lime you would not want to move the lime lower than that.
4. The sulphur requirement was suggested by the soil and tissue samples taken. The need for added sulphur was probably due to the high yield expectations.

Mon, July 11, 2011 @ 9:31 AM

3. elmer fudd wrote:
was any grazing done on this plot?

if so, was you able to increase forage production over the adjoining plot ?

Thu, July 14, 2011 @ 6:50 PM

4. Kim wrote:
Mr. Fudd
Thanks for the question. No grazing was done on either the FOD plot or the balance of the field although the wheat plant did have enough size that it could have supported it. Grazing is not part of the cooperating producers normal farming practices.
By observation through the growing season I would say that the FOD plot could have handled a little bit higher animal/acre unit than the balance of the field.
At harvest neither plot looked like it had the stubble to support the yield. We can assume that as the plant realized just how dry it was getting, it moved from making any extra forage to producing grain.

Thu, July 21, 2011 @ 9:35 AM

5. green diamond farms wrote:
and if wheat had been at $4.00/bu? hhmmmm. interesting!

Fri, August 5, 2011 @ 2:13 PM

6. elmer fudd wrote:
with this dry summer we have had, what changes in have been kicked around ?

Tue, August 9, 2011 @ 1:11 PM

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