Randy Small – Relay Cropping

(Randy) I’m honored to present here at No Till on the Plains. Tomorrow I’ll be talking about relay cropping, which most people don’t understand what the principle of relay cropping is, or actually planting a crop in a growing crop, and before it’s harvested. And so it takes some different management strategies and different ways of thinking, maybe a lot of planning as far as herbicide use the previous season, considering what you’re going to be doing that next year. This is something that I grew up with in many instances. In 1941 Kling Anderson with Kansas State University had a circular published that talked about using Korean Lespedeza and the preferred method seeding was planting into a cereal grain crop. So, this is not something that’s new. Sometimes I wonder if we just didn’t forget about it. And most recently we’ve used soybeans in winter wheat and it has really helped out efficiency as far as labor and spreading out equipment and our resources. We’re also using some red clover and Brassicas in the Fall and using them further after wheat harvest next year. And I kind of like that system that keeps us out of the field. We don’t keep going back visiting the field with planting equipment. We just harvest and harvest and harvest, whether it’s with a combine, cattle or otherwise with hay. My grazing system with cattle- really I would like to have more on the cropland but we’re in a situation where a good portion of our farmland is in the river bottom that floods too frequently I guess. Fencing and trying to get cattle pulled off is not that functional for us. Maybe our biggest concern right now is we’ve got some reservoirs that were built in the ’50s and ’60s that that have silted in. Their primary purpose when they were constructed was for flood control and we’ve lost a lot of the capability with filling up with the silt. And I think that maybe a big concern we’re trying to figure out different ways of constructing diversions or something that maybe keep from accumulating the silt. A couple of us had to… talked over lunch these two days. We probably learned more than we do the whole year following. But we really do gain a lot of information talking to other producers and that’s one way of learning and a lot of times I feel like we don’t try to keep ahead and if we don’t continue to learn we’re actually going behind.

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