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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 16, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta 14 THE LETHBRIDGE HfALD _ Tuesday, May 16, 1972 Tuesday, May 16, 1972 THE LETHSSIDGE HERALD 15 Land preparation key south farm operation and seeding I J L Stubble burning In Coaldale communily being kepi in check by ploughed fire guard ot S.V 7' Rod weeder kills weeds, firms seed bed while oscillating harrows levels ridges. Heavy duly cultivator loosens soil, kills weeds while drag harrows levels ridges r Soul hem Alberta Is one of the more agrarian orienlcd re- gions of the province and when the farmer begins his spring work in the fields, he contri- butes to the economic base of the entire region. Seed bed prcparalion Is the name of the game and the bct- ler the preparation, theoretical- ly, the better the crop if all oilier variables are similar. The preparation can be done on either ground that, has had a crop on it the previous year (stubble) or one that was bare of crop If the field to be seeded this year had a crop on it the pre- vious year, it is necessary to get much of the old crop off the surface. To do this, if the stubble left from the previous crop is heaw, the farmer must use an imple- ment that will -turn the soil, A disc macliinc is used. A oneway, which has a single row of huge concave shaped disks turns soil over as they pass through it. If the double- disc is used, the soil is left in a finer texture. This machine has two rows of disks, one turn- ing the soil one way and one the other. In both instances, a harrow or oscillating harrow is used lo level the land. The oscillat- ing harrow works in a semi- circular back and forth motion wliich helps to keep il clear of the stubble and weeds. If the stubble is light, a heavy duty cultivator with spring steel shanks and wedge- shaped teeth is used. The teetfi pass under the soil, killing the weeds and leaving the stubble mostly undisturbed. If Ihe field to be prepared for settling is in a summerfallow condition, the farmer usually uses a heavy duly cultivator ind a rod weeder. The r od weeder is a maeliine wliich drags a circular or square bar under the surface of the ground. This actually acts as a packer lo prepare a firm .seed The disccr and oscillating harrow are also used on sum- merf allow. In any instance, the wind fac- tor is what makes the farmnr decide which implement he will use. If his territory is uindy, he will use the bladc- lype equipment to leave much' trash cover1' to protect tha urface soil. One implement which is de- signed for trash cover is the Noble Blade, built in Nobleford. This implement uses a large wedge shaped blade wliich is -31 shaped mucli like Ihc Icclli on the hcavy-duly cultivators. This large blade cuts below Hie sur- face of the ground, leaving the stubble standing, protecting the soil from wind erosion while at the same time leaving the stubble to catch more moisture. Test results have shown that the Noble Blade conserves about 80 to SO per cent of the trash cover. Disc tillage equip- ment reduces trash cover about 50 per cent each lime it is used on a field. Blade implements reduce trash cover about 12 per cent with each cultivation. Heavy duty cultivators reduce trash cover by 20 to 30 per cent. If a farmer is going to re- crop a field in consecutive years, he must, after the first harvest, cultivate with a sub- surface cultivator, not a disc- type implement. Many farmers have resorted to burning the stubble off a field before replanting in con- secutive years. This procedure reduces seeding difficulties. Officials of the Lcthbridgc Research Station say this prac lice is frowned upon. The long term effects of sluhblc burning arc bad, v.'ilh much of the life- giving substances and organic matter destroyed, thus not al- lotting the soil to replenish it- self. It also reduces the I rash cov- er w h i c h protects the soil against wind erosion. The only time burning slub- blc is favorable is when a farm- er wants lo get rid of the heavy windrow strips left when the combine has gone over a flax field. In this instance, the binning Is done when in Ihe late fall or early spring when it is damp and" the standing stubble sur- rounding the windrow will not burn. There is crldom any plough- Ing done in southern Alberta with the old-fashioned mould- board plough, for break- ing sod it is loo costly because of its limited size nnd it takes more power to pull it Story by Ric Swihart Photos by Waiter Kerber i Tractor pulls cultivator, rod weeder and seed drill in multi-purpose operation. planting Alberta farmers intend to plant 1.3 million acres of rape- seed this spring, according lo the May issue of (he Rapesecd' Digest. This figure represents a 30 per cent decrease from last year's acreage. Based on March In data, tho producers of raper.ecd in Can- ada indicate a reduction cf 2.1 million acres or 37 per cent in Ihc area to he seeded in 1972 compared with 1371. This cut- back, says Ihc Digest, is much more severe than cvon Ihc low- est giiessra, and ,i..s been ac- co p' r d w i. ii P! ror.y rest11 v a- tipns. V.'cnllicr al pcrd- p r i c o levels ;iml other consukTaiions could re- sult, in crop plan changes of sonic .Some louk for al -i million acres in- Btcad of tlie 3.4 million acres shown in the "inlenlions lo plant" report in all of Canada. THE WINNERS 1972 WiSHiNGWELL SALE FOR OUR NEXT BIG SALE LETHBRIDGE 236 13th ST. N. Pnone J27-6944 CLOSED MONDAYS ;