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David Holubec and Paul Minzenmayer switched to no-till production techniques for wheat and rotation crops years ago and continue to fine tune operations to improve efficiency and profit potential. They discussed production techniques at the recent Big Country Wheat Conference in Abilene, Texas.
Clean fields crucial
Clean fields are important.
“Wild oat has been trouble and grows l in ditches, corners and field borders,” Holubec said. “I leased a field two years ago that had a bad wild oat problem. We used two applications of Axial and cleaned it up. We have very few left.”
He’s particular about keeping fence borders free of wild oat and other weeds and uses a spray rig mounted on a four-wheeler to spray along fences. He might take out a row of wheat to kill weeds but figures he’ll lose no more than a-half acre over the farm. “It’s worth losing that to get rid of the weeds,” he said.
Minzenmayer also battles wild oat and has had good results with PowerFlex. “We put it out early but we get some residual activity,” he said.
Holubec likes “to wait as long as possible” to apply Axial, so he doesn’t have to make multiple applications for several flushes.
They both apply fungicide to varieties susceptible to rust diseases. “I sprayed Tam 112 and Coronado,” Holubec said. “The others were okay.”
He and Minzenmayer both used Tilt fungicide.
They have different marketing strategies.
Holubec has on-farm storage for wheat but said storing may not always be the best marketing option. “The elevator price at harvest was the best we had last year,” he said. “For 2010, it’s hard to predict.”
He said storage also comes with such disadvantages as time and labor to load and unload and to maintain the grain. “We also have maintenance costs like repairing wind damage. The initial expense can be high, too,” he said.
“A big advantage is that we don’t have to wait at the elevator.”
He also has the option of holding for a price increase if harvest-time offerings are too low. “I like to store it and then take calls and bids as the market improves.”
Minzenmayer likes to forward price a portion of his crop early. “We don’t like to contract more than two-thirds of it before harvest,” he said.