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Sustainable Farming Network

The network is helping provide the link needed to enable farmers to help each other by sharing questions, concerns and information relevant to their farming operations. We recognize there's a lot of practical knowledge on resource efficient farming out there that isn't getting out. If you have any questions, problems, helpful hints or new techniques which you would like to share, then send them to:

Sustalnable Farming Network, Box 125, Ste. Anne de Bellevue Que. H9X 1C0 or Fax: 514-398-7972

Q. Would you please direct me to some seed suppliers of the following: oilseed radish, hairy vetch and other vetches, uncommon clovers.

F. Boulay Dalhousie, NB

A. I n the past year some commercial seed houses have begun handling the oilseed radish and hairy vetch. However, check prices as they vary considerably. Some of the annual clovers that appear promising for the Maritimes are crimson and Persian clover. We don't know of any distributors of these species in Canada.

Seed Dealers: Cribit Seeds (oil radish) R.R. #2 West Montrose, Ont. NOB 2V0 (519) 664-3701

Franz Greisbach (oil radish) R.R. #3 Listowel, Ont. N4W 3G8 (519) 291-4205

Hedley Seed (vetch) R.R. #2 Canfield, Ont. NOA 1 C0 (416)-774-7855

Labon Inc. Semence (vetch and oil radish) 1350 Newton Boucherville, Oue. (514) 641-1050

Oak Manor Farms (vetch and oil radish) R.R. #1 Tavistock, Ont. NOB 2R0 (519) 662-2385

Kaufman Seeds Inc. (crimson clover) Box 398 Ashdown, Arkansas 71822 (501) 898-3328

Q. I am Interested In obtaining Information on propane weeding carrots. Do you know of any distributors of propane equipment ?

J. Moore Baltimore, Ont

A. Propane weed control for carrots is a well developed weeding method for carrots that is widely used in Europe. The system is usually combined with several other cultural practices for providing weed control. It relies on using the stale seed bed weed control technique to get the majority of weeds to germinate well ahead of carrot emergence.

The soil is prepared well before carrot planting so that weeds are appearing on the soil surface at the time of planting. Approximately two weeks after seedbed preparation the carrots are planted. Approximately 9 days later or 23 days after planting the weeds are thermally killed over the planted row just prior to carrot emergence.

Overall thermal applications can be used but they are more costly and energy consuming. Most weeds are easily killed up to their two true leaf stage by the treatment. Some perennial weeds such as quack grass and thistles are more difficult to kill than the annuals.

The objective is not to physically fry,' the weed but to heat damage the weed beyond recovery. It generally withers after two or three days, but it is hard to tell if the weed has been affected immediately after the treatment.

This is tested by taking a weed leaf lightly between your thumb and forefinger. A lasting impression indicates adequate cell damage to kill the weed. Once the thermal weeding has been performed a mechanical cultivation system using a finger weeder, inter-row brush weeder, steerage hoe or other device can be used to remove weeds between rows. In some areas in Europe, straw is mulched after the final cultivation to further improve weed control. This is applied when the carrots are approximately 5" tall.

A distributor of propane weeding equipment in Canada is:

H.W.E Agricultural Technology BP 1515 Embrun, Ont. KOA 1W0 (613) 443-2088 (613) 443-3386 Fax

Q. I am currently growing certified organic buckwheat and I wish to grow some other organic grains in Eastern Ontario in a 2650 CHU area. Which crops are in demand and fit well into my area ? As well, what varietal characteristics should I be looking for if I am growing these crops in a low input system ?

S. Burgess North Lancaster, Ont

A. Several cash grains that appear to have good market potential and are relatively productive in low input systems are oats, soybeans and speltz. With speltz there is only common seed being grown which has some real problems with thistles contaminating the seed. Be careful on your seed source as this is a major problem.

The general characteristics for oats that you should be looking for is to have a relatively tall, disease resistant cultivar, that is late maturing. Height gives a competitive advantage over weeds and lodging is less of a problem as nitrogen is not generally in excess. Later maturing cereal cultivars are suggested as they give more opportunity for the soil to mineralize nitrogen to the crop during the course of the growing season. Two oat cultivars with good performance (yield indexes of 109 and 109 in area 3 of OMAF Pub. 2g6) in your area that are tall, and late maturing are Marion and Baldwin Oats. However, neither one has good disease resistance. This problem can be reduced by using both of these 98 day (matched maturity) cultivars in a mixture. Several studies have found foliar disease level is reduced by using cereal cultivar mixtures and that the mixture can out yield the mean of the components of the mixture.

Characteristics that should be sought in a soybean cultivar are similar to those of cereals. Desirable characteristics include rapid emergence, a reasonably tall height, slightly later maturity, and high yield. Some soybeans have also been found to be allelopathic with weeds but that would be a hard trait to identify. It is particularly important that a tall branching soybean be used if the beans are planted in rows as many of the new soybeans are very short and were developed for solid seeding. Some growers in similar heat unit ratings have found that weed control and yield can be optimized at around 21 " plantings. A suitable cultivar for your area could be OAC Libra or OAC Scorpio. It isn't a good idea to push the heat unit rating much later than what is recommended.

Copyright 1990 REAP Canada

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Ecological Agriculture Projects, McGill University (Macdonald Campus), Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC,  H9X 3V9 Canada
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