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The challenge of a Rice/Soybean rotation on heavy clay soils


acem

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I grow rice and soybeans on heavy clay soils in the Arkansas river valley of western Arkansas. The rice/soybean rotation is challenging on this soil type. Here is a description of how a farmer in Mississippi gets his soybeans planted after rice. His situation is similar to mine and I picked up a few good ideas from the article. Thx-Ace

http://deltafarmpress.com/soybeans/growing-soybeans-behind-rice-heavy-soils

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Ace----

For the most part--------planting early maturing soybeans and early maturing rice in addition to running wide flotation tires on land formed land has moved the rice/soybean harvest forward a month to 6 weeks from where we were back in the 70's.

Make all efforts to be early at planting and harvest--------avoid ruts. Easier said than done------but keep working towrard that goal.

Good luck

DD

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Thanks Delta!

I am planting the short season rice as early as possible (I hope to get mine planted in late March this year). However the soybeans have proven more difficult. This ground floods occasionally in the spring which makes early soybeans very risky. If I way until April I have better luck but group 4s don't seem to work well here planted in may...

I am having good luck with my rice but the soybeans are difficult. This year I got my rice out fine but the soybeans were so late and it is rut city... I got some ruts knocked down during a dry spell in Jan but it was touch and go. This fall/winter I could not have cut my soybeans without a mud hog!

Thx-Ace

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Delta and acem

post-77390-0-63662200-1391884903_thumb.j

Jus kiddin ,But I would love to see a pictures or a video of your operation's

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I will try to get some images up. Lets see how this goes!

Here is an image of me harvesting rice this fall. It was very wet and the mud hog was on continuously. I was making some 'nice' ruts.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/a3XFgy090EB-SxLKp-OejQ1XUt9aJvHSEYq2B4lqrQ=w175-h117-p-no

After harvest I wait untill a big rain (flash flood) to roll the rice. I run my old 4366 with a roller to smash the stubble into the ground. It also knocks the rutts down pretty good.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/nAr4YSZU2SjeslxS85iz0sHh0L-CJeRzQBAn2LUz8g=w175-h117-p-no

Lets see how this worked... Thx-Ace

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Thanx for the pix Ace

Is there more than one manufacturer of hydraulic drive axles ,??

Do folks just call them Mud Hogs even if they are not made by 'Mudhog'

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More than one company makes rear wheel assist (RWA) but we all call them 'mud hog' around here. Probably because they put a cool looking sticker on the combine that showed a hog with RWA.

Here are some more images. I don't seem to be able to post them directly to redpower because they are too large... I need to become more tech savy so I can do this better. I have some images of rice harvest on flicker but I cannot seem to access my account anymore...

https://plus.google.com/photos/113977727794755257226/albums/5978421549934047185

Thx-Ace

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Kevin----

Mud Hog was a "brand"------primarily sold as after market add ons back in the 80's. There were a couple of other brands that came along-----but I don't remember the names.

Lot of combines and cotton pickers sold new down this way with factory hydraulic assist steering axles------but I don't know who is actually manufacturing them.

I ran a couple of M-F 750s with Mud Hogs back in the 80's-------plumbed into the hydrostat------actually increasing the total hydraulic motor displacement and lightening the load on the hydrostat pump.

The term "mud hog" is commonly used as per the term "caterpillar" for crawler tractors.

Hopefully somebody can fill us in on the current manufacturers. The first I ever knew about was Levy out of Canada-----back in the 60's.

DD

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More than one company makes rear wheel assist (RWA) but we all call them 'mud hog' around here. Probably because they put a cool looking sticker on the combine that showed a hog with RWA.

Here are some more images. I don't seem to be able to post them directly to redpower because they are too large... I need to become more tech savy so I can do this better. I have some images of rice harvest on flicker but I cannot seem to access my account anymore...

https://plus.google.com/photos/113977727794755257226/albums/5978421549934047185

Thx-Ace

Those were some great pictures Ace , Gives me a much better understanding of what you guys go through ( and it doesn't look easy)

Thanks for the info DD

post-77390-0-60990000-1391979592.jpg

post-77390-0-09823800-1391979598_thumb.j

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Nice pics of the rice field. Don't get to see many pics of rice operations. We used to race in Poplar Bluff Mo. On the way there from Western Ky between Sikeston and PB there was rice grown, I remember seeing lots of muddy tractors one year during harvest along the road. Wanted to stop and watch but had dirt to roost myself.

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See Ace is running smooth roller-------we ran same type roller, but with flat steel lugs welded onto it so to "punch" the straw/stubble into the sloppy wet soil surface.

Called the lugged roller "snake choppers";------so we made our ruts with "Mud Hogs"-------and smoothed them down with "snake choppers"!!!!LOL

Wetter the better for rolling/chopping------always wanted to finish up in early Feb.-------so to let land mellow back out. Have run with windshield wiper on-------very similar to Ace's pictures.

When the going gets tough----the tough get going!!! (I never made that turn onto Easy Street)

DD

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Delta,

Did the lugged roller do a better job? I sometimes have trouble with straw floating around the roller instead of rolling under. How hard do they they pull compared to a smooth roller? I am about the only rice farmer in my area (far west Arkansas river valley between the Ozark and Ouachita mountains) so I don't get alot of coffee shop talk about rice...

I think I used to live pretty close to you Delta. Do you live just south of Greenville MS? I used to live in McGehee AR back when I was an engineer at Potlatch (now Clearwater Paper) back in the early 90s. I came over to shop at Greenville every now and then.

Thx-Ace

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My rice soil is a very heavy alluvial clay. It has a hard pan so the mud is just the top foot or so. When you dig rutts you will often make it soft enough that the next season you will have trouble in the same area next year (if you have a wet fall). Before I plant rice I run a land plane (float) over the ground to smooth it. This ground is too wet for corn or wheat although some people try.

There are many ways to farm rice but this is a summary of what I do. I use the dry seeded method but some farmers use the water seeded method. My rice soil is heavy alluvial clay that is subject to flash floods. Rice is the most profitable crop on this soil and we have leveled all but one field to a 0.5% to 0.1% slope. That gives me much better drainage and gives me straight levees. I normally work the ground in the spring and then float it. The float (land plane) smooths the surface (eliminating pot holes) and large clods. I plant the rice with a grain drill, roll the field, spray a pre emergence herbicide (usually command), put up the levees, install levee gates and tie the inside and outside gates together. This is all done as quickly as possible to each field. Then I hope the rice will come up (usually it does). If it doesn't I have to flush (irrigate) the rice up. After a few weeks I apply another herbicide (recently I have used Facet which is a post emergence/pre emergence herbicide) . When the rice reaches the proper stage (after tillering) I fertilize (urea) and then quickly flood to push the nitrogen into the soil. After the flood is started the field is checked daily for water levels, weeds, insects, disease, etc. I can apply the preflood nitrogen and herbicides with ground equipment on leveled fields (the levees are straight) when conditions permit but all post flood applications are made with a crop duster. When the rice reaches the proper maturity the water is shut off and the field is allowed to dry down (sometimes I let the water out but usually it will dry down naturally in Aug and Sept. When the rice reaches 20% moisture we start harvest. The rice is combined and we use grain carts to haul it to the trucks or directly to the bin (my fields are very close to the bin) The rice is dried down to 12% moisture in the bins. When the old rice field is flooded from heavy rain we roll the rice to incorporate the stubble into the ground. There is alot of stubble to get rid of because rice is a high yielding crop (up to 250 bpa). If it is really wet the roller can knock down the levees. I am in the process of putting up permanent levees around each field so I lose less water to seepage. Soybeans are grown in rotation (typically rice/soybeans)

I don't farm in the delta like Delta Dirt. My farm is in the Arkansas river valley in western Arkansas. The Arkansas river cuts a valley between the Ozark Mtns an Ouachita Mtns. Although it is a big valley there is only a little dirt farming land on narrow strips along the river. In some places the mountains come all the way up to the river and there is no farmland but in some areas the farmland my reach three miles from the river. Here there are only pockets of farmland. They do have alot of cattle and poultry farms on the higher ground here. Soybean meal is shipped here from Stuttgart AR for use in feed. So in the winter my rice is shipped back to rice mills as backhauls saving me money.

I will try to get more pictures of the entire process so I can document it. I have problems getting that done because I am usually on one of the tractors...

I grow rice, soybeans, wheat, milo or corn, and cattle but don't grow any cotton. The local cotton gin closed back in the late 70s and it is over 100 miles to a gin. The price of cotton will not justify hauling it so far at this time. There is a farmer near Joplin MO growing cotton and shipping it east I am told though.

Thx-Ace

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Ace Excellent description of your operation !!

Do you use any "crawler " or " Tracked " style machines in your operation ??

I have experienced the smell of the fertilizer " urea " it is used as a runway de-icing agent up here

It will just about knock you out !!

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I posted last night referencing the lugs vs the smooth roller--------reckon it got lost in cyber space.

Anyway---------the lugs tended to "smush" the straw into the mud resulting in better decomposition of the straw/stubble. Plus------the lugs tended to fill in the ruts better (maybe not as many air pockets left in the bottom). The lugs also kept the pipe rolling.

Would not think there would be much difference in power requirements--------------just got to be wet and soupy to keep from building up on pipe.

I pulled a 20 ft (24" x 1/2 wall pipe---------either 4" or 6" lugs welded on at an angle)---------with a 1805 Massey (210 HP).

**********

And-------------then further back in time (before 4x4 tractor days); I sold the Howard Rotavator (rotary tiller) across the mid-South. Chopping under rice straw and ruts was one of the most popular uses-----------we could run in the mud and utilize the Rotavator as part of the forward propulsion needs. (need to dig up some pictures)

The 4x4 tractors gradually came onto the market----------------and the "snake killer rollers" were a lot more economical to operate than the Rotavators with pto shafts, gear boxes, etc.

********

Gotta correct Ace on his comment: "I do not farm in the delta like Delta Dirt does"

Delta Dirt actually no longer farms-------------he got poor enough to retire from farming back in the mid '80s and turned his efforts to farmland real estate. I am a farmland real estate broker and appraiser-------------but still got dirt and scrap iron in my veins!!!!!

Delta Dirt

Avon, Ms 38723

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