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Good Management Practices (GMP)
:: Harvesting

GMP when harvesting surplus cereal straw

  • Maintain sufficient crop residue on the land to protect the soil from erosion. This can be accomplished by keeping the stubble standing particularly after seeding.
  • Harvest surplus crop residue with an appropriate frequency so as not to lower soil organic matter, soil fertility and crop productivity.
  • Fertilize crops according to soil test recommendations.

Stubble height and residue amount required for erosion control

Tall stubble provides greater protection against wind and water erosion and improves soil moisture conservation through trapping snow and reducing evaporation losses.  Tall stubble also helps maintain the surface soil in a moist state, which improves seedbed conditions for shallow seeded crops. Therefore, stubble should be cut as tall as possible without causing problems with plugging of seeding equipment.

Generally, the stubble height can be similar to the row spacing of the seeder.  Most air-seeders have row spacing of eight to 12 inches, so stubble height can generally be from eight to 12 inches.  With direct seeding equipment that has four ranks of knife openers, some growers successfully manage stubble heights up to 1.5 times the row spacing.  Newer direct seeding equipment with coulter or disc openers is able to handle taller stubble with few plugging problems. In most years, shallower seeding results in less soil disturbance and better, more uniform crop emergence. 
Slower speeds during seeding disturb less soil and bury fewer residues. Anchored, standing residue is much more effective for erosion control than loose, unanchored residue.

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