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Our Journey with ACF SR - The Bohuns

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

My name is Nicole Bohun. I am part of Sunset Road Seeds in Richard, Saskatchewan, along with my dad, Dennis and brother, Randy.

I graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 2012 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture Major in Agronomy and Minor in Agribusiness. I came back home to farm with my dad and brother and I looked forward to using my agronomy knowledge on our farm. Unfortunately, my time physically working on our farm was cut short. Due to a distracted semi driver, I was involved in an accident and was left paralyzed.

As Randy continually says, I am the brains behind our change from high rates of regular high salt fertilizer and NH3 combined with multiple fungicide and insecticide passes a year to ACF-SR, low salt granular starter fertilizer with NH3 rates less than half of previous years’ rates and low salt foliar fertilizers.

During my time away from working on our farm, I have researched and maintained an understanding of new products and farming methods. This is where our journey with AdvancedAG and ACF-SR began….

Overview of our farm

We are a family farm of 10,500 acres in size, located in Richard, Saskatchewan, with some of our land located 25 miles east at Krydor, Saskatchewan. Our land is a part of the Black/Grey Soil Zone of Saskatchewan. We grow a rotation of canola, wheat, oats, flax, barley and peas. In 2017, we became Sunset Road Seeds - a Pedigree Seed Grower for Canterra Seeds. This has since expanded to now include Alliance Seed and Secan. In December 2021, we became a dealer for Top Krop Fertilizers Ltd. and users of the AdvancedAg product line.

I first spoke with a representative of AdvancedAg in 2017. I had many questions and they were able to give endless answers. However, we were not convinced of the capabilities of their biologicals.

As time went on, we kept thinking of AdvancedAg and ACF-SR through the years. In 2021 drought hit and of course, fertilizer price increased substantially.

I contacted AdvancedAg again in the Summer of 2021. It was nice to see the growth and successes they have had since our first talk. I decided to delve further into research of ACF-SR and presented my findings to my dad and brother on the numerous soil and plant benefits seen on other farms. It was agreed that we would go forward, but as my brother said, “I will have to see it to believe it.”

Why did we decide to use ACF in 2022?

  • It was reported that a number of growers using ACF-SR have been able to cut their fertilizer rates significantly without any adverse effects on yields or quality.

  • ACF-SR has been found to help conserve moisture, leading to healthier plants in droughts.

  • Many growers have found they have not had to reply on the use of synthetic seed treatments, fungicides or insecticides as much if using ACF-SR.

  • ACF SR is proven to increase BRIX (sugar) levels of plants. Higher BRIX levels increase disease and insect resistance, as well as the plants ability to handle stress and increase photosynthesis rates.

  • Soils where ACF-SR has been used have been found to have increased nutrient levels.

  • The biologicals in ACF-SR work to add nutrients to the soil from the air and plant residues. They unlock nutrient reserves in our soils which are naturally rich in many nutrients found in the parent materials from which our soils are formed. The fact that our soils in the prairie provinces are considered to be young according to soil forming standards (~10,000-17,000 years old), they are not depleted in nutrients.

  • Maturity of crops has been found to be sped up 7-10 days.

  • Higher test weights have been consistently found in crops where ACF-SR is used.

  • High protein levels have been achieved without having to apply high amounts of N fertilizer.

Based on the size of our farm we decided to set up a custom BrewTus to best meet our needs. This included a BrewTus 1000, a 5000 gallon tank for brewing and a 5000 gallon tank for storing brewed ACF SR. We purchased an additional aeration assembly for the storage tank just incase the ACF needed to be fed again.

2022 Growing Season

We grew wheat, canola, barley, flax and oats and after the 2021 drought, we knew zero subsoil moisture was available. The moisture from snow melt and spring rainfall was limited at seeding on most of our land with seeds going into partially wet to completely dry ground.

The moisture conditions on our land at Krydor was pretty good at seeding. The moisture came in mixed amounts throughout the beginning of June with the Krydor land receiving more.

The end of June and all of July saw minimal rain at Richard and good amounts of rain at Krydor. By the middle of July, we saw high temperatures, lasting throughout all of August and into September.

The first week of August we saw a good amount of rain, with Krydor once again receiving more. After that the taps shut off until the beginning of September.

Rainfall totals for the growing season:

  • Richard = 4.5”

  • Krydor = 8”

Wheat Program

  • Variety: ACC Connery

  • Seed Treatment: Straight ACF-SR was applied at a rate of approximately 120 litres per 500bu, 2-2 ½ hours before going to a drill to allow time for seed to dry down.

  • Fertility: 50lbs/ac of Eleven Superstart (10% with the seed and rest in side band) and 50lbs/ac of NH3 in side band at seeding.

  • 2 gal/ac ACF-SR once plants were up out of the ground

  • 1 gal/ac KS 2075 with herbicide

  • 2 gal/ac of ACF-SR on wheat at Richard at 75 - 100% fully headed out stage.

  • 3 gal/ac of ACF-SR on wheat at Krydor at 100% fully headed out stage.

  • 1 gal/ac of ACF-SR on wheat at Krydor when doing second application on canola there.

  • On 120 acres 1 gal/ac of KS 1022 and ½ L/ac of KS Maximum was applied along with this ACF-SR application.

  • On 157 acres 1 gal/ac of KS 2075 was applied along with this ACF-SR application.

  • All in-crop applications of ACF-SR were done with sprayers after 7pm or once the heat of the day passed. Spraying continued all night until approximately 8am when sunlight became more direct on plants. This was done to avoid UV ray damages to ACF-SR.

  • 10gal/ac of water was the water rate used to ensure good coverage.

Wheat Results

  • Within 6 days after seeding, wheat was popping out of the ground. By 8 days after seeding, wheat seedlings were 1-1.5” tall.

  • After the first application of ACF-SR, crop took on a darker green color pointing to an increase in chlorophyll and nitrogen in the plant which in turn points to increased photosynthesis and productivity.

* Important to note is that the fields that were sprayed during or right before a light rain saw the darker green colour change be more distinct and come on quicker.

  • Wheat at Richard showed zero disease presence throughout the growing season.

  • At herbicide timing leaf blotch was found on some wheat leaves at Krydor where 5 inches had already fallen.

  • Found on old growth only.

  • Plants right next to an infected plant were found to be free of disease.

  • Found only in low areas where more water sat or where canola stubble was high.

  • As the growing season was coming to an end, one thing that greatly concerned me was if we would find plants infected with FHB throughout the fields as no fungicide was used. This did not occur.

  • Yield: