While COVID-19 has created new routines at home for school kids and parents, made working adults turn areas of their home in to a “home office” and much more, in fact too many to mention… Farmers are #StillFarming and thank goodness for that!
A few reminders of best practices that we can control:
Lots of planting intentions have changed due to markets, field conditions, and weather. Keep in contact with your input suppliers on your crop plan changes so they can be prepared with product on hand, and move product you don’t need to others. Also, this helps suppliers prepare crop protection inventory for the coming weeks.
There is a wide range of field conditions currently, and many fields will need various tillage passes with a variety of tillage tools. Do your best to create a level seedbed that is firm and allows seeding equipment to obtain good seed to soil contact.
For corn and beans, shoot for 50 degree soil temps (45 degree minimum) with a forecast that is holding or warming. Our soils have yet to reach a temperature buffering capacity. Soil temperatures are currently reading low to mid 40s during the day but still pulling down to the 30s in the night. Try not to plant into an extended cool down weather trend, and shut down 24 hours ahead of a cold rain.
Seed treatments are a must! Early planted soybeans generally yield better than later planted beans, but you must protect the genetic investment you’ve made. Pythium seedling disease likes cool soil temperatures and phytopthora root-rot likes warmer soil temperatures, making that seed treatment protection critical at all planting dates.
Planting depth… 2” for corn, soybeans and sunflowers. This is important for stronger root growth and development. I’ve found in shallower planted soybeans, while they do emerge more quickly, they also express drought symptoms faster when we get into the long, hot days of summer, ultimately aborting pods and affecting yield.
GOAL – Get Out And Look! Take some time and walk around the planter or air seeder while planting. Evaluate seed depth, soil moisture conditions, uniformity from row to row on the equipment, etc.
Lastly, but probably most importantly – #FarmSafe!
Trivia Question: How many seeds in a unit of soybeans?