Avoid Harvest Disappointment with Management Now

 In Providing Insight

Each year the same issues appear across the country. Whether an issue is seen at emergence or while inspecting the success of a foliar program later in the season, many of these problems can be traced back to unforced and avoidable errors at planting.

  1. Soil, not the calendar, drives planting decisions. While we understand the excitement of spring, planting into wet, cold soils can be detrimental and lead to disappointment at harvest. Waiting an extra day or two for dry soil can lead to better rooting conditions and enable a crop to take full advantage of Maximum Farming System adoption.
  2. Trust, but verify technology. Farmers spend a lot of money on planter technology, but sometimes it performs differently in the field than in the shop. Ensure flow rates for in furrow and the nitrogen band are accurate, and don’t forget to check planting depth accuracy. Soils have a tendency to “fluff up” and an intended 2.25” planting depth may actually be only 1.25”-1.50”. Being unaware of shallow planting can lead to unwanted herbicide interactions and exacerbate issues during mid-summer dry conditions.
  3. Manage sidewall compaction. Among the more common issues, the past few years, is increased sidewall compaction…particularly with the advent of Conceal N technology. This is a great tool, but often the knives are forced too deep and the tires on the Conceal N can create compaction. Getting nitrogen into the soil is important but don’t let moisture drive this. If the N is placed 1” below the soil surface, you are better off than trying to force it deeper, which may create compaction issues. Don’t sacrifice a good rooting environment, but be sure you are hitting your target depth and that it isn’t too shallow.
  4. Herbicide timing is important. Just because a herbicide doesn’t kill a plant doesn’t mean it isn’t impacting yield. Remember, in corn, kernel count is determined at V3 and spraying the wrong herbicide at the wrong time can shut down a plant. When it metabolizes the herbicide, it isn’t maximizing the nutrition you’ve already applied, and it is hurting yield potential. Proper weed control timing and staying away from dicamba in a post application is imperative.

by Delk Crosier, Maximum Farming Implementation Consultant

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