Planting Tips for a Record-Breaking Season

The temperature has started heating up, and the anticipation of spring planting is around the corner has arrived.  To help ensure you get the best from your crop this year, I wanted to provide a few tips to consider both for planting preparation and for plant health as you head into the field this spring.

Soil Testing: The first step to ensure a successful season is to make sure your field has the proper nutrients. If you didn’t have a soil test done in the fall, there’s still time to have one done yet this spring. Remember, the benefits of soil testing far outweigh the costs. Lack of fertilizer, or applying inadequate amounts of nutrients can cause fertility levels to drop when hungry crops are feeding. The best practice is to sample every field, every year, to establish consistency and trim overall fertilizer costs.  If you grid sample, the higher costs and greater accuracy of that system allow for less frequent sampling – most recommend every 3 or 4 years.

Planting Date/Soil Conditions: Remember to base your planting date on the readiness of the soil versus the date on the calendar. Ideal soil temperature is no less than 50 degrees for corn.   Wet soils cause trouble from the beginning; compaction resulting from wet soil can kill root growth. For soybeans, fungicide-treated seed is a must to prevent damping off from Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Phytopthora and Fusarium. For corn, treated seed is a must for Pythium, seed corn maggots, wireworm and no-till. Click here for additional planting date tips.

Fertility: I recently posted some tips for managing nutrients in your soybean crop, including N, P and K, and secondary nutrients like Calcium and Sulfur. You can read those posts at the links below to learn more about how to balance nutrient levels in your soybean crop to help ensure plant health.

Fertility Levels Key to Raising Top Soybeans

Fertility Levels Key to Raising Top Soybeans Part 2

You know better than anyone that there are an incredible number of variables that can affect plant health and overall yields.  Addressing what challenges may come now versus down the road will help ensure a successful season in a year that holds the promise of record returns.

Please feel free to comment if you have any questions that we may be able to help answer as planting nears.