Control Planting Conditions to Maximize Yield Potential

The planters are ready to roll as this is coming to you! That’s why I’m reminding everyone how important the proper start to the season is.

If the planting season gets off to a bad start, it’s only going to get worse throughout the growing season. That’s why it’s so important to plant into fit soil conditions, at the proper depth and at a slow enough speed.

As a farmer, I understand the urgency to get seed in the ground. We’re so eager that sometimes we mud the crop into a less than desirable seed bed, and sometimes we plant at higher speeds to get more acres planted in a day. However, days on the calendar don’t make up for mistakes in the field. Keep in mind that haste makes waste.

A few years ago, I conducted speed and planter depth testing on our farm. I found that our John Deere 7000 planter was most accurate at 4.5 to 4.8 miles per hour (mph), and our yields were the best at a depth of 1.75 to 2 inches. I saw as much as a 10-bushel difference at higher planting speeds and a 20-bushel difference when seed was planted at 1.25 to 1.5 inches deep. Root systems were considerably smaller where the seed was planted shallower and at faster speeds.

Also remember to check depth and spacing each time you move to a different field to ensure depth and spacing works in that field’s soil type and texture. Wishing you all a safe and great planting season!

Bart W NC IA