5 Things to Tackle during “Pre-Plant Technology Prep”

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As we get closer to spring, farmers are busy making sure their equipment is running and their planters are calibrated. There is also “pre-plant prep” required for precision ag.

Quality data and consistency go hand-in-hand. Take the time now to ensure everything is ready before the busy planting season begins.

To help, I’ve compiled a list of five key areas for your consideration:

1. Monitor software
Make sure your monitor software is up-to-date. This is also the perfect time to update your list of your fields, including the hybrids/varieties that you will be planting in each field. Updates help the monitor record your data, as well as communicate with the tractor and planter.

2. Field Boundaries
One thing that often gets overlooked is changing field boundaries. Did you add a waterway or take out a grove of trees? Maybe you got rid of a fence line and are now farming two farms as one. There are an endless number of ways you could have changed the boundaries of your field, and these influence a planting prescription.

As long as it’s set right in your monitor, you will typically just plant an “out of bounds” or “default” rate. If you catch these changes before you plant, however, you can save yourself the headache. Fixing the prescription now will allow you to be more prepared for the other unexpected issues that may arise.

3. Planting Prescriptions
If you’re running a planting prescription, make sure it’s loaded in your monitor before you head to the field. Again, this will save time and frustration when it becomes crunch time. NOTE: Some monitors require you to clean out old files and save them before bringing in new files.

4. Variable Rate Prescriptions
Those of you planting with VR (variable rate) prescriptions can have your dealer come out and run through it with you. While he or she is showing you what to do, record a video of the tutorial on your smart phone. That way you can quickly re-watch the video to remind yourself of the steps you need to do when you get in the cab.

5. Calibrate Seed Meter
Preparing your planter should always be a priority. Calibrate the seed meter. Checking the entire row unit for worn parts is critical for accurate seed placement. Research has shown that a variation in seed spacing of only one inch can have an impact of 2.5 bushels per acre due to inaccurate seed spacing! That doesn’t include seeding depth and emergence timing, which is an even bigger issue. Any other problems during the season including weeds, diseases, or other issues will only compound this effect.