4 Factors to Improve Efficiency in 2021

It was a beautiful, extended fall season, giving us ample time to finish tillage, fertilizer applications, tilling and other field work. Our machinery was strategically tucked away in the shed before the snow fell. Speaking of strategic placement…

Is your planter all the way in the back of the shed because you aren’t planning to touch it until March? Now is actually a good time to start thinking about your planter. New technology allows us to make our existing planter as good as – if not better than – the brand new planter on the lot at the implement dealership. One perk of working with us at Latham Hi-Tech Seeds is using our Data ForwardSM services to help you make some unbiased decisions. Perhaps you weren’t happy with the way your corn was spaced in 2020 or maybe you noticed uneven emergence last spring. We can help you determine why this happened and fix these issues before going into 2021 planting season.

If you attended a plot tour last summer or listened online to our Corn Product Manager Lyle Marcus, you know he emphasized the importance of planting depth. It can be difficult to stay consistent across the field; controlling planter speed is one of the simplest ways to achieve optimum seed placement. We can review planter speed. We also can explore technology options for your planter, so you can monitor and control variabilities throughout a field.
Another factor to consider is planting depth. Oftentimes, we say 2.75 inches is a safe planting depth to allow adequate moisture and growing degree units (GDUs) to attain even emergence.

There is a lot of talk around two-inch planting depths. This could be optimal if there is adequate moisture. Planting at 2 inches with adequate moisture can get you better emergence due to having faster GDU adaptation. This also means that it could come out of the ground better in crusting conditions, but keep in mind that the key to shallower planting is moisture. It’s risky to rely on moisture being available at that shallower depth.

We spend a lot of time helping our Data Forward clients improve efficiency. While this can encompass many things, we focus on your planter, seed and equipment. We believe one of the most important assets to a farmer’s operation is the planter. If the planter is not equipped to place that seed where it is going to thrive, then other investments throughout the year are not going to be as valuable either.

One of our biggest challenges is helping clients achieve uniform, speedy emergence. If one plant emerges 24 to 48 hours after its neighbor, that plant will compete for the sunlight that its neighbor is already harvesting. The plant starving for sunlight will be a runt for the rest of the growing season.
Keep these four things in mind when trying to keep even heat and moisture to achieve even emergence:

  1. Manage residue.
  2. Maintain planting depth.
  3. Achieve good seed-to-soil contact (no air pockets).
  4. Eliminate compaction.

If you want to improve efficiency, planter performance, and data management for 2021, it’s time to plan. Call your Latham Precision Agronomy Advisors now for unbiased recommendations to get your 2021 crop off to a better start!