One of the most important to-do items for each of us this spring is following our Field X Field™ crop plans.

If a particular field dries out and is ready to plant, it’s extremely tempting to plant the seed that’s in the front of the shed even if that isn’t the hybrid intended for that field. It pays to take the time to plant the right hybrid in the right field.

How many other decisions do you make every year that account for up to $200/acre?

Planting the right genetics in the right field accounts for up to 20% of the yield. We can’t predict the weather, so we plant more than one hybrid/variety to mitigate that risk. We also do our best to make sure the genetics are planted into the environment where they will thrive.

If you have the technology to capture planting data from the planter, make it happen! Equipment dealers can check your monitor systems and install updates. Then you can enter the hybrid/variety information as you move from field to field. The two minutes it takes to enter the information will pay you back all season long as you track progress on how you manage your farms the rest of the season. Remember, if you’re running a Case IH planter/monitor, plug in a USB stick or it will not record any data. Most other monitors have internal memory that records data until it’s full.

It’s important to note where the hybrid “breaks” are during planting. If you don’t have a planter monitor that can map where you start and stop different hybrids/varieties, then drop a pin in your monitor or even just draw a picture with landmarks. This allows you to go back and compare genetics as they emerge and grow. Another option is Latham’s Data ForwardSM app, which allows you to easily split a field based on landmarks of where a hybrid/variety ran out and where the next one began.

For best success, the crop plan process shouldn’t stop when the planter leaves the field. Take time to walk your fields during emergence. Corn establishes the girth of the ear during the 5-7 leaf stages. If you see stress during emergence, it will likely affect ear development in a few weeks. The premium version of Latham’s Data Forward app provides satellite imagery after planting. This can help narrow areas of focus by noticing different hybrid/variety performance. I’ll talk more about how satellite imagery can be used in upcoming articles because it is a very unique tool. Diligence in keeping records today means more opportunity to move the Data Forward in the future.