Gathering Planting Data Sets You Up for Success All Season Long
Planting really is the most important operation in terms of seeing your best yield potential. We have tools at our fingertips that can make farming a little easier during the rest of the season.
Use planter maps on-the-go to your advantage. Some of the best maps to watch as you’re planting are the singulation/spacing or downforce maps. Tracking spacing and downforce per row is a huge asset in the cab. Although it doesn’t replace routine checks, it helps you focus on trouble rows or on certain parts of the planter. Load these maps into your iPad, so you can go back to those areas throughout the season and note the impact planter issues or upgrades have.
Maintaining uniform seed depth and spacing is crucial. Uniform emergence can impact yields by up to 8 to 10 percent! Poor spacing creates unequal competition, so little corn plants can account for another 1 to 5 percent of your yield at the end of the season. Track how your planter performs. If you don’t have a monitor, you can still gather this information. Check your seed depth throughout the field. Stop in different soil types or areas where you know there may be some compaction. This will help you monitor the impact of seed depth and spacing throughout the season. Then next year you can plan how to adjust your planter for challenging conditions.
Monitor corn/corn fields for depth but also for seed-to-soil contact. Heavy residue with corn/corn fields can cause seed to be in contact with residue and create delayed emergence. Seeds absorb water much better from soil than from plant residue, so row cleaners and tillage preparation are crucial.
Pinpoint where the issues are. Today’s technology makes it easy to drop a pin where you are, so you can revisit that spot in the field. You can drop a pin on most any planter monitor, your phone, or an app like Data Forward™ that allows you to track your fields all season long. A pin also will let you make a late-season yield estimate or determine how much yield was lost or gained by fixing the specific issue that caused this problem area in your field.
None of us likes to learn the hard way. We certainly don’t want to make the same mistake twice! Take the time this planting season, or as you spray post-emerge herbicides, to make notes that can help you make better planting or management decisions next year.