Take Crop Notes to Guide Fall Decisions

Gain some great insights on what to expect this fall with good observations this spring. These observations, when detailed for each field, also provide an excellent long-term understanding of each field’s potential.

Keeping good records will help you repeat positive, productive activities in future years. Below are a few areas you might note when making field observations:

Emergence and Plant Stand Uniformity. Review all your corn fields for emergence. Score them for uniformity, using a 1 to 5 scale. Latham’s Data Forward app makes it easy to track areas of the field with delayed or uneven emergence. Areas of delayed emergence may translate into delayed maturity, resulting in variable moisture content at harvest time. Pay attention to what caused the uneven emergence.

Make notes about what you could do differently the next time you plant corn in this field. For example, did delayed emergence occur in areas with excess residue? What can you do to minimize residue accumulation in those areas? What can you do better to clear trash in your planting pass?

Fertility Issues. Look for deficiency symptoms across your fields. You can focus on those areas that traditionally hold excess moisture, but I recommend thoroughly assessing the entire field. For example, phosphorus and potassium deficiency can translate into weak stalks come fall. Rate your fields and mark trouble spots in your Data Forward app, so you can locate troubled areas this fall and plan your harvest schedule accordingly. Long-term, fertility assessments can aid you in your annual fertilization planning. Should you take soil tests in a smaller grid pattern? Do you need to take soil tests more frequently?

Weed Management. Scouting for escaped weeds from your herbicide applications can provide some very good insight on crop performance in those areas this fall. Weeds use a great deal of moisture and fertility, causing stress on the crop. Heavy infestation in weed escape areas will cause significant yield reductions. Note these areas and follow those areas through harvest to better understand the impact weed pressure had on yield. For future years, you can work with your weed management advisor to minimize weed escape areas.

If you need a great tool to help you with this, Latham’s Data Forward app can aid you in managing the information and observations you make. Making good observations during the season will help you better understand your harvest data. Field observations are a great way to learn best practices for each field that you plant to corn.