Agronomist Says Farmers Planting More Patiently this Year

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Preparing for best stand

Bill Mullen in the fieldIndiana farmers have learned something from last spring and their planting approach this year is the proof. Agronomist Bill Mullen says farmers this year have waited for the ground conditions to be right before planting. That is a change from the cold, wet spring of a year ago.

“Part of our problem was sidewall compaction issues where the roots never really developed. Where we saw the development was going straight down and not going out, and that did affect the yield later on. People remember that last year because it did have an effect on their yield, more of it on the negative side. This year people are waiting. They’re waiting to make sure they can get the crop planted in the right manner, the right depth and the field conditions are right.”

Mullen reminds farmers who still have corn to plant, when you get back in the field watch your speed for uniform stand establishment.

“It seems like when we get to the middle of May and we have 6 or 7 hundred acres, or a thousand acres to plant, there’s a tendency to go ahead and increase our miles per hour and run in that 6-6 ½ MPH just to cover more ground,” he said. “And I understand we’re getting the crop in the ground, but are we getting the crop in the ground for the best results? As we sometimes increase our speed, we’re not going to get the accuracy in our depth.”

A little bounce in the planter because of the added speed may lead to seeds getting an inch of penetration instead of the optimal 1 ½ to 1 ¾ inches of depth.

HAT walked a Clinton County field with Mullen, Director of Agronomic Services at Seed Consultants, and he encourages farmers to walk their own fields after the planter is put away.

“If there are any issues for weeds or insects we need to take care of them because we’re building for our yields come harvest time. We want to make sure we have a good foundation to work with.”

See the field walk and various tips and observations from Mullen in the HAT video.