With single digit and even sub-zero temperatures around Indiana heading into the first weekend of March, it may not seem like another planting season is near, but that is what certainly is on the minds of farmers. So, an Indiana based technical agronomist has some planting tips as the change in seasons approaches.
Kirby Bacon with Asgrow and DEKALB says start with pre-emergence herbicides, which can often protect yield potential by dramatically limiting early season weed competition.
“The use of starter fertilizers can give corn plants an early boost,” he adds, “particularly in conservation tillage when soils can be cool and moist. Those fields where you have corn after corn often show benefits from starter applications especially in those cooler environments.”
Bacon says a critical part of full season success is the actual planting dates. “The optimum planting date is obviously different from year to year based on local conditions. I like to consider three major things: soil conditions, calendar date, and then the short term weather forecast. I like to recommend a target calendar week when we want to have everything ready to go to the field, and then if the soil moisture and the temperature is correct and the short term weather forecast looks relatively good, it’s time to go to the field.”
He also says the #1 priority is the condition of the soil.
“Soil condition is the driving factor behind whether you want to consider going to the field or not. If that’s not in place then none of the other factors even matter.”
So what are those optimum soil conditions?
“Dry and friable, the ability to crumble correctly,” he told HAT. “That’s very, very important because all that contributes back to seed to soil contact. With inadequate seed to soil contact we don’t wind up with good germination and good emergence, and then we’ve started our season off in a way that we don’t want to do.”