Hat Field Update farmer David Virgin will have a couple of firsts this year. The Montgomery County farmer planted cover crops for the first time and he is well on the way to being finished planting in April for the very first time. Virgin says they started on April 7th.
“And I’m in my last field today so I’ll actually be done with about 2,200 acres of corn today,” he said Monday. “We’ve done quite a few beans. I think we have maybe 300-400 acres of beans left so we’ll be done with that. This could be the first time in my history that I’ve got all my crop planted in April.”
Typically Virgin starts planting around mid-April, but after weighing both pros and cons they decided to get in early and take advantage of early germination opportunities.
The rotation is 2/3 corn and 1/3 soybeans. Did he think about switching to more soybeans after USDA’s planting intentions report?
“We considered it but we’re working on the rotation just trying to learn more about doing corn after corn in a no-till situation. I’m splitting the rows with this cover crop so we elected to stay this way this year, even though bean prices were looking pretty good, just to get a handle on what we can do in the future.”
In his first year for cover crops Virgin is pleased.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/04/Almost-complete-in-Montgomery-County.mp3|titles=Almost complete in Montgomery County]
“Yes, but the learning curve was we probably should have killed our rye grass just a little bit earlier. Back when we had this dry spell in the first of April it pretty much sucked all the moisture out of the ground so we had to back off planting for about a week until it was killed and we got a little bit of rainfall. Now it’s planting beautiful.”
Ground moisture is ok but Virgin said a little rain would be great. The west-central Indiana operation is about 95 percent no-till. Hear more in the HAT Field Update.