With harvest likely to end earlier than normal, farmers will have plenty of time for fall field work chores. Item one on your fall to do list should be a soil test, according to Keith Diedrick, with DuPont in NW Indiana. He told HAT improvements in soil moisture will make this fall’s soil test a bit more accurate, “We have received enough moisture in northern Indiana that our soils are getting back to the point where they will yield an accurate soil test.” Extremely dry conditions a few weeks ago would have given growers false readings on soil fertility. Your soil test will set the direction for your soil fertility program and for most growers that will mean adding some lime. “Applying lime will adjust the soil PH,” said Diedrick. He said fall is a better time to apply lime because it will have more time to interact with the soil before next spring.
Corn yields were lower than anticipated on many farms; and, according to Diedrick, there may be quite a bit of nitrogen left in the soil, “There were a lot of yields of 100 bpa, but in the spring we put on nitrogen for 200bpa. A lot of that is still in the soil.” He added that, left alone, most of that nitrogen will be lost by next spring, so many growers are considering planting wheat this fall. Other farmers are planting cover crops to sequester the nitrogen into the soil and improve soil fertility.
Diedrick noted fall weed control will be another big issue. He said the weather looks good for a window of application over the next few weeks, “Just make sure you are using several different modes of action.” He said fast growing weeds during late fall weather provide an excellent opportunity for weed control. He said clean fields in the spring will warm quicker and allow for early planting.
Listen to the complete interview with Keith Diedrick here.