As the weather begins to creep into warmer temperatures and the sun lingers in the sky longer in the evening, thoughts of spring come to mind.
With the 2017 planting season quickly approaching for many and even if still several weeks away for cooler geographies, it is a key time to make sure that plans are underway to help get the crop off to a strong start. Having a set schedule and list leading up to your key planting dates will provide extra time as necessary to be devoted to any unexpected issues as they arise.
Here are four steps to help proactively prepare for the upcoming planting season:
1. Start with the Soil
First thing’s first – prepare the soil for the season. Soil that is healthy and in top condition in the spring is more likely to produce the best crop possible. While soil health is not limited to nutrient content, understanding what the soil consists of helps you make informed fertilizer and crop protection decisions. Your soil samples that you took earlier can also be helpful for these decisions.
Understand the soil’s texture and keep in mind possible restrictions on particular pieces of land as well as any advantages while preparing the ground for spring planting. If cover crops were planted in the fall or spring tillage is in the plan, be sure the soil is ready prior to going into the field. Minimize soil compaction by not working soil that is too wet and consider options to avoid equipment that is too heavy.
2. Helping your seed maximize its genetic potential
Now that the soil preparation is underway, it’s a good time to confirm a fertilizer plan that best fits your yield goals. It is important to ensure that your selected seed has adequate time to reach maturity before projected harvest dates and that it will have the appropriate nutrients and protection along the way.
In addition to allowing proper time for the plants to develop and mature, you will want to design a crop protection plan to support the crop within the geography where it is being planted, considering pests, weeds and disease that are more likely within the area. A smart crop protection plan can improve your crops chances and help you minimize issues during the season.
3. Determine your optimal fertilizer strategy
Decide on the most appropriate and effective fertilizer strategy based on soil sample results and your yield goals for each field.
Armed with this information, it will be easier to finalize your fertilizer plan for the season and you will have a better chance that your plan will deliver better results come harvest.
Remember to make sure your crop has the proper amounts of macro and micronutrients as they need them throughout the season. In-furrow application of starter fertilizer is one good way to help your crop get off to a good start.
4. Spring equipment preparation and maintenance
Check all spring equipment before beginning to plant and fertilize the fields. Make sure that microtubes, splitters, and pumps on all fertilizer equipment are free of old residue. A dirty or clogged nozzle could lead to uneven or improper distribution.
Inspect the planter to be sure all parts are performing optimally and replace any worn parts. Make sure planter attachments, including in-furrow fertilizer equipment, are clean and working properly. Perform a safety check to confirm all lights and safety systems operate correctly. Don’t forget electronics and technology updates. Check for software updates as applicable.
Complete these four steps ahead of time and your season will begin with a strong level of confidence and the potential for a great harvest come fall.
Original Source: Leaders of In-Furrow Technology, West Central