Planting season is nearly here. Are you ready?
“There’s a lot of things to think about. As we know planting really sets the stage for the whole crop year so it is really important to get things right,” said Melissa Bell, a Mycogen commercial agronomist serving the Illinois area. “Personally I’m a big fan of lists and I think that a lot of people can identify with working off a checklist to help make our planting preparation plans.”
We had the opportunity to visit with Bell at this year’s Commodity Classic where she shared the most important items that should be on every grower’s checklist this spring:
- First and foremost, make sure machinery and equipment is ready.
- Refine your product placement — make sure that the hybrids and varieties purchased are really going to fit the fields that you tend to place them on. That also means refining population recommendations as well.
- Really think about the basics. Make sure you are planting in clean, weed-free fields and that you are planting in adequate soil moisture and good soil temperature.
With the current economic climate and low commodity prices, Bell said she is finding a lot of farmers sticking with what they are comfortable with and really working to reduce risk this year.
“From my side of it on the seed side, what I recommend is working with hybrids that have proven themselves to be stable and consistent, something that is proven on your farm,” Bells said. “Also going back to the basics — making sure we are not rushing through things, we are doing things right, making sure we are planting right the first time because it is pretty expensive to go back and have to replant.”
Another strategy several corn growers in Bell’s service area are implementing is rotation.
“In the area that I cover it is predominately corn and soybeans, and what I have found is where we have had a lot of continuous corn, a lot of farmers are switching to a corn and soybean rotation so they are getting their ground back to a rotation,” Bells said. “One it is good to break that pest cycle. When we are doing that continuous corn, we have more costs such as having to put nitrogen on, more fertility costs — so bringing back a rotation can be beneficial for the land and your pocketbooks.”